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OldSoul Offline OP
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Hello everyone and good start to 2022, we hope it will be a lighter year and that it will lead to tranquility again!

I need some good advice to buy a really good pair of headphones to use mainly for the digital piano, I would drive them with:

1) Roland LX 706


2) Macbook pro 14 using:

Vienna Symphonic Library
* Bosendorfer Imperial
* Concert D 274


VI Labs
* Modern U
* Italian Grand


Garritan CFX



Budget max 200/300 euros.


I love open headphones, not closed ones.

Who is kind and knowledgeable enough to help me?

Thank you

Last edited by OldSoul; 01/07/22 08:49 PM.
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Hi OldSoul,

I suspect there’s going to be diversity of opinion wink

I really like my AKG Q701 (I have older made in Austria ones); others have mentioned the K701 and K702 (very similar - mostly cosmetic differences?).

AKG stands for Ausgezeichnete Kopfhörer Gesellschaft I think 😁.

Any of the Beyer DT 880 are likely to be excellent as well.

The AKG are hard to drive loud; lower-impedance versions of the Beyer may work better for your equipment without a separate amp.


Cheers!

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Try Sennheiser HD 599. Perfect balance between price and quality


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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For piano, I prefer lightweight, open-backed, over-the-ear, low clamping force headphones.

Note Senn makes a lot of 5-- series that are basically the same headphone (with different colours, cables, etc.). The prices vary a lot and a few closed backed ones are thrown in there.

Note efficiency and impedance if you are not using a dedicated amp

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Depends on what other use cases you might have for these.

"Studio monitors" style phones would have a very neutral frequency response and and less distortion throughout the dynamic range. Such would reflect the piano very faithfully; but might not be enjoyable in other scenarios.

Many models are so popular they have been around for many years, but are typically coloured for a specific appeal.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212856


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Originally Posted by dr_z

Now, _that's_ good user-friendly design !!!


. Charles
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If the main objective is the piano then look for the impedance needed on the headphones as looking at the apple above it has big latitude My CA79 optimum imedence is 80 ohms to offer a clue.

Andy

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Originally Posted by OldSoul
Hello everyone and good start to 2022, we hope it will be a lighter year and that it will lead to tranquility again!

I need some good advice to buy a really good pair of headphones to use mainly for the digital piano, I would drive them with:

1) Roland LX 706


2) Macbook pro 14 using:

Vienna Symphonic Library
* Bosendorfer Imperial
* Concert D 274


VI Labs
* Modern U
* Italian Grand


Garritan CFX



Budget max 200/300 euros.


I love open headphones, not closed ones.

Who is kind and knowledgeable enough to help me?

Thank you

One of the problems with the Roland LX700 series is the internal headphone amp. I would opt for an external amp that can power both the piano and Macbook pro, then something like the HD600 or HD660S headphones make for really comfortable cans. I think the budget for the above is too low. Some people have found headphones which better suit the Roland LX700 series pianos, so check MacMacMac's downloadable thread database (one of the top posts) and search the topics to find discussions on headphones for the Roland's.

Another possibility is to buy a used amp and used cans.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
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The really weak spot will be the headphone output of both your DPw and your MacBook. Do not get anything with impedance above 32. You'll waisting your money. Neither of the 2 will drive appropriately senns 600 or similar.

Get AA good headphone amp is my advice is for you.

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
so check MacMacMac's downloadable thread database (one of the top posts) and search the topics to find discussions on headphones for the Roland's.
Maybe a link? The spreadsheet link of Mac3 there doesn’t work for me.


Old: a dusted Roland D5 synth. Upcoming: Yamaha NU1X digipi.
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OldSoul Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for the advice, but honestly I feel confused ..
Who recommends the Akg k701/2, Beyer DT 880, Sennheiser HD 599 (thank you), who tells me to choose higher quality headphones driven with an amplifier (much higher overall price)
Sorry but what does AA headphones mean? and which then amplifier ..

I am not an expert on headphones, impedances and etc ... excuse me .. blush
I did not find Macmac's post ..

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Sorry OldSoul,

AA was a typo, writing from my smartphone. I meant just "a good headphone". My point is that headphone amp within DP are really poor and those within Audio Interfaces not much better. Good headphones tend to be hard to drive.

If you go for a pair of Senns 600 or Beyerdynamic 700/800 250 Ohms you will need a headphone amp otherwise you are wasting your money. There are good headphone amps ones, perfectly competent, from 100 to 200 $. Look at SMSL as an example. Couple that with one of the amps I suggested and you will end up spending 4/500 $ for an absolute top of the line result. Otherwise get some easier headphones, Senns HD 280 could be an example, 32 Ohms.

This is out of experience. I have both Senns HD280 and Beyerdynamic 880 250 Ohms. This is my experience:

- Playing out of my Yamaha CP88 Piano. Senns HD280 are poorish, some distortion, medium volume. Beyerdynamic just don't cut it, no volume to speak of.

- Playing out of my Steinberg UR28 USB audio card. Senns HD280 are Ok, Beyerdynamic are better sound quality but lower volume.

- Playing out of a Soundcraft Audio Mixer. Senns are OK, same as above. Beyerdynamic are glorious.

So headphone Amp does make a heck of a difference in my experience and I will buy a headphone amp , the mixer is not convenient for just playing a DP.

Hope this helps.

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@Oldsoul

Have a look at your Roland manual - it will tell you the correct impedance for your instrument the number + suffix ohms.
This is important as when you play your instrument the resistance (ohms is match to the headphone amplifier. Example on Kawai it is 80 ohms.

Why is it important you may ask - well as near as possible your volume control on the instrument most likely not need altering to comfortably listen. It is a real pain to keep altering this when in use on the piano.
The Apple issue as I see has been covered here well, due to the clever software in it being able to detect ranges impedance of your any new phones attached, so you know they will work well on your other device.

Most good phones manufacturers sell a range of impedances just for this very purpose. Go not get wireless phones.

Hope this helps

Andy

Last edited by Killomiter; 01/09/22 08:52 AM.
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OldSoul Offline OP
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If I have to choose a headphone amplifier, I would like to do it with tubes, if I have to spend ... I try to make myself a system that will last me over time. Can I use a tube amplifier or not? If so, which models or brands do you recommend?

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You certainly can although the benefit is questionable. Look at the schiit stuff (yes, that's what it's called). Excellent price performance ratio. Otherwise tube stuff can be very expensive. Example https://www.schiit.com/products/vali-3.

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Hi OldSoul, don't allow this to become more confusing than it really is. Everybody will make recommendations based on good faith and experience and there's hundreds of good brands and headphones out there.

They all differ slightly and there's people spend hours trying to distinguish between them. If you want to see it, look at the Head-Fi website (but don't say I haven't warned you).

My advice, and I do have a few pairs of very good headphones, is just to pick a budget and then pick a brand. As long as you stay with the likes of Sennheiser (made just down the road from me incidentally), Beyer Dynamic, AKG and the like, you won't go far wrong. Stay with lower impedance (up to around 80 ohms) so you have enough volume.

If you want a recommendation from me, I'd say go for Beyer Dynamic DT880's in 32 ohms. I have them in 600 ohm and they're plenty loud enough on my Kawai without an amp. They're also extremely comfortable.

The thing to remember is that the differences between the good brands are fairly small and more a matter of preference than anything.

Finally, yes you can always use valve (tube) headphone amps, I have one that I built myself 😀 . Again, the differences between any well designed amp is fairly slim and unless you're planning to use it for dedicated listening, rather than listening to yourself playing, may not be worth stressing over.

BTW this subject has been done to death on here, so if you wish to loose hours of your life, try searching.

Enjoy the experience of choosing. Don't let it stress you.


I'd be a far better pianist if I spent the time I'm on this forum playing my piano instead.
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Sorry meant to say that if you want a recommendation of a good quality and not too expensive headphone amp, try the Arcam rHead.


I'd be a far better pianist if I spent the time I'm on this forum playing my piano instead.
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Did a lot of research for a decent set of inexpensive headphones prior to buying the ATH-MX40's and have been very happy with them (used primarily with my DP). The price is about $100.

They do feel warm after extended wearing, but bought a pair of perforated earpads from Amazon which helped a lot:
Earpads on Amazon

I especially liked the side by side comparison with a source audio and several headphones in this video:



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Originally Posted by OldSoul
If I have to choose a headphone amplifier, I would like to do it with tubes, if I have to spend ...(1) I try to make myself a system that will last me over time. (2) Can I use a tube amplifier or not? If so, which models or brands do you recommend?

PMFJI --

(1) Question: Why do you think that a tube headphone amp will last you for longer than a solid-state headphone amp?

(2) Answer: Tubes are inherently better suited to high-impedance loads, than solid-state devices.

However, since the power requirements of headphones are quite low (high-impedance headphones need the same power as low-impedance headphones -- higher voltage, but at lower current), it's not hard to design solid-state circuits that work well for high-impedance headphones.


. Charles
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If this is OP's first set of "serious" cans perhaps simplify and choose a model not requiring external amping, for example, HD599. I had those for a long time; they were good but had limited dynamic range; also accentuating certain frequencies.

For my DP I chose a new model, specific for this use:
https://en-us.sennheiser.com/hd-560-s-audiophile-headphone-high-end-over-ear

Theoretically they too are flawed; but in practice they have been so good I kept checking if the speakers are on! The difference from amping is minor so it becomes optional.

Eventually you might get a second pair, and the accompanying amp. Many, like myself, ended up collecting multiple(many??) sets of headphones, upgrading and "specialising".

Over a period of time.


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