High End Headphones

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Mwohl3, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Mwohl3 macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2011
    Any suggestions regarding high end headphones in the $1500 or
    less range? I will use them with my iPod and iMac. I have listened to the Sennheiser HD800 and they were outstanding. I listen to jazz, classical and classic rock. No "head banging" music for me!
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    If you're buying 1500 dollar headphones you will NOT be using them with an iPod and iMac.

    You need to rethink your priorities.
  3. Jolly Jimmy, Jan 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012

    Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    If you want to spend that much on headphones I would suggest looking into getting a decent headphone amp with good D/A converters. It would be a bit of a waste to spend so much on headphones only for them to be somewhat hampered by the average quality of the output and D/A conversion on a mac.

    As for the choice of headphones, I can't really help you in that kind of price range :p. Just try out as many as you can and get the ones that sound best to you... and try not to let the price tag dictate which ones are the best :D
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    It'd also help to know your priorities in sound. Do you like a warmer sound or a sterile sound like the HD800? 1500 is the price range where you start seeing less dynamics and more planar magnetics. HD800 and T1 come to mind for flagship dynamics, then you're hit with an onslaught of planar magnetics from the likes of Hifiman, Stax and Aude'ze. All of the headphones I've listed you'd want to spend around 400-500usd in amp/dac alone.
  5. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    Have a listen to the Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 if you can.

    These are 32 ohm so will be easier to drive than a 300 ohm or so HD-800. They sold for over $1000 originally, but can be bought now for just $500.

    They don't sound too bad out of a Mac headphone out, but you notice the difference if you use them with a decent headphone amp/DAC.

    But really, if you think the sound of HD-800s sound ok with an iPod, you'd be perfectly happy with ATH-AD900 or the ATH-AD1000. (slightly less bass than the AD900) These models sell for around $250-300.
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002

    perhaps the Benchmark DAC-1.
  7. Mwohl3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2011
    I listened to the hd800 at a local high end audio store with specialized amplification not out of my iPod/iMac. A better question is what would be necessary to realize the full benefit of such headphones? I realize that I will need a separate amp for the headphones. Obviously I am new to the digital audio world and could use advice regarding ancillary equipment. Does this run extra 1,000's to get into this arena? Is this an appropriate forum for such a discussion?
  8. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Head-fi. I frequent it, and it's a great community. They'll probably tell you to go tubes to tame its treble spike.
  9. quasinormal, Jan 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012

    quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    The Burson HD-160D headphone amp/DAC/pre-amp reportedly drives he HD-800 quite well. It sells for about $1200. I have the headphone amp only version and it drives my HD-600 better than anything else. It is significantly better than the headphone amp in the $1500 Lavry DA-11 I also use. (edit- to be fair to Lavry this is primarily a DAC- which IMO it does extremely well. The headphone output is really intended for monitoring only)



    An Onkyo ND-S1 ipod dock will allow you to use the digital output from your ipod into a DAC. It also accepts a usb input from your PC and again sends a optical or coaxial (i prefer coaxial to optical- it sound much smoother to me) output to the DAC. There are a few equivalents from other brands that might be worth checking. The Onkyo is about $200 from Japan eBay.


    You might want to check out Peachtree DAC/Amps, some of which have iPod docks, Bel Canto and Bryson DACs. These have been tempting me for some now.
  10. PAPO macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2009
    well I have a pair of AKG Q701's they set be back about $500 US when I was in the 'states but they are over $700 here in Aus, and I love them more than words can describe I haven't even put them through a real H/P amp yet, they even sound great on my iPhone but they sound the best coming out of my mBox 2 Pro.

    just be aware that they need close to 200 hours break in time, I still haven't hit that yet but the first 50 hours is where you'll notice the biggest difference

    I would recommend AKG until the cows come home 'cause I had an old pair of K301's and they lasted me 14 years and still sound pretty good

    and while I'm here can do I really need a dedicated H/P amp if I'm running my Mbox 2 Pro? and if I do what should I get?
  11. alq macrumors member

    May 6, 2011
    +1 on head-fi
    great resource, nice guys
    I'm running my JH13's custom in ears thru an iBasso D10 on the go.
    Great combo.

  12. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    Been into audio for over 40 years, and I have over 1500 posts on head-fi. (not under this identity) If you're using those sources, you're wasting your money. Look in the under $200 range....

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