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Cheap Entry-level cans for a Canadian newb?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey head-fi!  I’ve been lurking a lot recently, but I only just joined.  Been doing a lot of reading and just wanted a more expert opinion on what good entry level headphones I should get.  I’m sorry for making another “newbie recommendation” thread!

 

I listen to a lot of different genres, but I would say that I currently listen most to folk, experimental, electronic, and some indie rock.  I plan on using it for a bit of everything, gaming, movies, music (mp3 and computer?), etc.  Comfort is a major factor for me.  I wear glasses and have a wide head, so I don’t want headphones that I can’t wear for more than 1hr because they hurt too much.  I plan on getting re0s for portability, so these headphones would probably be used around the house.  I am located in Canada, so it’s hard to find stock that’s priced reasonably (with shipping and custom fees all factored in).  I would say my (loose) budget is around $150.  I would be willing to go over if there was a good deal.  I’ve been lurking ebay recently, and there are some decent deals on hd650s and a pair of grado SR325 (although both are probably higher end for me).

 

My current gear is: Zune 16GB, Sennheisers cx300 and Panasonic RP-HTX7-RS. 

 

From my research around the forum and the Internet so far, I have narrowed it down to:

Audio Technica AD700 (possibly M50?)

Sennheisers HD555 (w/ 595 mod)

Alessandro MS1 (cheaper to get than Grados)

 

Also open to other suggestions? 

Denon AHD2000’s also look good, esp if I want a closed headphone, but they are quite a bit pricier.

May invest in an amp in the future, should the headphones require it.

 

TIA!

post #2 of 27

Hello fellow Canuck and welcome!

 

I am not sure where you are in the Great White North but here in Vancouver I often find commercial electronics on Burrard street downtown have good sales on headphones and also demo phones for sale. I know I got a pair of portable Stax there at the begining of the year on sale for $200!

 

Might be worth checking them out and if you do not live here ask if they ship.

 Also might be worth checking out canuck audio mart, bargins can be had there on gently used stuff to make your dollars go further.

 

Liking most of the music you like I can say the Grado's I have owned over the years seen to be well suited to those genres!

post #3 of 27

Although I'd thoroughly endorse the MS-1i for the value they represent and performance for most genres, I would also state that comfort has developed into an issue for me. I also wear glasses and have had enough of the discomfort I experience after listening for extended periods (which I do daily). I have just ordered an M50 to alleviate this but am sure the MS-1i will still get the same amount of use, as I do love the engaging sound and enveloping crunch they provide.

post #4 of 27

I currently own Sennheiser 595's, and Audio Technica ATH-AD700's.  Just today, I ordered some Denon D2000's, because I'd like to try them out.  I find the AD700's very detailed, but the bass is quite limited for my liking, however they're great for gaming.  Once I get the D2000's, I'll be sure to let you know how I like them compared to my other 2 cans.  I find myself using the Senns for the majority of my music listening.  I also live in Vancouver and about Commercial Electronics they do have a decent selection and every time I've inquired about some phones, they always want to charge full retail.  I called about the Denons, and they wanted 450.. blech

post #5 of 27

I'm just going to toss this out there to give you a few more retailer options to look into...http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/507194/listing-canadian-companies

 

On the whole, Canadian prices for headphones really sucks. The best thing you can do is either buy used (preferably from another Canuck, or from elsewhere but ask the seller to list the item as a gift <$50 to avoid fees) or ship it to a depot near the border where you can pick it up, assuming you live close enough to drive.

 

Of the ones you've listed... I found the AD700 comfortable over glasses, and the A700 even moreso. The M50s were not a sound that I liked (and don't really suit your genres that well) and pinched on my glasses. I haven't heard the HD555, but I have the HD580 which is of a similar shape. I found them reasonably comfortable over glasses and on my head (I have a pretty wide noggin as well). Alessandros/Grados are really hit or miss on the sound (moreso than other brands), so I'd recommend giving them a listen before buying if at all possible. Comfort is also not that great.


Edited by Armaegis - 10/4/10 at 9:37pm
post #6 of 27

Welcome to Head-Fi. 

 

Are you wanting headphones for portable use or only for home use? 

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post
I am not sure where you are in the Great White North but here in Vancouver I often find commercial electronics on Burrard street downtown have good sales on headphones and also demo phones for sale. I know I got a pair of portable Stax there at the begining of the year on sale for $200!


I'm actually located in the Greater Toronto Area.  I've checked out some Toronto store websites, and all of their stuff is overpriced...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
I'm just going to toss this out there to give you a few more retailer options to look into...http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/507194/listing-canadian-companies

 

On the whole, Canadian prices for headphones really sucks. The best thing you can do is either buy used (preferably from another Canuck, or from elsewhere but ask the seller to list the item as a gift <$50 to avoid fees) or ship it to a depot near the border where you can pick it up, assuming you live close enough to drive.


Hey thanks a lot!  I didn't know that thread existed.  I checked out every retailer... $$$.  I am thinking I may have to just ebay or buy it off someone, or buy some cans from an american address and ship it to my friend. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Time View Post
Are you wanting headphones for portable use or only for home use? 


Mainly home use.  It would be nice to be able to bring 'em places, but not a requirement.  I am going to get some earbuds for that.

 


 

Thanks for all your replies!  So it seems Alessandro/Grados are really good for sound, but I may have comfort issues.  Did this discomfort persist even after stretching out the headband?  Did you guys swap the earpads?  I heard that helps with comfort, but I have no idea how much, esp if the headband still applies pressure to the sides of the head.  Before this thread I was leaning heavily towards investing in the AD700s, just because of the good ratings for gaming and the comfort.  People had issues with it being too big or oddly fitting, so my big head may work towards my favour, haha.  The cheapest I can get a pair (of AD700s or Allesandro MS-1s) is a little over $100 though.  Is this a good deal, or should I pay a bit more for better headphones.


Edited by dianazilla - 10/5/10 at 9:29am
post #8 of 27

I have 555s and my brother has AD700s. The 555s IMO, are terrible for the genres you listed except for maybe electronic. AD700s are better for those genres, but I find them sharp and harsh sounding. I can't really recommend either of those headphones to you for music. My brother and I both use our sets for gaming and nothing else.

 

Haven't tried the MS1s yet, but have heard great things and I'm probably going to end up with either those or the SR225/MS2s soon.

post #9 of 27

Im in Canada and buy from Amazon.com from sellers with international shipping. Amazon.ca is more expensive and limited. Also it doesn't matter what you buy (I got the MS1s) you'll want more (Im looking at AT AD700). Sometimes you get good deals locally, the music store by Franks in Moncton has some Audio Techicas and AKGs for the same prices as Amazon, but other stuff here is WAY over priced - especially Sennheiser I find.

post #10 of 27

I'd say the ad700s. Great comfort and good sound for the price.

post #11 of 27

The Alessandro/Grados aren't really uncomfortable, but most of the other 'phones listed are more comfy.  If you wash the pads to soften them up, get the headband just right, and maybe try a different style of pad you'll likely find a combination that will be comfy enough to wear for a few hours straight.  When I had SR80s I could wear them for a couple hours before they started to get annoying and a few more hours before I had to give my ears a rest.

 

I'd say the MS1s are the best option listed so far for folk and indie rock.  They should be awesome for anything with guitars, acoustic or electric.  I loved my SR80s with death and black metal.  They may not go as well with electronica, depending on sub-genres and other divisions that I'm not versed in.  I know my SR80s had good mid and upper bass for typical drums and bass guitars in you folk and indie rock, but the bass did not go deep enough for the sort or techno/electronica I listen to.

 

I haven't heard the MS1s, so maybe someone else can chime in with how low the bass goes.

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJBug View Post

Im in Canada and buy from Amazon.com from sellers with international shipping. Amazon.ca is more expensive and limited. Also it doesn't matter what you buy (I got the MS1s) you'll want more (Im looking at AT AD700). Sometimes you get good deals locally, the music store by Franks in Moncton has some Audio Techicas and AKGs for the same prices as Amazon, but other stuff here is WAY over priced - especially Sennheiser I find.

Really?  I find that although Amazon has good prices, most items don't ship to Canada, and if they do, the shipping is really expensive.  It's really not worth it, especially when I think of all the additional fees I am going to have to pay, when it crosses the border.

 

 

I am split between the AD700s and the MS1s now...  maybe I should just get both?... Hahaha, but then I would be over my budget, and I could have totally just gotten one mid to high-end pair, instead of two entry level ones.
 

post #13 of 27

Audio technica ATH700 (closed) $199 amazon.ca cheapest (only 1 search result) , $122 and up amazon.com (choose from 37 sellers).

 

Yes you do have to watch the shipping, and you are right about the duty - I get done 1 out of every 3 or 4 transactions, but some merchants do charge a reasonable amount to ship usually less than $20.

 

Another problem as the example above shows, is that sometimes none of the listed sellers ship to Canada.

 

I guess it varies from product to product.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJBug View Post

Audio technica ATH700 (closed) $199 amazon.ca cheapest (only 1 search result) , $122 and up amazon.com (choose from 37 sellers).

 

Yes you do have to watch the shipping, and you are right about the duty - I get done 1 out of every 3 or 4 transactions, but some merchants do charge a reasonable amount to ship usually less than $20.

 

Another problem as the example above shows, is that sometimes none of the listed sellers ship to Canada.

 

I guess it varies from product to product.

 

AD700s are 89 on amazon.com.  I think I checked this, but sellers that do ship sell it for a lot more (100 at least), shipping is at least $30, then you gotta add customs and tax on that...

 

I just don't feel right paying double what our American counterparts pay.  Such a rip-off.  I think I am just going to have to resort to the buy/sell/trade forums here, or eBay.  What I like about the MS1s is that they ship free internationally.

post #15 of 27

Yeah it sucks feeling ripped off. My Futureshop has Sennhesier CX300IIs for $119 (down from $129 a few months ago). I saw them in Bangor Best Buy in August 2010 on my trip to Maine for $56 on special (usually $78 - still way cheaper). EDIT - just checked - they are now $59.99 regular price there Tax is less I think in Maine too than NB. I bought my Klipsch S4s (which were $79)there , and funnily enough the S4s are also $79 regular price in Halifax Nova Scotia! Go figure. I bought the 300s online for $30 something with $10 or 12 shipping - total around $45 Canadian shipped from media Mart on Amazon.com - no ding at the border.


Edited by JJBug - 10/5/10 at 4:42pm
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