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iPhone driveable closed ear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones, Speakers, & the Rest' started by Miguel Marcos, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Miguel Marcos

    Miguel Marcos New Member

    Naturally, headphones are such a personal thing but I'll post this in case it's useful to anyone.

    I've been going through iterations of earphones and headphones in the past few years. For headphones, I've generally looked for something with a neutral tone that can be driven conmfortably by an iPhone and iPad. The budget I play with is €100-150. I always have two objectives in mind : 1) to be able to neutrally monitor and mix my own recordings; 2) to listen to mostly jazz and non-Western acoustic music for pleasure.

    I think I've hit a sweet spot with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X I acquired three months ago. It's on the upper end of my budget but the neutral tone is well nailed. It does have color but it's not overwhelming; the color is, for lack of a better term, pretty transparent. The volume driven by iOS devices is generous. They are comfortable to wear for a long period. An unexpected convenience is that they fold up very well for such full-size headphones and they come with 3 different cables for different use cases; they also swivel though I don't use that feature. They would likely be the phones I would travel with on vacations where I could spend some time to work on my own music. I frequently use them at home to sit and conscientiously listen to music. I really love them.

    My previous headphones for this use case were a pair of Sony MDR-V6. They are perhaps a bit more neutral though not as full sounding. They're smaller and fold well, so they're more convenient than the M50x. The cables are not switchable and the finish and quality of the pads and other materials is slightly worse than the M50x. Still, I recommend them highly as they're a bit above half the price of the M50x. Quite a number of online musician colleagues have recommended the Sony MDR7506. They're about the same price as the V6. I wonder if they're the same headphones. I still have them and use them in my bedroom and I plan to replace the pads as they're a bit worn.

    I also have a pair of Focal Spirit Professional. Those are about 2x the price of the M50x but, man, they are super neutral in tone and crystal clear. They have one downside: They are a tight fit on my head, which is average size. I find this odd and disappointing. Very impressive audio, a bit uncomfortable, but a great contrasting tool for mixing.

    Anybody else here create music?
  2. kirk

    kirk Administrator Staff Member

    Not at all. The MDR-V6 are wonderful headphones for the price.

    I've got some headphones I've been testing for an article, and I have been stunned by how good the Beyerdynamic T51i sounds. Out of the box, it's clear, neutral, transparent; nearly everything I like in headphones. I haven't listened to it a lot, but it really is stunning.

    FWIW, I have Focal Chorus speakers, both in the living room, and in my office. I bought the living room speakers (806) when I lived in France, and bought smaller 705v for my office last year. That's the type of sound I expect from speakers. I haven't heard their headphones, alas.
  3. Miguel Marcos

    Miguel Marcos New Member

    I'd love to get my hands on some Focal speakers but they remain out of reach for me for now. I'll bet they sound spectacular.
  4. kirk

    kirk Administrator Staff Member

    You mean too expensive? Interestingly, I bought the 806s in France. Here in the UK, I bought the 705s. I wanted to give a pair of the latter to my son last year for his birthday, and saw that they cost about twice as much in France, where he lives, as in the UK. So I bought a pair here and shipped them to hime. They cost about £200, compared to around €450 in France; which is where they're made. Go figure.
  5. Miguel Marcos

    Miguel Marcos New Member

    Huh. I thought they were mighty expensive. I'll check them out.
  6. Black Six

    Black Six New Member

    For closed circumaurals, I primarily use Sennheiser HD380 Pros which I find to be quite neutral and pleasant. I use them for music listening as well as for monitoring while recording video and audio (spoken word, not music). Once you stretch the headband out a bit (put them around a pillow overnight or so), they're very comfortable and I've worn them for hours at a time. My iPod Classic can drive them no problem.
  7. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer New Member

    I've lately been trying a bunch of headphones for classical music driven by my iPod Classic; I really liked the little brother to the ATH-M50x, the ATH-M40x, which I think are a bit lighter and I can wear them all day. I also like the AKG K550, which has been marked down substantially (I got mine for $138 on Amazon). The K550 is great for folks with enormous heads like mine. Those two seemed to breathe the most life into the portable without using an amp. So the M40x is at work, and the K550 is at home.

    As I recollect, opinions are all over the map as to whether the MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 are the same with a different marketing focus, or actually have some differences. Some reviewers (e.g. thewirecutter.com) say there's a huge difference, and cnet is on the side that it's just marketing. I didn't much care for the 7506 myself, but I will say that it benefited the most from having a portable amp attached. I am dubious though about the hassle of the portable amp when the iPod Classic drives the ATH-M40x and K550 perfectly well without one.

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