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* Best Open Headphones for Under $500 *

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

 

 

blink.gif  Ultimate Threads Presents  wink_face.gif

 

~  Best Open Headphones  ~

 

for 

 

Under $500

 

 

Here's our chance to compare/contrast and create an amazing and authoritative thread on this crucial category of sub-$500 open cans.  I know I'm interested!  I've been having the time of my life the past year trying different open cans with various amps, and I'm psyched to compare and hear what y'all have to say as well.  

 

I created some rules that I think help the thread be especially great.  Thanks!

 

 

The Rules:

 

  1. List the full name of the headphone and the average street price.
  2. List the source and amp you're using / testing it on.
  3. Describe what you really love about these cans.
  4. List some cons about the cans.
  5. When comparing to other cans, be sure to compare pros/cons of each can.
  6. Feel free to note types of music they might / might not work well with.
  7. Try not to get into headphone wars with other posters - that's what PMs are for!
  8. Be creative and have fun!

 

Have an awesome time with the thread and I'll be jumping in myself from time to time with my reviews.  :D  I can't wait to see what people have to say, as this is my genre and price point.

 

Not that I don't want a T1 for my birthday... 'cause I do!

post #2 of 31

Id be interested in following this one... I have the Denon d2000 and they are my best.. 

post #3 of 31

Just marking my place here as I will be reviewing a few open-air options very soon.

post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 

I started with a D2000, modified by Mark Lawton, and had my perfect headphone.  But I needed something with less bass due to ear damage.  Hence, my venture into open-air.

post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kouzelna View Post

 

 

 

blink.gif  Ultimate Threads Presents  wink_face.gif

 

~  Best Open Headphones  ~

 

for 

 

Under $500

 

 

Here's our chance to compare/contrast and create an amazing and authoritative thread on this crucial category of sub-$500 open cans.  I know I'm interested!  I've been having the time of my life the past year trying different open cans with various amps, and I'm psyched to compare and hear what y'all have to say as well.  

 

I created some rules that I think help the thread be especially great.  Thanks!

 

 

The Rules:

 

  1. List the full name of the headphone and the average street price.
  2. List the source and amp you're using / testing it on.
  3. Describe what you really love about these cans.
  4. List some cons about the cans.
  5. When comparing to other cans, be sure to compare pros/cons of each can.
  6. Feel free to note types of music they might / might not work well with.
  7. Try not to get into headphone wars with other posters - that's what PMs are for!
  8. Be creative and have fun!

 

Have an awesome time with the thread and I'll be jumping in myself from time to time with my reviews.  :D  I can't wait to see what people have to say, as this is my genre and price point.

 

Not that I don't want a T1 for my birthday... 'cause I do!



Ok I don't know if they Count... they are semi open... but heck i can't hear the difference they leak noise in and out so yeah :P

 

1: Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm Street price is around us$300 i'm sure there is cheaper but thats what i saw from reputable websites.

 

2: Well my main source is a iPod classic docked connected to a go vibe peak amp. I intend to get a good DAC soon, but i think these cans deserve more than i can afford right now. Generally all music is in Lossless format, with a few exceptions.

 

3: For me these cans are simply perfect. I needed new cans as, after an operation, my ES7's were too uncomfortable to wear. but nothing in the same price range sounded any better to me. Then i tried these at the shop and even un amped they were astonishing. I love the detail and the crispness and how the headphones let the music set the mood. if the music is lively so are the headphones, if the music is melodramatic so are the headphones. the clarity of the music is simply amazing i hear everything. They work with every type of music except...

 

4: The only Con i have really is the bass doesn't boom enough if i decide on some techno, trance, dance or dubstep music. but since i rarely, if ever, listen to it it's a minor flaw. The bass is there and very well defined, but not boomy when the song calls for it.

 

5: I compared it to many phones in the store:

DT770's : honestly nothing about the 770's was better IMO and the bass was so overpowering sometimes.

Denon D2000: fantastic sound a bit too bass heavy for me, but i was going to buy these due to a lower price but the shop had no stock. so they showed me the DT880's instead!

AKG 701: Fantastic detail in the songs but i was getting fatigued after just 15 minutes, couldn't explain why they were just a tiring listen to me.

Sony MDR - XB700: much cheaper but my goodness the bass destroyed the music i couldn't tell if there were any highs or mids all i could hear was deep deep bass.

 

That was about all i got through on the day. The DT880s once i heard them were so astonishing i simply could not leave without them.

 

6: they excel with Classical and acoustic music. They are wonderful with rock and metal and indie and ambient and just about everything else. The only music fans who may not like them are the boomy bass fans of Trance Techno and dance. Hip hop also but i never listen to it and so can't be sure.

 

So yeah DT880's are wonderful but as i said only Semi open :( the only headphones i've heard that beat them are the T1's i really don't want a mortgage for a new pair of headphones :)

 

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

Wow, icemanmusic, what a great contribution, thanks!

 

As I was reading, I was thinking, "I should ask him to compare these to the K701 and D2000; I'd love to see what he'd think of the detail of the K701, and as for bass I think he'd like the D2000 better."  Lo and behold!  You have compared them - both.  How cool is that.  Wonderment then fulfillment in the same post, for me.  biggrin.gif

 

I just got my pair of DT880 - 600 ohm yesterday, and am putting them through their first long listen tonight.  (Fell asleep last night, too soon - oops).  Having fun, but am having a hard time getting used to them after having the K701 for so long, and putting it through so many countless hours of great listening.  They really are remarkably different headphones.  Like, opposite of each other.  Everything the K701 is, the DT880 isn't, and vice-versa.  I may give up and trade them for a K702 (any takers?).  But we'll see.  Some of the diffs are really nice, like the closer mids.  Others are not, like the muddier detail (for me, anyway, in comparison).  It's almost "veiled" like the infamous "problem" of the HD650/600.  But I'm getting used to it more, so we'll see.  The DT880 really excels in all the ways the K701 fell short.  And yeah, semi-open or not, they sure are open to sound, so their "open" to me!

 

I basically get the gist that the T1 is a perfect mating of the K701 and DT880.  In other words, my dream headphone to the max.  But the price is way out of my league.  Even if I had the money, I'd feel dubious about spending so much on what is basically an indoor hobby that I do alone.  It's a lot of dough.  (That said, if I had the cash, I'd probably do my whining while listening to my new T1s!)  Please, by all means let me know what you think if you end up getting them, or getting a listen.

 

The K701 is fatiguing, but only at first.  After long hours of burn-in, they drop the plasticky sound and shrill highs, and get really, really nice.  I hope that my DT880 will improve and drop the muddy sound after burn in.  While I'm at my folks' next week, for a week, I think I'll just leave 'em running.

 

And I listen to vocal trance (techno) exclusively with cans.  The DT880 sounds great for me!  The problem with trance IS, in my opinion, the booming bass.  It's nice when a headphone lessens it up, to allow all the magical, complex, intelligently placed detail and sweet vocals to shine through.  I love this genre on the K701 and ER-4S.  I'm hoping to enjoy it just as much on my new DT880 - 600 too.

 

I feel for you about the operation, I had ear injury as I mentioned above, which made my ears very sensitive, so I had to switch to open cans, and I seek out ones that are specifically lighter on bass.  I consider the bass on the DT880 actually pretty good, and about as strong as I would like.

 

 

post #7 of 31
I agree with the bass being enough. It is perfect for me and my sensitive ears! But i know compared to my es7 it is less booming. My gf prefers the es7s due to the bass but admits the 880 is a better overall sound ( i'd hope so given a nearly 200 price diference!)

Hmmn i was very tempted by the k701 but every cymbal clash made me blink and since much of my favourite music combines great cymbal work i was scared i'd regret the purchase. But i coulnd't try a burned in pair as they had only just got new stock maybe i'll try in a few months but i can't see myself replacing these 880s anytime soon, they are perfect for my tastes. Especially guitar solos...wow!

Yes the T1 was a phenomenal sound. But it needs a phenomenal amp to drive it to its best easily a 2.5-3k purchase. Nothing i currently own could do them justice.

enjoy the 880s, i am!
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

How do you feel the T1 compared to the DT880?  (Or K701?)

 

The shrillness of the K701 totally disappears after 100 hours.  I was freaked out too, but after the burn-in time, wow, what a difference!  One thing I really miss on the DT880, so far, is the clarity and beauty of the K701's treble.

post #9 of 31
When they let me audition it it was amped by a top end rudistor amp. It's difficult to describe but everything was just so crystal clear even when the music got really agressive and the 880s start to get a bit (only a bit) muddled the t1s just effortlessly let every instrument be heard. Better detail than the 701 imo without the shrill highs i experienced. Important to note this was t1 right out of the box... God only knows how good they will sound after a burn in.

I almost needed to ask for a towel to wipe the drool from my mouth.
post #10 of 31
Since these haven't been mentioned, I'll add my Grado SR225i's to the mix. You can find these for $200...usually no discounts. I got these some time back as my first pair of full size cans. Coming from IEMs (Triple Fi 10), this was a whole new world to me and I can say that I absolutely love the sound.

My rig consists of a Zune 120GB through a Fiio E5. Most of the music is 320kbps.

The first time I heard these cans, I wasn't very sure because i couldn't hear the highs that Grado's are famous for. However, after around 2 hours of burning them in, the started being more noticeable. Now at around 50 hours of listening, they sound pretty awesome and I'm sure they'll only get better from here on. These are the most musical headphones I've ever listened to and they make anything I throw at them sound fun. People say that these are rock cans but I've even tried classical and these sound absolutely fine.

Grado's are like templates...they can be modified so much that its not even funny!! I started by replacing the bowls with flats which I prefer. I'm also thinking about getting wood cups for these which brings me to my biggest gripe...they don't look so good. I've also heard people say that they clamp on the head but its easily solved by stretching out the headband a little. Another con is I can't use these in the office since they leak sound like they're speakers and people sitting in the next cubicle can hear what I'm listening to quite clearly.

Overall I'm absolutely in love with these and would whole heartedly recommend these to anyone looking for a nice pair of open headphones.

BTW...this is my first post on head-fi.
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 

Geez, I'm drooling just reading your review, Icemanmusic.  Anyone here want to lend me $1300 to pick up a pair?  Anyone?  Anyone?

 

mihirwadia: welcome to Head-Fi!  dt880smile.png

 

Yeah, modding your cans is a lot of fun.  I was stunned how different/better my D2000 sounded after Mark Lawton fiddled with it.  And I never would have thought of a few hours of burn-in, but last night I started out hating my brand new DT880/600, and then by the end of the night, well, they sounded really awesome!  

 

Now, 2 hours is the kind of burn-in time I wish all headphones needed!  That's more like it.

post #12 of 31

erm.. the d2000's are closed phones?

 

nice thread though, I'm going for the HD650's with my Xcan v3. The 650's are still (I've had mine 7 years now) the best hp I have ever heard and they are well under $500!

 

Big soundstage, none fatiguing, natural sounding, comfortable. A true audiophile Headphone. 

post #13 of 31

 

1: Audio Technica Ad900: $230 US.

2: iPod Classic 7g 160gb -> FiiO L3 LOD -> FiiO E7 Amp. All the files are of the highest quality VBR using the most recent LAME encoder.

3: I love the open sound from these, the "airy" feeling, that I haven't found in any other headphones, while still being rather engaging.

4: My only gripe with them is the lack of sub-bass, which makes some electronic albums feel like I'm severely missing out.

5: The only other open cans I've used extensively are the HD558 and the Ad700. In comparison to the HD558, I felt that they were far more clear and presented a more balanced sound. The HD558 felt too artificial at times. In comparison to the Ad700, well there really is none, the Ad900 completely blow these out of the water.

6: These work absolutely wonderful with "clean" sounding music, acoustic stuff, anything with emphasis on the mids, and anything with detail. These do not particularly work well with any bass heavy music.

post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 

I used the AD950 Ltd, which was awesome in so many ways.  A stunning headphone!  But the upper-end AT cans just sound so, I don't know... clinical to my ears.  Bummer.  I wish they had the warmth of their fabulous M50.  My dream headphone is an M50 mated with a K701.  Wow, what a match up!

 

The D2000 isn't a closed can once you punch a bunch of holes in the cups with an ice pick.  atsmile.gif

post #15 of 31
Get a Sennheiser HD-600 or HD-650. They're pretty similar, but the HD-600 is more neutral while the HD-650 is smoother and a little darker.

The strength of these is that they're tonally accurate and even-handed. The other headphones mentioned here are not.

One drawback is that these benefit from quality amplification. The better the amp, the better they will sound. Better amps do not necessarily mean a higher price, either. Something like a M^3 is excellent, while some that cost more aren't that good.
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