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Finest "Listening Solution" Under $200?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok, time for "one of those threads" again. I've been reading the forums for a while, but I'm still stumped as to what I should get.

Currently I'm using an Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs, which as I've read, is either disliked or ignored on Head-fi. I've had these cans for 2 years now, and I can spend $200 a couple of weeks from now, so I think it's time for an upgrade!

The reason I say "listening solution" is because I don't own an amp. I'm not opposed to having one in the least, but if you suggest one, I'd like it to be priced so that I can afford both in one pop (i.e. both can be had for under $200).

Doesn't matter. I'm still going to use my ATs when I'm out and about and for casual listening, so the cans you suggest can be open or closed, and in any form factor. I don't mind getting used gear either.

I listen to a lot of different things - rock, pop, electronic, classical, and some others that don't really fit into a specific category. For these headphones, however, I'm looking for something that will really make two things shine - classical, and Enya (it's ok, you can laugh ). I'm looking for something with a big soundstage.

Thanks in advance for your help - this place seems legit!
post #2 of 16
HD555. Prominent for their compatibility in all genres & their awesome soundstage.
post #3 of 16
So I looked at your list of music to be listened to and first I reached for my HD600 when I saw classical, and considering that they do a credible job with most forms of "rock" I figured a used set of HD600 or HD580 would fit the bill and still leave a little cash for a basic amp. And then I read Enya and instantly reached for my MS2i, which have a reasonable soundstage and can be found pre-owned for around $200 including the required box of Kleenex tissues and can be run without an amp..

The HD600/580 will do Enya just fine, but the MS2i digs a little deeper for the emotions.
post #4 of 16
AT A900, HD580, AKG K501 though the K501 would really need an amp and that would price it out of your $200 limit. 580 works better w/ an amp too.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wow, that was fast! Thanks, dissembled, F107plus5, and StealthR6.

Quick question about the MS2i: how comfortable is it for extended periods? Could you listen to it for a couple of hours or is it more fatiguing (a la Grado)?
post #6 of 16
I found the ms2i brighter than most grados I've heard. But they're much more enjoyable than the sr325i providing 'IMO' a more lively sound. Only turn off is it's kinda bass light and that would not go well for you at electronica.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input, That dude! Bass-light is fine by me; I'll be using my closed cans for anything electronic.

Any thoughts on an MS1 + cheap amp (PA2V2, or something like that)? I'm wondering what the difference might be between that and an unamped MS2.

Edit: Reading some of F107's other posts, I don't think the MS1 would cut the mustard quite the way I like it. Now the real problem is actually finding an MS2 on the Sale/Trade board before someone else does!
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
(one and only bump)

Does anybody have anything additional to suggest or any other input?
post #9 of 16
Open cans: KSC75 ($20 w/headband mod), MS-1 ($100), SR-225 ($200)

Closed cans: MDR-V6 ($70), RP-21 ($100), DT-770 ($145)

All of these cans should sound great with your musical taste, but only the DT770 would need an amp (I'd go GoVibe V5 or DIY) to really shine.
post #10 of 16
A900 is the way to go IMO

Or if you're lucky and can find a K501 for around $100, it's golden with ibasso t2 (~$100)
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by Sine View Post
Wow, that was fast! Thanks, dissembled, F107plus5, and StealthR6.

Quick question about the MS2i: how comfortable is it for extended periods? Could you listen to it for a couple of hours or is it more fatiguing (a la Grado)?
I'd had my MS-1 with reversed 414s for about six months before getting my MS2i with bowls, so I was fairly used to the feel of the Alessandros. Still; within about a week or so after getting the heaver MS2i with the bowls I was able to crank out a fourteen hour listening marathon. And they're even more comfortable now that the pads have settled in!

I find them about equal in comfort to my HD600.
post #12 of 16
HD595. Versatile and comfortable, works on pretty much any genre. Sounds decent unamped but also improves dramatically especially in bass when you choose to amp it up. Lately I've found that Damien Rice and Michael Jackson sound terrific on these cans.
post #13 of 16
So, looking back at what you want & what I recommended, I'd take off the MDR-V6 because your ATH-M40 is prolly close enough to that & the Grado/Alessandros because you want something with soundstage that will make classical and new age electronica shine!

For that, I'd try contacting the GoVibe owner, or MisterX who sells the XP amp and see if they have any used amps like the GoVibe V5 with recharge circuit.

Anyway I'd get KSC75 to scratch your Grado needs as some say it sounds similar to MS-1, and it costs less than 1/5 of the price and still responds well to amping!! Then I'd get the DT770 with the dream of turning it into a Darth Beyer some day. So, V5 + KSC75 + DT770 = $220 or something, or you could save $40 and replace the DT770 with HD555. I just drool over the Darth Beyer daily, so I'm a lil biased.
post #14 of 16
at that budget, dont even think twice! grab the MS-1 (you truly dont need an amp for those! they just sound great with almos everything!)

And if you still want, try some used HD595, that would be a nice combo! for ~$200

post #15 of 16
I think any of these will satisfy as an all-rounder:
1. DT880 (needs amp) - possibly the best for female vocals under $200. Works quite well with most music too. Clarity can't be beat. Used pre-'05 version should be cheap.
2. HD595 - will be very good for all type of music. A little grainy-sounding. Amp might be needed to clear up the sound.
3. ATH-A900 - more bass and more 'fun' than HD595 but midrange not as good. Amp not really needed.
4. HD580 (really needs amp) - rock will sound quite boring though.

Since you listen to many type of music including classical, I would say skip those Grados and Allesandros. Soundstage is almost zero so any genre that needs soundstage will sound like something is missing.
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