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  Reply # 703413 19-Oct-2012 10:32
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timmmay: I own and run the website Headphone Reviews, which has been #1 in google for that phrase for years. It's mostly about user reviews, but I get quite a few headphones through to do review on.

I get all sorts of headphones for review. Right now I have:
 - Beats by Dr Dre (US$400)
 - Audeze LCD2 (US$1000)
 - California Audio something ($100)
 - Audio Technica A900
 - A couple of in-ear headphones
 - LOTS that I've heard or sold. Senn HD-650, Sony CD-3000, Beyerdynamic, all sorts really.

I have a headphone amp with a dac driven by the optical out of my PC.

I don't know how keen I'd be to send them all to Auckland, but Wellington would be fine.

Mauricio - you're welcome to review the ones I have and the ones I get in future, and if you get headphones to review through I'd really like to borrow them for a couple of days to add the reviews to my website. I may even be able to write some content for Geekzone.


 

How do you find the LCD2? I've had mine since February I think it was, tend to think they are very overrated. For some things they are absolutely incredible, stunning even - stuff like electronic music with lots of bass (particularly low frequency bass and sub-bass), and for stuff like female vocal jazz too, and for that reason alone they continue to hold a place in my collection. For many other things though not so much, they don't really do rock or metal, are nowhere near as revealing as other headphones, their soundstage is quite poor for an open-backed headphone... I would toss them except that I'll then pick them up and listen to some Ella Fitzgerald or Massive Attack and be blown away!




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  Reply # 703417 19-Oct-2012 10:37
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I directly compared the HD650 vs the LCD 2 and the A900, using a US$2000 Headroom balanced desktop dac/amp that I borrowed. The LCD2 have much stronger, lower bass than the 650s, but to me they're not quite as clear. The sound's all there, but it has a slightly weird signature. They're great for electronic and Jazz, I agree. The 650s have more pronounced treble, the bass isn't near as low or strong, but for classical and similar stuff I find them excellent. The 650s are a bit more comfortable to me too.

The big surprise was how well the $200 Audio Technica A900s did in comparison. They have 95% of the clarity of the HD650s, and 95% of the bass of the LCD2s. They're really impressive for a closed headphone. Mine are a few years old, I use them at work with my iPod, but they sound better on a good dac/amp. They're really easy to drive too, the LCD/650s really do need a headphone amplifier to sound any good at all.

I'll keep the LCD2 as my reference headphones. Since they were free I can't really complain!

I also compared the $2000 amp with my $500 dac/amp. I couldn't hear any difference at all.




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  Reply # 703424 19-Oct-2012 10:49
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@nztechfreak @timmmay

Do either of you guys have experience with Headsets that would primarily be used for music? Similar style to the MDRV500's I'm currently rocking.




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  Reply # 703425 19-Oct-2012 10:51
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I have no experience with headsets. I did get sent a microphone that sticks onto headphones to turn them into a headset though, but I never tried it as I didn't want to ruin headphones.




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  Reply # 703431 19-Oct-2012 11:14
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timmmay: I directly compared the HD650 vs the LCD 2 and the A900, using a US$2000 Headroom balanced desktop dac/amp that I borrowed. The LCD2 have much stronger, lower bass than the 650s, but to me they're not quite as clear. The sound's all there, but it has a slightly weird signature. They're great for electronic and Jazz, I agree. The 650s have more pronounced treble, the bass isn't near as low or strong, but for classical and similar stuff I find them excellent. The 650s are a bit more comfortable to me too.

The big surprise was how well the $200 Audio Technica A900s did in comparison. They have 95% of the clarity of the HD650s, and 95% of the bass of the LCD2s. They're really impressive for a closed headphone. Mine are a few years old, I use them at work with my iPod, but they sound better on a good dac/amp. They're really easy to drive too, the LCD/650s really do need a headphone amplifier to sound any good at all.

I'll keep the LCD2 as my reference headphones. Since they were free I can't really complain!

I also compared the $2000 amp with my $500 dac/amp. I couldn't hear any difference at all.


Wouldn't really expect much difference between those DACs, while they certainly need more drive than most headphone-outs will supply they aren't that difficult to drive.

I need to listen to some more instrumental jazz with the LCD-2s, I was only referencing vocal-focused jazz earlier. For vocal stuff the sense of intimacy you get is incredible with the LCD-2 - I feel like the vocalist is singing to me and only me listening through those. Makes me curious to try out the LCD-3, since I think they improve on some of the weak areas of the LCD-2 while retaining that peerless bass response. Given the price of the LCD-3 though I think I will just wait until I am next in Melbourne so I can try them at Addicted to Audio.

As a refence headphone for bass they are hard to top, but I wouldn't particularly consider them a reference headphone in a broader sense.




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  Reply # 703444 19-Oct-2012 11:29
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They're my reference as they're better than anything else I have. Other than bass and the upper range slightly recessed compared with the HD650s they're really not hugely different, to my ears. They have a different signature but the music's all there.




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  Reply # 703459 19-Oct-2012 12:10
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Interesting topic.

I'm more budget conscious, but respect good sounds. I run a pair of Senny HD555's - which I love.

Im looking at a new Asus Xonar Essence STX. Has a built in amp - seems to be the way to go for decent sounds from a desktop machine.

On a slightly differing topic that might interest you all;

Because of my work - I also require a headset. Most headsets sounds terrible. So, instead - try the modmic!

http://www.modmic.com/



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  Reply # 703460 19-Oct-2012 12:14
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The Xonar Essence STX has a very good reputation, don't think you can go wrong there.




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  Reply # 703461 19-Oct-2012 12:14
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I think a DAC is more important than an amp for good PC sound, but you need an amp with a dac.




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  Reply # 703463 19-Oct-2012 12:16
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timmmay: I think a DAC is more important than an amp for good PC sound, but you need an amp with a dac.


The STX is a DAC and amp. DAC has a good reputation.




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  Reply # 703465 19-Oct-2012 12:16
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Yep - comes with a DAC built in. Also allows you to swap the OAMP's - although that's a little over my head. :)



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  Reply # 703466 19-Oct-2012 12:18
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Cadriel: Yep - comes with a DAC built in. Also allows you to swap the OAMP's - although that's a little over my head. :)


Just means you can tinker with the sound of the amp output by changing OP-Amps. Some have a warmer sound, some are more transparent etc etc.




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  Reply # 704337 21-Oct-2012 16:06
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Great topic.

Lifehacker just did a Hive Five vote on the best 5 headphones around HERE

I'm only a newb when it comes to headphones.
Last week I went to Computer Lounge in Mt Wellington (near Sylvia Park) and tried some out.
The guy didn't have the Grado SR80i's in stock, but I did try the 60 (which he said were similar).

I also tried the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and the Sennheiser 280PRO.

Out of all three, I ended up going with the ATH-M50's. 
Had a great rich, full bassy sound, to me.

As far as players, I only have an iPod Touch. I'm using FLAC Player to play my music (tracks downloaded from HD Tracks etc).

I did have a question about players. I know that the iPod Touch can physically only output 16/48 - any flacs with a higher bitrate get downsampled. Are there any portable music players that can physically output music at a higher bit rate? As I said, I'm pretty much a newb when in comes to high quality music.

As far as MP3's - I also have the Aphex Audio Xciter Studio app on my iPhone. It's supposed to give better sounding MP3's and is promoted by Alan Parsons. I think it does help a bit.

I also installed SonicMaxPro which can give better quality than the built in iPhone player as well.

Other headphones I own are the Sennheiser PXC-250 and the Sony MDR-NC6 (both noise cancelling. I'm not too sure about the noise cancelling stuff now, as it seems like it can introduce a slight hiss).

Thanks









 

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  Reply # 704353 21-Oct-2012 17:13
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I travel a lot, unfortunately I have not come across anything as close to or superior to the Bose QC15.

I find after buying a set of these I was listening to all my music that I frequent and it was like listening to the track for the first time.

My regret was only buying one as it has to be shared

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  Reply # 704368 21-Oct-2012 17:45
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da5id: Great topic.

Lifehacker just did a Hive Five vote on the best 5 headphones around HERE

I'm only a newb when it comes to headphones.
Last week I went to Computer Lounge in Mt Wellington (near Sylvia Park) and tried some out.
The guy didn't have the Grado SR80i's in stock, but I did try the 60 (which he said were similar).

I also tried the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and the Sennheiser 280PRO.

Out of all three, I ended up going with the ATH-M50's. 
Had a great rich, full bassy sound, to me.

As far as players, I only have an iPod Touch. I'm using FLAC Player to play my music (tracks downloaded from HD Tracks etc).

I did have a question about players. I know that the iPod Touch can physically only output 16/48 - any flacs with a higher bitrate get downsampled. Are there any portable music players that can physically output music at a higher bit rate? As I said, I'm pretty much a newb when in comes to high quality music.

As far as MP3's - I also have the Aphex Audio Xciter Studio app on my iPhone. It's supposed to give better sounding MP3's and is promoted by Alan Parsons. I think it does help a bit.

I also installed SonicMaxPro which can give better quality than the built in iPhone player as well.

Other headphones I own are the Sennheiser PXC-250 and the Sony MDR-NC6 (both noise cancelling. I'm not too sure about the noise cancelling stuff now, as it seems like it can introduce a slight hiss).

Thanks


That's an interesting "best five" headphones. I'd not have chosen any of them. The Sony V6 is super old now, and newer designs do much better. 

I wouldn't bother trying to get better sound than an iPod. Sure you might get another 2-3%, but you're using them portably with background noise, on the move so you get microphonics (cord noise). There's no point going flac either. No harm either if it makes you think you get better sound, in blind tests very very few people can tell the difference. You're better off buying better headphones/speakers.




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