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Looking into "real" headphones (newbie here!)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Heyo,

 

I only recently started looking into what I've come to think of as "real" headphones, after seeing so many people suggest brands I'd never even heard of.  Right now I own a Razer Carcharias, with which I've not really noticed too many problems; however, with all the people praising "real" headphones like nothing else, I decided to look into some (as opposed to my usual habit of going to the nearest best buy and finding the most shiny product there).

 

I'll just throw this in here for people who don't want to keep reading:

 

Budget:  Approx. $130 USD (poor college student here, sorry!)

 

Gaming:  SCII, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, TF2, Diablo III (all the typical stuff, I suppose)

 

Music:  Nearly everything except for metal and certain rap (I like to listen to things like this while gaming; ignore the MLP thing - I don't control the picture haha)

 

Looking for comfort, since I spend a lot of time at the computer (8+ hours a day currently)

 

 

 

I've seen a couple suggested many times, the most common probably being the AD700.  I was dead set on it, then I did some more research and learned that supposedly the bass is like little "butterfly farts", according to one user, but everything else is amazing.  I also read that this can be remedied by buying an amp or sound card, or even by using the equalizer (correct me if I'm wrong, this is just from a few hours of research).  As a note, I'm currently using the on-board audio (or some realtek thing, I'm not really certain).

 

I was actually led to the AD700 from looking at suggestions for the Steelseries Siberia v2, which is also how I discovered the unfathomable hatred that head-fi users seem to have for "gaming headsets".  However, I really like the design and customization options for the Siberia, and the built in mic isn't a negative either.  I've also heard it's extremely comfortable.

 

A few others I've come across:

 

AKG K701 (out of budget, unless there's some amazing deal out there)

A bunch of Sennheisers

SRH840

ATH-A700

ATH-M50

 

Each of these I've seen highly praised and criticized, so I am really getting some mixed opinions here.  I'm just looking for the some more! (or, just confirmation that the AD700 is a good choice, and that the bass isn't really THAT big of a deal)

 

Looking forward to any guidance,

 

Dystopic

post #2 of 17

since i see you play mostly real time strategy ,i think that soundstage isnt that importaint, and listening pleasure would be more importaint.

the srh 840 has very little bass but it will impress with the detail and soundstage, the ath M50 has good deep bass with some detail, but lacking in soundstage (means the sound will be kind of congested and sound like its played in your head unlike the srh 840 where the sound seems to be playing around you) siberia... i think it is not bad, but defeatable by various other headphones. only had a 10 second test on it at a fare, so didnt have much time to analyse it. sennheiser hd 518 has good bass, good soundstage but has not as prominent details as the M50.

comfort wise, the m50 has pleather earpads that go mostly around the ear, but still sit at the front part of your ear (depends on your ear size too) the srh840 velour pad is bigger and softer so it will go around the ear with less clamping force than the M50 so i belive it will be more comfortable. the hd518 has very large velour earpads that will only touch your head and not your ear, giving your ear plenty of room, but however these pads are a little hard as they downgraded it from the higher end hd558 pads and the super soft hd598 pads

lastly the ath d7000... sorry but i havent had a chance to test this one out, so i cannot say anything about this...

 

im not sure about the carcharias but ive only hered the electra (which is a bass cannon) the siberia isnt nearly as bassy as the electra, i prefer the siberia over the electra 

do you have any place to test these headphones?

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Alright, thanks for the elaborate response!  I unfortunately don't have anywhere I can test them out, really - I live near campus, so most the electronics stores cater to the students, who favor "trendy" brands like Beats, Bose, Sony, and so on.  Most the other "gaming" headsets don't interest me all that much, really only the Siberia (I've had some bad experiences with Plantronics and Logitech, so I've kinda hit the major brands).  I'm going to hold out for some more feedback, but I appreciate the reply no matter.
 


Edited by Dystopic - 7/21/12 at 5:06am
post #4 of 17

Do you have a dedicated soundcard? 

 

ASUS Xonar DG + AKG K242HD. sounds good to me. Both budget items with big performance, then later you can scale to a proper amp for the AKGs. :)

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I actually looked into the Xonar and will probably grab that with whichever headset I end up choosing.  I just looked up that headset on Amazon though and it's almost $300 USD!  I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the suggestion at all - I am thrilled people are actually replying - but it's a bit out of my price range.  Also, if there's any feedback from someone that has done a Xonar DG + AD700 I would be very appreciative.

 

Dystopic

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dystopic View Post

I actually looked into the Xonar and will probably grab that with whichever headset I end up choosing.  I just looked up that headset on Amazon though and it's almost $300 USD!  I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the suggestion at all - I am thrilled people are actually replying - but it's a bit out of my price range.  Also, if there's any feedback from someone that has done a Xonar DG + AD700 I would be very appreciative.

 

Dystopic

SHould have done some more digging.

 

AKG K242HD (Velour pads) = AKG K240mkII (Leather pads) = AKG K240 Studio (leather pads)

here

 

http://www.amazon.com/AKG-K240MKII-STUDIO-STANDARD-55OHM/dp/B0016MNBAM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1342881164&sr=8-4&keywords=AKG+K242hd

http://www.thomann.de/gb/akg_k242_hd.htm

http://www.thomann.de/gb/akg_k_240_studio_kopfhoerer.htm

 

Look in more places then just amazon :)

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for pulling up those links.  I'm not too familiar with that second dealer, it seems to be primarily EU based?  Am I still able to order from the US to get the 242HD (which seem to be a REALLY good deal there, I mean they're cheaper than the 240 MKII on that site!)?  Or should I just go with Amazon and get the MK II immediately to avoid any problems?

 

Also, still looking for any input on the AD700 with Xonar DG, although the AKGs are starting to look really good and they seem to be pretty comfortable, too!
 

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm still doing research, and it really looks like the AD700s are really more for FPS/positioning based games.  With what I do (as mentioned by an above poster), I guess that's really not priority.  Right now I think I can get either the k242HD or k240 MKII for the same price (k242HD + shipping from EU ends up around ~$133  USD, while the MKII from Amazon ends starts at $135 USD).  Any particular suggestion for either?  I would get a zalman clip on to go with it (unless there is a better cheap microphone that won't pick up everything around me), and probably a $25 Xonar DG to replace my onboard audio.  Do these headphones need an amp as well?

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

bump

 

 

(sorry!)

post #10 of 17
For that price range I'm guessing they don't buy will sound better if they do
post #11 of 17

OP:

 

How do you feel about buying used?  It's a good way to get into better sound without getting kicked in the.....um...wallet.  I got my HD650s used for $320 two years ago - they routinely sell in the $400s now.  I just got my HE-500s from Amazon Warehouse sold as 'used' open box because they had the tiniest of cosmetic defects (the tiniest edge of the metal driver holder was ever-so-slightly scratched.  I had to look hard to find it.).  They retail for $699 - I got them for $550.

 

If you want bass, closed cans will generally do better.  If you want soundstage, open headphones will generally do better.  If you want to blow yourself away and can save up $250, you could buy the Mad Dog modded Fostex sold by a member here.  There's talk that they rival $1000 cans and they're closed cans.  They're also Orthos and if my HE-500 are representative of the driver technology, the instrument separation is like NOTHING you've ever heard.  Best of all, it's said they're driven adequately from an iPhone.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
For that price range I'm guessing they don't buy will sound better if they do

 

My apologies but I really can't make out what it is you're saying..?

 

 

@disastermouse:

 

I don't object to buying used at all, as long as they haven't been beaten to death by the previous owner into scrap.  I took a look at that Mad Dog modded Fostex you mentioned and it looks excellent.  I'll have to decide whether or not to drop the money into them, though, especially due to the "other" things that may be needed with them (Amp, card, etc.)  Thanks for the input though!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dystopic View Post

 

My apologies but I really can't make out what it is you're saying..?

 

 

@disastermouse:

 

I don't object to buying used at all, as long as they haven't been beaten to death by the previous owner into scrap.  I took a look at that Mad Dog modded Fostex you mentioned and it looks excellent.  I'll have to decide whether or not to drop the money into them, though, especially due to the "other" things that may be needed with them (Amp, card, etc.)  Thanks for the input though!

I don't think you 'need' an amp with the Mad Dogs.  The Planar Magnetic or 'Ortho' sound is really....it's something so uniquely cool, at least if my HE-500 are a good representation.  Compared to the HD650s or a lot of other mid-fi cans that you do NEED an amp to get them to sound the way they should, the MDs would be top priority for me if I was looking for an entry into hi-fi-ish headphones.  The jump from crap-phones to the HD650s was dramatic, but the jump from HD650 to HE-500 is probably just as dramatic.  And if the MDs compare well to the HE-500 or LCD-2, that's stunning for the cost.  

 

I'll stop pushing now since I haven't heard the Mad Dogs myself yet.  I just wish I'd have had a great ortho headphone available at that price back when I got my first expensive-ish headphones.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dystopic View Post

I'm still doing research, and it really looks like the AD700s are really more for FPS/positioning based games.  With what I do (as mentioned by an above poster), I guess that's really not priority.  Right now I think I can get either the k242HD or k240 MKII for the same price (k242HD + shipping from EU ends up around ~$133  USD, while the MKII from Amazon ends starts at $135 USD).  Any particular suggestion for either?  I would get a zalman clip on to go with it (unless there is a better cheap microphone that won't pick up everything around me), and probably a $25 Xonar DG to replace my onboard audio.  Do these headphones need an amp as well?

The mad dogs are a good bet. The Xonar DG has a semi-decent headphone amp, it will do good for a starter, the AKGs are comfortable, but treat them well, they aren't very tough. The K240mkII has a detachable cable and leather pads, the K242HD has a fixed cable and Velour pads. I like the velours, but its personal preference. Also Thomann.de is a VERY good retailer. They ship everywhere, at fixed rates. which is quite sweet.

 

:) i don't think I made it any easier. and about the AD700 vs AKG K240 I dont think there is much in it, the AD700 may have the bigger soundstage, but the AKGs won't be far behind, they are AKG's and they are semi-open after all.

post #15 of 17

The K240MKII comes with leatherette and velour pads, plus an extra cable. You could get the K240 Studio for around $80. The Studio model doesn't come with an extra cable or velour pads, but it is the same headphones as the MKII version.  

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