which headphones???

Here's the scoop:

I currently own a pair of Grado SR125's. Although they sound good, I have some issues with them.

First, comfort. Wearing them for extended periods kill my ears - my ears actually get sore.

Second - although the bass response is good (ie. tight and articulate), it just does not cut it when it comes to reproducing the lowest notes that might be heard in electronic music or hip hop etc. (yeah yeah!! I know that i've probably generated a few snickers from you readers, but my music tastes cover a VERY wide range - from Beethoven to Black Sabbath over to Public Enemy then back to Loreena McKennitt)

Soooo, I need a headphone that will do it all - and be able to reproduce those low notes of Paul Oakenfold's trance and the Boom Boom Boom of the Lost Boys.

I've so far read about Beyerdynamic (various models) and AKG K270's.

Because it's kinda difficult for me to find these cans anywhere, I will probably have to order them.


Grado has a new design for their pads on the ear cups. I recently replaced the original ones with the new style...MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE!
My favorites are Senheiser HD-600 and Grado RS-1. Also I use a Tubed HH Scott 299 to drive them . An Earmax is also nice!
I've had Sennheisers, Grados, Etymotics and the best from Sony. In my opinion, nothing is better than the Etyomtics for islolation, comfort, travel and most important sound. Because these are ear buds, most don't consider them because of how they wear and look. It's the only headphone that I've been able to wear for hours and not even realize that you have them on. Do yourself a favor and do a little research and audition them if you can. Bass is simply incredible and the overall sound is as good as anything i've hear regardless of price. Check out reviews in audioreview and headphone.com. BTW, for portable use, you'll need an external amp or consider the 4P.
For all around listening flexibility and comfort at a reasonable price the Sennheiser 600 is extremely hard to beat, I have tried most of the main contenders under $500. If you search internet you will find Senn 600 for @$250 new, they must be driven by good headphone amp however because of high 300 ohm impedance rating vs 32 ohm rating for Grado. (which is another topic)

I have a couple other headphone sets for variety, but if I had to have only one it would be Senn 600. There are aftermarket cables that replace stock ones and improve performance even more.

The mecca for headphone gear is Headroom:
Megasam, I agree! I have both the Sen. 600 and the Grado SR-125. I am using a Headroom Cosmic (battery portable) amp, and the Sen. 600 is a far superior set of phones. However, it is much more difficult to drive and does not play as loudly. For cruising on the backroads of the Sonoran Desert with the windows down/sunroof open, the Grado-125's are the choice (wind noise). When in the hotel room, definitely the Sen. 600's!
You might try upgrading within the Grado line. My 225's have decent bass response.
Could someone please explain to me why, as previously quoted;

"must be driven by good headphone amp however because of high 300 ohm impedance rating vs 32 ohm rating for Grado."

8 ohm impedance is easier to drive in normal speakers that 4 ohm, so why does it appear the other way round with phones?

My amp, an Audiolab 8000LX has the following stats:

Headphone output:

Output Imp: 330 Ohms
Suitable for headphones 8 - 2K ohm Imp.

Will the Senn 600's be OK with this?
(I am currently using a tired old pair of BeyerDynamic DT 331's - 40 ohm)

Thx in advance,
Joshcloud ... an 8Ohm speaker impedance is easier to drive for most amplifiers because it draws less current than a 4Ohm impedance, and most cheaper amps are more limited in their ability to drive current than voltage, because high current equals large power supply equals expensive parts.

Now I think that headphones require very little current, but a 600Ohm headphone will require 10 times the voltage of a 60 Ohm headphone in order to drive the same current. In battery powered devices higher voltages are bad news for battery life, and so a small battery powered portable might have difficulty and/or very short battery life driving a pair of HD600s.

In summary the limiting aspect of the design of an integrated amp (current limited) and a portable CD player (voltage limited) are very different, leading to the apparent contradiction in driving capabilities. Hope this makes sense.

Your audiolab amp should have no problem at all with HD600s. I have an audiolab 8000C preamp and it drives higher impedance headphones with ease. My Marantz CD67SE headphone socket will also drive the higher impedance phones with ease.

So I think the HD600s will work with most decent mains powered equipment but might struggle with battery power.
Thx Sean,

Now it is all clear to me :)

I'll add that I changed my Creek 4330R for the 8000LX and am happy with it, sounds far more open and revealing that the Creek and plenty of controlled bass. I found the Creek very "musical" but not revealing enough for my tastes and it didn't have a phone jack (the 5350 does though...???)

I am not 100% sure, yet about the 8000LX as I am listenning through a pair of Kef Cresta 3 floorstanders while I await my new Tweeters for my pair of eBay B&W P4's :)

What I am really looking for is that old magic that my '96 Pioneer A400 amp provided, even if it didn't have much bass (what it had was nicely controlled)...

I am optimistic though :)

Josh .. audiolabs are very good amps, but very neutral ... I'm not sure there's much "magic" with them. I have always preferred Cyrus amps as they seem to have more of a beat. Currently my main amp is a Densen B100, and it seems to me to be better than Audiolab, Cyrus and the Naim Nait. I hear that the Densen can be rather fussy of the speakers, though. If you're in the UK then I'd look out for a second hand Cyrus 3 with PSX power supply ... for me that's the best amp you'll get for the money, and probably much more enjoyable than the audiolab, though perhaps less accurate. I used to own a Cyrus 2 with PSX (now its residing at my parents' house) and it was slightly less refined than the Densen, but it had tremendous power and bass.
Unfortunately it has no headphone socket !
As stated by other posters, the Sennheiser HD600 is a good all-around headphone; but to get the best out of it, replace the stock cables (easy with the Senn) with Cardas or Equinox, and get a good dedicated headphone amp. The Cosmic, Earmax Pro and Headroom Max come to mind.
I just won an Aragon 2004 MKII on eBay, that should get things moving! I'll use the Audiolab as a pre and see how she sounds!

Got the Tweets for the P4's, but didn't fix the problem?
I think it has something to do with the groove in the magnet (not included with the tweeters from B&W)

Really weird if I switch the tweeters over, the dead one stays dead even when it's a brand new one?
I'll get with B&W tomorrow and get to the bottom of this...

Update soon :)