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New Cans

Postby James Lawford » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:02 pm

I’ve been very happy with my Focal Spirit Professional’s for 7-8 years now. Sadly suffering with cracked headband and the lack of clamping force means all the bass disappears! So although not physically snapped YET (they nearly are), they’re not working...

Before I go and buy Focal Listen Professional’s which seem like the obvious replacements: any other recommendations?

I do want closed back headphones with decent isolation. I use them for live and studio drumming, arranging, editing and mixing. Neutral sound genuinely a requirement and the old Focal’s did well in this respect.

Also prefer headphones that go around the ear, rather than on top of (don’t particularly like HD-25’s, for instance).

Driving from mains powered RME and Focusrite interfaces and don’t have trouble powering my current cans which suggests these interfaces put out decent power.

Thanks all!
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Re: New Cans

Postby forumuser840717 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:42 pm

Budget?
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Re: New Cans

Postby James Lawford » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:25 pm

I guess up to about £200.
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Re: New Cans

Postby DanDan » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:26 pm

The Neumann cans are designed for studio work.
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Re: New Cans

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:04 pm

I recently upgraded my headphone monitoring to a Neve RNHP headphone amp and Neumann NDH 20 and can honestly say I'm not disappointed in the least. When I switch back to my AT's, I'm surprised at how hyped they are.

The Neumanns may be outside your budget. If you love Focal, maybe you want to just stick with what you know?

A good friend of mine swears by his Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro's.
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Re: New Cans

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:55 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:I recently upgraded my headphone monitoring to a Neve RNHP headphone amp and Neumann NDH 20 and can honestly say I'm not disappointed in the least. When I switch back to my AT's, I'm surprised at how hyped they are.

To be fair, the best closed-back Audio Technica headphones in that range (such as the 50x) have a different sound, which is bright. I too find them too bright, (and I haven't tried the Neumanns), but it's just taste - and for me the reason is that I started working with DT 990 Pros, which have a quite different tonal response and far gentler highs.

As a mixing tool, however, they perform just as well as the DT770, once you know them. For me, I know that if I use them to check out things (as I often do as the 50x are my go-to recording cans), the highs must feel on the border of "way too much" - then they are ok. :)

In that sense they aren't "hyped"... to me that's a pejorative, which would mean that they mess up the sonic profile so much to make them unusable as a mixing tool. You can mix on them - insomuch you can mix on closed backs. They're just bloody bright. :D
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Re: New Cans

Postby blinddrew » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:19 pm

I'm a fan of DT770s as well. Good isolation, all day comfortable, replaceable pads...
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Re: New Cans

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:35 pm

Worth having a listen to Shure srh840's as well.

I use Senn hd650's for critical listening and the Shures for closed back duties and find them a good combination.
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Re: New Cans

Postby Airfix » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:39 pm

A thing i have noticed is that @cans@ have become a lot more expensive -- than say ten years ago.
open heads sennheisers - (back then and not that long ago) top end would be about £160 - not today!
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Re: New Cans

Postby forumuser840717 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:13 pm

Airfix wrote:A thing i have noticed is that @cans@ have become a lot more expensive -- than say ten years ago.
open heads sennheisers - (back then and not that long ago) top end would be about £160 - not today!

In about 2009, the top end of Sennheiser's open back cans were the HD 800 at around £1000 so a good deal more than £160. (Now the HD820 are about £1800 (list)).

And they were far from the top end of headphones in terms of price. AKG K812s came out in about 2013/4-ish? at around £1100 but they followed on from the K1000 (released in 2002 iirr) at about £1200. And then there's Stax. Which have been around for decades and comfortably price in the £'000s and need similarly priced amplifier/energisers (they're electrostatic).

Sony made some pretty expensive cans in the MDR-R10 at around £3500 in 2005-ish. Also Audio Technica and a few others made cans priced in the £'000s over the years.

Top of the pile was probably the original, 1991, Sennheiser Orpheus (HE-90?) which came with a dedicated valve amp/energiser with the system priced in the tens of £'000s. And in an attempt to make the most ridiculously expensive pair of cans ever, and qualify your comment about the price of cans going up, they currently offer the HE 1 which, though very pretty, and probably very fine sounding, are built to order for a price that's a tad on the silly side at a list price of £51,000! Perfect for those late night games of CoD.
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Re: New Cans

Postby James Perrett » Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:09 am

One example - the Sennheiser HD600's had an RRP of £249 when Hugh reviewed them back in 2002. As far as I can tell the RRP is now up to £369 which is less than the rate of inflation. According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, something costing £249 in 2002 should now cost £414.
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Re: New Cans

Postby MOF » Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:54 am

I’ve just bought HD600 cans for £279 https://studiocare.com/products/sennhei ... headphones
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Re: New Cans

Postby James Perrett » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:26 am

MOF wrote:I’ve just bought HD600 cans for £279 https://studiocare.com/products/sennhei ... headphones

They've gone up by a tenner from last month when I bought mine from them. I thought it best to compare RRP in my post above because I'm not sure that I have any street prices from 2002.
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Re: New Cans

Postby James Lawford » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:01 pm

Thanks all, your comments help direct my research!

I think I'm going to go for the Focals. Don't fancy learning to adapt to any other brand "voicing" although I'm sure there are perfectly capable options available from others.

Plus the lack of hard case in some other options is an issue.

If I had double the budget would get the Neumann's no doubt but I can't justify that level.

Will post back here once I do push the button and buy!
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Re: New Cans

Postby James Lawford » Mon May 10, 2021 1:06 pm

Reporting back as, bang on time via DPD from Andertons, a box containing Focal Listen Professional headphones arrived!

First impressions are very nice. They've taken on board feedback about build quality and feel nice very robust. Having a single headband piece feels a lot better than the two part construction of the Spirit Professionals and they fold much more nicely in on each to store compactly.

I never found it to be an issue as the cable is on the left and I could remember that, but a complaint with the the Spirit Professionals was the pretty hard to see legending for left-right earpieces. Now the inside of each ear cup is clearly marked with printed L and R on the foam covering the transducer.

The case is very nice and feels like it will do a great job protecting the cans, and having space for both cables including a velcro piece to retain the unused cable is nice. I'm shocked the Neumann NHD-20's at twice the price don't come with a hard case.

Sound wise very similar to the Spirit Professionals. Sub region is more present, I had to be wary not to overcook 60Hz or so and below (guess) but now it feels consistent in level right down to the sub-bass region.

Bass tonally seems more direct somehow in the upper bass area.

Top end is smooth an un-hyped. If anything my mixes come out slightly dark using the Spirit Professionals leaving some room for mastering EQ to tweak to taste at that stage.

I've only had half an hours listen, but playing some reference tracks that I use in my day job all the time (pro-audio distributor) the sound is very accurate.

Isolation is excellent, one of the reasons my requirements were for closed back cans.

Happy!
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