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Which headphone should I take for Metal Music?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

I'm seeking a new pair of headphones. My old ones were not that good and gone away.


I mainly listen to Metal Music like Death, Thrash, Power, Heavy, Doom, Black, Progressive, Symphonic Metal but Hardrock and Pop Music too.


I need a headphone that is


- fast

- (very) detailed

- not too bright

- no sharp highs

- not all too weak bass



Following some possible headphones I choosed:



- AKG K701

- Audio-Technica ATH-A1000X / ATH-A2000X / ATH-AD2000 / ATH-W1000  / ATH-W1000X / ATH-W2002 / ATH-A1000

- Beyerdynamic T1 / DT990 / DT880

- Denon AH-D2000 / AH-D5000 / AH-D7000

- Grado SR225i / SR325is / RS2i / RS1i

- Sennheiser HD600 / HD650 / HD800

- Ultrasone Pro 900 / Pro 2900



I would be glad if you could post your opinion to the headphones above.



I'm open for alternative headphones.

Edited by Slaxl - 4/25/11 at 8:22am
post #2 of 24

the grado headphone line has a good reputation when it comes to metal so you should consider them.


the only grado that i have is the SR225 and it's serving me well, but people find it's SQ a little too smooth for metal. 

since you have the RS1i in your choices, you should give them a try.

Edited by aL69 - 4/25/11 at 8:43am
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Other suggestions? 


What's about the Ultrasones?

post #4 of 24

I currently own a pair of HD600s and I listen primarily to Folk/Black metal and I must say that the HD600s do a Very good job. But I have heard that Grados also do well with Metal.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

I think I will go with a Beyerdynamic, Denon or Ultrasone. 


Does anybody have an explicit recommendation?

post #6 of 24
^ why those 3 brands?

When I think of metal, the first headphone that comes to my mind is the Grado 325. Never heard them myself, but that's the consensus.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

What's about the Grado RS1 or RS2 compared to the SR325 or SR225?

Edited by Slaxl - 4/25/11 at 4:08pm
post #8 of 24

People on head-fi are really crazy with this idea of certain headphones for certain genres.  Here you have someone explicitly saying they do not want sharp treble or a bright sound, and people just throw out the usual "rock headphones" Grado, Ultrasound, Denon, etc. blink.gif


If you don't want sharp treble or a bright sound, the last headphone you should get is a grado or Ultrasone, it doesn't matter what music you listen to.  Beyond that, it gets a bit more subjective as to what you consider to be bright.  The DT880 and DT990 are fairly universally considered to be pretty bright headphones.  I find the Denons and woody ATH phones to be bright as well, but some people don't.


It would help if you would offer some kind of reference for what is too bright for you.  But here's a generalized list, safest bets on top and riskier going down due to brightness


least bright: HD600 or HD650, LCD-2 (LCD-2 are fast and warm)


brighter- you may or may not like them:  T1, ATH woodies, Denons,


even brighter: DT880, DT990, K701, HD800 (both k701 and HD800 both have fairly weak bass as well)


brightest: Grados, Ultrasone

Edited by rhythmdevils - 4/25/11 at 5:08pm
post #9 of 24

Whatever you do, forget about the K701. They are beautiful headphones, but will make the Metal listening experience disappointing.

post #10 of 24

Another vote for the T1's. They are very neutral IMO. 

post #11 of 24

I think there's a lot we still need to know:

  • What's your budget? You've listed headphones differing up to $1000 in price.
  • Do you have a headphone amp? Several of the headphones you've listed will only sound their best with decent power.
  • How will you be using these headphones (i.e. on the go, at home, et cetera)

Edited by 12345142 - 4/25/11 at 6:11pm
post #12 of 24

Budget up to 1.000 $. 

Using them at home.


So many bright headphones !? Are Denon really that bright?? What's about the "normal" Audio-Technicas ?

post #13 of 24

Hey there. I was postponing my registration a bit since I've only purchased my first head-fi gear two days ago, but stumbled upon this thread. Somehow. So early registration it is. 


I think I can contribute my two cents right here.


I had an opportunity to trial few models when choosing headphones. Did three 3-4 hour dedicated listening sessions in the shop before making the choice. God it was exhausting. My impressions for the models I've tried, concerning your choice of music and your questions:


Grado SR125 (dont remember if it was the "i" version) - sounded good for their price, nothing too special for my ears. Cant point out anything in particular since they're damn uncomfortable. For my ears, at least.


Sennheisser HD595 - only had a chance to listen to them without DAC and AMP - straight from the computer and if you're not planning on purchasing a DAC and an AMP, these are not for you, imho. Bass was lacking, the highs were quite accented. But I am SURE that they would have sounded a lot better when fed from a better source - I did not have a chance to try them with proper equipment. Not sure if this was really helpful..


Denon ah-d1100 - very bass-heavy, the punchiest thing I've ever experienced. I DID enjoy them a lot for the hard-punching bass they were punching into my ears. Would probably get tiring after a while. I am actually considering to get a pair of those as a FUN headphone. Some distant time in the future, when I address some more important things, though. ALSO - sounded fairly well without going through DAC and AMP too - the punchy bass was there, highs were O.K. too. 


Denon ah-d2000 - very nice piece of cans, but if you're picky about the bass, I found them to deliver the bass a bit slow - for some songs that I know pretty well, I was even getting a feeling that the bass got separated and late by a tiny fraction of a second. Dont know how to explain it in other words right now. You must hear to really understand.


Sennheisser HD600 and HD650 - quite similar in their signature, although the HD650 was noticeably better. Will not expand on what "better" means exactly right here but the difference was definitely there. As about the sound signature itself - I think you might actually like it. The bass was NOT heavy and not really exceptional but bright highs are definitely not the strongest side of those cans, which results in a sound which is kind of a "shielded" from the highs a bit. I am in no way saying that they have completely messed up that part though - both of those cans sound great. If you're on a budget, I'd suggest opting for the 600's and invest more in DAC -> cables -> AMP. Or maybe starve for a couple of days and get the 650.. that's what I'd do, at least.


I also had the HD598 on for a while but only for a very short period of time, during my first session. Other two sessions were done in other location where this model was not available. Funny enough, the 600 and 650 was not available during the first session too :) All I will say is that I do remember that highs didn't felt so much left out as on 600 and 650, but cant really be sure on this. I liked the way they sounded, but the Denon ah-d2000 provided a little bit more detail, if I remember right.


Denon ah-d5000 - not a huuu-u-uuuge difference in sound signature from the d2000, but the slow bass problem was gone. Or at least it's fixed to the extent where it doesn't bother me, compared to the d2000's. Other than that, it does have a bit brighter highs - not to the extent where it's annoying, but it's certainly a bit against-my-preference. But again, putting d2000's back on after d5000's.. The result is that I actually paid double and bought the d5000 (not without casualties.. more about hat later). They surpass all my previously mentioned models in the details they offer, and sound genuinely really nice. The little brother did have the problem with bass, after all.


IMPORTANT - please understand that all this was my impressions, while I was actually trying out the hi-end audio equipment for the first time in my life and I quite doubt that I have perfect ability to recognize all the subtle differences in the sound of different headphones. I also can not guarantee you that my "experience" was not biased - maybe some of the things were just "in my head". What do I know. I can only tell you how I felt about the sound while listening to all those different models. All I hope for is that it will help you to understand which direction to look to, if you include some of those models in your wish-list.


Other equipment used for listening - primarily Pro-Ject USB Box DAC + Pro-Ject Head-Box II AMP, was also switching the AMP with Grado RA-1 + some other one, but can not remember the brand.. well it costed three times the Grado and was not for sale anyways.


Won't expand on my choice of AMP since you havent asked. For everyone else reading - yea I know that the Pro-ject USB-BOx is not really the best option out in the market but the shop was quite sold-out at the moment. It was the only thing they could offer.


Slaxl - do not underestimate the importance of a good DAC + AMP if you dont want your details to go missing. The difference between integrated sound-card -> Laptop headphone jack -> cans v.s. DAC -> cables -> AMP -> cans is huuu-uu-uuuge, and I can only assume that a good DAC v.s. cheap one would make quite a difference too.


That's all. My 1 HOUR 20 minutes worth of 2 cents.

post #14 of 24

Ultrasone's definitely boost the highs a bit, but Grados and the DT990 are brighter than my Pro 900s any day.

post #15 of 24

Slaxi I'm surprised that you want "(very) detailed" headphones for metal, are you sure about that?. I have always found metal and rock sound much more enjoyable with a smooth tubey sound. Personally I think the DT880 and T1 are great with metal, with a tube amp with smooth/dark tubes that is (otherwise they tend to sound too harsh with metal) :)


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