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Quest for best open headphones <200$

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

              I currently have M-Audio Q40s and ATH-Pro 700 mk2 and I'm starting to think I've satisfied my inner bass head. My musical taste and sound preference isn't changing, but I'm craving something with beautiful, well-defined, clear treble and natural, well-textured mids and decent bass extension, (does NOT have to be bass head satisfying, just present/audible and not sloppy) and of course, open-backed. 

            I guess I'll be more straightforward and explain what I'm looking for:
1. Has to be an open headphone.
2. Has to have good mids and highs, and decent bass extension down to 40 hz. (at least, preferably flat and not over/under emphasized)
3. I'm looking for something comfortable.
4. Lastly, I want a large, well-defined soundstage.
^ and of course, under 200$ ---- the lower price, the better. Bang for buck is best factor in deciding.

Note: I've sifted through many threads on open headphones and I want to start this one not just for myself, but for others too. It's nothing but confusing and tedious to look through so many threads for a lot of differing opinions and few comparisons.

post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaPierre View Post

              I currently have M-Audio Q40s and ATH-Pro 700 mk2 and I'm starting to think I've satisfied my inner bass head. My musical taste and sound preference isn't changing, but I'm craving something with beautiful, well-defined, clear treble and natural, well-textured mids and decent bass extension, (does NOT have to be bass head satisfying, just present/audible and not sloppy) and of course, open-backed. 

            I guess I'll be more straightforward and explain what I'm looking for:
1. Has to be an open headphone.
2. Has to have good mids and highs, and decent bass extension down to 40 hz. (at least, preferably flat and not over/under emphasized)
3. I'm looking for something comfortable.
4. Lastly, I want a large, well-defined soundstage.
^ and of course, under 200$ ---- the lower price, the better. Bang for buck is best factor in deciding.

Note: I've sifted through many threads on open headphones and I want to start this one not just for myself, but for others too. It's nothing but confusing and tedious to look through so many threads for a lot of differing opinions and few comparisons.

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250-Ohm comes to mind, more like a full bass & full treble headphone, vocals are a little overshadowed, but clear.

I like to think of then having a "Movie Theater" like sound

Used Beyer DT880 would fit your budget, more balanced sound then the DT990s

Fischer Audio FA-011 might be another choice

What do you use to drive headphones?

post #3 of 17

On a lucky day you might be able to find an HD598 under or near 200.  I liked what I heard out of the DT990 premium, and since the pros aren't all that different, they're a good candidate as well.

 

Decent bass extension down to 40hz without rolloff, don't expect many open headphones to do that outside of planar magnetics or a select few special dynamics.  DT990 can definitely hit a good 40hz though, so I think that's your best bet.

post #4 of 17

The Grado sr80i seems to match your requirements.
 

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250-Ohm comes to mind, more like a full bass & full treble headphone, vocals are a little overshadowed, but clear.

I like to think of then having a "Movie Theater" like sound

Used Beyer DT880 would fit your budget, more balanced sound then the DT990s

Fischer Audio FA-011 might be another choice

What do you use to drive headphones?

 

Well, to drive them I'm using a Fiio E10. I'm currently unsure of my budget, but I have heard good things bout Beyer's DT line-up.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by myears View Post

The Grado sr80i seems to match your requirements.
 

I hear Grado's are very detailed and punchy little headphones, but on-ear for me is mildly irritating and I hear they lack soundstage desperately.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

On a lucky day you might be able to find an HD598 under or near 200.  I liked what I heard out of the DT990 premium, and since the pros aren't all that different, they're a good candidate as well.

 

Decent bass extension down to 40hz without rolloff, don't expect many open headphones to do that outside of planar magnetics or a select few special dynamics.  DT990 can definitely hit a good 40hz though, so I think that's your best bet.

Those DT990 premium go for about 180$-ish used on Amazon, which is wear I'll be buying my headphones. I think that's on the high side of my budget, --- which I'm unsure of how much I'll have because I'm going to sell off some of my speakers and other junk.

post #8 of 17

b&h has dt 990 pros brand new for $169 (used $125). They're basically just less shiny than the premiums.

 

Of course, my 990s haven't even gotten to me yet so I can't make a recommendation for them. I might hate them for all I know.

 

Comfortable and sound stage aren't Grado traits... Mine always felt like a dental contraption and the sound was stuck in one place.

 

I would suggest some AKGs, but having owned Q-40s, I think the leap from a headphone consisting 50% of bass to a headphone consisting 0.00000000001% of bass might be a little sudden.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Grado's to me seem like they'd be very aggressive, up-front cans. I mean, that's the general consensus at least. I've looked at some AKGs, they don't seem too bad. I'm just very unsure of how they'd sound; I'm most interesting in a laid-back, big soundstage type headphone, and something I can listen to comfortable when I'm chilling out. It's getting hot inside this time of year so closed-cans are getting a bit too warm.

post #10 of 17

My K 240s are my official chillout headphones, but their treble is quite rolled off and their bass can't handle much without losing definition.

The K 601 might interest you.

The best description of the AKG sound I've read on here was "light footed and nimble". They never really dig in to anything, the sound is airy and natural.

 

For reference, they're basically the polar opposite of stuff like the Q-40 and HFI-580. Those sound stiffly anchored by their powerful bass so you can really grit your teeth and "feel" the sound. AKGs are a stone forever skipping across a pond and never stopping anywhere.

 

The best description of Grados is "wall of sound". Some people like that, but I hate it. They're the opposite of what I want in a headphone, especially an open one.

I want my ears to feel the same way my eyes feel when I'm looking out to the ocean, not staring at a poster of the ocean 2 ft away with blinding spotlights on it.

post #11 of 17

^ to be honest I never had any other headphone other than grados 80 and 325, the last one being agressive, really agressive. However, to me the sr80 has a lot of bass and it's not any agressive, comfort is debatable and it's something the sr325 is not but the sr80 is just ok with the comfy pads that it comes with. That's my two cents. I would like to try the beyers, they look nice to me.


Edited by myears - 9/22/12 at 9:32pm
post #12 of 17

As your using the Fiio E10, I would say do not go above the 250-Ohm.

Maybe also look into the Fischer Audio FA-011 (160-Ohm).

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

"I want my ears to feel the same way my eyes feel when I'm looking out to the ocean, not staring at a poster of the ocean 2 ft away with blinding spotlights on it." that's a great way to say it, the last thing I'd want is a soundstage lesser to what I've already got, it'd defeat the entire purpose of looking for open cans. The K240s (we're talking MK2s, right?) seem really great, to be honest. I'm just wondering how they'd go against AD700s. By go against, I mean soundstage comparison and detail comparison, their comfort levels are supposedly both really great. 

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I think I'd only ever try Grado if I had a lot of money to blow, which is unlikely to ever happen. Beyer and Sennheiser are two brands I've been curious about their sound signatures, both are well loved.

post #15 of 17

I have the K 240 studios, which are the same as the MKIIs but gold instead of silver and they don't include the accessories package (cable, ear pads, etc.) I chose to buy the cheaper model then just buy my own ear pads to put on them.

 

They are NOT super-resolving/detailed headphones. The bass is sloppy and the treble is super soft and mellow. They are however very relaxing and open and have my favorite mid-range at any price. They also weigh nothing.

 

The higher end AKGs (601, 702, etc) address these problems while still retaining the natural sound, which is why I mentioned those.

 

Sennheiser has so many models, and I've only tried a few so I can't comment.


Edited by machoboy - 9/22/12 at 10:05pm
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