A brief introduction is in order: I have been lurking around this forum (and other sites) for a coulple of weeks now. After some research and demo's I believe I have finally reached my limitation and so seek aid on this forum. Currently, I am burdened with quite possibly the most hated headphones on this site (I'll let you geuss, they aren't Bose) and wish to delve into better equipment.
Two primary purposes - Gaming and Music. There is no particular order of importance, with several games I end up playing my own music in the backgroung anyway (though I play music less than i don't).
I want games to be immersive, FPS type genres are not uncommon but RTS and RPGs take precedence.
Genres for Music are semi-varied, I would say a good portion is instrumental or vocal. I can say that I don't really listen to much Hip-Hop/Pop, and that Rap and Metal are almost completely absent.
Price of course. My total budget is somewhat conditional, but should not exceed $350 (would prefer it to be lower, around $200, this is an absolute maximum).
Secondarily, I would like sound that is "transparent" and "neutral". I realize these terms can really only apply to phones beyond my budget, but I can futher rank sound qualities.
I am not a basshead, and do not want overbearing/strong bass, but it's still quite important (especially for gaming). I would also like to avoid sharp and harsh highs. If it comes down to it, I would prefer a darker sound to a overly bright one. I have a feeling mids are very important to my genres so I would least like to skimp on mids.
Comfort is also REALLY important, I'll have some comparisons later on.
Durability - A function of price. I'm a poor student and don't plan on buying new Headphones every year (or maybe even every five). I will very likely consider better options in the future, but for now pretend I will stay with these headphones indefinitely.
What I have considered/am considering:
Sony DRZX701* - Cheap, seemed comfortable in store, sounded alot better than what I had, from my phone no less!
Sennheiser HD 558, 598, 600, 650 - Read good things about these, however the price differences may become a prime determinant.
Shure Srh440 - Assuming I can find some, also only have read about them.
Denon - D1100* D2000* (More on these)
Beyerdynbamic DT 880 (Premium I belive).
What I am not considering:
Skullcandies, all the ones I've tried just don't seem very good. Could just be limited selection.
Bose - They sure are comfy, but very overpriced.
Beats - Surprisingly not uncomfortable (I thought they looked it). But I think why they aren't on my list is self explanatory (no offense).
Most things at BestBuy other than those prementioned Sonys.
Those Sonys, being available at BestBuy, should be easy enough to use as "reference" phones for this posts purposes. Easy to get a hold of and listen to.
The store likes Jazz, and they had literally just moved to a new location.
I have only had the fortune to try out those aforementioned Denons as well as the B&W p5s.
On the B&W - I found these to be quite comfy despite the fact I hate on ear headphones (Poor Grados :( ). They seemed overly harsh but a tad lacking in detail (if that makes sense). Maybe B&W will release better phones in the future, I'm not averse to waiting a bit.
I use these examples because it is to these phones I am limited. I hope that readers are able to find similarities between these and their other experiences.
Denon D1100 (R was tagged at the end, no idea if that makes a difference). These were better, but barely, than the Sonys. This may be sure to not having a single song to refer to. Whatever Jazz track they had was detailed and clear, mids seemed a little low I think (assuming I'm hearing "mids" correctly). I found these to be as comfy as the Sony's but slightly less fatiguiging physically. Could be due to quick in store adjustments. $200
Denon D2000 - I found these to be a definitive step above the 1100's, but at a hefty price increase. In store the bands were taped so I couldn't adjumst the band properly, more on why that's not an issue in a little bit. They sounded lively, bass seemed controlled and present, but not overbearing. Mids did not suffer so much recession. I didn't really get to hear much highs with those tracks, but Cymbals sounded good at least (I really hope those qualify as highs). $350
Denon D7000 - I found these to be better than the 2000s (one would hope so!). Hard to explain how I thought they were better. They just seemed more refined in every way. I like the wood look (admittedly looks aren't really important). They also seem to be essentially the same thing as the 2000s as far as comfort and shap go, so I use them as the reference of comfort for both itself and the D2000. Initial fit was poor, but once properly adjusted to my head I hardly felt them. $1000 (I'm not even seriously considering these for that reason)
Amps and DACs:
I don't have the budget for these quite yet (though I may be able to just make my own amp) and I know that many of these (particularly the Senns and that Denon) require amplification to sound their best. DACs should also make a difference, I am currently limited to my onboard sound (which I feel is pretty decent actually) and so a new DAC isn't super important.
However, if you have any suggestions for good n' cheap ones I'd like to know.
I hope that post provides sufficient information so that this forum may offer suggestions (more importantly, is motivated to do so). I will take every comment with a grain of salt. I mean no offese, but this is the Internet afterall. Laslty, this is asking for suggestions of headphones I should seek to try out, not direclty buy from the internet. I feel that I will have to at least try something similar before seperating with over $100.
Please note that the likliest candidate for purchase are those Sonys closely followed by the Denon D1100.
And with that wall of text I thank you for any comments/questions/suggestions!
Edited for readability.
Edited by AValidName - 12/4/11 at 4:20pm