Classical headphones

The type of headphone she is looking for is (Closed-back, open-back):

Her price range is: cheap

She like to listen to:Classical

She will be using them for: (Travel, home, I have somebody that is looking for headphones and is not sure what to suggest. I told her I’d ask here. I told her what I liked as far as the Sure and Campfire A Audio, but know those are not the right phones for her. They’d have lots of drive but IEM’s are not her gig. Here is what she says First of all, they need to be worn with hearing aids. I cant use anything that goes in the ear at all. Secondly, I need headphones to be lightweight as heavy ones hurts after hours of use.

For music, I need something with a lot of volume. I need something that will amplify the treble and is good for classical music! O, and it must connect to my ipod touch.
Lastly, the less exspensive, the better, although i will pay for something that lasts.

For the phone, I want clear audio quality, with a mic that is good for people to hear me at the other end.

She is blind and uses hearing aids. I was thinking the HD800S but not sure that is the right choice, may be too expensive. Senhizer Momentom 2.0 maybe? It has a a cl closed back, a mick for her phone, works well with smartphones, would work in her iPod, can be driven well, is a bit on the expensive side but would last, and is comfortable. but s would this be g a good choice for classical music? I’m not so sure. I told her I’d ask here. Any suggestions?

From what you described I’d advise the Sennheiser’s

My two favorites are the ety 4’s and the Sennheiser hd 600’s


My classical music mid-fi headphone shootout is at head-fi (I’m not sure if it’s OK to link to pages there; I should update and repost it here).

Anyway, the winner there was the Koss ESP-950 electrostatic. It had a consistently excellent performance and never scored in the bottom tier (the only one of the headphones I tested that was true of). A plus is that it has its own amp so you can just plug the iPod straight in. But they wouldn’t work for travel.
The top closed-back was the late, lamented Oppo PM-3. I don’t know if you can still get them from Oppo Digital or not.
The HD600 was middle of the pack; good but not the best, especially without an amp. The 300 ohm resistance would be pushing the phone and iPod’s capabilities without an amp.

As I say, I need to update and add the HE-560 and the T1 at some point. I haven’t tested them yet so I’m not sure where they’d rank.

I’ve never tried the 800S but my understanding is they’re pretty unforgiving so I don’t expect they’d score terribly well in my tests. I listen to a lot of historical recordings and my headphones need to be able to handle them as well as state-of-the-art recordings.

EDIT: I misread the price range. For cheap, I strongly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT660 for classical music–as a plus they are on the bright side with lots of treble; if you can still find a HiFiMan HE-400S they also are great with classical music but a little pricier than the DT660. The 800S is certainly not cheap. The PM-3 is about $399 last I checked but it does include a phone mic on the cord, and it’s very easy to drive without an amp (as are the DT660 and the HE-400S).

I use the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 at night for Classical music. It sounds great once you give it about 10 hours burn in. Really nice with large orchestral works.

Best I ever heard was Beethoven on Senn HD598, now 600.

Open back is much better than closed for classical, imho.

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Either the Meze Neos or Classics are pretty good and meet most (if not all) of the requirements.
Sounded really good with classical when I had them as part of the official tour from head-fi.

You say she wears hearing aids. I think that would mean that you might want to avoid any over-the-ear models, open or closed. On the ear would probably be better.

Light weight. I took a look at the Sennheiser website. I’ve had good luck with Sennheiser on-ear models before. Found them comfortable.
These might do nicely at a $90 price range.
The Sennheiser site also lists assistive hearing units which work well with hearing aids, but that is a different use.

I also like Grado headphones, and they feature many on-ear models. Many at Grado like classical music, and in the middle of their affordable range you will find

Which appear to be very classical music oriented.

I have cheaper Grados, and I’ve listened to more expensive ones. People either like or seem to dislike the Grado approach to headphones, there is little middle ground. However, I think that given your specifics, these might do well.

Of the ones mentioned, if not wanting to spend a lot I’d go for the MASSDROP HD5XX Jubilee or for $50 more the HD60X (HD600 clone).

The MASSDROP HD5XX Jubilee would likely be a better choice @150 ohm if being used without an amp.

Thanks l all for all of the help!

I think 150 Omes is way toohighhigh for sensitivity… The easier to drive,the better.

Thanks all though, I have past the link to her so she can see your responses, too.

Oppo pm-3 ($400) if that’s in the budget for sure. They are great for travel and style and comfort and of course sound. They are extremely neutral and perfect for classical music. If you don’t have that in the budget I would probably say to try the Sennheiser hd6xx from Massdrop. They are the 650s for like 200 bucks. Of course you will need an amp but you most likely have one considering that you are on this forum

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Its not for me, tha’ts the thing.

That’s why I posted for somebody else.

Oppo you can stil get their phones? I was under the impression that they do not make them and wont make anymore once the stock dries up?

It is obviously up to her but a good friend of mine who owns more headphones than I can list bought the Massdrop Jubilees.

He said he was surprised at how much better they sound direct from his phone than the 300ohm HD600s which have been highly recommended in this thread.

I intend to buy some as I’m looking for something decent I can drive without always using my portable.amp.

IMO (or Brian’s rather :wink: for $150 I doubt there is better.
But if she’s looking for decent for less I’ve used Koss PortaPros for years and am always impressed by their price/performance ratio. It’s hard to believe the SQ at $40 (approx)


Somebody had mentioned the Koss Pros to her and so that’s deff. An option.

300Omes is waay not powerful enough.

Seems to be the case for a lot of us that are hard of hearing, majorly so. These 80 Omes, 300 omes, even 60 omes just doesn’t cut it.

Might be able to get her to spend $40, maybe even higher like $100 not really sure, but I’m leaning most likely tward the price of the koss honestly. She’s n not a person I know well, just was on a mailing list for blind hearing aid users and someone started talking about headphones. A few people were asking what to get, and so I said I’d ask here.

Classical isn’t my jam, and I’m well aware I spend more money than most people on headphones. I knew you guys would have some answers.

Thanks again though.

Very few headphones that are of good quality that are NOT in the ear types have a Mic. That is more of a phone function. On my Mac Mini, I have added a BLUE microphone, so that the system can hear me. But it’s not part of the headphone cord or jack.

Are you trying to tie this to an Android or iPhone or iPad? Or to something else?

A good mic was very important to earbuds I use with my iPhone. but this is not a good solution for classical music listening.

I rambled a bit in my last reply.

To be more clear, I’m likely going to buy the Jubilee MASSDROP edition as it’s 150 Ohm (not 300).

Brian, my friend with a lot of experience with many headphones over many years said that the Jubilee sounded much better than he expected without an amp.
ie more volme at better SQ than other mid to high ohm modeIs straight from an iPhone.

But it sounds to me that the much more efficient Koss Portapros are more what you’re looking for…
At $40 you can’t lose as they make a great second, spare or portable pair if you decide later that you want to spend more.
(I do realize they are for someone else in this case :wink:

Koss are very forgiving and comfortable.

Last I checked they’d always had a lifetime replacement warranty against defects and even accidental damage (no kidding, I used it after four years) so it’s not much of a gamble.
I haven’t known anyone personally who was disappointed with the sound, especially but not exclusively considering the cost.

Good luck

At this price, you’re pretty much looking at HD600 or HD650, if you want classical to sound right. More or less everything else has a suckout around 8KHz that kills string harmonics and sounds weird. They won’t be the absolute last word in detail, but the tonality won’t be wonky.

If you want a way to test this, listen to the last movement of Bruckner’s 5th - and if the strings can’t be heard under the brass, you’ve got this problem. If they stay clear, you may have a winner.

It’s pretty hard to find headphones that don’t mess up this way, the 6xx don’t, the stupidly pricey Utopia don’t and some Stax don’t, but most, sadly, do.

(No, Sennheiser HD800S don’t do this properly either. Also, don’t buy HD800S; if you fancy a pair, then get some used HD800 and get the Superdupont mod in them to kill the 6KHz resonance, and you’ll have a cheaper and better pair of headphones than the HD800S anyway.)

If the 6xx can be driven reasonably well, they’re a solid choice though. Obviously, the value of this answer depends on how much the listener will care about things sounding wonky compared to things like absolute comfort (though the 6xx variants are pretty good in this respect).

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I have the Oppo-pm 3 I love them and they sound amazing

You’d better hope that the headband doesn’t break, then.

You can’t get those anymore though, right? Oppo is getting out of the headphone business a along with their DVD/Blue ray players, right?

The HD650 is what I use for Classical but the Beyerdynamic DT880 is nice too just a little on the bright side of neutral and the bass not as deep as the 650.