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#684062 - 08/26/07 05:38 PM best earphones/headphones ??
Thaum Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Uniked Kingdom
Hi Folks,

I'm in the market for a new pair of head/ear phones. Having looked around this forum and elsewhere on the net, I now have more questions than answers, so I hope others here will have considered this issue before me....

I currently have a pair of Panasonic headphones (I paid about £60 about five years ago for them), which on my hi-fi sound splendid, but on my Yamaha 301 leave a lot to be desired. So here's what I'm looking for:

1. Something that will sound superb across the whole sound range, ie not inferior to what I hear from the piano's speakers (and better if this is possible).

2. I do not need to cancel out other environmental sounds.

3. Sound 'leaking' from the ear/head phones is not an issue for me.

4. I'm not keen on my ears being completely closed in by the headphones. Perhaps there exists a more comfortable design that also offers great sound?

4. I've never tried these new-fangled inner ear phones (seem to be popular with ipods etc). I have a converter for the smaller jack, if this is the way to go. Apparently they only need to be run on very low volumes for obvious reasons. Are they inappropriate for a digital piano's power?

5. Whatever I get, I would be wearing for long periods. At the moment, my current headphones are something of a disincentive for playing for extended periods because I'm dissatisfied with their sound performance and comfort.

I'd appreciate any advice. I wouldn't mind paying £100-£200 if that is what it takes, but I'm always keen on a bargain!


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#684063 - 08/26/07 07:36 PM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
99gnome Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 16
Loc: Germany, Cologne
Hi Thaum,

I recently was on for the same quest as you are, looking for a pair of decent headphones for me hopefully-this-week-to-come Kawai MP-5. From forum searches across the world I narrowed it down to the AKG 530 (in nice white color), Sennheiser HD 555 and Sennheiser HD 595.
I tried all three of them and finally decided on the 555: the AKG looks awefully nice, but has kind of leather pads at the end that make my ear sweat after 3 seconds. Sounded nice, though.
The two Sennheiser both sound very very nice, the 595 a bit stronger (meaning better) in the midths, but around 50 Euro more expensive. Both have very large ear pads that cover the ear completely, but are made of "airy tissue", leaving air for your ears (especially my sweating ears), making it comfortable. At the same time they cover the ears completely so you get real decent bass tones. And still are not completely shut from your surroundings.

So - if you like the AKG, try them - they seem to be the hot tip around. If you can afford the extra money, go for the 595 which are a tad better than the 555. Otherwise, the latter are for you.

Hope that helped a bit \:\)

#684064 - 08/26/07 09:20 PM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Thaum Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Uniked Kingdom
Thanks 99Gnome,

Yes, I've read some reviews of the 595s and 555s and was already leaning in that direction, they were all written in the context of connection to hi-fi rather than an digi piano, so I wasn't sure.

I've just ordered some 595s from Amazon, so I shall see (hear) for myself!


#684065 - 08/27/07 02:40 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Consumer Reports did a headphone review last December. They compared a large number of brands and recommended one I'd never heard of. I purchased the SR-80 and am very happy with them.

Best for music, especially at home:
Grado SR-60 $70 CR Best Buy
Grado SR-80 $95
Yamaha P90


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#684066 - 08/27/07 03:12 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Jamble Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Boston, Mass., USA
Sony MDR-7506. I find them great for monitoring generally, and I use them with my Kawai MP5. Rugged, comfortable, and good when you want pure, flat, accurate, sound reproduction.

They're designed for monitoring applications, and are standard issue in many recording studios and in the broadcasting industry.

Reasonably priced, too. Should be 70-80 quid for you in the UK.

Many good brands out there. However, as I rule I would avoid consumer headphones, regardless of price, as they're designed to colour sound. You need monitoring headphones.

#684067 - 08/27/07 06:53 PM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
I second the Sony MDR-7506 recommendation, for those who haven't made their decision yet. They're about $90 on Amazon.

#684068 - 08/27/07 07:07 PM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
paul milando Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/06
Posts: 265
Loc: westfield Indiana
I trust the sound of my Sony MDR-7506 earphones.
Talking about music is like dancing about art. If the truth will set you free, what do prunes do?

#684069 - 08/27/07 10:06 PM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372

#684070 - 08/28/07 01:29 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3873
Loc: Georgia, USA
I own the Sony 7506, Grado SR60, and Shure E3c, and use them fairly often.

My preference is:

#1 Grado - SO very pleasant sounding. comfortable enough, but open design "leaks" sound into the room.
#2 Sony - very accurate, sounds like you're listening to music under a microscope [not always in a good way]. comfortable, closed design, somewhat noise isolating
#3 Shure - very flat response but lacking in bass region, completely noise isolating, in-ear design is uncomfortable for longer periods of listening, but fine for half hour exercise sessions.

Like with pianos, it can be difficult to try what you're interested in back-to-back in one store to make a fair comparison. Sorry I have no experience with the current Senns or AKG for comparison's sake. Of the three I own, based on sound quality alone, I would choose the Grados over the rest for general purpose use (easily). Don't get me wrong, the Sonys are nice-- just different sounding... and easier to find.
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer

#684071 - 08/28/07 03:46 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
krypt0 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 173
For an excellent, full sized, circumaural set of cans, I recommend the Sennheiser HD580. The HD580 isn't made anymore, but you can still find them new and used on eBay. The HD580 is a legendary headphone among audiophiles and for very good reasons - they sound great, they're comfortable, and they're relatively easy to drive (i.e. you won't need a headphone amp in most cases - although they'll sound even better when driven by a good headamp). The newer HD600 would also be a good choice, but the HD580 is significantly cheaper (assuming you can find a pair) and it will sound almost as good because the HD580 and HD600 use the same drivers.

Edit: And just in case you haven't found them yet, I recommend the forums over at Head-fi.org for a wealth of information on everything and anything related to headphones --> http://www.head-fi.org

#684072 - 08/28/07 06:48 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Thaum Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Uniked Kingdom
Thanks everyone,

I never realised there was so much to know about headphones!

I've opted for an open backed set (so far, I have found circumaural a little uncomfortable).

I'll see/hear what the Sennheiser HD 595 from Amazon sound like. If they are not up to the job, I can send them back and try something else.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

#684073 - 11/14/07 07:56 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Amant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 310
Loc: Southwest
Love my QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones . Very robust and multifunctional, (especially for travel). Pricey but in the long run well worth it.

#684074 - 11/14/07 08:45 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Kazukisan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 13
Loc: USA - Ohio
I have a pair of S-Logics hfi-700. These headphones instaid of pouring the sound directly into your ear, the speakers bounce the sound of your outer ear so you get the effect of hearing as if you were listening from a speaker in the room without the headphones. (Nature Surround Sound) is what they call it. This also allows them to turn the power down on these things so they don't blow your ear drums out, but you still get a good clear loud sound, so the claim it reduces radiation too, with safer hearing. Frequency range is 10 - 25.000 Hz, Sound pressure level is 96 db, Impendance is 75 ohm, Cord length is about 3 m, I paid 160 for mine brand new at a local store, but I think they go for about 240$ online. They sound really nice, and they cover the full ear and you don't get headphone ear. I'd probably check others out too before you go for this one, Im really not sure if they are worth the price because i never tried any of the other ones.
GEM Promega 2
Classical Music along with Game Music

#684075 - 11/14/07 09:29 AM Re: best earphones/headphones ??
Amant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 310
Loc: Southwest
Originally posted by Kazukisan:
I have a pair of S-Logics hfi-700.... [/b]
The Ultrasone HFI-700 are great! Went with the Bose due to compactness but the HFI-700 has a better sound and may be a better choice if travel is not an issue. Bose are noise cancelling, HFI 700 aren't.


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