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Old 04-10-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
PITTM
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Headphones!!!

I hope everyone remembers my old headphone thread in oot.

HEADPHONES!

Anyway, when 2p2 went down, i went and checked out my old headphone board. HEADFI

I realized i missed headphone stuff quite a bit. I also saw a shiny new pair of awesome headphones that AKG had recently released. Needless to say, I bought them after i found them for $244(they retail for $499) So I present to you, the AKG K-701:



I thought this would be a good place to have people discuss headphones to use while playing poker online, flying on a plane, riding a bike, walking around at school, sitting on your living room floor in front of your stereo and etc. I know a good deal about headphones AND headphone amplifiers as well as 2 channel audio systems in general. If you have questions and/or need for recommendations, ask away, I will be here!
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:02 PM   #2
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Re: Headphones!!!

Hey PITTM,

I recently bought a pair of Etymotics ER-6i ear buds, which I think sound incredible compared to all the [censored] earbuds I've listened to before. I've heard you recommend buying amps before but would I really notice any improvement when listening to mp3's that were ripped at cd quality?

(btw, for anybody that rides a motorcycle and listens to music, these earbuds are incredible. They fit very nicely under a full face helmet, block almost all wind noise and allow you to listen to your music at a reasonable level so you don't [censored] up your hearing. They also came with 4 different sets of ear pieces so you can pick the ones that fit you best. Highly recommended.)
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: Headphones!!!

PITTM,

I'm in the market for some new earbuds. It seems like the Shure ones are the clear concensus pick.

So, here's the question. Speaking to a relative non-audiophile, how would you characterize the difference in experience between the e2c ($70), e3c ($150), e4c ($200) [amazon prices]?
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:12 PM   #4
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Re: Headphones!!!

I owned a pair of Er-6s about 2 years ago. I had a problem with their lack of bass and somewhat tinniness and sold them to another head-fi member. I certainly saw the many benefits though and i know tons of people love those things.

As far as an amp goes. I have the absolute PERFECT amp in mind but its probably a bit too expensive. The Ray Samuels Tomahawk($295):



It is designed for IEM's(in ear monitors) like the ER6's. FWIW, the amp i have is the ray samuels hornet, which is almost identical cosmetically but was designed with full sized headphones in mind. For me, Ray Samuels blows other amp makers out of the water. The only other makers even in the same league are Tyll Hertsins of Headroom and Phil Larocco at larocco audio. Ray just finished making what looks like a piece of art and what is now probably the best consumer headphone amp in existence, the B-52($5,350):




I have tremendous respect for Ray's work and think it is the best in the business.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:18 PM   #5
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Re: Headphones!!!

All,

Some are able to distinguish between the frequencies and others can't. When you've found two sets of headphones/ speakers you can't tell the difference between, that's where you settle for the less expensive option.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:20 PM   #6
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Re: Headphones!!!

I've read those complaints about the Etymotic's sound before, but from what I've read the concesus seems to be that they are more comfortable then Shure's.

I've never used either, but I know my dad replaced his e2c's with ER-6's due to the e2c's not being comfortable and he is really happy with the swap.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:21 PM   #7
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
I have the absolute PERFECT amp in mind but its probably a bit too expensive. The Ray Samuels Tomahawk($295):
Yeah, at this point that's a little more than I'm willing to spend on an amp but maybe sometime in the future when I'm looking for a new toy. Thanks for the recommendation.

Quote:
Ray just finished making what looks like a piece of art and what is now probably the best consumer headphone amp in existence, the B-52($5,350):
$5k? Holy [censored]!
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:22 PM   #8
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Re: Headphones!!!

el d,

I must preface this by saying out of the 3 headphones you mentioned, i have only heard the e3c. However, from the many reviews i have read, the e4c is the best of the lot and separates itself quite a bit from the e2c and e3c, since as far as i remember it has two drivers, while the other pairs only have one..

However, while you state that shures are the consensus favorite, i do disagree somewhat. If i were going to buy a pair of IEM's, i would either get the shure e500(new headphone, ridiculously awesome and expensive) or i would go with Ultimate Ears as opposed to Shures. My friend has a pair of Ultimate Ear's Super.Fi 5 pro's or whatever theyre called and i think they blow the shures out of the water. The sound is super crisp, the isolation is great and they fit better in my ears than the shures have.

For anyone wanting to listen to headphones and lives near the bay area, the head-fi international headphone meet would be something to check out. It is in San Jose, CA this year at a hotel near Bay101, i forget if its a doubletree or what.

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Old 04-10-2007, 06:24 PM   #9
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
PITTM,

I'm in the market for some new earbuds. It seems like the Shure ones are the clear concensus pick.

So, here's the question. Speaking to a relative non-audiophile, how would you characterize the difference in experience between the e2c ($70), e3c ($150), e4c ($200) [amazon prices]?
I have the E2C, decent sound, but they break all the time. I've been through 4 pairs in the past 2.5 yrs. I do abuse them though, so I'm sure that's contributory (working out, smushed in a book bag, etc.). I bought a replacement plan for the second one, even though Shure does include a 2 yr guarantee. I'm just too lazy to send it out and prefer just going to the store and picking up a new set.

I don't have experience with the other Shure earbuds though so I can't help you compare.

I'd really like to hear opinions on normal headsets in the 150-300 range though. I'll be looking for a pair soon.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:24 PM   #10
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:

$5k? Holy [censored]!
This amp is only 4k but it is GIANT and quite a beast, I have heard this one too:

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Old 04-10-2007, 06:25 PM   #11
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
(btw, for anybody that rides a motorcycle and listens to music, these earbuds are incredible. They fit very nicely under a full face helmet, block almost all wind noise and allow you to listen to your music at a reasonable level so you don't [censored] up your hearing.
dude, both motorcycles and earbuds are bad for your hearing.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:25 PM   #12
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:

Yeah, at this point that's a little more than I'm willing to spend on an amp but maybe sometime in the future when I'm looking for a new toy. Thanks for the recommendation.

Price range? My old amp, the Portaphile X3 is only 109.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:26 PM   #13
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
I've read those complaints about the Etymotic's sound before, but from what I've read the concesus seems to be that they are more comfortable then Shure's.

I've never used either, but I know my dad replaced his e2c's with ER-6's due to the e2c's not being comfortable and he is really happy with the swap.
FWIW I mostly use the foam ear pieces rather than the rubber flanged ones and I think they're very comfortable. I have often worn them for up to 5 or 6 hours at a time. I haven't tried the shures.

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Old 04-10-2007, 06:29 PM   #14
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Re: Headphones!!!

yeah, i used the rubber ones. the foamies were damaged in transit and i never got to use them.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:33 PM   #15
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
Quote:
(btw, for anybody that rides a motorcycle and listens to music, these earbuds are incredible. They fit very nicely under a full face helmet, block almost all wind noise and allow you to listen to your music at a reasonable level so you don't [censored] up your hearing.
dude, both motorcycles and earbuds are bad for your hearing.
Yeah, I'm already very conscious of the effects of motorcycling on hearing. I always wear some form of ear protection when motorcycling and I think you're crazy not too. Obviously if you listen to your earbuds at retarded levels they're going to damage your hearing too. If you use them at a reasonable level, then you're not going to damage your hearing.

The main reason I bought the ER6i's is because they provide something like 30dB of isolation and I can therefore listen to music at a very low level underneath my helmet. ie. they serve as hearing protection as well as sounding great.

Thanks for you concern though
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:37 PM   #16
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
Quote:

Yeah, at this point that's a little more than I'm willing to spend on an amp but maybe sometime in the future when I'm looking for a new toy. Thanks for the recommendation.

Price range? My old amp, the Portaphile X3 is only 109.
Yeah, that's much more reasonable, thanks.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:42 PM   #17
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:

I'd really like to hear opinions on normal headsets in the 150-300 range though. I'll be looking for a pair soon.
This HAS to be either the Sennheiser HD580 or the HD595 depending on whether you want amped or unamped. The HD580 has been my home headphone for a few years and they can be had for ~200 new and around 100 used.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:53 PM   #18
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
Quote:

I'd really like to hear opinions on normal headsets in the 150-300 range though. I'll be looking for a pair soon.
This HAS to be either the Sennheiser HD580 or the HD595 depending on whether you want amped or unamped. The HD580 has been my home headphone for a few years and they can be had for ~200 new and around 100 used.
Amazon sells the HD580 for $150. I think I'll be picking up a pair.

Also in that price range is Grado. I've always found them to be uncomfortable. But many people swear by them. Amazon sells them too. Here's the $150 model: http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Prestige-SR-...5486&sr=1-9
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:56 PM   #19
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Re: Headphones!!!

i really really dislike grado's a lot. I have heard pretty much everything in the grado line, sr-60 through RS-1 and ive even heard the old PS-1s and stuff. They all sound horrid imo. The HF-1, a grado phone that was made exclusively for head-fi members sounds okay as it has a wood chamber, but i honestly think grados are the worst of the big name headphone companies. Just take a pair apart and realize the construction is thin, cheap plastic put together with glue with cotton balls stuffed inside and youll say "hmm, this looks like a jr. high kid built it, no thanks". thats about how i feel.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:12 PM   #20
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
I have the E2C, decent sound, but they break all the time. I've been through 4 pairs in the past 2.5 yrs. I do abuse them though, so I'm sure that's contributory (working out, smushed in a book bag, etc.). I bought a replacement plan for the second one, even though Shure does include a 2 yr guarantee. I'm just too lazy to send it out and prefer just going to the store and picking up a new set.

I don't have experience with the other Shure earbuds though so I can't help you compare.
I have a pair of E2Cs as well - they started shorting out all the time about a month ago (about a year and 2 months after I got them). Mailed them to Shure (without receipt), got a replacement back via UPS a week later. I like them a lot..just hoping this pair doesn't crap out like the last ones did.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:46 PM   #21
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Re: Headphones!!!

I love my Beyer DT 880s.



http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DT880/
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:53 PM   #22
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Re: Headphones!!!

those are awesome! My good friend has a pair of beyer 880s. they are dreamy with a good amp.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:07 PM   #23
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Re: Headphones!!!

One thing to keep in mind about the K701 is that it really needs a quality amplifier to sound it's best. To be honest every headphone I've heard benefits from quality amplification, but higher impedence phones particularly dependant on the amp. If you're just going to be using a standard headphone out you might find something like the Sennheiser HD-595 to be more to your liking.

In regards to the earbuds or IEMs, the Etymotic er-4p are the best sounding IEMs that I've every heard. My second favorite would be the Etymotic er-6i. I know a lot of people love the Shures but IMHO the Etymotic sound signature is much better and the Etymotics are far more comfortable.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:08 PM   #24
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Re: Headphones!!!

I made a post in OOT a couple weeks ago about getting a new pair of IEMs. There have been some developments since then, but I do think I've identified the best contenders in the $100-$200 price range.

First, I'll say that I ended up ordering a pair of Shure E4Gs from DigitalEtc via Amazon. They were supposed to arrive some time between April 5 and today and I just found out today that they haven't even shipped yet. So, I've e-mailed to try to cancel the order. I hope I can cancel. This whole thing is killing me, as I've had to use a big, bulky, crappy pair of Panasonic headphones with no isolation whatsoever this whole time and it's sucking hard.

I'm now thinking that I just want to go get a pair of the JAYS d-JAYS for $99. I'm also flirting with getting a cheap pair for a month or two until I can get a pair of JAYS' new q-JAYS.

Here's how my list currently stands, in rough order of preference:
1) JAYS d-JAYS - $99
2) Shure SE210 - $149
3) JAYS q-JAYS - ~$180 + a cheap (Koss "The Plug," JVC Marchmallow, etc.) hold-me-over until I can get them in May/June
4) Shure E4g - $180
5) UltimateEars Superfi.5 Pro - $190
6) Etymotic ER-6i $70
7) Etymotic ER-4P $150

If I go for the q-JAYS, I might also be able to convince my wife to go in on something like a pair of ER-6i with me for $70, use those for a month or two, and then she'll take them when I get my q-JAYS.

Here are a couple of reviews for the d-JAYS and q-JAYS, for those who haven't heard of them before.

My OOT post:
Quote:
I'm looking into a new pair of canals and I'm leaning towards the Etymotic ER-4Ps, but there are a couple of hangups that could be deal-breakers for me.

First, here are my requirements, in order of importance:
1) Noise isolation - very important in chatty room situations as well as on airplanes
2) Sound quality - the reviews I've read on the ER-4s indicate that their sound is flat and accurate to a fault - that they're almost too crisp. I think this is actually what I want - I want to be able to hear everything.
3) Comfort - so subjective that I'm not sure it's fair to list
3b) Aesthetics & other non-sound issues

And of course, price is in there somewhere around 1 or 2 - I'm trying to keep it around $150-$180 or less.

The cans I'm currently debating between, in order of preference at this very minute (it changes roughly at the top and bottom of each hour):
1) Etymotic ER-4P (or 4S?)
2) Shure SE210
3) Shure E3c
4) Shure E4c
5) Ultimate Ears Super fi.5 Pro

Now, the ER-4s seem to be nearly everything I want with one small, yet potentially killer hang-up. On the basis of performance only, they seem to be the clear winners. However, I hate hate HATE that they seem like they're going to be sticking way out of my ears and that the cables just hang straight down in the standard Y style. Beyond the desire to avoid looking like some sort of alien or some idiot with cables sticking an inch straight out my ears, I'm concerned that the cords will be very susceptible to brushing and catching on my clothes, getting microphonic effects, pulling out of my ears, and just generally being annoying as hell. This is something that will ruin the whole thing for me. I keep looking for a picture of someone actually wearing these earphones, but for the life of me, I can't. I imagine there's a pretty good reason for that - they're not exactly the best-looking earphones to begin with and I'm pretty sure any pictures are only going to confirm my fears.

Can any ER-4 owners comment on these concerns? Do you happen to have a good picture of you wearing your ER-4s that you wouldn't mind putting up on the internet? How about my next question? I'm wondering if I should get the ER-4Ps or the ER-4Ss. I'm planning on using these exlusively with my iPod, which suggests that I pick up the ER-4Ps. However, when I listen to my iPod, I always have the volume as low as I can possibly have it. Unless I'm in a real loud place (airport, on the plane), if I listen to it any louder with canalphones, it's too loud. Should I just go for better sound with the ER-4Ss and expect to turn the volume up a bit? If I get the ER-4Ps, will I be able to turn the volume down low enough if I'm already listening to it at the lowest level with my crappy Sonys? I know I can buy the cable to essentially convert the Ps to the Ss, but I don't want to shell out an extra $65 or whatever it is.

Finally, does anyone have enough knowledge of the SE210s to comment on them in comparison to the others I have listed? Any other opinions on any of them? Oh, and I do know about head-fi.org and I've been poring over the info over there.
Follow-up post:
Quote:
Well [censored]. Now I've got JAYS d-JAYS on the list. More troubling, though, is that I now REALLY want to get the q-JAYS, but those are now not expected to be available in the US until May. I can't wait that long! Plus they'll almost for sure not be available on Amazon and I'm hoping to use $90 in Amazon gift certificate on these things.
I'm no longer worried about buying on Amazon, as I've been able to offload my $90 Amazon gift card for $90 cash.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:12 PM   #25
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Re: Headphones!!!

Quote:
I owned a pair of Er-6s about 2 years ago. I had a problem with their lack of bass and somewhat tinniness and sold them to another head-fi member. I certainly saw the many benefits though and i know tons of people love those things.

As far as an amp goes. I have the absolute PERFECT amp in mind but its probably a bit too expensive. The Ray Samuels Tomahawk($295):

It is designed for IEM's(in ear monitors) like the ER6's. FWIW, the amp i have is the ray samuels hornet, which is almost identical cosmetically but was designed with full sized headphones in mind. For me, Ray Samuels blows other amp makers out of the water. The only other makers even in the same league are Tyll Hertsins of Headroom and Phil Larocco at larocco audio. Ray just finished making what looks like a piece of art and what is now probably the best consumer headphone amp in existence, the B-52($5,350):

I have tremendous respect for Ray's work and think it is the best in the business.
Have you ever heard the chance to check out a Singlepower amplifier? IMHO Mikhail at Singlepower is the absolute best in the business.
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