Headphones for DAC-V1...?

Hello All,

Loving my DAC-V1 and thinking about some good headphones to partner - Am thinking of either the Sennheiser HD650 or Grado SR325e - something in that price range and nothing fancier needed. 

Anyone have any experience using headphones on the DAC-V1 and can kindly recommend? Also, are there technical areas that I should look into with respect to matching the headphone with the DAC-V1 with regards to frequency response etc.?

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Vin.

Bryston BP-25/3B-SST - Rega Apollo-R - Naim DAC-V1 - VPI Prime - Moon 310LP/320S - B&W CM8 S2

Original Post

Personally I think the HD600/650 is too laid back, diffuse and coloured, I'd choose Beyer or AKG anyday

Currently on DT250/250, DT880/600 and 701 all are incredible good for the asking pricelevel, need a good beefy amp though, My K240 studio isn't bad at all - a bargain nowaday and easy driven, no experience with V1 & Grado unfortunately.

I compared Sennheiser HD650s against Grado SR325s, both owned and run in by a pro sound engineer friend.

The Grados were physically uncomfortable to wear; they chafed my ears. Worse, they sounded aggressively bright. I could not understand how they could have been so well reviewed.

The Sennheisers were, in the same system, comfortable and sounded warm and full.

I bought the Sennheisers and have loved them ever since. A no-brainer for me...

I am a more headphone guy then hifi so I tried many many, nothing beats fostex 900s with naim or even 610 or massdrop one.

Easy to drive and best closed headphone. 

I listen 900s with dac v1 they were very good, hd650 are very different but I am not sure about naim v1 match, Hd800 and audeze lcd 2 are not very good that's for sure.

Get fostex if you can

 

I use HD650's with my DAC-V1. The music sounds very clear and dynamic, without a hint of listener fatigue. I also find them supremely comfortable. Are you able to Take your gear to a shop with Sennheiser, Grado, Beyer, AKG etc? Try to listen to as many models as possible. Headphone preferences vary greatly between individuals, what sounds great to one person, might not even be comfortable on another head.

Thanks for the recommendations and tips everyone!

I am not so sure i can find a place which will allow me to bring my DAC-V1 but I'll look around. I forgot to point out that the headphone listening is for the occasional use when wanting to listen very late at night, so I can't really justify going higher than something like the 650's - that is really my limit as far as spend goes for a set of cans! 

An obvious question, but is there a Naim dealer near you who stocks headphones?  That would be the obvious place to start.  Can't help you, as I have no idea where you are (even which country).  I use Stax Electrostatics for my occasional headphone listening, but they're out of your price range.

I am located on the East Coast USA - I have a Naim dealer in NYC which is not too far from me, so I will look to give them a call and see what they have in terms of headphones and see whether they can advise/help.

From everything I have heard/read, I am probably looking at the HD650 or the DT880 (or 990) although I wish the Beyers had a removable cord for upgrades and easy replacement from wear. What is interesting, is that the Beyers come in different flavors (32/250/800 ohm) - I wonder which of the 250/600 would be the better match for the DAC-V1?

VinBob posted:

What is interesting, is that the Beyers come in different flavors (32/250/800 ohm) - I wonder which of the 250/600 would be the better match for the DAC-V1?

I have 250Ω Beyer T-70s and they worked great with a Headline, less so with the onboard HP amp on my SN2. By many accounts here the built-in Naim HP amps work better with low impedance HPs, so I'd be looking at the 32Ω models.

VinBob posted:

From everything I have heard/read, I am probably looking at the HD650 or the DT880 (or 990) although I wish the Beyers had a removable cord for upgrades and easy replacement from wear. What is interesting, is that the Beyers come in different flavors (32/250/800 ohm) - I wonder which of the 250/600 would be the better match for the DAC-V1?

Hi VinBob,

The HD650 is 300 ohm, so I would probably go with the DT880 250 ohm version.  Generally, the higher impedance means more effort to drive the headphone. 

Even though the Beyers have fixed cords, they quite durable.  At worst, you can get them re-cabled.  I did that with my AKG K701s after the cable was ambushed by my cat. 

As mentioned above, be sure to pay attention to comfort. 

 

VinBob posted:

From everything I have heard/read, I am probably looking at the HD650 or the DT880 (or 990) although I wish the Beyers had a removable cord for upgrades and easy replacement from wear. What is interesting, is that the Beyers come in different flavors (32/250/800 ohm) - I wonder which of the 250/600 would be the better match for the DAC-V1?

I've had my DT880 600ohm out just for fun, connected to my UQ the other day, at volume set to 40 out of 100 (this is usually setting for my K240) basically it was not possible to hear what played it was like playing low low volume, guess this version is no match to your V1. I need to crank up high my EAR amp  to these 880/600 phones, with my NJC amp things are fine, its made for this stuff and sound stunning.

The cord on the DT880 is just fine, no worries for wasted upgrade" - try if you can get a listen at 250ohm which is reported to be better than 32ohm

DT880 cheaper than HD650..HD600 even better(but not the cord, change neded to HD650 cord) but not suitable unless beefy amp., I'd choose DT770 over 990, (maybe T70 if budget allow) but hearing yourself is basically, some want closed, some want open phones.

 

VinBob posted:

Thanks for the recommendations and tips everyone!

I am not so sure i can find a place which will allow me to bring my DAC-V1 but I'll look around. I forgot to point out that the headphone listening is for the occasional use when wanting to listen very late at night, so I can't really justify going higher than something like the 650's - that is really my limit as far as spend goes for a set of cans! 

Simple to ask!

I've no idea how your dealers will react, but here in Britain real hifi shops seem very amenable: I've taken my (huge) IMF speakers to a dealer when auditioning amps, and again to another dealer for a reference point when auditioning speakers, and the option of also taking my amp wasn't excluded had they not had the same model, and I took my source to another when auditioning DACs.

Agree with Emre – after trying a range of phones, with some of the most expensive threatening to to pull my head off my shoulders, I found Fostex TH900s had a fullness, a presence that beat everything else I heard (I wandered around AXPONA's headfi section trying almost everything on display) – and they're comfortable. 

Thanks All. The HD700 sounds interesting and will see if I can find a pair at a decent price. Again, as much as I would love to get the Fostex, these are way above my budget and again, I may listen to the headphones like once or twice a month at best!

I think price wise and the great recommendations/reviews seen, the BayerDynamic brand may be the way to go for me as again, this will be for the occasional listening need very late at night and I am just looking for something decent and not spectacular like the Fostex TH900s

charlesphoto posted:

You might want to consider HD700's. I picked up a used mint pair awhile back for $375, and comfort wise I find much better than the 600 series. Sounds a treat on the V1. 

Comfort yes, soundwise no

 

b_lund posted:
charlesphoto posted:

You might want to consider HD700's. I picked up a used mint pair awhile back for $375, and comfort wise I find much better than the 600 series. Sounds a treat on the V1. 

Comfort yes, soundwise no

 

Having owned the 600, 650 and 700s i completely disagree. The 600 and 650 are very mellow and there's hardly any sonic difference. The 700s are more open and crispier and in different league altogether. 

this is naim forum, a guy asks about a cd5x, being recommended NDS with 2 PS55  

Still Fostex Massdrop TH-X00 is in you price range, it still delivers similar performance to 900s, you may find them used in Headfi i guess, you should try them.  Watch out for the sound leakage, HD series are like small speakers, you won't believe it unless you hear them playing middle of the night and your wife complains from top floor in a 300sqm house 

Emre posted:

 

Still Fostex Massdrop TH-X00 is in you price range, it still delivers similar performance to 900s, you may find them used in Headfi i guess, you should try them.  

Can these be purchased new and in Europe ?

Thanks for all the recommendations everyone but after further reading and a price too good to turn down and given my budget, I am going to go with the HD600 - From everything I have read on multiple forums and reviews on Amazon, they are probably going to be my best bet in terms of price/performance and especially for my limited usage. I did take a look at the TH-X00 which look very interesting, but I want the open back headphone style of which these are not. I am sure they are great though but going to go with what are regarded as a very strong classic audiophile headphone... Thanks again all..!

Emre posted:

They are specially made for Massdrop so you can not buy retail, check headfi for their reviews.

I am using them with NAC 272 and they are fantastic, good sound, build quality, one of the bets closed cans for 399-499USD

Not really sure what Massdrop is but will keep an eye open if a pair comes up for sale

Having heard the original TX900 they are just amazing - unfortunately way too expensive for me, the 4-500usd range is more acceptable

HD600 is a great kit ( HD650 as well ) and they are fantastic value at the moment but i am not sure how they will sound with V1, i listened them with various amps, with some amps they are fantastic ( grahame slee solo ULD ) with some not ( Schitt Lyr ).  Have a go and test them let us know....

Hi JMG06. Just had a quick look at the Kennerton Vali site, so now I know what they look like, to me that's something like a WW2 Russian tank commanders 'phones, salvaged and blinged out by the Yanks! I actually like the look of their more "industrial models"

It would be great if you could tell us what they sound like.

 

Late to this, but FWIW I have the Grado SR325e and they're superb. They do need running in for a while, but once they are, they have a balance, rhythm and musicality ahead of any other headphone I've heard. I like the Senn 600 too, but was clear on my choice in the end - and I tried a lot of others before coming down to those two. I must be said that some people find the Grado uncomfortable, but I don't. I often forget I have them on and get up and try to walk away!

Comfort will trump sound quality in the end and everyone's head is diffetent. I've heard cans that sounded amazing but hurt like hell to me while others have felt the same about what I ended up with.

Make sure that wherever you go to buy that you wear the headphones on your shortlist for around 10 mins to make sure they work for you.

Like speakers, we can all mention products that meet certain desireable criteria but recommendations can be a bit pointless. The difference being that you can live with a bad speaker choice but if the headphones are wrong for your head shape then, no  matter how good they sound, you won't want to put up with them.

Don't buy blind.

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Klydejmg06
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