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Best sub-$200 "Beginner Audiophile" Headphones?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,


I've decided to become more of an "audiophile" lately and want to get a pair of over ear headphones that will provide the best sound for my setup. I mostly listen to music through one of my three source players (iPad 3rd gen, iPhone 4, and iPod Classic 6th gen) hooked up to either my JDS Labs cMoyBB or digiZoid ZO2. The full sized headphones that I currently use the most are the AIAIAI TMA-1 and Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviators. My audio files are typically 256-320kbps and often in MP3 or any other iTunes/iPod compatible format. I listen mainly to mainstream, popular stuff that tops the iTunes charts. I value high clarity and soundstage the most although I am a pretty big fan of bass (can be accomplished by pairing anything with the ZO2).


I would like to use this pair of "audiophile" headphones as a reference point to test out other headphones, so I'd want the highest quality sound possible.


I did some digging around and found these sub-$200 headphones (listed in order of price) - 


  • Shure SRH440 ($80)
  • Grado SR60i ($80)
  • Grado SR80i ($100)
  • Sennheiser HD280 ($100)
  • Sennheiser HD518 (130)
  • Shure SRH840 ($157)
  • Audio Technica ATH-M50 ($160)
  • Sennheiser HD558 ($175)
  • Beyerdynamic DT770-PRO ($190)



Question is, which one(s) will provide the best listening experience using my current setup? Or are there any other headphones that are more highly recommended for my setup?


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 7

I'd go with the DT770's or Denon AH-D2000 for that price point. Both offer excellent sound quality and bass. If you need a closed headphone that offers good isolation the DT770's are better but as far as sound quality goes I would definitely go with the D2000.

post #3 of 7

Try Sennheiser HD 380 Pro.  They are very comfortable, better sound than HD 280, have great noise isolation, and are under $200.


Edited by joejava - 4/18/12 at 7:44pm
post #4 of 7



Had these for 3 years now.


Unbelievable good. The detail of the bass is astonishing...

post #5 of 7

I would go with the Sennheiser HD558s Great soundstage and good bass, they are fairly well balanced and are comparable to my new HD600s.  

post #6 of 7


Originally Posted by Jmstrmbn View Post

I would go with the Sennheiser HD558s Great soundstage and good bass, they are fairly well balanced and are comparable to my new HD600s.  



if you're looking for soundstage you're really better off with open headphones,

and these are probably the best sounding open headphones on your list.

That is subjective, of course...the Grado 80i's have a big fan base, justifiably.


Bass can be tailored electronically to some extent, unlike soundstage.


Edited by zazex - 4/19/12 at 3:09am
post #7 of 7

I've also been searching around for a pair of headphones with a little more bass. While the headphones I currently have (AKG K550) are very good, they seem to lack a bit of "punch" when I'm listening to hip-hop and r&b. It seems that you're pretty much looking for the same things I'm looking for. So I thought it might be helpful if I posted what I'm going to look to try out in a few days.


I also should add that I'm looking for a pair of closed headphones. I'm going to be using these at home, but if I ever travel (they're typically huge) I don't want to blast people with my music.


These are what I found in my local area to try out.

Denon D2000

Sennheiser HD 558


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