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Another one of THOSE threads (help)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Greetings!

 

I've been doing what is probably an unhealthy amount of research over the last few weeks, but am at an impasse.

 

I have a budget of $250 (plus a small headphone amp if needed, if not, I might be able to stretch on the phones). I'm looking for a set of closed over the ear headphones. I am definitely looking for good all around phones. I tend to wear my headsets for a minimum of several hours a day (and usually in a single stretch), I also wear glasses, so comfort is important. I game, voice chat a lot, and tend to also listen to music frequently. My musical tastes include basically everything; that said, I like bass, but I don't want a headache from it either. I do tend to like somewhat bright highs; my EQ is generally of the V shaped variety, just not nearly as high on the low end. I'll likely grab an antlion modmic to go with these.

 

All that said, here's the sets I've been mulling over:

 

Beyerdynamic DT770/880/990 (pro? premium? difference?)

AKG Q 701's (These look to have one of those super comfy type headbands)

Audio Technica A900 (or maybe even the 700 with a small amp if that's worth it)

Denon AHD2000 (Budget busting, but I plan to keep what I get long term, so if they're worth it...)

 

In order of importance, I'd probably say Comfort > Sound Quality (Music) > Sound Quality (Games, though reasonable software 5.1/7.1 reproduction would be nice). I have a bad neck, so headphones that sit heavy on a top of head band will produce a fine headache after a while. I've heard the Beyer's are still quite comfortable even having a standard band, so that's why they're included (great SQ doesn't hurt either!)

 

I'm not adverse to cheaper or slightly more expensive sets if there are some obvious better choices that I've overlooked.

 

:)


Edited by Naqahdah - 7/13/12 at 1:11am
post #2 of 15
I dislike Beyerdynamic enough to know better than to talk about them, so ask a fan for impressions and differences. Between the three numbers, you're looking at closed (770), and two open models (880 and 990) - I believe the 990 is the one you'd want, but again, ask a fan/owner first.

Anyways, on to the rest:

The AKGs will not satisfy if you want a lot of bottom-end slam. They have good, extended bass, but it's somewhat dry, and may not give you the "thump" you want. They're very pleasant overall though. The Denon are a better choice, but have somewhat grainy/harsh highs and flabby lows by contrast - there's a Kenwood model I like more, but it will absolutely blow your budget (they're $400). Also note that the AKGs are not closed.

I'd steer you towards a few other models, which may or may not satisfy your budget or requirements:

- Bose QC15. These are very light (under 200g, which is SMALL for a headphone, even on-ear models) and very comfortable, I would guess these would not aggravate your neck or head. They sound good, have very good bass extension and impact, and the highs are taken down enough as to not be offensive (no sibilance/harsh-ness), the downside is they eat batteries and are a bit "lifeless" sounding.

- Ultrasone HFI-2400. These are relatively light and fairly comfortable, they have velour pads and are semi-open, so they won't heat up. Like every other Ultrasone I've heard, they can bring a lot of thunderous bass to the table, only if the material calls for it (like explosions in a videogame), but for the most part they're fairly tame. Unlike their more expensive, Titanium-coated brothers, they aren't harsh or aggressive with clashy material - at the expense of being somewhat slow and tubby (and I should qualify when I spent time with these, my "next up" comparison headphone was still an unfair comparison). The rub is that they're open-back and don't provide tons of isolation, I don't think they leak too bad though.

- Grado SR-225i. These are very open/non-isolating on-ear headphones, so that blows a lot of your requirements up right there. But they sound very good, and are relatively comfortable. They don't have a whole lot of bass, but they have a satisfying impact, and a somewhat v-shaped sound signature (like many Grados), which coupled with their very musical/PRaTy nature, makes them a fun listen.

Of all of those and the other models you listed, if you can't budge on the closed-back requirement, I'd take the Denons or the Bose (the Bose may cost less, is why I'm suggesting them). If you can go open or semi-open, the HFI-2400 and SR-225 both deserve consideration, and if on-ear is a debate for you, get the Ultrasone. Both of those models run around $200 fairly regularly (the Ultrasone's SRP is like $350, but they come down from there so often that it's probably not unrealistic to wait if they're currently out of your budget).
post #3 of 15

For closed cans i like the DT-150's. Good comfort with glasses though you might have to change the headband for some extra padding. Not a problem for me though.

Sound wise they are well balanced with a bit of oomph in the bottom end without it being overbearing. No typical beyer treble imo, it might be considered a bit warm but i think it's just balanced and neutral besides the bass but it suits it. Actually sounds more like an open then a closed can. Isolation is quite good as well.

 

Other things i like are the spacious cups so i can wear them for hours without irritating my ears, built like a tank and every single part is replaceable. But the way they are i don't see them breaking with normal use honestly.

Only downside is maybe that they are quite ugly and big but given their other advantages it's easy to forgive that aspect. 

 

Weight wise i reckon they're about as comfortable as the T1 then again i have no problem with the HE-500 so maybe i'm not the best person to ask.

post #4 of 15
Heya,

The d2000 is the way to go, with a fiio e10. You basically described the denon with what you want.

Very best,
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,
The d2000 is the way to go, with a fiio e10. You basically described the denon with what you want.
Very best,

I noticed the e10 is USB. Would it allow amping from a sound card signal, or is there a reasonably priced amp that will? I realize I'd be relying on the sound cards dac, but I'm okay with that trade off in sound quality to be able to use positional audio!

Also, how do the d1000's compare overall? Worth the price difference to just get the 2000's?
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Upon further research, it looks like the A900X set might also be a good option. They're $100 less than the d2000s, any thoughts on how they compare, amped or not?

I'll likely get a small amp either way, so now it is down to whether the extra $ justifies getting the D2000s!
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
By way of a bump, I've pretty well got it narrowed down to these, from most expensive to least:

Denon AHD2000
AKG K550
Audio Technica A900X

I think for all of them, I'm going to pick up a nice Asus card, to both amp them and provide surround for gaming.

Basically, now I'm just looking to see if it is worth moving up the price chain for each set of phones!
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naqahdah View Post

By way of a bump, I've pretty well got it narrowed down to these, from most expensive to least:
Denon AHD2000
AKG K550
Audio Technica A900X
I think for all of them, I'm going to pick up a nice Asus card, to both amp them and provide surround for gaming.
Basically, now I'm just looking to see if it is worth moving up the price chain for each set of phones!

Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card.

Audio Technica ATH-A900 (Used $162, save some cash)

post #9 of 15

To be honest, I wouldn`t recommend the A-900s. I`ve heard the pads are uncomfortable, and they sure look it. The wing support can creak after a while, the sound quality leaves a little to be desired (though from the sounds of it, it`s not bad- just could be better).

 

 This is all based on speculation, seeing as I am too poor and live to far away to actually ever try/buy too much. I truly believe you should dish out a little more/do a little more research for a better experience.

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

To be honest, I wouldn`t recommend the A-900s. I`ve heard the pads are uncomfortable, and they sure look it. The wing support can creak after a while, the sound quality leaves a little to be desired (though from the sounds of it, it`s not bad- just could be better).

 This is all based on speculation, seeing as I am too poor and live to far away to actually ever try/buy too much. I truly believe you should dish out a little more/do a little more research for a better experience.

I've also read this, that's why I was leaning more toward the A900X. My main reservations with it are that, depending on your head, the weight of the phones can make the wings rather ineffective and uncomfortable, and that something like the AKG K550 produces considerably higher sound quality for not much extra cash.

Then there is the Denons, which everything I've read says they produce lows a lot of sets just won't, and are essentially perfect for the V type EQ that I typically enjoy.

At this point, I'm thinking about either just shelling out the dough for the Denons, or, given that these are my first set of audiophile-ish phones (other than my IE8s), just picking up the A700/A900 and a Xonar on the cheap and trying them out, kind of see how they are, if I feel like I'm missing something, etc. Amazon has a great return policy, so I figure it can't hurt to try something else out before going all the way with the Denons.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naqahdah View Post


I've also read this, that's why I was leaning more toward the A900X. My main reservations with it are that, depending on your head, the weight of the phones can make the wings rather ineffective and uncomfortable, and that something like the AKG K550 produces considerably higher sound quality for not much extra cash.
Then there is the Denons, which everything I've read says they produce lows a lot of sets just won't, and are essentially perfect for the V type EQ that I typically enjoy.
At this point, I'm thinking about either just shelling out the dough for the Denons, or, given that these are my first set of audiophile-ish phones (other than my IE8s), just picking up the A700/A900 and a Xonar on the cheap and trying them out, kind of see how they are, if I feel like I'm missing something, etc. Amazon has a great return policy, so I figure it can't hurt to try something else out before going all the way with the Denons.

I own the ATH-A900X and ATH-AD700.

I've seen reviews comparing the A900X (40-Ohm) to the A900 (40-Ohm)

The A900s are not bassy headphones, but they should be good for long term listening and easy to use with glasses.

Buying the A900s (used) leaves enough cash from your budget for something like the Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Head Amp. (Amazon $68.99).

Fiios are good headphone amplifiers for low Ohm headphones compared to sound cards,

which usually come with a high impedance, which can be a negative for low Ohm headphones.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I own the ATH-A900X and ATH-AD700.
I've seen reviews comparing the A900X (40-Ohm) to the A900 (40-Ohm)
The A900s are not bassy headphones, but they should be good for long term listening and easy to use with glasses.
Buying the A900s (used) leaves enough cash from your budget for something like the Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Head Amp. (Amazon $68.99).
Fiios are good headphone amplifiers for low Ohm headphones compared to sound cards,
which usually come with a high impedance, which can be a negative for low Ohm headphones.

My primary reservation with the E10 is that it seems like it is its own sound card? It seems like it would basically cut out the ability to use surround audio for gaming, which is why I was leaning toward one of the Xonar cards.

You said you have the A900X, are they not something you would recommend? Also, how much worse are the A700?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naqahdah View Post


My primary reservation with the E10 is that it seems like it is its own sound card? It seems like it would basically cut out the ability to use surround audio for gaming, which is why I was leaning toward one of the Xonar cards.
You said you have the A900X, are they not something you would recommend? Also, how much worse are the A700?

The ATH-A900X are my best sounding closed headphone, the only negative is the wings do not hold up the headphones that well.

The headphone wants to slide down until the inside of the cup is touching the top of my ear.

I'm try to leave the wings held all the way down, over night, hopeful I can change the "memory" of the springs.

The A900X cost me $256 (one day shipping), so I'm not sure the value would be there for others because of the price.

During the first 30 days, I was thinking of returning them, but could not find all the original packing material, so with the cost of returning (shipping) them and the possiblity of a restocking fee.

I thought I would try them for awhile, could always sell them off. But they do have just the right audio balance I like.

So I guess I'm keeping the A900X and selling off most of my other closed headphones.

I was "guessing" the springs on the A900 are a little better then the A900X and at (used) $150 a good value.

 

If you need surround sound for gaming and movies, then getting the Asus Xonar DG ($16-$26) or DGX ($40) sound card is a better choice (and price).

 

A700 vs. A900 vs. A700X vs. A900X

A700 owner do not seem to recommend them for others, I'm not sure on how the A700X sound.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Interesting info. I might just have to wait a month so I can grab one of the pricier sets and a Xonar to go with it.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

To follow up, I ended up going mid-range on price from the options and getting the A900X.

 

I seem to have a large enough head that I haven't had any slippage or discomfort issues at all.

 

I originally cheaped out and tried the A700's, and they only sounded decent, but were very comfortable. My mother has been wanting a set of decent headphones for a while, so I ended up taking the A700's to her place and she loved them, so I gave her those and pulled the trigger on the A900X. These definitely sound better than the A700's, amped or not. I'm currently just using a little Fiio E6 and it works great!

 

My source is a USB X-Fi 5.1. I thought sub bass was a touch lacking, but the Creative Console actually has a large array of sound options, including a bass boost that lets you set the frequency and gain. I bumped up the low low range and bumped down the pre-amp to avoid distortion, and they sound amazing. The bonus is I can turn on CMSS-3D and get great 5.1 positional audio in games... the soundstage on these cans has been wonderful for that.

 

Overall I'm quite happy with them. I think my only thoughts now are bumping up to something 7.1, and getting myself a non-studio style mic since the one I have is crystal clear, but excels at picking up everything within a city block of me.

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