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Topic: Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone (Read 20653 times) previous topic - next topic
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Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #25
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.


HD 280s aren't the most comfortable phones in the world but they are OK among the alternatives in the same style.  Painful??  Uncomfortable for long term use, maybe.

No way are they bass shy if they seal properly against the head.  There is a very close relationship between a good seal and good bass in this style of headphone.

Isolation is one of ther strengths, and they are fairly accurate. The tight fit is a price you bay for good bass and good isolation.

IEM bass can easily be on the strong side. They can be kinda ear-poppy on strong bass.  If that's your standard for bass, then most if not all headphones will fail to please you.



Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #26
I love the HD-280s (been using them regularly for 7 years), but they really are a bit weak on bass.  I think its just the way they're designed.  Not a big deal if you've got an EQ, a couple dB really evens them out.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #27
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.


I introduced HD280 to my workplace (we work with sound much), and they are our standard workhorse. Many people don't like the comfort at the first glance, but you get used to them suprisingly fast. Maybe they mould the head after a while ;-). I am not a huge fan of the sound, but it's decent, and isolation is really good. Except of course for really low frequencies, but to stop these you need active noise cancellation.

I read that HD380, supposedly a successor to HD280, are more comfortable. Never tried though.
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #28
has anyone tried the 380's?


Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #30
Hi peoples. I noticed this thread at a remarkably convenient time, as usually headphone discussions occur often but I don't read all of them.

I have some late-night mixing to do at a domestic place. I was loaned headphones labeled AKG A-240 and found the mid-range overly enhanced and impractical for studio work. The short, intermittent cord peeling at the jack is also annoying.

While price-checking the models suggested here I spotted headphones not mentioned with favorable reviews (albeit, on-line customers) for Audio-Technica model ATH-M45 Studio Monitor Headphones. The specs mention closed-back and high SPL. The real grabber was the modest price and reviews claiming they have a "flat-response... unlike consumer headphones." Sounds great so far, but I wouldn't mind if anyone in this forum had encountered them.
"Something bothering you, Mister Spock?"

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #31
(Eh, no edit button. Must be a forum change I missed. At any rate, sorry for double-post.)

It occurred that I did not divulge the place I got the a price of Audio-Technica ATH-M45 for $69.99 at the Musician's Friend website. I decided to take the plunge and order some, but it appears the current stock is very limited.
"Something bothering you, Mister Spock?"

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #32
While price-checking the models suggested here I spotted headphones not mentioned with favorable reviews (albeit, on-line customers) for Audio-Technica model ATH-M45 Studio Monitor Headphones. The specs mention closed-back and high SPL. The real grabber was the modest price and reviews claiming they have a "flat-response... unlike consumer headphones." Sounds great so far, but I wouldn't mind if anyone in this forum had encountered them.


Hmm, M45?  That must be the sequel to the M40, of which my wife has a pair that she uses at work. They are neutral, but have less extension than the M50s which get a good rap on many pro audio forums. I have a pair of those. 

The *standard* pro headphone in the US is probably the Sony 7506 so any challenger gets compared to them in many people's minds. The HD 280 are in turn the from-Europe challenger to the 7506. I own all of the above and favor the M50s and HD 280s over the 7506.

Between the M50s and the 280s, its not really an apples and apples comparison because of the far greater isolation and corresponding reduced long-term comfort that the 280s provide.

The story about pro headphones is that Pros want and need headphones that tell them what's wrong, while consumers prefer and probably need headphones that tell them what's right. The difference being that pros are supposed to fix things that are wrong, while consumers are pretty well stuck with whatever comes on the media.

Long term comfort is of greater interest to consumers. In consumer mode I listen via headphones for hours, while in audio production mode, the cans are on and off pretty quickly.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #33
The story about pro headphones is that Pros want and need headphones that tell them what's wrong, while consumers prefer and probably need headphones that tell them what's right.


This seems indeed true, but what, technically, makes the difference? I ask because I'd like to get a good pair of headphones for just, like, listening to music, and I'd like to know what to look for as a first cut.

I also totally agree with the point about comfort, which is (to me at least) more important than the last little increment of sound quality.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #34
has anyone tried the 380's?
I have them. They're quite OK, I've never tried HD280 but HD380 is quite bearable on the head. It gets sweaty if you wear it for extended periods of time or in a hot environment. They feel really sturdy. They have quite deep and strong bass, I would say right on the edge of neutrality.
After a year, the left piece started to play quieter, wasting the stereo balance. They're in the RMA process at the moment. Not sure how it happened, possibly my brother carried out some "experiments" on it.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #35
The story about pro headphones is that Pros want and need headphones that tell them what's wrong, while consumers prefer and probably need headphones that tell them what's right.


This seems indeed true, but what, technically, makes the difference? I ask because I'd like to get a good pair of headphones for just, like, listening to music, and I'd like to know what to look for as a first cut.



It's all about spectral balance. IOW, frequency response.

Ideal over-all acoustical response almost never involves a perfectly flat  frequency response. Yes, we want our music players and amplifiers to have a  flat response curve, but not so much for the speaker in-room response.  Even though flat on-axis response is a widely-recommended goal for speakers, the total response at the ear including the reflections from the room generally sound better if they don't sum to be perfectly flat.

Smooth response is generally good, but a little downward tilt is often easier on the ears.

If you want to hear every flaw, then not so much downward tilt. It may get a little tiring after a while. Pro gear (speakers and headphones) tends to compromise comfort for a more analytical, revealing sound.  Part of getting along with the more analytic sound is just gettting accustomed to it.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #36
Even though flat on-axis response is a widely-recommended goal for speakers, the total response at the ear including the reflections from the room generally sound better if they don't sum to be perfectly flat.


Questionable statement. Can you provide references? It is true for headphones that a perceived flat frequency response can only be achieved with a proper, technically non-flat FR. But, as I understand it, the sole reason is the unnatural speaker placement in this case with respect to the head's anatomy.

That a perfectly flat stationary speaker will not result in a perfectly flat FR at the ear, in a non-perfect room, is trivially true. But I do question, that a "little downward tilt" is preferable as a general recommendation. That depends on the actual records you listen to. On average, I would say, individual preferences would rather approximate a flat FR than a tilted one.

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #37

Even though flat on-axis response is a widely-recommended goal for speakers, the total response at the ear including the reflections from the room generally sound better if they don't sum to be perfectly flat.


Questionable statement. Can you provide references?



Wikipedia article about loudspeakers, paragraph about directivity and its subjective effects :

"Directivity is an important issue because it affects the frequency balance of sound a listener hears, and also the interaction of the speaker system with the room and its contents. A speaker which is very directive (i.e., on an axis perpendicular to the speaker face) may result in a reverberant field lacking in high frequencies, giving the impression the speaker is deficient in treble even though it measures well on axis (e.g., "flat" across the entire frequency range). Speakers with very wide, or rapidly increasing directivity at high frequencies, can give the impression that there is too much treble (if the listener is on axis) or too little (if the listener is off axis). This is part of the reason why on-axis frequency response measurement is not a complete characterization of the sound of a given loudspeaker."

A speaker  speaker whose power response sums to flat  would correspond to a speaker with wide directivity at high frequencies. 

topic 5.9 in John Eargle's Speaker Design Handbook (pp 129-130) shows a speaker  that the author considers to be "an excellent system" with flat on-axis response and downward sloping power response (Plot  A, line 4, Figure 5-27) . I was able to access this from Google Books. 

Quote
It is true for headphones that a perceived flat frequency response can only be achieved with a proper, technically non-flat FR. But, as I understand it, the sole reason is the unnatural speaker placement in this case with respect to the head's anatomy.


If by "unnatural placement" you mean that  headphones bypass a significant portion of the causes of a natural HRTF, then I strongly agree.

Quote
That a perfectly flat stationary speaker will not result in a perfectly flat FR at the ear, in a non-perfect room, is trivially true. But I do question, that a "little downward tilt" is preferable as a general recommendation.


This is general wisdom among most loudspeaker designers.

Quote
That depends on the actual records you listen to. On average, I would say, individual preferences would rather approximate a flat FR than a tilted one.


Only in so far as recordings with a lot of high frequency content tend to make the listener more aware of the speakers high frequency response, both on-axis and also the power response.

In live sound there is a concept called "The Room Curve" whose break point and downward slope cover more of the audio spectrum, the more reverberant the room. In this case even downward sloping on-axis frequency response beyond a frequency in the midrange can be preferable.  Some advocate applying this concept to residential listening rooms:

HT Room curve article

"Research done a decade earlier by C.P. and C.R. Boner defined a need for a "house curve".  They based this on the fact that a flat electro-acoustic frequency response in a large room sounds too bright on well-balanced program material.  Or in simpler phrase, we perceive sound in a large room to have more treble."

"As the rooms get smaller, less and less of a roll-off is defined, because as we said, smaller rooms have less of the reverb which the X-Curve addresses."

IME the point where application of some kind of a room curve can be beneficial correspondd to a typical medium to large room for Home Theatre.

The church where I do live sound migrated from 1  to 2 identical services in order to make better use the available space. In the short term this means half the people per service. Bodies provide most of the absorbtion in this poorly-designed room, so the room became far more reverberent. A bunch of changes I recommended never happened due to local administrative situations. The room became far more harsh and biting than was tolerable. I partially tamed the room by migrating to a more severe room curve as set by a parametric equalizer at the output of the console.




Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #38
One should add, that the phenomenon you describe is true for large auditoriums or movie theaters, but not for a typical household setup: a room smaller than 50 m^2. To cite your referenced article:

Quote
By the time we shrink a room down to typical home theater size, we can say that no X-Curve compensation is needed, much to the contrary of popular opinion.


Besides that, you cite a phenomenon, which can exclusively be observed in very large spaces, which have a specific buildup of reverberation. It is perfectly justified to apply a "little downward tilt" to counter the psycho acoustic effect of a 500 cubic meter auditorium. But between head and headphone we have about 1/100000 of that space. So what you have referenced does not apply to headphones or why also headphones should have a "little downward tilt".

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #39
Over the years I've had some good headphones - Sony's, Sennheiser's, and many others.

You sound as if you're calling for the Grado SR80i's.  When I picked up the Grado SR80's about 3 years ago, all my expensive cans soon went in the closet.  And the SR80i is supposed to be even better than the SR80.  Can't wait to pick them up.  Not only that, Amazon will deliver them to your door for $99.  Outside the U.S., I'm sure they're attainable.

You'll get the bright, clean highs with the Grado's but also plenty of good bass.  A clean, tight, bass.  If the bass overwhelms a recording with the Grado's you can bet the recording itself is that way.  The spacing is great and the decoding is far superior to other headphones I've listened to.  Plus, they are very well made ... durable and hard to damage.

FWIW, I find them very comfortable, and I've got a big head.

~~~


Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #40

I use the HD-280 pro's at work daily for 4+ years.

Yes they are a little snug, but I personally do not find them uncomfortable. Really comfort will come to down personal preference.

They sound pretty neutral and accurate to me, recordings with big bass, sound like big bass, recordings with light to moderate bass sound as such. They are always clear at any volume level I can handle and the stereo imaging is great, IMO.

 

Looking for an 'audiophile' headphone

Reply #41
I think it's not been mentioned here yet, but the Audio Technica ES7 (now discontinued) can be found as cheap as 70-90$ US in the USA. It is a bit bottom heavy, but has good, clear highs and is quite light. It sits tight, though, so you may have to pull the bands out a bit.