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First pair of headphones, looking for multi-purpose < £180

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have never bought a good pair of headphones before, but I am increasingly beginning to appreciate good headphones and finding bad speakers/headphones intolerable. The more I've been researching the more complex the world of headphones seems to be, so I'm hoping some of you guys can help me pick the best option available. I am quite into techy things, computers and programming, but at the moment I don't really know what I'm looking for, do I need an amp? what is it with these closed and open cases things? etc...
If you can explain what it all means and the pros and cons of the various methods (I don't mind a bit of tech speak) that would be great.

 

I have £180 (GBP) which I hope is enough to get something good that meets my criteria. Being a student this seems like quite a lot to me but I understand that it will be money well spent for good sound quality, I won't be buying another pair of headphones for quite a while after I get these so I intend to get pretty good ones first time.

 

I am a drummer and I will be using these headphones for drumming. Firstly I have an electronic kit (Yamaha DTXPRESS III) that I use my headphones for. Admittedly it doesn't sound nearly as good as a real kit, but I do put other music into it to play along to. I also play in a band setting where the (acoustic) kit is all mic-ed up and behind a screen. The monitoring for the drums is headphone based, and they have a small 6 channel mixing desk to control the fold back from the FOH and the ambiance mic (and occasionally a metronome/click track). I would be looking for headphones that can produce good sounds from both my kit and all the other musicians/backing track, in the band setting I would like to be able to hear each individual clearly as the sound is mono and the levels of each musician isn't always perfect. They should not be tiring to listen to and comfortable as I may be wearing them for a few hours at a time.

As I said above I won't be buying another pair of headphones for a while and I have hit my (rubbish) headphones I've got now a few times with my sticks while drumming so they need to be well-built and not fall apart with the slightest of taps (I will obviously be careful with them and I do rate sound quality above ruggedness)

 

As for listening to music I mostly listen to rock and a variety of it's sub genre's. However I'm not sure if I'm looking for a stereotypical rock pair of headphones and I may use them for other types of music as well. Lots of bad speakers/headphones I've heard have really rubbish bass, so I think I would like one with good bass but since reading some of the posts on this forum it seems like some have too much bass for some people, so I'm also not so sure. As long as it doesn't interfere with the high frequencies it should be fine (I don't see why I shouldn't be able to hear high frequencies when all you are doing is adding a bit of bass?) This is a bit vague but I intend to use them for listening to music for enjoyment as well as my other uses.

 

I do have an interest in audio production/processing/mixing and would be using the headphones for that, so accurate representations of sound to an armature studio level would be nice.

 

I play some games on my computer, but mostly "fun" rather than serious, a I can't see myself becoming a "professional" FPS player who needs the fancy headphones.

 

The sound card I have in my computer is the one provided with the Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus motherboard, I'm not sure exactly what it is or it's specs, but it's probably not amazing. I use it for most of my music and to play stuff through my electric drum kit.

 

I hope I have provided you with enough information to suggest which options are best for me (specific headphones and more general things like if/why I should use an amp (should I?) and advantages and disadvantages between different types of headphone). Also if any of you know of any UK based exhibits or shows where I can try out some headphones that would be great because then I can be sure what they are like.

Thanks in advance! :)


Edited by somerandomguy - 1/24/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

anyone?

post #3 of 8

well i cannot comment too much on this since i am new as well, I currently have the AKG's 272 HD (GBP140.-), bought them from Westend DJ's in London, which is the only place that I know if that has somewhat decent headphones in london. I also tried the DT770 Pro (GBP160.-), but to my taste there was a constant layer that was "shadowing" the mids and the highs (might well be because there weren't burned in), but for my personal taste the 272 provided a much more distinct listening experience, ie particularly with regards to differentiating different instruments. They are not for bass heads, but that said they provide decent bass in terms of quality (not in terms of impact) and u can EQ them to get a bit more bass impact out of it.

 

In short difference between open and close, is one sound leakage (with the open everyone next to you can hear what you listening to and you can hear everything that is happening around you, so in principle you wouldn't use the open ones anywhere where you would use speakers) and two is soundstage (which is much wider with the open ones)

 

In terms of shows there is the following that I've found is the gadgetshow In April: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/

post #4 of 8

Oh my, you do want a lot from one headphone, don't you? wink_face.gif

 

if you want something that is reliable, (fairly) neutral, fast and detailed and moreover sturdy (you didn't mention it, but I imagine you'd need a headphone that can take a knock or two if you use it while drumming), I suggest the beyerdynamic dt150 (it is rather unfashionable though). If you want the neutral champ (also indestructible, because made of steel! and yes, also unfashionable), you'd want the beyerdynamic dt48. Be advised, however, to consult the extensive dt48 thread here (the beyerdynamic dt 48 arrives...), before you decide on the latter. It's a monitoring phone and not everybody likes it. those who do would willingly give up their lives for it...  those who don't would willing take one...

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fejglobal View Post

well i cannot comment too much on this since i am new as well, I currently have the AKG's 272 HD (GBP140.-), bought them from Westend DJ's in London, which is the only place that I know if that has somewhat decent headphones in london. I also tried the DT770 Pro (GBP160.-), but to my taste there was a constant layer that was "shadowing" the mids and the highs (might well be because there weren't burned in), but for my personal taste the 272 provided a much more distinct listening experience, ie particularly with regards to differentiating different instruments. They are not for bass heads, but that said they provide decent bass in terms of quality (not in terms of impact) and u can EQ them to get a bit more bass impact out of it.

 

In short difference between open and close, is one sound leakage (with the open everyone next to you can hear what you listening to and you can hear everything that is happening around you, so in principle you wouldn't use the open ones anywhere where you would use speakers) and two is soundstage (which is much wider with the open ones)

 

In terms of shows there is the following that I've found is the gadgetshow In April: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/

 

Thanks for your replys.

I have tried some AKG's, which are the headphones that are currently used for the drummer with my band, probably not the same model. I will see if I can borrow them to test them out for just general listening.

One annoying thing about them is that the head strap is really thick so if you put it around your neck it's like a neck brace!

I would rather get a pair of headphones that have a normal sounding bass and then EQ them a bit rather than get ones that have too much bass and have to try and EQ the bass down, but I do like the sound of my subwoofer and I have only ever turned it up when listening to music, so I probably do want headphones that have a slightly heavier bass.

Does being open or closed affect the bass? I think I can remember reading that somewhere.

I do watch the gadgetshow fairly regularly, however I usually take their reviews (especially concerning computers) with a large pinch of salt. I would not be surprised the gadget that comes out top is the one from the company who payed the most. I'm assuming that they don't compare products at the gadgetshowlive in the same way though. (Also notice how they say "the UK's biggest consumer electronics event."



Quote:
Originally Posted by REB View Post

Oh my, you do want a lot from one headphone, don't you? wink_face.gif

 

if you want something that is reliable, (fairly) neutral, fast and detailed and moreover sturdy (you didn't mention it, but I imagine you'd need a headphone that can take a knock or two if you use it while drumming), I suggest the beyerdynamic dt150 (it is rather unfashionable though). If you want the neutral champ (also indestructible, because made of steel! and yes, also unfashionable), you'd want the beyerdynamic dt48. Be advised, however, to consult the extensive dt48 thread here (the beyerdynamic dt 48 arrives...), before you decide on the latter. It's a monitoring phone and not everybody likes it. those who do would willingly give up their lives for it...  those who don't would willing take one...


 

I did mention that it will take a knock or two tongue_smile.gif...

...I won't be buying another pair of headphones for a while and I have hit my (rubbish) headphones I've got now a few times with my sticks while drumming so they need to be well-built and not fall apart with the slightest of taps...

However I probably won't be needing headphones that are that strong, and the dt48 seems like it will be over budget.

I may have over stated my use for monitoring in a band and possible studio work and I think I would probably like some headphones that are designed a bit more for just listening to music, and probably not completely neutral. I will sacrifice some accuracy for more enjoyment of my music.

In the thread about the deyerdynamic dt 48 some use of amp's were mentioned, do you think I would need some? If I did they would have to fit in the same budget, so I'm assuming it's probably better to get headphones that don't need them?

post #6 of 8

I think you should go with the dt150 then. There are a number of threads here about them. You can use them as monitoring headphones, but they are foremost headphones to enjoy music with. Plus they will survive a nuclear blast...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by somerandomguy View Post

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fejglobal View Post

well i cannot comment too much on this since i am new as well, I currently have the AKG's 272 HD (GBP140.-), bought them from Westend DJ's in London, which is the only place that I know if that has somewhat decent headphones in london. I also tried the DT770 Pro (GBP160.-), but to my taste there was a constant layer that was "shadowing" the mids and the highs (might well be because there weren't burned in), but for my personal taste the 272 provided a much more distinct listening experience, ie particularly with regards to differentiating different instruments. They are not for bass heads, but that said they provide decent bass in terms of quality (not in terms of impact) and u can EQ them to get a bit more bass impact out of it.

 

In short difference between open and close, is one sound leakage (with the open everyone next to you can hear what you listening to and you can hear everything that is happening around you, so in principle you wouldn't use the open ones anywhere where you would use speakers) and two is soundstage (which is much wider with the open ones)

 

In terms of shows there is the following that I've found is the gadgetshow In April: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/

 

Thanks for your replys.

I have tried some AKG's, which are the headphones that are currently used for the drummer with my band, probably not the same model. I will see if I can borrow them to test them out for just general listening.

One annoying thing about them is that the head strap is really thick so if you put it around your neck it's like a neck brace!

I would rather get a pair of headphones that have a normal sounding bass and then EQ them a bit rather than get ones that have too much bass and have to try and EQ the bass down, but I do like the sound of my subwoofer and I have only ever turned it up when listening to music, so I probably do want headphones that have a slightly heavier bass.

Does being open or closed affect the bass? I think I can remember reading that somewhere.

I do watch the gadgetshow fairly regularly, however I usually take their reviews (especially concerning computers) with a large pinch of salt. I would not be surprised the gadget that comes out top is the one from the company who payed the most. I'm assuming that they don't compare products at the gadgetshowlive in the same way though. (Also notice how they say "the UK's biggest consumer electronics event."



Quote:
Originally Posted by REB View Post

Oh my, you do want a lot from one headphone, don't you? wink_face.gif

 

if you want something that is reliable, (fairly) neutral, fast and detailed and moreover sturdy (you didn't mention it, but I imagine you'd need a headphone that can take a knock or two if you use it while drumming), I suggest the beyerdynamic dt150 (it is rather unfashionable though). If you want the neutral champ (also indestructible, because made of steel! and yes, also unfashionable), you'd want the beyerdynamic dt48. Be advised, however, to consult the extensive dt48 thread here (the beyerdynamic dt 48 arrives...), before you decide on the latter. It's a monitoring phone and not everybody likes it. those who do would willingly give up their lives for it...  those who don't would willing take one...


 

I did mention that it will take a knock or two tongue_smile.gif...

...I won't be buying another pair of headphones for a while and I have hit my (rubbish) headphones I've got now a few times with my sticks while drumming so they need to be well-built and not fall apart with the slightest of taps...

However I probably won't be needing headphones that are that strong, and the dt48 seems like it will be over budget.

I may have over stated my use for monitoring in a band and possible studio work and I think I would probably like some headphones that are designed a bit more for just listening to music, and probably not completely neutral. I will sacrifice some accuracy for more enjoyment of my music.

In the thread about the deyerdynamic dt 48 some use of amp's were mentioned, do you think I would need some? If I did they would have to fit in the same budget, so I'm assuming it's probably better to get headphones that don't need them?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by REB View Post

 

Does being open or closed affect the bass? I think I can remember reading that somewhere.

I do watch the gadgetshow fairly regularly, however I usually take their reviews (especially concerning computers) with a large pinch of salt. I would not be surprised the gadget that comes out top is the one from the company who payed the most. I'm assuming that they don't compare products at the gadgetshowlive in the same way though. (Also notice how they say "the UK's biggest consumer electronics event."



 


not sure I got you right, it's a TV show as well as an consumer electronics exhibiton, I just stumbled on them on youtube as I was looking for some info on the E8, I agree the quality of the reviews/ content seems to be rather questionable, but it seem that at the exhibition last year there was the full range of Ultrasone headphones, so would presume that other brands are present as well, but to be honest haven't looked much into detail (yet)

 

as for open vs closed for bass, again I am far from beeing able to judge it, but from what I've read the closed ones seem to be the better choice for punchy/ impactful bass
 

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fejglobal View Post

not sure I got you right, it's a TV show as well as an consumer electronics exhibiton, I just stumbled on them on youtube as I was looking for some info on the E8, I agree the quality of the reviews/ content seems to be rather questionable, but it seem that at the exhibition last year there was the full range of Ultrasone headphones, so would presume that other brands are present as well, but to be honest haven't looked much into detail (yet)

 

as for open vs closed for bass, again I am far from beeing able to judge it, but from what I've read the closed ones seem to be the better choice for punchy/ impactful bass
 

 

Yeah, I watch the TV show, and I don't think their reviews are that good, especially since they advocate skullcandy, as for the live exhibition I don't really know. I am interested in all things techy, so I would make the most of it if I did go, however they are now only selling afternoon tickets and I'm not exactly sure what this means, if it means missing the live show I probably wouldn't mind so much.

 

All the headphones that have been suggested so far are closed, is there any reason for this? The only time when sound leakage would be of concern is in the evening when I am home with my family. However I would probably like to use them then and the sound stage probably isn't the most important factor for them.

 

As for the bass I think it would be better to remove any hesitations about them being too bassy as I am always turning the low up on the EQ section of the mini-mixer that the AKG's are plugged into at the band I play with. So while I don't want the most bassy headphones, or at least I don't want to hear bass in tracks that don't have any, I probably do want ones on the heavier side, and probably closed ones as well.

Speaking of which I often turn the highs down, especially if the singers are singing really high notes, otherwise it hurts my ears a bit. Maybe that's just because the AKG's they have are a lower-end model, maybe it's because my ears are still relatively intact, maybe they just don't suit the headphones, but I wouldn't be surprised if my ears are less sensitive to bass and more sensitive to treble than most peoples.
 

Has anyone used the website http://www.headphonereviews.org and are the reviews on it any good? How complete is the list? would it be worth looking up headphones on there and then searching these forums for relevant threads?

 

Also no-one mentioned anything about amp's, is there any reason why I would/should need one? In the thread about the Beyerdynamic DT48 it the author mentioned how their sound card "can not power the DT48 properly at all". I would hate to spend all my money on a nice pair of headphones to find I can't listen to anything on them. I don't tend to listen to very loud music, certainly much beneath anything that would cause my ears to ring.

 

 

Oh and the aesthetics of the DT150's are probably taking it a bit too far. And from what I've read, while they are extremely accurate, they are a bit flat. I think general enjoyment of music is probably a bit more important that studio preciseness or accurassy for monitors than I first implied.


Edited by somerandomguy - 1/26/11 at 4:00pm
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