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Hi-Fi Headphones

 
 
McTag
 
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 03:59 am
I have got a problem choosing a headphone for domestic use. I have an old Sony set which are very good, but now need replacing. Does anyone have any technical knowledge, and willingness to enter a discussion about this? I have just bought a BeyerDynamic pair, and am not 100% happy.
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,238 • Replies: 12

 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 04:32 am
@McTag,
I use the Sennheiser PXC 450. They are battery powered noise cancelling headphones and I like them quite well. They fit over, instead of on the ears, and can be used without noise cancellation if the batteries. Of course, they have their own volume control.

With my asymmetrical hearing problem, I would really prefer that each side had its own volume control, but such is not to be. I'm no audiophile, but I seem to recall they were recommended by Ragman who knows a lot of stuff like that. No regrets, and I wish I could talk tech with you. Maybe someone else.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 06:57 am
@McTag,
I like Sennheiser and AKG the most (for different reasons). The sound is natural, the high freqs are not overly bright (common for headphones) and particularly with AKG the bass is very good and doesn't blow your head off with boominess or tubby or flabby sound. Sennheisers can be comfier for some folks and often feel lighter on the ear but AKGs aren't bad. Put a pair on for more than 5 mins and yo 'll get the drift.

With both, they last and the drivers and coils don't go bad so quickly. In fact I've never blown a driver on my AKG (K240).
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Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 07:30 am
@McTag,
Are you finding the BeyerDynamic headphones a bit heavy on the ear? Or are you suffering from listening fatigue?

I find the best music to test the sound of headphones to be strings..particularly the cello, if you like classical music. Also when you listen to the female voice...with an acoustic/non-electric backing. If the voice sounds like the sound is coming from a real person, there is far more listenable sound and less ear fatigue.

Some headphones sound good for 5 mins and then you get turned off due to the sibilance of the highs..or the mushy crowded sound in the middle freqs (voices and pianos) where everything crashes together and soundstage collapses into an indistinguishable mess.
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Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 07:50 am
@McTag,
Oh, and one more thing: as with any speakers, headphones or electronic listening device, there's a burn-in period..say...like 5-10 hours...where the sounds can sweeten (if it's going to). Sometimes harsh sounds can round out in that 5-10 hr period and become very worthy.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 08:21 am
@Ragman,
And some headphones, like BeyerDynamic Custom One Pro may need as much as 40-50 hours to sounds j-u-s-s-s-t right.

Here's a review of their expensive customizable headphone pair:

http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/beyerdynamic-custom-one-pro/4505-7877_7-35512487.html

Here's a good cross-section of expert reviews of various types of very good headphone pairs:
(Note: there's a good review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones. They're awesome headphone mfr)
http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones-reviews/

0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:03 am
@McTag,
lastly, (I think), if I were trying out phones I'd only use a decent hi-fidelity amplifier and/or electronics. Some listeners forget that important step and damn themselves to poor sonics due to using an under-powered or low-fidelity source (or a device such as smart-phone or MP3-player). I'll assume that (with your being a musician and all) you have a pretty decent sounding amp to use to test out the phones.

Would I be correct in assuming you want big-boy headphones and not high-quality earbuds or light-weight ones?
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:17 am
@Ragman,
Thanks for these thoughtful replies. I need volume, lots of it, because my natural hearing is poor. My Sony headphones deliver the power I want, but they are falling to bits after about 25-or-so years. I use them mainly for TV at home, sometimes through an intermediate amplifier (Cambridge Audio).
The Beyerdynamic ones sound clear and clean but they only deliver about half, if that, of the volume of the Sony ones. So I have to turn up the amp or the volume, which can introduce distortion.

The old Sony ones are MDR-V700 (which is not a current model of course)
The new Beyerdynamic ones are DT 770 PRO headphones

I'd like to get a headphone of power equivalence to my old ones.

(btw the new ones have a resistance of 250 Ohms, however there is an an optional model of 80 Ohms resistance. Is this a factor?)
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:38 am
@McTag,
Ok..that could help me narrow it down for you. I just want to ascertain for your sake that you don't just need a sturdy better newer pair that are reasonable. High fidelity and higher price often go together...but I don't want to glaze you over if that's not of your main concerns.

Some listening room questions:
Do you hear fairly well orchestral or jazz music in real life at a live concert or when you play or listen to a small group or as a musician? Do you hear your speakers in living room fairly well? How is your hearing relative to say your wife or another listener? Does she shrink her nose up when you contour the music to suit you (besides the louder volume)?

So, what might need qualifying is whether or not your hearing loss is uniformly distributed or tending (like many of us 'mature' males) to have a notch missing from the high frequencies? Typically us over-'60s, or urban dwellers who may have heard loud music or industrial noise with regularity, are missing just beyond, say the 10khz mark.

However, let's move on past this for a moment and assume you're just loss of hearing is distributed uniformly across the audio spectrum - e.g - hearing music only with a lower volume issue.

Specs
I wouldn't focus on the resistance spec as much as the sensitivity spec. I'll explain:
Let's assume your old Sony's were sensitive in the range of sound pressure level of 92-96 db when driven by a 1 watt signal. That is considered relatively easy demand on the amp and moderate-to-very full sounding sound pressure or volume level to the ear. Whereas many of new designs are sensitive to the level of 96 db level when driven by 1 watt, that is far better than say 90-92 db. FYI, because db are a logarithmic measure, 3 db is heard as a doubling of volume. so, 96 db is awesome, 92 dBs is decent ..whereas with a 90 dB pair, you could perceive as perhaps too soft. Get the drift?

Anyhow, as I sift through the specs (if they're accurate), I can name a few that are quite sensitive. But I'll let you steer me with answers so I am not wasting your time or glazing you over.

{edit: academic research on hearing loss indicates some notable high freq loss over age 60 at around 6-8 khz, not as I wrote earlier at the band above 10khz: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802451/ }
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 10:06 am
@Ragman,
FWIW, your current model of Sony's claim a sensitivity spec of 107 db...incredibly efficient. Not sure of the older iteration, though. Whereas the BD model claims a spec of 96 db...which is still moderately efficient by today's standards. Assuming some sort of technical accuracy issues with that amazing spec might be skewing the 107 db claim, that could be why you're hearing a big difference in relative volume.

However, all of this might be way overkill unless the source of what you are listening to is close listening music or movies with lots of musical interludes, etc. TV dialogue alone would just need reasonable efficient headphones.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 10:41 am
@Ragman,
It's a beautiful thing when A2k lives up to its "ask an expert" name....
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 03:49 pm
@boomerang,
What Boom said, and I'll come back when I've digested this. Bedtime here.

Thanks a lot.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 04:32 pm
@McTag,
You're welcome. I was not trying to glaze you over with too much info (I swear it).

My desire was to provide you with an alternative simpler purchase decision path based on your actual need for middle fidelity phones vs higher fidelity, which is more dependent on your ability to benefit from the added performance and the quality of the source material.
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