Q & A -

Headfonia Q & A

Feel free to post any questions you may have below at the comment section and I will try my best to answer them promptly. I try to answer all the questions, but I may miss one or two at times. Do repost your question if it’s left unanswered for a few days.

Please also go over the Buyer’s Guide articles before you post your questions, they may help to answer your questions.

 

Here is a link to the older Q & A pages:

 

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  • Vaibhav Pisal

    also can you compare detail level of hifiman he400 and akg k550. is hifiman an upgrade over akg?

    • dalethorn

      The HE400 is a planar with strong bass and dark sound. The K550 is kind-of the opposite, a lean dynamic. You might want to decide whether you like lean bass or a fatter bass, dynamic or planar.

      • Vaibhav Pisal

        i am ok with both types of bass though lean is preferable. (lean is tight, fast decay, in background right?). what about mid range and vocals? which has more details?
        Also I found treble of audio technica ws55 to be harsh with audinst hud mini (previous comment). Do you think akg will be more natural and smooth?

        • dalethorn

          The K550 is a headphone that divides a lot of people – some really hate it and others like it, so it’s not just sound, it’s the fit too. Headfonia has the world’s most complete review here on the K550 along with a lot of great comments, so you can get all of those details right here. But don’t forget the Mad Dog planar – that to me is the most perfect headphone I’ve had (for a few days until I returned it). Your amps should work well with either choice, at least technically.

          • Vaibhav Pisal

            cool. I have seen people have rather strong opinions about akg (both ways). in review it seems Mike is making up with akg for hating them all his life ;) it sounds too positive.
            it seems buying is only way I will find out about akg. i need to do some more research about mad dog. any amp recommendations for akg? like one with most delicate and smooth treble? rest I like what I am hearing about it. especially the bass.

            • dalethorn

              For the amplifier (separate from the DAC) just have enough power. When it comes to the AKG review, give more attention to the followup comments than the review, since a lot happens after the review (hard to explain, but things just come together eventually). BTW, if I was to consider any possible bias for or against the K550, the reviews of the K812 would make the 550 opinions seem mild. It just seems to go that way, but people who love those AKGs know what they like.

              • Vaibhav Pisal

                I did went through all the comments. its an entertaining read. But opinions seem to go in all direction. not much i can pick.
                hmm, this makes me wanna try out their previous flagship, q701 to see whats the fuss about akg is about. though its bright (undesirable) but also airy (very desirable), more than k550 it seems.

  • dalethorn

    I get some amazing music from unlikely sources – not all audiophile quality, but still very enriching. On the sidebar here was an ad for v-moda, probably the M100, so I clicked on that which took me to v-moda, and I see a one-minute product video. The sound was awesome, so I find out it’s “Fairmont – Poble Sec” and it’s on Soundcloud. And though I love the sound, I wouldn’t want a headphone with any excess treble to play it.

  • Sergio Mejia

    Do they have to analyze future S700 JBL headphones?

    It would be very interesting, because he is his latest release and Livestage option.

    • dalethorn

      PC Mag says it sounds great in passive mode, but when used in active mode, or “What it was designed for, it sounds awful”. The design looks great and I’d love to see it, but that review was a stopper for me. I might see one anyway at the office supply store where they carry JBL, or maybe the Apple store.

  • Sergio Mejia

    What are most recommended then, “AKG K550″ or “Shure 1840″?

    • dalethorn

      I’d recommend the Mad Dog for best all-around sound. If you need a stronger bass you might try one of the Philips – like the L2 or X1 etc. For a really strong bass, the v-moda M100. For portable play outdoors you’ll want some extra bass and more efficiency, so the Mad Dog is the worst choice there unless you use a separate amp and a bass boost. I think the K550 is risky unless you find it easy to return. The Shure 1840 has a very flat/neutral mids and treble, but the Mad Dog is better. The 1840 bass has a serious weakness – just play the opening to Jennifer Warnes’ track Rock You Gently, and compare to any other headphone – you’ll be very surprised. But for acoustic music, possibly jazz, the 1840 could be good. At least it’s open and the Mad Dog is closed. I really liked the 1840 design and fit, but the sound just isn’t $500, not even close.

      • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

        for closed Alpha Gog, Mad Dog and LCD-XC are the top3, TH900 makes the top 4. I wouldn’t go for the K550

  • Mariska Lupitha

    I’ve had Senn HD202, should I replace with PX100-II or HD238? [the only ones sold in my region - and budget]. I love rock and orchestra, so I need bass with fair distinctive soundstage. I found HD202′s bass still not as tight & punchy as I wanted. And I don’t like muddy bass. Thx

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I would save up or go with iems

    • dalethorn

      I can’t be sure that the HD238 is the best choice, but the PX100ii is really like a toy – we have 2 of those in the house, but we don’t use them anymore since we use the better headphones.

      • Mariska Lupitha

        I need the headphones pretty urgently (my hd202′s broken) cause they keep me hyped up during workhours – so saving up for too long isn’t an option. And IEMs are too uncomfortable for small ears. Well I realize my budget won’t get me far with the choices, but at least bass-wise, are those two really weaker than the hd202? Or do you have other brands in the price range?

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          Maybe Dale has some budget recommendations?

          • Mariska Lupitha

            Does Grado SR60i fits my music preference (strong, tight, not spreading bass)? And how does it fare for orchestral music?

            • dalethorn

              The SR60 is the right sound, but it is open back.

            • dalethorn

              The 428 is the older version of the 429, and on Amazon the old version costs more! So get the best deal you can.

        • dalethorn

          HD238 would be good – even better if you could get the newer HD239 that replaces the HD238. The Fostex TH5 and TH7 are good if you can get them. HD429 also good if you can get it.

    • oldandcurious

      For moving-around pair, I have the HD-239 and I like it very much. I have not used my PX100 II for awhile now. Though I don’t listen to rock, the pair is quite good for orchestra and vocals.

  • Sergio Mejia

    Hello, I appreciate all comments made … The truth is I am very confused, as he surely has happened to others. Initially it was decided by the JBL S700, but even though there are very good reviews, there are also negative review, including comments Dalethorn. Several have recommended headphones that I do not like physically (though not the most important) but I want my purchase I also like this way, besides the sound – most importantly -.

    What recominendan me? I listen to Rock, I like the low budget and I have to usd500. Also, what would be the amp or dac + amp recommended? I have seen several, including Glacier and other more. Thank you very much for the help you can give me!

    • Sergio Mejia

      What reviewers Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and AKG K550? They are two of the ones I’ve had in mind.

      • tand

        Hi,

        I wonder whats your experience with headphones?
        It’s taking me quite a long time with a) identifying what sound signature I like.
        b)Knowing which headphones fits my taste.

        I mean if you love bass…Getting a super expensive headphone thats trebly would not satisfy you as buying a midprice bassy headphones.

    • dalethorn

      I got into trouble once upon a time for saying this (elsewhere), but I suggest you don’t split that $500 between a headphone and amp, because then you will be stuck a long time with inferior components. Spend nearly all your money on the headphone and get the cheapest good amp (ex: FiiO E07k) that you can. Then later on get a better amp, so you have the best headphone from day no. 1. Now if you need advice on headphone, list every parameter: size, open/closed, on/around ear, music qualities and genre (not just genre), and anything else.

      • Sergio Mejia

        Thanks Dale, but I meant for headphones only $ 500. For the amp or amp + dac, I have about 400USD.

        Could you point me to give your opinion about what indicated earlier, about the headphones, the amp + dac and are suitable for rock music?

        • dalethorn

          Since you’re interested in the more neutral type of sound you could get Mad Dog or Alpha Dog which would be far better than the K550.

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            They are better but they are neutral in another way as well. Not like the M50 or K550 sound.

  • Vaibhav Pisal

    do you think asus xonar essence one standard edition offers almost end game performance (with right hp like senn hd700)? i read its review and comments and seems to compare favorably with very high end stuff. I will probably buy just one versatile amp and keep changing hps. its not too expensive, is warm sounding, is solid state, (SS+ senns = perfect amount of lushness for me)

    • dalethorn

      As long as you read the “nightmare” reviews and understand the problems they had installing the card.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I wouldn’t go for that

  • Sergio Mejia

    I decided to buy the Senn HD650, and I’ve seen some recommendations on page amp, but I have two questions:

    1. What is the ideal amp for headphones (maximum $ 500)?
    2. Should I buy a Dac + Amp? Is it more appropriate to buy a separate amp as B22 and buy a more economical ampdac in the price?

    I appreciate your advice and comments.

    PD: That amp recommend different B22? There is something new from this quality on the market?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I replied to this, please don’t post double questions. It will not get you a faster reply

  • Sergio Mejia

    Please Help!!!

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Blue pills = chill ;-)

    • dalethorn

      Maybe what would help you is if you listed amps that are reviewed here, and then questions about those amps that are very specific, such as “would amp xyz drive headphone abc better than amp xxx”?

      When the question is too general, many important facts are missing.

  • tand

    Hi Guys,

    Decided ti sell my UE6000. And a friend wants to buy the Beyerdynamics Manufaktur. Just got it back…fully repaired. New drivers, Earcushions and new cable. Awesome service from Beyerdynamics.

    Now considering thr following. I know headfonia has highly rated the COPS. And at 148€ on amazon spain. Quite desirable.
    But last month i listened to the NAD Viso HP50…it simply blew me away. € 260.
    Quite a bit more expensive.

    Which would be best for me?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I haven’t listened to the NAD yet, have you Dale?

      • dalethorn

        I took a look and decided not yet. I’ve seen several new headphones around $300 USD or so that seem to be aiming at that Sennheiser Momentum market, but don’t seem to offer anything really new. The KEF 500 was one of those, and I think PSB and Focal were aiming there too. So unless there’s a review I can’t refuse, I’ll sit on the fence for these items. BTW, the ‘tubes’ or whatever they are that connect the earcups to the headband – they look kind-of like the metal tubes that were used on the Martin-Logan Mikros 90, but I assume these HP50 headband parts are far better quality (don’t know).

        • tand

          Hi Guys,

          I compared this head to head in the store with a P7, the UE 6000(my own) , Philips L1(mine) and the NAD.

          First of all the L1 I didnt like. I dont like treble…but the L1 was so dark…really missed the sparkle. Seemed it had no highs at all. MAking it feel almost monotonous if you listen to it to long. Aka boring.

          I actually wanted to try the p7 because it was so highly rated. And never seen it in the wild till the store.
          I used my iphone and godap3 combo.

          P7 was nice. But here it cost 399€. So to my ears.it was ok. Was not 300€ better than my UE6000.
          The bass was not special.

          Than I tried the NAD. It simply blew me away.
          What i remember vividly till now. The tight deep and strong bass. It was fast and clean.
          But the rest of the sound was clean and not dark or wooly from the bass.but stayed light with plenty sparkle without getting sibilant.

          In other words to my ears it sounded balanced with a really nice bass. Not Vsound. Like when I turn the UE6000 on. IMO it was like the the Qjays with better bass. Or teh UE6000 with much better bass when NC is off.

          I was so itchy to buy it.Hard tp resist..and frankly at 299€.
          I was hoping to buy it cheaper if i wait.

          I already have an Q40 incoming(have you guys tried this?)
          And on paper sound seems similar to NAD.

          • dalethorn

            Check this excellent review, especially page 2 where he notes: “This headphone is dry as a bone and dead neutral. I mean…shockingly flat….” — now I thought flat means hi-fi flat and truly neutral with all of the sparkle that’s in a recording, but reading past the ‘neutral’ and ‘flat’ descriptors he notes that it really lacks sparkle: “It is far from sparkled, shimmering and glistening in the sun….” — and I take that to mean the treble isn’t really flat, it’s rolled off. I had the HD800 for 3 years and prefer a treble that’s maybe 3-4 db less bright, but I have a feeling that the HP50 is down a few more than 3-4 db from flat.

            http://headfonics.com/2013/12/nad-viso-hp50/

            • tand

              Thanks. What an interesting read. I got confused when he mentioned sibilance with the headphone. How can that be if treble is rolled off?

              • dalethorn

                I’ve read much stranger things than that. However, if there’s a strong peak right where sibilants occur in some music, then the rest of the treble could be down a lot. Unfortunately a lot of headphones have resonances that aren’t fully damped, and when such a resonance coincides with sibilant frequencies, ouch!! Resonant peaks often (or usually) have a large amplitude and narrow bandwidth, so if the mfr. doesn’t suppress them, it’s really difficult after the fact. And it’s why so many headphones these days roll the treble off – because it’s cheaper, and you don’t have to bulk up the headphone with resonance-suppressing materials.

                • tand

                  omg….making a plunge again for teh NAD hp50.

                  Seems so highly rated…innerfidlity and also headfonics.
                  Why am i like that…always my eye on the cops. And than…falling voor the NAD. Hop i will like it.

                  • dalethorn

                    I hope so too along with other people, so waiting for your report.

    • dalethorn

      Could you describe the features of the sound that you experienced with the HP50? Compared to whatever is closest to that sound in your experience with another headphone?

  • meh

    Hi again, still without a can..

    just some quick answer, i have read tons of reviews about it,

    is it justify enough for me to pay double the price of dt770 for a dt880, at the same time that if paying little more than the dt880 can get me the He400?

    *only these 3 choice..

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I wouldn’t get the DT880. Is the 400 better than the DT770, Yes. Is the DT770 good enough, oh yes it’s lovely.

      • meh

        i want to know is it because my in sufficient onboard audio and poor audio files that make 90% of my song
        *the right side seems to have more vocal
        *the left side seems to have more instrumental sound??

        and headphone actually work this way?

        • dalethorn

          Did you try listening for awhile with the opposite earcups on, to see if it sounds the same? If so, is there a way to reverse your channels to try that?

          • meh

            for some reason the time for me to reply u comment does take days,
            i heard some flac files and the sound was equal on both side, it happen to be unbalance on low quality file,

            running this on onboard audio, the bass,mids were really performs way below par..

    • dalethorn

      If that were my choice it would be the HE400. If it turned out that the 880 were closer to your preferred signature than the 400 (IF, but not necessarily the case), then the choice would be between getting the more perfect signature versus getting the wonderful planar sound. For me I would eventually want both a planar and a good dynamic, because living with both for a longer time is the only way to know what each type does for the music.

      • meh

        seems like i cant seal the deal for the planar rather far from my budget, i guess i just take the 880, still way cheaper than retail, 1/3 of the price

        the the dt770 are half of the dt880

        hope in the future i get to use planar headphone, thanks anywhere~

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          I would go for the dt770. Not the 880

          • http://ohm-image.net/ ohm image

            Whoa… I’m a fan of both. Plus the two have to completely different uses. Meh, if you want an open phone, the DT880 is great. If you don’t, the DT880 will suck. Both are great phones, but the DT880 has a bit of warble in the upper regions that can turn you into L.

            • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

              T90 bests it all the way ;)

              • meh

                how t1, some word say it like Dt880 on steroid..
                i just scared a little on going for the higher up since my audio source usually not the best quality, that those headphone would just crash my song..

                • meh

                  already got it, i like my treble cannon xDD
                  now waiting for the e10~

  • nankoweap

    I am wondering if anyone participating here has experience with both the RSA HR-2 and the Burson amps? I would like to know how the RSA HR-2 sound compares with the Burson Soloist or Soloist SL since it sits between them in price. I suspect this might be a question for Mike, since his reviews often mention the Ray Samuels amps as well as the Burson amps. Thanks!

  • Carl A

    I’m hoping somebody can advise me here, with what I am expecting to be an intractable problem.
    I’m about to take delivery of a pair of JBL Synchros S700′s. However, from a lot of what I’ve read, the two supplied cables are of pretty poor quality to say the least, and the connector that goes into the left side of the headphones is 2.5mm, not 3.5, which has been widely criticised.
    Plus they’re both short.
    My question is – does anyone think that one of those specialist cable manufacturers out there might be able to offer a quality replacement that could fit the 2.5mm entry socket, or, if not, is it just practically not possible to get one made or modded?
    I have a feeling this is gonna be a no-go but I wanted to ask as for various reasons i wanted these ‘phones.
    Or do all of you just think it is very simple, and that I shouldn’t even get these ‘phones! As if it isn’t possible to source quality alternative cables then I can’t really take the risk, as a few folks I’ve spoken to have loved the ‘phones but said the cables are really, really bad.
    Help!

    • George Lai

      Do a search of Forzaaudioworks of Poland. Matthew will answer your email.

      • Carl A

        Many thanks for that information. They’re either for me or for my father; if me then I will look into getting two replacement cables made, one longer, both more substantial. Father would be fine with them as he never leaves his chair mostly anyway.

    • dalethorn

      Proprietary connectors are the highest risk, and 3.5 mm connectors seem like low risk if there isn’t some weird locking mechanism or entry jack that’s near impossible to get into. But cables with a generic 2.5 mm plug on the earcup end seem safe since I’ve had some that way. Always good to ask though. You must be convinced that the JBL S700 is the right headphone otherwise, yes?

      • Carl A

        Thanks Dale. When you say that a generic 2.5mm seem safe as you’ve had them, what exactly do you mean by that? Have you sought out alternative/better cables when you had 2.5 earcup connections?

        • dalethorn

          I didn’t realize you already had the S700. I’m glad you like it, since I was interested too. Maybe you can report more about it later on. On the cables, I don’t go looking for any since I have a lot of cables in various boxes, and when I get a new headphone, if it accepts a generic cable then I report that so people know what to expect. I have changed cables on a few headphones just to get a better length, or something that doesn’t kink up and get in the way.

    • Sergio Mejia

      I would like you to tell me how it goes with JBLS700? I was very interested but thereviews are not very good in some important critics. So I think I go for the HD650.

      • Carl A

        I’ll try to be brief! On very, very brief first impressions, I seriously like them.
        They look and feel utterly fantastic. Almost all metal yet don’t feel heavy, either to hold, or on my head at least. The clamping force feels a tad too strong when I first put them on, but then didn’t bother me over the two hours i wore them.
        The only source I am using (which I know, I must upgrade to better, but to what I have no idea – iPod touch + what?) was an iPod Nano 5g loaded with lossless files. And from that it mostly sounded absolutely wonderful, and had a feeling of sounding ‘different’ according to the music being played. Long compilation, some fast, some slow, Banshee’s, Dead Can Dance, electronica, all sorts, and on the powerful, dynamic tracks it absolutely played them to death and was exciting and full-bodied yet clear and in control with a lovely tight and strong bass that didn’t get in the way of even the tiniest details. On the quiet tracks it seemed perfectly still, graceful, measured and ‘in tune’ with the feel of the music.
        Now, at the moment I have the Denon AHD-D600 and have been using it for almost a year I think. I like it but have become less enamoured with it over time. It just lacks any excitement factor whatsoever and sometimes seems to be just too well-behaved and I simply quickly become less interested in the music and stop listening. It’s nice, but I only use them now when going to bed and listening to some quieter material. It’s just lacking but then again, look at my source – iPod Nano! But that’s what I’ve just used with these s700′s and they were so cool to listen to.
        I haven’t tried the active ‘enhancement’ feature yet. I will, but am not in any particular rush to, especially from what I’ve read in a few reviews. Incidentally, the review in the latest issue of Hi-Fi Choice seems very accurate and fair. It points out a few areas where they fall short a little, but counter balances those points with what these bring to the table that others (Fidelio X1, HD650) don’t.
        So, yeah, on hardly any playing time or serious assessment, I think they’re pretty damn good.
        A few cons – Firstly, the cables. They may be fine, I don’t know. I just personally don’t like thin, flimsy-feeling cables. They are also both quite short, around 50 inches. Long enough for portable use but I think two high quality cables of differing lengths would be good and would have suited the level of care and attention that has obviously ben lavished on everything else in the headphones.
        Secondly, the sliders that extend as you open the ‘phones to cover your head go up to 12. Eleven wasn’t quite enough to fit over my ears. 12 just did it. I don’t know whether my head is unusually large, but I doubt it! Thus I reckong there is a reasonable chance that when fully extended these might still not fit on some folks head. Make sure they can be returned, just in case.
        Carrying case is nice, but not hard, so won’t overly protect them if they find themselves being flung around in backpacks or other places.
        But I have to upgrade my portable source rig, as these are no way being done justice just being played from a nano!
        Lastly, I personally am becoming increasing frustrated with what I perceive as massivly over-priced headphones left, right and everywhere that are no way worth hundreds of pounds and that are nearly always predominantly plastic.
        These ‘phones look and feel absolutely wonderful and worth every penny. And the jump in sound quality over my very limited experience (Denon D600, Sony MdR-1R, AKG 240 mkII, Sennheiser HD555 etc) is just remarkable.
        Thanks for reading. Now just to decide if I can give them to my dad and go back to my portables – the AKG K450! Argghh!
        Damn: Sorry, that wasn’t brief at all!

  • Vaibhav Pisal

    hello, I am back.

    I was researching if better quality usb power can make sound better. will something like ifi iusb make sound quality of audinst hud mini / fostex hp a4 better?

    I thought it costs more than hud mini itself and probably dedicated amp will be better, but whichever dac i use it will be usb powered. So i have 2 questions:

    1. Will iusb improve sound of fostex hp a4?
    2. Will it improve sound quality if I use dedicated amp but usb powered dac?

    thanks in advance.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      You better listen to it first yourself and yes on question 2

      • Vaibhav Pisal

        thanks.

  • yudhistira angga

    hei headfonia,
    is it really worth to upgrade from hm-603 to AK 100?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      listen to it yourself is my advise

  • David Lee

    Hi, I’m late to the party but i’ve recently purchased Sennheiser hd600 and I wanted to know what the best Portable Amplifier is that’s below $250. I’ve read all the reviews and narrowed it down to Fiio E12, Fiio E17, JDSLabs C5D (or anything else that’s better). I usually listen to soft rock, rap/hiphop, classical music. I want to be able to bring out the most out of my headphone (along with smooth/powerful bass). Thank you vey much for ANY helpful information!

    • Dave Ulrich

      Welcome! What is your source?

      • David Lee

        I’m trying to listen to music from my ipod nano 6th gen, MacBook Pro retina display, ipod touch 3rd gen, and desktop

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          why not the CD5 so you can sue the dac part as well. Their amps match great with Sennheiser

          • David Lee

            Do you mean JDSLabs C5D? Doesn’t Fiio E17 also have DAC? Is that what you would recommend as for my situation?

            • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

              David I would recommend this over the E17 indeed. Sorry, yes, I did mean the C5D

              • David Lee

                thank you for the quick response~ If it’s not too much trouble, can you explain little bit on why you would prefer C5D over Fiio E12/E17?

                • dalethorn

                  The E12 doesn’t have a DAC, so that’s a point for the C5D. I have the E17 but not the C5D so I’d also like to know the preference for the C5D, thanks.

                  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                    C5D has a DAC and bass boost as well and is compatible with your iphone (cck) and Android, smaller shape and a great adjustable sound that matches well with the Senn.

  • Carl A

    Hi, I posted a question earlier seeking advice from any US-based folks about how to possibly get hold of some ‘phones from over there. But it hasn’t appeared. When I submitted it, it said awaiting moderation. Does that mean that my questions contravene some rule? Or did it just get lost in the mix or something?
    Just wondrin’, no hassle!

    • dalethorn

      The servers here are being reconfigured, so maybe that’s it. This question got through, so can you add details?

      • Carl A

        Yes, I will thanks. I actually mentioned you Dale!
        Basically, my JBL s700′s have gone back (various reasons, but main one is that they are not at all portable) and after trying a friendly chaps pair of Monster Diesel Vektr’s out in a very noisy environment, I’d like to get those as my portable pair.
        Here’s the problem: I’m a bit particular about aesthetics and the Vektr comes in three colours: White, not nice! Black, which I tried and they are horrendous fingerprint magnets, and the version I want, in Military Green.
        In the UK the cheapest I can find them is £194 at Amazon!! Seriously?!
        At Amazon US they (the military green pair) retail at $99! Unbelievable.
        Especially as they WILL ship the black to the uk, and even with postage AND import duties included, they only come to £85!
        BUT, for some reason they cannot ship the military green pair outside of US.
        I don’t know why, I asked and they said they didn’t know why, they just couldn’t.
        SO, it’s the green Vektr’s I want, and I’ve tried googling for hours to no avail. Nowhere in Europe (at least that I could find) has them available for less than roughly the same as Amazon, and I’ve tried looking at several US suppliers and only found two, both selling at $99 and not shipping outside US!
        I’m confused as to why, and frustrated at the frankly huge price difference.
        Bought, shipped and import duties (IF they shipped the green, are less than half the UK price, which basically means they’re not an option)
        I wanted to see if any folks who come here and who reside in the US may know from their headphone-buying experience of a retailer they know of that they could inform me about, so that I could try other places. Perhaps smaller than Walmart or Amazon, but who possibly will ship over here??
        I just can’t find any.
        I know you Dale buy in the US but from your reviews that I’ve read, I gather that you pretty much buy your headphones from Amazon US or Apple stores?
        But perhaps in your long headphone-buying history you might know of other places?
        Simply cannot believe the difference between US-shipped-over (IF they would) and plain old UK price. Beggars belief, and at the moment seems an intractable problem.
        Any advice re- other places to try would be hugely appreciated!
        Thanks.

        • dalethorn

          This story is sooooooo… familiar – the big discount product, and the frustrations ahead of getting one. Then what happens when you get it and there’s a problem? I would worry about that.

          • Carl A

            True, but with Amazon, be it UK or US, I wouldn’t have worried. I have been buying from them for so many years, UK and US, and they have never once been problematic over dealing with any issues I have had.
            The frustration here is the simple price difference for the same product between Amazon US and Amazon UK, and the inability of Amazon US to ship the particular unit I want.
            I would just order the black from them, pay the £85 and be happy as (for out ‘n about) I was pleasantly surprised by their sound quality, but really, the super-glossy black plastic just looked awful! One is continuously handling one’s ‘phones, especially when out, moving them down ’round neck, back on ears etc etc and they did just look BAD covered with fingerprints. I’m not terrible ocd or anything, but I couldn’t be doing with that! Whereas the military green are virtually entirelly matte and so look hugely better.
            Never mind.
            Incidentally, even though I liked the sound quality of the Vektr more than I expected to, and would be very happy using them as my portable cans, the sound quality was nowhere compared to the JBL S700′s. They were something else! But a few very notable issues sadly meant I had to return them. Shame, as their basic sound, NOT using the added ‘sound enhancement’ thing, was fabulous. With that turned on though? Oh dear. Absolutely unlistenable, and I do wish there were a version of them without it, that were also actually portable.
            I ‘phoned JBL about a few things and they consider them to be portable ‘phones, but to me they are absolutely not. At full extension, they just, but only just, fit onto my ears, and then when moved down ’round the neck, they actually pushed my chin up!
            Anyway, another story.
            Thanks for your reply Dale.
            Maybe at some point the green Vektr’s will come down in price in the UK, or even elsewhere in Europe, but at the moment, there seems to be something fishy going on with the discrepancy between the US and UK pricing of these headphones.
            Be well.

            • dalethorn

              Looking at the U.S. Amazon page for the green Vektr, it says :
              “Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.”

              • Carl A

                Yes. Up until yesterday they were available for shipping only within the US.
                So yesterday, after unknowingly clinching a deal with the gods, so to say, I woke up this morning and what do I find, that now, today, they can be shipped here.
                Not bad really.
                Strange world – order then from US and pay postage and import duties and they cost £83.
                Order from Amazon UK and they cost £194.
                All is good.
                I’ve ordered a pair and look forward to receiving them, knowing what their sound is like, even within a very loud, busy, bar environment, just connected to an iPod Nano.

                • dalethorn

                  Good to hear. When you have a good idea how they sound, especially compared to other known headphones here, then report here what you find out. Thanks!

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      You question got through from the first time but I am not US based ;)

  • Vaibhav Pisal

    hi guys,
    have you used ifi audio products? I request you to include their reviews as well.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I’m sorry I have not used any, it’s not in the planning for now.

    • dalethorn

      Edd, the person who reviewed the v-moda M100 here on Headfonia, has covered the iFi products. I didn’t see anything in his reviews that made me want to order one, but to be fair, it seems like a competent product.

      • Vaibhav Pisal

        thanks. is article on headfonia or other site?

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          Other site I think

        • dalethorn

          I googled ifi dac amp and there is a lot to look at.

          • Vaibhav Pisal

            yup. I think I must’ve read it as I went through lot of reviews.

  • Lazer

    Is there a possible review of the KEF M500 being released in the near future?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Not that is planned Lazer, sorry

    • dalethorn

      I’ve looked into reviews of the 500 several times, and each time came away unsatisfied with the information. I get the idea the sound must be fairly bland, since I never got the idea it was something unique or exciting in the reviews.

  • Triaman Leo Chandra

    hi, have you ever use superlux HD681 EVO? i heard that they are great for their price range. I hope you can do review about it.

    • dalethorn

      I did a bunch of google searches and found this data on Amazon from one user:

      “It’s a good all-rounder and pretty sleek headphone, really pleasant tight bass, the velvet pads is a must.. took 1 star because the pads came dented in several points, bought from sonic sense. my EQ settings are: -5db for 31Hz, -7db 62Hz, -4db 125Hz, -1,4db 250Hz, 5,2db 1Khz, 5,5db 2Khz, -7db 4Khz, 3db 8Khz, -1db 16Khz

      Looks like a heavy bass, recessed upper mids, big spike at 4 khz, then smooth from there on up.

  • Marc

    Hey guys,

    What would be a good DAP or portable DAC that would serve as a good source upgrade in to the DACport LX?? Would the AK100 mkII or the CLAS beat the LX by a large margin? Anyone care for a comparison?

    Thanks everyone!!

  • Marc

    Hi guys,

    Right now I’m looking for a portable USB DAC (can be USB powered) or DAP (that can be used as an external DAC) as an upgrade to my Centrance DACport LX. This is going to be paired with my Duet and the CLAS would be my first option but it may prove to be too expensive considering I might still have to buy a newer gen iPod. Other choices would be the AK100 mkII as the AK120 would be out of my budget. Would anyone have a comparison between the three sound signature, technicalities, pairing synergy with the Duet. Your opinion matters greatly to me!!

    Thanks guys,

    Marc

  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

    Ask Edd or vmoda perhaps?

  • dalethorn

    You can order the plates, and you have to submit artwork (in jpeg form I think), so you’d have to edit the image you have to remove everything but the artwork and then submit that. Then they probably would do it unless they somehow knew it was someone else’s proprietary art.

  • Helmi

    Hi! Please help me choose the right one i should buy

    Budget : 100$
    Source : desktop, android phone.
    Isolation : I’ll use them mostly at home, it’s not really necessary.
    Preferred Type : i don’t care as long as it has a good sound
    Preferred Tonal balance : I don’t know, based on my preferred music i think i need all rounder
    Past Headphones : Just a cheap $5 local headphone
    Preferred Music : Mostly Classical, broadway music but sometimes i listen to rock, pop and many more

    • dalethorn

      Beyerdynamic DTX501p.

      • Helmi

        Thanks for the reply.

        Anyway…
        What is your opinion about

        1. Alessandro MS1
        2. Marshall Major i

        How good are these two headphones refer to my preferred music?

        • dalethorn

          I haven’t heard either one. Both are very well known though. The MS1 is a long term headfi favorite, and the Marshall Major I can only guess by the published response curves. The Marshall is so different from the Beyer, how could anyone compare them? I don’t know, since they’re not genre-specific. I can only tell you that I’ve had 2 of the Beyers, and they are the most hi-fi headphones I know of around $100.

  • Deskolim Cheong

    Hello everyone.. Great reviews!!! I have read some, and get the amazing low budget headphons that have very positive reviews. Want to have one from this 3. ATH M50, V-MODA M80 or Beyer DT770PRO LE 88th. Can anyone give me a suggestion… Thank you.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Of those 3 I think the best one is the dt770. The AE is not available anymore but the normal 32ohm version is.

  • dalethorn

    I reviewed the FAD Pandora IV(4) today at the usual places. I don’t know that it would merit attention here, since it’s at least 6 db brighter than the Senn HD800.

  • rich

    Hi, I am not against headphones listening. It has its important roles like for examples – portability, late night listening, cheaper entry points into quality listening etc. After getting this out of the way, let me start by saying that a proper hifi component stereo system is the way to go if a really immersive listening experience is desired. Listening to a good hifi stereo set up can immediately transfers the listener to a great concert hall etc. Staging, imaging, height and width are very apparent. It is my own experience that too many top headphones have a significant flaw in the treble region. It is just too bright. The drivers in headphones are often made of metal and metal rings, In main stream hifi, speakers are made from paper derivatives mainly. Just maybe the drivers in headphones should be redesigned to be of paper but this is not the speciality for us common folks. Also compared to main stream hifi, headphones listening is disadvantaged by the stuck in the middle of the head sound field. Yes some headphones are made with drivers slightly inclined towards the ear drums to simulate a real sound stage in front of the listener. But in the real world, this is not very significant solution. If some one can come up with a solution to make the sound field appears in front of the listener, headphones sales will spike thousands of times and will immediately go into mainstream hifi. In the meantime, many have a near field self powered speakers for listening in addition to headphones which is our great hobby here. Please do not slaughter the messenger. I only speaks the truth which cannot be stayed hidden for long.

    • dalethorn

      Get Audioforge or the equivalent and tune out the resonances or other colorations in your headphones, and then you’ll have an experience in sound that’s superior to your speakers. NOTE: I’m not saying that the headphone can immerse your body with the kind of impact that speakers provide – I’m only talking about sound.

      Since you feel that it’s important to compare speakers and headphones (I don’t think there’s necessarily a useful comparison), then that opens up the possibility that headphones are better – not just for portability or occasional use, but for all-the-time use for people who appreciate what headphones do.

      The headphones versus speakers debate has a great audience at some sites, but not at headphone sites like this. Everyone here already knows the story.

      • rich

        Thanks for your inputs. This topic is often debated in headfi.org and is relevant for all music lovers. Incidentally, Jude recommends a near field powered speakers in addition to headphones for a more complete listening pleasure.

        • dalethorn

          I don’t see it being relevant for most of the people I know, who aren’t semi-wealthy like Jude. Most of us live in small apartments where speakers aren’t usable, but the good news is after accomodating to headphones, many of us have learned better sound. I have owned some fine Stereophile recommended speakers, and I’ve belonged to the Audio Engineering Society and studied speaker and acoustics theory, and I can witness to the ways in which good headphones make a richer experience, not being distracted by the “body” experience.

          • Dave Ulrich

            I am with dalethorn completely. First, I have also learned better sound from using headphones. With even decent phones and equipment, you can hear deeper into the details of a (good) recording than with speakers. I also live in an apartment. Speakers, can’t use them. Heck, my wife even complains about my open back headphones. You have the money and space for speakers? Great! You prefer them to headphones? Great! But they are two very different ways to listen to music, and both have their strengths. I don’t see the point in comparing them. Plus, this is headfonia… it is in the title.

          • rich

            I respect your opinions and your credentials. Jude recommends the KEF X300A for near field listening. Therefore it does not need large apartments. It is also not costly say compared to a HD800,T1 or LCD 3. It is meant to be complimentary to headphones listening. You owned Stereophile’s recommended amp, speakers etc. Then you would be able to appreciate why thousands of people are into mainstream hifi. We cannot be blind to the limitations or weakness and strength of various formats to hifi listening. It is in knowing that we can appreciate the whole and not parts of the whole.

            • George Lai

              There is nothing wrong with having headphones and speakers, just like there is nothing wrong with having coffee and tea, an SUV and a two-door sports car. I’m surprised that if you were wondering into a coffee appreciation society meeting, you’d eschew the superior qualities of tea.

            • dalethorn

              It has nothing to do with large apartments. And mainstream hifi today in 2014 is headphones – read the numbers. Another thing is the myth about headphones sounding too “wide” as though the soundstage were too big because the left and right were made for speakers that blend better. Like most myths, some truth is there, but most is not because todays’s recordings are made with headphones in mind – not as accessories, but as the majority device that music is listened with. Even some of the very old recordings (the good ones like RCA Living Stereo) sound right with headphones because of the simple and natural micing techniques used.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      thank you for the comment but as the guys have stated I’m running a headphone site here. You sure are right about the things you’re saying, the use of the speakers vs headphones just is different. I use both at home myself.

  • Dave McBride

    Looking for a portable to use and keep in my laptop bag. Not critcal listening. Foldable would be nice. Have you heard AIAIAI Capital at all? Or what would you suggest?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      B&O H6 or Beyer T51p

      • Dave McBride

        Sorry, I did not mention budget about 100.00. Using Senn PX 200 II now but my daughter broke them!
        Thanks

        • dalethorn

          For $100 get a real hi-fi headphone like the Beyerdynamic DTX501p. It’s a big step up from the PX series.

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          PX100, PX200, Porta Pro, HD202

  • Alton Britt

    Dale or anyone—-What do you recommend for a light-weight portable headphone with a 3-button iPhone remote. I am considering the AKG K451 along with the Bose OE2i. Which of these would you recommend, or do you recommend something else? Mostly will use for walking/working out and light travel. Thank you for any response to my decision-making!

    • dalethorn

      I’d take the AKG, since it’s much cheaper and probably sounds better, and less likely to distort. But those connectors to the earcups look fragile (ditto the Bose), so when putting the headphone on or taking it off, use both hands. I’ve had a habit of grabbing one earcup to pull a headphone off when someone wants to talk to me when I’m listening, and it weakens some of those hinges/connectors and they eventually fail. I can’t think of anything better for circa $120 that has a 3-button control. I’ve had all of the Sennheiser PX series, but those are just toys compared to the 2 you mentioned, and they get overloaded pretty easily.

    • Alton Britt

      Thanks DT; you’re always so nice and polite, along with prompt with your responses! Forgetting the remote control, would the DXT590p be better for me? Also, your preference between the Senn HD280 and the ML Mikross 90, please? Thank you!

      • dalethorn

        The Mikros 90 bass is too lean even for neutral sound. The earcup swivel mechanism is very cheap and unstable. The HD280 has some recess in the bass making it unbalanced. The overall sound is great for $100 USD, but then comfort isn’t good and the earpads are awful. The DTX501p is a great sound – nearly ideal bass and only a soft treble to nitpick – I think most people who buy it are surprised at how hifi it is.

        • Alton Britt

          Thanks again DT!! Today, I ordered used versions of the AKG K451 and the Beyer 501p to try both out! Appreciate your help!! Got the Beyer DT990Pro/250 coming also to use in-home with Fiio E11 amp. What would be a good DAC to order for above? I realize now that I should have gotten an amp/dac combo but just ordered the amp instead. Oh well; live and learn, although I haven’t a clue as to how to use a DAC!!!

          • dalethorn

            The FiiO DAC/amps are low cost so it would be better not to get a separate DAC until you’re ready to spend a lot. The E07k is a very good DAC/amp.

  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

    Did you just really post a link to head-fi and asked for our help?
    The minimum would be to repeat your question here mate ;)

  • g.

    Okay, apologies, it’s a long post explaining my situation so I thought a link would be more convenient. I’ll copy paste here:

    My current heaphones are knock offs of Sony MDR V6, so I was looking into something decent. My budget is limited, and my choices are as well, because I live in Argentina, so many good cans might not be available, and buying outside the country is a nightmare (products stolen, having to pay huge fees to get it in,
    etc).

    So all I can do is browse local sites and compare prices there (in pesos). The main site is this: http://www.mercadolibre.com.ar/

    Since I don’t have much to go on in terms of experience, I browsed a post with recommendations in Head-Fi and searched for all those cans in the site I just mentioned. These were the ones I found:

    $185 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-485383585-koss-auriculares-ur55-studio-_JM
    $395 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-491354019-auriculares-koss-portapro-_JM
    $425 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-484864058-auriculares-phillips-oneil-the-stretch-red-sho956010-_JM Do these actually sound good? They seem gimmicky
    $477 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-487091477-auricular-cerrado-para-moviles-beyerdynamic-dt-235-_JM
    $477 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-484996413-auricular-beyerdynamic-dtx-300-_JM
    $888 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-485386840-koss-pro-dj-100-auriculares-estereo-profesional-dj-_JM

    Those are the ones I could find that fit within my budget (around
    $900 tops). Just for reference, the Sennheiser HD25-1 II cost over
    AR$2000 and the HD202 are around $300-400.

    I mostly listen to classical music, prog rock, and jazz (and Dawn of Midi, which I can’t put into a genre).

  • dalethorn

    Your selections include the very poorly made and easily broken Beyer DTX300 and the very well-made Philips Stretch. But to cover all the issues and the sound qualities would take a year. But only a year if all the reviews were in one place and condensed without any extra chat. On headfi you would have to read through all the many pages of commentary, so figure 2 years for that. Or — you could go to Amazon and click on the reviews, then sort by most recent first, and then you would be reading the reader/user reviews first and skipping the manufacturer house reviews which are nearly always posted first. That’s where you should start, and get your list down to your 2 or 3 best choices.

  • g.

    Thank you for the reply. There aren’t a lot of places where you can test a variety of headphones around where I live. I’ll go to a store next week but it’s safe to assume I won’t find all these options. I’ve also checked the headphones recommended here and most are either not available or way too expensive, with the exception of the HD202 and the Koss Portapro. I will check the amazon reviews as well.

  • dalethorn

    I think the 202 and Porta-Pro are both good for sound, but in my experience the Koss will need occasional repair.

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