AUDIO FORUMS >> Headphones >> Headphones and low end enjoyment

Message started by Jeff1 on 12/07/17 at 23:43:51

Title: Headphones and low end enjoyment
Post by Jeff1 on 12/07/17 at 23:43:51

I am sure I am opening a can of worms regarding speakers vs headphones. I am finding my interest leaning to headphones. My philosophy about investment is quality vs quantity. I would most likely forego my current amp and speakers  and just take the headphone dive if I was able to justify the enjoyment factor as much. How are you finding the low end with phones as opposed to speakers moving large amounts of air and adding a physical push of bass lines? I am all in on the acceptance that the mids are potentially better using of course the amp and headphone /amp combo from here. However I have used phones in the past and just do not get that "you are there" feeling. My listening levels are say comfortable not excessively loud so wondering what opinions or experiences may be found here. If your equipment isn't listed let me know what you are or like using.

Title: Re: Headphones and low end enjoyment
Post by 4krow on 12/08/17 at 01:54:38


 I would have had the same issue not that long ago about bass and other issues as well. I couldn't believe how much headphones have improved over the years. I own a few sets of phones, so that may well tell you how my opinion has changed. So far, I have: Hi-Fi Man HD400S planar phones; Great and accurate bass, to my surprise, and much more...... ZMF ORI planar phones as sold by Decware; Probably my favorites in most ways, including that deep bass that you ask for...... Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 dynamic phones; Wonderful if you don't like cords, but no match for the first two. Having said that, they also have decent bass, if not on par with the first two phones...... Grado SR225i dynamic phones. A bit bright for my taste, yet, marry well with certain amps.
So, I bring up amps.... Yes I do for a very good reason. The re is NO small difference between each amp that I own and it's marriage with the phones described. Oh boy, here we go. My favorite amp is a headphone amp design by John Broskie. It is built up with a tremendous power supply, some fairly rare automotive radio tubes, used as radio frequency oscillators, and uses an output device that is normally used as a voltage regulator. The result is nothing that I have ever heard before in a headphone amp. Slam is the biggest, but not the most important word. Bass control, midrange accuracy, and a not too in your face treble, make it unbeatable. Next is the Decware rachel amp that is normally used for speakers, but also sounds incredibly musical with phones. Of course, there is my Xenos SS headphone amp that holds it's own in it's category. Good for the Grados.  Lastly, I have DAC/Head amp by Xian Sheng that is heavily modified. Great DAC, not bad for a SS amp either. So the story could well continue on, but you can now see that all of this equipment was bought and kept ON PURPOSE, in some preference to speakers and the room acoustics involved. More later, less sooner.

Title: Re: Headphones and low end enjoyment
Post by Tommy Freefall on 12/22/17 at 20:28:15

4krow, I've been very curious about the ZMF phones. How do you like your ORIs? How does its sound differ from your Grados?

Title: Re: Headphones and low end enjoyment
Post by 4krow on 12/25/17 at 20:51:31

The ORI phones are a different animal than the Grado phones. The only reason that I would say that each has it's purpose is because of the possible arrangement with a certain headphone system. So, that means that the Grados are often relegated to SS amps, or in the shop for troubleshooting a problem. The ORI phones are in a completely different category for serious listening through my Aikido tube amp.
The difference in sound and presentation is that the Grados are much brighter and more sensitive. They have good bass and good midrange as well. Their presentation is much more forward sounding than the ORI phones. The ORI phones, when played through either the Decware Rachel, or the Aikido  amp have richness and more layed back presentation of the music. Bass is quite impactful, but also very deep. treble is less forward and yet quite detailed. Don't forget that I also own a set of Hi-Fi Man HD400S phones that are also planar type. They give yet another presentation of the music, and so, it can become a choice of whether I want to listen to a certain recording this way or the other.

Title: Re: Headphones and low end enjoyment
Post by Matthew on 03/09/18 at 06:00:25

I can tell you from my own experience, your source is very important with headphones.  I use a soundcard for listening on my PC.  The most recent switch I did was to move from a Creative Labs X-Fi Extreme Music card to an older, M-Audio Delta 410, and the difference is night and day, the quality being on the M-Audio card.  I use a Yamaha C-65 Pre-amplifier as a headphone amplifier.  My guestimation (After reseraching the IC resonsible for powering headphones, in this amp) is that I am receiving around 300mW using my 24-Ohm Sony MDR-V700's.  The soundstage is amazing, with great separation.  As Steve has mentioned, many a times, using a great combo of equipment is very revealing--and shows you how good or bad a recording is.  I've been suddenly, very disappointed with some of my favorite albums because the recording is so imbalanced and harsh, whereas I find new appreciation for albums I didn't care for as much because I can suddenly hear more instruments, more voices, more everything which gives me renewed respect for the recording and the work that went into it.

By the way, OP what combination of parts were you using in your example of headphone listening?


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