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My First Cans: RX900 or SRH840

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone.

 

I've spent the last week or so looking for a set of cans to bring to college this fall. 

 

I've never really been a "headphone guy," as I much prefer listening to speakers (I have a pair of M-Audio Bx5as that I enjoy very much, and plan to take with me to college). However, I understand the necessity of having a good pair of headphones to wear around my dorm.

 

This headphones would function in following settings:

  • Use late at night in my dorm room when I cannot use my speakers because my roommate is sleeping/studying.
  • Playing games (CSS, SC2, etc.) when I don't want people to know I'm playing games. :P
  • Listening outside as I'm studying under the trees (and want better SQ than Apple's earbuds).
  • Listening to music in the library while I'm working on schoolwork.
  • Listening to music on the plane as I travel from home (east coast) to school (west coast).

 

As such, I've decided that I'll need a pair of CLOSED headphones. They will be UNAMPED; my source is a macbook pro. 

 

Portability is a bit of an issue. I don't want two sets of headphones--just one. I want to be able to carry these around in my backpack to bring around campus (if I have to) or to be able to conveniently store them on the plane. I'm not looking for IEMs.

 

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I've narrowed my search down to two sets of headphones (although other suggestions are still welcome).

 

*My budget is $125 or less, and obviously I'd like to keep that as low as possible--that's why I'm seriously considering the RX900s, even though the Shures appear to be superior.

 

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1. JVC RX900 - $55

 

23655.JPG

 

Originally I wanted a pair of RX700s, as I wasn't looking to spend that much and $30 seemed like the perfect price for the set of starter cans I was after. After all, I don't even know how much I'll be wearing these, as my speakers will often suffice. However, the RX700s are hard to come by at the moment and run $45. For $10 more, I can buy these--complete with softer ear pads, a more durable headband, slightly better bass and a wider sound stage.

 

Pros:

  • Semi-open design is great for gaming/movies.
  • Half the price of the Shures. 
  • Better set of starting cans?
  • Can be modded (sounds like fun!).

 

Cons: 

  • Bigger and more bulky than the Shures--less portable.
  • Not sure if I'd want to wear these outside my dorm; available settings are halved.
  • Slightly more sound leakage than the Shures because of the semi-open design.
  • Long (13') hardwired cord.
  • Lack any kind of folding mechanism.

 

2. Shure SRH840 - $120

 

spd_20100327172837_b.jpg

 

I've heard some amazing things about these cans in the <$200 price range. When I saw that I could pick these up from Northern Sound & Lights for $120 shipped, I got really excited. I like the look of these headphones, and they appear to offer a greater foray into audiophile sound.

 

Pros:

  • (Much?) better SQ than the RX900s.
  • More comfortable than the RX900s.
  • More portable than the RX900s--they fold, cord is detachable, etc.
  • Great deal for only $120.
  • No problem wearing these in public; all settings utilized.
  • Closed design=Very little sound leakage.

 

Cons:

  • Twice the price of the RX900s.
  • Too much $$$ for my first set of cans?? (Especially if I don't use them often...)
  • No mods (that I am aware of). 
  • Closed design=Smaller soundstage=Not as good as the RX900s for games??

 

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Well, what do you guys think? I can't make up my mind... I really need some advice.

 

Thanks. 


Edited by Xombie11 - 8/3/10 at 12:05pm
post #2 of 38

The Shures at 120 are a good deal. Unamped the 840s are very good, and closed seems what you need with your settings. Spend the extra 65 and get the Shures. You won't be dissapointed.
 

post #3 of 38

The Shures have a surprisingly decent soundstage for such small cups. To be honest, I don't think either would be ideal for portable use as the Shures may be smaller, but their headband does not conform to the shape of your head and the cable is coiled (rather annoying and heavy for walking around).

 

If you're not sure which will suit you best, I'd say go with the JVC just to gently enter the world of hi-fi headphones. Once you can use that pair as a reference point for what you want and don't want from a headphone, future recommendations will be much easier.

post #4 of 38


I'm pretty shure he doesn't want sound leakage. I have to agree with you on the cable, but you can order a straight cable. And, how do you know  the shape of the OPs head??(LOL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landis View Post

The Shures have a surprisingly decent soundstage for such small cups. To be honest, I don't think either would be ideal for portable use as the Shures may be smaller, but their headband does not conform to the shape of your head and the cable is coiled (rather annoying and heavy for walking around).

 

If you're not sure which will suit you best, I'd say go with the JVC just to gently enter the world of hi-fi headphones. Once you can use that pair as a reference point for what you want and don't want from a headphone, future recommendations will be much easier.

post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aqsw View Post

The Shures at 120 are a good deal. Unamped the 840s are very good, and closed seems what you need with your settings. Spend the extra 65 and get the Shures. You won't be dissapointed.
 


Yeah one of the things I really like about the Shures is how great they sound unamped (according to the many reviews I've read). I imagine the extra $65 is definitely worthwhile... hmm...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landis View Post

The Shures have a surprisingly decent soundstage for such small cups. To be honest, I don't think either would be ideal for portable use as the Shures may be smaller, but their headband does not conform to the shape of your head and the cable is coiled (rather annoying and heavy for walking around).

 

If you're not sure which will suit you best, I'd say go with the JVC just to gently enter the world of hi-fi headphones. Once you can use that pair as a reference point for what you want and don't want from a headphone, future recommendations will be much easier.


It would just be occasional portable use, and because I don't want to have to buy two sets of cans (one for in my dorm, one for outside), I just want one set that's damn good at what it does and has the added advantage of "some" portability.

 

Hm, I didn't think the coiled cable would be that annoying--it must be better than the hardwired 13' cord of the JVCs, right? Also, because the Shure's cable can be detached, I could always replace it in the future with a more portable one I guess.

 

I see what you're saying about the JVCs as an entry point--that's exactly what I was thinking. Especially if I could mod them and make them even better! But I definitely don't want to spent another $100-200 a year from now upgrading to something a bit more like the Shures, and have the RX900s collecting dust. Sometimes a lot of money now is better than lots of increments later, you know?

 

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Also, does anyone know how the Shures would fair for gaming? I know they're intended for studio use, reference-grade kinda thing. The RX900s are known to have really good "positional sound," a good soundstage for gaming, despite them being only "semi-open." Landis, you mentioned they have a "surprisingly decent soundstage for such small cups"--would this apply to gaming as well?


Edited by Xombie11 - 8/3/10 at 12:18pm
post #6 of 38


Sorry, I'm not a gamer, but I gave my 840s to my son when I bought my 750DJs and he's on that xbox alot. Every time I walk by his room, he's wearing the 840s. That will change in about a month when he's back at university!!!

Quote:
-----------------------------------------------

 

Also, does anyone know how the Shures would fair for gaming? I know they're intended for studio use, reference-grade kinda thing. The RX900s are known to have really good "positional sound," a good soundstage for gaming, despite them being only "semi-open." Landis, you mentioned they have a "surprisingly decent soundstage for such small cups"--would this apply to gaming as well?

post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aqsw View Post


Sorry, I'm not a gamer, but I gave my 840s to my son when I bought my 750DJs and he's on that xbox alot. Every time I walk by his room, he's wearing the 840s. That will change in about a month when he's back at university!!!


 

 

I can most certainly relate--please ask him for me! haha :)

post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xombie11 View Post

 

I can most certainly relate--please ask him for me! haha :)


He says their great, but he's not really into head-fi. He would probably say the same for RX900s  (LOL)

 

He does not like my Grados (80i) though. He likes the Shures way better ( He's not an English major)


Edited by aqsw - 8/3/10 at 12:44pm
post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 

Ah, cool, thanks. xD

 

I must say, I myself wasn't a huge fan of the 80i's when I auditioned them. I hated the pads--but, hey, they're Grados.

post #10 of 38

Just for clarification Xombie, are you looking for 'semi-portable' full size cans, or would you prefer actual portable cans? What I mean by that is, 'semi-portable' being something like the SRH840, or 'portable' being something like the PX100-II, PortaPro, etc. You also do prefer circumaural right? As opposed to a smaller set that actually sit on your ears like the two previous mentioned.

 

Well, between the two you mentioned above, it's a given that the SRH840 is going to have overall better SQ, but obviously it comes at a price. But the thing is, if you really like your speaker set-up, and you say these are your 'first cans' and that you don't use headphones that often, then why pay $120 for a 'great' pair? I'm not saying the RX900's aren't 'great' but I'm sure they would far surpass your expectations, without having to pay double. Later on, if you decide you really like headphones, you can always buy more, better pairs. It's totally up to your decision though.

post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

Just for clarification Xombie, are you looking for 'semi-portable' full size cans, or would you prefer actual portable cans? What I mean by that is, 'semi-portable' being something like the SRH840, or 'portable' being something like the PX100-II, PortaPro, etc. You also do prefer circumaural right? As opposed to a smaller set that actually sit on your ears like the two previous mentioned.

 

Well, between the two you mentioned above, it's a given that the SRH840 is going to have overall better SQ, but obviously it comes at a price. But the thing is, if you really like your speaker set-up, and you say these are your 'first cans' and that you don't use headphones that often, then why pay $120 for a 'great' pair? I'm not saying the RX900's aren't 'great' but I'm sure they would far surpass your expectations, without having to pay double. Later on, if you decide you really like headphones, you can always buy more, better pairs. It's totally up to your decision though.


'Semi-portable.' Reason being that I would mainly use them inside, in my dorm, and I refuse to buy a second pair for use outside. I wouldn't want to use portable cans indoors, which is where I'll be using these 80% of the time. 

 

And you're right. For a first set of cans, the RX900s are an incredible value. My only worry is whether I'll decide to upgrade down the road, end up spending more for Shure-like quality, and have these go to waste. If I buy the Shures, I'll likely keep them as my first (and only) headphones for quite some time... The RX900s, I'm not so sure.

 

I think I'd be well off with either of them, however... Afterall, I have nothing to compare them to--which is why the decision is so difficult. There's no "upgrade path" when you haven't owned headphones before--so, where do I start? :\ 


Edited by Xombie11 - 8/3/10 at 1:17pm
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xombie11 View Post

 

 

I think I'd be well off with either of them, however... Afterall, I have nothing to compare them to--which is why the decision is so difficult. There's no "upgrade path" when you haven't owned headphones before--so, where do I start? :\ 


Shure's could be nice for a start. 

When i started on this, i had the HARX700's...but they are mainly for home listening. 

post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xombie11 View Post

And you're right. For a first set of cans, the RX900s are an incredible value. My only worry is whether I'll decide to upgrade down the road, end up spending more for Shure-like quality, and have these go to waste. If I buy the Shures, I'll likely keep them as my first (and only) headphones for quite some time... The RX900s, I'm not so sure.

 

 

I can totally see what you mean. Because we all have that exact same thought.

 

But the thing is, if you did buy the RX900, and upgraded later down the road, they wouldn't be counted as a waste. Not at all. First off, sometimes you will prefer cheaper cans than more expensive ones. Maybe 5 years from now, you will have 4 sets of headphones, with the RX900 being the cheapest. Maybe, you will like, and prefer the RX900 out of all of them. Because we are looking at all factors about the headphone, and not just SQ. Besides, I'm sure the RX900 can hold it's own for a very long time. It is indeed a very capable headphone, one that you will not necessarily need to replace any time soon.

 

But sometimes, you can't take other people's word for it. Sometimes, you just have to try it for yourself.

 

As of right now, there are only 2 headphones I don't use in my entire collection. One pair being in-ear, and one being over-the-head. Recently, I've been thinking, "What a waste! I could have skipped those two entirely and got something better, but now I'm down $60!" What I failed to realize though, is those 2 headphones were used extensively when I had them for the time being. True, they did get replaced, but they benefited me at some point, and that is why I bought them. But, like all headphones, you will find something better in the future. Sometimes you will like it better, sometimes you won't. Many times, you will use different headphones for different purposes, so your 'first pair' will most likely still be used in the future, due to a capability they have, that none other in your collection can match.

 

The best thing to do, is decide on one that your budget finds good, and the one you find good, and just try it out for yourself.


Edited by Katun - 8/3/10 at 2:13pm
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

The best thing to do, is decide on one that your budget finds good, and the one you find good, and just try it out for yourself.


Yeah, thats a good idea...go and audition both, choose the one you liked more. 

post #15 of 38

You'll want closed headphones for use in a dorm room - not the RX900. 

 

What types of music do you listen to? 

 

What equipment will you be plugging your new headphones into?

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