High End Amp For Headphones

Musical Fidelity M1 HPA

Few of the many amplifiers we have tested are equipped with a good headphone amplifier. It is usually limited to providing moderate power for low impedance (low ohm resistor) headphones. When you connect the expensive headphones, they will be so revealing that they can easily have been a bad headphone amp, and then what is the meaning of expensive high-end headphones away?

Musical Fidelity M1 HPA


Musical Fidelity is primarily known for excellent amplifiers. They work either as speakers or Blu-ray players, and this specialization has given them much deserved praise over the years. Therefore, it is not in the least surprising that their most expensive headphone amplifier is far from a cheap shortcut to earn some extra money, but a complete amplifier, which goes a long way to replace a conventional preamplifier.

M1 HPA has the usual line input for analog audio, which is a must, but also a USB input so that you can connect your PC directly to the amplifier, and a variable output, which is controlled by the volume control. Thus it can be connected directly to an amplifier or a pair of powered speakers. On the front are two 6.3 mm headphone outputs, which can deliver up to 1.1 W power with comfortable low output impedance of less than one ohm. This makes it very well suited for a wide range of headphones, even the most heavily exaggerated like the ones you find at Badassheadphones.com.

Sweet Sound

The output stage of the M1 HPA is built around a class A amplifier circuit, where the distortion is very low, of course, the sound quality should be as high as possible. Do not forget that headphones of top class often reveal a lack of quality in the amplification stage, so it is easy to check Musical Fidelity’s claim for distortion-free listening experience. It has enough power to kick life in very heavy powered headphones and does not seem to have problems with high (ohms) resistance and low operating power. Compared with a conventional headphone output of an amplifier, you not only get much more power to drive headphones, you get more of everything.

It shows the finer nuances of recordings, perhaps especially in classical music and live recordings of acoustic jazz, but also other music. The soundstage is growing, stereo image is no longer so tiring with pingpong power significantly reduced, and the bass is lifted better forward in the soundstage. At the same time the sound is warm, without the details wrapped in sounds, but rather, with greater contrast in the image. Throughout the entire frequency range, perhaps especially midrange and treble, I experience silky sound texture – almost legato – all the way to the upper treble. This amplifier can really open up a pair of headphones.

Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Backside


The Musical Fidelity M1 HPA will finally exploit the potential of high-end headphones. The play clock rate and is so neutral and colorless in their sound, as can be expected. The effect is high enough to drive the most part, and variable audio output, you can use it as a preamp too. USB input is a good bonus, which promises sound quality from the PC, but best of all is it when it is connected to the line inputs. It is definitely top-notch in every way.

Sennheiser HD 428 Headphones Are Good For The Phone

Sennheiser HD428 Headphones

Mobile phones are slowly but surely taking over the MP3 player market. So you need good headphones.

Sennheiser HD428 Headphones

Headphones from Sennheiser have good sound quality. Therefore, it is tempting to choose their headphones also when you need headphones for your mobile phone. Sennheiser HD 428 is a good mobile headphone that can use a hands-free microphone, so you can answer the incoming call and hear ringing in the headphones, where music is muted when it rings.

Super convenient, but there’s just one big caveat in it all: Sennheiser forget to incorporate a hands-free button on the microphone. Thus, one cannot answer, start playing music or call the last received call. Every time it rings, the cell phone needs to get out of your pocket or jacket, because you cannot in any way serve conversations with HD 428.

Sennheiser HD 428 Headphones Are Almost Complete

Apart from this huge blunder from Sennheiser, there is very little to criticize HD 428 for.

The headset works well with an iPhone or iPod. You do not get just high enough sound that you get the momentum up in the music, which is also engaging clout in the bass. Compared with earbuds from Ultimate Ears or greater AKG K242 HD the headphones sound a bit enclosed and lacks transparency. But it provides a homogeneous and live sound, without shine. One can be satisfied with pop, rock and electronic music, but it sounds colorless with acoustic music.

Sennheiser HD 428 is good but not perfect. The largest error is primarily that it has hands-free microphone, but no talk button. Apart from that, they are comfortable, lightweight and compact enough that you can have much pleasure from it as a partner to a mobile or iPod. If the sound quality is the absolute goal, enthusiasts should assess other plugs or headphones where sound quality counts more.

Video Review Of HD 428 Sennheiser Headphones

Sennheiser HD25-1 II: Headphones for Home Studio Use

HD25-1 II Sennheiser

The Sennheiser HD25-1 II lives up to the demand for cheap and comfortable headphones!

HD25-1 II Sennheiser

Good comfortable headphones are a must for anyone who works with music. With closed headphones you can hear things in the mix, which is not always so easy to hear in a pair of speakers and musicians hear the backing better when they record. The most expensive is still the best, but when the budget does not extend into the sky, then headphones for about $200 as far as you want to stretch.

That the headphones are closed is a distinct advantage. So dim ambient noise much better, you hear more sounds in the ear, and the work becomes easier. Sennheiser HD25-1 II is light and is well suited for the requirements of good and cheap headphones for studio use. They are not suited for iPods. They are just too heavy to carry, and nor do they have a mini-jack adapter.

Sound Quality

The headphones are very comfortable. The weight is relatively low, and they sit well on a medium-sized head like mine. Muting is moderate, but effective enough in environments without too much noise.

The soundstage is big and rich and warm sounding. No pronounced monitor sound, but it makes them easier to work with over time. Listening fatigue takes a long time to set in.

The Sound Is Not Loud Enough

The main drawback of HD25-1 II is the low sensitivity, which, combined with that they just tolerate 120 milliwatts power means that the volume does not always reach the level you want. And if you play higher than the headphones like, then the bass starts distorting audibly.

This is stupid, because they sound nice. Relatively balanced sound, combined with sonority, get vocals to stand forward in the soundstage. Acoustic instruments sound fine, with noticeable reverberation where it should be, and even if the finest details drown little in the soundscape, one hears shades well.

The headphones are not primarily suitable for discerning listeners. They usually want a more neutral sound, while HD25-1 II sounds a little more closed and less transparent. For the price, there is not much to say about the headphones, but if the budget is low, we prefer Shure SRH440 or better yet, Audio Technica ATH-M50, which costs more, but sounds much better than Sennheiser HD25-1 II.

Unboxing Of Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones

I Got To Try Stax SRS-4170

Stax SRS-4170

Let it be said at once: This is not the headphones that you just take with you on the ride, jogging or on the train. They cannot be driven by any portable player, but needs its own specially adapted amplifier. They are also not suitable for DJ use. If, however, you’re after some of the best that are available for pure music enjoyment at home in your living room as an alternative to expensive speakers, you should definitely read on…

Stax SRS-4170

Stax is the name behind the exclusive Japanese electrostatic headphones. Nothing about them is cheap. It uses expensive, high electrostatic panels in each part of the headphone, and as if that were not enough, the electron states a very difficult burden than traditional headphones. To prevent people from connecting headphones incorrectly to an amplifier, and at worst destroy them, Stax uses a special DIN connector on the end instead of the typical 3.5 or 6.3 mm jack. This is a safety so you don’t join them with anything other than a Stax amplifier. One advantage, because you know that a custom amplifier is safer, a disadvantage because you cannot use the amp you like best, regardless of brand.

The system

Stax SRS-4107 consists of headphone model SR-407 and amplifier SRM 006ts and costs exactly the same as if you buy the components by themselves. The products have risen somewhat in price this year because the yen is at a premium, and now costs about $3000. It seems staggering expensive. But if you instead would spend $3000 on a pair of speakers – as many do – then you should know that the sound quality you get from really good headphones far surpasses that of speakers.


The electrostatic headphones SR-407 combined with the custom tube amplifier SRM 006ts from Stax is retro system SRS 4170th Sure is expensive, but here you have to compare to what you get from speakers at the same price. And let it be said right away: There is no room for speakers at this price, which is near this sound!

Because when it comes to reproducing the music’s full truth, there is nothing like Stax. The immensely coherent soundstage provides space for all instruments. The dynamics are superb, with every little violin pick-clear as day, surrounded by the very air. The bass is deep and airy at once, and no matter how you look at it, it sounds fantastic.

The headphones do not play as loud as the traditional dynamic type, and since they do not color anything, a slight music production sounds just like it. Today’s loudness inflamed pop music can thus sounds somewhat boring. But this is not Stax Fault!

Are they worth the money? You may decide for yourself. All I can say is that it is the best sounding headphones I have ever tried.

Sennheiser HD 700 vs HD 800: Which Is Best?

Sennheiser HD700 vs HD800

Noise is the worst threat to music. Therefore, noise reduction is a useful trait in headphones.

Although the headphones sit on your ears, they still let the noise in, which can ruin the music experience. Often you end up turning up the volume further and the result may be distorted music and at worst reduced hearing.

Briefly noise reduction works by making an active noise barrier. This is done by a small microphone on the outside that constantly picks up sound from the environment, and then this signal is in anti-phase mixed with the music signal. And what is the result? An almost noise-free listening environment!

These two headphones from Sennheiser both have active noise barrier. A small amplifier circuit, driven by a 1.5 V AAA battery, but unlike many other headphones with active noise dampening, you can continue to listen, even if the battery is empty. Something that takes nearly 40 hours for both headphones! Each comes with a detachable cord, one for 3.5 and one for 6.3 mm jack adapter and a carrying case.

How Is The Comfort?

Both headphones are of the so-called closed type, which means that the membrane is enclosed in a sealed can and there is no sound leaking from the back of the headset. Sennheiser HD 700 is slightly larger than the HD 800 and is $500 cheaper. But none of them are so large that they cover the ear totally, but they are however friendly to wear. You can fold them up and put them in the carrying case that also has room for an iPod. The lighter HD 800 headphones fit securely on your ears and the wearing comfort is good. The same can be said about the heavier HD 700 headphones.

Sound Quality: Any Difference Between The HD 800 And HD 700?

Despite the fact that the headphones are relatively similar and cost about the same, performance is very different. They have an equal 40 mm membrane driven by a neodymium, but Sennheiser HD 700 headphones have a slightly larger acoustic chamber for the membrane. It can be felt in the more natural sound, which is much richer in sound and have a significant more potent bass. At the same time, they play with greater openness and vocals are more forward in the soundstage. Instruments such as guitars and pianos sound better and the sound is airier. The noise dampening is a little more efficient in these, and when one pause the music you only hear a slight electronic noise in the background.

The electronic background noise from the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones noise barrier is more audible and higher in frequency. This is why you notice it more on these headphones. The HD 800 lacks the same clout in the bass and I am tempted to say devoid of sophistication. Although I used them for more than 30 hours before the test, the soundstage never really opened up. They sound simply closed and lack much of the tone colors that make HD 700 headphones interesting to listen to. Yet they play consistently and pleasantly but never engagingly like Sennheiser HD 700.

Sennheiser HD700 vs HD800


Try the Sennheiser HD 800 and if you like what you hear, then it is just to pick that one. But my opinion is that they are not worth the cost. Of course you can’t expect the same quality of sound from headphones with noise reduction as those without for the same price, but HD 700 headphones shows that it is perfectly possible to combine sound quality with good noise reduction. At even a lower price. Of the two headphones the Sennheiser HD 700 is also best suited for MP3 players, because they have much better sensitivity.  Now you know my opinion so go try them out.

My thoughts on Sennheiser HD 800 headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 HeadphonesUsing $1500 on headphones may sound like madness. But wait until you hear the sound.

Exotic headphones cost a lot of money. Which is one of the reasons why they are exotic. High price deters most of us, and so expensive headphones becomes something only real audiophiles buys. In a world where most walk around with white earplugs to $10, headphones to $200 seem pretty exotic. What about headphones to $1500? Almost five times the price of a couple of excellent Denon or AKG headphones and nearly 40 times the price of a pair of white Apple earbuds.

High-end technology

The headphones are heavy and weighs almost as much as Denon AH-D7000, which is also a fantastic music intermediary, but here the similarity stops. Denon uses an expensive enough membrane in its D7000, but it is fully covering and placed in a closed bell of wood. A closed headphone has other characteristic than an open headphone, which the HD 800 is. Sennheiser has placed a 56 mm membrane, which is open in the center and is therefore called a ring radiator in an open chamber, so that it leaks sound from the rear, and other people in the room will hear the music you play. Although not very loud.

The sound is totally transparent and realistic, and these headphones are almost a new wonder of the world. Classical music has an almost therapeutic effect; the music is so immersive and totally free of impurities that it borders on being drunk. Old classics as well as new music are revitalized in the Sennheiser HD 800, so you cannot bring yourself to put the headphones down. The headphones make you create images in your head of how it looks in the studio when the recording was done.
It’s really addictive, and you can listen for hours because the HD 800 is really comfortable. The large fabric-covered cushions, which settles around the ear, pressing with just right power on the head, and since they are open, you are not sweating nor are you experiencing any sound pressure which is often uncomfortable over longer periods of time.

High-end price

Just as they equally expensive Denon AH-D7000, Sennheiser HD 800 is an amazing music intermediaries. If you have the money for great headphones and can appreciate the real quality music then these might be for you but you will the same quality from the D7000 as you would from the HD800. It hardly matters which pair of headphones you choose.

Sennheiser HD800 is a little more comfortable to wear, and they have finer micro dynamics and greater dynamic contrast than the D7000. The soundstage also marginally airier and the bass is tighter. HD 800 is phenomenal, but expensive. On the other hand they will give you better sound quality per penny than many expensive speakers.

Nice video unboxing the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones