I am in the lookout for a good pair of closed and comfortable headphones for home use without spending more than 150-180$.
So, closed because I like to listen at pretty high volumes and most of the time during the night in the bedroom while my wife sleeps. The home set up consists of a laptop with a poor SQ sound card so everything will go through a recently bought Fiio E10 DAC/Amp. I am very pleased with the SQ provided by the Fiio E10. In order to fully understand the sound I am after, let me tell you what headphones I currently own and what my thoughts are on them.
1. Sennheiser HD-555 ( modded ) - I am not that happy with the sound of these. I find them rather flat and too neutral for my taste. I need to have the bass ON my E10 and also I need to lift up the right side of the EQ in Foobar to crisp out the highs a bit. While the detail is there, the sound signature seems too flat. They are my first open back pair so I just might not be used to the airy feeling of this headphone genre. However they are pretty much the most comfortable headphones I have ever tested/had, by a large margin.
2. AKG K181 DJ - I got them used at a great price, mostly out of curiosity. I don't like DJ oriented products but these sounded just too good not to buy - especially at a good price. I was very surprised that some DJ branded headphones can sound THIS GOOD. They have a SMALL/LARGE knob on each can which is mostly a bass enhancer, and although the bass is still very well controlled I like the Small setting better, while I prefer to use the BASS button on the Fiio. Overall the sound is great, I am don't use any "audiophile" oriented terms but I must admit everything sounds great when thrown at them. Except for the BASS ON setting on the Fiio, I don't feel the need to adjust anything on the EQ so I keep it off. The bad part of them is simply the comfort level. They are VERY tight on the ears, everything gets hot and they feel quite uncomfortable after 1-2 hours of non-stop wear.
3. Brainwavs ProAlpha - although they are IEMs ... are worth mentioning as I currently use them as they isolate the sound perfectly so the wife can sleep ( sigh :) ) and also the sound is not bad if I add a bit bass on the EQ.
4. BOSE QC 3 - I have had them for about 1 month but I never use them as I don't like the Sound Canceling feature. They are not even mine, a friend gave them to me to get them sold. They are BRAND NEW, and although the sound is not bad, I am not very found of the somewhat exagerated bass. Although I am a bass freak and I always keep the E10s bass on, sometimes I add a bit more on the EQ, the bass on the BOSEs however ... seems a bit too over the head.
Music that I listen to : Jazz, Blues, Rock and sometime some electronic Tech House sets. Right now I am listening to a playlist with Michael Buble and Katie Melua on shuffle :)
So an ideal pair would have the comfort level of the Senn 555 and the sound signature of the AKGs K181 :) - and one thing I have learned the past years is that on a lot of things, especially sound gear - I have to HEAR IT to be sure I like it. For example, a lot of people have great opinions on Sennheiser 4xx line, which I simply detest. Also the 555s I own, received great reviews and I find them somewhat too dull. I also tested a pair of Beyers on a hi-fi store in France recently, it was a pretty expensive pair ( 200+ euros ) - the DT 990 or 880 - I don't remember exactly the model but the sound out of my iphone was simply a joke. VERY poor voice ... I held them on for about 20-30 seconds while I went through 3-4 songs and that was it ... I laughed and left. I am aware that most likely the iphone was not able to drive them to their full potential and being new, not burned in at all but still ... they were pretty much the lamest "good" headphones I have ever put on my head.
So - let's get to the M50s shall we ? First of all, I have never listened to AudioTechnica so except for the online reviews, I have no idea if I will like them or not. All reviewers say they are comfortable to wear, great sound - and they are closed. So keep in mind I like the K181 - any idea if I could love the M50s ? Any other contenders for this price range ?? Thanks.
Sorry for any spelling mistakes on this long post - I am from Romania so all my English comes from movies and internet :P