Audiophiles with Clips, check in please.

Ok guys.  I’ve only had my Clip for a day, and I can already tell this will be a player I will have forever I hope.  I mean, the reviews aren’t kidding when they say the sound quality is beyond impressive for a DA, especially one of this size and price (8GB for 49!! :dizzy_face: )

It’s a shame the stock buds that come with it are so terrible, which I could immediately tell as soon as I plugged in my EP-630s (rebadged CX300s) which I had from when I bought my XPS laptop.  These things sound amazing, and when I started to look around, it seems like the CX300 is regarded as one of the best low-priced IEMs available.

I then found an old pair of KSC-50s I had from at least 5+ years ago, and they too sounded pretty good (not as good as the EP-630s obviously).  I had to try them because I need an open style supra-aural set of cans for when I go lifting or running.

But then today I just got like the greatest deal ever.  I bought a set of KSC-75s for a whopping total of 6 bucks after being tipped off about Radio Shack.  And these things are unbelievable and would have easily paid the $20 retail or whatever the regular price is, but for 6 bucks, this could be the best set of cans in the world in terms of bang for buck.  I’ve been reading about some of the mods to do to these KSC-75s like the kramer mod and recableing them, possibly putting them on a headband.

So this is what I have at my disposal now.

EP-630s

KSC-50s

KSC-75s

Now I turn to you guys.  I’ve just bought the FiiO E5 amp.  So my question is what is the next step up for me?  Because it seems to make a jump in sound quality, I need to start looking at the $100 mark or so, as I’ve got the sub-100 area covered with the EP-630s and the KSC-75s.  I was thinking about getting the PX100s, but since I’ve got the KSC-75s I don’t think it’s worth it.  So here’s what I’m looking for.

Open circumaural or supraural cans.

I seem to be gravitating towards 3 different open cans.  The Grado SR80i, Grado SR125i, and Alessandro MS-1.  But I was just reading some reviews about the SR80s and it seems like they have crappy construction? (all the bad reviews say nothing bad about the sound, all about construction.)

I wouldn’t discount the SR60i, the value per dollar rating is better than that of the 80 from what I’ve read.I’ve read many account of people keeping their SR60’s for years and years, even after they buy different ones.  I haven’t had the chance to hear any, unfortunately.The Alessandro’s are modified Grado’s, and almost universally liked.

On the other hand…I have heard that the Grado sound is like the sound signature of the KSC75’s, only taken to the ultimate level. So don’t rule out something with a different sound signature , so you could switch it up depending on your mood. 

You’ve caught the “upgrade-itis” bug…so to paraphrase the head-fi forums’ motto, start apologizing to your wallet . Also, wait till you get your E5, and play around with that and the KSC75’s for a bit before you buy anything else. I’ve been doing this for a little while now, and I’m going through the same decision process…what to get next?

I guess I really haven’t answered your question, but that’s because I am going through the same process. :wink:

From past research, the Alessandros are a good way to go.  Basically, from what I was able to tell, you get the next level up of Grados at the lower Alessandro price.  I just wish they all were more comfort-driven …

I just bought a 4GB clip today, mainly to use with my Rhapsody subscription.  I have a Squeezebox for home listening but now with the clip I can take songs from my Rhapsody library to work or out on a walk.

I first tried some fairly good quality Sony earbuds (MDR-EX51 I think) but these did not sound good, too ‘tinny’.  Surprising because these have had good bass with other players.  In fact at first listen I

was very disppointed with the clip sound quality.

Then I tried a pair of Grado SR325 headphones.  These sounded quite a bit better, the highs were a lot smoother and reduced in level (a good thing) compared to the Sonys.

Still I was not completely happy with the sound but it was getting better.  Then I tried a paid of earbuds (I think they are Sennheisers) that came with an old iRiver player.

These sounded very nice, so far they are my favorites with the clip.  I have a pair of Grado SR60’s at work that I will try tomorrow - I think these may sound pretty good too.

The clip is sounding better now after listening for a few hours, I am hoping it will ‘burn in’ and improve the more I listen to it.  I am starting to like it now.

I am wondering about a headphone amp also.  Not having a true line out jack, I wonder about how good the sound would be taken from the headphone jack.  But the FiiO E5 amp is so inexpensive there is little to lose in trying one.  I’d be interested in your impression of the sound with this amp.

For really good sound, I wonder how the clip would sound with a set of Stax SR-001 MKII electrostatic earphones?   I think you may want a real line out jack to use those though.

Hmm, well so far I do like the signature of the KSC75s, but to be fair, they haven’t been properly broken in yet (I think so far I’ve listened to them for about 3 hours or so).  The only thing I wish is that they had more punch to the bass, but that’s inherent to these kind of supraural cans.  That’s why I’m thinking of doing the headband mod.

So far I seem to notice from the reviews that Grados seem well suited to bass heavy stuff like Rock, Rap, Metal.  I listen to lots of stuff like Metallica and System of A Down, making  Grados seem like a good choice for me.  The Alessandro’s it seems from reviews are more of a balanced sound, more suited to musicians and listening to stuff like Jazz or Classical.  But I’d have to listen to them to see.

But you are right, I will wait until I get the E5 and see what these KSC75s really sound like.  I’m actually going to make another trip back to Radio Shack to get the last 2 sets they had, because I plan on modding this set so it’d be good to have a base point to compare to, and the 3rd will just stay sealed as an extra to have.

What I need to do is see if I can find an audiophile store around me so I can listen to some different cans like the Grados, Alessandros, maybe some Denons or AKGs.  As much as I love to read and research, that is no substitute for actual labwork (testing).

From my experience, the E5 amp increases the volume by 10-15%, and the sound quality richness and clarity by 15-20%.  A good deal, as you note!  Plus, it also gives you separate volume control–a nice and handy addition for when your Clip is in a pocket.

@miikerman wrote:

From my experience, the E5 amp increases the volume by 10-15%, and the sound quality richness and clarity by 15-20%.  A good deal, as you note!  Plus, it also gives you separate volume control–a nice and handy addition for when your Clip is in a pocket.

Also, the bass boost is selectable…which is a good thing.

@warrior1986 wrote:

Hmm, well so far I do like the signature of the KSC75s, but to be fair, they haven’t been properly broken in yet (I think so far I’ve listened to them for about 3 hours or so).  The only thing I wish is that they had more punch to the bass, but that’s inherent to these kind of supraural cans.  That’s why I’m thinking of doing the headband mod.

 

So far I seem to notice from the reviews that Grados seem well suited to bass heavy stuff like Rock, Rap, Metal.  I listen to lots of stuff like Metallica and System of A Down, making  Grados seem like a good choice for me.  The Alessandro’s it seems from reviews are more of a balanced sound, more suited to musicians and listening to stuff like Jazz or Classical.  But I’d have to listen to them to see.

 

But you are right, I will wait until I get the E5 and see what these KSC75s really sound like.  I’m actually going to make another trip back to Radio Shack to get the last 2 sets they had, because I plan on modding this set so it’d be good to have a base point to compare to, and the 3rd will just stay sealed as an extra to have.

 

What I need to do is see if I can find an audiophile store around me so I can listen to some different cans like the Grados, Alessandros, maybe some Denons or AKGs.  As much as I love to read and research, that is no substitute for actual labwork (testing).

I have read that they were a little light in the bass department(the Grados) , but again, I haven’t been able to hear them.

I wish there was a store like you describe near me…that would rule. I’ve narrowed my search down to Sennheiser HD485($69.99), or for $20 more , Senn. HD555. When my tax $$ comes, one or the other will be mine. :smiley:

Message Edited by Marvin_Martian on 03-02-2009 12:58 AM

I’ve been eyeing those HD555s myself, as they fall in the same price range as those other 3 I’ve been looking over.

The only thing I’m a little worried about is how they apparently add a surround effect, no doubt since they were intended for home theatre use.  But reviews seem to be favorable.

From Sennheiser’s page- “HD 555 features a special internal Surround Reflector, which generates an extended spatial sound field,making it the ideal headphone for home theater,as well as music.”

@warrior1986 wrote:

I’ve been eyeing those HD555s myself, as they fall in the same price range as those other 3 I’ve been looking over.

 

The only thing I’m a little worried about is how they apparently add a surround effect, no doubt since they were intended for home theatre use.  But reviews seem to be favorable.

 

From Sennheiser’s page- “HD 555 features a special internal Surround Reflector, which generates an extended spatial sound field,making it the ideal headphone for home theater,as well as music.”

I have read that quite a few times :wink:

Since you mentioned the Sennheiser PX100s, I can confirm from personal experience that they do indeed sound pleasant and friendly, but certainly a touch “opaque” (which some folk might value!) when compared to my other travel 'phones (the Koss PortaPros), which I consider to be the real “value” options for portable use, delivering a very appealing mixture of clarity and depth, whether replaying the concert (live) version of “Hotel California”, Clapton’s “Unplugged”, Pollini’s Mozart 23rd Piano Concerto, or the rhythmic and tuneful Handel’s “La Resurrezione” (1708)…

I also like Grado phones, but suggest that the only way you would be likely to definitively choose the best options to suit your particular taste would be to find a store with the range of options that include your likely candidates, and “test drive” them from your Clip, with selections of your own musical choice…

I wish you every success in your endeavours… 

Well my first day with the clip was not a good experience.

After loading it with 280 songs from my Rhapsody library last night, it played for a few hours this morning, then refused to play anything while showing the message “Synchronize to continue your music subscription”.

I just synchonized last night and already it’s refusing to play??

I’ll try connecting to my pc again when I get home, but it wouldn’t take much more to persuade me to just toss this clip in the trash at this point.

If only Rhapsody would work on my Windows mobile phone - it has much better sound.

Update:  Good news - I connected the clip to my PC at home and it updated the licenses, it’s working fine now.

             Even better news - I was able to add my windows mobile phone (HTC Touch Diamond) as a device and it is working with Rhapsody to go also :smiley:

                                        Even the album art shows up on the phone.

I called Rhapsody support and they confirmed everything was OK.  They said my phone wasn’t officially supported but if it’s working feel free to use it.

They said the clip should only display that message if it hasn’t been connected to the PC for 30 days but I may have hit the day it checks a day after I got it.

If I see the message again within 30 days I’m supposed to call back and open a new ticket.

So now I have the best of both worlds - the clip to take with me walking and I can use the phone at work with its better sound quality.

But it’s not perfect, I get frequent blue screens of death while copying songs to the phone… 

Message Edited by kh6idf on 03-02-2009 07:02 PM

Message Edited by kh6idf on 03-02-2009 07:04 PM

Message Edited by kh6idf on 03-02-2009 10:31 PM

I apparently have the Rhapsody licensing problems straightened out with my new clip, and it’s sounding very good after a day of break-in.

For this player, the best sounding earphones I have turn out to be a pair of earbuds that came with an old iRiver IFP-390T flash player.

I have more expensive headphones, but for some reason these earbuds sound the best with the clip.  I suspect they are made by Sennheiser

but they say iRiver on them.   I’d like to find a set of canal phones that don’t fall out of my ears as easily but have this same sound quality.

After doing a lot of reading, I think I may try a set of Denon AH-C551.  The impedance is 16 Ohms which I think is what the clip is designed for,

and the sensitivity is a reasonably high 104 db/mw.  Also the sound is reported to have good bass with  the high end just a little rolled off which I think is just what the clip needs.

I’m going with a set of Grados next, perfect for extended listening.  Remember the old standard monitors, the Sennheiser 414s?  Those big yellow foamies were very comfortable, way ahead of their time.

If you would like to try an in-ear monitor type, for the price, the Maximo iM490s (Made For Sansa) available through the Sansa Store are very nice, well matched to the Sansa.  After they break in, they undergo a metamorphosis.  Be forewarned, they sound anemic out of the box, and then sound wonderful, with warm bass.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

JVC HA-FX66-A  (JVC Air Cushions).

These are the best bang for the buck.  They sound perfect with the Clip and Fuze,  and they dont fall out of your years.

neutron_bob:  I have two sets of Grados (SR60 and SR325) and both of them have the Sennheiser big yellow foamie pads on them.  After the Grado pads wore out I read that the Sennheiser pads were a perfect fit and ordered 2 pairs from Sennheiser.  They do fit exactly and seem to be very durable.

The first thing I would do if I got Grados would be to get the 414 pads.  Apparently, they make a world of difference in terms of comfort and sound.

I have never had an open type headphone as comfy as the classic HD414.  You guys have a great idea!

What shall I call them?  Senndos or Gradheisers?

And sansafix  is right about the JVCs, I took his recommendation to heart- those wee beasties are a great deal.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Is this what you guys had in mind…yellow foamies for Grados? :stuck_out_tongue:

Good lord.  Those could be the coolest set of cans ever!:smileyvery-happy: