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Good High-end Headphones + Amp, coming from Barefoot MM27g2?
Old 23rd July 2015
Good High-end Headphones + Amp, coming from Barefoot MM27g2?

Long story short I'm going to be without a good room for awhile. I moved to Madrid from the states and am stuck in an apartment. I likely won't be doing any serious mixing work in the foreseeable future, but I'd like to at least have a rig that feels good to work on - and I'm pretty well stuck with headphones for now. I will be doing mostly composition, by the way - a variety of styles, from electronic to rock to symphonic (at times all at once).

I'm coming from a medium-well treated room with a pair of Barefoot MM27g2's. I will eventually get them over here and get a new space, but for now it is too expensive (shipping and duty, though I will soon be immune from the latter) and too much of a hassle. I was using an Apogee Symphony I/O without a monitor controller, in case that helps.

Right now all I have with me is an Apogee Duet 2 and a few sets of cans - Beyerdynamic DT880, Grado SR80e, KRK KNS8400 (tracking, got'm cheap), and some IEM's, along with the usual assortment of crap earbuds and consumer-level stuff one accumulates.

Of what I have, I like the Grado's for general composition duty best - they may not be that clinical, but they feel right. The DT880's just don't sound that great with the Duet's output - tend to distort in the lows, can tell they would like more voltage swing. I like the Grado "house sound", in spite of its coloration, because it tends to (imho, of course) translate a bit better than the Beyers.

What I'm really looking for is a set of excellent open-backed cans that are a bit more detailed than the low-mid-range ones I have, but that don't require a massive investment in amplifiers to make "great". I would also like an amp that doesn't break the bank (but isn't cheap/bad) that can drive said cans well. I'm not really ready to get into balanced phones - too much work, less compatible with what I have - but I'd consider it if given a compelling argument. I am also not opposed to getting a couple of different pairs for different things - more on that in a sec.

A couple of notes - I do have and use DSP-based options for crossfeed and so on (I have a few different ones), so the major advantage of the Phonitor is a bit lost on me. I don't listen to non-digital sources regularly. I would consider better conversion, but not at great expense - basically, I do a lot of tracking of guitar, and using a "hybrid" setup with multiple DAC's seems like a bit more hassle than I want to deal with. Therefore, I'm really looking at standalone amps more than DAC/Amp combos - that being said, I need a better interface as well (considering RME), and using TOSLINK isn't out of the question...

Right now my main thought is to get a pair of Sennheiser HD800's and a Violectric amp - probably a HPA V90, given the bang-to-buck ratio, or a LP G100-P. I would plan on later getting a pair of Grado PS500e's, to get more of the "exciting" Grado sound in my life. My other main consideration is a pair of Audez'e LCD-2.2's, rather than the HD800's, given their more naturalistic sound and bass response. My only issue with the ortho's is their comfort - from my limited testing, the HD800's seem much more comfortable than the Audeze for using over a long period of time. The last consideration is another set of Grado's, specifically the PS500e - mostly because I know I like them, but their extreme coloration does worry me. As far as amps, I've pretty well decided on the Violectric, unless someone can convince me otherwise!

Basically, my main question is - "For those who've used Barefoot monitors and also good headphone rigs, what cans would you say capture a similar vibe to the MM27's?". I'm really just looking for opinions from those with more experience with good headphones than I have!

I will welcome any suggestions, with one caveat - my budget, while not inconsiderable, is not infinite. I'd really like to spend less than 2000 euro (where's the key on a US keyboard?) all up for one set of cans and the amp - so the usual suspects of Grace and SPL are a bit out of my comfort zone. That being said, I can also justify the splurge if "necessary"!
Old 24th July 2015
Lives for gear

May I say reading your post (I never heard Bigfoot speakers in action), I can't see anyway in hell you could be let down by purchasing the HD800's and that amp you mentioned. Sounds like you have some serious research done for yourself and if I were you I would run with it.

Sennheiser Hd800's and a good amp is the direction I'm going also.

A good slut called John Willett used to post a lot here, and he was very knowledgeable about his gear. He used to sing, and I mean sing the praises of the HD800's. Saying things like 'I know people always advise religiously not to mix on headphones, but these things are a different proposition, space like I never heard it' etc, I'm paraphrasing.

That guy and lots of others who don't have a vested interest in b*ll****ting are the reason why I'll be buying them sometime.
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