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The Basshead's buyers guide!  

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow bassheads! At long last it is finished! As a service to my head-fi community (which I love so much) I decided I’m going to write a review of every headphone I own. I only buy headphones under 200 dollars, so this is really only a 200 and under comparison. I will try and expand it later when I have more money/I'm not so cheap. This is my first review so advice is welcome! Please go easy on me! I just want to say before I begin that I love each of my cans in its own special way, and I would rather lose one of my man berries than sell any of my cans. I would also like to mention that I listen to mostly to dubstep/trance/hardstyle but I tested these headphones listening to all different genres. As a disclaimer, however their performance will be judged on how well they play bass heavy music. If you see a pair of cans, that you think belongs here, please reply with the make and model. I'll try to buy it if it's under 200, or if you really think it's worth it, otherwise I'll try to borrow them from friends. If you want to help me expand this guide to headphones over 200 please get in touch with me!


Remember everyone, this is a BUYERS GUIDE so price is a huge factor!!! Also how much bass is enough is very subjective, so keep an open mind =)

V-moda crossfade LP: $250 retail, I paid 90 (newegg)

First impressions
I’m going to begin with the crossfades and as a note to buyers, there is a pretty big discrepancy in price depending on which color you can get a nice break in price. Starting with me box, it looks like they have jumped on the apple bandwagon and spent as much r&d on the designing the box as the headphones themselves, not something I really care for. As for build quality these cans feel very solid in your hands; they come in a very clever case that is quite stylish and makes use of velcro to give you the option of keeping certain compartments in place or not. I personally think these headphones are ugly as all hell but hey, to each his own right? The cables are reinforced with kevlar which seems very gimmicky to me, because I take good care of my headphones (all my headphones have lasted me for years, and I don’t plan on shooting my cables with a gun any time soon) but it’s a nice touch. It comes with two sets of cables; one of which comes with a mic, (which I tested and it really doesn’t even hold its own against a 2 dollar desktop mic) The crossfades isolate fairly well, they come with memory foam ear pads are pretty comfortable. Although I have heard from a lot of different people that your ear tends to rub against the driver a bit too much, this can cause discomfort after long sessions.

Sound quality
Let’s cut to the chase; bass and tons of it. The crossfade lps have excellent lows and are marketed to produce sound as low as 5Hz (although I’m pretty sure humans can only hear down to 20Hz). The bass is bottomless and robust, but doesn’t feel muddled. I have to say however the mids and highs are nothing special, people complain about the m50s mids; here we have a similar situation but the crossfades are much worse off. The crossfade’s highs and mids are a fountain of youth, they are there but searching for them is futile. They are just lost in the torrential downpour of bass. I would consider these a cheap alternative to the beats, if you’re looking for stylish cans with intense bass and solid build quality. As a side note, do not use these headphones if you are an fps gamer, you will get owned.





Shure SRH750DJ: $150 retail, I paid 140 (amazon)

First impressions
The box is pretty solid but nothing special, inside it’s business as usual for Shure. You get the headphones, a removable cord, a threaded 1/4″ adapter, the leather case and another set of pads. The second set of pads is a HUGE plus because these things aren’t cheap and my headphones see a lot of use, so it wouldn’t be the first time I had to replace a set of worn pads. I would like to note however the pads are not the same and in my opinion the stock pads that come on the headphones are superior. The 750DJ in my opinion really stand out in the shure line. I personally feel the 440 and 840 models are extremely uncomfortable, heavy and not durable at all. These headphones are a welcome change, in comfort and durability (they are designed for djs so I imagine extra care was taken during the design phase). They feel a bit clumsy in your hands, but do not mistake this for shoddy build quality. They isolate very well and there are no complaints in that department. The ear cups swivel around, very useful if you’re actually a DJ.

Sound quality
One word that I certainly would NOT use to describe these headphones is neutral; the best way to describe them is the srh840’s promiscuous cousin. She’s fun but you know she’s no good for you. What you find in the SRH750DJ, is tremendous bass without very much distortion. I can’t say that there is no distortion at all but it’s shocking how little there actually is. These cans are fairly accurate, and once you get used to the tremendous low end you see how much the mids and highs are actually there. Granted compared to the srh840’s accuracy these things don’t hold a candle but still, not bad, not bad at all. These headphones sound much better amped than unamped, and I HIGHLY recommend it.





Beyerdynamic DT770 pro 80 ohm: $200 retail, I paid 200 (amazon)

First impressions
The first that that has to be said about these cans is QUALITY. One of my favorite headphones, this headphone combines a closed design with some of the most comfortable ear pads known to man, these give other headphone manufactures a serious run for their money. The clamp is tight but not as tight as the m50. Nothing fancy inside the box, standard beyerdynamic. Really you can say a lot about the quality of these cans. On a related note the guitar center by my house has a few different headphones on display, of all the different brands the sonys were completely destroyed, the shures were pretty messed up as well, the sennheiser cans took a beating but were still in usable condition, however the beyers and Audio Technicas looked in fairly good shape. They showed clear and visible signs of wear but overall were in very good condition.

Sound quality
The bass really wallops, has a ton of impact, and I’ve heard some people say it has a mind of its own. I don’t really feel like it overpowers the rest of the sound, but some people would argue against that. Bass extension is very good, the mids and highs are there as well but it takes a trained basshead ear to find it. The treble is good, not super airy, but good. The sound is nice and balanced; the soundstage is quite good for a closed set of cans. The headstage is very large as well, especially good for a set of closed cans.





Beyerdynamic DT990 pro: $300 retail, I paid 166 (B&H photo)

First impressions
Inside the box it’s the same deal as the DT770s, quality as far as the eye can see with none of that extra garbage. So I’m not going to waste any more time here, if you are worried about build quality read my review of the DT770s

Sound quality
Not as much bass as the DT770, but a much more open and airy sound. This is probably due to the fact that well, these headphones are open! The frequency response on these is incredibly good; these headphones won’t add anything to your music. The distortion is very low, and cranking your volume to insane levels doesn’t really change that. They also track very evenly. Overall, they are the least “fun” out of any of these cans but reproduce sound the best. I recommend these for the basshead who is still confused about his aural orientation (lol).





Sony MDR-XB700: $130 retail, on loan from a friend

First impressions
Before I start I want to say I do not own these headphones, but I have been listening to them for about 3 days. Right away I was fairly un-impressed with the package they came in; you basically have to destroy the box to get the headphones out. It makes me feel like I am buying something at the cash register of a best buy. The pouch it came with had an equally cheap feel to it, but hey it’s free right? The first thing you notice about the XB-700 are the gigantic ear pads, they sit very well on your ears however you look somewhat of a dunce wearing them. They are very comfortable; however the strap that runs across the top of your head has barely any padding on it, I really didn’t like that.

Sound quality
This model is badged the XB (extra bass) series for a reason, it has quite a lot of bass. The bass it produces is about equal to the crossfades, which are the brassiest headphones in this review. Sony actually claims 3Hz, and I’m really not a fan of ludicrous claims like that (who can even hear down to 3Hz anyway?). The bass is quite good but if you go searching for mids or highs you simply won’t find them, everything is lost in the bass. The sound is so muddy, I feel like a hippo taking a dirt bath when I wear them. They do have one redeeming quality and that is their low price, however if I was desperate for cheap bass I’d save up 30 more dollars and buy the crossfades. Compared to most of the other headphones in this review that can be had for just a few more dollars these don’t really measure up.





Ultrasone HFI-580 S-logic: $220 retail, I paid 150 (amazon)

First impressions
The packaging was very nice; these headphones don’t hide the fact that they are quality. As you well know by now I’m not a big fan of gimmicks, so when I heard that they reduce magnetic emissions by up to 98 percent compared to other headphones, I shrugged. I’m not a robot, so magnetic emissions probably don’t scare me as much as they should. Apparently the World Health Organization agrees with me, "No scientific basis currently exists for a connection between electromagnetic hypersensitivity and exposure to electromagnetic fields." Gimmicks aside the Ultrasone HFI-580 is a mighty fine headphone. The build quality is good; the Germans do not muck about when it comes to building quality headphones. The HFI-580s are gorgeous in a professional sort of way.

Sound quality
These don’t feel like they were designed to be basshead headphones. Of course the bass is quite good, the low end is smooth and the bass is tight. The response is quite flat, just a tad bright I’d say. The S-Logic gives the listener the impression he is listening to a surround sound home theater system; I absolutely despise this feature. I really don’t extra effects added to my sound. If I wanted to hear surround sound, I would buy a home theater system. I consider these a great set of basshead cans, not because they provider a thunderstorm of bass (there are tons of other cans with more bass), but the bass they do produce is so clean and tight. It communicates the low end so very well without sounding muddy or distorted. They sound great with a lot of different genres and are a great set of cans.





Sennheiser HD448: $130 retail, I paid 100 (amazon)

First impressions
The package it came in sets the stage for what’s to come, classy graphics, and a great design leave a lasting impression of quality. Inside its business as usual 6.3mm, some paperwork, and a 2 year warranty. The headphones are lightweight, and feel a little brittle, but I have had them almost 2 years and they still look brand new. They really are built to last, despite the plasticy feel they give off. They are very good looking headphones and I wouldn’t have any trouble being seen with them in public. They are EXTREMELY comfortable, but as a tradeoff they have 0 clamping force and the acoustic seal is very weak. This is probably this cans biggest downside. There is a small gap in between the headphone and my ear near the earlobe, and this dampens the bass considerably. If Sennheiser only gave these cans a better fit on your head, we would have a serious giant killer on our hands.

Sound quality
Headroom’s review of these cans calls them “The best-sounding headphone Sennheiser has ever released under $100”. That’s really saying something. Now while these headphones can hardly be considered basshead cans, They still play bass heavy music very well, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything just because I'm not using another pair of cans. These headphones are outstandingly airy for closed cans, the highs on these bad boys is really something. Bottomless soundstage, excellent treble, even-handed mids. These headphones really are a jack of all trades, and excel at a variety of music genres. You get a lot of the same stuff you’re getting from the HFI-580’s but for a lot less money. The 580’s are better in almost every aspect, but from a bang for the buck perspective, these guys really shine. Everyone seems to think that these headphones don’t have any bass, this isn’t true. The bass is lower than anything in this guide by far, yes. The issue lies with the awful fit on the head. It gives these headphones a terrible acoustic seal, and what seems to be weak bass response. Push the ear cups into your skull a bit, and you will feel substantially increased bass. I had to mod mine to get them to fit tight, and while I don’t recommend you do the same, don’t pass up these gems just because of a clamping issue. However if you're looking for earthquake like bass look elsewhere.





Audio Technica ATH-m50: $200 retail, I paid 109 (sound professionals)

First impressions
When you first see the simple white box, with its cheap plastic inserts you don’t know what to think. You have heard the masses rave about the king of the jungle that is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, so what’s it doing in this flimsy white box? It’s thinking of ways to murder you that’s what it’s doing. Despite its Taiwanese manufacturing origins, the M50s are as solid as granite. Some of the most well build headphones I have ever seen, these things even make the twice the price beyers seem cheap and plasticy. I got the version with the coiled cable and I’m in love with them, it’s exactly the right length for my needs. The 6.3mm screw on adapter is also a nice touch. These headphones are a work of art and everyone who steps foot in my house tells me they look amazing. The clamping force on the headband is quite strong, but the pads are extremely soft. The result is a tight seal, and a comfortable fit.

Sound quality
The sound quality on these cans is absolutely superb. I really couldn’t ask for much more. I lot of people will claim the m50 has recessed mids, and yes it does a little, but once you get used to the curb stomping bass it’s less of an issue. The mids are there they are just sort of stashed away. The situation improves drastically after the burn in and the mids really blossom. The headphones are forward but not too forward. Play a song with a lot of detail and Audio-Technica’s pedigree in audiophile headphones really shows its face. The sound is very full bodied; these headphones really add a lot of “fun” to the music. The soundstage is quite good, and I was really pleased with the imaging performance. The bass isn’t as tight, or as abundant as the HFI-580's but it really kicks you in the balls. Listening to music on these cans makes me feel like the artist wrote the song just for me. *Side note* thanks to a lot of input from some great head-fiers I would like to add that the m50 is a studio monitor and therefore a very neutral can, the bass is there just play with your EQ and watch your head rumble. Of course doing this will make the sound a bit muddier, but the bass is definitely there.




Audio Technica ATH-PRO700 MK2: $230 retail, I paid 160 (amazon)

First impressions
The have the same air about them as the m50, it felt like I was un-boxing the m50 all over again. The box is designed as to make sure the headphones don't take any damage from shipping, an idea I like very much. The headphones are rugged, solid, and right away you can tell they will last through years of abuse. The pads are a wee bit thin, I'm gonna try and get some m50 pads on them soon and let you guys know how it goes. They sit well on your head and have numerous adjustments to make sure they are comfortable for any shape head. They are a good looking pair of cans, and I wouldn't have any trouble being seen with them in public. They are an all plastic design you can be proud to wear. Overall I give them top marks in the quality, looks and packaging department.

Sound quality
The overall sound quality is quite good, it bears some resemblance to the m50, but where the m50 has a very neutral sound the The ATH-PRO700MK2's produce a sound that jabs at you with fancy footwork, a much tighter bass response than the m50, and a little extra tingle in the treble. They also have detachable cable which can be seriously clutch in some situations. The ATH-M50 headphones have a flatter and more neutral response, which is a lot better for what they were designed to do, primarily studio mixing. One thing I can say is that there is significantly more bass in these cans, and I really love it. That being said, I still enjoy music a little better on the m50s. They just have a presence that I can't really put my finger on. The m50s add fun to the sound without changing the music like a lot of other headphones do.





AKG K 181 DJ: COMING SOON!





My conclusion:

I love all my headphones, and choosing between them is extremely difficult, but there is one obvious winner; the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. There are headphones on this list that sound better, headphones here that produce a lot more bass. But when you factor in the cost, the build quality, the sound quality, the feel, the way they make you feel when you listen to music, you get something amazing. Not one of these factors but all of them together make the M50 my favorite basshead headphone.
Edited by SennheiserHD - 6/18/11 at 2:57pm
post #2 of 177

Well this is definitely a great thread.

Thanks! :) 

post #3 of 177

Try using a Cowon mp3 player with the Ultrasone HFI 580. I can't imagine wanting more bass from the BBE

post #4 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyDonut View Post

Well this is definitely a great thread.

Thanks! :) 



thank you!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

Try using a Cowon mp3 player with the Ultrasone HFI 580. I can't imagine wanting more bass from the BBE


thats why they call us bassheads lol!!
post #5 of 177

Nice thread. Another you can add to the list is the D2000.

post #6 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alghazanth View Post

Nice thread. Another you can add to the list is the D2000.


I freakin wish! find me a pair brand new auth dealer for under 200 lol
post #7 of 177

I have to respectfully disagree with the M50's bass. It's quantity is hardly qualified as "basshead material".

post #8 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by SennheiserHD View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Alghazanth View Post

Nice thread. Another you can add to the list is the D2000.




I freakin wish! find me a pair brand new auth dealer for under 200 lol



Back when I got em from Amazon 7 months ago, they were either $250 or $350... can't quite remember. I'll sell you em for under 200 if you want, I have no use for them now that I'm much higher up the chain. They're in flawless condition.

 

post #9 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

I have to respectfully disagree with the M50's bass. It's quantity is hardly qualified as "basshead material".



what?!?!?! really?! maybe you got a lemon pair or something because, i have never met anyone who said the m50s lacked bass lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alghazanth View Post





Back when I got em from Amazon 7 months ago, they were either $250 or $350... can't quite remember. I'll sell you em for under 200 if you want, I have no use for them now that I'm much higher up the chain. They're in flawless condition.

 


I'm so scared to buy something over head-fi haha, do you have all the original receipts from an authorized dealer?
post #10 of 177

I know a lot of people who regretted buying the M50 because "the bass was severely lacking". I have to agree, but I don't regret buying the M50 'cause it's a bassy balanced headphones. However, it's not a balanced basshead headphone.

 

A prime example is slapshot30. Really though, you probably bought the blue box variant instead of the white box variant. Probably.

post #11 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

I know a lot of people who regretted buying the M50 because "the bass was severely lacking". I have to agree, but I don't regret buying the M50 'cause it's a bassy balanced headphones. However, it's not a balanced basshead headphone.

 

A prime example is slapshot30. Really though, you probably bought the blue box variant instead of the white box variant. Probably.


I got the white box actually, I can take a picture of it if you want. whats the difference?

Edit: it's a white box with teal on the top
Edited by SennheiserHD - 6/16/11 at 10:57pm
post #12 of 177



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SennheiserHD View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

I have to respectfully disagree with the M50's bass. It's quantity is hardly qualified as "basshead material".





what?!?!?! really?! maybe you got a lemon pair or something because, i have never met anyone who said the m50s lacked bass lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alghazanth View Post





Back when I got em from Amazon 7 months ago, they were either $250 or $350... can't quite remember. I'll sell you em for under 200 if you want, I have no use for them now that I'm much higher up the chain. They're in flawless condition.

 




I'm so scared to buy something over head-fi haha, do you have all the original receipts from an authorized dealer?


Lol, nothing to be scared about with paypal buyer protection. I purchased from Onecall, an authorized dealer, and while I don't have the physical receipt I can certainly show you the invoice.
 

 

post #13 of 177

This thread is really helpful. ;) 

post #14 of 177

The blue box variant is bassier while the white box variant is more balanced and neutral. There are a lot more headphones that have more bass than the M50, and 40% of them aren't even basshead headphones.

post #15 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

The blue box variant is bassier while the white box variant is more balanced and neutral. There are a lot more headphones that have more bass than the M50, and 40% of them aren't even basshead headphones.


such as???
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