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My $200 and under basshead's buyers guide

post #1 of 260
Thread Starter 

Some of you may have seen this before, this is a revised and updated edition of my old post. I got some new cans and I'm going to give this another shot.This is only a review of the headphones I own, and 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/DnB/electronica 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, and i use the EQ extensively. I am also heavily biased towards a V shaped sounds with emphasis on highs and lows. 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 the 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. Great set of headphones and I highly recommend them if you can get them for a good price!!





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 enjoy 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, and they sit very well on your ears.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. One downside to these is they aren't particularly comfortable, they clamp hard and the pads are not soft. Also the plastic that the band is made of rubs against your skull, and can be quite irritating.


Sound quality:
 Not a bad choice for the average basshead, they sound 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 provide 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 weaker 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 the bass right, 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, although it's not that big of an issue. I prefer headphones with recessed mids and better highs and lows so this is not a problem for me. The headphones are forward but not too forward. 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. *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, you have to EQ them to get the bass out. I EQ most of my headphones extensively so this is really not an issue for me.
My favorite thing about the m50's is most definitely their low price. These headphones EQ'd still sound better and have similar bass to the sony XB's. 




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. They just have a presence that I can't really put my finger on.

 

 

 

 

Denon D2000: 350 retail, I paid 199.99 (J&R)

 

 

First impressions:

The box is very professional and basic. It was solid and kept the headphones undamaged during shipping. The cable is sleeved and feels very strong. I have heard complaints about screws coming loose on these but they must have resolved them because they feel pretty sturdy in my hands. They fit on the head quite comfortably and I enjoy how they sit on my ears. The pads are very thick and I have no problem listening to these for 8 hours at a time. They are quite large, but are still fairly light and do not strain my head or neck. They don't put pressure on my temples which is something i really hate in cans, as it gives me headaches. Probably the most comfortable headphones ever made.

Sound Quality:               

I think headrooms review says it better than I can "musical textures sound tightly defined and ultra-vivid, the soundstage image is deeply expansive, instrumental separation is clear as a bell, and the timbral precision is eye-openingly impressive." What they say is incredibly accurate, these headphones have a great soundstage and it's hard to think about them as closed headphones when they are on your ears. They sound pretty good unamped, but they benefit greatly from amplification, and I highly recommend you pair this with an amp and dac. The bass is deep and strong, and these cans produce the most pleasant sounding bass of any headphone mentioned in this review. They sound amazing with just about any genre from rock to DnB, these headphones shine. If i had anything negative to say about these cans it was that i felt the highs were a bit lacking and i had to EQ them a bit, to bring them out but otherwise no complaints.

 




AKG K 181 DJ: $250 retail, I paid 130 (amazon)

 

First impressions:

Looking at the box I can see it’s one of those don’t steal me you 17 year old shopping at best buy type deals. I bought these online, and I’m not a criminal; so why does AKG insist on treating me like one with this blast proof packaging. Inside the titanium/plastic alloy box we find a detachable cable, which I am a big fan of, paperwork, and of course the headphones. Right away they feel extremely cheap and flimsy, and makes me raise an eyebrow at the 250 dollar msrp. They spin around in all sorts of ways and I imagine this is a feature a DJ would use extensively. There are a ton of switches on the sides of the headphone such as mono/stereo and a switch that says large club/small club (I will go into this later). They are not very comfortable and the pads are a bit thin. Overall these headphones are VERY similar to the K81 DJ but without any of the switches or features.

 

Sound Quality:

The first thing I want to go over is the large club small club switch. There is one on each speaker and what it does is, when it’s on small club a lot of the sub bass goes away. I don’t exactly know why you would buy bassy headphones and turn some of the bass off? The mids lows and highs are all there but I wasn't really wowed by the sound. The treble and the bass are the two things that stand out the most in these cans, if I had to say anything I would say the mids are a bit recessed. The sound is very similar to the K81’s which are only 50 dollars so not very impressive in that department. The bass is quite good though and I would still buy these over the sony XB’s.

 




Coming soon!: M-audio Q40!



 

My favorite headphone: Denon D2000


Edited by SennheiserHD - 3/22/12 at 5:12am
post #2 of 260

Very nice post.beyersmile.png If you could, I am curious to see how the AKG K702s do in this. I know its 200$ and under, but I have heard many different things about these.

post #3 of 260

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clean View Post

Very nice post.beyersmile.png If you could, I am curious to see how the AKG K702s do in this. I know its 200$ and under, but I have heard many different things about these.

 

uhh...not only over 200, as you state, but in a basshead headphone comparison??? confused_face_2.gif

 

 

op nice list though, should be helpful for the innumerable posts everyday asking for bassy headphones

post #4 of 260

Hello, hope you don't mind me commenting. 

 

I hope you are aware that you can mod the HD448 to get better bass.

Remove the ear pads, unscrew the driver housing off from the cups and

remove the tape/mesh that is covering three holes, on the back of the driver housing.

 

By default, all the holes are covered. I removed the tape from my HD438s. With all 3 holes

exposed, the bass is quite big. Maybe even bloated. It's good for songs that have heavy sub bass 

as the rumble feels more present, but you're sacrificing some details in the highs.

 

I agree that the clamp force of the head bands is rather weak, which affects the sound quality

to a certain extent but it's more comfortable for long listening periods. 

 

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 260

This is some nice post, saved, There should be more of this lol, although i'm pretty sure the newbies just gonna ask the same question over and over again lol 

post #6 of 260

Thanks for this! Bookmarked for when you try the AKG K 181 DJ. bigsmile_face.gif

post #7 of 260
This is a great comparison of some of the most intriguing headphones. I am tempted to put each of these on my "want to buy" list.
post #8 of 260

This is such a great post. THX OP!

 

We all have found so many thin sounding headphones on our purchases.

 

 

This is the holy grail of lists for getting more low cost headphones that don't suck!

post #9 of 260
Thread Starter 

thanks a lot guys! I really appreciate it! will be posting my review of the akg's tommorow! I will also be adding the m-audio Q40's i just bought as soon as i get a chance to listen to them for a few days!

post #10 of 260
Hope this'll expand further to more expensive options too. Great comparisons.
post #11 of 260
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HesterDW View Post

Thanks for this! Bookmarked for when you try the AKG K 181 DJ. bigsmile_face.gif



updated to include the AKG 181 DJ!

post #12 of 260

this should be stickied to the top of the forum, very well done, and its also simple to read. :)

and its official my next cans will be D2Ks, You basically just increased my lust for them haha.

post #13 of 260

HD448 a basshead headphone that can play basshead music wery well??eek.gif

That's a new one..

Soundstage on M50 quite good?

Anyway good write up,fun to read but i have my arguments to most that was written..


Edited by Optimus Praim - 8/15/11 at 1:56pm
post #14 of 260

Well all I know is the D2000 and HFI-580 are right on the nail and match my experiences exactly.

post #15 of 260
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimus Praim View Post

HD448 a basshead headphone that can play basshead music wery well??eek.gif

That's a new one..

Soundstage on M50 quite good?

Anyway good write up,fun to read but i have my arguments to most that was written..



I like to give people their options, and i made it clear that it was the inferior headphone. Also I said mine was modded for more bass, please read the review before your criticize it. The soundstage on the m50 is quite good compared to other headphones in the price range. You can't compare it to the LCD-2 or HD800 and say well the soundstage is ****, please be realistic.

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