Headphones from the past - Your experience

Sometimes it happens that you receive advice from a friend who points you out, in this world of hyper-technological and super expensive headphones, the presence of old models capable of returning an unexpected musicality, especially thanks to modern amplifications much more efficient than electronic who then piloted these old ladies.

This is the case of the Sennheiser HD-545 Reference, sister of the HD-565 Ovation, which, once dutifully restored (new pads, new internal grids and new headband), unleashes a spectacular musicality and a three-dimensionality absolutely unespected!!! Sure, it sounds like a headset, without those artifact and dreamy atmospheres of many more recent models (the HD-800 but also many recent magnetoplanars), but it offers a beautiful concreteness and a real natural musical content.

It is not a headphone with a high range of hyper detail, it is not a headphone with a heavy bass range, but it is one of the 4 or more musical headphones I have ever listened to, and I have listened to many over the past 15 years … headphone that never tires and that gives joy to every listening …

Look for it!

Yeah, theres a lot of gems out there I had fell in love with my K701 once I got a decent amp but once I bought my set of Early Production K400s and they are one of the best sounding headphones I’ve ever owned. I even started this whole mess of a hobby with a vintage gem a Pioneer Monitor 10.

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I was hugely surprised when I connected my AKG K1000 to a humble NAD3020.

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Great piece the K1000… A real masterpiece!

The Beyerdynamic DT 48/480. With a little bit of modding they are my favorite Beyers of all time, especially the mod friendly DT 480 which I consider the best headphone I’ve personally owned.

Many of the most impressive headphones I’ve ever heard were vintage gear such as the R10, K1000, STAX Omega, Orpheus. The bass-heavy R10 is what I consider the holy grail to me sonically.

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The HD 545 is excellent. I had the HD 545 in the past. Let’s just say going to the HD 600 was a shock coming from it, the openness disappeared on the HD 600 in comparison.

In the mid 80’s I got to listen to a pair of Sony pro something’s, forget the model number but they were like $200 which was a lot for an 18 year old back then!

They were simple round over the ear semi open design with an amazing range for the time

I’ve done a lot of location sound for movies, docs and shorts and the Sony I think it’s 7506 pro studio monitors for under $200 are pretty damn good, very neutral and especially clear mids also nearly indestructible

They sell replacement parts and are what you see a lot in behind the scenes when someone is recording in a studio setting

I mentioned in another thread how impressed I was when I heard the AKG K1000 “earspekers” but had to settle for K340s due to cost constraints.

Having to “settle” was not much of a sacrifice really, as the K340s were exceptional with a couple of caveats.

One was that they required power that was hard to find in a dedicated headphone amp at the time. This made the use of a receiver or integrated amp’s headphone output near mandatory. As most units merely had the headphone out for convenience rather than SQ this was less than ideal.
The other shortcoming was the inadequate suspension on the massive ear cups.

But once they were fairly easily modded with stronger elastic cord for the ear cups and plugged into a modern era hi-powered headphone amp, they were incredible sounding headphones. Running these balanced allowed for better access to the power they required to sound their best.

It was a unique dual driver design with a dynamic bass/mid driver and a separate electret system for treble.

As they were $300 in the '80s, I believe if the same driver system was properly implemented today that they would be quite costly.


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Stax SRD-34, my first decent headphone from back in 1983 and still working great to this day and still one of my favorites. I’ve modded them to take larger over-ear pads since the originals were small on-ear, pricy to replace and didn’t last very long.


Koss ESP-6 — a good friend had a set. Hated the earpads, and they were too heavy, but it was my first taste of electrostatic sound. I just checked eBay, and you can get a pair for around $100.

Like @DavidA I found my way into STAX and bought SR-5Ns about the time he bought his STAX. And I think my next major headphone purchase will be the current SR-L700s. I’m not sure I want to afford the 007’s or flagship models. Oh wait…I have a Mega Millions ticket.

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