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  »  New  Headphone amplifiers. Baby Melquiades?..  The survival guide...  Melquiades Amplifier  Forum     27  196511  11-25-2005
  »  New  (Hopefully short) headphone journey..  Agreed . . . but...  Audio Discussions  Forum     11  30394  06-28-2013
04-26-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 1
Post ID: 4272
Reply to: 4272
Interested in reading more of your headphone experiences

Headphones can help people build good cheap systems, and/or also not have to worry about the room, annoying others with loudness. There's some ground to cover that shouldn't be THAT hard or expensive. If you've "given up" on finding good headphone sound, that's ok, I was already able to take in some good information anyways, but keep in mind you're like an "all knowing master" of audio to some. I think overall what's most important to find are the headphones and then the amp and most successful implementation of them you've found. You seem to like the studio type closed headphones I suppose...could a closed Stax be good? have you tried in-ears? some recent/future ones have more drivers now, from Shure, Westone, Ultimate Ears. Hey! Audio-Technica supposedly have a new studio reference called the ATH-M50...compared to your ATH-M40fs, bigger driver (40mm-45mm), decreased frequency response (5-28,000hz-15-28,000hz), lower ohms (60-38)..who knows? might be a reasonable upgrade to your Audio-Technica, if it is better. Just what amps should we be looking at here? There's a bunch of amps mentioned on the ipastudio gallery section. Also I don't remember much expanding on your experiences with your non-portable sources...not all of us can afford such a great CD transport and all that and well..you know. Of course everyone else here should share some of their experiences with headphone setups too if they feel qualified...I might eventually.

04-26-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 4274
Reply to: 4272
My Cat hates tuna but she loves beef in gravy…

Hi, SearcherOfBetterSound, welcome…

I like headphones a lot and being a software developer I been using them for years. I do not pursuit for “better” headphones then I have. In my past I did - was baying “better” headphones, was baying and building “better” headphone amps but I failed in each of my directions.

With all my “audio strangeness” I keep my loyally to a headphone setup that I discovered many years back: the simple ATH-M40FS headphones driven by Panasonic SL-CT470 walkman. The A-Shock on the CT470 should be off and I use S-XBS EQ curve. I do not claim that it is perfect headphones of sores but TO ME it is a very good Sound. It is the sound that I found extremely neutral from musical perspective and I have no problems to listen it. Interesting is that the CT470 as a player is absolutely horrible. Of course I was trying to drive it into my “big” playback - it was nightmare. The very same is with the M40FS headphones. There are objectively better headphones but they do not do a lot of good for me musically and in many cases juts irritate me (I own the top of the line AudioTechnica headphone and hate it).

So, I have no experience with what might be considered as “headphones”. I would tell you even something more… The way how I see it: when I sit at my couch playing my headphones and then I take them off and play my “room installations” then the sound should not change. Well, it should become better in many aspects: better bass, imaging, space and so on but it should not be affected tonally of change it’s dynamic structure…

Interesting that despite how bad the CT470 and M40FS are but they (from my point of view) do something very proper. If the rest audio will do the same then from where I stay any pursuit for “better” high-end should not be necessary.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-26-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 3
Post ID: 4275
Reply to: 4272
Here's where I stand now and what my future goals are
Hmmm...let's see, I'm pretty young, to the point where I don't have any major source of money income, so I do with what I can when I can and want to, just like many other suffering young and/or poor audiophiles. It's like this, I don't listen to any normal speaker system because I need privacy and can't concentrate/don't want to weird anyone out. My headphone system has this history going on that you all should hear... I think many go through this curse in a similar way: I get average stuff without being too knowledgable, random portable CD player, random but from popular companies headphones like a Panasonic, than I get more into this thing...and EVERY upgrade was never that satisfying or maybe even...worse? A Koss KTX-Pro comes in, along with as poor a headphone amp as it gets, no volume control...not good. The Koss alone is good, but then I vacuum the cord... Then a Sennheiser HD497 headphone after a Koss KTX-Pro, and was THE most uncomfortable, ear breaking, clamping headphone I've EVER worn...eh...I don't know, you know? Then a Sony D-NE20 portable CD player..."I don't know" again..there's just this "unsureness" that goes on..but this was actually not that bad, long battery life, as thin as it gets, light...just have to deal with somewhat confusing controls and sort of hard to press buttons and change the volume.. Then a Xenos headphone amp, with volume control, but I didn't need the equilization...sort of like a louder volume thing this amp was.. The Sennheiser cord screws up because I keep messing with it. Then I get a Sennheiser HD580...I might have preferred the HD497 in sound for all I care! (probably because the HD580 was big, inefficient and circumaural) but at least this was comfortable with similar or good or better sound more or less. Then I messed up the cord a SECOND time! I got a Altec Lansing in-ear (IM716?) and was my first taste of in-ear, the sound was good, more or less than the HD580 (also as inefficient), the privacy was comfortable but it itself might have been uncomfortable, but not forever, the foam got scrunchy and I stupidly threw them away even though they were better and not as hairy as the other cover. It can get clogged and the replacement thing sort of sucks (I even took it out and left nothing in after there was no more replacements, around when the sound of everything was burned in to a more noticeable extent), also losing the covers means bad seal.  Later the sound of everything improved somewhat, the player, all that. Did I mention there's this sort of waiting thing going on between getting all this between MONTHS, for somewhat unsatisfying or making-me-feel "guilty" gear (because of the money, time, and talking into going on)? Well now I've been listening to a Sony MDR-V100, a closed vintage type headphone with a long cord, and it sounds as good more or less than anything else I've tried. Now I'm going to try out the Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs... I'll get some money sometime and try to figure out things better...this little story just sort of shows you gotta know some stuff before playing with money and small scale comparisons.
04-26-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 4276
Reply to: 4275
The ATH-M40fs costs $40 but …
…it is not the point. I do not think that you need to try anything else. I replied to you not with the intention to tell you what to try and what to buy - I habitually do not do it and you could get this idiotic counsel at many other sites. The reason for my replied was to demonstrate that if you know what you need then you WILL find something that addresses your needs. In my case it was M40fs but it might be not your case and you might not “get” them. I did not see in your search for headphones any expressed lucid musical or sonic objectives, therefore you might not fight with the “imperfection of the headphones” but rather with own absents of well-formed reference (audio) points. I juts might advise to form for yourself what you need to get out of your playback and I assure you that a solution will organically flow… The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s garden with hundreds of roses still would be worthless if you do not know what your rose will be all about… Do not forget – you do not looking for headphones but the means to use them for some kind of purpose…. Do not evaluate headphones, evaluate the purpose….


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 5
Post ID: 4281
Reply to: 4276
Actually, I'd say I have better-than-average reference points

I know, it makes sense to think about me in such a way because of not knowing more about me, but I definately have potential to get to good places in audio if I just had some things improved here and there... I have belief in my capability even with my limited experience and technical skill, and this capability is perhaps stange and rare in the young and old audio people world. Sure, I was definately less informed and even crazy before, but recently I have been more serious and learned in audio than I ever have been before. Ever read that one guide on Amazon when looking at headphones? That's where I put the majority/most important of my thoughts for others and myself... Based on what I can find somewhere or create in my head, I actually have some ideas on some stuff sometimes..maybe pretty reasonable ones too, who knows... Reference points compared to you? I don't know...to others? I'd say pretty good...an important thing I'm lacking is experience, I already said I'm young and can't afford much. If I had enough money near the start of my high-end learnings, I probably would've just got a Koss ESP-950 electrostatic headphone system with whatever player and maybe whatever DAC or something you know, and be satisfied for some years or something, just longer than I did from before...but, you really have to take my words from the point of a teenager (which I am by the way).. In a way I just wanted to hear better sound, not reaching for perfection sound, but the whole thing became too equipment oriented too much I suppose, and I suppose lack of funds got me to crack down on learning, and now I probably know more than the average person my age and in general...does this make sense?

04-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 4282
Reply to: 4281
To be on the subject...

I do not know why you got my comment as something about you. To think about you are less that I care. Instead of thinking what I or any other Moron said about audio I would propose you to develop own thinking. Dacs, electrostatics, headphones… they are juts the empty cards in the deck of foolish audio and you might endlessly shovel them, regardless how much money or knowledge you have:

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/set/messages/50629.html

You may follow the pattern of endless Morons (like the Rick R describes) or you might develop identity and rational of own motivations. If you do then the real audio would start.

Anyhow, if you looking for any practical advise from me regarding your headphone then I would encourage you to pay attention to this:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=432

Understanding and practicing it would be an absolutely mandatory from my point of view.  Please understand that it is nothing personal – juts strictly business.

Sorry for being a jerk,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 7
Post ID: 4285
Reply to: 4282
Nah, you didn't really offend me
Or at least after visiting this site for a bit, and "knowing" about you more, not too much, because I realize you are like "graveyard serious" about audio, heh heh.

Anyways, yeah, the point from me was to try to get you or others to think more positively on the possibilities of headphones without my "stupidity" getting in the way of discouraging you or others from finding something good possibly. My other posts alone didn't give enough "professionalism" because well the subject of headphones is usually sort of casual, and I'm just trying to not make it look like some random guy is dealing with random stuff..

Ok, now for some meat, you actually misinterpreted my mention of Audio-Technica. I already know you don't like their most expensive or "audiophile-ish" headphones.. Notice the name of the one I mentioned? ATH-M50, yours is ATH-M40fs I was saying that these supposedly are their reference or at least newest *studio* headphones--you have studio headphones, which are probably a bit different in application from what you said we're their "best". What can someone like you or others possibly get out of this thread? especially since headphones are pretty casual? Well, maybe in the future you or others could try that headphone out if you get bored or something.
05-02-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 8
Post ID: 4325
Reply to: 4285
ATH-40fs and the most interesting headphone amps to me
Ok, I ordered this a day before making the thread, and got them yesterday. These are overall the best headphones I've used, having neutrality, details, and natural sound. What's important to note is that when you touch the back or inside, you don't really "feel" the sound waves or any real material vibrations, which is probably something to think about in good headphone sound... I think all good big "closed" headphones will leak some sound like these do too (most do I believe anyways), otherwise something's probably up, and I don't even think it's that possible to NOT leak noticeable sound at normal volumes considering the big drivers, the cups..unless maybe your in a noisy environment. Use small in-ears if you don't want anyone to hear what you are listening to (which to me, is more important than blocking out external sound, but in-ear are also the best at that too..music on especially)...but some of them can actually be pretty hard to drive for some portables.

Sort of hard to tell if I like the headphones more alone or with the amp, but I'd say the amp improves the sound pretty reasonably or at least is good for louder volume. Ok, so I've recently did a considerable amount of "window watching" on quite a bunch of tube headphone amps...and I'll say the most interesting ones in overall aspects or instincts I feel now, are the Radii ones and the Antique Sound Lab ones (coincidently, both also sell impedance converters and have 5 headphone products I think)...I guess it sort of makes sense why I feel this way, both create other reasonably professional looking and varying products too (which could equal more experience), unlike a lot of other makers, that sort of probably focus too much on headphones or expensive prices.
05-02-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 4327
Reply to: 4325
Screw the “details”…

 SearcherOfBetterSound wrote:
These are overall the best headphones I've used, having neutrality, details, and natural sound.

Nope, they do not have what you call “details”. In fact they are very lay back in the “details” world. However, they do superbly natural sound

 SearcherOfBetterSound wrote:
Sort of hard to tell if I like the headphones more alone or with the amp, but I'd say the amp improves the sound pretty reasonably or at least is good for louder volume. Ok, so I've recently did a considerable amount of "window watching" on quite a bunch of tube headphone amps...and I'll say the most interesting ones in overall aspects or instincts I feel now, are the Radii ones and the Antique Sound Lab ones (coincidently, both also sell impedance converters and have 5 headphone products I think)...I guess it sort of makes sense why I feel this way, both create other reasonably professional looking and varying products too (which could equal more experience), unlike a lot of other makers, that sort of probably focus too much on headphones or expensive prices.

It is not my experience – drive them from a headphones jack if your consumer stereo and you will have the result that un-necessary to beat. BTW, the Antique Sound Lab headphones are incredible crap….

Anyhow…
The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-03-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 10
Post ID: 4330
Reply to: 4327
We're getting onto something here at least market wise
I've always used to think the headphone market wasn't really that bad, more like a very healthy, "you can't go too wrong" thing. While I've already thought differently before making this thread, you just keep shitting on my face trying to wake me up from this supposed dream that perhaps there's at least one decent thing out there. You at least sort of liked Avantgarde and Lamm products, which were expensive, then you went cheaper (Avantgarde and Lamm are industry things, but when it comes to value or performance, I think the market does or can or should have some good speakers that can be had for $10,000 and amps for less than $5,000, that can get close to or beat out them)...so maybe you got to go really cheap with headphones? it sort of helps explain why you like the ATH-40fs and portable players, inexpensive standard technicality and simplicity. So...do you like the sound more from your player alone, or with a headphone amp, or your loudspeaker amp with impedance converter? If so with amp, is it really worth it price, effort, sound wise? I can't just build my own amp now anyways... So far it looks like you do appreciate and like your headphone amp, maybe even regulary more than no-amp. Even if no-amp is better, hey, amps are cool anyways (maybe enough to handle some sonic badness)! Man, I'm sort of giving up here at least for the time being, especially since I'm poor and can't build my own equipment. Well, I'm now left with pretty much the ONLY amp I'm really interested in now, this: http://www.radaudio.com/hap-03II.html Since it's pretty low powered (maybe the main reason I'm even considering it now, especially since the Antique Sound Lab ones and the other Radii ones have more power), the most I've seen or payed attention to so far at least, I bet it'll have above average naturalness that might decently compliment some headphones (my amp is pretty high powered, and said to be really "neutral", but comparing to what you've been saying, I'd have expected it to maybe be much worse or something...I do know that without it, the sound probably is more relaxing and overall better). I'm not saying it's really great or whatever, but in the market at least, it really doesn't look that bad. Since you already have a custom amp though, might as well not even bother with it since whatever you wanted is probably there decently...you probably mostly have the headphones and source to "worry" about. I've also sort of already "recommended" this Radii amp somewhat in a way anyways, just incase it is good.
05-04-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 11
Post ID: 4336
Reply to: 4330
I guess there's a lesser of evils thing when it comes to headphone amps then...
Ok, first off, I'm reading the second sentence of my previous post and soon after I posted it I knew something...it may sort of seem too directly rude and vulgar, but I guess there was this bad "humor" thing with some psychotic seriousness or unbalanced comfortability that I didn't resist..hope it didn't offend you, and I am not really sure what I meant or if I really meant it anyways, hah hah.

Well I'm sort of left with not much to say here, but anyone can answer my previous questions, do a lesser of evils thing for amps, whatever. I've done my "part" for headphone audio so far and can't say much else at the moment considering my money and know-how, so whoever wants to experiment with headphone audio or has, and is experienced, should post their ideas, results..if you want to.
05-06-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
SearcherOfBetterSound
Posts 16
Joined on 04-25-2007

Post #: 12
Post ID: 4360
Reply to: 4336
Romy, these look like most of the only other possibilities that might "work"
I've sort of "analyzed" your thinking (more like taking what you've said so far and continued with my own ideas) and come to the conclusion the most you could do in "your" (could be more like mine) type of way to try to improve your playback would be trying Audio-Technica's ATH-M50 headphone, trying the Stax 4070 electrostatic headphone with a McAlister electrostatic headphone amp, and maybe other cheapish sources. There can be more stuff to think about of course, but there's the base of whatever's left in my head to think about as possible main ideas, especially headphone market-wise. I'd be especially interested in hearing anyone's experiences and comparisons of the electrostatic setup, with an ATH-M40fs or ATH-M50. I have this theory that the electrostatic should be more spacious than the Audio-Technica (not as "psychedelically" as other electrostatics), yet have an efficiency (the closed studio-ness helping along with the headphones closeness to your head already adding some! possibly exciting because electrostatics are not as efficient as dynamic) and relaxed neutrality (more so than the other electrostatics) like the studio-ness of Audio-Technica, in such a way so as to be more forgiving to the possible details of a top transport and details/grain of an amp.
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   Target    Threads for related reading   Most recent post in related threads   Forum  Replies   Views   Started 
  »  New  Headphone amplifiers. Baby Melquiades?..  The survival guide...  Melquiades Amplifier  Forum     27  196511  11-25-2005
  »  New  (Hopefully short) headphone journey..  Agreed . . . but...  Audio Discussions  Forum     11  30394  06-28-2013
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