Audio Confused: GRADO, Audio Technica, Sennheiser

puneetritehere

Racer911
Adept
Hi Guys, have been reading a lot of reviews for the past 2 weeks 2 hrs daily, to research and buy the best headphones within a budget of Rs. 6000 to Rs. 6500.
There are a lot of mixed reviews, GRADO's get the praise for high detail and excellent clarity and crispness, Audio Technica for good soundstaging but lack bass as read, Sennheisers , well said to have good overall sound and everything.. but i am now getting really confused..

One reason I am inclined towards Sennheisers is that their design is excellent no nonsense, smart and simple german design and is very comfortable. .no flimsyness.. Its german design at its very best, industry molded plastic to excellent shape and good looks, uncomplicated and hence comfortable..
but then I somehow have a feeling, they are not very good value for money. feel a bit overpriced..

GRADO's have caught a lot of attention with all these amazing reviews .. but am still skeptical..really need to hear them first to know what people are really talking about... whats all the big fuss about??

Audio Technica: again i am inclined because of full sized earcups and have good reviews too. .but a little downsided views for the bass ..

so now heres the final lineup from which i want to buy:

GRADO SR60 or SR80i ------- Audio Technica ATH-AD 500 and AD700 -------- Sennheiser HD 518 and HD 280 pro

Also, can you plz enlighten in the difference between AD500 and AD700. and if the AD700 is worth the extra price. Same goes between HD 518 and HD 280 pro.

My preference is full sized circum aural earcups, but if the GRADO's are really as great as everyone's saying I might as well get that..

I am going to use the headphones either on my HP laptop with an 'HD IDT sound card' which is actually great and also a hi-fi sony 2000 Watts music system.

Plz help..

PS: One more thing, the sennheiser audiophile range starts from the HD518.. .so is there a lot of difference between the HD 448/449 and the HD 518..
 

Nalin

Gamer Inside
Adept
Nov 15, 2011
1,104
84
88
Delhi
Have been using AD 300:) from past 6 months and i feel AD 700 suits your requirement perfectly,but they leak sound due to their open nature.AD 700 have the best soundstage you can get at you budget.
 

svelc

New Member
Recruit
Jul 26, 2011
2
0
0
44
Hi puneet,

You are right about Grado, you must here it first. I was like you couple of months back, confused. My choice Grado SR60i, Grado Labs MS1i and AT ATH-M50.

But finally took the plunge into Grado Labs MS1i thinking i will either love it or hate it, but must hear it :)

And i tell you, it gives a new dimension - depth. Clarity, detail, smooth vocals, right bass (not bass heavy) are all there. Sound stage is not wide like Senne HD 201 i have, but to me wide stage is no good for indian film music.

My next step will be AT ATH-M50 for its sound stage and closed can. Mainly to listen to western classical and sound tracks. Caz Grado 225i is way high for me :)

One advice irrespective of the phones you choose, listen on apps like FooBar2000 or JRiver with Kernel Stream or ASIO turned one. Lossless if you could and like. I guess you know this already.

If you think Grados may not be confortable, you can stretch the bend a little and wash the foam in shampoo to soften.
 

drsingh

Active Member
Adept
Jan 25, 2010
302
2
28
36
I am not an "Audiophile" per se but i love music and enjoy a wiiiiiiidddeeee variety of music - bollywood,oldies,hollywood OST,Arabic music,french music,Rock,Marathi,Punjabi!!!!!! You get the idea.

I was in your situation-newbie with a 5k budget.
I believe music should sound good to the ears of the person listening to it and he should enjoy it without worrying about pureness or mids,highs,lows etc!

I tried different bose IEM and HEADphones in a delhi mall.Too expensive ,not much punch.
I had the good luck to try grado(sr60i i think),koss porta pro,sennheiser px series. I used a sansa clip, panasonic audio cd player,cowon d2 as sources.
(headphones were from friends and their friends and their friends :) )
Now cowon d2 has so many tweaks and effects ,you can tweak different settings for different types of music.The grados were amazing -specially when listening to hans zimmerman.I wanted them but they were too expensive for me at the time as i wear a turban and cannot use full headphones when i am outside my house!!!

So long story short, i ended up buying Philips IEM's and senn px 100 for the laptop.
BUT i am going to get hands on the grados one day! That I promise you.( now i am not sure whether i listened to sr60 or sr 80)
 

edge111hussain

Well-Known Member
Adept
Aug 29, 2009
505
95
67
Dude, u cant take a wild plunge into the world of Grados. It gets mixed reviews and with good reason.. They r not for everyone. Trust me on this. Plus they aint the most comfortable to wear. If grados is what u like, do audition them first. You cant buy these based on reviews.

Sennheisers have a sound of their own. First of all, fget the hd 4Xx series, they r crap (hd 485 if u want d bass to rumble in ur movies minus music is a good choice). Hd 515 and 555 r ur choices at your budget but like i said, sennheiser too have their own sound sig and according to me r a bit laid back. If you need attacking cans, fget the sennheisers which r in your budget. You will have to go much higher(hd 25 2, hd-598 etc). The hd280 will need amping and lack bass. But amping is required so i guess thats ruled out too :)

Audio technica.. Buddy, this is where in your price range you will get some decent options imho. If you dont need bass, blindly go ahead and buy the AD-700's. There r people selling second hand on te mkt place at 4.5k. Get em, but they lack bass... If u need the bass, well then we do have the ath-50 or the ec7.

Shure, have a looksy at the shure 440.

You do have the sony's too. the v6, v7, xb-500, xb-700 etc.
Amazing bass, but i feel they lack clarity.

See, everyone seems to like and talk a lot of good stuff abt the ath-m50's, but honestly i dont like em. I think the bass is too boomy and it doesnt really excel at anything per se. For me personally the shure - 840 offers a lot more and a lot better. But thats my opinion and it kinda goes against everyone who praises the ath-50's. But if ur taste is like mine, u wont like them too and will regret.. so so///

Well, now that the negatives have been highlighted, search for whatever u like in terms of sound and write back. Brand is inconsequential to an extend imho. Hifiman, fischer, brainwavz, klipsch, beyerdynamics etc etc, u got many more to choose from.. You got to hear it yourself to be sure....
 

allrounder799

Active Member
Adept
Aug 29, 2011
564
9
32
27
Vadodara
I was looking for headphones in the same price range[5000-6000] and settled on the Sennheiser HD 518 because

-I am fan of Sennheiser's
-Like the open sound stage that the HD 518's offers
-Very Comfortable(Audio Technica lost a point there)
-Has tight low end(according to reviews I have read, will post my opinion when I order them from eBay)
Note:
Was see sawing between HD 280 pro & HD 518s and went for the latter because the HD 280 pro fit your head like vice to provide isolation(again got this from many reviews) and I think I prefer the open sound stage rather than the closed back design of HD 280 pro

-I also considered the AT ATH-M50 but dropped them as they had neutral sound(I like a bit more low end, though not Bass Head)

@punnetritethere: Just noticed you are too from Vadodara, finally someone from my city!!
 

puneetritehere

Racer911
Adept
finally someone from my city!!
heheh.. nice. .and i see in your gadgets u have the mx518.. me too... lemme know how the sennheiser hd 518's and whats the best price you getting them at?? i was inclined towards the sennheisers coz among all the designs i have seen, they are the neatest and simple and smart.. pure german designing..

i even read up on your other posts where you said that availability of products is important. that is precisely the reason i have been researching the net and landed here.. i was so frustrated when i went to the market for headphones.. every bloody shop has just got the same 2 or 3 models.. a sennheiser hd 428 and more cheaper ones .. its as if like all the shops in the city ordered together or got their supplies from one person.. people dont even apply their brains over here.. thats y i decided this time i wont settle for shit just because shopkeepers in the city are dumb....am sure u know about typehouse?? good shop. but same old walking with the herd thing... salesgirls over there.. dont even know what esata is .. owner tells me.. i am running shop for past 20 yrs. .u think you know more than me??? (hope you are not related . :)) .. you are confused. theres only sata.. nothing called esata..

anyway. enough rants..

will get headphones from mumbai. . .and later when i buy desktop.. i swear to god.. everything. will be from the big city..
 

nukeu666

Well-Known Member
Adept
Dec 19, 2006
2,156
45
112
36
your primary genre should decide which one you choose

if rock/metal, nothing better than grados
 

allrounder799

Active Member
Adept
Aug 29, 2011
564
9
32
27
Vadodara
@punnetritehere: I am getting them from eBay, here is the link of the listing if you want to check out, price is 5890 rupees, lowest I found on eBay and possibly elsewhere, MRP is 6490

I realized two years ago that if you are looking for a quality niche product you never venture out in the local markets, because as you said "they follow the herd"

When I went out to get some components for my new rig(hoping in years time, scenario would have improved) I was horrified to know that i5 2500 is used in "servers" and Nvidia 8800GT is enough for "Full HD" games

I think everyone in our city thinks there is some relation between Typehouse and genuine computer knowledge, I too had visited them to inquire about the price of sandy bridge processors and the idiotic "sales girls" showed me Core 2 Duo E2500 and said they don't know about Sandy Bridge. If I had relation with typehouse I would better cut it off

Moreover the dealer from whom I got the processor and motherboard(got it locally due to warranty issues) insisted that the PSU that comes with iBall cabby is enough for my 6850:S:S

Why dont you try eBay, PrimeABGB, SMC International, got a bunch of stuff from all of them and they are great, not mention way to cheap than the local dealers

I am getting HD518's in two three days will surely let you know how they are
 

puneetritehere

Racer911
Adept
OK guys.. have finally bought the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 from the guys at PristineNote. :hap2:
.
Eagerly waiting for it to arrive..

After reading all the reviews and online research, I came to the conclusion that Audio-Technica might just provide the biggest bang for the buck compared to other brands and may also be the safest way to go for a person like me spending such an amount for the first time on a product like headphones, which, whether you accept it or not, at one point or the other, was a very big decision for all of us, because going by the common way of thinking, noone bothered too much about the sound quality in such detailed manner and just spending at most a 1000 bucks was more than enough to get the good sound that we wanted.

Wait for a full hands on review about the feel and first impression and user experience of the product. Later, a detailed review on the sound quality and whether it was worth spending 6K for it.

--- Updated Post - Automerged ---

OK people.. Have finally received my headphones today.. .. though i am at work.. :mad: so wont be able to check them out before I get home.. :(

Was expecting the delivery to get delayed by 1 more day, but after a little follow up, they have finally reached with just a delay of 1 day.. no biggy..
 

puneetritehere

Racer911
Adept
Excellent mind blowing.. first thing.. the headphones earcups are way larger than what I had imagined. and thats a good thing.. :D i love full sized headphones.. second, they are damn comfortable.. they are so comfortable, it feels as if they really care about you.. so soft, gentle.. the 3D wing design is quite comfortable .. and as i have a big head, hold the headphones in place even if i bend down.. you dont even feel the wings pressing down on your head..

the sound is excellent, very crisp, detailed..its especially good at higher frequencies.. vocals are quite clear good to hear.. and the best thing, even if you turn up the volume very high, they dont hit on your ears as if something is trying to pierce through ears .. even at higher volumes, the sound doesnt break up and actually, in some songs, you will hear the light background instruments that otherwise you normally werent aware of.. this doesnt happen with all the songs, some of them, which actually have quite a number of instruments playing around.. secondly, even in techno music or hip hop, small sound effects at extremely low frequencies, (not bass beats) are heard well.. in acoustic guitar songs, the effect of plucking of the string is much clearer and hence more fun to hear.. havent tried the soundstage thing which is much appreciated on these cans.. doesnt really matter in most of the mp3's .. or even the flacs.. you need more movie or games to get an idea of the soundstage.. or look up the net and search for binaural sounds..

the screw on 9 mm pin is quite impressive.. once you screw it on, you cant tell that a separate pin has been screwed on.. neat.. . and even the cable seems to be of a quality which exudes a premium feel.. supposedly as claimed by the company, inside the insulation, the wire is covered with titanium sheathing. (better insulation and conductivity.. whatever they say. i am not much of an soundtech junkie.. )

now about the bass, lots of reviews have negative comments for the bass and thats just what my reaction was.. well the thing is, the headphone is not biased towards bass, doesnt mean it doesnt have the potential to produce good bass. .for the extra boom, you might just wanna move up the low freqency sliders 1 notch..

that does the job.. i mean, the headphones have 53mm drivers, the biggest among even the best of the best headphones. the sennheiser hd800, which costs 80K by the way, has 56mm.. so the point is, with drivers this size, theres no way the headphones can lack any capacity for good bass. .its just that with no equalizer turned on, the sound is just right with the bass. .not unnecessarily wanting to punch your ears..

about the different instruments and detail in sound that i was talking about, heres a little explanation so you guys can know what exactly detailed means.. i have read almost every good review available on the net.. made my decision after 1 month of research and lot of discussion on this forum,

First Guitar,

The difference in acoustic guitar was clearly visible. The clean guitar notes were much more soothing to listen to. with the sound of the plucking of the string, and the little whistling sound created while sliding the fingers on the strings. was clearly audible.. which made for a way better experience with acoustic instruments..

Piano:

although the piano was good, there wasnt a lot of difference that impressed me so much like the guitar sounds.. (they were way better)

but then it might have also been the sound source which might not just have the extra detail the headphones are capable of playing

Violins:

Again, violins are beautiful instruments with continuous sound from low to high frequencies without breaking between notes.. and they sounded awesome.. basically, I think, headphones that sound good with vocals will definitely sound good with an instrument like violins and flutes..

Drums:

Percussion was also good. in quite a few songs, the low profile background drum beats which were otherwise not very clearly audible or not audible at all with my old headphones, were clearly detailed which suddenly improved the rhythm in the songs thus making them more enjoyable. the fast drum rolls, were quite detailed and the it didnt sound like the drum rolls just blended in with each other to create a smudged sound effect.. this gives the sound in the headphones kind of a playful nature. .

the sounds like. ... rrrrratattatttat, ratttat.... etc. were very fun to hear as they were crisp and clear.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

this is it for now. .i think most of the major instruments have been covered. .

wait further.. for a more comprehensive review.. this was just the general feel and effect , the first experience with the headphones after I spent 4 hrs yesterday night listening to a variety of songs... (even fell asleep with the headphones on, they were so comfortable.. )

about the price, do i think it was worth it??? yeah.. maybe.. could have been closer to 5K (just saying, intuition.. not that I have compared other headphones in this price range) .. but still , the sound quality is awesome...

i can definitely say, that my recognition of good quality sound reproduction has just been upgraded. :clap::cool2:
 

bennysachdev

Active Member
Adept
May 5, 2009
928
28
43
34
^You can see now why this can be a addictive hobby ;)

Now that you've stepped into the waters, you will start realizing that although the AD700 is really really good to you now, the wow effect with the glowing halo will die down momentarily. And every time you have money to spare, you will upgrade to a can which is more detailed, smoother in sound, has more spaciousness in the soundstage and blah blah blah(audiophile terms). Trust me, the joy of rediscovering your old music collection with soo much you missed out on even after listening to it a 100 times before is unexplainable. Which is why you will upgrade!!!!



My only gripe or rather only chink in its armor is the lack of bass punch. Now that you've heard it, you will understand that I do not mean the tightness of the bass, the AD700 has a very tight bass, but it lacks an impact, the hit of a drum has a sort of short ripple effect which it does not deliver very well. In the AD700 it dies out pretty quick. The Grados seem to do it well, the M50 does it really well, the lower end sennheisers just do it but just don't it right(the real sennheisers are the HD25-1 II, HD600/650/800). And i'm not being nit picky since my genre is trance and edm which is primarily focused on the bass region. Which is why when someone mentions their genre as edm or hip hop, I never suggest a AD700 but rather an M50. Its a clear winner. Of course, sound will come out from the Ad700 also, The AD700 is a very good can and is superb VFM and if its a song you like, irrespective of the headphone you will enjoy it, but somehow good headphones make even the other songs enjoyable. :)
 

signops

Member
Disciple
Mar 7, 2008
33
1
9
39
I agree completely. This can really be addictive. I'm discovering old music and movies again with my AT - T500. That too lacks the bass required.

However, no budget to upgrade now. Will do so after a year !
 

puneetritehere

Racer911
Adept
Hey if someone has used the T500's and the AD700's both side by side, will you be kind enough to post a comparison. Actually earlier I was planning to go for the T500's but eventually went for the AD700's as the budget allowed it. plus the Ad700's were also bigger in size which mattered to me.. I just wanna know how much difference there actually is and if its worth spending the extra buck for the AD700's. .about Rs. 2500.. from techenclave prices by pristine note.

Thanks.. .:S