Do a lot of reading at head-fi.org. Good luck.
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I purchased a Grado PS1000 with a Burson headphone amp recently and it's a great sounding combo. I listened to the Sennheiser 800 which was a close contender but I preferred the Grados overall. The Burson amp has two inputs for headphones with different impedances which was a bonus over any other headphone amp I looked at. As suggested above I would try to listen at local dealers. I purchased both through my local dealers and managed to get a pretty good deal on both.
I like Grado phones too but not much for rock; blues, vocal, jazz should be fine. Still they are a bit too soft for me and emphasize midrange. The higher you go in Grado line the better. 325i is where you want to start and move from there. As for headphone amp, it depends on how you want your sound to be and price.
I don't like Sennheiser at all though I haven't heard their newest phones. They sound "digital" to me as opposed to Grado.
AKG K-1000. DO (!) a quick search on these, and you will understand. I did and became very interested and mindset for a pair, someday. Well, I found a pair from an excellent member here, and received them two days ago. Suggested 8 watts min, as per my research. My 300b amps are too far apart for their wiring, so I tried with my 45 amps, and they are more than enough on quiet music, Excellent!! Bass..?? not too lacking. 300b's were my initial intent. I will try them soon! Your amplification has plenty oomph+. No extra amp ($$) needed... Good luck
The MOST important thing in headphones is COMFORT. If they are uncomfortable does not matter what they sound like.
I own the senn hd 650, AKG K702 and Beyer HT 880 pro.
they sound great and are very comfortable. You forget you have them on.
For portable use, I also own, and highly recommend, the Koss Sportapro and senn px100.
I also own the Grado sr60. I didn't like them. Not very comfortable. They are the entry model for Grado. They currently reside in the closet. Maybe one half hour of use.
Well, I wouldn't call Grado particularly comfortable, especially that cable in front of you sometimes trying to get in your face, but they are not uncomfortable either.
Perfect comfort is not everything though unless you listen for hours straight. I never listen for long because music playing in my head puts me to sleep quite quickly. But Grado could improve comfort, that's for sure.
I would find a place where you can check out the AKG K or Q 701's or the K702's. I think they're the best value and can be had new for about $250 new in some cases. OR if you're willing to waste some money on the shipping if you don't like them, there's a set of K701's ($195) and Q701's ($210) for sale here right now. They're already broken in, and would let you make a more accurate decision as to whether or not the sound is for you. (If you can live with the green color I would get the Q701's as you can switch out cords and AKG always tweaks their drivers, so they might sound a touch better).
If that sound doesn't work for you, then the closed-back Denon AHD-7000's may be for you. Sennheiser, Audeze, and Stax are all good products as well.
There are a few headphone forums where you'll find a whole lot more bandwidth noise than here and even more conflicting opinions. But the subject matter is very specific to what you are looking for, obviously. If you plan on doing a whole lot of listening I'd agree about comfort, but that said, the level of comfort for any headphones are relative to the user head. I tend to put a higher emphasis on sound quality, but if you are uncomfortable you'll have a difficult time enjoying anything. I also don't find Grados comfortable at all. By far the most comfortable cans I've owned have been HD800's - you barely know they are on. The sound quality is excellent, BUT they seemed to be far better suited to acoustic and classical to my ears, and not as much to vocals. Since I listen to a whole lot of vocal material I ended up going elsewhere and now use Audeze LCD2 (rev. 2). These, and that companies LCD3 are superb all around performers and serve all genres of music very well indeed. Do some research on them - any search will turn up a whole lot of input and many reviews, especially for the LCD2 (the 3 just came recently but is also garnering tremendous praise). They are certainly not in the top of the comfort range and some folks don't find them comfortable at all, but not many sell them for that reason since the performance is so good. Nothing short of the upper end of the current Stax line (both of which are excellent choices but very expensive), at more than double the price between amp and cans, does so much so well. If you are a soundstage fanatic your choice would be more pointed to the new LCD3 at twice the price of the 2. If you prefer more tonal weight the LCD2 might be a better choice, at some minor expense of soundstage and speed/resolution. Just knee-jerk an not from direct experience, but I'd choose the 2 over the 3 for vinyl in that the 3's slightly better upper end openness will be less forgiving on vinyls flaws. You would not kick either out of bed unless the comfort becomes a serious issue. Soundstage champions are HD800 and Stax, but as I said, the HD800 is a more pointed sword, and Stax are a high price of admission. I believe Audeze is currently offering a 30-day trial period (check the details of that on their site). The only other cans I'd remotely consider that have been mentioned thus far are Grado PS1000 (nothing else in the Grado line sounds quite like these), and Stax 007 or 009. A nod to HD800 and Beyer T1 for comfort and a qualified runner-up status, but both are not without flys in their ointment and may or may not run with your own specific taste. If you are seeking "warmth" I'd eliminate the HD800. The matching amp is certainly important, and will really depend on which cans you choose and how much you want to spend.
I went with a co-worker to visit his uncle with a killer system. He uses Stax 700 with a Woo WES tube amp. Every cd he played was a real adventure in music. No matter what he played I was blown away with the detailed highs, lows and midrange. There was no gaps or fatigue factor. So ... I found a new pair of 007’s and a 323S amp for a really great price on AudiogoN. I think this was the correct decision and I did not blow my budget. I have the option of upgrading the amp later. Thank you all for your advice.