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Best closed headphone under 300 dollars

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Im planning on selling my atm-m50 for a better closed can. I listen mostly to rock and pop rock, sometimes electronic but very rarely. Which headphone is best for rock and pop rock at the 300 dollar price range. Is the AKG K550 good for rock? Also, could you suggest something other than the akg k550 because I don't know if its too big or not. I also would like to say that I hate laid back headphones. I want a headphone which gives me a thrill and sounds alive, I want upfront aids and clear vocals. Also, it has to be an improvement over the m50 since Im replacing it. I will be using it with a fiio e11 amp. I don't care if its over ear or on ear both are fine for me.


Edited by daniel521 - 8/12/12 at 10:14am
post #2 of 26

I think you are on the right track with the k550s.  I have a pair coming from Headroom on Wednesday.  I also bought the Sure SRH840s as a comparison.  I'm listening to those right now and they sound amazing.  I let a friend listen to them and he offered to buy them from me.  Ha, he'll have to wait until I get a good listen with the K550's later in the week.  BTW, I'm coming to the LA Head-fi meet up at the LAX Hilton on Saturday if anyone wants to do a direct comparison.

post #3 of 26

You may also want to look into Mr Speaker's Modded t50rp, the Mad Dog as well.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbritt View Post

I think you are on the right track with the k550s.  I have a pair coming from Headroom on Wednesday.  I also bought the Sure SRH840s as a comparison.  I'm listening to those right now and they sound amazing.  I let a friend listen to them and he offered to buy them from me.  Ha, he'll have to wait until I get a good listen with the K550's later in the week.  BTW, I'm coming to the LA Head-fi meet up at the LAX Hilton on Saturday if anyone wants to do a direct comparison.

Do you think the k550 outclasses any other closed can in that price range for rock music? Is it a big improvement over the m50? Another headphone I was considering was the hd 25, is the k550 better? Also, does it have good isolation, does sound leak out a lot? Lastly, is it laid back? I hate laid back headphones and tend to prefer brighter and more aggressive ones which sound more alive.


Edited by daniel521 - 8/12/12 at 2:05pm
post #5 of 26

The M50 is a pretty solid headphone, and you might not find much of an upgrade in the closed category for under $300. It measures well from a frequency response standpoint (fairly neutral with some rough spots) and does not have much in the way of resonance problems.  I have heard they revised the M50, which if true, this might not be the same for your particular M50.

 

I have not heard the K550, but it does seem to have a large treble spike right around 7-8KHz along with sharp resonance problems in the treble according to purrin's measurements. Tyll's measurements are slightly different, but I personally have found purrin's measurements to be more accurate when it comes to mids and treble. Aside from the treble issues and a dip in the 3-5KHz range, they seem pretty nice. However, I wouldn't recommend them at that price based on that data and others' impressions of them. I would encourage you to sample these with your own sources and material before buying.

 

Another potential option is the Brainwavz HM5. If you aren't aware, it's the same headphone as the popular FA-003. I believe they're around $140. I was personally not a huge fan of them, but the vast majority of people seem to really like them. They're supposedly fairly neutral. I think it would come down to personal preference whether or not this one actually beats the M50.

 

If you can find it in that price range, there's the Denon AH-D2000. They're known for their strong, extended bass. I'd say they're somewhat bloated in the bass, and they have some spots in the mids that are a bit recessed. Treble can be a bit sibilant, peaky, and has some sharp resonant issues. I personally liked these better than the M50 when I had them in their stock form, but my opinion might have changed now that I'm getting better acclimated with what a neutral, reference sound is like. I think it would be fair to say that the M50 is better than the D2000 in many, if not most, regards.

 

As for the Mad Dogs, those look like a great deal at $250. I've modded the T50RP before, and I have a set of the Paradox. I'm somewhat familiar with them and have heard their potential. From a technical standpoint, they should be quite good. They are voiced more like the HD650 or LCD-2, in case you do or don't like that sound signature. So, sound signature aside, they're probably better than the M50 in most ways. That's just my guess based on my experience with the T50RP and measurements I've seen for the Mad Dog. Whether or not the E11 would be good enough for them, I don't know. 

 

Still, from a technical standpoint, the M50 seems to have less issues than most of these headphones in regards to frequency response and resonance. What you ultimately prefer, however, is up to you.

post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 

does the k550 at least fix the m50s recessed mids? And how are the highs in the k550, are they smooth or bright/piercing?

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

bump

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

does the k550 at least fix the m50s recessed mids? And how are the highs in the k550, are they smooth or bright/piercing?


The K550 is fairly flat. The highs are brighter than the M50, but it's not bright/piercing.

Then again, my listening time with the K550 was very short, I hope this helps.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post

The M50 is a pretty solid headphone, and you might not find much of an upgrade in the closed category for under $300. It measures well from a frequency response standpoint (fairly neutral with some rough spots) and does not have much in the way of resonance problems.  I have heard they revised the M50, which if true, this might not be the same for your particular M50.

 

I have not heard the K550, but it does seem to have a large treble spike right around 7-8KHz along with sharp resonance problems in the treble according to purrin's measurements. Tyll's measurements are slightly different, but I personally have found purrin's measurements to be more accurate when it comes to mids and treble. Aside from the treble issues and a dip in the 3-5KHz range, they seem pretty nice. However, I wouldn't recommend them at that price based on that data and others' impressions of them. I would encourage you to sample these with your own sources and material before buying.

 

Another potential option is the Brainwavz HM5. If you aren't aware, it's the same headphone as the popular FA-003. I believe they're around $140. I was personally not a huge fan of them, but the vast majority of people seem to really like them. They're supposedly fairly neutral. I think it would come down to personal preference whether or not this one actually beats the M50.

 

If you can find it in that price range, there's the Denon AH-D2000. They're known for their strong, extended bass. I'd say they're somewhat bloated in the bass, and they have some spots in the mids that are a bit recessed. Treble can be a bit sibilant, peaky, and has some sharp resonant issues. I personally liked these better than the M50 when I had them in their stock form, but my opinion might have changed now that I'm getting better acclimated with what a neutral, reference sound is like. I think it would be fair to say that the M50 is better than the D2000 in many, if not most, regards.

 

As for the Mad Dogs, those look like a great deal at $250. I've modded the T50RP before, and I have a set of the Paradox. I'm somewhat familiar with them and have heard their potential. From a technical standpoint, they should be quite good. They are voiced more like the HD650 or LCD-2, in case you do or don't like that sound signature. So, sound signature aside, they're probably better than the M50 in most ways. That's just my guess based on my experience with the T50RP and measurements I've seen for the Mad Dog. Whether or not the E11 would be good enough for them, I don't know. 

 

Still, from a technical standpoint, the M50 seems to have less issues than most of these headphones in regards to frequency response and resonance. What you ultimately prefer, however, is up to you.

From what I've heard, the K550 is a bit lacking in bass for a closed headphone. Not surprisingly I should say, since it has the AKG label. Har har. 

 

The M50 sounded a bit warm in my ears, and the frequencies are not well balanced. The bass leaks into the midrange, making the midrange seem recessed. This was obvious when I was listening to a modern piano album. In addition, the topic creator (TC) seems to be interested in noise isolation. This certainly the K550 excels in, as opposed to the Denon D2000, which is more open than closed (semi-open). That headphone has very little isolation. The only reason to ever go for the Denons is for their bass, since they lose out on all the advantages of an open headphone while having nearly none of the advantages of a closed phone. Not saying they're bad cans, but in practicality, they don't excel at anything in particular. 
 

T50RP, being a planar and all, should have a very good flat frequency response. Whether the TC will enjoy that, who knows. To be honest TC, there are not that many great closed headphones out there. The best ones tend to be either too expensive or not practical. You can look into the Ultrasone series or the DT770. They are known for great bass. But like I said, I never really saw the point of upgrading closed headphones. There usually isn't a clear "upgrade" to the sound. I'm sure the M50s can do something better than what a Pro 900 could do, for example. Perhaps you should save your money, get a good amp/dac or a good open headphone for use in the future. 

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

does the k550 at least fix the m50s recessed mids? And how are the highs in the k550, are they smooth or bright/piercing?

Mids should be better... but the bass you might be disappointed since you're already psychologically adapt to the emphasized bass of the M50. 

post #11 of 26

DT1350. Next thread

post #12 of 26

Hi, for what the TC wants, the Shure SRH940 will probably deliver in spades, but it is a very uncomfortable headphone for many people. If the TC can try it before buying it to see if the comfort is fine, I think it would work pretty well.

post #13 of 26

What's with this TC thing?

I don't think he'd enjoy the SRH-940 (they're quite bright). Not to mention they have build quality issues.

I think he should get the K550.

The 940 is probably better in terms of fidelity though, but too many problems.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by delusionist View Post

I don't think he'd enjoy the SRH-940 (they're quite bright). Not to mention they have build quality issues.

They aren't really any brighter than the ATH-M50, the simply have a dip in the mid-bass, which some people don't mind and others can fix with EQ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

I want a headphone which gives me a thrill and sounds alive, I want upfront aids and clear vocals.

The SRH-940 I think does this better than the K550, which is why I recommended it. 

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post

You may also want to look into Mr Speaker's Modded t50rp, the Mad Dog as well.

 

If you're not seriously looking at this, you should.

 

gL!!

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