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Buying Decision... M50/HD598/SRH-940/HTF600/AE2 Desperately seeking help

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, I feel somewhat uneasy to actually post here since i'm quite far from being an audiophile, neither a DJ or Audio Professional. so I don't really know all those technological terms, and probably don't have an analytical ear either. However I am an avid music listener and do appreciate good songs. I've just been through about 2 days of searching high and low for a pair of nice headphones, i'm seeing sparkles around my head right nowconfused_face_2.gif due to the HUGE amount of infos all over the net and the Vast numbers of reviews leaning either way on pretty much every single pair of cans I look at... Hence posting here is like a cry for help, last resort kind of thing for me. Would really appreciate any suggestions/opinions/directions you could offer!

 

I'll get right into what I'm looking for:

Used for:

Mostly on the Computer (Music, Movies and Gaming) as well as PS3 gaming, maybe ipod(at home)

 

Main use is at home, so portability is not an issue. I have the ME2i for my on the go use(not the greatest but better than the one that came with my iphone), always felt big headphones are too bulky to drag around

 

Open or Closed:

I'm ok with either, since i won't be bringing them out with me, just need something not as loud as the speakers because I live in a rented room in a house. Don't wanna bother my roommates, especially at night.

 

Music genre:

I'm quite wide on this, went through different phases growing up, from popular rock[Linkin' park/cold play/our lady peace/evanescence/James Blunt...],  hiphop[2pac/Eminem/Diddy...], r&b, to some alternative genres, artists such as Damien Rice/Devics/Feist/Jem/pj Harvey/Lady&Bird/Eliot Smith...

and I occasionally would enjoy some good old Beatles or some guitar stuff like van halen or Nirvana

 

You might see why I had a hard time choosing a headphone

 

I will try the best to describe what i'm looking for...

First and most - Comfort (i wear glasses when using my computer or gaming)

I need to have something that's comfortable enough to wear for at least a couple of hrs without feeling my head is going to explode. Really can't stand something that squeeze my head horizontally or too heavy that the top of my head hurts from the headband. Doesn't matter if the headphone has the GREATEST sound if it's not comfortable enough on my head, cuz i just simply won't wear it. So i'm willing to sacrifice some sound quality for comfort.

 

On to the sound - looking for something that's balanced with good sound stage(hope that does not limit me to  open back only), i want to hear clear triumphant vocals but not the bassy kind, good instrumental melody, and nice bass(I'd like some punchy bass that gives me the boom boom feel but not so much it overpowers everything else, or the muddy sound)

 

Here is the list i'm considering and the price I can get them at:

 

ATH-M50s-  $137
Sennheiser HD 598  $223
Shure SRH 940 $290
Bose AE2i $130
 
Currently I have a pair of Sony NC500d i just got a few days ago, I like the sound quality, except the bass is a bit muddy to me, but i'm planning on returning them cuz it's not very comfortable. the headband does not have enough padding considering these cans are on the heavy side, and my ears hurt after maybe a hr of wearing them. I don' know if its because I'm not used to over the ear headphones or what..  also I realized I don't need noise cancellation, because 1. i'm using these at home 2. requires battery and thus constant recharge, 3. the NC feature emits a low frequency noise(normal for NC headphones) that i find a bit annoying. 4. I think I can do better for the price($330) sound/comfort wise, since a big portion of the cost is probably the NC feature.
 
I was so happy when i read the reviews on the Bose, because one of it's biggest pro is the comfort. and apparently it has good sound. but the more i read about them, the more cons they present. ie. low build quality, flimsy cord, and mostly the sound quality seems to be not that great..??? :(  so i'm confused about what is good SQ, is it so much so personal preference that 50/100 can say they sound amazing and the other 50/100 says its way below what you'd call good sound.....? and will I be able the tell the difference between them and the 'real' good SQ headphones?
 
So when reading about the Bose, someone suggested the M50, read the reviews, seems awsome! but how does it compare to the AE2 in terms of comfort? and some say the mids are recessed? what does that mean?
 
and for a higher price range, I'm considering the Hd598 and SRH940, which is better? read great great things about the HD598, although don't really dig the look(doesn't matter much). but heard it might start cracking after a while? a flaw of the HDxxx series, the comments about that issue's been fixed or not is also mixed. and also it might not be good if the songs are not really high quality, cause these cans would expose it's flaws, and as embarrassed as i am, not all my songs r of high quality, especially some of the hard to find stuff i got from the internet...
the SRH940 is more expensive(not sure original retail price vs HD598) is it worth the extra $? how does it compare to hd598?
 
 
Also i came across the Panasonic HTF600, look like it might be a good add-on on top of the HD598 or SRH940. or maybe it's good enough on it's own for my needs? but seems like all the Beyer velour pads are out of stock everywhere on the net.
 
 
Thank you so much if you are patient enough to read all this(don' know how it turned out to be so long...), I hope I don' come off as too pick, too wimpy with my headphone choices. And I mean no offends or disrespect whatsoever, just a humble person looking for a good pair of headphones. all opinions are appreciated.
 
Just remembered a few more i was considering as well:
Sennheiser RS180  @$300
Thought about this cuz it's wireless, looks good, but don't really know about the sound and comfort compare to the hd598 or SRH940
 
 

Edited by swpr - 1/3/12 at 10:24am
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

anyone?

post #3 of 15

Okay so I'm not exactly a professional but I think I can help you cause I have experience with both the Bose AE2 (my friend owns them) and the M50s (I own them). First let me start off by saying headphones are a very personal matter..what I think is good may not necessarily be good to you. Some background: I listen to mostly dubstep/house/electronic and hip-hop with some rock and on occasion classical music

 

Now that we got that out of the way I'll give you my opinion

First, comfort: AE2 wins here..they are lighter and there's enough padding (for me at least). The M50s are heavier and some say they clamp tight..can be fixed though (put the headphones on a tissue box or something of the sort

 

Sound quality: M50's hands down for me. The M50's have more bass and the extension is excellent. There is definitely some thump in the M50s, noticeably more than than AE2s but its clean and easily controlled (M50's EQ really well). The mids are slightly recessed on the M50s but only made noticeable because the bass is so prominent. Thats not to say they sound bloated like the beats or anything but the bass is definitely a strong point for the M50s. The mids are the one area where I think the AE2 may have an advantage..the vocals out of them sounds excellent and since neither the bass or highs are really that prominent the vocals do sound great. The highs on the M50s are clear and have plenty of sparkle for my taste. From reading lots of reviews before I made my decision I've come to the conclusion that most people think the highs are not great but by no means bad. They are just good enough to not offend those with sensitive ears or those who like endless sparkly highs. Again I think the M50s have better highs than the AE2 but they are just overshadowed by the prominent bass. For hip-hop/heavy bass music the M50s are the clear winner. However, for classical music the M50s do tend to sound cramped..not saying the AE2s are much better but you should definitely give them a listen (a lot of stores have them to try like Best Buy/Target). For rock I love the way the drums kick on the M50s and the symbols sound good too, but I don't know if i can pick a definite winner between the two.

 

Isolation: both headphones are decent and should do just fine for your situation. I wear my M50s in public sometimes and they do a good job of blocking out noise and keeping my music in.

 

Finally both headphones are easy to drive and will sound great out of all the stuff you listed.

 

Bottom line: If you want a headphone that sounds great across the spectrum but really shines on the low end you should seriously consider the M50s. For a more vocal focused sound you might wanna go with the Bose. If you can though definitely give the Bose a try even if you don't end up buying them. I know they are not well liked on head-fi but they're not bad at all..especially for someone who doesn't consider themselves an audiophile (me and you according to your post). The vocals out of them sounds great and they have an overall warm/pleasant everyday consumer-friendly sound. Hope this helps!

 

 

 


Edited by ZedsDead - 1/3/12 at 9:59pm
post #4 of 15

For entry level I think the HD598 is the most appealing amongst them.

Sound: Good soundstage and mid, bass is decent, should be enough for your taste.

Comfort: Simply best among the lots.

Isolation: Mediocre, leaking alot.

If you really think your roommate is gonna mind your music, then forget my suggestion though. Otherwise, I've tried all those headphones and I can really recommend you the 598, especially when you're still inexperienced.

post #5 of 15

HD598 is an open can, which means that there is no isolation from the outside world and it doesn't leak sound, it pours it out. So if you don't want to disturb your room mate, look elsewhere. It does have the best SQ out of the bunch in my opinion, I love a big soundstage.

 

Re: the wireless headphones, you'll sacrifice alot of the sound quality because of limitations of battery, and at the same price point they don't often stand up in terms of SQ to other 'phones. Usually.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZedsDead View Post

Finally both headphones are easy to drive and will sound great out of all the stuff you listed.

 

Bottom line: If you want a headphone that sounds great across the spectrum but really shines on the low end you should seriously consider the M50s. For a more vocal focused sound you might wanna go with the Bose. If you can though definitely give the Bose a try even if you don't end up buying them. I know they are not well liked on head-fi but they're not bad at all..especially for someone who doesn't consider themselves an audiophile (me and you according to your post). The vocals out of them sounds great and they have an overall warm/pleasant everyday consumer-friendly sound. Hope this helps!

 

 

 


Thanks for the in depth reply. like your description of the two. I think i really need to give the AE2 a listen, many reviewers said the bass is a bit lacking, and I need to see if i'd feel the same.

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by khoi14021993 View Post

For entry level I think the HD598 is the most appealing amongst them.

Sound: Good soundstage and mid, bass is decent, should be enough for your taste.

Comfort: Simply best among the lots.

Isolation: Mediocre, leaking alot.

If you really think your roommate is gonna mind your music, then forget my suggestion though. Otherwise, I've tried all those headphones and I can really recommend you the 598, especially when you're still inexperienced.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottie584 View Post

HD598 is an open can, which means that there is no isolation from the outside world and it doesn't leak sound, it pours it out. So if you don't want to disturb your room mate, look elsewhere. It does have the best SQ out of the bunch in my opinion, I love a big soundstage.

 

Re: the wireless headphones, you'll sacrifice alot of the sound quality because of limitations of battery, and at the same price point they don't often stand up in terms of SQ to other 'phones. Usually.


 

Is it going to pour the sound so much that the downstairs would hear? cuz that's the closest roommate, the roommate on my floor is all the way at the other end of the hall

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by swpr View Post

 

Is it going to pour the sound so much that the downstairs would hear? cuz that's the closest roommate, the roommate on my floor is all the way at the other end of the hall


I think there's no way a headphones could leak that much.

And don't even consider wireless headphones (except for the new rs220, which i'm not sure of). You'd probably sacrifice a lot of SQ :)

M50 is not bad of a choice actually, but I think it just doesn't suit my taste, too little mid.

SRH940's SQ is just normal, but it's uncomfortable, so I wouldn't consider it.

However, if you want a headphone that can use both at home and on the go, M50 will be a better choice than HD598.

I don't have any experience with the other two so I can't help you with that.

Good luck on your decision :)

 

post #8 of 15

If comfort is your first goal, the Creative Aurvana Live should be on your short list.

post #9 of 15

I wear glasses and have the M50, HD598, and SRH940. In terms of comfort, the HD598 wins hands-down. The SRH940 has velour pads as well, but the actual cup is smaller. As I've worn the HD598's for a while now, there are indentations on the pads from where they touch my glasses, but I would rather have that than have the glasses press up against my head. The M50's I can barely stand to listen to anymore just because of the (lack of) comfort, and though I love my SRH940's, after 2-3 hours I have to switch to the HD598.

 

I use the HD598's for computer audio as well as gaming on my xbox 360, and they are absolutely wonderful. As long as your roommate doesn't spend most of his time in the same room as you, sound leakage is not an issue. Sound leakage from headphones won't go through walls. And I think they're a nice fit for your desired sound signature too. They do vocals quite well, and the bass is tight and present, but not overpowered and bloated. The cracking issue has long been fixed, I don't know why people keep bringing it up. And even if you somehow find yourself with the old version that is prone to cracking, I do believe you can send it in to Senn to get it replaced.

 

Overall, I would highly recommend the HD598 for you from that list. I believe it's more well-rounded than the SRH940. The SRH940 sacrifices some comfort and bass for even sweeter mids and more pronounced highs. But as your music genres are quite varied and comfort is a top priority, I think the HD598 is the way to go. They do benefit from some amping, but it isn't absolutely essential to enjoy them. So you could also consider adding in a DAC and amp as a future investment if you want, but by no means is it required.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoi14021993 View Post


I think there's no way a headphones could leak that much.

And don't even consider wireless headphones (except for the new rs220, which i'm not sure of). You'd probably sacrifice a lot of SQ :)

M50 is not bad of a choice actually, but I think it just doesn't suit my taste, too little mid.

SRH940's SQ is just normal, but it's uncomfortable, so I wouldn't consider it.

However, if you want a headphone that can use both at home and on the go, M50 will be a better choice than HD598.

I don't have any experience with the other two so I can't help you with that.

Good luck on your decision :)

 


 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Choobaka View Post

I wear glasses and have the M50, HD598, and SRH940. In terms of comfort, the HD598 wins hands-down. The SRH940 has velour pads as well, but the actual cup is smaller. As I've worn the HD598's for a while now, there are indentations on the pads from where they touch my glasses, but I would rather have that than have the glasses press up against my head. The M50's I can barely stand to listen to anymore just because of the (lack of) comfort, and though I love my SRH940's, after 2-3 hours I have to switch to the HD598.

 

I use the HD598's for computer audio as well as gaming on my xbox 360, and they are absolutely wonderful. As long as your roommate doesn't spend most of his time in the same room as you, sound leakage is not an issue. Sound leakage from headphones won't go through walls. And I think they're a nice fit for your desired sound signature too. They do vocals quite well, and the bass is tight and present, but not overpowered and bloated. The cracking issue has long been fixed, I don't know why people keep bringing it up. And even if you somehow find yourself with the old version that is prone to cracking, I do believe you can send it in to Senn to get it replaced.

 

Overall, I would highly recommend the HD598 for you from that list. I believe it's more well-rounded than the SRH940. The SRH940 sacrifices some comfort and bass for even sweeter mids and more pronounced highs. But as your music genres are quite varied and comfort is a top priority, I think the HD598 is the way to go. They do benefit from some amping, but it isn't absolutely essential to enjoy them. So you could also consider adding in a DAC and amp as a future investment if you want, but by no means is it required.


 

Thanks a lot guys, I think i will go with the HD598.

 

Choobaka:

If I were to consider an DAC or Amp upgrade in the future, what would you recommend?

by the way what's the difference between DAC and Amp? (in a non-technical sense)

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by islewind View Post

If comfort is your first goal, the Creative Aurvana Live should be on your short list.



Hi thanks for the recommend, but I'm trying to narrow down my list  as i'm quite exhausted.. put in enough time and energy already. I'll be sure to keep this in my future list.

post #12 of 15
I have similar uses intended as you. My desktop for my music and movies and my ps3 for gaming. I currently own Sennheiser HD595s, Audio Technica Ath-M50s and Ath-ad700s, Sony XB700s, and a few others that aren't as nice as the previosly mentioned. If I had to choose one for the things you mentioned it would be the AD700s. The M50s are great all around but it doesn't have the same soundstage as the Ad700s. They also have ear pads that are uncomfortable with glasses on.
post #13 of 15

In your list, HD598 would be the best choice in term of sound quality, gaming. However, they have zero isolation which means they will leak a lot of sound and will bother your room mate for sure. 

For comfort, forget about M50 and SRH940. They are seriously annoying on your head after 15-30 minutes of use.

post #14 of 15

Quote:
Originally Posted by swpr View Post


 

 


 


 

Thanks a lot guys, I think i will go with the HD598.

 

Choobaka:

If I were to consider an DAC or Amp upgrade in the future, what would you recommend?

by the way what's the difference between DAC and Amp? (in a non-technical sense)

 

HD598 would benefit from amp and dac for sure.

DAC is Digital to analog converter, it's like a filter for music. Different DACs can lead to different sound signatures such as dark sounding, sweet, bright, clean....

Amp is amplifier, its more about power for the headphones. It helps to increase quality and quantity of bass/mid/high and overall volume of the headphones

post #15 of 15

I actually got some new ear pads for my M50s recently and tried them out with my glasses, they're actually not bad at all. If you get some M50s and replace the ear pads then that would be a good choice too.

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