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Looking to spend $100-150

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have never owned any sort of expensive headphones; probably the most money I've invested was $30 for a pair of Creative Labs earbuds.


I love music, but I've never been able to work a pair of really nice headphones into my budget until recently.  To give you a rough idea, I can spend up to about 8 hours in a day listening to music -- an hour in my car commuting and another 7 or so hours at work, so I'm definitely looking for something comfortable.  I also wear glasses, which can be an issue with certain brands, or so I've read.  I don't really have an immediate preference for open or closed design as sound leaking is not an issue for me.


Primarily I listen to music with my latest-generation iPod Classic.  I would say about 40% of my music collection is archived in lossless format, so I'm looking for a headphone that will allow me to enjoy all the detail of those files.  I'm not really interested in getting an amp at this point. 


For listening tastes, I primarily listen to alternative rock, classic rock, and singer/songwriter music, along with some jazz (primarily bebop, hard bop, and fusion), Texas and Chicago blues, and orchestral music.  I prefer balanced but lively sound; I really enjoy the sensation of being immersed in whatever I'm listening to.


Thus far I've been considering the Sennheiser HD 448, 555, or 595, as well as the Grado SR80i.  Given my listening preferences, current set-up, and budget, are there any other headphones you might recommend?  Or, alternatively, of those four, which do you think would suit my needs the most?  There are so many options out there that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, and there aren't too many places around here that will let you really audition headphones.  Thanks for the help.


Edited by dirkgently - 9/2/11 at 7:18am
post #2 of 6



HD448 is a heap of plastic, sounds good with music, but the construction is a real stinker. Avoid.

HD555 and HD595 are decent, but they're open air, and this may be an issue at work if anyone is near by.

SR80i is great but is open and will leak noise in and out big time. Everyone at work will hear them.


So while you say open isn't a problem, is that because you're in a room by yourself? If you're around anyone else, they will hear open headphones. Keep that in mind. In your car, open can also be a problem, because sound and traffic and stuff, even the AC blowing, will enter your sound field and make it harder to hear everything nicely, which will result in you turning up the volume (tsk tsk for hearing). Consider those before going open when using them on the road and when at work.


I would suggest some closed headphones for you:


Shure SRH440 or SRH840 (if price permits)


Fischer Audio FA-003

Ultrasone HFI 580 (colored towards bass, but still lively and great)

AudioTechnica M50


Very best,

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a quiet, private office, so the possibility of annoying coworkers with an open back headphone isn't an issue, and it would allow me to still be aware of phone calls, knocks on my door, etc.  I don't plan on using them in my car; I apologize if that portion of my OP was misleading.

Edited by dirkgently - 9/2/11 at 7:42am
post #4 of 6

Tossing in my reccomendation for some Fischer fa-011 and Allesandro MS1.  Fischers I found to be perfect for the type of jazz and blues you described, their rock (especially live recordings) is also very good.  Symphonic music is pretty good as well, but not quite as light and airy as some people like.  


Allesandros are very much like the Grados but I found the MS1's to be superior to the 80's all-around, and price difference is neglegable ($89 vs $90)


Go with open if you can, especially at that price point the closed cans just don't have good soundstage which is essential (at least for me) for those genres.


For fun, I'll toss in the Ultrasone DJ 1 Pros (can be had on Amazon ~ $119(like new)-135(new)).  Better lows and mids than the Fischers and comparable soundstage (even though they're closed). 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

The Fischers look interesting, both the FA-003 and the FA-011.  The review in this forum of the FA-011 is certainly persuasive.  However, do you think the 160 ohm impedence of the FA-011 would be an issue without an amplifier?

post #6 of 6

They definitely benefit from amplification but they sound pretty good out of an iPhone.  Bass is thin compared to what its capable of but I find even then, its still plenty of bass for non-bassheads.  Might be a good way for you to start things off, great jump in sound quality from what you're used to and down the line, room for upgrade without having to replace the cans :)

Originally Posted by dirkgently View Post

The Fischers look interesting, both the FA-003 and the FA-011.  The review in this forum of the FA-011 is certainly persuasive.  However, do you think the 160 ohm impedence of the FA-011 would be an issue without an amplifier?


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