WAF, Audio Technica w1000x, and Suggestions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-18-2012, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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So I was looking at picking up some Audio Technica w1000x to listen to while at work in my new office. We are moving to a cube-farm, and so I wanted something with excellent audio (I was hoping to pair it with a headphone amp) that I could enjoy while removing myself from the cube world. Well after my wife and I looked at our finances, we just couldn't justify spending ~$550 on a pair of work headphones right now. So, I wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions for a pair of headphones that would be similarly comfortable (I have some ATH-700's that I LOVE and can wear indefinitely), but might hit into the $300 range.

I would also love any suggestions on a good headphone amp to pair with the purchase. The amp would need to support a 1/8" jack in (pulling the sound from my ZuneHD).

Thanks in advance for all your advice!
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-19-2012, 08:48 AM
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Aside from the most obvious feature of the w1000x’s beautiful wooden earcup, I didn’t enjoy auditioning them as much as I love the hd650s but that’s just me I guess. Also could be that I prefer open VS closed style headphones for the wider soundstage. With the w1000x I could hear a little hiss in the upper midrange, treble region and a slight emphasis of definite sibilant in the vocals in the upper ranges but that could have been the recording to some degree. That said, it did have very good resolution.

With a $300.00 budget it would be hard to get a top-tier portable amp and higher end headphones like the w1000x, for example one of my favorite portable amps is the headamp pico which has a built in DAC but they go for $499.00. I wrote a review about the one I like best, the Pico here and also about the Pico Slim here. Heck even the hd650s now go for around $479.00 compared to when I bought mine a few years back for $285.00. But they’re open style so you probably wouldn’t want them for cubicles. Just below the pico I like the Headstage Arrow but it does not have a DAC and is still over your price range.

Back to reality, in your price range you can look at the The FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp which is around $80.00, I've not tried one but I’ve read some good things about it. Or Ibasso makes some nice amps also, but they're a little more expensive than the FiiO. You could also look at a very good DIY amp like the O2, but that may run you around $100.00+ to build or around $200.00 already built.

I don’t like recommend headphones without knowing as much as possible about the sound signature one is after and it sounds like you want something really good but have a lower budget. I also like to know things like below before making suggestions … as this is the basic information that people here would need to know in order to help you with headphone/amp recommendations:
  • Price Range: Your budget, minimum to maximum spend.
  • Type/Design: Full size headphones, portable headphones, in-ear monitor (iem), earbuds or custom monitors.
  • Preferable SQ or Sound Signature: Try to describe the sound signature you prefer, descriptive words can be found here. Do you like warm tones, neutral sound or balanced sound? Do you prefer boomy bass heavy lows, rich across the sound spectrum, focused midrange for vocals or even bright piercing highs? Try your best to describe your preferences so we can make recommendations.
  • Media: Genre or typical media you will use on said phones that you listen to would help to suggest something that fills your sound signature needs.
  • Open Style (full size headphones): Leaks sound out of the grills, typically have a wide soundstage, do not isolate the user from ambient sound and can be heard by others. Open/closed style typically refers to full size headphones or portable headphones. While some IEMs or buds may have an open design, we are referring open/close here towards full or portable headphones. If you want earbuds it is understood that they will leak sound and not provide any isolation, no need to state open style …
  • Closed Style (full size headphones): have a sealed housing, tighter soundstage, isolate ambient sound, stronger bass and possible negative effect of distorting sound in certain frequencies due to resonances within the housing.
  • Circumaural (full size headphones): Circular or ellipsoid housing with earpads that completely surround around the ears. This applies to full size headphones or portable headphones only, not IEMs.
  • Supra-aura (full size headphones)l: Pads that sit on top of the ears, rather than around them. This applies to full size headphones or portable headphones only, not IEMs.
  • Primary location of use: At home, portable, on the go? How are you going to use said phones'?
  • Source: What will be driving your headphones? Portable player, computer, etc.
  • Location: Some headphones or IEMs are hard to find in some countries, so if you tell us where you live, others that live in your general area can help from prior experience.

Yes I know you answered some of those questions already but the more info the better responses you'll get from other members here ....

Edit: I forgot to mention, if you're stuck on the w1000x, I've seen them for sale used on headfi, also some nice used amps can be found too.


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post #3 of 6 Old 03-19-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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@Walk_Good: Thanks for the reply! I am going to answer all the questions you asked below, and hopefully that will help .

Price Range: $100-$300
Type/Design: Full size headphones
Preferable SQ or Sound Signature: I tend to like things on the warmer and more detailed side. I really hate piercing highs as well as overpowered bass. However I dislike the far understated bass of the Etymotics as well.
Media: I will listen to an extremely broad range of music, excluding rap. The headphones will not be used for gaming, but will be used for music from my ZuneHD. The range of music includes rock of all types, jazz/blues, classical, new age (Mannheim Steamroller), techno, environmental, etc.
Style Prefs: Closed Style or Open Style (full size headphones), Circumaural (full size headphones)
Primary location of use: At work in the new cube farm to isolate sound
Source: ZuneHD
Location: USA
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-20-2012, 07:25 AM
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For open style headphones I love to recommend the HD650s, sure they’ve been out for years but I’d bet any company is hard pressed to beat the comfort, soundstage and overall sound quality if you like warm. Some will tell you that they miss out on the highs but that’s bull IMHO, it totally depends on the recording/source material … Yes, they’re over your budget but if you go refurbished they can be found from $250 to $300. I don’t know anything about this website but a quick search for refurbs gave me these at $309. Now open style might leak a little sound for working in a cube farm but I doubt audible enough to bother anyone else as I use mine in bed next to my wife and she’s never complained. Even though the 650s are 300 Ohms, the zune should may power them but to hear their full potential I would add the Fiio E10 amp/DAC to the equation and that should drive them fine. BTW they are very forgiving on any recording imperfections or amps used.

I’ve listened to a lot of headphones and its hard to judge them all without having them in front of me and YMMV. I currently do not own a closed full size phone, so on the closed front I’d research a few reviews on these: Beyer Dynamic DT 880 Premium (32 Ohms, no amp needed), Denon AH-D2000 (25 Ohms, no amp needed), Shure SRH840 (no amp needed but does drive them better IMO, they give a little bass boost but aside from that they’re nice overall in sound sig but I hate the included coil cable but it's easy to make your own if you solder and I'm not sure but the newer ones may have an optional cable included), Denon AH-D1100 (Warm, relaxed sound, bass might be a little heavy for some listeners, 32 Ohms and shouldn’t need an amp). In closing, although I’ve not tried them but come recommended from a friend I trust I’d look at the ATH-M50s and he states “great headphones in his opinion. I haven't heard anything in their price range that is better.”

Edit: I am not familiar with the zune’s output impedance so I edited the post from should to may but regardless the hd650s sound better amp'ed. The lower the output impedance a player has the less interaction there will be between the headphones and their source. This is one of the reasons headphone amps can improve the sound, as they should or normally have lower output impedance.

Hope this helps some ...


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post #5 of 6 Old 03-23-2012, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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That helps out a lot Walk, thanks so much for your response! I will let you know what I end up going with when I get a pair.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-20-2012, 02:26 AM
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hey,
walk good i didn't find wooden earcup in my pack??


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