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Best headphones for around $500?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a set of headphones for around $500. I'm gonna buy a soundcard with an amp to be able to get good use of them as well, but I've already got that picked out.

 

I'm not entirely sure if I want open or closed... haven't really used any open so I'm not sure how they sound. That being said, anyone know any places that I can go that let you try different headphones in this range? I live in the Columbus area in case anyone happens to be from around there and knows some places. Only places I've called seem to be cut off at around the $300 range and have like 1 model in that range.

 

These are not for mixing by the way, just listening to music and gaming. And my budget is flexible.


Edited by chewy4 - 8/27/12 at 8:09pm
post #2 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I'm looking for a set of headphones for around $500. I'm gonna buy a soundcard with an amp to be able to get good use of them as well, but I've already got that picked out.

 

I'm not entirely sure if I want open or closed... haven't really used any open so I'm not sure how they sound. That being said, anyone know any places that I can go that let you try different headphones in this range? I live in the Columbus area in case anyone happens to be from around there and knows some places. Only places I've called seem to be cut off at around the $300 range and have like 1 model in that range.

 

These are not for mixing by the way, just listening to music and gaming.

For both music and gaming, open headphones are superior. How do you plan on using these headphones? Indoors where it is quiet, would be the optimum environment to use these. If you need noise isolation, look at closed cans. 

post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 

Yeah I'll be indoors in a quiet place for the most part. I've got some in ear buds for when I'm mobile.

 

Are open a little low on the bass end though?

post #4 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Are open a little low on the bass end though?

 

They can be, but not necessarily. Beyerdynamic's DT 990 has a strong low-end, but a lot of people find that it's also got a slightly exaggerated treble.

post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I'm looking for a set of headphones for around $500. I'm gonna buy a soundcard with an amp to be able to get good use of them as well, but I've already got that picked out.

 

I'm not entirely sure if I want open or closed... haven't really used any open so I'm not sure how they sound. That being said, anyone know any places that I can go that let you try different headphones in this range? I live in the Columbus area in case anyone happens to be from around there and knows some places. Only places I've called seem to be cut off at around the $300 range and have like 1 model in that range.

 

These are not for mixing by the way, just listening to music and gaming. And my budget is flexible.

 

Heya,

 

Why $500? That's basically all headphones before going high-end. You can go high-end at $700 new. But there's a lot of headphones in the $500 and under category. And frankly, something that costs about $500 isn't necessarily better than something that was $300. It's all a bunch of flavors and some paper technical differences. But ultimately it's all about what sound you're going for. And we need to know what soundcard you're planning to use because not all are equal in terms of amplification and it makes a difference for some headphones.

 

Open headphones generally have less impactful and powerful sub-bass, but not all. But you generally get a better sound stage, better imaging and a more airy sound. They're little speakers when open back, so they will pour the audio into the room and others can hear you just fine even from another room. It's not much more private than speakers on low volume. So if that's a problem, consider closed back headphones. Closed headphones can achieve deeper and more impactful bass with less energy and it will sound more full. But closed headphones generally have smaller sound stages, less separation of images and can sound a little more stereo because of it. So there's pros & cons to both. It just comes down to your needs and what you're looking for in sound.

 

In your budget range, I'd say there are two headphones I'd really push out as being my top two picks as recommendations for all applications:

 

Hifiman HE-400

Denon D5000

 

From there, there's an incredibly long list of other flavors that you can sift through. But it's better if you describe what kind of sound you want to narrow it down.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 53

+1 on HE-400 and D5000 but check also D600 if you decide to go closed. Instead of buying sound card with amp better buy decent sound card for gaming and get E17 for music listening.

post #7 of 53

Second the HE-400 recommendation. Relatively easy to power, nice bass that edges out alot of closed cans at this price range IMO. Haven't heard any of the Denons, but they might have more of a substantial low end. HD600/650 would be a nice all-rounder as well.

 

But you should probably state your music preferences so people would know what you might like.

post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I'm looking for a set of headphones for around $500. I'm gonna buy a soundcard with an amp to be able to get good use of them as well, but I've already got that picked out.

 

I'm not entirely sure if I want open or closed... haven't really used any open so I'm not sure how they sound. That being said, anyone know any places that I can go that let you try different headphones in this range? I live in the Columbus area in case anyone happens to be from around there and knows some places. Only places I've called seem to be cut off at around the $300 range and have like 1 model in that range.

 

These are not for mixing by the way, just listening to music and gaming. And my budget is flexible.


Do you live in Columbus Ohio?

post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

Why $500? That's basically all headphones before going high-end. You can go high-end at $700 new. But there's a lot of headphones in the $500 and under category. And frankly, something that costs about $500 isn't necessarily better than something that was $300. It's all a bunch of flavors and some paper technical differences. But ultimately it's all about what sound you're going for. And we need to know what soundcard you're planning to use because not all are equal in terms of amplification and it makes a difference for some headphones.

 

Open headphones generally have less impactful and powerful sub-bass, but not all. But you generally get a better sound stage, better imaging and a more airy sound. They're little speakers when open back, so they will pour the audio into the room and others can hear you just fine even from another room. It's not much more private than speakers on low volume. So if that's a problem, consider closed back headphones. Closed headphones can achieve deeper and more impactful bass with less energy and it will sound more full. But closed headphones generally have smaller sound stages, less separation of images and can sound a little more stereo because of it. So there's pros & cons to both. It just comes down to your needs and what you're looking for in sound.

 

In your budget range, I'd say there are two headphones I'd really push out as being my top two picks as recommendations for all applications:

 

Hifiman HE-400

Denon D5000

 

From there, there's an incredibly long list of other flavors that you can sift through. But it's better if you describe what kind of sound you want to narrow it down.

 

Very best,

 

Like I said my budget is flexible, very flexible. If spending a couple hundred bucks means jumping into a new level then I'm down. I just didn't know if it would be a good idea to get that expensive of headphones if I'm not mixing, and from the prices I've been seeing it seemed like the next step up was over a grand.

 

And here's the soundcard I'm getting: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010

Seems to be top of the line as far as internal soundcards go.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyRocket View Post


Do you live in Columbus Ohio?

Yeah in Ohio, forgot that there are a few Columbus's.

 

 

I'd really like to narrow it down a bit more for you guys but my music preferences are extremely broad so I would just need something well rounded I guess, although good bass is a plus. I mean I listen to anything from bluegrass to dubstep to rock to psybient to jazz.

 

Thanks for the recommendations so far guys, I'll have to look more into those more in the morning. I hope I can find somewhere around here that has them in store that I can try.

 

EDIT: I noticed the lows of the frequency range for the HE-400 starts at 20Hz. Is that good enough for hearing a lot of sub-bass?  I'm not too well educated on it, but the current set I have(MDRV6) has a low of 5Hz. 


Edited by chewy4 - 8/27/12 at 9:58pm
post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Beyerdynamic's DT 990 has a strong low-end, but a lot of people find that it's also got a slightly exaggerated treble.

For an open can. The bass is a lot different on closed and semi-closed. Depends how much/what kind of low-end you like.

post #11 of 53

I have Asus Xonar STX and I tried HE-400 with built-in amp and I don't think it not the best match cause of treble quality but aaaaaaaaahe-400 do have great sub-bass. Since your budget is flexible get cheaper but good sound card without amp for gaming and get E17 or even better DragonFly for music listening

post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

 

Like I said my budget is flexible, very flexible. If spending a couple hundred bucks means jumping into a new level then I'm down. I just didn't know if it would be a good idea to get that expensive of headphones if I'm not mixing, and from the prices I've been seeing it seemed like the next step up was over a grand.

 

And here's the soundcard I'm getting: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010

Seems to be top of the line as far as internal soundcards go.

 

 

 

Yeah in Ohio, forgot that there are a few Columbus's.

 

 

I'd really like to narrow it down a bit more for you guys but my music preferences are extremely broad so I would just need something well rounded I guess, although good bass is a plus. I mean I listen to anything from bluegrass to dubstep to rock to psybient to jazz.

 

Thanks for the recommendations so far guys, I'll have to look more into those more in the morning. I hope I can find somewhere around here that has them in store that I can try.

 

EDIT: I noticed the lows of the frequency range for the HE-400 starts at 20Hz. Is that good enough for hearing a lot of sub-bass?  I'm not too well educated on it, but the current set I have(MDRV6) has a low of 5Hz. 

I just picked up some used Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 600-Ohm and they currently are plugged into my Essence STX, can you see my smile:)

post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I just picked up some used Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 600-Ohm and they currently are plugged into my Essence STX, can you see my smile:)

That combo is what put me off the 990's lol. Well as MalVeaux explained the open-bass is different and it just wasn't going to do it for me. Plus I didn't feel as involved with the sound as I could have been, my 0.02


Edited by RushNerd - 8/27/12 at 10:31pm
post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by olegausany View Post

I have Asus Xonar STX and I tried HE-400 with built-in amp and I don't think it not the best match cause of treble quality but aaaaaaaaahe-400 do have great sub-bass. Since your budget is flexible get cheaper but good sound card without amp for gaming and get E17 or even better DragonFly for music listening

 

I'm a little confused about how a USB amp would work. Would the audio be completely processed by it so it would work like an external soundcard? My onboard sound is terrible, riddled with interference.

post #15 of 53

That's pretty much how they work, yeah. They're called DACs: digital-to-analogue convertors. The USB or optical input indicates a DAC function, in addition to amp function. 

I've seen some debate on whether the USB ports of a computer can be "noisy", but that issue aside, an external DAC will likely give you cleaner sound.

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