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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:44 am 
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Hello ladies and gentlemen,

Due to a number of factors, I'm looking to move from speakers to headphones for personal listening. My music is all digital audio, mostly FLAC, with some ALAC and AAC/MP3. I won't bore you with details, but I'm planning on running them off a MacBook and older generation iPod Nano, although I'm eventually planning on upgrading to a Fiio music player. No headphone amp as of yet, but will likely look into them in the next year or two. The goal is to use these with the iPod at work while doing things, or at home for relaxing and mucking about on the computer. I don't particularly do critical listening, but I think I appreciate a relatively honest headphone (I've been purging my poor-quality audio due to my previous stereo setup).

I can't tell you what kind of sound I like, as I never really tried to pinpoint it, but I think I'm after something with a slightly pronounced low end, with a strong mid-range and clear treble, and I appreciate clarity (as I suspect most of us do). I've tried Beats Solo3's and found them far too bass-heavy, as well as a few of the Extra Bass Sony's (with Extra Bass turned off, although they were better than the Beats). Sennheiser was much nicer to listen to (HD583 or something, I think), although I found them a bit thin sounding (although that could be due to listening to them immediately after the Beats and Sonys). I've also tried the AKG C50BT, and quite liked the sound. My music tastes are wide and varied; only things I don't particularly listen to are country or metal, and not much rap.

Anyway, after doing a fair bit of research, I was about ready to pick up the AKG C50BT (Canadian version of the Y50BT); I had a chance to listen to them in store, and the sound profile seemed to suit me. They were also available locally for a good price ($100 CAD). However, I recently came across a pair of Beyerdynamic T51i's privately at a comparable price (around $150); they are supposedly brand new (or at least have seen minimal use), but they're from the Amazon Warehouse, so I assume they're an open box/warranty return. I also know that Amazon Warehouse was selling off the T51i's last year for $120 (plus taxes), but they're all sold out now, and normal price seems to be about $270+.

Anyway, this brings me to the real question: Are the Beyerdynamic T51's (either the T51p or T51i) still a thing? I know they were top-dog for portable on-ear headphones about three years ago (at least in the $200-300 range), but I'm curious if that's still the case; it seems like the AKG Y50's (and their wireless cousins) are the reigning champions in the $100 range nowadays. Does the newer tech in the AKG C50BT/Y50BT put them on a comparable level to the (slightly) older tech in the Beyerdynamics, or are the latter still considered the better headphones? I could potentially buy both and try them out, but I can't afford to keep both (starving grad student), and my main concern is whether I'll be able to recoup the cost of the Beyerdynamics if I decide not to keep them. I'm perfectly happy spending a bit more for good quality used gear, but if the AKG's are comparable (as well as being wireless, brand new, and with a warranty) then there's no point.

This post is already longer than it needs to be, but if more information is required, let me know. Thanks in advance!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:22 am 
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https://www.head-fi.org/threads/battle- ... ed.634201/

Fun read.

I much prefer over ear rather than on ear as far as comfort goes, so:

I've tried lots of phones with used price of less than $200 and have settled on 2 pairs.

I wear the Hifiman HE400 at work because the sound great and with the open backs I can hear the phones and coworkers.

At home I use the closed back Beyerdynamic DT770 which are ridiculously fun to listen to, comfortable, and around $125 used.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:07 am 
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I appreciate the reply, and that comparison looks epic; I'll have to sit and read through it when I've got time, but what I got from the intro is that I need to buy all the headphones (or, at least try them all). It's amazing how much variability there is between headphones and individuals, although I suppose that's the nature of the beast.

I appreciate the suggestions, but I don't think I'll be able to act on them much. I work in a quiet area, so I need closed headphones for sound isolation (or at least minimal leakage). I like circumaural headphones, but I can't really see myself committing to a pair for daily use due to their size; I eventually would like to move up to a good pair of around-ear headphones for home use (with a dedicated amplifier), but the budget is just non-existent for that right now.

Having said that: HIFIMAN is probably a good one to consider as well, and it's good to hear that you've got a pair of Beyerdynamics you like. Once I decide to move to open headphones, I'll have to do some proper research, although Grados seem to be a respectable and inexpensive way to get started.

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ADA SSD-66 (5.1) pre/processor; Bryston 4B (x2) & Hafler 220; Laptop with Steinberg MI-4 and Cambridge Audio DAC Magic; Furman power conditioner; Focal Chorus 705V's, Polk Audio RT-15's, and an Energy center speaker.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:02 pm 
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I have the AKG C50bt, excellent for the money a little warm for porch listening on a humid day. Recommended them to some friends for their kids, couldn't be happier cannot believe how long the charge holds. Give them a listen, picked mine up just before last xmas for a great price. My reference set is the AKG700 which I have had for years so a little bias. T


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:19 pm 
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tsearay wrote:
I have the AKG C50bt, excellent for the money...


Yeah, I've heard that the AKG C50BT is pretty good, especially at $100 from Costco. To be honest, I may end up picking up the AKG instead of the Beyerdynamics, although I'm torn. Headfonia posted an article a month ago about the Beyerdynamics T51p, and how it's still a favourite headphone even three years after release, but the comments about a weak/cheap cable somewhat got to me. Since I've started looking for a pair of headphones, I've started to realize that most decent pairs have a removable cable, which would be great for me (as I have a tendency to get my headphone cables caught on things while working). I could handle a fixed cable if it's one sided, as it's less likely to get caught and ripped out compared to the "Y" of split headphones. Unfortunately, the Beyerdynamics seem to have the triple threat of thin, non-removable, and split headphone cables. If not for the inline controls, I would be open to re-cabling them eventually (even doing so myself). The only other option would be to convert them to removable cables, but the cost associated might be better put towards a different pair with removable cables standard, and I hesitate to hack into a $150 pair of headphones to do the work myself.

Anyway, my apologies for the long post; mostly just me thinking aloud. I may pick up the AKGs tonight and have a listen for a couple days, then compare them to the Beyerdynamics. If the T51i's are really that much better, I may return the AKGs and get the Beyers instead; else I'll keep the AKGs and/or go on the hunt for a different pair of wired phones (perhaps a pair of Grados for home use).

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:23 pm 
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http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... 0m-80-ohm/

Bam. Seriously. I really preferred them to the T51 and 1350's. Such good isolation, great balanced and non fatiguing sound. Sounf good off a phone (the 80ohm version).


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:42 am 
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kcross wrote:
Bam. Seriously. I really preferred them to the T51 and 1350's. Such good isolation, great balanced and non fatiguing sound. Sounf good off a phone (the 80ohm version).


Yes, yes, I understand, you really like the DT770's... :roll:

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm considering getting the 770's; not sure if I'll get those exact ones you suggested, but I have them on my list of headphones to listen to. From what I've (briefly) read on them, they're a (slight) improvement over the T51p, and the single (albeit non-detachable) cable is much more appealing than the two cables on the T51's. Again, my main concern with around-ear headphones is the lack of portability; I've started carrying headphones around with me every day, and I can't imagine throwing a full-size pair into my bag.

Having said that: I ended up getting the AKG C50BT's from Costco the other day, and so far I'm quite liking them. I'm one of those weird people that doesn't mind on-ear headphones, and these are very comfortable, although I haven't worn them for more than 30 minutes straight (that is, without pulling them off my head). The pads seem to provide a nice seal, and block out external noise reasonably well, although there is some sound leakage to the outside (possibly coming from what appears to be perforations around the outside of the cups).

The sound on the AKG's is pretty much exactly what I'm after; judging by the reviews, it's reasonably even mids and highs, with slightly pronounced bass. My only issue is that the highs sound a little bit bright, bordering on painful (at least at volumes I listen to). I'm not sure if it'll become fatiguing after listening for several hours (I'm planning on using these at work), or whether they'll mellow out after some burn-in (I've only got about 2 hours on them). They may sound a tiny bit better in wireless mode than wired, but that may be due to the DAC in my computer (mid-2009 MacBook Pro); I suspect newer tech will improve the wired sound.

Curiously enough, the AKG's sound quite similar to my old headphones, which were a pair of Incase Reflex; I can't tell if the Incase headphones were that good, or my audiophile ear is that underdeveloped, but it's a little odd. The lows may reach just a little bit lower, and the sound may be clearer in the mid- and upper-range, but I can't tell if that's just placebo/bias towards the new headphones, or if it's actually the case. I think I need to get accustomed to the AKG's and then switch back to really be able to tell. They are, however, quite a bit heavier than the Incase, although the padding (on the headband and cups) makes them much more comfortable.

My only gripe is that there's no Apple-compatible 3-button wire included; I've got an older iPod Nano that I don't think has Bluetooth, and the volume controls no longer work on it, so I need to use an Apple-compatible cable in order to use the volume. I will eventually upgrade to a Fiio, but until then I need to either find a replacement 2.5mm to 3.5mm M/M cable with buttons, or a short 3.5mm to 3.5mm F/M cable with buttons.

Anyway, now that I've got these, at least I've got a good reference point for testing out other pairs.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:17 am 
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Location: West of GTA Boonies, ON, CA
I have the BEYERDYNAMIC T51i's as my initial pair. Yes they are worth every bit of their high praise

AND Then I stumbled onto the MASTER& DYNAMIC MH-40's when I was browsing casually . They Impressed me enough to buy them after a direct A-B bake-off and so I passed the t-5i.s onto my wife.

https://www.masterdynamic.com/products/ ... headphones

One important feature for either unit: please pair them up with a quality build external portable headphone amp/ USB micro-DAC AND a quality hi-Rez capable music player app such as the TEAC hi-Rez app.

Both upgrades are necessary to bypass both the comparative crap internal dac in the iPhone / iPad or MAc as well as the comparatively crummy app Apple Music player in all of them. These two upgrade steps are critical to take both of these fine headphones to a much higher performance level.

I have three external portable headphone amp /microDACs that work fab;
(1) Audioquest Dragonfly Red
(2) Audioquest Dragonfly Black (V 2) ..., pass on the original V1

https://www.wifihifi.ca/LatestNewsHeadl ... 5/Red.html
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/article ... -red-dacs/
https://www.whathifi.com/audioquest/dra ... red/review

(3) TEAC HA-P50 http://www.teac.com/product/ha-p50/

The TEAC is my fave with the the M&Ds


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:32 am 
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Location: SCARBOROUGH, ON, CA
Please take a look at AKG240 which is available in amazon.ca.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:47 am 
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Gunner wrote:
AND Then I stumbled onto the MASTER& DYNAMIC MH-40's when I was browsing casually . They Impressed me enough to buy them after a direct A-B bake-off and so I passed the t-5i.s onto my wife.


Very pretty, but a little outside of my price range for the time being. I still haven't had a chance to listen to the T51i, but they became an option when I managed to find a pair locally for sub-$150; same goes for the DT770. I suppose if I sold off my speaker system, I could fund a good headphone setup, but I'm not convinced on doing that yet (I do so love my Brystons).

Gunner wrote:
One important feature for either unit: please pair them up with a quality build external portable headphone amp/ USB micro-DAC AND a quality hi-Rez capable music player app such as the TEAC hi-Rez app.

Both upgrades are necessary to bypass both the comparative crap internal dac in the iPhone / iPad or MAc as well as the comparatively crummy app Apple Music player in all of them. These two upgrade steps are critical to take both of these fine headphones to a much higher performance level.


I wholeheartedly agree. I do have a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic, but do not have a headphone amp yet. I also have a Steinberg MI4 USB media interface (used for sound recording) that has a headphone output with variable volume; unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out what the chipset is in it, nor have I had the time to open it up and check, but it'll likely be better than the Mac. Regardless, it'll have to do for the time being, until I can afford to get a proper headphone amp.

As for computer media player: I tend to use VLC, as I hate iTunes, and I haven't found another good media player for OSX (although I haven't checked in a few years). I used foobar2000 way back when I had a Windows computer, and I may try using it again with WINE.

My next major upgrade will probably be the digital media player; I've got my eye on a FiiO X3, but don't have the money to upgrade at this point. The only reason I'm looking at getting a decent pair of headphones is because one of the channels in my on-ear headphones died, and I find my earbuds painful for extended listening.

DHMC2000 wrote:
Please take a look at AKG240 which is available in amazon.ca.


I just checked Amazon, and these definitely look to be within my price range; I'll have to check some of the reviews and see if I can track down a set locally to listen to.

One quick comment to everyone replying: I appreciate all the replies, suggestions, and comments, even if it sounds like I'm coming up with excuses for everything. I've actually taken a fair bit of time to consider what I want, look at reviews, consider my current equipment (and possible upgrade paths), although I haven't put all of that into my previous posts. Not sure if that was a good or bad thing, but I didn't want to create an information overload. Besides, I'm sure we enjoy a good headphone discussion.

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ADA SSD-66 (5.1) pre/processor; Bryston 4B (x2) & Hafler 220; Laptop with Steinberg MI-4 and Cambridge Audio DAC Magic; Furman power conditioner; Focal Chorus 705V's, Polk Audio RT-15's, and an Energy center speaker.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:19 am 
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I have owned the DT 770 Pro 80 ohm and also the T51p. For a portable headphone the T51p had the best sound IMHO. But they were not comfortable - I wear glasses and that may make a difference. I gave them to my nephew and got Audio Technica M70x which are very comfortable. They have a different sound to the Beyerdynamic. Your mileage may vary.


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