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Need help choosing my first pair of quality headphones!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey guys!

 

I'm new to the forum but have been lurking for a while. I feel that the time has come to step it up from $20 earbuds to a nice pair of headphones. 

 

The only things I really care about in a pair of headphones is that they are comfortable, durable, and less than $200. I am probably not getting an amp any time soon so bear that in mind. 

 

Hit me with your suggestions! If you have any other questions, ask.

 

Thanks guys!

post #2 of 19

What genres do you listen to?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Mainly alternative/indie/techno/dubstep.

 

I was thinking about HD555/HD558/HD595/HD598 but as I said, I don't really know what I am doing.


Edited by Tastyhorsemeat - 6/9/11 at 6:50pm
post #4 of 19

Ultrasones for techno and dubstep, no contest. For the other genres you specified... I don't really know.

post #5 of 19

Take a look at:

AD700

Shure 840

ATH-M50

 

I've seen a few people saying great things about ultrasones and electronic music, but I have no personal experience or grounds to make a recommendation.

 

The HD555/595 (haven't tried the 598) are reasonable too,  but aren't built quite as well as the AD700s (to me the sound differences seemed really minor,  but I'm sure you'll see disagreement)

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Sidel, the only thing that stops me from buying the HD555/595 is that I have heard from reviews and such that the bass leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Also, do you own either the 555 or 595? If so, can you comment on the build quality?

post #7 of 19

I have the HD555, modded to 595 and further modded with the acoustic foam. I must say I'm pretty happy with them. I'm sure they won't stand up to HD650s or LCD2s or whatever, but for me, for now, they are good enough.

 

Compared to my SR80s, the bass is much better on the HD555s. I also find general clarity and detail to be better.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastyhorsemeat View Post

Sidel, the only thing that stops me from buying the HD555/595 is that I have heard from reviews and such that the bass leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Also, do you own either the 555 or 595? If so, can you comment on the build quality?


I've had a pair of 555s for about 4 or 5 years, making them the oldest headphones I've bothered to keep/haven't broken  (they fit my head ridiculously well)

They give you a sort of smooth darker listen, which just doesn't include bass with impact.  It does,  however,  make them double as a great home theater headphone (which they got partly marketed as)

 

They will develop cracks on the connecting piece between the headband and cups.  Just about every pair I've run into has had these cracks,  and I believe it's because there's 4 screws directly between that area.  It seems mostly cosmetic,  but it's worth knowing about.

post #9 of 19

 

Tastyhorsemeat,
 
I don't know if it would help you, but I chronicled my adventures in choosing a new pair of headphones here...
 
post #10 of 19

Beyerdynamic Dt770 or Dt990

post #11 of 19

To help you narrow the field a bit - otherwise you're going to just get confused with all the suggestions ......

 

Open or closed?  Do you need isolation?

Circumaural (over-ear) or Supra-aural (on-ear)

Do they need to be portable / semi-portable

 

What source will you be using (eg iPod etc, PC, home stereo, ?)

 

The reason for the above questions is so that you eventually get a choice of 3-5 that 'should' ultimately suit what you are looking for.

 

I saw Sidel suggested the AD700 and the SRH840 above.  Both are great cans - but they are complete poles apart (I own both).  One is open, airy, can be grainy at times - but generally has good mids and highs, very bass-light (it has bass - just not a lot of sub-bass - actually hardly any) has a very wide sound-stage (AD700).  The other is closed, very well balanced across entire spectrum, isolates well, but has a much narrower sound-stage (SRH840).  You could use the 840 portably (I don't - tend to stick with IEMs), but you wouldn't use the AD700 at all portably.

 

See what I mean?

 

If you narrow the playing field a little - you'll get closer to what you need.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately, I don't really know the real world application difference between open and closed and circumaural or supra-aural. Portability is not really a concern for me. So semi-portable I suppose. I plan on sticking with my earbuds when out and using these at home mainly. 

 

I will be using a Zune HD with mostly MP3s that are 320 kbps. 

post #13 of 19

OK - good that narrows it a bit.

 

Open headphones - have an open back.  They will 'leak' sound out, plus you can also hear some ambient noise around you.  They also tend to have a bigger sound-stage - although this is not always true.  Because they do not completely seal your ears in, you won't have as much issue with your ears heating up / becoming sweaty.  The AD700 is an open can.

 

Closed headphones - have a closed back.  They isolate better - both keeping the sound of your music in, and also isolating you from the ambient noise around you.  They tend to have a smaller sound stage - again this is not always the case.  Because they do create a seal, some people have a tendency for their ears to heat-up, and can have issues with sweat/warmth (personally I don't).  The SRH840 is a closed can.

 

When you are talking about the cups (both open and closed) - you have two main options.  circum-aural and supra-aural.  Circum-aural sit on your end around your ears, and completely enclose them.  Supra-aural sit on your ears.  I personally have had issues in the past with supra-aurals if they clamp too hard - my ears get sore.  You may not suffer from this.  Some do, others don't.

 

Grado's are a classic example of an open supra-aural can.

The Senn HD25 ii are an example of a closed supra-aural can

 

The AD700 and SRH840 mentioned above are both circum-aural.

 

Have a think about what environment you'll be listening in (is outside noise or isolation a factor?) - then advice if you have a preference.

post #14 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

To help you narrow the field a bit - otherwise you're going to just get confused with all the suggestions ......

 

I saw Sidel suggested the AD700 and the SRH840 above.  Both are great cans - but they are complete poles apart (I own both).  

 

If you narrow the playing field a little - you'll get closer to what you need.


That is absolutely true.  At the same time though I think it's also a lot easier for someone completely new to do a small amount of research and dive in.  If you're given fair-enough options and do take it a little past point-and-choose in the worst case you'll find out what you didn't like and what you did like.  Anyway,  the real point was to try to backtrack and include:

 

Make sure to actually find description, reviews, photos.  It doesn't matter if you don't immediately understand everything being said,  as you'll most likely only get a real feeling for the sound after hearing the headphones,  but do make sure you get a general sense of use.  IE:  the shures or M50 will be semi-portable,  whereas the AD700 or 555s won't be-- as Brooko pointed out.  The 'phones I chose to recommend are all fairly versatile, so hopefully you can develop an ear for what you like as you go without getting too restricted by genre.


Edited by sidel - 6/9/11 at 10:44pm
post #15 of 19

^ Agree - and Sidel, just to make sure I wasn't misunderstood, your choices are good (I wasn't critiquing them - heck I own both).  But I think its always better to find out what if any restrictions there are so you can narrow the field.  Then you can get sensible suggestions.

 

If you don't, the thread will likely degenerate into the (quite common) too many suggestions that will confuse // or sadly (more common) everybody suggest the M50 regardless of whether or not it suits.

 

I'd just like to see the OP get some good advice.  Sometimes that means helping him find out what he wants before suggesting.


Edited by Brooko - 6/10/11 at 1:16am
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