The journey begins here hopefully

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by Gixer1970, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Gixer1970

    Gixer1970 New Member

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    I thought this would be the best place to post my first message and say hello to one and all and of course to hifi headphones for having this forum.

    I have for some time been searching around for a specific forum and finally came across this via a website in the USA. Just to clarify I am not in the USA but in southern Kent in the UK.

    I am far from any audiophile that is for certain, but, saying that I know what I like to hear. A little background I guess, I managed to be the first person in the UK to listen to a pair of post-production KEF Q900 floor standing speakers at KEF HQ back in October 2010 as I do have a soft spot for KEF Speakers which led to the first retail order placed in the UK for the new floorstander speakers at launch which arrived in December 2010.

    I use an Onkyo TX-NR1008 amp which is at a guess is now around a couple of years old now (they still retail now for around £1,300 where you can find them) with Bi-Amplified (not bi-wired) front speakers and a BK Electronics Monolith DF+ subwoofer to support the bass soundstage when required. I do listen to vinyl, CDs and on occasion the ipod touch but my personal preference is CD and vinyl, as even after tweaking i-Tunes settings I still find detail is lost.

    I have now come to a point where I feel it is time to invest in a pair of good quality headphones and i am hoping this will be the place for the best advice. The main purpose of these will be for music but also they will be used for the odd occasional film late at night. The source for which would be Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3d of which the majority of sound mixes are DTS HD Master if that will be relevant.

    Music wise, I have a vast and broad spectrum all be it from Eva Cassidy, Norah Jones, Adele, Mark Knopfler, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, James Blake, Rihanna to Massive attack and Cold Play just to name a few and Hans Zimmer, so as you can see a very wide selection which in no way is a bad thing in my eyes.

    Obviously I have a vast amount to learn and take in-in the world of headphones and I think the two things of main interest to me are which headphones are right for me and also is my Onkyo TX-NR1008 amp suitable for the job in hand as all my components are linked to this and if not how and what will I need.

    As the title says, the journey begins here I guess and I look forward to any advice and information that is put forward.

    Alan / Gixer1970
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Alan

    Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like. This forum is a friendly place to discuss everything headphone related, I recommend reading the reviews section as there is some brilliant info about the feel and performance of some of the best headphones around. Many Audiophiles and Hifi fans have come round to having headphones as part of their system as there are always times where you want to hear music in the best quality possible but speakers are not always practical. There is so much choice and the quality has shot up in the last five years, so it's a great time to be getting into headphones.

    My advice is to get a wishlist of features based on how and where you will use your new cans. Secondly, work out the sound signature you want to go for. Last is your budget, this is totally up to you but as a guide the law of diminishing returns really starts kicking in around £400 ($5- 600), headphones which are more than this are normally amazing but are digging up really fine detail or really perfecting that bottom end. I'm definitely not discouraging anyone from buying the really pricey stuff (I have some Beyer T1 and I love them to bits) but it is nice to know where you start to get less value for money with the quality increase of buying a more expensive product.:)
     
  3. Gixer1970

    Gixer1970 New Member

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    Many thanks for your swift reply Robin.

    As I mentioned in my original post above I think there is a lot to take in and learn before purchasing what I would possibly describe as a high quality set of headphones and I have started reading through posts already.

    I could start a new thread or just continue with this one, uncertain to be honest so feel free to move this tread or keep it here.

    Usage would not be outside and I am contemplating purchasing for music listening only some thing along the lines of this [​IMG]

    I think the two / three most important things in no particular order that will be relevant in my case are:

    1) Comfort factor. If I am listening to an album back to back three or four times to form an opinion I do not want to feel uncomfortable. Also if they are to be used on the rare occasion watching a film this will be important.

    2) Fine detail and clarity. I have learnt this over the years with floor standing speakers and it is amazing what sounds you do not hear on certain speakers that are not able to dig out that finer detail all be it an inhale of breath on a track to fine instrumental notes that you may not of heard before on a track you may of heard many a times. Obviously control of them leads onto number three but they will need to be able to produce this. Bottom end, I doubt I can have the best of both worlds which is what I have learnt over the years unless spending 20k on one pair of floor standing speakers.

    3) Will my current amp be up to the job and pair well or will a seperate headphone amp also be required ?

    As they say, you pay for what you get in life. Budget wise, if I feel the price reflects the performance then I will pay it and I I would guess there is a difference of day and night between say £100 and £1,000 headphones. Budget is not capped but saying that I am not just going to go out and purchase the most expensive pair of headphones money can buy, as I know with my current floor standing speakers in this room which were just a tad under 3k sound far better than a pair of 10k speakers by other manufacturers but not as good as a 20k pair of speakers mind you.

    Alan / Gixer1970
     
  4. Gixer1970

    Gixer1970 New Member

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    Additional note: If it is of any help i could use my 1008 as a pre-amp as it does have this option, if needed I do beleive.

    [​IMG]

    Alan / Gixer1970
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    That chair looks very nice. I would have to buy two or my wife would instantly claim this:)

    1) Comfort -

    This will not be hard as most of the nice sounding cans are pretty comfy although it is always worth asking if you feel you are close to a decision on one. A few of the very nice high end ones are a little heavy.

    2) Detail and Clarity

    Once you get above £100 any serious headphones are going to be really quite good, impressive to someone who doesn't know headphones that well. It is at around £200 you start to get impressive headphones. Open back and semi-open back will give you the best soundstage, air and natural feel.

    have a look at -

    GermanMAESTRO GMP 400 Open Back Headphones (GMP400)
    £189.00

    Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium Semi-Open Headphones 600Ω
    £208.96

    Grado SR325is Open Back Headphones (Grado SR 325is)
    £315.00

    Beyerdynamic T90 Premium Open Back Headphones 250Ω (T 90)
    £499.96

    Grado PS500 Open Back Portable Audiophile Headphones (PS 500)
    £630.00

    HiFiMAN HE-500 Open Back Orthodynamic Audiophile Headphones
    £695.00

    Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Semi-Open Reference Class Headphones
    £881.26

    Grado GS1000i Open Back Headphones (Grado GS-1000i)
    £1,035.00

    That is a good selection of interesting stuff - all hard to beat at their price.

    3) Separate headphone amp needed?

    Some of these will work fine with the headphone output on a mains Hifi am but several will not as they need some serious power. Hifi amps tend to simply step down the main signal to the headphone output. This is enough power for headphones with an impedance of 16ohms to 80ohms (approx, nominal impedance doesn't tell you everything about the efficiency). Above this you will need a dedicated amp - some headphones need about the same power as a pair of speakers expecting a signal rated at 5 watts per channel. Unfortunately you need to spend £400 - £600 ($700 - $950) to get a really great amp that will get the best from a decent pair of cans.
     
  6. Gixer1970

    Gixer1970 New Member

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    Location:
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  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Don't worry. I can always move a thread if it is completely out of place - mostly I only do that if people complain which they rarely do. Apart from spam everything else is fine:D
     
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