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Headphones - no more searching
#2593615 12/10/16 11:24 AM
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I thought I'd share my story re. looking for headphones.....since maybe now I understand why some say they prefer the speaker sound to headphones. This is something I'd never understood before.

I own some HD595s - exceptionally comfortable, impressive soundstage and presence, but a little weak (flat perhaps) in terms of base response. So I started trawling the forums to find a better pair. I've now tried the ATH M50X, Beyer DT770s (80 Ohms), Sony MDR1A - and a couple of cheap ones. Each pair I tried, made my DP (AG N2) sound as if it was being played in a back bedroom (even though the volume was adequate).

Through an iPad/headphone/stereo they all sounded good, especially the Sonys, which were probably better than my Sennheisers. But on the DP, there was just no comparison with my HD595s - to the extent that I'd have preferred to listen through the speakers.

I know impedance matching and sensitivity are important, but those I tried were pretty good matches. So, I'll stick with my originals, and use a headphone amp to up the bass.

I'm posting this because there might just be some people thinking their DP sounds rubbish - when potentially, a change of headphones might make all the difference. Sadly though, in my case at least, there was no way of predicting which model would sound better.

Last edited by Chris Warren; 12/10/16 11:26 AM.
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Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593626 12/10/16 12:07 PM
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I own the Sennheiser HD650 which is perhaps overkill. They sound really good. I guess any dissatisfaction probably has to do with the lack of authenticity of Pianoteq, but I'm quite satisfied these days with the Grotrian Steinweg. My mind isn't rejecting it as non-piano-like.

I'm using a Bravo Ocean headphone amp. I'm just not going to spend hundreds of dollars on an amp.

Earlier this year, I read an article about the HiFiman HE400S Planar Magnetic Headphones, that with certain ear pads they were like the best headphones in the world. There were like 5 audiophile writers that raved about these headphones. I got them, and a few notes of Pianoteq sounded really tinny. Otherwise, they didn't sound any better or worse than the HD650's. I sold them on Ebay at $100 loss, and I learned my lesson: Just play the keyboard and stop wondering about headphones when you already own one of the best.

For playing the keyboard, I would bet that your HD595's are just as good as what I'm using.


Roland FP-90; Pianoteq 6 + many add-ons; 2 Yamaha HS8s; ATH-M50X and Samson SR850 headphones; Xenyx Q802USB interface. 2; I make a living playing a Yamaha PSR-S970 with FBT Maxx 2a's, Crowne Headset Mic. I also play guitar.
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593642 12/10/16 01:16 PM
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After much experimentation, I also ended up with a similar model (HD598) for general DP use with on-board tones. Going higher up the chain didn't seem to justify the benefits when using the built-in piano sound. And the HD59x don't need an additional amplifier, so its a great option for those looking for simplicity.

Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593648 12/10/16 01:37 PM
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Beakybird, I see that the Bravo Ocean headphone amp uses tube technology.

Pardon my complete ignorance, but how does that matter?


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Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593709 12/10/16 05:02 PM
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Good tube amplifiers tend to add a little second harmonic distortion at high volume levels which many people tend to find makes the sound warmer, richer and more enjoyable.


Re: Headphones - no more searching
Beakybird #2593752 12/10/16 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Beakybird
I read an article about the HiFiman HE400S Planar Magnetic Headphones, that with certain ear pads they were like the best headphones in the world. There were like 5 audiophile writers that raved about these headphones. I got them, and a few notes of Pianoteq sounded really tinny.


Good weekend humour!

Use caution with reviews as conflicts of interest always seem to get in the way. Music-related fields seem to be especially suspect.

BTW - I have tried most of the HifiMan products and thought they have some good gear at higher price points. It is a very well liked niche brand in Asia.

Re: Headphones - no more searching
prout #2593792 12/11/16 01:38 AM
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Vacuum tubes add color or timbre to the sound at all levels. People like them because they produce a warm, rich tone. They were used in older stereo receivers, are still used in military power applications (they resist something like magnetic shock), and they're commonly used in guitar amps (lower input levels = clean, warm jazz tones and higher input levels = classic rock crunch).

"Vacuum tubes vs solid state" is kind of like the "analog vs digital" argument, or like the difference between "soft white vs bright white" light bulbs.

Last edited by Joe Garfield; 12/11/16 01:39 AM.
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593849 12/11/16 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Warren
But on the DP, there was just no comparison with my HD595s

It could be interesting for you to try also the Sennheiser HD 598 Se (open back). I changed from HD 595 to HD 598 because on my N2 the difference in sound colour between these two was remarkable. The HD 598 sounds darker and stronger in the bass without losing mids, highs or soundstage. Both headphones have impedance of 50 ohms .

I also tried the latest HD 598 Cs (closed back). Strangely enough they sounded much brighter then the HD 598 Se. I did not liked their sound signature at all on my N2.

Sometimes I like to change between the over ear headphone to the in ear ones. Then I use the Sennheiser HD IE 80 with almost the same soundsignature as the HD 598. Both headphones give me a beautifull piano sound experience. Important for me because of small housing and neighbours I hardly cannot play my N2 through the speakers frown

Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2593919 12/11/16 01:28 PM
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Yeah the closed ones not a fan. Open headphones do not radiate secondary ( out of phase ) sound from the back side of the drive into your ear, a big plus. They can muffle this with padding but not across the entire range and dampening brings its own problems to the mix..

I've been on the fence between to headphones for some time in our budget sweet spot those Sennheiser HD598's for sheer musical bliss or the AKG K702's for a near flat response.. having something that is as flat as can be to me seems a plus playing but those sennheisers do sound so nice what a pickle

Last edited by Goss; 12/11/16 01:29 PM.

Roland HP605|Senheiser HD558|MSFT Surface Pro 4|coffee
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Beakybird #2593927 12/11/16 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Beakybird
I own the Sennheiser HD650 which is perhaps overkill. They sound really good. I guess any dissatisfaction probably has to do with the lack of authenticity of Pianoteq, but I'm quite satisfied these days with the Grotrian Steinweg. My mind isn't rejecting it as non-piano-like.

I'm using a Bravo Ocean headphone amp. I'm just not going to spend hundreds of dollars on an amp.

Earlier this year, I read an article about the HiFiman HE400S Planar Magnetic Headphones, that with certain ear pads they were like the best headphones in the world. There were like 5 audiophile writers that raved about these headphones. I got them, and a few notes of Pianoteq sounded really tinny. Otherwise, they didn't sound any better or worse than the HD650's. I sold them on Ebay at $100 loss, and I learned my lesson: Just play the keyboard and stop wondering about headphones when you already own one of the best.

For playing the keyboard, I would bet that your HD595's are just as good as what I'm using.


Funnily enough, my Bravo V3 amp arrived today...

If I'd had this 3 weeks ago, I perhaps might not have bought Pianoteq. It adds some more oomph to the bass, and also a bit more clarity. I haven't noticed much difference in the warmth of the sound. (It also looks better than the Xmas tree..!)

If I get the chance, I'll try some HD598s, but I was leaning more to closed back to help reduce the key release noise on my N2.

Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2594052 12/12/16 02:19 AM
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http://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews nice site with what appears to be solid testing and measurements of a decent number of headphones

http://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/sennheiser/hd-598 for example. Love that test dummy ^^


Roland HP605|Senheiser HD558|MSFT Surface Pro 4|coffee
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2594086 12/12/16 08:38 AM
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Sadness.. The HD598's are pretty much sold out at the price they were going for here and got replaced with the HD599 which nobody is selling at anything under the recommended retail price =_=

So I went with the HD-558's. Not too shabby either and these measurements of the 518 558 and 598 makes me think that something different other than the driver ( earcushions, different gauge of wiring of the cable and internal wiring of the drivers ) explains the sound difference between these models.. Something to perhaps experiment with sometime =)


http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=3&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=4&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851

Last edited by Goss; 12/12/16 08:40 AM.

Roland HP605|Senheiser HD558|MSFT Surface Pro 4|coffee
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Goss #2594102 12/12/16 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Goss
So I went with the HD-558's. Not too shabby either and these measurements of the 518 558 and 598 makes me think that something different other than the driver ( earcushions, different gauge of wiring of the cable and internal wiring of the drivers ) explains the sound difference between these models.. Something to perhaps experiment with sometime =)
From what you wrote, I'm not sure if you are aware of it or not, so I'm going to mention it: The 558 actually has the exact same driver as the 598. And you can easily mod the 558 to be even closer to the 598 (so close as to be almost identical). I did so with mine.

See: http://www.headfonia.com/sennheisers-new-hd558-and-hd598/3/

Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2594127 12/12/16 10:50 AM
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Yeah that's what I figured out JoBert ^^ is why I said something other than the driver - with curves as close as that you just know its the same one thanks for the link!

will calculate the surface area of the 598's web like trusses and do the same for the 558's honeycomb pattern and see if I can get that value closer as well.. that and get some 598 pads ^^



Roland HP605|Senheiser HD558|MSFT Surface Pro 4|coffee
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Goss #2595905 12/18/16 05:04 PM
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I use HD600 headphones with my Roland RP-401R. Sounds lovely to me, and I really like the 3D sound that is automatically applied by the Roland if the headphones are plugged in (it can be turned off if you want).

For my normal playing I have the speaker volume at about 35, and the volume through the headphones sounds about the same at 60. (The piano remembers the volume separately for headphone and speakers - an advantage to push button volume over a rotary volume control.)

I have AKG 271 (mark 1), Beyerdynamic DT880 600 Ohm, Sennheiser HD650, and Sennheiser HD600 headphones. I have an O2 headphone amp but don't use it with my digital piano.


Regards,
Steven
---
(Re)beginner
Roland RP401R
Re: Headphones - no more searching
Chris Warren #2595910 12/18/16 05:22 PM
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Thank you, Steven.


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