headphones/headphone systems for dummies

iPod, walkman, headphones, earphones, boomboxes, etc...

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Postby tatalope » Thu May 27, 2004 2:10 pm

hi guys going back to senn HD 497 & Philips 890... i got confused i'm planning to get 890 before pa when i saw it at O music store at the price of 3k then i saw 497 (some store is selling it slight higher & others slight lower to 890)... since i'm not an audiophiler what i have in mind is that the brand sennheiser is very very far when it come to performance, quality etc compared to philips.. syempre the brand speaks for itself medyo low-end ata philips compared to senn of course i'll go w/ the better name since di nagkakalayo price nila... since i only have a budget for 1 headphones ano ba tlga ang ok? i've read a lot of good review about the 497 but i got confused n when i read your recomendations, is there anybody here tried the two models??... and 1 more thing my portable cd player only has only 16ohms output & the headphones i have in mind i think is 32ohms.. ok lng b un?
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Postby dogears » Thu May 27, 2004 2:33 pm

hi tatalope, you may want to wait for a little more time. i'm lending my senn px100 to onedown then let's ask for his feedback when he compares it against his senn 497.

onedown, me naghihintay na ng feedback mo :D
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Postby onedown » Thu May 27, 2004 2:52 pm

tatalope, both the sennheiser hd 497 and philips hp 890 are good headphones. as to which one sounds better, is a matter of personal preference. one member here auditioned both, and decided to buy the philips.

i don't see any problem with matching the impedance of your portable with the headphones. best would be to audition both using your portable as a source. also another factor to consider in choosing a pair of headphones is how comfortable the headphone is. heads come in different sizes. unfortunately, a specific headphone model comes only in one size. so one user may find a certain headphone comfortable, while another may find it uncomfortable. a great sounding headphone would practically be useless if you feel uncomfortable wearing them after just a few minutes.

consider, too the size. the philips is quite huge. if you plan to lug it along, you might find it quite a hassle because of its size.
Last edited by onedown on Thu May 27, 2004 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby onedown » Thu May 27, 2004 2:56 pm

dogears, oh no! mukhang napasubo yata ako ah. :lol: . not too sure if i'm qualified to make a review. anyway, will just let you know when i'll be getting your px100.
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Postby dogears » Thu May 27, 2004 3:20 pm

yep, as in audio - everything boils down to preference.

onedown, ikaw lang hinihintay ng px100 :D i see that you can write well so i don't think a review will be a problem to you.
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Postby av_phile » Thu May 27, 2004 5:32 pm

Saw some AKG headphones at Tower Records. Seems reasonably priced at less than 2T. Any users of these brand?
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Postby tatalope » Thu May 27, 2004 6:14 pm

guys tnx for the info... philips 890 is huge nga compared to the 497 w/c is built for portable use... the 890 is not for portable use pero ok lng sakin un size & ang ganda ng looks nya plus may stand pa.. my only worry is the earpads/cups of the 497 d b pag tagal natutuklap un?? i have a cheap philips headfone ksi natuklap n un parang leatherette nya kya un itsura nya parang un material ng 890 na
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Postby Racio » Fri May 28, 2004 3:28 am

I was at Audiophile AliMall a couple of days ago looking for a pair of simple Y-connectors when something else piqued my fancy. I noticed they already have a respectable array of Audio-Technica headphones (the last time I was there, they only had 2 or 3 on display). Unfortunately, I was in hurry and didn't have the time to demo any of 'em. But the guys there were really accomodating and pulled out every headphone I pointed my finger at. I suddenly got flashbacks of an email Rajan sent me a few years back about A-T head phones that sported wooden ear cups. I think they somehow read my mind 'coz the manager replied that they currently don't have those in stock, but if I'm willing to wait, they can special order almost anything I could find on A-T's website.

Well, I found this:

ImageATH-W1000

specs: http://www.audio-technica.com.sg/ath-w1000.html

I'm awaiting their price quote hopefully by the end of the week. However, I haven't seriously delved into headphones yet, so I'm practically clueless if the above is in any way a good investment. I'm quite aware that Sennheisers, Grado and AKGs are popular top picks, but I've read very little about A-Ts. Headphone gurus, your comments please? Rajan? Russ? TIA.

This one's mondo dinero :o :

ImageATH-L3000 ($2k)
Looks real cool though. hehe.
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Postby rajan » Fri May 28, 2004 7:52 am

The AT phones were once the rage in the headphone forum a year ago. Now they have all died down. The phones posted by Racio are indeed expensive. I would invest in a Senn 580/600/650 instead. If you are not really into headphones, the following will be my shortlist:

higher-end:
senn 580 - darker
grado 125/225 - brighter

lower-end:
senn 497 - haven't heard it but seems to be rated favorably
grado 60/80 - brighter

as in most in audio, ymmv, and let your ears do the listening.
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Postby onedown » Fri May 28, 2004 8:20 am

tatalope, the philips, i think would work fine using a portable cd player as a source. i auditioned it, albeit using a circa early to mid 90s portable, which has a higher headphone output than most of current portable models. but then, its size makes it quite inconvenient to lug along. also, take note that both the sennheiser and philips have three-meter cords, which might be a hassle.

about the senn's pad, no problems with mine, so far. according to the manufacturer, the pads are easily replacable, though i haven't tried detaching mine.
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Postby onedown » Fri May 28, 2004 8:26 am

avphile, as far as i know, the AKGs at tower/music 1 are their entry level models. for reasons i really don't know, such models [K-44, K-55, and K-66] aren't that popular in headphone forums that i sometimes visit. akg owners over at pinoydvd, however, are happy with them.

5th avenue, i believe, carries the higher end akg models.
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Postby tatalope » Fri May 28, 2004 10:48 am

onedown: thanks for the info... btw what AKG model ang ka-level ng senn 497? are the price the same? is the AKG brand higher than Senn??
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Postby onedown » Fri May 28, 2004 10:58 am

tatalope, the akg models i cited above all costs below 2k. i wouldn't be really qualified to say if the akg is a higher end brand than the sennheiser. all i can say is taht, both of them have solid reputations in making headphones and microphones.

for the entry level akgs, they are available at record bars, such as odyssey, tower, and music one. for the higher end models, try 5th avenue.

also note that the akg models i cited above have a different design compared to the philips and sennheiser. the akg k-44 and k-55 are sealed headphones. the k-66, from what i read, are semi-open headphones. on the other hand, the philips hp 890 and sennheiser hd 497 are both open-back headphones.
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Postby Racio » Fri May 28, 2004 12:24 pm

rajan wrote:The AT phones were once the rage in the headphone forum a year ago. Now they have all died down. The phones posted by Racio are indeed expensive. I would invest in a Senn 580/600/650 instead. If you are not really into headphones, the following will be my shortlist:

higher-end:
senn 580 - darker
grado 125/225 - brighter

lower-end:
senn 497 - haven't heard it but seems to be rated favorably
grado 60/80 - brighter

as in most in audio, ymmv, and let your ears do the listening.


Thanks Rajan. But for curiosity's sake, how would you rate the A-Ts? Which camp would you categorize 'em (dark vs. bright that is)? Are they easy to drive? What are the disadvantages/advantages having a sealed/closed cup headphone such as the A-T? What's your take on why its popularity diminished so abruptly? (Sorry, I draw a blank whenever I'm asked about headphones :? .)

BTW, got a $420 quote on the AT-W1000 this morning (shipping included). I believe the Grado RS1 goes for almost the same. Nevertheless, I reckon I could still haggle its price down a bit (wishful thinking on my part. hehe).
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Postby onedown » Fri May 28, 2004 12:44 pm

racio, i'm no expert on headphones, and neither do i have any experiences with the a-t, but the advantage of sealed cans is that, it blocks outside noise more effectively than open-back headphones. this would be quite ideal if you would like to listen in a not-so-quiet environment. another advantage would be is that, it leaks sound less. if you're using sealed headphones, people nearby would less likely overhear what you are listening to.

as for your questions regarding the a-ts, i'll leave it to the experts to answer them.
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Postby rajan » Fri May 28, 2004 1:00 pm

Thanks Rajan. But for curiosity's sake, how would you rate the A-Ts? Which camp would you categorize 'em (dark vs. bright that is)? Are they easy to drive?


curiously, they do not have a house sound. they have at least two wood phones which are poles apart. i believe they have lower impedances than the senns so amplification helps. however, if you push me into a corner i would even recommend amplification to the low impedance grados because i could hear the difference.

What are the disadvantages/advantages having a sealed/closed cup headphone such as the A-T?


here is a few notes on sealed/openback designs

What's your take on why its popularity diminished so abruptly?


they are expensive and not marketed extensively stateside

BTW, got a $420 quote on the AT-W1000 this morning (shipping included). I believe the Grado RS1 goes for almost the same.


see, they are expensive!
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Postby Racio » Fri May 28, 2004 1:08 pm

onedown wrote:racio, i'm no expert on headphones, and neither do i have any experiences with the a-t, but the advantage of sealed cans is that, it blocks outside noise more effectively than open-back headphones. this would be quite ideal if you would like to listen in a not-so-quiet environment. another advantage would be is that, it leaks sound less. if you're using sealed headphones, people nearby would less likely overhear what you are listening to.

as for your questions regarding the a-ts, i'll leave it to the experts to answer them.


I really appreciate your response Onedown. But it begs another question of mine: considering the above-mentioned advantages of sealed over open type ear cups, why are some of the higher end models coming from Grado, AKG and Senns are of the latter type (w/c are open)? Thanks.
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Postby av_phile » Fri May 28, 2004 1:21 pm

Open back headphones theoretically can give a more extended bass response than sealed headphones for the same driver element. Any confirmaton here?
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Postby Racio » Fri May 28, 2004 1:30 pm

rajan wrote:curiously, they do not have a house sound. they have at least two wood phones which are poles apart. i believe they have lower impedances than the senns so amplification helps. however, if you push me into a corner i would even recommend amplification to the low impedance grados because i could hear the difference.

Oh, I see. No typical "house sound". Ok, so what's the general opinion on the sonic signature of AT-W1000 in particular then?


This sure answers a lot of my questions. Thanks.

rajan wrote:
What's your take on why its popularity diminished so abruptly?


they are expensive and not marketed extensively stateside

Yep I noticed that. No mention at all in their US website. Ok... please bear w/ me here Raj... in short, is it correct for me to assume that they're not in the same league as the RS1 or the HD650 (w/c are almost in the similar ball park figure costwise)? Due to its sealed ear cup construction I suppose? What is about it that spurred a rage a year ago then?
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Postby dogears » Fri May 28, 2004 1:36 pm

av_phile wrote:Open back headphones theoretically can give a more extended bass response than sealed headphones for the same driver element. Any confirmaton here?


"Theoretically" - good choice of word av_phile, the senn px100 is an openback hp with an amazing bass response. Grado SR80 is also openback :P
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