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Let's Talk Headphones (1 Viewer)

Cameron Yee

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Headphones seem to be a neglected topic on this site, for some obvious, but also not so obvious, reasons. But I think it's time we change that!


With the recent Black Friday sales I know a few of us got some good deals on highly rated headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which I've found nicely balanced with a moderate level of low end bias. A friend let me try out the V-Moda Crossfade m100, which I found pretty enjoyable for their slightly more punchy bass, that also manages to maintain clarity in the vocals.


Up until recently, I've dabbled in cheap, "bang for the buck" headphones from Monoprice, Panasonic and Koss. I still have a soft spot for these low-price performers and doubt I'll ever shell out more than a couple hundred for a pair of headphones or earphones.


Also, Beats are basically the Bose and/or Monster of headphones.
 

dpippel

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Headphones have been a habit of mine for years although I never use them for home theater, only for music. I have the ATH-M50x as my office cans along with a Schiit Magni Uber/Modi Uber mini-stack DAC/amp combo and its very nice indeed. My home rig is the Sennheiser HD 600 coupled with a Bottlehead Crack+Speedball OTL tube amp coupled with a Channel Islands Audio VDA-2 DAC and VDA-1 power supply, and it is sweet tupelo honey audio nirvana! Why? Long ago I made the mistake of hanging out regularly at Head-Fi and ended up paying the price - literally! ;)
 

Cameron Yee

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The only place I really use headphones is at work. I'm using an M-Audio MobilePre as a USB pre-amp. I don't know if it makes a difference, but it looks cool. :D


If I use headphones at home it's for functional reasons, like not wanting to disturb the rest of my family while they sleep.
 

Cameron Yee

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For about a decade I've had a pair of Sennheiser 497s. I was always annoyed by the length of the (proprietary) cable, which could be removed, but didn't come in other lengths. I finally chopped it down to 2' and brushed up on my soldering skills. The ear pads had to be replaced a few years ago because the pleather finish was flaking off. The headband pad had a similar problem, but that can't be replaced so I've just let it run its course. They are a decent sounding, all-purpose headphone, but the main reason I still have them is they are the only ones that adjust to fit my toddler's head. And she is super cute wearing them. :)
 

Sam Posten

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I really like my combo of the Monoprice tube amp and my Sennheisser 598. My amp is being RMAd because the bluetooth module is faulty but it sounds pretty damn amazing when using the wire lines, hoping the new one with fixed BT sounds just as good wirelessly.
 

dpippel

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Speaking of headphone amplifiers, here are some pics of my Bottlehead Crack with the Speedball option right after I completed it. The Crack is a kit amplifer, but I had someone I know do the soldering. I did the finishing work on the cabinet. I'm using a different power tube now (the large one) and have upgraded the stock plastic volume knob with a much nicer black0anodized knurled aluminum piece, but you get the idea:


Crack-1.jpg



Crack-2.jpg



Crack-4.jpg
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Ended up picking up a pair of Sennheiser HD600 myself during the holiday shopping season -- and gave the Audio-Technica M40x I also bought to my son instead.


This basically replaces an old, rather worn-out Sennheiser semi-open set -- LOL, I can't even remember the model number offhand now, but it was definitely in the $100-or-less range from over a decade ago. :P


Since I officially work from home nowadays, I expect to use them pretty regularly... although I still need to figure out a good setup to drive them (and whether I might throw a dedicated player like my old Denon DVD-2910 into the mix, which unfortunately stopped working for redbook CDs a long while back).


I also still have a pair of Sennheiser px200i that I like using on-the-go mainly w/ my phone (as it has mic/phone functions... and I'm no fan of in-ear phones).


Anyway, for a short bit there, I was thinking I might try moving my low-end Yammy AVR (RXV663), which I've been using as a prepro in my HT rig, to my home-office area to use w/ my new HD600s and maybe a basic stereo setup (and maybe the old Denon 2910 for SACDs) since it seems to drive those cans very well. Was thinking I would try using my Oppo 103 to drive the surround power amp directly since it seems to have all the necessary functionality to do so (and I don't really have any other source components in the HT anymore), but sounds like the Oppo's variable audio output is probably not quite good enough for that -- I might still give it a try for my own edification, but will have low-to-no-real expectations. So I'm starting to consider acquiring a modest prepro for the HT instead -- it was something in the backburner before -- maybe a used Emotiva UMC-something off eBay or something.


Too bad the ancient pre-digital Rotel prepro I still have lying around collecting dust doesn't have headphone output or I might try that instead of the Yammy AVR for regular use w/ the new cans.


Of course, there's also the option to just get a dedicated head amp (and maybe DAC) setup, but given the $ I'd likely need to spend and how/where I'll be using these cans (and how none of those DACs seem designed for DSD playback from a dedicated player), figured I'd consider those other options as well...


Doug's rig (for the same cans) certainly looks tempting... but I'm probably not ready to go that far (yet), hehheh... :P


_Man_
 

Jim Mcc

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I bought the Sennheiser HD598 on Black Friday for $95. Excellent sound and super roomy/comfy.

The best I've found under $50 are the Koss KSC75. I've got 2 of those.
 

dpippel

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ManW_TheUncool said:
Of course, there's also the option to just get a dedicated head amp (and maybe DAC) setup, but given the $ I'd likely need to spend and how/where I'll be using these cans (and how none of those DACs seem designed for DSD playback from a dedicated player), figured I'd consider those other options as well...


Doug's rig (for the same cans) certainly looks tempting... but I'm probably not ready to go that far (yet), hehheh... :P


_Man_

Come on _Man_, you KNOW you want to do it! ;)
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Come on _Man_, you KNOW you want to do it! ;)

I might be ready to pull the trigger on that Bottlehead Crack + Speedball now if I didn't have to build it myself -- no soldering experience nor the tools here :P -- although the DIY idea does sound appealing on some level...



Looks pretty cool, but did you see Sam's latest post in his related thread? :wacko:

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4358724/

_Man_
 
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dpippel

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I'd suggest checking out the classifieds over at Head-fi. Not only can you usually run across a great deal on a used Crack+Speedball, there are a couple of users there who WERE doing Crack build jobs for a nominal fee.
 

KevinJ

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My main headphones for at home and on the go are Grado SR125e's.I have a pair of Sennheiser HD485's as my back ups and a pair of Sennheiser CX 400 II's in case something happens to the other 2 pairs.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I'd suggest checking out the classifieds over at Head-fi. Not only can you usually run across a great deal on a used Crack+Speedball, there are a couple of users there who WERE doing Crack build jobs for a nominal fee.

Looks like there are 2 new postings plus an old one for used Crack+Speedballs over there -- (the lowest asking price, stock) one even for local pickup in NYC. I contacted one (non-local) seller (before the NYC local pickup seller posted), but still ended up springing for a mfr refurbed Emotiva UMC-200 unit off eBay (at a pretty good price) just yesterday...

_Man_
 

Mike Frezon

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OK...headphone experts.

I've mentioned in a couple other threads across the forum that I'm heading into semi-retirement soon and will, thus, be home more. So while thinking I might be able to catch up on a backlog of movie watching, there's a hitch. My wife, Peg, works from home and will continue working and her work space and the HT are just a few feet away from each other.

So in the absence of setting up another HT elsewhere in our small house (which would probably still lead to distracting noise for someone who is trying to write and compose thoughts for her living)...headphones seem to be the cheap, easy and effective way to go.

I've currently got my sights on a pair of Sennheiser RS 175s.

I'm open to any feedback on these or other suggestions.

The RF wireless technology with these gets raves (much better than Bluetooth). I like the closed-back design. It is said they leak very little audio so, hopefully, wouldn't disturb Peg while she's working. The price is about as high as I'd want to go.

It is suggested that they connect to the optical audio out on my TV (which is a 2012 Panasonic plasma which has one). I had assumed I'd be connecting it to my audio receiver. But my receiver (a Denon X2000) has neither an optical out or 3.5mm jack out. It only has a 1/4" headphone jack on the front of the unit or RCA stereo outs on back. I suppose I could get the appropriate adapter to make either of those receiver options work...but all material/reviews point to connecting these headphones to the TV audio out.

So that's the one main question I have. Does that make sense to do in an HT environment? I'm not using my Panny for any audio currently. All my sources (Oppo disc player, DVR, Apple 4kTV) connect to the Denon which outputs to the TV. So it seems "backwards" to take audio off the TV...but all those sources connecting to the receiver via HDMI and then the receiver connecting to the TV via HDMI and then using an optical audio out from the TV should still mean a good all-digital audio circuit, right?

Any feedback would be appreciated. I'm a headphone newbie. Thanks.
 
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Peter Apruzzese

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Assuming the wireless base will take an analog input via a 3.5mm jack, I would simply get a 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter and use the receiver's headphone out. If your Denon works like mine, it's not outputting audio to the Panny via HDMI and you'd have to go into the Denon setup menu to turn on HDMI audio out every time since turning on HDMI audio out turns off the amplifier (at least it does on my Denon).

EDIT - in which case, you might just as well go with a wired headphone unless your equipment and seating aren't conducive to it.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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Yeah, if wired headphones are acceptable, I'd probably go for something like Audiotechnica ATH-M40x or M50x for substantially less and just drive them from the Denon receiver's headphone out instead.

Those Sennheiser wireless do seem to have certain advantages, including being able to run 2 pairs off the same module (and input signal), but that may or may not matter to you...

_Man_
 

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