Replacing HD595. With what?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by DGB, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. DGB

    DGB New Member

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    Jan 25, 2012
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    Hi,
    I'm a first time poster looking for some advice, so please be gentle.

    I have a pair of Sennheiser HD595 that were damaged when a friend gave them to me and despite my best efforts to repair them, I'm finally going to throw in the towel and replace them. The problem is with what??

    The friend that I got these 'phones from replaced them with Beyerdynamic DT880's and I did a brief comparison between them and the HD595's. I much preferred the Beyers even right out of the box. In comparison the HD595's seem lazy/too relaxed. IMO the 880's had a brighter treble, their bass was more focused, vocals sounded lovely and they were very comfortable. My only worry with the 880's was you might tire of them quickly due to their brightness (compared to the Senn's), but they were right out of the box.

    I'm currently using the HD595's with a Fiio E7 on my computer for listening to music, radio and for use with Skype during the work day from home. I like the over ear setup of the HD595's and they are generally comfortable over long periods (but could be a bit better). An open or semi-open back headphone is a must for me in case the phone/doorbell rings or if someone is calling me.

    I've 4 potential replacements in mind (note no Sennheisers in the list!) but I haven't heard any of them and I have a few questions on each:

    AKG K240 Mk2 - I absolutely love the look of the AKG's, I love the idea of a replaceable cable but I haven't heard them. Are they difficult to drive at 55ohms, will the E7 be ok? Is the Semi-Open back enough to be able to hear outside noise? Will these be comfortable over extended listening periods (8-12hr)?
    Beyerdynamics DT990 Pro 250ohm - Do these sound the same as the 880's? Will the E7 be able to drive these at 250ohms? Are they as bright as the 880's, will this brightness calm down over time?
    Grado SR80i - Again, I haven't heard these. Will these be comfortable over extended listening periods (8-12hr)?
    AKG K141 Mk2 - Are these an over ear or on ear design? Same questions as K240 above.

    Any comparisons or comments on the above or any other recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.

    DGB
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi DGB

    I am with you on this, Sennheiser HD650 and below always feel too laid back and I'm also never sure about the stereo imaging. I prefer Beyers as a rule and think you would love the DT990 if you liked the DT880. All the Beyers calm down a little after a good few hours listening but retain a bright but balanced feel. I have never found them fatiguing but some people might experience that with the DT880 - amp choice has a lot to do with the eventual all round feel with most of the headphones you mention. The Beyer DT990 can sound really powerful and full of authority with a really scvulpted and solid sounding amp. The K141 is sort of circumaural - It does utilise the outer ear but you would need very small ears for them to not touch theedges of the pads. I feel odd about AKGs, I like these two models but none of them really do it for me, I just don't get on with AKGs general Ideas on sound. Other people love them but I would recommend trying them first as I have noticed that few people actually pick them when there is a choice of brands to listen to, these two are not too bad to drive so and E7 would be fine. All the models you have picked are likely to get you thrown off the bus or sneered at on the train! Th Grado SR80i are really fun, lovely tone and detail at this price. I don't think that these will suit you though as it sounds like you want to listen for long periods. If you had all four to play with I would bet that you would pick the DT990. It is the most comfortable and soundwise probably the best value for money with excellent German build quality.
     
  3. DGB

    DGB New Member

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    Jan 25, 2012
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    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for your help.
    From what you have said the Grado SR80i are off the list as I need these replacements to be comfortable for extended listening.

    I won't be using these headphones on a bus or train, I have some Shure IEMs for that, so I don't have to worry about annoying anyone and being asked to leave - thankfully!

    You mentioned that both the AKG models that I listed are not too bad to drive and that the Fiio E7 will be fine with these but you didn't say whether the DT990 Pro 250Ohm could be driven with the E7, and that is a worry to me.

    Will the E7 be able to deliver on the potential of the 990 Pro's or would I need to consider upgrading the amp to achieve that?

    I look forward to your reply.

    DGB
     
  4. UndefinedMemory

    UndefinedMemory New Member

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    Jan 16, 2012
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    It depends mostly on the impedance. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD580s which are rated at 300ohm I believe, and the E7 out of the computer can't reach a high enough volume for my liking. So I would guess that the DT990 would have a similar problem - they will likely be good but if the source is quiet (i.e. a tv show / song that happens to be quiet) you won't be able to turn it up enough.

    Also, while the E7 is fairly clear and neutral it won't do much for headphones of this caliber. It has quite a closed sound stage. At the moment I end my chain with a uHA-120 feeding the HD580s, which gives them a much better soundstage, but even then if I am only feeding from the PC->E7->uHA-120 I can't get enough volume out of them.
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The E7 should be fine with the DT990 250 Ohms, you might find that you struggle for headroom on some of the quietest tracks but a normal volume track would come up well. Amp choice is always critical for getting the very best from any headphone - DT990 suit a sculpted and powerful amp which is detailed but not too forward. They would certainly benefit from a nice chunky mains powered amp but most decently powered portables would do a good job. It would be a big upgrade, but as an example, this works beautifully with the DT990, DT880, DT770 and the Beyer T1 as well -

    Icon Audio HP8 MKII Pure Valve High End Headphone Amplifier
    £499.96

    It is really sculpted sounding with nice valve warmth which does not get in the way of the detailed top end. Works great with headphones which are just on the bright side of neutral.

    The E7 is an amazing little DAC Amp which will do a great job but there is always a bit of room for improvement:)
     
  6. DGB

    DGB New Member

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    Jan 25, 2012
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    Thanks to all for the feedback.
    I think the fact that the 990 Pro 250ohm will struggle with some music with the E7, and the fact that I don't intend on getting a more powerful amp anytime soon, means that I'm going to go with the AKG K240 mk2 instead.

    Just ordering them from you now.

    DGB
     
  7. UndefinedMemory

    UndefinedMemory New Member

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    I just wanted to clarify something on the FiiO E7. I have had issues getting a high enough listening volume out of it, but after some more testing this is ONLY dependent on the source I've been using. For 95% of stuff I watch/listen to/play on my PC going directly from USB -> FiiO E7 -> uHA-120 has more than enough volume and excellent sound quality with my Sennheiser HD580s (300ohm).

    With some files, mostly it seems ones with DD/DTS sound tracks with high dynamic range, the output from my computer is very quiet. I think this may even be due to the specific program/filter that is being used by my computer to decode it, so will play around with it more. But I wanted to explain that the volume from the E7 is fine and it's a very reasonably priced DAC, as I really didn't want to be misleading!
     
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