THE best headphones?

Posted by: dvs cycles

THE best headphones? - 05/19/08 04:55 PM

What are THE best headphones, leave price out for now, for using with a DP in your opinion?
My YDP-223 came with some Yamaha RH2C headphones as part of a package. To my ears they don't sound as good as the built-in speakers do and aren't very comfortable to me.
Since these were part of a package I'm sure they are cheap and there are lots of better headsets out there.
Also I hate having a cord dangling when I'm playing. Are there any wireless models out that are worth looking at?
Thanks for any imput. ;\)
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/19/08 05:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by dvs cycles:

Since these were part of a package I'm sure they are cheap and there are lots of better headsets out there.[/b]
Now there's an understatement \:\)

Just like there is no "best piano", there is no "best headphone". Lot's of different factors come into play. Try out higher end Sennheisers, Grado, AKG, Audio Technica, Sony or even Stax (to name but a few). Each has a particular sound signature (and this varies even within a particular brand) and depending on whether isolation is important, whether you are willing to also purchase a headphone amp, etc. AFAIK there aren't any wireless models that can compete with the higher end of the brands mentioned (not to say that there aren't competent wireless phones, just not in the same stratosphere), though I haven't looked at wireless models in years so someone might have come out with something really cool recently.

As a point of reference, IIRC, the Yammie headphones are "advertised" as being a $29 value (if you look on the "Getting Started Kit" box). A pair of Sennheiser HD650's will cost around $350, Sennheiser Orpheus system (electrostatic plus required amplifier, generally regarded as one of the best) will be in the neighborhood of $15000 (give or take a few thou.).
Posted by: SSB

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/19/08 05:19 PM

These are supposed to be the kings of headphones ... . I've got Sennheisers myself.
Posted by: gusmahler

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/19/08 08:16 PM

As stated above, there's no such thing as the "best" headphones, any more than there's such a thing as the "best" car.

IMO, Grados were very uncomfortable. I use Sennheisers now. I have a pair of HD280s and HD497, both under $100. Their better ones are in the $300-$400 range.

A good site for those interested in headphones is:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/

Also try:
http://www.headphonereviews.org/

and

http://www.goodcans.com/
Posted by: Copilot

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/20/08 04:42 AM

I use the SENNHEISER HD 595 which is very neutral in sound (flat frequency response, not coloured) and so almost perfect for a digital piano or for listening to classical music. (Really not a big difference with their expensive flagship the HD 650!)
But the cheaper HD 555 are only a little less good with also a good neutral sound!

I do NOT recommend the HD 485 for a digital piano: not a bad phone which i use sometimes with my HiFi (for rockmusic, NOT for classical music) or TV, but to much bass response for a digital piano and not enough soundstage.

Some more headphone info here:

http://www.headphone.com/products/headphones/full-size/

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/6/3859.html

PS: Wireless models are never as good as wired ones, you always loose in sound quality an can have distortation (cracklings, lose of signal). They are only good enough for watching TV or for "freaking out" with dancemusic.


;\)
Posted by: diinin

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/20/08 08:52 AM

I use Sennheisers too--the $30 PX-100. \:D

Okay, here it comes!
Posted by: altrent

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/20/08 02:35 PM

I have a pair of Denon AH-D2000 that I really love to listen to music. It is really comfortable and the sound coming out of it is really good to me.

*However*, my keyboard is the YPG625, and listening to it with the Denon is not a pleasure! The headphones are too good quality for the keyboard, and I can clearly hear a "hiss" in the background.
Using a cheapo headphone provides a better experience in that case. It 'hides' the background 'hiss'.
Your YDP-223 might not have this issue though.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/20/08 02:57 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by altrent:
I have a pair of Denon AH-D2000 that I really love to listen to music. It is really comfortable and the sound coming out of it is really good to me.

*However*, my keyboard is the YPG625, and listening to it with the Denon is not a pleasure! The headphones are too good quality for the keyboard, and I can clearly hear a "hiss" in the background.
Using a cheapo headphone provides a better experience in that case. It 'hides' the background 'hiss'.
Your YDP-223 might not have this issue though. [/b]
Well I think in this case it's not necessarily the quality of the phones (though the D2000 are good phones) but that fact that they are very low impedance. On the one hand that's good because it means that they are easy to drive, but on the other hand you are experiencing the bad size, potential hiss.
Posted by: pianobear100

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/23/08 10:33 PM

I have a pair of Ultrasone HFI-550. They amke my Kawai MP8 piamo and string samples sound like the best samples in the world. Since everyone seems to complain about the MP8 samples as being bad, that is saying alot. They cost about $150.00. I haven't found any monitor speakers, and I think I have tried them all that make the MP8 sound very good. The Ultrasone have a cord, but a small price to pay for make your instrument sound so great.
Posted by: Machicavelli

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/24/08 08:05 AM

Koss Porta Pro

http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/p?openform&pc%5Ept%5EPORTAPRO%5EY
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/24/08 03:14 PM

Sennheiser's HD600's. They're pricey, but worth it if budget permits. The 580's are sometimes still available on eBay. These 'phones have flat a response and can take an hour or two to play in. If you buy them, set your music player to a comfortable listening level, plug in the 'phones and come back in an hour.

The 595's are said to be a little punchier, so probably better for gaming.
Posted by: Rented

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/25/08 06:15 AM

If we leave out the expensive, esoteric headphones such as the Stax, Grado, etc., I would say the Senhheiser HD600 are the ones most audiophiles would call the best. However, they are quite hard to drive and most who have them will have a dedicated headphone amp. Whether they sound good with the DP will depend a lot on the headphone amp in the DP.

Having said that, do not forget some of the other big names, such as AKG and Beyer Dynamics, both of which are used more often than Sennheiser in studio settings. And yes, headphones ARE used by mixing and mastering engineers \:\)

I also agree with Suave. The Koss Porta Pro are the deal of the century \:\) I have mentioned them in other threads. They are simply fantastic little headphones. A little bass-heavy and obviously can't compare to the HD600s for neutrality. But for the price and size, they are wonderful.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: THE best headphones? - 05/25/08 06:22 AM

I use the HD600s, which are simply stunning! The price is no longer scarey, since teh HS650s have come out 3-4 years ago!

For the record, I work in computer games, and have used them extensively for the past 3 years for mixing, as well as monitoring!

But, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread there are other companies which also make great headphones (AKG comes to mind). Never heard of Grabo myself (slightly ashamed to admit).

And in general, if you are willing to spend $300-$400 (the HD600 can be found around that price in amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD600-O...1710900&sr=8-1)
you WILL get some great monitors. Best is relative and overated. ;\)
Posted by: Machicavelli

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 06:10 AM

Check out the Sennheiser HD800

http://www.sennheisernordic.com/nordic/home_en.nsf/root/spec_hd800

- I need to go to my local HiFi store to check those out! The price is spicy though...

Click to reveal..
1400$
Posted by: JoeDaBassPlayer

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 09:40 AM

Stax is the best but I am sure you do not want to spend that much. After that, look at Sennheiser.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 10:35 AM

Originally Posted By: JoeDaBassPlayer
Stax is the best but I am sure you do not want to spend that much. After that, look at Sennheiser.


Stax are certainly one of the best overall headphones, but I don't know how well they'd do for piano playing though. I think it's important to note that the OP specifically is looking for good headphones to pair with a DP. Certain sound characteristics of certain headphones may be fine for general listening, but might not mesh well when connected to a DP.
Posted by: reza

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 12:27 PM

Go with Sennheiser, I had HD212Pro for a week and for me it was amazing but it was not neutral enough to be good for DP. I am planning to get an Sennheiser HD650.

I have tried some models from AKG but they are not comparable with the Sennheiser. Unfortunately this brand is very expensive here (sometime up to 3xListPrice) but I still prefer them.

I have heard good things about Grado Headphones also but they are not as comfortable as Sennheisers that to me is a key factor, because no matter how good is the quality of the sound, if your ears hurt, you will hate the phone, then when you are making decision consider this point. You should be able to use them for hours without any hurt.
Posted by: Alden

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 01:36 PM

I use a pair of Sennheiser HD600s that have to be about ten years old now. My alternate when I need good isolation is a pair of Shure SCL series.

A tip on the annoying cord: I put mine on from the rear so the cord is behind me.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 03:19 PM

I think it goes without saying that if one is looking for the best possible sound out of a top tier headphone, that a headphone amp is a must (esp if you're looking at the Stax or most any other electrostat which literally require an amp or energizer), which of course adds yet another layer of complexity to the decision on what to purchase and what will sound good.

HD800's are def. getting a lot of love, but a lot of this may be FOTM (flavor of the month) syndrome.

Don't forget IEM's such as the Shure SE's, Etymotics, and Ultimate Ears. Great acoustics and isolation, iffy comfort for long sessions at the piano, though I've never tried customs.

Also no one has mentioned the Sony's. Their line tends to be a bit hit or miss but I think their higher end phones are nice (some consider the MDR-R10 the best headphone).
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 03:23 PM

I've heard AKG recommended is passing, but I never much looked into them. They do seem well made, and they aren't as spendy as some of the high-end brands.
Posted by: Always Wanted to Play Piano

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 03:29 PM

I feel wholly unqualified to answer the question of "best"... however, I will say I am happy with my Grados.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I've heard AKG recommended is passing, but I never much looked into them. They do seem well made, and they aren't as spendy as some of the high-end brands.


I have a pair of AKG K340's (not the new buds, the old electro/dynamic hybrids). A very nice sounding phone, kinda unique, but an amp is a must have to get them going. They are also a bit heavy so again might not be ideal for long piano sessions.

They make a line of "monitors" that get good love from many folks so they might be worth a try.
Posted by: AT83

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/28/09 06:32 PM

I have AKG K501's with a Roland DP990. They are discontinued but a few US retailers still have them. Mine were around 200. I got them based on the advice at my head-fi thread at http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/digital-piano-headphones-428391/

Check it out and I hope that you find a headphone that will make you love playing your piano more. That's what mine did for me.
Posted by: turandot

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/29/09 01:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Alden
I use a pair of Sennheiser HD600s that have to be about ten years old now. My alternate when I need good isolation is a pair of Shure SCL series.

A tip on the annoying cord: I put mine on from the rear so the cord is behind me.


Headphones are such an important aspect of digital play. It's really hard to find a place to A/B them or even try them out individually in shops.

A comprehensive report on phones in different price ranges, listing closed and open separately, with comments on their different strengths and street prices for all those mentioned would make for a really useful article in pianobuyer. Now if I could only remember who that guy is that does the digital write-ups there, I could suggest it to him.
Posted by: HomeInMyShoes

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/29/09 06:19 AM

^Yeah, a thread listing what's available and pros/cons/prices would be a valuable asset in the DP forum. But it is such a personal thing. When listening to a digital piano a bit of coloring of the sound may not be a problem for most.

Personally, I've got a four-year old pair of old Sennheiser HD280 Pro used on a Roland Fantom X8. They are reasonable for sound and comfort, but I prefer hearing through the monitors. But this morning, while the wife sleeps, I'll use the headphones.
Posted by: JoeDaBassPlayer

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/31/09 09:43 AM

Yes, picking the perfect headphones is difficult since none are perfect. For neutrality, I would actually look at the old Sennheiser HD414. They do not boom in the bass as some like but they do present things in a very realistic way.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: THE best headphones? - 08/31/09 10:09 AM

Originally Posted By: HomeInMyShoes
^Yeah, a thread listing what's available and pros/cons/prices would be a valuable asset in the DP forum. But it is such a personal thing. When listening to a digital piano a bit of coloring of the sound may not be a problem for most.


With the caveat being that, as with all things acoustic, opinions on strengths weaknesses are highly subjective. A bit of coloring is not only not a problem, it's inevitable, any/every headphone is going to add it's particular signature to the sound. After all, non of us have a line in connector to our brains to compare the original signal to what's coming through our ears. In the end we choose what we like, which may be a far cry from what the original signal looks like.
Posted by: leesan

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 11:25 AM

I just to share with you that I received my new DP headphones!
The winner was: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

http://eu.audio-technica.com/en/products/product.asp?catID=5&subID=39&prodID=4599

After to read several reviews about ATH-M50x , MDR-7506 etc etc I decided for the ATH-M40x (the M50x little brother). Honestly: I don´t know why... I was really confused and puzzled and decided by instinct and nice price of 95€.

Fortunately, I am very happy: they´r very comfortable, clear sound and sounds perfect with Roland supernatural piano sounds. Perfect for me.

Posted by: Ishkabibble

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 01:08 PM

Something I'd like to investigate are the so-called "in ear" "headphones":
http://www.whathifi.com/news/best-in-ear-headphones-to-buy-in-2014

I can see several advantages of this style over the traditional heaphones.

1. Apparently you can buy the absolute best of the best for not that much dough. For one-person-listening, they apparently can replace all the higher-quality alternatives for a small fraction of the price.

2. For the piano player, I think they will be much more comfortable during hours of playing. I think that the player might not even know they're "in there" after awhile, whereas over or on-the-ear headphones can become uncomfortable over a lengthy practice session.

Anybody using these and, if so, what do you think about them versus headphones? For obvious reasons, I'm particularly interested in their ability to accurately reproduce the lower range of notes.
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 01:19 PM

Headphone *amps* for c. $1500?

My, my, my...
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 01:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Ishkabibble
Something I'd like to investigate are the so-called "in ear" "headphones":
http://www.whathifi.com/news/best-in-ear-headphones-to-buy-in-2014

I can see several advantages of this style over the traditional heaphones.

1. Apparently you can buy the absolute best of the best for not that much dough. For one-person-listening, they apparently can replace all the higher-quality alternatives for a small fraction of the price.

2. For the piano player, I think they will be much more comfortable during hours of playing. I think that the player might not even know they're "in there" after awhile, whereas over or on-the-ear headphones can become uncomfortable over a lengthy practice session.

Anybody using these and, if so, what do you think about them versus headphones? For obvious reasons, I'm particularly interested in their ability to accurately reproduce the lower range of notes.

I occasional use a pair of HiFiMan RE400 IEM's. They are quite neutral, and don't always get the best reviews by people using them for pop music looking for the bath tub shaped EQ curve. There are probably later versions available now.

I find them fine, comfortable, good sound with the DP, but when I want the full sound ambience via headphone I go back to the over ear open AKG.s.
Posted by: bluebilly

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 03:56 PM

I have AKGs, but what about these as a cheaper alternative?

HD 681

Hold on while I put my tin hat on. smile
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 04:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Ishkabibble
Something I'd like to investigate are the so-called "in ear" "headphones":
http://www.whathifi.com/news/best-in-ear-headphones-to-buy-in-2014

I can see several advantages of this style over the traditional heaphones.

1. Apparently you can buy the absolute best of the best for not that much dough. For one-person-listening, they apparently can replace all the higher-quality alternatives for a small fraction of the price.

2. For the piano player, I think they will be much more comfortable during hours of playing. I think that the player might not even know they're "in there" after awhile, whereas over or on-the-ear headphones can become uncomfortable over a lengthy practice session.

Anybody using these and, if so, what do you think about them versus headphones? For obvious reasons, I'm particularly interested in their ability to accurately reproduce the lower range of notes.


I go back and forth between Shure SE215 in-ear monitors, and Sennheiser HD280 headphones. There isn't much different in sound quality, but I don't claim "golden ears". The SE215's are (I think) perfectly suitable for DP practice. They are reported to have a slight (not extreme) bass boost, but it hasn't bothered me.

The SE215's cost about $100, you can hang them in a small pouch from your belt, they're very comfortable, and not very intrusive. The HD280's cost about the same, but are worse on the last three attributes.

I might get some triple-flange eartips, to improve isolation from ambient sound. The SE215's are OK, but not completely sound-isolating, with their stock eartips.

The SE215's seem to work fine with battery-powered devices -- smartphones, and my MP3 player, and a Korg Koassilator.

Top-end IEM's -- with multiple drivers, and extended frequency response -- will cost you quite a bit of money:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-SE846-...198-i3864567.gc

Whether you _need_ something like that is up to you. Shure (and some other companies) make them at all price points.

. Charles

PS -- if you want _real_ isolation from ambient sound, SE215's worn underneath industrial earmuffs are absolutely superb.
Posted by: Allar A

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 05:07 PM

Sony MDR-7506 - this article sums it up: http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-mdr7506/

The sound is indeed great, there is plenty of everything. You can wear them for long hours, they do isolate you from surroundings and you will find coiled cable perfect for dp. Also, i actually havent heard of other headphones, that have full range of spare parts available - so they will serve you for a long time.
Posted by: Lester Burnham

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 05:58 PM

This does seem a bit of a zombie thread resurrection, but I'll chip in here - my favourites, that are very reasonably priced, would be AKG 271 MkIIs.

Not bass heavy (which to me, seems a good thing - especially for use with a digital piano, but good at other times, too), but seem rather consistent and realistic across the spectrum of frequencies - for digital piano use I've found them perfect. And the velour ear pads are still quite pleasant to wear, even after a few hours.
Posted by: Alexander Borro

Re: THE best headphones? - 02/05/15 07:18 PM

I'll chip in too, for the software pianos I noticed the more costly cans I have had really shine through , but for a piano like the one I have with the Casio sample I may have perhaps something controversial to say, but I'll say it anyway, just my opinion. laugh

The samples are rather thin and particularly artificial sounding IMO around midrange (around middle C) in particular when played through the more flat detailed headphones and you will notice it. I heard it often said on the forum about Casio samples not being liked and sounding thin, plasticcy, call it what you will, to me it sounds fine through the console speakers, but when it comes to headphones I agree why people might say this, and since my console piano has no build in EQ, believe it or not I find the best fit are my old cheaper Sony XB series ( bass enhanced ) the best for the Casio piano sound eek ( my missus agrees incidently )

the Sony have has that typical bathtub or V shape EQ, it suppresses that artificial sound in the mids, they are not as detailed as some as my other cans like the grado I had, and now the ATX-M50 I use mostly, but for this one purpose the sony XB300 is now a permanent fixture hanging on the piano hook and used for just that when I use the Casio sound only for a quick practice and when not using software pianos.

Incidentally to my ears the sony I have also sounds the closest to how the piano through the console speakers, even though they are certainly not flat or reference quality headphones. When I plugged the grado into the Casio, regarded highly by many, but are very bass thin like a lot of open back headphones can be, or the ATH-m50 for that matter, but particularly the Grado, quite frankly I thought it was awful for the Casio, no bass hardly, mids brought the weaknesses in the Casio sample, it was a bad combo for me, almost sounding more like an epiano. On the other hand the Grado for music listening were absolutely fantastic, especially when EQed a bit due to the lack of bass in some cases. The grado also sounded very different in the mids, like a different piano almost compared how it sounds through its own speakers, but then grado prestige are quite coloured anyway IMO


Now, Software pianos, entirely different story, If I switch to painoteq, Ivory I use the ATH-M50, they are also slightly bass boosted, but software pianos can be easily EQ adjusted and the better headphones enhance the details quite clearly, the grado worked nicely there too, lovely highs and mids for that. In this case my cheaper Sony XB300 is the least favourite very clearly.

In the end best is what we like personally and what is a good combo of phone + piano sound that work well together .. IMHO.

I am just glad I owned those XB300 already when I got my piano, because it not something anyone would have recommended, but for me the Casio sample without EQ, and that particular combination in headphone is easily my favourite.