Has Anybody Got High Quality Headphones For Home Listening?

Cletus Van Damme

Previously known as Cheesney Hawks
I currently live in a rented house, detached, middle of nowhere. I got this because I couldn’t find a house to buy after selling my own. I upgraded my speakers and amp to make the most of the situation. The hifi sounds completely awesome. It’s made me want to buy a detached house, but that means more debt. I can buy an attached house and have very little or no debt, but I’ll miss the hifi at high volumes.

I just wondered can decent headphones ever compare to good speakers? This would be a cheaper way, get smaller speakers, and good cans. I know you have the advantage of not to have to deal with the room altering the acoustics that speakers suffer from. I just find it hard to believe that headphones will have the scale or openness of good speakers. But then again I don’t know as the best I have heard are Grado SR80e Prestige series. These are good for around £90, but they are not as good as my Kef R500 speakers. I am thinking of some Sure closed back headphones for around £400 or others in that price range. I’ll probably need a headphone amp too. I need to audition them.

Then again I have cash in the bank, if these buffoons keep on the way they are with this boring Brexit sh1te, I’ll maybe end up with a bargain detached house. I can’t see this though, as the country is built on debt, house prices falling would ruin a lot of people.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
I had some excellent Sennheiser headphones, hardly ever used em and ended up selling them,

Paul from PS audio (Paul & Stan were the founders of the company) might waffle on a bit but the company make some very high end kit.

Here's his take.

View: https://youtu.be/eN9GmNYd_tY
 

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
I bought a pair of Philips SHP9500s off ebay for £50-odd incl delivery, and I have to say they absolutely stun me every time I use them. You can hear saxophonists inhale. The sound stage is astonishing, and the clarity on a par with my Leema Acoustics speakers.I know, they're Philips. Which I've always thought meant properly nailed together, but not at the leading edge for performance. Well, I suggest you hunt down a pair and prepare to be amazed. And if you don't believe me, try:

"I just received my SHP9500's from Philips, after seeing Zeos' raving review I had to see if there was something to it. I'm a sceptic by nature so I wasn't expecting anything special, I even wondered for a second if Zeos was paid to talk them up so glowingly (sorry Zeos, I will never doubt you again), there was no way $70 Philips cans could be that good.

But blow me sideways they are. Amazeballs confirmed. Even before any burn-in had a chance to happen I fell in love. A massive explosion of the endorphin kind took place, even a little one in the trousal area, then a while later doubt, am I having a case of confirmation bias here? I had to take out the rest of my headphones and do a direct comparison.

First off were the HD800. Yeah I know, not fair. But the 9500's remind me of them much more than I wanted to believe, so I had to check. Yep. The 800's were clearly better, but omg they were a lot closer than I liked. Just having paid $1000 for the 800's made me feel a bit daft. And made me question the sanity of all of us headphiles. Sure, they lack a little of the microdetails, and the texture on the instruments is a little rougher, but the sound stage I enjoy so much on the 800? Almost as good on the 9500. Treble is a tad rolled back, but it has a nice sparkle to it when needed. Mids are fine. Not forwards or laid back. Neutral. Bass is great. Not quite as good as the HE-560 but close, could it be better than the bass on the 800? I think it is. Only the sub-bass isn't quite there.

Comparing to HD650: I prefer the 9500. The HD650 sounds veiled compared to the 9500, and the bass is similar. Sound stage much better on the 9500. Comparing to K701: Woah they're outclassed by the 9500's, they sound thin and weak, and can't handle sound pressure very well. Nice for jazz and classical, but the 9500's can be used for anything I think.

Comfort: Yes. Muchly. I'm wearing them right now you say? Are you sure?

Portability: Well they're open so no, no portability to speak off. But they're very efficient, my FIIO X5 drives them well without the E12 amp I normally have to use. Even the Sansa Clip Zip drives these cans very well, can't max out the volume.

Negatives: They don't synergize well with the FIIO X5 imho, it makes them sound cheap and a little tinny. With the Asgard 2 it's amazing. They make me feel like an idiot for buying headphones in the $300-1500 range.

They've instantly made the current mid-fi trio obsolete. They're just as good as HD650/600, the K700 family and the Beyers but only cost a pittance. If there's any fairness in this world, they will change the game for headphone manufacturers, they'll have to lower the price of all their >$70 headphones to compete. Even the HD700 will have to become much cheaper.

Best of all, I bought them because I was curious, but also because I needed some expendables. Some that are cheap enough that I don't mind falling asleep wearing them. I'm sometimes so scared of damaging or scratching the HD800's that I don't use them as much, but these are perfect expendables, damage them? No biggie, order new ones. Better get spares while were at it. I have a feeling these are gonna shoot up in price soon."


Having quoted which, it's only fair to report that some follow up posts are less enthusiastic, citing in particular a lack of bass. I guess at least part of the full story is the kind of music you like to listen to. For me, listening largely to be-bop, they've been a revelation.

PS I also bought some Sennheiser PXC450s - needed closed ear cans for out 'n about. They're fine. But for sound quality not a patch on the Philips.
 
OP
Cletus Van Damme

Cletus Van Damme

Previously known as Cheesney Hawks
Raleighnut I think that's what I had already had in my mind about headphones what Paul is saying in that interesting video. I still need to listen to a really good set though. With a good set of speakers, sat in a central position, I feel as though the speakers aren't there, it's a great sound-stage.

That's interesting Swee'pea I like a bargain. I know they do exist. I'll maybe take a punt on some of them, it's not a lot of money at all..
 

Heltor Chasca

Out-riding the Black Dog
Speakers and headphones are a completely different experience. I have Celestion speakers in Apple wood which are awesome. I also have a couple of Sennheiser headphones. Momentum (closed) and HDR 130 (open) It really depends on my mood and what the kids are doing as to which option I go with.

For work and turbo bike sessions I use Apple Airpods or Beats X in ear buds.
 

Daddy Pig

Veteran
I guess it depends on what you want your headphones for. If it is listening at home, look at open back options, they typically lend to a wider soundatage.
As a teenager was not allowed headphones but did have some sennheiswr 540 reference and they were amazing. These days I have Bose quietcomfort with noise cancelling. Better detail but still not the open soundstage of the sennheisers.
I tend to use them for travel and drowning the kids out when working from home so they are my chosen option.
 
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 over-ear (wired). Domestic harmony has reigned ever since I bought them. :smile:

Only gripe is that the cable they come with is quite short (1.4m), but longer third-party ones are available.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
A good set of headphones can definitely sound as good as a set of speakers, it won't have the visceral feeling in the low end, but most of my music listening these days comes through a set of cans rather than speakers - part of the realities of cohabiting.

I currently have a set of Beyerdynamic DT880s - I far prefer open back to closed - the way the headphones sit on my head was a huge factor as I can be listening for 8-10 hours at a stretch if I'm working. I'm a huge fan, one of the best things you can do though if you are moving to a headphone based setup is to get a decent headphone amp - again you don't have to spend a fortune I've got a Creek headphone amp I've had for the better part of 20 years.

I also highly rate the Sennheiser HD600 series headphones - again quite comfortable, but I prefer the sound from the DT880s. Best bet to a greater or lesser extent is to try and find somewhere you can try a few headphones out and see what you think.
 
OP
Cletus Van Damme

Cletus Van Damme

Previously known as Cheesney Hawks
I also highly rate the Sennheiser HD600 series headphones - again quite comfortable, but I prefer the sound from the DT880s. Best bet to a greater or lesser extent is to try and find somewhere you can try a few headphones out and see what you think.
I keep reading loads about the Sennheiser HD600. Interesting about the DT880's though. It is definitely better to audtion them though. Yes I was thinking of an amp too. I would probably try them on my integrated amp first, Arcam FMJ A39. But I have a feeling its headphone amp won't be as good as it is with speakers..
 

tony111

Veteran
I’m another fan of the Bose noise cancelling headphones, even the music on you tube thro the i pad sounds great.
 
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