Two Pairs of phones for differing music

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by alteredc, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    As a relative newcomer to mid-range/high-range headphones I'm genuinely stumped by the amount of choice on offer when it comes to home headphones. I've recently bought a pair Beyerdynamic DTX101ie for use with my portable and I couldn't be happier, unfortunately (or well, rather fortunately for Hifiheadphones) it's set off an itch for audio equipment upgrades that I don't think I'm going to scratch for a long time.

    Anyway, enough with the preamble, I'm currently using a pair of JVC HA-RX900s for my home audio listening where I use my PC with an Asus Xonar DS as my main source.
    Now, while I do like these headphones I'd like some advice on where to go from here in regards to upgrades to my listening experience.

    I've pointed out that I'd like to get two pairs of headphones because I'd like a good closed pair and I'd love to grab an open pair for comparison/different listening. Go easy on me with the audio terminology too guys and gals, I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of it.

    Firstly I would like a headphone that is quite forward, punchy and delivers a good bass to use with the heavier music I tend to listen to. I'd like something that a band like Dillinger Escape Plan would sound immediate and in your face through, but would retain a weight to the sound with something slower but heavier as I listen to a lot of Post Metal and other darker, slower tunes. I have had my eyes on the Beyerdynamic DT770 250 ohm (Which I'd like to amp through a Schiit magni/modi combo as that amp/DAC seems to be excellent value for money) as all the reviews I've seen seem to point them out as responsive, fun and generally quality pair of cans. I am of course, completely open to suggestions here.

    Secondly I would like a pair of headphones that are, somewhat analytical but not too sterile. I'd like them to be fun to listen to things through still I think. That way they'd suit my tastes all the way from 30's tunes to Alternative Rock: Silversun Pickups, Deftones, Aeon Spoke, Dredg that kind of thing. I'd probably use something like this for the aforementioned music I listen to, but also when I wanted to get a more detailed listen on a record, if I could still retain some of the crushing, weighty feeling on the heavier music I listen to, well, I'd be in love. I've got my eyes on the Grado SR 225i as I know they are also open back and would lend well to being amped.

    Well any help you guys can give would be massively appreciated so, thanks in advance. p.s. If you want to throw in a recommendation for amps, please feel free, I'm all ears.
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Funny thing - I've been reviewing headphones for 2 years, and you say go easy on the technical talk as you're trying to get your head around it, yet the technical descriptions you've given of what you want exceed my knowledge!
     
  3. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    Well I didn't meant to be too jargon rich, so sorry if I came off that way.

    I'm still hazy on certain terms when it comes to some things (bright/dark/coloured) that's why I mentioned I'm not too up on terminology.
     
  4. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi alteredc,

    Before I start recommending it would be useful to know what budget you have in mind for all of this. This will make it a lot easier to suggest headphones that will suit your needs.
     
  5. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    Apologies John, I should have included that, thanks for pointing it out.

    Well I was thinking up to £300 per pair would be reasonable, this wouldn't be an immediate thing, I'm hoping to get one pair in the coming months and then one after that. Though honestly if you pointed a pair out as a must have, I'd be more than willing to save towards them.

    I'd be willing to spend up to around £250 on the amp/dac seeing as how I can secure a Magni/Modi for £230.
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Just a thought - I have the DT770 Pro and also the Custom One Pro, like them both very much, but am enjoying the COP more as it has a smoother response. That may or may not be the right way for someone else to go, but it points up an interesting comparison.
     
  7. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm going to agree with dale here.. the Custom One Pros would be a great choice for the closed back option. That way you could then spend around £400 on some open backs and go for something like the Hifi Man HE-400s.

    For the amp/DAC, have a look at the Just Audio uHA-120ds. It's really is a superb piece of kit!
     
  8. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    I'll definitely look into the Custom One Pro. The impedance seems pretty low so I imagine they're quite easy to drive? Would they still benefit from the 120ds?

    Would you recommend the HE-400s as the go to for open backs for around £400? I do like the look of them honestly.

    I'm still smitten with the Magni/Mod combo so would you say it's worth the extra £100 for the JA UHA-120ds?

    Really appreciate the help guys.

    Addendum: Dale, just read your review on WHATHIFI for the COP. Great review there and I see you gave an opinion on them playing Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch, that being positive has definitely tipped me towards sold.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The COP is easy to drive, but a decent amount of power in your amp will assure that dynamics stay clean. You might now notice much difference at first listen, but stay on the amp for an hour and then switch instantly to just a portable music player, and the difference will amaze you. The soft clipping these portable music players and some computers do is subtle, but it really adds up to a loss of detail. Some companies try to fake detail by boosting the treble or other tricks, but the subtle harmonics that get clipped off are music information you will really appreciate down the line.

    I'm not familiar with the HE400 (John may be), but I have word from other reviewers here that you can expect a very different experience with the planar drivers it has - especially in the bass where the planar gets so much more control and detail, being driven across the entire driver simultaneously instead of from a central coil.

    On the 120ds: My personal opinion is it's always best to eliminate interconnects in very low voltage circuits, where any imterference gets massively amplified down the line, so by having the DAC and amp both in the same enclosure, there's not only a big money savings, but the DAC-to-amp connections are directly wired instead of passing through jacks and other parts in the separate boxes.
     
  10. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Another headphone worth looking at is the Sennheiser HD650 - they will give a smoother more overall warm sound whereas the HE-400 will be more controlled with tighter bass that goes very low and very clear detail, especially at the top.

    To be honest, I don't know much about the Magni/Modi sound - I haven't heard it. But I do know that the Just Audio range is right at the top when it comes to portable amp/DACS, and the uha120ds sounds great! It's also very convenient being all in one and at such a portable size.
     
  11. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    Is there a desktop amp you would suggest for slightly more, or is that one just as good as the dedicated desktop amps around that price range?
     
  12. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want to use the headphones with a PC then it is always worth going for a DAC setup. The 120DS is the best in its range, you could also take a look at the FiiO E17. The E17 also works with the E09K - This will give you a more powerful desktop setup as well as a portable amp.
     
  13. alteredc

    alteredc New Member

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    Well I think I'll save up and plump for the 120ds and the two pairs of the phones you and Dale have suggested, thank you very much guys.
     
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