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ath-m50, srh440, or srh840 unamped. And a small story

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Long time reader (1 year +) first time poster.

I did quite a lot of research on this subject but I came out with no clear answer. People says srh840 blow m50 and 440 out of the water. Some people says that if you are not using any amp 440 is the more logical choice. However alot of reviews says that m50 is better than 440 unamped, and then I read another post saying that 840 is better than m50 unamped or amped. This got me really confused. The more I read the more confused I become.

So given that I'm not buying amp anytime soon and I like to listen to rock and jazz which one of this 3 headphone worth the best for its price? I'm worried that srh840 is inferior to the other headphones as I do not have an amp.

ath-m50 150$
srh440 100$
srh840 170$

I live in China so It can't get any cheaper than that. Enlighten me O Headfi guru

For the story:
The first time I stumble to this website is when I'm trying to find a wireless headphone for a birthday gift to my dad. I went to AVSforum which refer me to your forum for my headphone recommendation need (they did warn about my wallet). So I did a search on headfi and find that wireless headphone is crap, however I still buy one for my dad. The headphone did sound like crap but it doesn't matter he really need it anyway. Since then I started to visit this forum on a regular basis.

Long story short I want a good headphone and I start planning with a budget of <35$ and over the period of 2 month my preferred headphone become like this:
Senn 201 (22$) >> Senn 212 (33$) >> Sony V6 (70$)>> Audio Technica ES7 (100$) >> SRH440 (100$) >> ATH-M50 (150$) >> RSH840 (170$)

Yeah my budget just got raised by up to 500%. I feel sorry for my wallet now. The worst thing is knowing in the future I will spend more money upgrading my headphone
post #2 of 31
Well if you don't need a closed headphones, and you don't want to spend so much, I would recommend the alessandro MS1i, they are $110 USD shipped to your door - I listen to a lot of rock and jazz and I enjoy them. But, if you want closed and a very nice pair, the SRH840 sounds very balanced from what I recall from their short audition. They had good clarity, detail and the mids, highs and lows were very good and balanced. Those two would be my choices.
post #3 of 31
Actually, the SRH 440 is much like the 840, save for its slightly less details and clarity. It's easier to drive than the 840 (60% compared to 80% of iPod's volume) and sounds so good even without an amp. I think the SRH 840, from my short experience, will do better when amped.

From my demo of the SRH 440, it is very detailed for its price, and is more focused on the mids and highs. Bass is a bit lacking (maybe because I'm used to the K518) but it is still present and goes really deep. It sounds more transparent and natural than the K518 as well.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thx for the helpful reply! I'm still really torn between all of the choices, but kinda leaning toward srh840. Seems like the general consensus is that 840 shine more than m50 in all field except the bass (without amp).

To: mythless
Yeah I would like to have a closed phone instead of an open one. I don't want my room mate to be bothered with what I'm hearing. I would check ms1 someday though much praise has been given to it! Thx for the recommendation

ToL jjSoviet
Thx for the detailed explanation. So out of it I know that 840 do better than 440 even in unamped on highs and mids. How bout the base? Does 440 perform better than 840 unamped on the lows? Your explanation are really important to me, at least I know now that 840 will outperform 440 even when it is unamped.

Im quoting a reply from epithetless. I hope this helps people who are deciding between m50, srh440, srh840. Thanks for your help epithetless!
Originally Posted by epithetless
Unfortunately, the answer is not quite as clear-cut as you might like. First of all, there's the question of which portable player you are using, its sound signature, and how much power it puts out (I believe the Cowon D2, for instance, features a beefier amp than most other modern players, and thus might be able to push the SRH840s better than usual). But more than that, what sort of sound do you like?

For me, I tend to prefer solid, impactful bass, a certain amount of warmth, smooth mids, and non-fatiguing but detailed highs. Given this frame of reference, the SRH840s would be the perfect 'phones for me (immaculately smooth with gobs of effortless detail) except that I find their bass impact sadly lacking from my portable, unamped sources (the Sansa Fuze, primarily).

The ATH-M50, on the other hand, synergizes quite beautifully with the Fuze, providing rich, hard-hitting bass; fairly even mids; sparkly, well-articulated but not-quite-harsh highs; and excellent detail retrieval.

I tend to think of my SRH440s as a close relative to the ATH-M50 at an outstanding price. It's a bit more balanced, offering less plentiful but still impactful bass and less emphasized but still apparent treble. There's nothing especially wrong with its mids when taken on their own, but they are noticeably coarser and less rich when compared to the SRH840s' (whose mids are simply lovely).

The SRH440 could perhaps be considered the best all-arounder of the bunch for someone listening unamped...but I personally find myself enjoying the slam and shimmer of the ATH-M50s a bit more.

As I said before, it all depends on the sort of sound you go for. If strong bass isn't your thing, the ATH-M50s might not be, either...

I hope that helps.
post #5 of 31
When I was going through the 440 v 840 battle, some people had both and said that the 840 was very much the same as the 440 unamped and only pulls ahead when amped.

EDIT : Dunno if you have already, but you shouldn't get too caught up on frequency response graphs. People say the k701 has no bass and say the hd600 is perfect yet they have similar frequency response curve in the lower frequencies.
post #6 of 31
The 440 will do better from portable sources, but the 840 will be far superior when paired with a good amp. If you're going portable, I suggest getting the 440 instead. The 840's a heavy headphone, by the way. Way heavier than the Beyerdynamic DT770 I've auditioned as well.
post #7 of 31
Yes another thing is the weight difference. Many people think the 840s are too heavy.
post #8 of 31
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post
Yes another thing is the weight difference. Many people think the 840s are too heavy.
You got that right. The SRH 840 is almost twice the weight of the 440's!
post #9 of 31
Yes, they're heavy buggers.

OP: By all accounts, if you're not gonna get an amp any time soon, the extra $70 for the 840 will be something of a waste.
post #10 of 31
Seriously, consider getting the 440 instead. Good enough to be portable, and it sounds great out of an iPod. As for the bass, it really goes deep and has some punch to it. Not as prominent as DJ headphones like the K518, but you can feel it. More accurate too than the AKG's.
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thx for all your reply! You guys are right. I have been blinded by the micro details that I completely forgot about comfort! and since I'm going without amp for quite some time, it is kinda silly for me to got for the best headphone that perform basically the same as the cheaper one without amp, call it a noob mistake

I'm leaning towards m50 right now. They are really comfortable and are very good. And it seems like a safer bet than SRH440
post #12 of 31
Both the m50 and the 840 will benefit from amping. However, the m50 is much smaller compared to the shures and therefore, more portable.
post #13 of 31
Just try the GMP 8.35
post #14 of 31
Got my SRH440 on Thursday. It has about 20-30 hrs of burn in at the moment and the sound certainly can change from where it is now. But some of the mids and highs sounds artificial for whatever reason, I can't explain it now but acoustic guitar just doesn't sound right on my SRH440, especially if there are other instruments going on. The comfort issue is another thing, there are little padding on the headband and it hurts after about 2-3 hours of use and don't even think about making this your mobile set as it 1)is pretty ugly 2)Heavy and 3)has really heavy and long cords(unless you are Yao Ming)

On the plus side, there are plenty of bass and the soundstage is quite nice.
post #15 of 31
question: ever considered the Denon 1001 or the 2000?
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