08 May 2010

headphones

I like to hear every last detail in the music I listen to. I certainly want to hear the most sophisticated sound my budget will permit. I don’t think that quite qualifies me as an audiophile but it does mean I research equipment carefully before investing.

I play CDs on a NAD 541i or Cambridge Audio DVD89 player through a NAD C350 amplifier powering Bowers & Wilkins DM601 speakers. The sound is mighty impressive, clear and able to go unbelievably loud. I like to listen loud and immerse myself in the music. That was fine in my house but somewhat inappropriate for a small apartment.

I haven’t listened to music “properly” for over eighteen months. Most of my CD collection is still in storage but that is about to change. I have ordered shelving to house a lifetime's collection of CDs and DVDs and some serious listening will soon ensue. After several days reading reviews and comparing prices I opted for a pair of Beyer DT770 Pro headphones. I scoured the globe for the best prices, yet remarkably found the best deal in a local professional music showroom only five minutes from home.



I’d like to describe the aural pleasure these headphones supply but I can’t do it justice. Suffice to say they breathe new life into music. For the technically minded: the dynamic range is 5Hz to 35,000Hz, meaning they reveal the deepest rumbles and the highest squeaks! Source material CDs sound rich and full while even mp3 files with average compression leap out to be taken notice of. These are “closed-back” headphones which isolate the listener from ambient sounds and prevent leakage of music even to someone sat beside you; excellent for apartment living with two small children.

Six years ago I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD590 headphones. They brought my CD collection to life, in a slightly less private way. They are open-backed which the purists say is far better; more like listening in the real world. The dynamic range of the Sennheisers is 12Hz to 38,000 Hz but the difference from the Beyers is not noticeable. The big difference is that people in the same room get treated to your music and you can hear ambient sounds clearly. Both pairs reproduce music faithfully and with the intricate detail I love. On balance I prefer the isolation of the closed-back Beyers.

6 comments:

Little M said...

I don't know; I kind of think you do qualify as an audiophile!

C.J.Duffy said...

Whenever I see headphones I now think of Jon Entwhistle and Pete Townsend both of whom, one dead now of course, were, in Jon's case, and are, in Pete's case, deaf.
They doo look cool though and much better than my battered pair with the frayed and worn leather bits.

Perfect Virgo said...

Little M - OK, you got me!

CJ - as I think you know, one of my sons is deaf. He is one of the biggest music fans I know yet sadly he'll never enjoy the true excitement of stereo listening.

C.J.Duffy said...

PV>>>I had forgotten that fact. I can think of nothing worse than having a child that is either deaf or blind. Please forgive my thoughtlessness.

CJ

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - Nothing to forgive! It's a common condition; sad when he was a toddler and a boy but now he's a marvelous young man who handles it remarkably well.

S said...

Thank you for these reviews. My headphones have deteriorated, the pieces literally falling off.

I adore music: listening, dancing, singing very off-key (although I confine that to my family or groups of 50 or so to drown me out.) My collection is like a pinkie on one hand of a baby in comparison to your mouthwatering turning tower!

Sometimes I'm lucky enough that someone sends me an MP3 via computer so I can listen to a recommended musician. Such a nice treat. Last year someone from a blog sent me some jazz music that way. The wonders of the internet!

Your living room looks cozy and relaxing!

Gel