Hey guys. I'm looking to get a fairly decent set of headphones on about a $130. But I can probably flex that a bit if I need to. The main usage of this is going to be for gaming as well as watching movies on my PC. Also may use it on my Zune from time to time.
I have been eyeing the Sennheiser HD 555s or 558s, but they are slightly out of my price range it appears so I could settle for the 518s. I've also looked at the Audio Technica ATH-AD700s, which are highly recommended but I fear that they will slide off my head quite easily. Generally, my most primary concern is comfort and durability. The softer or more cushiony the better. I'm mixed on whether or not to get closed ear or open air, I just want to compare the best recommendation for both for my price range and for my uses. I'm probably just getting a Zalman clip on mic so I don't blow money on gaming headsets that don't perform or last worth a damn.
The 558 have gone on sale around $130-140 before. In fact I'm pretty sure they were that low just a couple weeks ago. Be patient and I'm sure prices will drop again. I've also seen used 555's go for under $100.
Open headphones "generally" have a smoother frequency response and a better sense of soundstage. Closed headphones provide isolation (very important if there is any ambient noise or people you don't want to disturb) and tend to have a stronger bass emphasis but wobblier treble.
Thanks for the replies; all very helpful.
I had ranked the HD598 slightly higher than the AD900 as several here mentioned more physical comfort and "ease of listening" of the 598 for extended use, though both seem to have good sound for my classical and jazz interests.
nikp suggested looking for used HD600; I'm concerned that my old Denon DRA-375RD receiver might be lacking, not as good as with a headphone amp (which seems to be needed for the hd600 and especially for the hd650). My receiver should be sufficient for the hd598/558 or ad900. Correct?
PurpleAngel suggested Electronics Expo for the HD558 (item seems unavailable this morning, though the hd598 price with coupon is good). Reviewers here have said the HD598 is preferred over the HD558 for overall sound and somewhat for comfort. While I don't like paying for the fancy wood inserts on the 598 and realize they share basic components, seems to me that a $30 to $50 price difference is worth it for the sound and comfort advantages.
Further comments appreciated.
I personally find the Audio Technicas more comfortable than the Senns, but the Senns do hold much more securely on my head. The Senns also tend to go on sale more frequently.
Your receiver should be more than enough for even the HD6xx series. They're find for anything short of orthos really.
I don't consider there to be huge sound differences between the Senn HD5xx line (or even into the 6xx line for that matter; Sennheiser has a pretty good house sound across all their headphones). That said, when they are on sale the prices differences are small enough that you may as well go for the higher model.
Edit:sorry for the repost, but i only got one response on my first post. Hello. I currently have ath m50s and hd 558 and im unsatisfied with them. I think maybe im just itching for a really good pair of headphones. Thehd 558 and ath m50s just dont have the top of the line claroty that i want. So... Now that thats said an done, i moved my budget to under $300. They must be open, have good bass (i listen to rap, but i dont like bloated bass... Just good balanced bass). They also have to be easy to drive as i will be using the headphones with my sansa fuze. Only exception is if there is a good headphone and amp combo for less than $300. Btw im wantingthese headphones/ headphones and amp combo to be lots better than my ath m50s and hd 558. Thank you so so much for your help and time. God bless.
We could give you a better answer if you tell us what it is exactly that you like or dislike about the M50 and 598. Can you be more specific in terms of "clarity"... do the vocals feel muffled? do you want the cymbals to ring more/less? do you want more/less bass punch or rumble?
Since returning to Head-Fi just a couple weeks ago I'm amazed to see how many new headphones and companies there are from just 5 years ago. It's great to see the headphone market grow so big but that also just adds to the frustration of trying to pick up another set, too many choices which is a good/bad thing.
Wanted to get some recommendations for headphones with a ~$250 budget.
I thought about reacquiring some AKG K701's but there is this whole new market of things to try out that I don't know where to start.
I'm not a fan of the Sennheiser signature.
I LOVE the Grado sound. I loved the K701's.
I haven't really tried anything from Beyerdynamic or AudioTechnica and want to find something in that line that I can get comfortable with.
I will be using it with a Fiio E10 but plan to add something beefier down the line, don't get me started on the amount of new amp designs there are now.
I listen to everything so want a good all-arounder but seeing as I have Grados for rock/electronic what is something that will pair well for female vocals, jazz, classical? I'd like to try something that really shines in the midrange.
Thanks for any help.
I find that the Grados from 60 to 225 are all kind of the same. The 325 rings a bit more in the treble. The HF-2 has a bit more body to the midbass. If I were to go with Grados again I'd probably get a 60 and experiment (again) with more modding.
If trying out Beyers for the first time, the DT880 is a good starting point. Balanced sound with decent staging. The 770 is bassy and has superb isolation. The 990 is more V shaped with engaging energy but is too harsh to my ears (though if you love the grado sound this might be ok for you). Beyers however like to have extra amp power behind them.
The default starters for Audio Technica are the AD700 and the M50. Worlds apart in terms of sound; the AD700 is spacious in the middle and is fantastic for vocals, but rolls off at the top and bottom, and has a huge soundstage. Moving up the line there provides better extension across the lows and highs and improves the mids moreso. The M50 has decent lows and highs, but a slightly recessed midrange and stage.
Is there a benefit to high impedance headphones with an amp over easy to drive headphones without (or with something like the E7?). A good amp is obviously an added cost, and I'm wondering what the overall benefit is vs. just being able to use a specific set of headphones that one particularly wants. Do high impedance headphones exist so people can get the most out of high quality amps, or do some cans just need to be high impedance because of their style?
High impedance in theory means greater control over the diaphragm as there are more turns in the voice coil, etc. and you also get a larger damping factor (the ratio of load impedance over output impedance) which is another factor of diaphragm control. They also require larger voltge swing but draw less current, which in general from an electrical standpoint is easier for an amp (even a built in one in an ipod) to drive. On the flipside, many portable devices may not be able to provide the voltage swing necessary to achieve satisfactory listening volumes. A lot of the high impedance numbers are also holdovers from the olden days that had to deal with electrical transmission and other problems that are no longer a factor today. In audiophilia, bigger is also perceived as better, so people will pay price premiums for bigger numbers.
For most consumers, there is not going to be any significant difference unless you sit there and vigorously compare back and forth and have some measuring equipment with you.
Aside from impedance, sensitivity is also an oft overlooked factor and in many cases is actually more important than impedance.
One case where high impedance headphones are preferable is when you have a tube amplifier that does not have a transformer coupled output. These amps have a high output impedance, so you want a load with an even higher impedance in order to provide adequate damping over the headphone driver.
Currently using the Panasonic RP-HTX7's (in avatar) and looking for an upgrade
I listen to 'math' and 'post' rock (complex melody but quite heavy rock) as well as some electronic/psych type stuff (Caribou, four tet, flying lotus) so a nice bass is good but nothing bass 'boosted', i was looking at the HD598's as i love the look of them but i dont know if theyre suited to my type of music?
The HD598 is the top end of my budget (£150/160) Wich is what like 250USD?
Also considered getting the FiiO E7 not sure if its worth while just now? on sale for £50 on amazon atm
The HD598 are good, or possibly a Grado (or an Alessandro since you're not in the US).