Off-Topic: Headphones

T N Args

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call me Arg
I recently decided to buy a sealed-cup pair of headphones and my listening and research led me to the recent model NAD Visio HP50. Just slightly over Amin's OP price point, but IMO this model is a little bit of genius, designed by a top acoustics guy Paul Barton from PSB Speakers, industrial design by David Farrage of DF-ID, utilizing the very latest audio research into preferred headphone frequency response curves.

I got 'em, I love 'em. Highly recommended.

[edit @Amin Sabet : updated the 'recommended' link]
 
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Replytoken

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Here's my Head-fi setup right now:

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Pictured: Hifiman HE-400, Schiit Asgard 2, Schiit Magni, Audioengine A5+
@Amin I realize this is an old thread and I may be a bit OT, but I had a couple of questions about your desktop set-up and as a "former" audiophile and headphone geek, I did not want to revive my Head-Fi account to solicit some information/opinions (too much like falling into a rabbit hole).

  • Are you still using your AE5+ speakers?
  • Do you use them for room listening or when you are sitting at your desk?
  • What is your opinion of them?
  • What were you using before them?
  • Have you compared them with any other desktop speakers?
Years ago, I wanted to get some desktop speakers when I got a new desk in our office/den. I was still listening through my main system in the other room and had headphones as well, but thought that some small speakers (for a space-challenged desk) would be nice when I was at the computer for long periods of time. I pushed off any action and just plugged a pair of cheap BT speakers into a USB DAC a few years ago and found that they were not as offensive as I had expected, so they have remained to date. I just upgraded my PC and am reconsidering an "upgrade" and have been considering a number of possible options from AE2+'s on down (in size and price). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, if only for the sake of my wallet.

Thanks,

--Ken
 

Amin Sabet

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@Amin I realize this is an old thread and I may be a bit OT, but I had a couple of questions about your desktop set-up and as a "former" audiophile and headphone geek, I did not want to revive my Head-Fi account to solicit some information/opinions (too much like falling into a rabbit hole).

  • Are you still using your AE5+ speakers?
  • Do you use them for room listening or when you are sitting at your desk?
  • What is your opinion of them?
  • What were you using before them?
  • Have you compared them with any other desktop speakers?
Years ago, I wanted to get some desktop speakers when I got a new desk in our office/den. I was still listening through my main system in the other room and had headphones as well, but thought that some small speakers (for a space-challenged desk) would be nice when I was at the computer for long periods of time. I pushed off any action and just plugged a pair of cheap BT speakers into a USB DAC a few years ago and found that they were not as offensive as I had expected, so they have remained to date. I just upgraded my PC and am reconsidering an "upgrade" and have been considering a number of possible options from AE2+'s on down (in size and price). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, if only for the sake of my wallet.

Thanks,

--Ken
Hi Ken, I still use them. Mainly for sitting at the desk but also for room listening. I think they sound terrific and they also seem very well made, but I haven't compared them much with other desktop speakers. Prior to them, my computer speakers were Bose Companion 2, and that is a completely different size / price class. Soundwise, no comparison.
 

Replytoken

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Hi Ken, I still use them. Mainly for sitting at the desk but also for room listening. I think they sound terrific and they also seem very well made, but I haven't compared them much with other desktop speakers. Prior to them, my computer speakers were Bose Companion 2, and that is a completely different size / price class. Soundwise, no comparison.
Thanks for the prompt reply, Amin. Nice to hear you are still enjoying them. I can easily see using them to fill a room, but thought they might be overkill for sitting at a desk as you are literally just a foot or two from them. Do they seem to be overkill at such a close distance (and I am assuming low volume), or does their magic still come through in those situations? The A2+'s and other similar traditional two-driver 2.0 speakers would take up a chunk of my limited desk space, and I would be wiling to place them there if they made a difference at close distance, low volume listening. One of the challenges I see is that the next step down in size puts you in the Bluetooth category of speakers, and while there are some well regarded units that are compact, it is not clear if what they deliver is actually a stereo experience. Most have two drivers side-by-side with some kind of bass for the unit, and I just do not know if that is actually stereo, despite the supposed sound quality. Then again, somebody might say that they are suited for the type of situation that I just described, and these types of speakers certainly are versatile for casual listening experiences. I would just retreat to my Senns (HD600's), but they do get a bit warm around the ears after wearing them for a bit.

--Ken
 

Amin Sabet

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Hi Ken, I'm pretty sure you would appreciate the difference between A2+ and the type of Bluetooth speakers you are describing, even for close distance, low-volume listening at the desk.
 

AlanU

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Amin,

Audio gear is another money pit I fall into :)

For near field desktop speakers I think the A2+ speakers are fine when matched with a nice subwoofer. I switch over to that system after using Kef R100 monitors with Emotiva amp for near field listening.

If your in the US you can pick up a pair of Denon AH-MM400 portable headphones for about $399. Not a super accurate pair of headphones but not overly coloured. Nice bass response and a fine balance of sparkle on top. More lush sounding than an HD600 or HD650. I look at headphones as different flavors depending on the mood your in. My Modified HD800 (not S model) has a wideopen soundstage that can potentially have bordeline high treble and accurate bass. The Hd650 and denon headphones I have are more musical but not dramatically going left field on signature sound that is heavily coloured.

Nice thing about the HD800 is that they are not as hot as my HD650 open headphones. So on hotter days i can tolerate HD800's alot longer. The HD800's are more detailed but sometimes you can over analyze the music since they are hyper detailed unlike the more musical Hd650.

I'll have to say the Denon headphones sound amazing on my iphone6+.......yes you heard right!!! a non external amplified smartphone sounds incredible!!!

Amin next time for entertainment test a "sine" headphone or cheaper denon MM400. You'd be surprised how a portable headphone can sound so good.
 

Replytoken

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Audio gear is another money pit I fall into :)
I'm trying to gracefully get out of this pit after having let curiosity get the better of me, and I am hoping that Amin, as OP and moderator, will let me stay a bit OT and vent. I knew there was a reason that I declared myself as a former audiophile, and this "quest" for a desktop speaker has reminded me why I got off when I could. I have had a rough week at work, and looking for a suitable desktop replacement speaker has gone from a mild distraction to somewhat of a time-killer. I have considered many options and thought I had narrowed it down to two, neither of which was perfect, but neither seemed like they would offend my senses. But, I realized that in addition to low level, near filed listening (I.e. on my desk right next to me at volumes that would not drive my beloved crazy), I remembered that much of what would be piped into these speakers would be online music from Rhapsody (now Napster). I have used the service for years, mostly for portable audio, and for the price, it works fine as it give me a great selection of music. As their highest quality files are AAC-320, I am beginning to wonder if something like an Audioengine B2, one of my possible choices, is overkill, especially at low volume. I have also been considered some TASCAM monitors, but part of the challenge of "space" is not just room on my desk, but limited AC outlets. The TASCAM has a wall wart plug, and I know that my current power strip will not accommodate another one. I have not kept up with the SQ of all of the new wireless speakers with DSP, so I cannot really say how they (especially the cheaper ones) sound in comparison to more traditional designs like the TASCAM, less so the Audioengine (which uses a DAC that upsamples to 24-bit). I do wish there was a Lens Rentals in the audio world, so one could try before buying without needing to take advantage of a manufacturer's 30-day return offer. Rant over for this thread, but still confused as to how to resolve this issue. :confused:

--Ken
 

Carbonman

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If you are going to be listening to music as a background to your work on the computer, go for the lower priced option. Your hearing curves are so screwed up at low listening levels that some digital tone controls will be more important. (I'm a not-quite-recovering audiophile BTW)
 

Replytoken

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If you are going to be listening to music as a background to your work on the computer, go for the lower priced option. Your hearing curves are so screwed up at low listening levels that some digital tone controls will be more important. (I'm a not-quite-recovering audiophile BTW)
Well, you can tell that I have been away for long enough that the more I learn, the less I know. The original goal of a quick and dirty solution that would make me happy is now long gone. But, I am learning a lot about Bluetooth and Wifi audio options that are now available, and if you dig carefully, you can find a number of solutions. But, it seems that I cannot remember which review sources I found to be honest and candid, and that leads me to reading a number of articles telling me that all speakers in Lake Wobegon are "well above average". I think that I am going to slow down this process so I can solve it at a more reasonable pace. There seem to be a number of options out there, including the Chromecast Audio that I was not aware of until today (and its supposed advantages over BT technology). If I could only find the one or two that would put a smile on my face.

--Ken
 

Replytoken

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I was able to clear some space on my desk and on my power strip last night so I decided to try out the TASCAM VL-S3BT monitors as Amazon kept dropping the price on them to the point where I was wondering if they were going to pay me to buy them. :) They appealed to me as I am a bit "old skool" about my audio and I liked that they are designed to play flat. I know that may not be the best arrangement for low listening, and I am sure that I am sure that I might find speakers like the A2+'s enjoyable, but barring my bottlehead addiction (preamp only), I have always liked my music flat and uncolored or adjusted. They are breaking in right now and while I do wish they were a bit smaller, they do not seem to offend me (except for a bit of the laminate on the face of the right speaker which is not adhering well in one spot). I'll post a brief update in a few days, and I appreciate the advice offered.

--Ken
 

Vivalo

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My daughter testing her new and first headphones. She wanted some generic Philips BT headphones, but Santa was cruel and got her a pair of decent wired headphones. ;) They actually sound pretty good.
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Vivalo

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ATH-M50. Classic!!

p.s. there's white version, good for Christmas gift, but it gets (appears) dirty much faster than black version;)
Haha, actually I was looking for white ones, but they were 50 euros more expensive. Only the black version was on Black Friday sale, 105 euros (110 usd) shipped.
 

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