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As noted, either the 250Ω or the 600Ω headset is going to require an amp for desktop use. Does anyone have a particular recommendation for good but moderately priced amps for someone non-obsessive to use with this headset?
If you were to be offered a choice between the BeyerDynamic DT880 or the Sennheiser HD650, considering features, quality and value for money, which would you pick, and why?
The AKG K7XX and the Sennheiser HD 6XX were both worth acquiring. These Beyerdynamics at this price? Not so much..
I missed the last HD650 drop ... I decided late in the day to pull the trigger, and tried to join the drop with something like three or four hundred left in the 5,000 limit, and by that time the site was being hit so hard that by the time my order actually got to submission the limit had been reached.
I don't have a good feeling about the AKG K7XX. Opinions on them just seem too mixed.
Speaking of the Sennheisers, what's the general consensus on the relative merits of the HD 650 vs. the HD 600?
Like headphones, headphone amps are a subjective thing. But for ones that won't break the bank and are readily available (at least in the U.S.) you might look into some of the offerings from Fiio (for sub-300 ohm headphones) and Schiit.
In regards to the Beyerdynamic DT880 vs. Sennheiser HD650 question, it's a dead heat when taking features, quality and value between the two headphones into account. They are both excellent, but it comes down to how you plan to use them and which sounds better to your ears. The Beyers are considered a reference for mixing and mastering, accurate, some people would view their sound signature as cool and clinical. The Senns are a little more 'musical' in their presentation, slightly darker or warmer. I have a set of DT880 Pro which are usually the first things I grab when doing audio production work as they result in the most accurate mixes, for me, when I can't use monitors/speakers. I have borrowed a set of Senn 650 for an extended period and they also sound wonderful to me - truly great for "pleasure" listening, and considered to be some of the best in their class by many. Offered a choice between the two, it would depend on what I would use them for. Different tools for different needs, in my opinion. Cheers!
Thanks, that's exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for. :)
I've spent some time with the DT880 250 ohm and 600 ohm. I can say that the 600 ohm sounds noticeably better with a tube amp. I haven't heard the HD650 but I have heard the HD600 which is similar, and I honestly think it outclasses the DT880 in musicality and soundstage. The only downside to the HD6xx series the relatively poor build quality as they are an old design. The DT770/880/990 on the other hand benefit from being some of the most comfortable pairs to wear for extended periods. For general use, both would trump the AKG K702/KXX imo, as the AKG is more suited for bass-light material but is refreshing to have on the side for acoustic music.
I wouldn't worry about amps too much when you're starting out on a limited budget as you will only be looking to drive the headphones, not tweak the sound. FiiO is a good start for portables, but there are usually decent Chinese options here. An amp is an amp for the most part, the DAC matters more imo, but that's another story since most entry level units are amp/DAC combos.
I got hold of the K7XX's on the last drop. I'm just starting to use them. Doing an A vs B against the HD 598's I've been using, I like the AKG's a little better. Pretty much all I listen to is classical, and the AKG's will reveal more detail when there are 80 instruments all playing at the same time(!). They don't seem to have the same "in your face" presence that the Sennheiser's do, instead, a little better balance plus greater detail. I can see why people like the AKG's for complicated acoustic music. Anyway, I'd love to try the 600 ohm DT-880's too. I'd love to have a black pair.. come on Massdrop, help me out here! :)
Frankly, I'd love to be able to try all three before making a choice, and see which one I like best for what I listen to. :)
(I listen to everything from Abba to ZZ Top, to Dvorak, to VNV Nation, to Tchaikovsky, to Pink Floyd, to the Irish Rovers, to Beethoven, to ELO, to Wagner, to Gregorian chants...)
"Gregorian chants".. and Baroque - this is pure music. No pretense. "And in the beginning there was.."
DT880's are more comfortable to wear if you wear glasses. The sound sig is more neutral, ala HD600, but that being said I prefer the HD650 sig to the HD600. Tough decision, I like them both and have them both, and if I HAD to part with one it's the HD650.
You NEED an amp with these, and don't bother with the 250 ohm, get the 600 and you're solid.
That being said, MP Dac/amp combo is solid for $75ish depending on where you buy it
I didn't say you don't need one. I said don't be picky about choosing which one right now.
"relatively poor build quality as they are an old design"
This makes no sense.
Have you held the HD6xx?? For a $300-$400+ headphone it has some of the cheapest build materials for its frame. It wasn't until recent years that headphone manufacturers have really stepped up in this regard.
I don't agree that "old design" equals poor build quality. For example, the Grado's are an old design but they're built like a tank.
I've personally owned a pair of Senn HD-650's for about 8 years of daily use, even wearing them while I was on the treadmill for a crapton of miles (till I got my closed back ATH-M50x). You might think the build quality is poor because they are relatively light and plasticky, but they're rock solid.
While I appreciate and support a small, independent company that essentially hand-makes their products, I respectfully disagree with your assessment that Grados are built like a tank. Several of my friends and colleagues would as well. Among the bunch of us, we've had more failures with their cans than all other brands combined. The retro design is neat but they're built with just as much plastic and cheap components as any other headphones. The cables are particularly bad and prone to fraying, pinching, breakage, etc. I dissected the first set I had (when they died after about a year of relatively careful use) and came across several questionable solder joints and manufacturing techniques. I've found Grados need to be treated with kid gloves if you expect to get good mileage out of them.
Grado aside, I agree with you that the Senn 650s are fairly well built. Sennheiser also sells replacement parts so they could, in theory, last forever if you do the upkeep and repairs. Cheers!
I think we have a disconnect in thinking here. I can appreciate things that are built durably, but plasticky is always going to be cheap in my book. And I would have to disagree that Grados are built well. As the poster above also stated, the materials are pretty poor on them as well. Those sponge earpads...*shutters*
I hope everyone else reading our discussion will take two things away from it:
1. It's ok to have different opinions.
2. It's great to be able to have a discussion on the internets and be civilized about it.
Thanks for your input on the Grados. I should not have used those for an example. I've never had a problem with them - but I don't use them nearly as much as my other cans.
I've been using my DT880s with a DACPort Slim (which sometimes comes up on Massdrop) for the past year or two. When put into "high" mode, it seems to do a pretty decent job of driving them.