I am looking for some input to help narrow my search for a new set of full size phones
My Parameters and Gear
- I am looking to spend something under $500 and would prefer to land under $400 if possible
- I listen to a wide variety of genres and sources
- Genres include (in no particular order) pop, rock, classic rock, metal, 80s, big band, old standards, classical, opera, country and electronica (all in fairly equal ratios)
- I particularly enjoy crystal clear vocals (think solo female) and a realistic stage (can't stand when it sounds like the singer is physically located in my head)
- Sources include CD, single layer, SACD, vinyl, and lossless digital through the PC (I admit to owning a fair bit of VBR and some 320s as well)
- This pair of headphones will be used far more often with my PC and digital recordings
- With the PC I run an Asus Xonar STX (which is a surprisingly good card by the way) - out to a Schitt Audio Valhalla headphone amp
I bought a pair of Focal Spirit Ones sight unseen - based largely on my experience with their car audio separates (I used to compete nationally and love their gear). Though they sound nice (I would say a bit bright for my taste - but overall a fairly neutral blend from one end of the range to the other, assuming you can get the pads over your ears), they are uncomfortable.
The trouble is that I have a big head (my wife has been calling me a fathead for years - I just always thought it was a figure of speech - but I digress). In any event, they are uncomfortable - the pads are small for my ears, the band is tight for my head, and the sound is a bit bright and tiresome (some of the latter may well be because the seal is crap, given the fit, so the bass struggles to keep pace with the highs). Don't get me wrong, I'm not dumping on the Focals. My small headed friend ordered some as well and he absolutely loves them. They just don't work for me.
One other big deal - my skin eats synthetic leather in a matter of a couple months. So the pads have to be cloth of some kind. I know - it sounds nasty but it's just something in my body chemistry that destroys most soft fake leather-like coverings (please tell me I'm not the only one with this issue).
In any event, I was thinking of Beyerdynamic dt880s, AKG q701s or maybe some Sennheiser 650s (if I can match cost to value - it's the upper limit of my range) but wanted to see if there were other suggestions or if anyone had any thoughts on the ones mentioned. Any input is hugely appreciated.