Some advice on Closed Back Phones £100 - £200; details inside....

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by shokka9, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Well, i couldnt resist (sorry; posted in another thread too, in the hope someone replies)

    Basically i am looking to buy some new headphones which need to be:

    - Closed Back for isolation (lots of public transport journeys)
    - Cost between £100 - £200 (preferably in the middle )
    - Will play Electro, Dubstep, DnB, Reggae, Rap and anything else, really well (bass particularly), but also want a decent sound in general
    - Low impedance as primary source will be iPhone 4 (Jailbroke, like it makes a difference)
    - Weight shouldnt be an issue, as my journeys are usually 1 to 1.5 hrs a time...

    After they are burnt in, i will be replacing the cables with some of my own..this shouldnt affect the recommendations, as i can take anything apart (usually).

    So far i have looked at:

    Sennheiser HD25-1 II
    Ultrasone HFI-780
    AKG K-171 MKII
    AKG K-271 MKII
    Audio Technica ATH-A700
    Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
    Shure SRH750DJ Pro
    Shure SRH840 Pro

    As well as......

    Denon DN-HP1000

    I am struggling to decide what to buy..........??

    Any help would be appreciated. If you need to ask for further details, i would be more than happy to supply them.

    Thanks again
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Shokka9,

    I can simplify this one for you - If your choice is to be purely based on sound quality and sound signature you have already listed the best two candidates in this price range.

    As you may have noticed we try to give answers which any headphone buyer will find useful. It is easy to get bogged down in the vast choice of fantastic headphones on the market - We are really spoiled as the headphone market has never before been so vibrant, quality and choice are quite unbelievable.

    You have got everything right so far

    - Set your budget, being as realistic as possible (very little point in torturing yourself!)

    - We all have preferences and finding headphones which suit these will lead to a long intimate relationship with your cans. Write out favoured genres of music, favourite acts and the general vibe you like. Have a look at what you have written and apply this to the ideas manufacturers have included in their products.

    - How are the headphones to be used? No use buying open backs for the Studio or on the train! What are the physical requirements? Adhering to these will get you the most use out of your new 'phones. Replaceable cable? User serviceable parts? Size?

    Thinking about it this way will get you the headphones that work best for you - I love all of the discussion on the forums but remember when you are buying your opinion is the only one that matters, it's your ears doing the listening.

    I think you have a reasonably straight choice between Shure SRH840 and Ultrasone HFi780. There are a lot of similarities here - they both fold, very similar large ear cups, robust designs, Pro quality, easy to power from a portable player. The big difference between these two is the sound, although both have a contemporary fresh feel.

    The Ultrasone HFi780 have a leaning towards sharp detail. They are certainly not overly bright, they are clean and crisp with excellent separation and brilliant stereo imaging having an almost open backed feel.

    The Shure SRH840 is a chunky sounding beast. Although they are crisp and reveal a good amount of detail it is their powerful and controlled bottom end which really shines.

    Now it would be easy to say from the music you like and your professed love of Bass that the Shure is the best choice but this doesn't take into account how much detail you like in your Bassy music. You can EQ more bass but you cannot dial in more detail than the headphones have.

    I hope this helps, all the 'phones you mentioned are great but I think one of these two will suit you.
     
  3. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Nice reply Robin, very much appreciated.

    I tried to provide as much info as i could :)

    The closed-backness is super important, if it wasnt there would be some Grado's on that list ;)

    Yeah, i like the Bass, but i also like it refined, not over powering....at the moment i currently use some (please dont hate me) Skull Candy Hesh's, had them a while. I dont particularly appreciate the sound they provide, they can handle some decent bass and also some nice highs (occasionally) but the overall sound is quite dead to me. However they came a bit more alive on my iPhone, which is why i want to invest in something a bit more rewarding. I also have some Sony In Ear buds (£30 a few years back, when buds first appeared) which are oki, but they dont have much volume, so i rarely use them.

    I think i will heavily look into the 2 you mentioned. I have already been considering the Ultrasone HFI-780's.

    I also understand, the more money you spend, you do generally get more; but at a certain budget there isn't much difference between good phones (usually).

    Thanks again for the advice and i hope i find the right ones, because once i modify the cables....they are mine for keepers!

    Shokka9

    EDIT/PS

    I listened to some phones in the Apple shop (i know, not the best place), but i wanted to listen to the B&W P5's. I have to say, these were the most awesome headphones i ever heard. Seriously. They had like 6 pairs of headphones (Bose, Sennheisers, Sony etc) all average of £250 each.

    First i went along all the iPods attached to them, put the same track on each...them began my mini test.....by far the B&W P5's were the most outstanding pieces of equipment there, hey had volume, clarity, bass, treble, mids everything, they were magnificent!

    I contemplated these, the P5's, but the price of £240 and the semi closed back not sure as they are advertised as closed back. I can assure you that they can be heard when you have them on and the music cranked up.

    But they sound so vibrant, so real very natural.

    Apologies for the little rant ;) but i thought i would mention it
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    I had the pleasure of borrowing some P5's just before they were released and they are pretty good - Both Shure SRH840 and Ultrasone HFi780 have cleaner crisper highs, better bass extension and bigger sound stage - The P5's are good but have been made for the "I want luxury" rather than fidelity, part of the market. They are definitely a beautiful object but the big positive to take away is that you should be truly blown away by a Professional standard closed back! - Remember a lot of the cost of the P5 is being spent on leather and chrome not the drivers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  5. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Thanks Robin..... :)

    After some further reading, the Shures seemed to get a better reception than the Ultrasones; so i think i will stump the cash up for those.

    Seem to be cheaper than the Ultrasones.

    Also, they have a detachable cable, which is ideal, as i can just fit a new terminal to my custom cable.

    Any ideas of recommended burn in time? Will buy them next week, so i might update this thread with an instant verdict, then verdict after burn in...

    I cant wait!!
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Drivers change throughout their lifetime but the biggest change is seen within the first 100 hours of use. This obviously differs from product to product with the design and size of the drivers.

    I ignore the idea of burning headphones in without listening - If you have a new toy enjoy it while it's new and if this allows you to hear changes as the driver gets used to moving then that's quite a cool thing.
     
  7. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Cool; i would of listened to them during the burn in phase, but not necessarily commented on them. Maybe i will start a nice thread (not here) about the Shures.

    I would like them now, but my bank account is a little depleted. Good things come to those who wait. Trust me, i have waited a long time for some decent headphones.

    I used to have a very decent HiFi setup, but that went last year, so i dont actually own any equipment at the moment. But when i move into my new house, i will begin the quest of looking for some nice bits of equipment (Yamaha DSP amp for starters)

    Take care and i will let you know what i think of my new purchase.

    Thanks for your words of wisdom

    :)
     
  8. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Robin

    Can you please let me know what the jack terminal size is on the Headphone end of the cable?

    I think its a 2.5mm one. Just so i can order my parts for the custom cable i am making.

    Thanks - I looked via google, but no-one really mentions it....
     
  9. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The end that fits into the headphone is indeed a 2.5mm jack plug, there are a pair just sitting behind me : )
     
  10. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Lovely jubbly.

    I must admit, the general opinion from the world wide web (i have trawled through a lot of pages) is that the Shures sound like some phones twice the price and that they are very neutral and are also very comfortable to wear.

    Definitely a WINNER!

    Time to make my cable methinks! The 3.5m length of the origianl is a tad long for me, but will have its uses around the house i assume.

    Take care Robin.

    :)
     
  11. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Update 1

    Well......

    I got my Shure SRH-840's, and well i am one lucky guy. They sound awesome, i have never heard headphones like this. This is straight out of the box too.

    The separation of instruments is amazing, they are superbly neutral, so no frequency is over exaggerated etc. The music sounds pure.

    I have noticed that if you own poor recordings, they will of course sound poor on such high quality speakers. But i am totally impressed with everything.

    My Nucleotide wire has arrived from the US so i can make a start on the 'custom cable' i am doing. I am just waiting for my techflex to arrive (next week) and i can finish them. But i thought i would make a start tonight.

    My Shures are burning in, only about 20+ hours in, had them 2 days, they sound different already. In fact they sound a little worse, the bass has depleted and the mids seem a little harsher.....but i know they will bounce back into life after some more burning in.

    Thanks again Robin for the excellent recommendation. I am thinking about a Portable Amp now.......Seen the iPhone one for £15.00, look reasonable. I only need it for my travels to work. At home i can use my PC etc (until i buy my BiG RiG - again).

    I will start a thread @ Head-Fi.org regarding my cable mod.....there will be lots of pics to look at.

    PS - If you want to make custom cables for these, the 2.5mm jack that goes into the headphones has a special locking bit on it, so standard jacks will not fit. I havent decided how to tackle this, i may use the original jack, or i may do some hackery (what i am good at).
     
  12. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Update 2

    About 50 hours burn in; sounding even better.....

    The mids are pushing thru a lot easier, the bass is becoming more pronounced.

    All in all, very good headphones. Had them on a Grown Up amplifier (Yamaha Separates) and they sound even better. Fuller sound, can go a lot louder than i have experienced off my iPhone.

    Defo need a portable headphone amp to get the db's i need out of these fantastic units.

    Will give 1 more update after 100+ hours.

    Also, finding that i am re-ripping my music collection to a higher bite rate and also higher db volume, so i can make up for lack of headphone amp (the amp isnt necessary, i just like my music LOUD!!!!)

    Even got a Classical 6CD compilation on my iPhone, as some of the tracks are so inspiring and thoughtful through these headphones.

    My modded cable is 25% complete, waiting on my Techflex before i can start getting to work for real!!

    Laters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  13. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Sound like you are loving your new 'phones. Can we see a photo of the cable when complete?:)
     
  14. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Of course sir.

    I have some photos already, of the 3.5mm jack during the soldering phases. I am going a little bit over the top i think.....

    I want this to look and feel like a really expensive piece of engineering. I have bought a lot of first class parts to make this....

    I am also going to make an LOD to match with the left over cable (DHC 24 AWG OCC Nucleotide from Peter @ Double Helix Cables (DHC) in the US). Got my LOD connector coming from Qables in the Netherlands......using a lovely braided technique, wrapped in Gold Mylar Techflex and then some Black Reflex Techflex....should be real pretty too.

    Will look into an Portable Amplifier over the next few weeks with the premise of purchasing one at the end of the month, hopefully both cables will be complete by then :) (when my Techflex arrive this week HOPEFULLY)

    I will post some pics, and a link to the thread at Head-Fi.org when its up.....

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  15. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Update 3

    Over 100+ hours in on my Shures....they sound great, superbly neutral and the reproduction i am getting from them is immense.

    Well i finished my cable....hopefully picture(s) can be seen.

    Next up is my LOD connector (which will match perfectly) and is 90% finished, just to solder the pins on the LOD connector. Ready for arrival of my portable headphone amp (probably a FiiO E7 to see what it can do). Coming next week......

    If you wanna see the build of my cable just goto head-fi.org:
    My Shure SRH-840 Cable Replacement Build - Head-Fi.org Community

    The cable you see here is getting the Nickel plug in the picture replaced with a Gold one, will look much much better (i have chopped it off, so cable is out of action!!)

    Sounds nice too, cleaner sound methinks. Cant wait to finish the LOD and hook it all up to an Amp...........

    Take care folks!
     

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  16. Trunkz

    Trunkz New Member

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    Nice, Ive picked up a set of SRH840s from these guys last week, and its brilliant. What I would suggest however it terms of tackling your 2.5mm jack problem, is to get rid of it altogether and replace it with a mini xlr :)
     
  17. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    I actually made the access hole for the 2.5mm plug bigger, and used a 2.5mm gold jack i found online (cpc-farnell).

    I actually don't like it (keeps cutting), i am going to hard wire the cable to the phones. Much better, no cutting at all.

    The XLR mod is quite popular, look at head-fi.org, a few people have done that.

    The end result using my FiiO E7, and stock cables (The Shure & FiiO L3) is quite good. Volume is a tad louder but the clarity is a lot better. Separation is more notable. Using my made LOD sounds better and so does using my headphone cable, but they are like 90% complete (each).

    I want to shorten my LOD cable too, and it needs the connector gluing together.

    It never stops!

    Just need the time to finish it all off. Been busy with my other passions (mobile phones), been rooting, jailbreaking and stuff last few weeks (not all mine either).

    I might add some newer pics??
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  18. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Wow! How do you find the time? :D
     
  19. shokka9

    shokka9 New Member

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    Update......Latest 25/10/10

    Well, after opening up my Shures, i realised that i had missed some plastic that was blocking a true fit to the jack. So i removed said piece of plastic (with some snips), and now my 2.5mm jack plug fits snugly and sounds perfect.

    No cutting whatsoever!!

    So i can finally use them as my everyday cable!! Needs a little burning in, but still sounds great! Compared to stock they are a little more clearer and the bass sounds a bit more fuller. The fact that i made them, makes them feel so much better and the new finish looks stunning!

    We will see eh, i will update with a new photo for you guys later (if anyone actually cares)!!

    take care!!

    Buy some Shure SRH-840's NOW!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
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