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Best headphones for me for under $600

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well guys, here we go. I have been extremely satisfied with my set up for the past 1.5 years. I've loved my MD2000 like a ridiculously large chocolate bar, taking bite after bit out of it, mmmmm. But the time has come, to experience other sides of this hobby.


Not only has my music taste changed over time, but I've grown very used to the denon sound. 


My music taste used to be very heavy into trance, vocal trance, etc. Lately my music has been mostly jazz, trip hop, down tempo, and vocals.


There are a couple requirements I have:


1. Must be able to be driven by AUNE dac amp mk II. Which can drive most headphones on the market.


2. I want to experience a wider sound stage than my denons, especially with jazz, I want to be able to feel like I'm there.


3. I have no roommates, a don't take my rigs outside, therefore I probably want an open headphones, I couldn't give 2 hamburgers about isolation or anything like that.


4. Comfort is a small priority, as I do listen for very very long periods of time.


5. Now that my music tastes are this way, I want mids that are clean, and beautiful, and (VERY IMPORTANT) highs that are NOT fatiguing, I have young sensitive ears, and sibilance is a no go.


Now for some background, the only other headphones I have tried extensively is the AKG K242 HD


I have heard the senn hd280 pro and thought they were all right.


Here are my conclusions and considerations of headphones so far from lurking for a year and reading up on this stuff:


- AKG K701 - picky, large soundstage, neutral bass. The worries I have with getting this headphone is that it may be dull and non engaging.


-Grado Rs2 or Rs1 if I can afford  - I have not tried the grado sound, but looking at their frequency response I worry that the highs may be fatiguing. They have great reviews, but I do not listen to rock, and I don't know how well these will be with my music tastes.


-Sennheiser hd600 or hd650 - The hd650 are said to have a more denon like sound sig, being described as dark, the hd600 are considered more neutral, I feel like the hd600's may be good for me but i'm not sure.


Beyerdynamic dt880 600 ohms - I have heard many good things about this headphone too, especially for jazz, not sure what to think about it.


Grado HF-2 - Just came back, I don't know what to think about it, but it certainly is in my price range.


Please note, I am not a basshead, nor am I willing to go with a bass light (according to freq response graphs) can. With regards to bass, I would like remarkably TEXTURED bass.



I hope you enjoy the novel written above ^


HELP ME HEAD-FIERS! I need you now more than ever!


-A R


P.S I have around a month before I need to make my decision. And yes I am planning to visit dxc store in LA to demo some headphones.

post #2 of 9

Glad you have gotten so much use and satisfaction out of those MD2000s - 1.5 years is a good lifespan in this hobby....


Of the headphones you listed...

-I probably wouldn't go Grado - if you're looking for wider soundstage and non-fatiguing highs, I don't think they will do it for you

-The K701 personally is one of the best Jazz cans I have heard and is outstanding with vocals.... but probably won't pack enough bass things like trip hop and down tempo, and will probably take a lot of adjustment coming from the Denons

-The HD650/600 are good, safe choices. I prefer the 600 personally - I find the frequency response to be a little more balanced/closer to neutral on the 600, but you might like the warmer sound of the 650.


I would also look at the Audio-Technica AD2000 - they have some strong followers on these boards for sure and may be up your alley.


One quick edit: for $600, you could probably find a used Stax SRM-1 MKII + Vintage Lambda system if you're patient and keep an eye on these boards and on Audiogon. IMO, this is the best value in headphone audio and would certainly provide me with more listening enjoyment than any of the options listed above.

Edited by AmanGeorge - 9/19/10 at 9:03pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

The chances of vintage lambda's showing up in my price range is pretty low. The AD2000 look pretty good, any other suggestions guys?


-A R

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Any other good ideas, head fiers?




-A R

post #5 of 9

The HD650s are quite good and are reknowned for their ability to play virtually any music type well. Same goes for the HD600. If you can, try the two of them and see which one you like better.  Obviously, the HD600s are about $100 cheaper in most places, but if you look, you can find HD650s for $350 or so, leaving you with some money for a new amp and/ or DAC.

post #6 of 9

From what you've described the HD650s seem like they would fit your criteria nicely. IMO the HD650s are at the peak of their powers when it comes to vocals, in particular female vocals. The mid range is super smooth and supported by a laid back treble. However, I would say that the soundstage is their weakest area and this is where the HD600s might be a better choice (I've never heard them myself). From what I've read, they have a wider soundstage but less bass presence. The deciding factor would be what your bass requirements are.

post #7 of 9

so what did you end up getting?

i have similar taste in music and am looking to spend about the same amount...

post #8 of 9



i see you got mostly the same music preferences as i do. i was seeking cans for severall weeks before, ending with the DT880-600 for 300 bucks. they offer all details and are most neutral.

sennheiser are deffinitley not my preference, the sound is pressed as like whole orchestra is sitting centimeters to your ear. they are just not my style.


so you could give those dt880-600 just a shot, learning the BD sound. mabye you find an audiostore or a used pair for testing (amazon warehouse).


if going for the high price grados, RS2i, RS1i and HF2 are the models. a special edition are grado magnums, a redesign of grado rs325is from a manufacture. it is told by other members on head-fi, those magnums do compete the RS1i.



post #9 of 9

you can never go wrong with the sennheiser hd 650 and beyerdynamics dt880 maybe similar in sound signature in some ways depending in your set up..both requires amp and if you find the right combo amp+phones all the cons just forget it.before having this two phones i was reading all the reviews finally pulling the plugs.paired with the right amps your ears will be treated like royalty.i can't tell you what amps you should get because everyone is different you have to mix and match but the end result is just a bliss.don't believe in burnt in period as this is a marketing ploy from sellers,ask the manufacturers yourself.it doesn't take hundreds of hours for a phone to sound good as out of the box they should sound 95 percent good already.all this high end phones needs a good amp for us to really get the full potential of the phones.maybe the drivers and diaphragm needs to loosen up for the bass and mids to open up but not 100s of hours.for example the akg k701 needs 300 hrs at least so the harshness will  disappear magically.harshness didn't go away it's just you getting use to the sound after so many hours.some like bass and some treble vice versa.if you like bass you will find the other phone to be sibilant and if you like treble you will find the other one to be mudded.it is an acquired taste and preference listening to headphones,reiterate on the burnt in process which is a myth just like when you first move in to a colder place after a while you get use or accustom to it .the coldness didn't go away just like the headphones you get use to the sound after a while listening.

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