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  • Xrcr9709
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Hello,


In the '90, I used to buy any pair of Sony earphones under the equivalent of 20$, and I was more than happy.
Two years ago, I was really disappointed when I realised that almost every brand of earphones was going bass oriented, and reading the packagings ... the more bass, the most 'marketable' ...

In that context I finally got Shure SE420 earphones, and I'm quite satisfied with them.


Now for some specific uses (like listening to music at work), I'm thinking about buying a headphone.

To summerize, I would like a headphone that
- is NOT bass-oriented
- has a good sound, (something like Shure SE420 earphones would be nice)
- is comfortable
- looks nice (if possible)

I've been thinking about Shure SHR440 or SHR840, but I've read they're bass-oriented somewhere, and that they weren't somewhere else so, I hesitate.


Anyone's got some advice ?




Thank you.

  • pawelq
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #1
Higher models of Sennehisers used to have great sound, be extremely comfortable and look nice. I still have ~10 years old HD580 and I'd definitely recommend these if they were not off shelves already. Still, they still sell HD600 which are basically identical to HD580, and other high quality models, see http://www.sennheiserusa.com/private_headp...hile-headphones

Other companies known for years for making great-sounding comfortable large headphones are Beyerdynamic and AKG.
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".

  • C.R.Helmrich
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  • Developer
Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #2
Agree. Got the Sennheiser HD590 since 2003, great quality for the price. Successor is the HD595 I think.

What's your price range? Mobile or home use?

Chris
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

  • hödyr
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #3
I agree with the Sennheiser recommendation. Other models you might want look at are the AKG K702 and the Beyerdynamic DT990. Note that these are all open headphones which aren't useable in a noisy environment. Open headphones in general offer better sound than closed, and are more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
If you want full-size headphones which block outside noise you might want to look at the Sennheiser HD-25 II and the Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 (which I own and am very pleased with).
  • Last Edit: 28 November, 2010, 06:40:38 PM by hödyr
Blubb

  • Xrcr9709
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #4
Home (office) use.  For mobile use I'm fine with Shure SE420.

Price range : 0 ~ 200 EUR (but I could pay a little more).

But one of my main purpose is that it should not be bass-oriented.

  • Xrcr9709
  • [*][*]
Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #5
Following hödyr's reply:

I must say I've tested some entry and mid quality Senheiser, AKG EARphones. I really didn't like their sound (because of too much bass and sometime too few high/mids). Maybe it's different stuff here ?

Also: when they are 'open' I guess there's more chances that people around hear them ? Because they also need not to disturb colleagues.
  • Last Edit: 28 November, 2010, 06:46:14 PM by Xrcr9709

  • Bjossi
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #6
I have had my Sennheiser HD 595 (the lower impedance version) for over 1.5 years now and I am very happy with them. To my ears they are anything but bassy unless the content is, which means they are mostly neutral I guess. They are a little heavy to drive though, my PC's Soundblaster X-Fi didn't do so well on its own so I have them connected to the headphone jack of my speaker system's sub (Logitech Z-2200).

  • JapanAudio
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #7
Grado's have a well balanced sound, although some people (myself included) find them uncomfortable.

  • hödyr
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #8
Also: when they are 'open' I guess there's more chances that people around hear them ? Because they also need not to disturb colleagues.

Open headphones will radiate sound in both directions, towards your ear and away from them. They won't be as lound as speakers, but people can hear them, so obviously you're looking for closed headphones.
  • Last Edit: 28 November, 2010, 07:37:38 PM by hödyr
Blubb

  • Qest
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #9
Other models you might want look at are the AKG K702 and the Beyerdynamic DT990.


I've read that AKG K702 is just the K701 in black with a replaceable cord. Since the K701 can be found much cheaper, I would recommend them over the K702s.
  • Last Edit: 28 November, 2010, 08:06:33 PM by Qest

  • Porcus
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #10
Are in-ears out of the question? I'm using Etymotic ER-4, and they are a bit bass-shy. Available at <€200 if you search a bit (e.g. eBay.de), but I guess you would like to try before you buy.

  • odigg
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #11
Shure headphones and IEMs tend to have a little more at the bottom end (bass) than at the top (treble) than strictly neutral.  It's not, by any means, like the Hi-Fi bass boosted sound.  I actually preferred the SRH 440 to the SRH 880 because I thought the 880 treble was too recessed.  Both are excellent headphones if you like the Shure sound.

I suspect you'll also like the Sennhesier HD600 as it's similar. 

There are a ton of other headphones around, but each has their own sound.  It really depends on what you want.

Grado's have a well balanced sound, although some people (myself included) find them uncomfortable.


Grado's have a nice sound, but it's not balanced.  Grado is known for the "Grado" sound.  I agree with you that they are quite uncomfortable.
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 09:37:47 AM by odigg

  • Xrcr9709
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #12
@Porcus : Exact in-ears are out of the question since regarding in-ears, i'm quite satisfied with Shere SE420. The idea of buying a headphone is that I think that it could be more comfortable for inside use (at work). And I've read some time ago that headphones cause less damage to ears than in-ears.

@Odigg : What's strange is that you say SHR440/840 sound like Shure sound, but I've read from another source that they don't sound like usual Shure sound ... but it seems that in general, the more I read on the Internet about headphones, the more I read one thing and its opposite at the same time ... I guess it's a lot subjective
(I've also read that they are heavy and not especially comfortable).

If i've well understood, HD600 is 'open' and I'm rather not looking for an 'open' model (see posts above).


I'm not decided yet, but I think I'll end up going for the SHR440.

Hm ... are SHR440 and 840 open ?
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 09:42:43 AM by Xrcr9709

  • odigg
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #13
I'm not decided yet, but I think I'll end up going for the SHR440.

Hm ... are SHR440 and 840 open ?


The SHR440/840 are both closed.  Also, I've been poking around for FR graphs and it seems the 840 does not have a recessed treble - it actually has more bass than the 440 and so the treble sounds recessed in comparison. 

As far as closed headphones go, the 840 is quite comfortable.  If I remember correctly, the 440 has shallower earpads and so that might bug you (it did for me) if you have ears that stick out a bit.  If I had to choose between the two I'd probably get the 840 and reduce the bass via EQ.

If you live in a place with access to a Pro-Audio store I'd recommend you go there with a music player and just demo headphones.  That's the easiest way to figure out (in literally 5 minutes) which headphones will work for you.  In many places in the USA the "Guitar Center" stores tend to have a lot of headphones in the store you can demo, including the Shures.  You may have something similar wherever you are.
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 09:58:55 AM by odigg

  • DonP
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #14
One to consider is the Sony V6.  Wide range, comfortable, and not too expensive (~$80 US, give or take a sale price) I've had a pair  for maybe 25 years and they still run fine.  They are famous for the covering on the ear pads wearing out, but replacements are available in other materials for not much.


  • Porcus
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #15
I've read some time ago that headphones cause less damage to ears than in-ears.

Well ... it is volume which is the problem, and in-ears can usually be turned up LOUD as there is no energy loss to the outside world. But for given volume? Would surprise me. Maybe stick to your Shures and watch the volume knob?

  • andy o
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #16
I've read some time ago that headphones cause less damage to ears than in-ears.

Why would that be? With most in-ears you can get by with a lower volume cause they offer much better noise isolation.

  • odigg
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #17
One to consider is the Sony V6.  Wide range, comfortable, and not too expensive (~$80 US, give or take a sale price) I've had a pair  for maybe 25 years and they still run fine.  They are famous for the covering on the ear pads wearing out, but replacements are available in other materials for not much.


The Sony V6 is one of my favorite closed headphones.  I like it better than anything Shure has made.  However, in comparison to the Shures you may find that the treble is a little to hot/sharp.  Personally, I think the treble is fine - but I have read complaints about it and I can understand why some people complain about it.

Shures tend to get the opposite complaint.  People complain that they sound dull or rolled of in the treble area.

  • JapanAudio
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #18
Grado's have a well balanced sound, although some people (myself included) find them uncomfortable.

Grado's have a nice sound, but it's not balanced.  Grado is known for the "Grado" sound.  I agree with you that they are quite uncomfortable.

I guess you're right, certainly not a flat response... yet when i listen to them they give me an overall impression of balance...

  • Xrcr9709
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #19
Now hesitating between Sony V6 and Shure SHR440  (I must say I have always like Sony's standard speakers sound in the '90s, I have even bought a Denon hi-fi components (not sure, sorry English is not my mother language) and replaced the speakers with my previous Sony speakers, in the other end, I like the Shure earphones).

Regarding 'ears damaging', I have always personally thought that what mattered was the global result of the sound on the eardrum. Whatever volume or anything is coming out of the speakers. I've read the in-ear were more damaging ... I'm not sure maybe 'cause they're closer to the inner ear, because they 'close' your ear etc. But I'm no expert.

Quote
If you live in a place with access to a Pro-Audio store (...)


Actually I live in Brussels. I don't think we have a really big choice in head/earphones. Usually they have Bose and Sensheiser as high quality products and first try to sell you 'bass' ... then when I said I don't like too much bass and would prefer a clear sound, they advised me to try the very cheaper earphones they had (I think Philips or JVC, less than 10 EUR) because they would probably not be 'enhanced' and therefore not have bass. I gave it a try since in the past I've been used to cheap earphones. I agree they didn't really had much bass ... but the also had terrible mids and highs :-D . That was in one of the two biggest shops we have in town. In the other one I had at least the seller ending up saying that ordering Shure on eBay was a good idea !
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 03:00:20 PM by Xrcr9709

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #20
Actually I live in Brussels. I don't think we have a really big choice in head/earphones. Usually they have Bose and Sensheiser as high quality products and first try to sell you 'bass' ... then when I said I don't like too much bass and would prefer a clear sound, they advised me to try the very cheaper earphones they had (I think Philips or JVC, less than 10 EUR) because they would probably not be 'enhanced' and therefore not have bass. I gave it a try since in the past I've been used to cheap earphones. I agree they didn't really had much bass ... but the also had terrible mids and highs :-D . That was in one of the two biggest shops we have in town. In the other one I had at least the seller ending up saying that ordering Shure on eBay was a good idea !


If all you had to choose from were Sennheiser headphones, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I like the HD 280 for closed-ear headphones and HD 580/600 for open ear headphones.

  • odigg
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #21
Actually I live in Brussels.


There has to be a pro-audio store somewhere in or near Brussels.  That's a fairly populous city and a major (in terms of reputation) city in Europe.  Looking at the Shure page, there is a dealer in Brussels.  It seems they also sell their headphones.

http://www.shure.com/europe/countries/europe/belgium - http://www.asc-audio.com

If all you had to choose from were Sennheiser headphones, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I like the HD 280 for closed-ear headphones and HD 580/600 for open ear headphones.


I found the HD 280 to be quite painful to wear, as did two people I know.  That's not to mention all the other people who complain about their comfort.  Their sound is somewhat bass shy as well.  IMO their best attribute is that they offer an IEM level of isolation.
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 05:01:07 PM by odigg

  • JapanAudio
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #22
Any Beyerdynamic in your area?

  • Von
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #23
I bought a pair of Shure SRH440 a few months ago, and I'm very happy with them. Very good value. I also tried the SRH840, but for me the decision was easy. Whatever sound quality advantage they might have, they were just too uncomfortable. They have a much tighter fit. If you have a big head (like me), my guess is you won't be happy with them because of that.
 

Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you move around a bit when you listen, the construction can be a little noisy. The cable rubbing against your clothes transfers noise to the plastic cups, if you know what I mean. And you also get a "thumping" sound whenever you set your foot down when you walk, although nowhere near as bad as with molded in-ear phones. But that's one of the trade-offs with closed headphones, I suppose, and the reason why I mainly use my 440 when I'm sitting still. If I am moving around the house a lot, I switch to my Koss PortaPro.

  • Xrcr9709
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone
Reply #24
Thank you everyone for all the advice.

I've read a lot of good things about SHR440 and Sony V6 (except that they both had shallow earpads) and finally I ordered SHR440 (because they were 10 EUR cheaper and I prefered the look, and because I had to choose one). I it will be fine.


@Von : I know these problems very well. I found that terrible when I started using the Shure SE420 . I've had to stop listening to 'quiet music, classical etc.' for a while. Know I think I got used to it.
Anyway I will use the headphones sitting at my desk in the office, so not much 'moving problems' expected.
  • Last Edit: 29 November, 2010, 06:07:50 PM by Xrcr9709