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Purchase Advice - OE headphones ~$300

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

This is my first post.  I am looking to purchase a set of nice over the ear headphones for use with my iPhone.  

 

I am looking for something for no more than $300.  I want something that I can put on and feel like I am in another place with the music.  I listen to indie rock, hip hop, and some electronic music.  I will typically use them while I am doing schoolwork, but I will be flying with them on occasion.  I am looking for sound quality and comfort. I don't need them to be noise canceling necessarily.  They must be comfortable enough to wear for hours, but at the same time, keep a good amount of outside noise away.

 

I've done limited research, and have read good things about the Audio Technica M50's.  I am wondering if there are better HP's out there in terms of comfort and sound quality for a few bucks more.  I know that they are the best for the price, though what if I wanted to spend $100 more?

 

Thanks for all of the advice, I appreciate it.  Also note that I would be buying these on Amazon.

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Bump - any advice?  I am leaning toward the m50 with an amp, but was hoping for some input.

post #3 of 18

Denon D2000's might be up your alley. They've got great sound quality, can be run nicely from an iPhone (some headphones need more power than an iPhone can provide to sound good), and they're very comfortable.

There are a few downsides, though, they have a long cable, they aren't too portable, and they don't isolate *quite* as well as a lot of other closed headphones. But for the price, they're probably the most fun headphones with the best soundstage at that price bracket.

Other ones to look at are the Ultrasone HFI-780, the Ultrasone Pro 750, and the Sennheiser HD25-1 II. The 780's are fun, and cheaper. The 750's are nicer than the 780's, and really good if you want very precise bass. Plus they have a shorter cable (and a longer one, interchangeable), and are more portable than the D2000's (and almost as portable as the 780's). The Sennheiser HD25-1 II's are the most portable. However, they have a less bass-focused sound, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on what your prefer. The D2000's are the most comfortable of the bunch, followed by the Pro 750's.


Edited by Taowolf51 - 1/3/12 at 1:38pm
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

There are two 750 s-logic pro's on amazon, about 70$ difference.  What are the differences?  One of them looks foldable.

 

Im definitely looking for isolation and good bass.  

 

Are these better than the m50's for that.  Portability is not a concern, in fact the bigger the better.

post #5 of 18

One is blue, one is black. The blue one is the older model, and is more rare (I think the seller is just taking advantage of that). I don't think there is any difference between the two other than color. They're both foldable.

 

They all have decent isolation, but the D2000's have the least of the group. I notice a minor difference between my D7000's and my Pro 750's, but nothing major. That loss in isolation is because of the housing's construction. The construction gives them a better soundstage. Soundstage is the size of the hypothetical room you're listening in. The 780's will sound like the sound is coming from the inside of your head, the Pro 750's will sound like there are speakers close to your ear, and the D2000's will sound like you are in a small room. A larger soundstage is preferable, but I don't know how important that is to you (and honestly, you won't know either until you experience both).

The Pro 750's, HFI-780's, and D2000's have great bass. The D2000's are the most comfortable of the group, next comfortable are the Pro 750's.

The D2000's will work the best out of the three from an iPod. They require less energy than the other two (not by a huge amount, though). I would still recommend an amp and dac for any of these if you want to get the most from them. I'd recommend something like a Fiio E7/E9. They're both a DAC and Amp combo, and they're great for the price. Only difference is that the E7 is portable, and the E9 isn't. The E9 also can drive more demanding headphones (none of the ones I've recommended are demanding).

Thing is, you can get the DAC/Amp later. It's what I usually do. The Fiio ones aren't too expensive, the E7 shouldn't run you more than $100.

 

They are all modable to some extent, the D2000's are by far the more modded headphones. After that come the 780's. The 750's aren't often modded, but the Kees mod is super easy to do, and if you don't like it, you can just unmod them in a minute.

You can think of modding as "upgrading" the headphones with a nicer cable, some sound-dampening material, new ear pads, or new cups. You may be into that sort of thing, you may not.

 

Also, Ultrasones usually are love-or-hate headphones. They have a very controversial house sound that will either make you think they sound fantastic, or think they sound awful. Looking at the music you listen to, you will most likely be in the former camp. They're great for electronic music, but pretty bad for acoustic or classic rock. The house sound of the Denons are similar, but they have more of a midrange (making them work decently with acoustic as well as electronic), and are warmer. The 750's are cold and precise, intensely fast and surgical. They're both good in their own ways, and both will serve you well. It just depends on which one you want. If you have the cash, you could buy both, and use them each for about a week (it takes a few days to get used to a pair of headphones, before that they won't sound as good), and return the ones you don't like. It's a common practice around here, but you *need* to make sure the online store has a good return policy before doing this.


Edited by Taowolf51 - 1/3/12 at 4:50pm
post #6 of 18

The Fischer Audio FA-003 and a cheap little portable amp (like the JDS Labs CMoyBB, which has a bass boost switch) will do very nicely for you. It's neutral, meaning that no frequency overtakes any other in volume, but the bass is very well-developed and certainly not in the background. Every other range is also very svelte, and the FA-003 is a very open-sounding headphone, meaning instrument separation and spatial definition is immense. It has been positively compared to the Sennheiser HD-600. The FA-003 has really good isolation, which will suit you well on the plane, and is comfortable for long use. However, the only detractor is that you need a little amp like the CMoyBB to make it truly shine. Considering the CMoyBB has a bass boost switch, however, that'll make your preferences for listening all the more sweet. Altogether, the combo costs just over $200.

 

Sincerely,

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input - however one of my pre-req's was that it had to be available at Amazon, as i have substantial credit that i would like to use.  Unfortunately the Fischers are not available there.

 

The Ultrasone's seem to get decent reviews, however not as good as the M50's.  I am wondering why the M50's are ranked so highly by head-fi, when they are considerably less money than the others.  The Ultrasone 750 are ranked at 93 overall. 

 

The denon 2000 look decent and have good reviews as well, however they aren't as good at isolation as others, at least I've read.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 18


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dch27 View Post

Thanks for the input - however one of my pre-req's was that it had to be available at Amazon, as i have substantial credit that i would like to use.  Unfortunately the Fischers are not available there.

 

The Ultrasone's seem to get decent reviews, however not as good as the M50's.  I am wondering why the M50's are ranked so highly by head-fi, when they are considerably less money than the others.  The Ultrasone 750 are ranked at 93 overall. 

 

The denon 2000 look decent and have good reviews as well, however they aren't as good at isolation as others, at least I've read.

 

 

 

 

I'm very sorry, I must've missed that limitation.

 

The reason the the M50 is extremely high-ranked is because for awhile it was kind of a fad on Head-Fi. It was recommended by a few established users, then all the newbies had them and were recommending and reviewing them as the best thing ever left and right, despite not ever owning anything else in the price range. The M50 doesn't really fit much of its original recommendation intent anymore (the new white-box version is more neutral and is no longer suitable for bassheads but it's still not neutral enough to be a monitor, and the price has gone up substantially so it's no longer a great value). It's a five-star can at $120, but not at the $150-$160 that it's advertised at in most places now. KRK has taken their thunder in terms of monitors, and the Ultrasone HFI-580 and HFI-780 have stolen the basshead market, all for less money.

 

The M50, don't get me wrong, is a capable headphone. I'm listening to mine right now and they have at least 1,200 hours on them by now. However, despite the Junior Head-Fi'ers recommending them as amazing, the tide has turned on them.

 

Sincerely,

post #9 of 18

Above is a good explanation of the M50's position. I wouldn't take the total review score on head-fi to heart. The total scores are very much influenced by popularity (how many people own the headphones). More popular headphones will get more good reviews (usually people are enamored with their new headphones). I'd read individual reviews there, read threads about headphones you're interested in, and ask the members what they suggest for you. It's what I do, and I've never been led astray. :)

 

The Pro 750's are a lesser well known version of their big brother, the Pro 900. They're pretty popular among people looking for a good midrange bass can. In fact, they can be had for $306 on amazon right now; a shockingly good deal, honestly. Back when I got my Pro 750's, they were $230, and the Pro 900's were almost $400. For only a bit more cash, the Pro 900's are a nice upgrade. Of course, that depends on whether you want to spend the money. Both will suit you well if you like the house sound, but I'd really recommend looking into spending the extra money on the 900's if you were set on the 750's.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well I went ahead and got the Ultrasone 750 's.  I thought about the 900's but with the amp, it would put me out of my price range for now.  From everything i've read, if you get a decent amp, and let them break in, they should sound better than anything I've ever heard.  The last set of koss's I owned that were purchased 13 years ago from an overpriced music store chain for 30 bucks.

 

I will let everybody know how they sound to me, though I am no expert. 

 

I do need to figure out which amp I should get.  It would need to be portable, and once again I would like it to come from amazon.  I am learning towards the E7.

 

Also, I have to figure out how to break them in.  I guess I just let them play constantly?

post #11 of 18

The E7 will do you nicely, I think. It's compact, has a nice battery life, and drives the 750's well. Be sure to get an LOD (line-out dock) if you want to use them with an iPod. An LOD transmits the full digital signal to the E7 so that the DAC (Digital to Analog converter) can convert it to analog. If you use a simple 3.5mm jack to 3.5mm jack to connect the iPod to the E7, it will use the iPod's cheaper DAC, and bypass the E7's DAC entirely, utilizing only the amp.

Also, I'd start taking a look at higher bitrate music. Definitely try to get as high of a resolution as you can, since you'll notice a nice boost in sound if you get something above the usual 128 or 196. 320 is a good compromise between space and quality, while lossless is full out quality. However, lossless files are pretty damn big.

 

Whether breaking in (called burn-in) does anything is contested at head-fi. Usually people either believe in burn-in (which is the driver loosening over a period and finally getting to their natural state, like breaking in a new pair of leather boots), or brain-in (which is your mind getting used to the headphone's sound signature). There are also people who believe in neither. Personally, I'm on the bench between burn-in and brain-in. I'm not sure which is true, but I *do* believe that something happens. Whenever I get a new pair of headphones, I always think they're kinda cruddy in the beginning, but over time their sound signature changes quite significantly. I even noticed this before I even knew about burn-in or brain-in.

What I did when I got my last pair of headphones is for the first day, I ran music through them. And every hour or two, I would listen to them  for about 20 minutes or so. You don't need to keep any schedule, just use them when you want, and play music through them when you don't. After the first day I only played music through them when I was using them. After about a week of frequent use, they'll settle in for the most part. It may change a bit after that, but most of it is done in the first few days. I would say be sure to use them a bunch, but you probably will want to anyways. It's hard for me to take my headphones off now. :p

 

Oh, and congrats on your new headphones. :)


Edited by Taowolf51 - 1/4/12 at 8:07am
post #12 of 18

All this talk about M50 being "overrated" (seen in most threads) is a bit silly if you ask me. The headphones are more than capable and there are quite a few times when I actually prefer them to both D2000 and Pro 900 - both twice the price of M50. There are no times at all that I prefer my CAL! over the M50.

 

Sure, there are better headphones out there, but the M50 is a real good headphone for the price, and very versatile when it comes to music genres.

 

Anyway, I hope you get happy with your Pro 750.. :)

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coq de Combat View Post

All this talk about M50 being "overrated" (seen in most threads) is a bit silly if you ask me. The headphones are more than capable and there are quite a few times when I actually prefer them to both D2000 and Pro 900 - both twice the price of M50. There are no times at all that I prefer my CAL! over the M50.

 

Sure, there are better headphones out there, but the M50 is a real good headphone for the price, and very versatile when it comes to music genres.

 

Anyway, I hope you get happy with your Pro 750.. :)


I agree that it sounds better than the CAL! and is a nice can, but its original pricing of around $120 is much better than what they're charging now and there are now cheaper and better alternatives out there.

 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssrock64 View Post


I agree that it sounds better than the CAL! and is a nice can, but its original pricing of around $120 is much better than what they're charging now and there are now cheaper and better alternatives out there.

 



Of course, the cheaper they are, the better the value. ;)

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

So my 750's and fiio e7 arrived today in the mail.

 

They aren't as comfortable as I thought they would be, but they arent unfomfortable either. 

 

As far as isolation goes, I thought they would be better.  I don't have much problem hearing ambient noises while I am wearing them - granted they werent turned on. 

 

In terms of listening pleasure, they do sound nice, but they don't blow me away just yet.  I am going to have them on for the next four days to burn them in, and we will see if it gets much better.

 

I also purchased the materials to do the Kees mod, however I cannot seem to find an official up to date tutorial on how to do it.  Can somebody tell me where to find a tutorial on how to do it, and what this does for the sound quality, in laymens terms?

 

Thanks1

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