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First Time Headphone Buyer

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, everyone. This is really the first time I have been looking for a solid pair of headphones to buy. I have been perusing the internet for a couple days looking for different headphones to get. So far my criteria for a pair are as follows:


-I will be using them for indoor listening only

-Preferably around $100, can be a little over or under

-Good for hard rock/metal, some of my favorite artists are Tool, Opeth, Deftones, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Streetlight Manifesto

-I don't really care if they are open ear or closed ear (I think that's what you call it, where the back either have a little speaker or not)

-Comfort is a big factor here, I spend a lot of time at my computer, usually upwards of 8 hours at a time. Also, I have glasses so I would want a pair that wouldn't be uncomfortable for people with glasses


Anyway, I have been looking at many pairs and so far I've found that most, if not all, have very mixed views. The first pair I had looked at were the Sennheiser HD555's, but then I came across people saying that Grado headphones had excellent audio quality so I checked out their SR80i's. Upon looking at Grado's headphones, people either love them or hate them, and people mod them a lot for more comfort, but I don't know if I would be interested in doing that. Other I've taken a look at are Shure SRH440's, but like I said, people often have mixed opinions.

post #2 of 4

My first pair of cans were the AKG 81 DJ. I liked them very much, even if the bass got a bit excessive at times. I then had the ATH ES7, and liked those even more. Both of these are closed.


I've never owned a pair of Grados, but I have a pair of Alessandro MS1i, their close cousins, sitting right next to me right now. I like them well enough, but am not a huge fan, due to the underwhelming bass. I must admit, though, that they sound wonderful with all types of rock music. If that's the majority of your music, I would for sure go for Grados.

post #3 of 4

If I had to choose between my Grado SR-80 and Sennheiser HD-555's, i'd gladly choose my 555's mainly due to the sound quality and comfort. I don't listen to the same music you do, but I wear glasses also and the SR-80's might be a poor fit. With the 555's I could wear them for hours. The bass is just OK. There is enough for me, but it's nothing special. The SR-80's to my ears, have very little bass at all. Yet, most people suggest them for rock and metal.


For the music you've listed, I would check into the Audio Technica ATH-M50. They have a  ton of bass and they fit my head just fine. I have a small head and wear glasses. The Shure SRH-840 sounds much better, but the fit is poor and they are often $135 online. Again, for me the M50's have a perfect fit and I wear glasses. In terms of comfort, they're a step behind the 555's. I'd suggest the M50's over the 555's any day based on the music you've listed.


I listened to mine for three hours yesterday and didn't have any pain really, but I've only had them for a few days. For very extended listening, the 555's would cause no pain, but some people feel like they clamp on your head, but I don't have that problem.


The M50's are often $100 on Ebay, but B&H has them for under $120. I got mine from a local guitar center that price matched B&H. They don't accept returns though where I live.


I'd also check into the Shure SRH-750DJ. They're DJ headphones, but should sound similar to the 840 and might have a better fit. I don't know how the 440 compares to the 840. The 840's are the best sounding headphones under $200 (they're $135 usually) still, but are too heavy and don't fit me well.


If you can find a place to let you try out the SRH-840's, that'd be my first suggestion. Just to see if they fit well. Second pick would be the M50's. The M50's feel a bit lighter, but probably are not.

post #4 of 4

I would humbly suggest the ATH-AD700s available for $100 shipped from many sources. I will qualify this suggestion by saying that I have very little experience with headphones, but do own a pair of AD700s.  


I have been a consumer of "high-end stereo" equipment for 10 years, and know what good sound is.



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