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Best Headphones Under $200ish

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

          I know this has come up time and time again, and I am sorry to do it again, but I would really appreciate everyones insight. I am just starting out in the audio world am I want to start small so that when I start to get better and better headphones I will really appreciate them more than if I just got expensive ones first. Some headphones that I have been looking at are:

Sennheiser HD558

Sennheiser HD598

AKG Q701

Beyerdynamic DT770 600ohm

Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm

 

          The genres that I listen to are classic rock, classical, techno, hip-hop, alternative, and things alike. Artists that I like are Coldplay, ACDC, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Bach, Mozart, George Winston, you get the just.

 

          I don't really care if they are open or closed back because these are for home use. But I do want over-ear style headphones. I would prefer really comfortable headphones, but it is not on the top of my priorities list. I also do not have an amplifier at the moment because I am new to audio in general. I wanted to enjoy the headphones and then buy an amp so it’s kind of like I have a whole new set of headphones.

 

          On another note, the amps that I am kind of looking at are things like the Tube Magic D1, HiFiMan EF2A, and the FiiO E09K. Do any of those look good? I want something that would work with any of the headphones above, but then later whenever I upgrade I want it to work great with less efficient headphones in the future.

 

          $200 is kind of the top of the top of my budget right now and an amplifier is not the main priority. Other headphone requests are excepted as well. Any input is greatly appreciated and I look forward to your responses! Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 31

I'm pretty sure that all of those are very amp dependent (maybe not the Sennheiser HD598), so if you were to choose any of those, you would need an amp. I would suggest maybe making $200 (if that is your max) a budget for a headphone + amp combo. Either that or spend more on an amp. I do not own any of those headphones, but from what I have read (and the Beyerdynamic 600 OHM rating), the headphones listed will need an amp and you will not get your money's worth without one. I hope this helps, and for other members, please correct me if I am wrong! Good luck!

post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the quick reply! I know all of those headphones should have an amp, but most of them will "work" okay without one. Are there any headphones that you can recommend to me other than the ones on the list?

post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 

Also, why do people hate on the AKG Q701's so much? For some reason, I really like the design and style of them, but audio is what matters most. 

post #5 of 31
Go for the DT 880s. Great for your genres. However, I would recommend the 250 ohm version. They're better than the 600 when unamped. Either of the Sennheisers are also a good choice, although they're a little lacking in the lows. Cheers.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus.
In MalVeauX we trust.
post #6 of 31

There's really no hate for them. They're still seen as one of the best headphones you can get for <$250.

 

Well, some people just don't like how they sound- too analytical and anemic. Lacking bass and the exaggerated soundstage that stretches anything super wide, even genres that are meant to be right up against your ear. But even these guys don't really "hate" the K/Q701.

 

It's more like there's a bunch of people who get them since they're considered a "flagship" or at least mid-fi gear for cheap and then boast about how amazing they are (for instance that thread trying comparing the Q701's to the HD800)- that's when people with more experience have to be blunt and let them know the Q701's aren't as great as they think they are.

post #7 of 31

Heya,

 

Beyer DT880 with a Fiio E10 would be an excellent route. Great comfort, great sound stage, wonderful range. You can stay neutral or go bassy at a flip of a switch. The DT880 pairs very well with Fiio because Fiio has a little bit of rolled off treble, so it takes the slight edge from the Beyer house signature treble and makes it a fantastic listen. Utilize any ohm you can get your hands on, the differences between the ohm versions is highly over-stated. Also, I have all the Beyers, and I've listened to them on a range of devices from something as small and simple as the Fiio E10 and upwards of things like the Schiit Lyr. I found the power outputs didn't have a massive impact honestly. Even the 600ohms sounded essentially as dynamic, to me, on the E10 as they did on the NFB12 and Lyr, which have way more power and current. Sounds like hog-wash to many, but hey, that's how I heard it as I have the gear to compare. But basically I just recommend the simplest and least expensive solution after having spend thousands myself, and the E10 is that solution.

 

By the way, if you have an AV receiver lying around, they are perfectly good as headphone amps.

 

 

 

 

Very best,

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the replies! I was looking at the Beyerdynamic DT880 because of how they sound and because they look so good! I wanted the 600Ohm variant because from what I've read, the headphones should sound "good/okay" without an amp on a computer or iPod, but when I get an amp they will REALLY good (almost like a new set of headphones.) Speaking of amps, what other ones do you guys recommend? I know MalVeaux has his vote on the Fiio E10. Are any of the other Fiio amps as good or better that the E10 for the money? Thanks in advance!

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmwoliver View Post

Are any of the other Fiio amps as good or better that the E10 for the money? Thanks in advance!

 

The O2 amp works well with Beyers. But is a lil more pricey than the E10 and its only amp (no dac)

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
That is another thing that I am very uneducated on, DAC's and amps. I know this is very noob-like of me, but why would I need both? And is it okay to buy the 600Ohm DT880's now and then get the amp later? I was planning on getting an amp around Christmas time. Sorry for all the questions, I just want to LEARN IT ALL. smily_headphones1.gif
post #11 of 31

High impedance cans such as the 600ohm beyers needs enough current to perform well, thats why we use amps. 

 

A DAC is a Digital to analog converter, most of the computers/laptops come with low cost solutions (onboard soundcards) adding a Dac acts as an external soundcard bypassing the computer onboard resulting into superior sound quality. 

 

Portable dacs are meant to be used with Cellphones or mp3 players. 

 

You will be fine buying the amp first, you can add the dac later. 

post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmwoliver View Post

That is another thing that I am very uneducated on, DAC's and amps. I know this is very noob-like of me, but why would I need both? And is it okay to buy the 600Ohm DT880's now and then get the amp later? I was planning on getting an amp around Christmas time. Sorry for all the questions, I just want to LEARN IT ALL. smily_headphones1.gif

 

Heya,

 

Yes, to an extent. Beyers are relatively easy to drive. The 600ohm version will generate volume from most devices. It may not get loud, but you can listen to them. Ideally you will want to amplify these very well. However, you do not need a massive expensive amplifier. A $50 amplifier will make them sing. Hence my recommendation of 600ohm Beyer DT880 with a simple Fiio E10. It'll get you started, and easily can be the least thing you do in headphonia if you can stop reading about how you need more stuff, here at Head-Fi (*wink wink*).

 

Very best,

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

Even though I really REALLY want the Beyerdynamic DT 880's, I think I might get the Sennheiser HD558. The main reason I might go this route is because I can get it used off of Amazon for about $100. With the extra money, I will be more comfortable spending the money on an amp. Another reason is because I can extend the value of them through mods and such. My plan is to buy them and enjoy them for a while and then mod them by taking out the piece of tape in the headphones. Then, I will get an amp. If I do this, then I will get better and better sound spread out over a couple of months. I would like to know if this is a good place to start or if am I making the complete wrong decision. Also, does the Fiio E10 or E09K with the E07/17 work well with Sennheisers, specifically the HD558's? Thanks for all the help!

post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmwoliver View Post

Even though I really REALLY want the Beyerdynamic DT 880's, I think I might get the Sennheiser HD558. The main reason I might go this route is because I can get it used off of Amazon for about $100. With the extra money, I will be more comfortable spending the money on an amp. Another reason is because I can extend the value of them through mods and such. My plan is to buy them and enjoy them for a while and then mod them by taking out the piece of tape in the headphones. Then, I will get an amp. If I do this, then I will get better and better sound spread out over a couple of months. I would like to know if this is a good place to start or if am I making the complete wrong decision. Also, does the Fiio E10 or E09K with the E07/17 work well with Sennheisers, specifically the HD558's? Thanks for all the help!

 

Heya,

 

Put the majority of your budget into an already excellent headphone, not something that is "so-so" that needs mods to be palatable. Spending all your money on the E9/E7/E17 with a lower end headphone that doesn't even need amplification is pretty much going to bite you in the butt in terms of building a good headfi setup on a budget. This place is wonderful, but it will make you think every headphone under the sun needs an amp which is simply not true. Since you're on a budget, get the best you can get in a headphone and with any scratch left over, get a very good DAC/AMP that will last you for a lot of time and cover most headphones you'll ever use and only do that if you need it, ie, if you get a headphone that actually needs an amplifier.

 

Don't waste/lose your money on the HD558 with the promise of "mods" and such. Invest in a very good set of headphones that are excellent without modding.

 

Very best,

post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 

Just to clarify, it is okay for me to get the 600Ohm version? I think I found a good pair and want to know if that version is a good match for me. Sorry for asking about the ohmage so much, I just don't want to get them and not be able to power them. You can just answer yes or no if you want. Thanks for all the help.

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