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First Full Sized! (<$250)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I've been here for quite a bit and being the educated consumer I believe myself to be, I've been sitting here soaking up information on headphones, IEMs, DACs, and amps for the past couple of months.  I've owned some lower end IEMs, got a pair of Denon AH-D1001S(supra-aural headphone), a pair of Klipsch Custom 3 (IEM), and some Logitech X-230 speakers + subwoofer.  My music is mostly high quality mp3 with some of my favorites in FLAC mixed in there as well.

 

Since the holidays are coming up, I've been planning on starting a system with full-size headphones.  Right now I'm playing everything off a crappy on-board sound card (do I even have a sound card? lol) or my Samsung P3, but I want to start with some headphones, then get a decent DAC and finally an amp if needed.  However, I do not plan on getting them all at once.  I'm still in high school and I predict that I will have finished the system by the end of the school year.

 

My budget is $250 for the headphones, no more.  They will be played through my computer, not my P3 (unless they can be properly driven).  I will probably get them for Christmas, but I wanted to post early to get a better idea early on.  My experience with headphones have been sort of meh.  I really, really like the sound signature and comfort of Denon's but I cannot bear to have them on for more than 30 minutes because they heat up my ears.  I've heard that full-size headphones deal with the heat better.

 

With my Klipsch Custom 3, I found them to be too boring.  I enjoyed the fantastic mids, but felt that there wasnt enough bass nor treble energy to keep me happy.

 

To sum up what I want:

1. Comfortable - This includes NOT heating up the ears

2. Strong bass - Yes I'm a basshead

3. Decent mids - As long as they're not too recessed.  Would rather have them smooth than dry.

4. Slightly sparkly treble - I want to hear the high's but I definitely do not want any harshness or sibilance.

5. Open or closed - No preference

 

I've researched and found the following (with my comments):

 

fischer audio fa-002, fa-003, fa-002W (Not sure if these have enough bass for my likings)
ultrasone pro 750 (Kind of old, but they can be found for $200.  Velor pads also interest me)
pioneer hdj-2000 (Not too sure about their SQ but they are super comfy)
denon d2000 (Liked the D1001's.  These also have upgrade potential with the markL mod)

Beyerdynamic dt 770/990, 250/600 ohm (Meh, I might have to spend a lot more on an amp to drive these)

 

Further down the road, I'll be getting a DAC that's less than $200 and an amp if needed but that's for a later time.

 

I'm just looking for any reccomendations, comments, links, or suggestions.


Thanks.

post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 

In case it was too long:

 

Want these:

1. Comfortable - This includes NOT heating up the ears

2. Strong bass - Yes I'm a basshead

3. Decent mids - As long as they're not too recessed.  Would rather have them smooth than dry.

4. Slightly sparkly treble - I want to hear the high's but I definitely do not want any harshness or sibilance.

5. Open or closed - No preference

 

Saw these (budget $250):

fischer audio fa-002, fa-003, fa-002W
ultrasone pro 750
pioneer hdj-2000
denon d2000

Beyerdynamic dt 770/990, 250/600 ohm

post #3 of 22

That's a tough question. All that is really asking too much out of a headphone and almost would be world's most perfect headphone if it matched all of those.

 

At first I was thinking SRH-750DJ, but those might make your ears hot and I find the highs very harsh. I'm really sensitive to highs though I guess. They were as annoying to me as my old Grado 325i.

M50 is off the list since I found the mids a bit recessed (but not too bad). They will make your ears hot. The first pair of M50s I had could never be called "slightly sparky", but the white box versions were. Strange.

 

SRH-840 might match your description a lot better. The only thing that might be off a bit is that the bass isn't enough for a basshead probably, but the sound is more balanced out. They're a poor fit for me, but sound so good.

 

I feel like a broken record suggesting the k240 Studio so much, but it does meet ALL of your requirements. They certainly don't have the bass of the D2000 or M50, but they seem to have more bass then the SRH-840. They're easily the most comfortable headphones i've tried. They definitely will never made your ears sweat or feel hot. The mids on them are almost as good as those found on the SRH-840. The soundstage is also far better since they're semi-open.

 

The only other headphone that could nearly match your requirements was the DT-880 600 ohm. I didn't like the mids on the DT-880 32 ohm, but prefer the 600 ohm. You may even want to save up some more money and just get an amp and a pair of these. Maybe that new $130(?) E9 could power them well, but i'm not sure. I was just going to ignore this headphone since you asked for some without an amp, but this is worth mentioning. It's the one Beyer i've tried that didn't seem to have any recessed mids. I've only tried the DT-880, DT-770 and DT-990 32 ohm versions though. I'm not a fan of most of them, but I did like the DT-990 32 ohm for awhile. I actually don't remember if it was the 32 ohm or 250 ohm!!

 

I returned my DT-880 600 ohm and stuck with the k601. The DT-880 are too treble heavy for me, but still don't really have all that harsh of highs. I guess I just preferred the vocals on the k601 and that's what made me keep them. Too bad I couldn't keep both! The DT-880 600 ohm probably isn't good for those that like a lot of bass, but i'm sure you'd find it more then acceptable.

 

EDIT:

 

DT-770 and DT-990 are said to have somewhat recessed mids, but decent bass. I'm not sure which versions have the more recessed mids, but Zombie_X has a good thread on it. I think new they're probably over your budget. Even the 32 ohm versions really need an amp. I'll never suggest them without one due to trying them myself. I couldn't believe how hard they were to drive.

 

D2000 I want to try a 2nd time. The bass was too overpowering to my poor ears, but I probably didn't burn them in long enough. They have slightly rolled off highs from what i've tried and they definitely could never be described as "sparkly"! People who love bass love the D2000!

 

Hmm, I wonder if you'd like the Ultrasone HFI-680? You should check into that. That sounds like it'd meet a lot of your requirements. M50 is a better value though, but doesn't quite meet your requirements I think. Not the version I had at least.


Edited by tdockweiler - 11/7/10 at 12:29pm
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi tdockwiler.  I know this is a toughie but thanks for chiming in.  It seems like yes i really want the worlds perfect headphones at just $200, but I'm actually willing to sacrifice some treble roll-off.  I dont mind slightly recessed mids as long as they arent TOO recessed.

 

I'll definitely look into the shure and the AKG though, thanks.


As for the ultrasones, I'm really really confused as to which headphone sounds like what.  I've been considering the hfi 680, 780, and pro 750 and i thought the hfi series would get hot with the pleather pads.


But anyways, thanks for the input.

post #5 of 22

BTW one idea is to get the M50 and use some SRH-840 pads with them. I think this will make them more comfortable and will not heat up your ears as much.

I think it does reduce the bass a little from what i've read. It may not be worth the trouble unless the SRH-840 pads are cheap and easy to find.

 

My M50s had very rolled off highs. The sound (except for the bass) was very non-fatiguing. I bought a new pair recently (that I had to return ) and I couldn't believe how much brighter they were.

The highs were almost fatiguing my ears out. My old pair came in a black box with a flap (at guitar center). The new pair was white with no flap. The new pair didn't get any burn-in though.

 

I think it's best to figure out what you're willing to give up first. Either a bit of bass or have some treble roll off. If you don't mind some treble roll off, maybe the D2000 would be a good match.

I think those will be more comfortable then the M50. I'm not sure how the mids compare to the M50 though. Anyone know if the D2000 mids are more recessed then the M50 or about the same?

 

 

I tried the HFI-680 and I liked it, but I'd prefer the M50 any day. The M50 is more comfortable, but the HFI-680 might not make your ears hot. The sound signature are very similar I think.

I think the HFI-680 had the mids of the M50, but a tad less bass, but was overall the highs were less rolled off. It's a much brighter headphone, but not very fatiguing.

 

I preferred the bass on the HFI-680 over the M50 and it seemed well controlled. My main issue with them is that the soundstage was a bit goofy. I don't find the M50's to have a good sounstage, even for a closed headphone. D2000 is probably much better in this area.

 

I think the HFI-580 has more bass then the 680. The 780 is supposed to have more treble. Out of the 3 i've heard the HFI-680 is supposed to be the most neutral. Not that any of them are.

 

Pro 650 is supposed to be good, but I don't know if the mids are recessed or not. I liked the bass on the HFI-680 enough to give Ultrasone another try.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xtasi View Post

Hi tdockwiler.  I know this is a toughie but thanks for chiming in.  It seems like yes i really want the worlds perfect headphones at just $200, but I'm actually willing to sacrifice some treble roll-off.  I dont mind slightly recessed mids as long as they arent TOO recessed.

 

I'll definitely look into the shure and the AKG though, thanks.


As for the ultrasones, I'm really really confused as to which headphone sounds like what.  I've been considering the hfi 680, 780, and pro 750 and i thought the hfi series would get hot with the pleather pads.


But anyways, thanks for the input.


Edited by tdockweiler - 11/7/10 at 1:21pm
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

I supposed I would first give up some bass, as long as I can still hear it and somewhat feel it.  There certainly are times where I feel the bass is too bloated on my bass-heavy systems.

 

I've done more research and I've added AKG k240 to my list.  They seem to be very, very good and to what I'm looking for.  I'm just concerned if they can perform with other cans at the $200 price point.  I've decided not to add the shures because I've read that many found them to be boring.  I've also read that ultrasones can have an unnatural timbre, which I definitely wont enjoy so I'm going to take those out.  As for the M50, I guess I don't want it because it gets hot fast.  I also took out the Pioneers simply because theres too little info on them and the other pioneers have been known to break easily.

 

My new list would be:

fischer audio fa-002, fa-003, fa-002W (read LFF's reviews, but I want some more input on these)
denon d2000

AKG k 240 (MKII if the accessories are worth the extra $80)

 

Just wondering if I can EQ up the bass on the AKG's if I find them to be too light?


EDIT: tdock, from reading your past favorite headphones on your profile,I saw the Creative Aurvana Lives! which are the same thing as my Denon AH-D1001s.  I really like the sound of my Denons, btw except for the times when the bass is excessive and the treble is recessed.


Edited by xtasi - 11/7/10 at 2:06pm
post #7 of 22

I wouldn't suggest buying the k240 MK II over the k240 Studio. They're are basically the same, except that the k240 MKII has a slightly different design and comes with extras. The MK2 includes both velour and pleather pads and two cables. Both coiled and straight I believe.

AKG sells velour pads for the k240 Studio. I'm not sure how much they cost, but my guess is around $25-$30 per pair. If you REALLY need velour pads and a coiled cable and can get the k240 MKII for only $30 more it may be worth it. Definitely not worth an extra $80.

 

k240 Studio should have enough bass, but again it's certainly not anything like the bass on the M50. k240 Studio really is one headphone that seems to be good for almost any genre.

 

I did like my CAL and wish I had kept them. Unfortunately I had the SRH-840 at the time and I was trying out several pairs of headphones all at once and planned on only keeping one and it was the SRH-840. In the end I was forced to sell the SRH-840 and give up some sound quality and go with the M50 because the SRH-840 wouldn't stay on my head. I'd move an inch and they'd fall off! No headphone is worth the hassle of dealing with that. Sold M50 after a few months and stuck with the k240, DJ100 and HD-600. I liked the k240 so much that I upgraded to the k601, which has much less bass.

 

I actually might sell my HD-600 because of my k601 and get a D2000 to try out. This time i'll burn them in for a long time and hope the bass gets toned down a bit (like i've read). I like my forward sounding mids, so I may not like the D2000 even after a second chance. If the D2000 has even slightly better mids and a better soundstage then the M50 then that'll be good enough for me.

 

EQ for the k240 should be fine. I haven't felt the need really.

 

EDIT: BTW k240 Studio can definitely compete with a lot of more expensive headphones. If fact, they get my vote as the best headphone under $200 for classical music. Even better then the HD-555 to me. The closest match to the sound quality of the k240 to me is the SRH-840. SRH-840 might be better for just sound quality, but of course you give up the soundstage and comfort. I'm not willing to do that. My HD-600 is better OVERALL, but that's a $300 headphone. That's definitely not one I'd suggest to you based on your requirements. Compared to my k601 I actually find it quite boring! Should be the other way around. I'm hoping someone can find me a better open headphone under $200 with great mids, but so far I haven't found it. DJ100 has better mids/vocals then the k240, but it has rolled off highs, needs an amp and doesn't have enough bass for some people. DJ100 has some similarities to the SRH-840 and k240, but it's hard to drive.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xtasi View Post

I supposed I would first give up some bass, as long as I can still hear it and somewhat feel it.  There certainly are times where I feel the bass is too bloated on my bass-heavy systems.

 

I've done more research and I've added AKG k240 to my list.  They seem to be very, very good and to what I'm looking for.  I'm just concerned if they can perform with other cans at the $200 price point.  I've decided not to add the shures because I've read that many found them to be boring.  I've also read that ultrasones can have an unnatural timbre, which I definitely wont enjoy so I'm going to take those out.  As for the M50, I guess I don't want it because it gets hot fast.  I also took out the Pioneers simply because theres too little info on them and the other pioneers have been known to break easily.

 

My new list would be:

fischer audio fa-002, fa-003, fa-002W (read LFF's reviews, but I want some more input on these)
denon d2000

AKG k 240 (MKII if the accessories are worth the extra $80)

 

Just wondering if I can EQ up the bass on the AKG's if I find them to be too light?


EDIT: tdock, from reading your past favorite headphones on your profile,I saw the Creative Aurvana Lives! which are the same thing as my Denon AH-D1001s.  I really like the sound of my Denons, btw except for the times when the bass is excessive and the treble is recessed.


Edited by tdockweiler - 11/7/10 at 2:33pm
post #8 of 22

I really like Ultrasone PRO750. It's got fantastic bass, really good detail and soundstage. Shure SRH840 is great too, but hard to drive. FA-003 is excellent, but quite neutral and you may find it boring. The SRH750 DJ and ATH-M50 just don't have the fidelity of the aforementioned 'phones although they are good for the price. I think Ultrasone may suit you best. The PRO750 is a great model, although I really disliked the PRO900 which I thought had way too much bass. The PRO750 is more neutral, but still plenty heavy in the low end - you should like it. One concern may be that the high frequencies can sound a bit metallic at times with the Ultrasones. Some people really dislike it, others don't seem to mind. You should really hear it for yourself to determine if that type of sound will suit you. It's really hard to make any definite recommendation since everyone's tastes are different.

post #9 of 22

*>$250

 

Sorry I can't contribute anything to this thread, but I thought I'd point out that typo biggrin.gif

I was thinking why would he want at least 250? lol

post #10 of 22

I love my HDJ-2000, but they do warm up a bit and probably don't put out enough bass for a basshead. I would suggest maybe the M-Audio Q40. They have a fantastic low end, are quite comfortable and don't heat up very much for a closed can, and when you eventually get an amp you'll be rewarded with a big increase in sound quality. I've been pimping my own review/comparison a lot lately, but it has some info you might find useful: link

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

@pianist

Thanks for the input.  How is the timbre with the pro750?  I also have some soft rock and acoustic music in my collection.

 

@rich 77

ehhh really?  I felt that it was like x<250 so < was "less than".

 

@armaegis

the q-40 also piqued my interest, but many have said that the clamp was very tight and I have a very big head.  Also, I've heard that the treble rolls off pretty early, but these seem to be pretty good.  As for the HDJ-2000, Im just not sure.  The pads seem to be pretty small and I have also been blessed with large ears.  I'm not too sure if my ears would heat up with those

 

New list:

fischer audio fa-003
denon d2000

AKG k 240

m-audio q40

post #12 of 22

This is correct, ASFAIK.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xtasi View Post

@rich 77

ehhh really?  I felt that it was like x<250 so < was "less than".

 

post #13 of 22

^ For best timbre, I recommend FA-003 - they are probably the most accurate closed headphones I've heard so far. Ultrasones suffer from that metallic coloration in the treble, so they are not as accurate. M-Audio Q40 actually sounds very similar to the PRO750 in character, suffering from that same metallic quality in the treble, but is also less detailed and has a much smaller soundstage. Denon D2000 is really good, but is hard to drive - you will need something more "juicy" than your soundcard or P3 to power it properly. The FA-003 has great bass quality and is pretty easy to drive, so maybe they are your best bet. The bass quantity pn them depends largely on the recording - if there is a lot of bass in the recording itself, FA-003 will reproduce it, if not, it won't add any that's not supposed to be there. Having owned FA-003 for about 3 months now, I never felt like it was lacking low frequencies, but then I am not a basshead. And of course, you can always use an equalizer to add more bass if you want.


Edited by Pianist - 11/7/10 at 7:01pm
post #14 of 22

Considering the power requirements you have I'd look at phones that are easy to drive but do scale up. The FA-003 fit that category and I would put the D2000 there as well. I never considered them hard to drive although they do scale up at least from my short impressions of them. I do agree about the FA-003 however as they are quite good at under $200. They are easy to drive but I would not use a computer sound card for either headphones.

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by xtasi View Post

@armaegis

the q-40 also piqued my interest, but many have said that the clamp was very tight and I have a very big head.  Also, I've heard that the treble rolls off pretty early, but these seem to be pretty good.  As for the HDJ-2000, Im just not sure.  The pads seem to be pretty small and I have also been blessed with large ears.  I'm not too sure if my ears would heat up with those

 

New list:

fischer audio fa-003
denon d2000

AKG k 240

m-audio q40


I have a somewhat wide head and didn't find the Q40s very tight. Even if you do, stretching overnight over a box or a stack of books easily alleviates that. The Q40 also scales up very nicely with a better amp. M-Audio (and AKG) is also pretty easy to find in your local guitar/music centres, so you should try to audition them.

 

The HDJ-2000 does have smaller pads. If you have big ears, then they'll probably pinch your earlobes. The tighter curve on the headband might also be small if you have a large square shaped head. The Q40 has huge pads; plenty of room if you have big ears.

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