I recently purchased a JDS labs C5D amp/DAC and some audio-technica m50x. This seemed like a good "beginners" rig. Boy, I feel like I am "hearing" my music for the first time.
I now have the "audiophile" bug. Looking to purchase some headphones that are an upgrade to my m50x but not spend too much quite yet (maybe on my third pair!). I appreciate your reviews and the fact that your musical tastes are eclectic like mine (I go from electronic to classical to Alison Krauss to R&B to...).
You like (and I think I would like) the Grado 325e, but have you tried the NAD VISO HP50? I don't know the jingo all that well, but I am looking for "accuracy" I think more than anything else, having suffered low-fi for so long (all my life really).
Or would you go for something else if you were in my shoes (realizing your not of course )
My complete list of reasonably accurate hi-fi headphones below $1000 USD would be the AKG K553 and K712, Grado SR325e, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog, Musical Fidelity MF200, and Shure 840. Of these 6, the Grado and the MF200 may be slightly crispy for some users, but the others no. These are the only headphones I would use without any EQ, but I could include the Senn HD800 if price is no object, and possibly the Shure 1840.
Well, of course I completely ignored it and went with the NAD Viso HP50.
Compared to my Audio Tech m50x (and out of my JDS C5D amp/DAC), I would say they are even a bit more "warm" (realizing I am new to audio jingo), which surprised me a little bit. They have even more "clarity" than the m50x, especially with vocals. Female vocals sound especially good, as well as acoustical instruments (strings, etc.). The treble seems to be a bit more "laid back" than the m50x, while at the same time sounding more "clear" and frankly better - however I find myself wanting a little bit more on about 25% of my music. These are not huge differences, but I notice them. My brother in law liked the m50x better (I think mostly due to greater treble emphasis), but he mostly listens to hard rock and he did admit that vocals/acoustical tracks sound a bit more "cleaner" through the NAD's.
The NAD's advertise themselves as sounding like "speakers in a room" I have to admit they go some way in accomplishing this also, at least compared to the M50x. Again, not something that really grabs you by the throat but it is there.
The down side is that there appears to be an "emphasis" in the low vocal region, mostly males hit it but so do some female vocalists do also (Diana Krall for example). Whenever a vocalist is singing in this region (or an instrument is hitting it hard) it really comes out as "boomy" and overemphasized, making the headphones suddenly sound "muddy" - then it is gone as soon as the music moves on.
Overall, I was surprised not so much by the NAD's, but how the M50x keep up with with them in most areas.
Looks like I will be playing with the EQ to see if I can't fix this low vocal region issue.
Good to hear. The headphones I recommended are the "easy" ones for audiophiles, having that near-flat signature for refined music as they say. But the HP50, more than the room sound or speaker sound aspect, is probably better suited to musical details when the music has your full attention. So many people are gaming, watching movies, or cruising the Internet when wearing headphones, and they really don't "get" the details unless the treble is fairly strong. That's pretty much the same story with my AQ Nighthawk - very warm and soft on the high end, and I love it. But I have to pay attention....
Yes, I think this is correct. I don't normally do anything else besides listen (though I am listening now and typing this comment ).
Based on your review/comments, the Nighthawk and these HP50's seem to have much in common. The "detail" is really nice. I would like to give the Nighthawk (and other similar price range phones) a try. Though, at this $range$ I have to "have a conversation" with the wife...I can hear it now "you don't NEED another pair of headphones"...
The Nighthawk may be a worthy goal, but I'd say make sure it's returnable if you don't like it, and also don't ever buy a 'bargain' sample, as there is much bad experience to be found when you search for those experiences.