I am curious and I am opinionated about hifi stuff and have a query for the group.....
What are the best value headphones....in any configuration?
My own "value" collection include...Grado SR-125, Sennheiser HD-595, and AudioTechnica ATH AD 700. Of those, I place the value quotient of the AudioTechnica ATH AD 700 way, way, way ahead of the others......at less than 1/2 the retail of the Senn's, and 3/4 the retail of the Grado's....whilst sounding, oh so much more musical than either.
As an opinion on value....money invested/musical enjoyment....AudioTechnica ATH AD 700 are my value winners.
I'd have to plumb for my Senny HD560 ovII cans as best value. They do have a Cardas cable on them, which I procured at very little cost but are definitely on my head more than any other of my collection. They don't do everything perfectly by any means but the balance of sound to price is admirable. HD600 has more bass and K701 more definition and detail but the 560 is a damn fine all rounder on a wide range of equipment and musical genres.
Post by joethearachnid on May 15, 2013 12:48:20 GMT
A few years ago I might have said the HD 600s, simply because (IMO) you could buy them and be happy with them and never want of anything higher up the chain. However, they've become vastly more expensive and harder to get hold of in recent years and have mostly gone out of production... I was very lucky to get an extremely good deal on my pair (thanks Mike!)
So excepting the HD 600, I think the best value is the Alessandro MS-1, if you can stick the Grado sound. They're on a level soundwise with the SR-125 but priced lower than the SR-60 in the UK, even with import taxes. They sound great, they're very solidly built, they do pretty well on almost any rig and they're very easily moddable and tweakable. The only real issue for me is long-term comfort.
Post by joethearachnid on May 16, 2013 0:01:11 GMT
The MS-1s are basically rebranded Grados. Alessandro (who I believe mostly make guitar amplifiers) supposedly do something special to Grados and then sell them, though from what I understand they all come out of the same factory. The MS-1 is the cheapest in their line at $99, which is comparable to the Grado SR-80 price-wise in the US, but outside (where Grados are much more expensive) the Alessandro's free international shipping puts them on top. See here: www.alessandro-products.com/main.php?p=headphones
Thanks, I'll look the MS-1's up.....btw, I just saved an arachnid that was stuck betwixt screen and glass in my door. Everything deserves a chance to fulfill it's destiny. Also, keep the dust mites outta my nose. He was a mean looking tyke, too.
Ya well....I've been putting on my HD-595's again...and I have to say...I love these cans.
Seems like when I run my Vincent KHV-111 hybrid hd amp direct from the AudioNote DAC kit 1.1....the HD 595's really come into their own...with plenty of welly and great end to end dynamics. Again, the less equipment in the road ahead of them...the better. Could also be the RFT ECC-82 in the DAC brings the dynamics along with the RFT ECC-83 in the Vincent hd amp. The RFT's are definitely the dynamics kings of my tube collection.
I'm glad I started this thread....it got me to re-evaluate the HD's. I musta underestimated them. J
The 595s give more detail in the upper mids than the 650. I just listened to them side by side again last week. The hd650s are more speakerlike in their presentation and would be great if only the midbass to upper bass wasn't too accentuated while the 595 is slightly grainier/less smooth yet hyper detailed. The hd595 I tried were completely defoamed by the way. No more foam behind the drivers. I liked the 595s so much regardless of the extra colorations/ringyness in the cups that I am going to buy some hd598s hehehe. Anyways as for the hd600, I still love those best overall so far as sound quality is concerned but if I had a rich sounding closed portable like the momentum, I would rather have the more aggressive and supremely comfortable hd598 as a home headphone than the calmer sounding and clampier hd600.
Thinking about it, I haven't listened to many 'phones in my lifetime, and apart from brief trials at hi fi shows, have not heard anything that I would call expensive. So in that context I'd say the Grado SR60 takes some beating. It does most things very well. I have the 80s as well (thanks to that Grotto member who offered them for sale :-) ) but on balance, as the 60s are significantly, IMO, less expensive than the 80s, then I'd vote for the SR60s. I haven't felt a need for anything better.. yet.
I'd vote for the Beyer Custom One Pro for these reasons: Sound is exceptional, very smooth, has hi-fi highs with no irritating peaks, however small. Very good and deep bass, and excellent mids that have none of the hollowness of the DT770 or DT1350. Comfort is excellent - earcups large enough to surround ears without touching or cramping. Good plush headband. Build quality is great, and the design looks great too. Price in the U.S. is $250 or less, below average for a good (very low coloration) hi-fi headphone.
If you say "best value" I guess it means "out of the box" ? Without modding ?
It would be good to differentiate between more-or-less permanent mods, temporary mods (i.e. earpad stuffing), and EQ which changes the sound but doesn't modify the headphone. I've only done the last two.
Did most of my listening with Senn. HD 600's, the first three years after building my JLH Chiara. I found them easy to listen to & had modified them; got rid of the original foam in the ear pieces & redid stuffing behind the drivers, really opened up the mid & high end. After listening to a friends AKG K340 dual driver phones, the HD 600's went to another home.
Performed 7 mod's on K 340's; they are the best sounding phones under $800-. Great bass well balanced presentation with highly detailed top end without getting listeners fatigue. I say this fully recognizing that they are 25 plus years old; they can hold their own against most in the sub $1000- category.
Modified the Chiara for greater current output, installed 23 step attenuator, set gain at 3x & built my own power supply. The amp. drives the K340's with the volume set at 11-12 o clock.
Also running modified HD 681's; great bargain for the money. The drivers do sound somewhat grainy when the volume is turned up a bit; just not as refined as some others.
contact Grado for a replacement (don't know the cost).
Thanks for the heads up.
Really thought I'd be up against a wall trying to get a tiny, cheap little piece of plastic to fix my Grado sr60's. I mean, this is probably the cheapest product they make...but they're just too good to throw away.
Wow, was I wrong. Grado answered my email within hours, on a Saturday night no less. They're sending the replacement gimble...free.
Makes me feel even better about recommending them as a good value per dollar headphone.
Many do this if you send them a polite mail. I got a centercap - that was missing from one of the four wheels I bought used - for free in the mail just because I asked if it could be purchased somewhere.
Yes, Audio Technica was also extremely helpful in repairing my 9 year old ATH-W5000's.
My 595's are really great for video soundtracks while watching streaming video...Netflix, Amazon Prime. Their ability to bring all the excitement out of action movies is excellent.
Since starting this thread...I still feel my AT AD-700's are still my value kings...when considering value, I think low cost and high performance, regardless (almost put irregardless in there..which is not a word) of a way more expensive product being "billed" as high value WITHIN it's price category. I'm thinking a couple a hundred $ U.S. and what can you buy/hear through, them. I think mods would be another category.
The AD-700's from Audio Technica are easy to listen to and bring a fairly detailed presentation to about the widest soundstage I've encountered in headphone listening. It's a breathtaking soundstage where it's not just confined to "in-head" sound. Maybe if they weren't purple and gold.....
I just got a Senn HD380 Pro, which (like many headphones) has a recessed treble compared to the better but non-bright headphones. It was $105 on Amazon U.S. for a day or two, but mine came from Sweetwater and was $140 I think. Anyway with a spot of treble correction the sound is really marvelous. It doesn't have quite the detail of the new $500 Shure 1540, but still a great value.