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Help me choose some entry-level cans

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've been lurking here for a couple of days and I think it's time to post.

I need some headphones for gaming and music.

My requirements and priorities:
-Usage will be 20% home music (from onboard soundcard)/20% portable music(from iPod)/60% gaming.
-I'm a fan of 80s heavy metal (primary genre), classic rock, and bluegrass.
-I play mostly FPSs and RPGs.
-Priorities in order: Sound quality, positioning/sound stage, comfort, portability, looks.
-Preference for closed, though open are completely acceptable if the difference in quality or sound stage is significant.
-As far as coloring and signature goes, I'm sure I'd be happy with anything (though I don't like overwhelming bass), considering I've never heard anyhting better than Bose QC15.
-I'd like something that sounds good unamped, or doesn't require anything more expensive than the FiiO E5. I'd rather not frustrate myself with a CMoy.

I've had the ATH-A(D)700 recommended to me by other forums because of their supposed gaming prowess, but they tend to get a ton of hate around here, so I'm hesitant about them. I've also been told to buy the Shure SRH840 and ATH M50. Of course, if you believe that some other cans would serve me better, feel free to suggest them.

Thanks again for any help.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, I can't stand supraural cans. THis rules out Grados and Alessandros.
post #2 of 11
AD700s are popular on here too, I know there was that thread recently about someone being underwhelmed by the AD700s, but frankly I think that's because they were coming from PortaPros and weren't yet used to the sound signature of the AD700s. There's plenty of people with good things to say about them in this thread : http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/ath...thread-400695/

However, the AD700s can be discounted because of one word in your post : "Portable". AD700s are anything but portable. (a) They're absolutely massive (b) They don't isolate at all and (c) They leak about as much as if you just strapped speakers to your face.

In silent environments they are superb, but I would counsel against using them outside.

A good alternative to the ATH-AD700s may be the ATH-M50s, which are somewhat portable due to their folding design, and are also reputed to have great sound quality and soundstage. I do not know if they are a match for your genres of music, though.
post #3 of 11
The AD700 is great.

How about the MS1 by Alessandro (Grado)? SR80i, SRH440, RP21...

But the MS1 gets my vote for music. The AD700 is better for gaming.

Happy hunting!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Portability is actually pretty low on my list. I have some serviceable IEMs that I can use if I need to. Portability and a closed back are just bonuses for tie-breaking. Main usage will be indoors.

Also, is the A700 measurably worse in sound quality, postioning and stage than the AD700? If so, would the benefit of isolation balance them out?
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by iHelp View Post
The AD700 is great.

How about the MS1 by Alessandro (Grado)? SR80i, SRH440, RP21...
My first bit of advice is stay away from studio based headphones, the likes of 440's and ATH M50's. I've only heard the 840's which are brilliant headphones, but they have their place in the headphone world and I wouldn't choose this type of headphones for your use.

but I think the suggestiuons from iHelp are good ones. The MS-1 are supposed to be the bargain of the century, even if they took nearly 3 months to get a pair to one of my competition winners (plenty of egg on my face as they kept promissing to send the 'next week') in the end they took over 10 weeks. So I was a bit hacked off with them.

The Equation Audio RP21's are great headphones. Not quite as expansive as the MS1's, but to be honest, nothing at that price is!

Amazon.com: Equation RP-21 Stereo Monitor Headphones: Musical Instruments

How's about the Equation Audio MC15's. The RP21's have a big fan bass. these were supposed to be the dog twitcher as well.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/EQUATION-AUDIO...item1c0f267c4d

I erally like the Kam headphones as well. Although the cable on my 500's went (still haven't got around to fixing it ... easy fix) the 1500's were really good.

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/i.html?_nkw=k...udio&_osacat=0

although some of the kam range is cheaper on amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?...phones&x=0&y=0
post #6 of 11
yeh, got the ms1s - they're good out of a portable, and suit you music preferences
post #7 of 11
open and portable only work out until you use a closed headphone for one time. the isolation (even a bit) really makes a difference on the road. Would never (not as a main headphone anyway) use an open headphone for portable use again.

I could suggest the K271S, bit bass light but very isolating and comfortable. Detailed and neutral sound. Possible to use portable too (I did anyway ) but you'll get strange looks. Does sound much better when amped. Probably not a blind buy, but you should be able to listen to one (or newer versions like K272xx) in an electronics store nearby.

no Grado for gaming, there is something about comfort/soundstage that just does not fit the purpose. Great for music though.
post #8 of 11
The sennheiser eh150s, Sony MDR V6, Audio technica ath t22s.

Koss porta pros are alright, but all of the above outdo them.
post #9 of 11
What is your budget for buying these unamped closed headphones?
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
About $130, though I'd like to stress that while closed backs would be beneficial, I wouldn't want to sacrifice huge amounts soundstage or postioning. If open phones are significantly better than closed ones, I'll just purchase some open cans.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by paaj View Post
open and portable only work out until you use a closed headphone for one time. the isolation (even a bit) really makes a difference on the road. Would never (not as a main headphone anyway) use an open headphone for portable use again.

I could suggest the K271S, bit bass light but very isolating and comfortable. Detailed and neutral sound. Possible to use portable too (I did anyway ) but you'll get strange looks. Does sound much better when amped. Probably not a blind buy, but you should be able to listen to one (or newer versions like K272xx) in an electronics store nearby.

no Grado for gaming, there is something about comfort/soundstage that just does not fit the purpose. Great for music though.
Actually, for my purposes (walking on the sidewalk, not riding the bus or train), even the tiniest bit of isolation significantly increases the likelihood of getting killed or injured by cars and trains running me over. This is because in such a situation one must hear every single decibel of the outside noises in order to be fully aware. When ANY audio device is played back through headphones, even the tiniest bit of audio from the player coming through the headphones will reduce the ear's sensitivity to outside noises by that much. With closed headphones, the downgrade of hearing sensitivity begins at an even lower level (this means some of the outside noises that one must be able to hear will become completely inaudible even with no music playing through the closed headphones). And these days, I put safety and survival first, listenability second. This is why I seldom use any of my larger closed headphones any more - because I could not find an appropriate situation for their use right now.

And yes, I found most of the full-sized closed headphones all but useless on the bus or train. This is because most of them sounded too hollow and too bright in these situations even if they sounded great in a quieter, non-moving environment. The hearing sensitivity at lower frequencies is reduced even further in a moving vehicle due to atmospheric conditions that can be drastically different from the true outdoors. As a result, the only full-sized closed headphones that I found usable (sonically) in a moving vehicle are those that sound horribly (and unlistenably) muddy in even slightly quieter situations - all lows but no mids or highs.

Of course, do not take this as me being anti-closed-headphone. I am just saying that too many people, especially Head-Fi'ers, have been using sealed or closed headphones in places that are some of the most inappropriate for their use.

With that said, I agree that anything manufactured by Grado Labs is less than ideal for gaming because of their "in-your-face" (or more accurately "aimed right at your ears") audio presentation.
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