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First foray into the audiophile world. I've read some recommendations, now I'm trying to make a...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm not willing to spend more than $150 on my first set of headphones.

 

The music I listen to is varied, but I usually like music with a lot going on in the production. I mostly listen to rock-based music. I listen to a lot of metal, but I also listen to a lot of prog rock, experimental rock, art rock, you name it. If I'm not in the mood for rock music, I listen to jazz, hip-hop, EDM, or anything else well crafted.

 

A broad look at my taste:

 

Devin Townsend

Pink Floyd

The Beatles

The Beach Boys

Judas Priest

Iron Maiden

Alcest

Agalloch

Bon Iver

Fleet Foxes

Esperanza Spalding

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Joanna Newsom

The Dirty Projectors

Isis

Porcupine Tree

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Dream Theater

 

I think you guys get the point. That should cover the essentials of my taste and the types of productions that I listen to. The first guy on the list is very important to what type of headphone I buy. If you've never heard any of his offerings, first of all, go listen to Terria, right now. Devin creates very elaborate soundscapes with many instruments and sounds filling up the mix. I want a headphone that allows me to fully immerse myself in his "wall of sound" production.

 

Now, all that being said, here are the headphones I've looked at after reading some recommendations:

 

ATH-M50

ATH-AD700

Grado SR80

Grado SR60

Shure SRH440

 

I don't care too much one way or another whether they are open or closed headphores, what I care about most is how immersive and accurate the sound is. I have not listened to any of these headphones. The only expensive headphone I've really listened to is a Bose OE2 that my friend has, so I don't really have a sound preference yet. I hear Guitar Center is a good place to try stuff out, so if I can get there I'll try to listen to any recommended headphones they carry.


Edited by already-taken - 7/10/12 at 11:46am
post #2 of 14

The ATH-AD700 lack bass, are not sealed, and are not portable

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHAD700.pdf

 

The Grado SR60 and SR80 are virtually the same and quite uncomfortable.  They rest on the outside of your outer ear which tends to aggravate the nerves there.  I have gone through the SR60 up the the RS-1i and I could not stand the fit.  They are also bass weak and without sealing you miss out on the treble as well.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/GradoSR60i.pdf

 

 

The SRH440 sound tinny and the earpads just do not last.  The bass also rolls off quite swiftly.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/ShureSRH440.pdf

 

My vote goes to the ATH-M50 which I compared to all of the other said headphones and still preferred.  They are built well, sound great for the price, fold up, seal, and will last many years if you leather lotion the earpads once every few months.

 

ATH-M50 Charts:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50B2012.pdf

 

See how they go deeper into the bass and remain pretty flat up until 5kHz?  They are the better headphone.  If you do discover some clamping force issues which is common with new sealed headphones just place them over a full-sized tissue box when you are not using them.  In a week they will stretch out and fit more suitably.

 

If you have to compromise the Grado SR-60i is the next best for your musical tastes.  They really work well for rock, but the soundstage is nonexistent on many if not all of the Grado products I have tried.


Edited by NA Blur - 7/10/12 at 2:42pm
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

The ATH-AD700 lack bass, are not sealed, and are not portable

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHAD700.pdf

 

The Grado SR60 and SR80 are virtually the same and quite uncomfortable.  They rest on the outside of your outer ear which tends to aggravate the nerves there.  I have gone through the SR60 up the the RS-1i and I could not stand the fit.  They are also bass weak and without sealing you miss out on the treble as well.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/GradoSR60i.pdf

 

 

The SRH440 sound tinny and the earpads just do not last.  The bass also rolls off quite swiftly.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/ShureSRH440.pdf

 

My vote goes to the ATH-M50 which I compared to all of the other said headphones and still preferred.  They are built well, sound great for the price, fold up, seal, and will last many years if you leather lotion the earpads once every few months.

 

ATH-M50 Charts:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50B2012.pdf

 

See how they go deeper into the bass and remain pretty flat up until 5kHz?  They are the better headphone.  If you do discover some clamping force issues which is common with new sealed headphones just place them over a full-sized tissue box when you are not using them.  In a week they will stretch out and fit more suitably.

 

If you have to compromise the Grado SR-60i is the next best for your musical tastes.  They really work well for rock, but the soundstage is nonexistent on many if not all of the Grado products I have tried.

I'll probably end up buying the M50's then unless someone else in this thread shows me something that surpasses them in both quality and price. Also, as a general headphone question, will I need to mess with EQ at all to get the sound I desire once I have these?

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by already-taken View Post


I don't care too much one way or another whether they are open or closed headphores, what I care about most is how immersive and accurate the sound is.

 

How much are you willing to spend?

 

A lot of Grado heads like myself have transitioned from Grado's to ortho's. The SR60 is a great headphone though, that was my first foray into the world of head fi. At the moment though I'm listening to your Devin Townsend, Terria recommendation on MOG with my modified Fostex T50. $74 stock, $30 in materials, and a little sweat equity gets you a rockin good headphone.

post #5 of 14

You should consider a pair of modded fostex t50's on that budget.

 

gL!!

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post

 

How much are you willing to spend?

 

A lot of Grado heads like myself have transitioned from Grado's to ortho's. The SR60 is a great headphone though, that was my first foray into the world of head fi. At the moment though I'm listening to your Devin Townsend, Terria recommendation on MOG with my modified Fostex T50. $74 stock, $30 in materials, and a little sweat equity gets you a rockin good headphone.

Willing to spend up to $150 dollars, but I'd rather something closer to $100 if possible.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by already-taken View Post

Willing to spend up to $150 dollars, but I'd rather something closer to $100 if possible.


I'd go with the SR60, it will synergize very well with the stuff you listen to. Welcome to Head Fi btw.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post


I'd go with the SR60, it will synergize very well with the stuff you listen to. Welcome to Head Fi btw.

 

What do you have to say to the first guy about the SR60's ?

post #9 of 14

Take a look at the Ultrasone Hifi 580 very comparable to the ath-m50.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/583344/ultrasone-hfi-580-dj1-review


Edited by Kosmik Panda - 7/10/12 at 7:59pm
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by already-taken View Post

 

What do you have to say to the first guy about the SR60's ?

 

Nothing, that's his opinion, and he's entitled to it, I dont happen to agree it with it. I've owned several Grado's, and still have my SR60, although it's currently in pieces, a woodied 225, and an HF2. I also own a Fostex T50 that I like quite a bit. The problem with the T50 is it's not plug and play, and It needs modified to get it to where you want it. It also needs a DAC or an amp to sound it's best. The reality though is unless you leave now, and forget you ever found this place, that whatever you end up getting will be the first of many as you fall down...down...down the head fi rabbit hole evil_smiley.gif

post #11 of 14

grado

post #12 of 14

Grado's are quite polarizing.  Some people love them, others can't stand them. 

 

I quite like my SR60i set, but found them uncomfortable and too bright without some modifications to the pads.  I would advise listening to some Grado's before purchasing.

 

I listen to my Creative Aurvana Live! set far more these days.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by already-taken View Post

I'm not willing to spend more than $150 on my first set of headphones.

 

The music I listen to is varied, but I usually like music with a lot going on in the production. I mostly listen to rock-based music. I listen to a lot of metal, but I also listen to a lot of prog rock, experimental rock, art rock, you name it. If I'm not in the mood for rock music, I listen to jazz, hip-hop, EDM, or anything else well crafted.

 

A broad look at my taste:

 

Devin Townsend

Pink Floyd

The Beatles

The Beach Boys

Judas Priest

Iron Maiden

Alcest

Agalloch

Bon Iver

Fleet Foxes

Esperanza Spalding

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Joanna Newsom

The Dirty Projectors

Isis

Porcupine Tree

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Dream Theater

 

I think you guys get the point. That should cover the essentials of my taste and the types of productions that I listen to. The first guy on the list is very important to what type of headphone I buy. If you've never heard any of his offerings, first of all, go listen to Terria, right now. Devin creates very elaborate soundscapes with many instruments and sounds filling up the mix. I want a headphone that allows me to fully immerse myself in his "wall of sound" production.

 

Now, all that being said, here are the headphones I've looked at after reading some recommendations:

 

ATH-M50

ATH-AD700

Grado SR80

Grado SR60

Shure SRH440

 

I don't care too much one way or another whether they are open or closed headphores, what I care about most is how immersive and accurate the sound is. I have not listened to any of these headphones. The only expensive headphone I've really listened to is a Bose OE2 that my friend has, so I don't really have a sound preference yet. I hear Guitar Center is a good place to try stuff out, so if I can get there I'll try to listen to any recommended headphones they carry.

 

 

Of the choices you listed, I recommend the M50.

 

Once, their various strengths were highly praised.

They became incredibly popular.

Soon began to wear the "FOTM" mantle.

Praise lessened, nitpicking began.

And continues.  Folks seem somewhat

cautious about recommending them.

 

But at a buck and a quarter, they're clearly you're best choice.

 

They provide a more immersive listening experience than the Grado 60 or 80.

They sound better than the Shure 440.  (Their competition in the Shure lineup is the 840.)

 

More importantly, they have bass and can therefore easily handle the

strong bass component in your music of choice.

 

Grado's are great headphones for a wide variety of music.  For yours - not so much.

 

They also have better bass than the AT 700.  (Another set of headphones I once owned,,,)

Not quite as "open" sounding as the 700, but beat the 700's everywhere else.

 

Accuracy - I'm not going to get into that here, because it's a huge and divisive topic.

No one really "knows" what's "accurate".  People will show graphs from respected

websites...do they accurately represent how the headphones sound?  The jury's still out

on that.

 

The M50's, I'd say, are generally "accurate" headphones when compared to basshead

monsters, and those so tizzy on top that you cannot wait to take them off.

And, of course, many headphones have both characteristics.

 

The M50's are well made, comfortable, provide strong isolation, and sound very good.

Also, you can sell them in about five minutes should you decide to do so.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

 

The M50's are well made, comfortable, provide strong isolation, and sound very good.

Also, you can sell them in about five minutes should you decide to do so.

This is an excellent point. There are a couple of pairs of these on the F/S forum right now. The F/S forums are one of the benefits of this community. Allows you to buy great gear at a significant discount, and resell the gear for pretty much what you paid for it,

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › First foray into the audiophile world. I've read some recommendations, now I'm trying to make a decision.