Author Topic: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?  (Read 620 times)

Offline pandaattack

Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« on: July 05, 2018, 11:50:25 AM »
ahem, open back does not equal bare back here, I hope....

Hey guys!

I discovered the forum this morning, and have since been eagerly and patiently waiting for my account activation. This be my first post...

A little background, to better understand my needs;

When I was a wee little boy, my dad spoiled me with a Beats By Dre Studio set when they just came out. Those beats along with my ipod shuffle was used as my sword and shield against depression. I owe a lot to that pair of headsets...

Fast forward a few years... I decided to dabble a bit in better headphones and went to my closest audio shop, asked around and went home with a AKG k271 mkii closed headphones. Happy camper. As a supreme rookie in audio; the mids were clear, highs were good and I realised what I had missed with the beats all those years. Lately, they feel very 'flat'... I struggle to distinguish instrument locations in certain songs... I often find myself listening intensely to some great songs, and thinking, is THAT it? I hope this is due to my equipment, and not a lack of ability to hear good music... The later would suck, but save me a bunch of dollah dollah.  :moron: Eventually it ends up in a frustrating listening experience, and I wish I could sit and listen to music for hours on end like I used to when I was still naive and ignorant.

About two weeks ago I bought a set of Bose SoundTrue over ears, to use as a travel set. I am happy with these. Super light, super comfy and fit in my laptop bag. I can easily wear them for a few hours without any fatigue.

And here we are today. I have a friend who is somewhat of an "audiophile", who owns an array of entry to mid range headphones. I listened to his Brainwavz HM5. BIG MISTAKE! It felt like I had sunk my head into a comfortable leather sofa, or a box full of the softest feathers known to man. I also loved the sound they made compared to the AKGs I already have... After watching a bunch of reviews on youtube, I pulled the trigger as I wanted a closed set to use at work anyway. So, new brainwavz pads for the AKG, pads for the beats (I keep them pristine, due to the sentimental value they hold.) and an HM5 equivalent (seems there are many sets with the same comfort and drivers), all ordered from Amazon and on their way hopefully later today.

I then proceeded to spend the rest of my evening watching youtube videos and reading reddit posts on hi-fi headphones. In the early ours of this morning, I decided that I need, want and WILL have a pair of decent open back headphones. Now I realise, as with any hobby, decent is a very bad word to 'describe' what one wants. I also seem to require some form of DAC or AMP to drive said open headphones...

What do you guys recommend I need to look at? I'm willing to drop a humble R5000.00 to get my foot into the door. Along with the HM5 and Bose sets, this will put me over 10k on audio over the last few weeks. I would have pointed and laughed at someone spending so much for a piece of metal and some magnets a month or so ago. Yet, here I am.

I am a complete rookie to hi-fi sound, and obviously have a lot to learn here. I am a snob when it comes to things my hands touch on a regular basis, I have expensive mechanical keyboards and I spend way too much money on genuine leather EDC items. I hate cheaply made things, so I'm not sure how bad that will influence what I am willing to buy here?  :thinking:

TL;DR:

I want a set of open back headphones. I have a bout 5k to spend, including a DAC if needed? I don't mind buying used, I don't mind buying on Amazon.

Shower me with your thoughts and suggestions!

Reddit seems to point fingers at the Beyerdynamic DT 990...  :envy: No idea?

Do I buy an 'expensive' DAC and save for better headphones? Do I buy headphones that will sound great on my Mac to get started, and then upgrade as time goes? So many options...
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 12:17:21 PM by pandaattack »
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline Revv

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 12:13:39 PM »
Look for decent second hand items on this forum, you can get good advice, good prices and great products for your budget, I would definitely say DAC and 'phones, midrange Sennheisers HD595/598 would be a good start, DAC's there's so many to choose from, sure Scubadude and Thomas24 will better be able to comment.

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 12:24:18 PM »
Thanks Revv!

I managed to cancel the HM5 equivalents on Amazon. Guessing I can use the AKG closed set at work when the undecided new set arrives, and add that ~100$ to my open back + DAC/Amp thingy investment.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 12:33:42 PM by pandaattack »
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline Doge

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Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 02:23:11 PM »
Used Sennheiser HD600 and anything with enough to voltage to make go, even if you don't like them, skipping these cans will have you spiralling in meh for too long.

Offline Scubadude

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Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 02:35:26 PM »
Used HD600 or 650 plus something like the Nuprime uDSD would pretty much be my recommendation. However it depends on your taste in music and sound signature. Welcome to pop in some time ... I have a few cans you can try.
"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 02:39:45 PM »
Used HD600 or 650 plus something like the Nuprime uDSD would pretty much be my recommendation. However it depends on your taste in music and sound signature. Welcome to pop in some time ... I have a few cans you can try.

Ooooh, where are you based kind sir? I might take you up on that offer.

I did much more reading, had a spreadsheet of a few cans in my price range on amazon... Then the list became super long, so I scratched that idea... Then the thought popped into my head to get a cheap 50$ set with good reviews, upgrade the pads and just 'live with it'.

... sigh ...
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline Revv

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2018, 02:52:36 PM »
Gonna struggle to get HD 600/650's and a DAC/Amp for R5k!!

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2018, 03:00:32 PM »
Gonna struggle to get HD 600/650's and a DAC/Amp for R5k!!

Then we make it R6k! (This trend stops here though...  :whistler: )
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline Doge

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Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 03:36:57 PM »
Gonna struggle to get HD 600/650's and a DAC/Amp for R5k!!

Used? Nonsense.

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 03:42:23 PM »
If I am buying used or local, I am skipping the DAC for now. I will use my Yamaha AV Receiver as an amp. I will then do a couple hours listening and then visit someone with a decent DAC and compare my hearing experience.

If I am buying from amazon, I will import a DAC as well too lessen the shipping blow.

Here is my list so far:

At the top we have the 600/650. As majority of forums have these at the top or near the top of their lists for my price range.
- Beyerdynamics DT990
- Audio Technica ATH-AD900X
- Monoprice 116050 Monolith M1060
- Sennheiser HD 598/599

What more do I need to look at to have broad enough comparison?

I will be visiting scuba over the weekend. I think after that visit I will have a much, much better idea of what I'm after. I will try to avoid testing sets that is way out of my budget, as this will add more confusion.  :popcorn:

I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 09:55:40 AM »
So a quick update for those interested...

I went to Scubadude's house on Saturday. Outstandingly friendly guy with a great family, the company and coffee was really good. He gave me an opportunity to test everything from his HD600 up to his LCD-3's. I desiced to to temp myself with the HD800... 3 hours later we were still tapping our feet and nodding at our heads.

I was suitably impressed with the HD600/HD650. From the selection in my 'price range' I think I mostly enjoyed the  AKG 7xx. The bass response was closer to what I am used to I think.

Now to keep my ears on the ground for a nice DAC, and then a heady. I have a much better idea of what I could expect from specific models.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Any more suggestions and feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2018, 01:46:09 PM »
Just a little update on my audio journey so far:

I now own an ADL GT40 with 3 x open back headphones; HD598, HD650 and K7XX.

So far I am mostly enjoying the HD598 and HD650... I want to end up with 1 of these over the next month or so, since I have some another financial obligations to meet soon.

The K7XX is the most comfortably, damn it feels good. Closely followed by the HD598.

Audio wise I also quite enjoy the 'bassier' K7XX, but its tough call between the HD598 and the HD650. Maybe should test them with more than one amp/dac to be sure. Or give the crown to the HD598, smile and call it a day for now.

Wish I could keep all 3, as they are so different.
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D

Offline Scubadude

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Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2018, 04:27:09 PM »
Great collection you built up in no time! And some good feedback. Pop in if you want to try them on any of my amps.
"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

Online Michon

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2018, 04:36:05 PM »
Have you tried the Sonarworks correction pandaattack? They have a free trial period.

Offline pandaattack

Re: Open Back advice needed. What to buy?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2018, 04:46:50 PM »
Have you tried the Sonarworks correction pandaattack? They have a free trial period.

I will definitely try that... You mentioned somewhere it made your HD600 more endearing to your ears?

EQ, another aspect of sound I am not yet 100% ready for.  :rubhands:
I now own HD598's HD650's... Which automatically qualifies everything I have to say audio-wise. :D