Closed back headphones sought - suggestions please

avinunca1

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I would like some headphones that have reasonably good isolation to listen to music in the same room as my wife when she's watching tv. I particularly want to make the most of jazz, acoustic and chamber music. I have a Dark Voice 337SE OTL amp and a 'Whammy' solid state amp and would prefer to use the former.
I would prefer to buy a better quality pair of used phones and budget is around £450.
I've done a lot of reading of reviews and so far I am unclear about the best tool for the job. I don't like shrill treble and I don't need an excess of bass. A captivating mid range is top of my wish list.
 
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pmcuk

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I'm happy with my AKG K701. Should be cheap enough second hand. Somewhere between £50 and £90.

Excellent sound and detail.
 
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griffo104

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I'm still taken with the Focal Elegia, under £450 new, and bought them for the same reason as you.

I find the treble detailed but never shrill and the bass is tight, textured but has no false boom. The isolation is ok, I rarely hear any coronation street and the wife has never complained about any serious sound leakage.

The other closed back I have is the Denon AH-D5200, which I also enjoy, but they are more coloured and they have far more bass and are better for other types of music. I enjoy chamber and jazz but also love a good thrash and indie album as well.

Are there any particular headphones you are currently looking at?
 

avinunca1

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I'm still taken with the Focal Elegia, under £450 new, and bought them for the same reason as you.

I find the treble detailed but never shrill and the bass is tight, textured but has no false boom. The isolation is ok, I rarely hear any coronation street and the wife has never complained about any serious sound leakage.

The other closed back I have is the Denon AH-D5200, which I also enjoy, but they are more coloured and they have far more bass and are better for other types of music. I enjoy chamber and jazz but also love a good thrash and indie album as well.

Are there any particular headphones you are currently looking at?
I have been reading up on these. I listened to the Celestee at a local dealer yesterday - they had no Elegia. They were connected to Chord TT2. Did nothing for me. I much preferred the Meze 99 - got my foot tapping but seemed to lack some heft leaving piano unconvincing. It would have been interesting to hear them connected to my valve OTL amp.
 
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Lawrence001

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I'm happy with my AKG K701. Should be cheap enough second hand. Somewhere between £50 and £90.

Excellent sound and detail.
But they're open backed. And in my view have a balance towards the treble end.
 

griffo104

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I have been reading up on these. I listened to the Celestee at a local dealer yesterday - they had no Elegia. They were connected to Chord TT2. Did nothing for me. I much preferred the Meze 99 but they seemed to be a bit lightweight and less convincing listening to piano. I want a full lush sound. Maybe both would have sounded more to my taste conn to a valve amp.
If you didn't get on with the Celestee then I doubt the Elegia would change your mind. It's not what I would describe as lush but is open enough to change with the source, imo. I have about 6 dacs and headphone amps around here but they still have a certain signature.

The Denons I mentioned tend to have a warmer presentation.

I tend to prefer a more detailed approach to my music listening.

I looked at the Meze 99 but Meze's tuning is a little off for my tastes.

The problem you have, as I did, is that after you get over a certain price point, headphones seem to go open back rather than closed back so your choice drops quite significantly.

You may find that you find your answer in IEMs rather than headphones, especially with regards isolation. I bought the Tripowin Olina earlier this year and really enjoyed them , detailed and open and the bass has decent slam when needed but they don't let the bass leak into everything and go boomy. Of course the benefit of IEMs is that you can normally tune them using different tips so can get something a bit more to your liking but these are really hard to try out at a dealer.

The other problem with IEMs is the choice - just loads of them. Having said that I have some Black Friday Sennheiser IE300 being delivered today.
 

avinunca1

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I tend to prefer a more detailed approach to my music listening. You may find that you find your answer in IEMs rather than headphones.
I want to hear detail too - especially with acoustic instruments and voice.
Re- IEMs - I think this would be a problem when my wife wants to communicate with me. I am intrigued by the option of changing EQ to tailor headphones to one's preferences. I must read up on this. I know I could do this with a Dac such as the RME-ADI2 and believe I can even do it by installing software on my MacBook
 
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griffo104

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I think this would be a problem when my wife wants to communicate with me. I am intrigued by the option of changing EQ to tailor headphones to one's preferences. I must read up on this. I know I could do this with a Dac such as the RME-ADI2 and believe I can even do it by installing software on my MacBook
I have an RME ADI-2 and do EQ some of my headphones. It takes a little bit of reading up to understand the frequency but it's really easy to find headphone frequency graphs on the internet and then understand where and why you are adjusting.

There's some really good tutorials on youtube for using software to EQ by users like Resolve (attached to the Headphone Show) and Crinacle. Both explain howto EQ in a very clear and concise manner.

I use EQ on the RME for the HD600 and M1570, and it gets round issues that I have with these. I don't think it removes major issues as large adjustments don't make a lot of sense - you probably should have a different headphone in that case.
 
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avinunca1

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Are there any particular headphones you are currently looking at?
Our local dealer only has a couple of models - Focal and Meze.
I read some favourable reviews on BeyerDynamic T5 and saw a pair of 2nd gen up for sale. Reviewers have differing opinions - best thing since sliced bread for some.
 

griffo104

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Our local dealer only has a couple of models - Focal and Meze.
I read some favourable reviews on BeyerDynamic T5 and saw a pair of 2nd gen up for sale. Reviewers have differing opinions - best thing since sliced bread for some.
You'll find that with reviews. I find it best to follow ones who like my musical tastes and describe things without going into raptures of hyperbole. Check forums like Headphones.com, yes, they are connected to a US store but I find them quite balanced (the forum is under the community banner), and very knowledgable, and they have a good youtube channel as well.

I have headphones by Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Focal, Denon, Monolith and Beyrdynamic. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses and I listen to a wide range of music which is why I have so many sets - none are perfect all-rounders.
 
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Headcoat

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Shure SRH1540's might be worth a listen. I've not heard them but have been mulling a pair. From what I gather online: Slight boost in bass, very nice flat fq apart from the small bass boost. Comfortable, closed back but open sounding.

Meze 99 classics you mention work fine with my OTL valve amp. Imo they are a safe choice, not too expensive and a nice all rounder. I'd describe them as warm for headphones costing over £200.

These two websites are very useful for fq graphs and other measurements. I find fq measurements give a really good indication of what a headphone will sound like.

https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/shure/srh-1540/

https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/shure-srh-1540.php#gsc.tab=0
 

oldius

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Yes I agree. Very promising - thanks. Interesting links. Will refer to the measurements.
I own the SRH1540, and like them a lot. They are a very easy drive, and I wanted a closed back, high-quality headphone for use with my phone and laptop. Another I own is the Sony MDR-7506, and I really rate them; for the money, they are ridiculously good.

I also use Beyer DT150 (250 ohm) and they are a fabulous, all-day, listen. They are not as good with a laptop or phone but I would also consider them: I found them just as good as the Beyer 1770 Pro which are significantly more expensive.

I
 
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griffo104

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How well can you hear people if you are wearing IEMs but mute the audio? I imagine not well.
enough to hear the wife, depends on the fit, which is where IEMs can be a pain. Unless you have IEMS like the Etymotic which are very deep insertion where you can't hear a thing but you do feel quite violated with them.
 
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Headcoat

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Well I've only gone and bought myself a pair of SRH 1540's... will report back. They join the Audeze LCD-2C, LCD-2 closed back, Audioquest Nighthawks, Meze 99 Classics, Marshall Monitors and Sennheiser HD-480 600 ohms.

Not to forget the Senn HD599's I use for the TV.

I have too many headphones.

Time to move on my Sennheiser 6XX's. Cable has gone and three pairs I already own that I prefer. There's two small indents on the grill on back of one phone, barely noticeable, no cable, but nearly new OEM earpads and a spare pair of Drop's leather pads. Anyone interested is welcome to drop me a PM.
 

JANDL100

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But they're open backed. And in my view have a balance towards the treble end.
AKG 701/702.
I agree.
Too much treble makes the sound very grainy for me. I can't stand them!
And open backed.

Focal Elegia. I had a pair. Quite enjoyed them to start with, but fairly rapidly grew irritated by them.

I didn't get on with Meze 99 NEO. I was expecting warm and full, what I heard was lightweight and hollow.

How about Monolith 1060c? Closed Back planars, I believe. Not heard them myself, but they have a good rep.

My favourite closed back atm are Oppo PM-3. No longer made but eBay usually has some used. Definitely worth a try imo.
 
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