looking for headphone advice please?

The  Fuze sounds so good that I’m looking to get some new cans to get even more out of it, and I wonder  if anyone has any advice?  (I’ve looked at earlier posts, and I know choosing phones is a very subjective thing, but comments would be useful.  I bought my last phones, Sennheiser HD238s after a quick listen in a shop, which wasn’t enough, and this time  I’ll probably end up buying online and not get any trial at all).   

I mostly listen at home, using Sennheiser PX100s (old style), Koss Port Pros,  or if I’m on the go or in bed Koss KSC75s.  I tend to listen mostly in quiet places, or in bed, and the Fuze has no trouble with these phones.  I play mostly Rock, acoustic, folk-rock, and vocal music, and some classical. I’d be listening to the new phones at home, so size isn’t an issue (but comfort might be as I’ve got a big head  :stuck_out_tongue: ).

I bought some Sennheiser HD238 Precisions, thinking this was an upgrade, but am a bit disappointed with them.  The Fuze will work them ok, but they sound a bit muffled and distort the highs a little.  I get the same when listening through other players, or my stereo, so it’s the phones not the player. I’ve since seen mixed reviews of these phones.  I prefer the sound of any of the other phones to the (dearer) 238s, and am still looking for a  bit more oomph! and that “front row feeling”.

I’m tempted to try the Grado SR60i, and wonder if anyone here has any experience of using these with the Fuze or can suggest any other cans?  (I wouldn’t outrule the Grado SR125s, either  though wouldn’t want to spend more than £150 tops. I’m wondering if the Fuze can power the SR60is or 125s ok, and how do they compare to the PX100s or KSC75s in sound?

I have a Fiio E3 amplifier, but it doesn’t improve the sound of the Fuze to my ears and I’d rather not get into amps if poss. 

Thanks folks.

 :smiley:

I have Sennheiser PX100 and Grado SR125 (not the i, but I’d guess they have similar power requirements).

The SR125 are just plain wonderful.

Fantastic detail, expansive soundstage, no exaggeration in any particular register.  They definitely don’t need a headphone amp to sound good with the Fuze, and when you crank the Fuze up all the way they are uncomfortably loud but not distorted. If you are intent on deafening yourself, you’d need a headphone amp, but the Grados work fine with the Fuze.

Compared to the PX100? The Grados will ruin you. It’s not even close. The PX100 have muffled highs and a puffy bass by comparison. 

But using the Grados portably? No. They’re just too clunky, and they also have a thick, heavy chord. For the SR125 you also need a connector (old-school stereo plug to miniplug), and the Grado one is massive. 

I tried Grado 60s and 80s before I got the SR125, and I decided it was definitely worth the extra for the SR125.  If you have friends in the States, you can get them for $150 (not pounds) from Amazon.

kitt wrote:

The  Fuze sounds so good that I’m looking to get some new cans to get even more out of it, and I wonder  if anyone has any advice?  (I’ve looked at earlier posts, and I know choosing phones is a very subjective thing, but comments would be useful.  I bought my last phones, Sennheiser HD238s after a quick listen in a shop, which wasn’t enough, and this time  I’ll probably end up buying online and not get any trial at all).   

 

I mostly listen at home, using Sennheiser PX100s (old style), Koss Port Pros,  or if I’m on the go or in bed Koss KSC75s.  I tend to listen mostly in quiet places, or in bed, and the Fuze has no trouble with these phones.  I play mostly Rock, acoustic, folk-rock, and vocal music, and some classical. I’d be listening to the new phones at home, so size isn’t an issue (but comfort might be as I’ve got a big head  :stuck_out_tongue: ).

 

I bought some Sennheiser HD238 Precisions, thinking this was an upgrade, but am a bit disappointed with them.  The Fuze will work them ok, but they sound a bit muffled and distort the highs a little.  I get the same when listening through other players, or my stereo, so it’s the phones not the player. I’ve since seen mixed reviews of these phones.  I prefer the sound of any of the other phones to the (dearer) 238s, and am still looking for a  bit more oomph! and that “front row feeling”.

 

I’m tempted to try the Grado SR60i, and wonder if anyone here has any experience of using these with the Fuze or can suggest any other cans?  (I wouldn’t outrule the Grado SR125s, either  though wouldn’t want to spend more than £150 tops. I’m wondering if the Fuze can power the SR60is or 125s ok, and how do they compare to the PX100s or KSC75s in sound?

 

I have a Fiio E3 amplifier, but it doesn’t improve the sound of the Fuze to my ears and I’d rather not get into amps if poss. 

 

 

Thanks folks.

 

 :smiley:

The SR60i’s are just plain awesome…I have used them with my old Fuze, old Clips, and now my Clip+. I also have the PX100 and KSC75.

Black_Rectangle’s impressions of the PX100 in comparison to a Grado are pretty accurate. I have to use some mild EQ tweaks with the PX100, because they do sound muffled to me on the upper midrange and high range. That said, they’re comfortable to wear and portable as all get out.And with other players that have better EQ settings and enhancements, these things have excellent bass performance…but with the Sansas’ suspect custom EQ, I just boost the upper mids and highs a little bit.

The KSC75’s, on the other hand, are a little too bright-sounding, and lack bass, unless I press them against my ears with my fingers, and they need more power to run…got turn up the Sansa a fair amount to get the same kind of volume as the PX100. Actually, the FiiO E3 , combined with my Clip+ (on the Normal EQ ) , works pretty well with the KSC75’s…but it’s more of a hassle to carry around.

The SR60i’s, these are what the KSC75’s want to be when they grow up. Like the KSC75, you need a little higher volume setting  compared to the PX100,  but you don’t need any EQ adjustments. My Clip+, in a quiet room, will play them uncomfortably loud if I crank it…but I’d prefer not to be deaf quite yet. The E3 actually works well with these too…gives them a slight bump in bass without really muddying things up…but it’s really not necessary, they sound fine without it.

As far as a suggestion for you…from your currency figures, I gather that you are in the U.K., which makes it more difficult, and definitely more expensive, to get Grados…but there is a worldwide alternativethat you can take advantage of, that would have saved Black-Rectangle some money if he’d known of it…the Alessandro MS1i. It is a slightly hot-rodded Grado SR125i, but it costs less!:smiley:

Thanks Black-Rectangle and Marvin, esp. for confirming all these phones sound good with the Fuze without amps.

It looks like SR60is would  be an improvement for me, but I’ve decided to favour  the SR125is  - ‘cos otherwise I’d no doubt end up doing this in a year or so anyways.  The lack of portability is fine, as they’ll be for listening at home. (I really like the PX100s, KSC75s and Porta Pros, and agree with what was said about them - each slightly different -  and I’ll keep them for portable and extended use).

Thanks for the tip about the connection for the SR125is Black Rectangle, that’s probably the only drawback compared to the other Grado phones.

But before I buy, I’ll definitely look into the Alessandoros.  As you guessed, I’m in UK and yep the main problem here with Grados is the price -  they are v expensive here compared to the States.  Although SR125is retail for about $150 in US, in UK they’re often marked well over £150 (!) – without any converter connection for small stereos or mp3 players.  Plus, many (all?)  Amazon.com sellers won’t ship them to UK, and even if they did  they’d get spotted  by UK customs, meaning delays/getting “lost”,  and hefty import tax and postal fees which would eat into any savings.  (Looks like the Alessandoros would get caught this way too unfortunately).

I’ll do some searching for reviews of Alessandoro phones, as if the MS1i is on a par with the SR125i (or better) and a lot cheaper that might make more sense for me.  Most important thing is the sound, so if the reviews or folk on this forum give the Grados a lead sonically then I’ll still go for them.  (Marvin:  I’’m guessing you don’t have the MS1is?  but thanks any way for the heads up). At least I have a 2-phone shoot out now, between the SR125is and MS1is.

Thanks again for the help.

Various places I Googled on the Alessandros say they cost the same–$100 or $110–shipped worldwide, not just in the US. See what you can find in expensive Britain. 

They look exactly like the SR125 (probably SR125i), and Grado doesn’t put its name on things without serious consideration.

Here’s a long mixed review of the Alessandro.  Small soundstage? Not compared to what you’re using now. 

http://www.headfonia.com/?p=2174

Black-Rectangle wrote:

Various places I Googled on the Alessandros say they cost the same–$100 or $110–shipped worldwide, not just in the US. See what you can find in expensive Britain. 

 

They look exactly like the SR125 (probably SR125i), and Grado doesn’t put its name on things without serious consideration.

 

Here’s a long mixed review of the Alessandro.  Small soundstage? Not compared to what you’re using now. 

 

http://www.headfonia.com/?p=2174

Grado builds them for Alessandro, to their (slightly different from Grado) specifications. The SR125, at least the pre-i model, was condemned by many for having too-piercing treble sounds.Obviously, everyone hears differently, of course. The MS1, and now the MS1i, are basically designed to have a slightly more balanced sound signature than the SR125 did.

If you spend any time on Head-Fi.org, quite commonly people suggest skipping the 125 altogether…either for the MS1, or the jump up to the SR225.

I couldn’t be happier with my SR60i’s, it’s been a year now and I still totally love the sound…enough so that I have no  plans to “upgrade” anytime soon. And SR60i’s are listed at $79…almost half the cost of the SR125’s, and there’s no way the SR125’s are twice as good. Are they a little better? I’m sure they are…but not commensurate with the price difference.

Imo you should skip the Grados. I had the SR60, and still have the SR80. While the SR60i might be an improvement over the SR60, I can’t imagine that it would be so different. The SR60 has shrill highs, and a very artificial sound overall. The same effect that makes people say wow with 5 minutes of listening, often makes people feel very sick of the artificial sound after a while. The SR60 leaks so much sound, and has a long, thick,heavy cord.

The PX100 works nicely with the Fuze. Imo the PX100 is so much better than the SR60.

If you are tired of the PX100, then how about some iems?

For headphone ideas, look here.

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=22

Don’t judge the SR125 by the SR60 or SR80. I have listened to all three, though only in stores for the 60 and 80, and the SR125 are in another league. I didn’t like the 60s or 80s at all.

If the SR125i is even more balanced, great. I’d be curious about the Alessandros–they didn’t exist when I got my SR125.

Grados do leak sound. Definitely. The open backs are like little speakers. If that’s a factor, then don’t get them. But I would say my SR125 are worth twice the price of SR60, and if Alessandros are similar and $100, that is a real bargain. 

I like the IEM spreadsheet at the top of JK98’s list of links. But IEMs do not provide the soundstage of circumaural (over-the-ear) phones, with the possible exception of Shure 530 and others in that insane price range. IEMs are about isolation.  I have both Shure E4 and Shure 530–a weird eBay bargain–and both are very good. The 530 are wonderful. But the sound is inside your head, not all around you. 

Headroom, which is surprisingly objective for a store site, is all for Grados in general, though they prefer the SR225. 

http://www.headphone.com/headphones/?mfnID=6

Thanks again for the comments.  Interesting that JK98 finds PX100s better than Grado SR60s.  Personally, I really rate the PX100, along with my KSC75s and Porta Pros.  These so called budget phones take some beating.  They all sound  better to me than the Sennheiser HD 238 Precisions I bought  after a quick listen in a shop, and are ultra-comfy, and that’s why I’m wary of making the same mistake twice. My impression from the many reviews, and comments here, is that for the price the Alessandros would be  a good call for a (blind) upgrade, and very likely to be an “improvement” to my current phones. Certainly a different sound.  The only slight concern I have is that I do like my current sound, and (any) new phones  might sound a bit fatiguing, compared to the PXs/Porta Pros - I’ll try to research that.

I think the best way to get the Alessandros would be direct from them and put up with the import tax - I’ve emailed them and they have stock ready to ship.

IEMs aren’t an option for me unfortunately - my ears wax up too much and I’ve had enough of nurses with syringes. I  use some foamed sennheiser MX660s or the stock Fuze buds when I want to travel very light, but there’s no comparison with over-ear phones.

Thanks for all the comments - I appreciate there are specialist forums on headphones but thought it best to post here as I specifically  plan to use them with the Fuze. 

 :smiley:

If the Alessandros are even close to the SR125, as they are supposed to be, you won’t miss your current PX100 sound. They’re good, and they are super comfortable, but you are doing a serious upgrade.

kitt wrote:

Thanks again for the comments.  Interesting that JK98 finds PX100s better than Grado SR60s.  Personally, I really rate the PX100, along with my KSC75s and Porta Pros.  These so called budget phones take some beating.  They all sound  better to me than the Sennheiser HD 238 Precisions I bought  after a quick listen in a shop, and are ultra-comfy, and that’s why I’m wary of making the same mistake twice. My impression from the many reviews, and comments here, is that for the price the Alessandros would be  a good call for a (blind) upgrade, and very likely to be an “improvement” to my current phones. Certainly a different sound.  The only slight concern I have is that I do like my current sound, and (any) new phones  might sound a bit fatiguing, compared to the PXs/Porta Pros - I’ll try to research that.

 

I think the best way to get the Alessandros would be direct from them and put up with the import tax - I’ve emailed them and they have stock ready to ship.

 

IEMs aren’t an option for me unfortunately - my ears wax up too much and I’ve had enough of nurses with syringes. I  use some foamed sennheiser MX660s or the stock Fuze buds when I want to travel very light, but there’s no comparison with over-ear phones.

 

Thanks for all the comments - I appreciate there are specialist forums on headphones but thought it best to post here as I specifically  plan to use them with the Fuze. 

 

 :smiley:

 

 

 

 

 

The fact that JK98 likes PX100’s better really drives home my point that we all hear differently, doesn’t it? My first thought when I read that was , “He’s crazy!” (just joking, JK98) :wink:

Question…how much time did you put into the HD238’s? Sometimes, the sound of headphones and speakers can open up a little bit after some use…not always, as some would have you believe ( burn-in ). I haven’t found that it made any noticable differences with my gear, but some people swear by it. I was intrigued that you thought they sounded muffled, because that’s how I find the PX100’s to sound, without EQ tweaks.

The “fatiguing” effect that you brought up is usually cited by the Grado detractors…and almost every impression of the Alessandro Grados that I’ve read mentions that they are by design less so than the original Grados. So if it is something you’re concerned about, sounds like they’d be a better choice for you than either my Grados or Black-Rectangle’s Grados.

Be sure to post back once you get whichever one you order, with your impressions. 

Hi.

Thanks again to Black-Rectangle, JK98 and Marvin.  (I’ve marked the last post as a solution as all the comments here have been really helpful and I know questions about which cans are best can easily snowball and become less helpful).

To answer your query about how much time I gave my HD 238s, Marvin, “quite a lot”.  I still use them now from time to time, just for the velvety feel on my ears :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t burn them in, just bunged them on and within about 10mins my heart sank. Nevertheless,  I’ve had them what seems like a year and probably use them a couple of hours a week - when I get anything new I often end up seeing which phones it sounds best on in the vain hope the HDs might improve with age.  Its always between the PXs and Porta Pros.  My wife,  uses the stock Sony iems/buds that came with her walkman,and when I rope her into these tests every time she prefers the Porta Pros (“just sound better”), ranking the HDs 2nd, PXs third, and KSC75s a “tinny” last. To my ears, the HD238s haven’t changed noticeably in this time.  They sound so  muffled to me that I recently took a free hearing check when I had my eyes tested, just in case I was growing old in the ear and loosing more highs than I should, but my hearing checked out OK.  For me  the HD238s were a pointless impulse buy.  (Maybe its a duff set, or just my own ears).

Yep, the MS1s look the way to go - will let you know how it goes if I take the plunge on them.

Thanks all.

 :smiley:

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