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Shopping for a new pair under $100. Really bad luck so far.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello forum,

 

So I need a pair of big comfortable headphones for fall semester at college. I have a Harmon Kardon amp and tons of audio/recording/musician gear, but 90% of the time I'll be using them for music on my laptop (with or without an external amp/interface).

 

I never planned to spend much on head phones and I'm more of a car audio guy, but as I find myself spending more and more time at a computer in a public setting I've become more critical. I have to think something under $100 will satisfy me.

 

The last two sets I bought were the Grado SR-60 and the Sony MDR-V500(DJ). Only yesterday, after doing hours of research, do I realize why I got such great deals on those and why I was so unsatisfied: They're both widely considered the lemon models of each company from what I can tell. Practically everything I find online is a "stay away" warning.

 

The Grados actually have awesome mid-range but zero bass, nails-on-a-chalk board treble, seem to be louder to the person sitting next to you than to your own ears because of how much audio they leak. They are about as comfortable as the dentist and seem really fragile on top of that. I bet the higher-end "real" Grados are wonderful but they're out of my price range.

 

The Sonys are just garbage in general; they make everything sound like, well, Sony car speakers. I know Sony is supposed to make some great headphones but in the car audio world they probably have the worst reputation out there. I wonder if their car audio engineers handled the V500DJ project...

 

Anyways...

 

I listen to a lot of '70s and '80s music ranging from synthpop to bluegrass. Some examples: Laura Branigan, Alan Parsons Project, Steve Winwood, Hubert Kah.

 

I like "breathy" bass that feels like its pushing air, but not boomy/lazy bass. I hate harsh mids and treble, both of which seem to be the trademarks of my current headphones.

 

I guess I'd rather have mellow speakers I can turn up really high with no distortion than a 'flashy' sounding speaker that turns into ear-piercing mush with the volume half way up (describes the Sonys).

 

They have to be around-the-ear... The MDR-V500s and SR-60s were both on-the-ear and painful after an hour.

 

Closed-back preferably but not the end of the world if they're semi-open. I did like the depth of the Grado mid-range and I assume it's related to the open design, but they can't be that leaky since I'll be using these in computer labs, study lounges, etc.

 

Short version: I need big cushy headphones under $100 that don't sound like poop (SR-60s) or caca (MDR-V500s).


Edited by machoboy - 8/20/12 at 11:23am
post #2 of 9

Shure SRH440.

 

I wouldn't reccommend any open headphone to anyone who plans on wearing them out in public. I can't stand when I can hear other people's music, so I assume nobody wants to hear mine either. The Shure's have excellent isolation, cost less than $100, and are foldable for portability. If you end up choosing them make shure you order the replacement ear cushions for the 840's. The ones that come on the 440 from the factory are terrible.


Edited by zdmetal - 8/20/12 at 12:00pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestion. About closed vs open, I agree. I just didn't want to rule out any mind-blowingly amazing open cans based on one disqualifying feature, but I prefer to keep my music private — especially since people my age tend to think I'm joking when I turn it on.

 

I own several Shure microphones, so I am interested in their headphones as well. Are they slightly biased toward the lower end of things with clear, mellow highs?

Not the sexiest looking, but that's a tiebreaker at best.


Edited by machoboy - 8/20/12 at 12:41pm
post #4 of 9

Heya,

 

K271MKII

HM5

HD439
S
RH440

MDR7506

HFI450

 

Very best,

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Those HM5s look tempting, I love giant pads... They look plush and tank-like at the same time which is exactly what I want. Really pushing my price range though.

 

About AKGs. I hear nothing but praise for the K 240s and how they're one of the few 'classic'/'industry standard' headphones still in production, but they're open-back. Is there a closed-back equivalent? The one linked above is significantly more expensive than the basic K 240 so it seems like something would fill that niche.


Edited by machoboy - 8/20/12 at 2:56pm
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by machoboy View Post

Those HM5s look tempting, I love giant pads... They look plush and tank-like at the same time which is exactly what I want. Really pushing my price range though.

 

About AKGs. I hear nothing but praise for the K 240s and how they're one of the few 'classic'/'industry standard' headphones still in production, but they're open-back. Is there a closed-back equivalent? The one linked above is significantly more expensive than the basic K 240 so it seems like something would fill that niche.

 

Heya,

 

The HM5 is a great headphone, I would drop the $40 over your budget for them. There's a lot of area around the $100 price range, but the $140 range opens up some just really good options like the HM5 and the K271 MKII. The 240 is a great headphone, the K271 is the closed back variant. Also well worth the $40 more over your initial budget. Both are big, both are comfortable.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

I read that these http://www.head-fi.org/products/digitech-pro-monitor-headphones are $50 rebrands of the HM5s? They sure look like it but nobody seems to have them in stock. Was it a one time stock clearance and gone forever?

post #8 of 9

+1 for HM5 and their clones which go for $50 ( Jaycars, Lindy etc... )

 

Cheerz!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

- This - close to buying the Ultrasone 580...You guys who drop $2,000 on a pair every week don't think this is a big deal I'm sure but it's the most I've spent on phones. I have some more questions if anyone is nice enough.

 

After reading through zillions of threads I understand that the 580s are considered the go-to phones for wide, powerful, clean bass around $100??? True/false?

And a little scooped in the middle?

Sounds right up my ally, since I'm trying to run away from piercing upper-mids.

 

Before I press "buy" and feel all guilty for spending more money than I had intended to (as usual).

 

1. I hate the chrome/metal look. I like plain black plastic stuff. Guess I'm stuck in the '80s. Do you think it would be crazy if I applied some metal bluing/blackening solution to the silver parts? That is REAL metal right?

 

2. What on Earth is this "radiation shielding" feature Ultrasone talks about? I've never heard of anything like this before on headphones. I didn't even know they emitted harmful radiation. Can anyone fill me in?

 

3. Will running these straight from my $400 Windows laptop work or be a total waste? Is some sort of an amp mandatory? I need a new usb interface and some of them have some decent integrated headphone amps so it's not a major problem but I just want to know what I'm getting into. Basically, hows the sensitivity with low power?

 

4. I've seen mixed reviews about how rugged these are, ranging from "bulletproof" to "fell apart in a week", Since I'll be carrying these to college in a big goofy manpurse with my computer science textbooks this is very important. I'm not going to be scubadiving/wrestling with them or anything but they'll probably get bumped around a LOT.

 

Thanks in advance. This forum has been great, before I found it I was looking at all sorts of horrific crap.


Edited by machoboy - 8/21/12 at 4:30pm
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