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Looking for some 'starter' audiophile headphones

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Dear Head Fi community,

 

Been lurking around for quite some time now but can't really find the solution for my problem. I know there are a 1000 diffrent threads like mine already out there, but everyone seems to suggest diffrent ones, and since I am not able to listen to each and every headphone out there I want to ask your opinion before purchasing.

 

Just like many others I'm also used to 'gaming' headphones. I do actually like them, however, the sound quality is obviously not as good as it could be.

 

What I'm looking for (in order of importance):

- Good sound quality for diffrent genres of music (I listen from classical to dubstep to heavy metal to trance and everything in between)

- Comfortable: I love the way the Steelseries Siberia sits on my head without it ever feeling annoying or heavy or whatever

- $150 dollar maximum, would prefer around ~$100 dollar if possible

- Rather not have an amp (maybe save up some money for this after purchasing the headphones if possible)

 

Now I've been looking for a few diffrent ones. So far mostly the Senn HD598 and the Shure SRH440. However, the Senn is pretty much twice as expensive while it get's the same kind of reviews.

 

What headphones would you advise and why?

 

Thanks for answering and have a great day! :)

 

PS: English isn't my primairy language so bear with me smile.gif

 

EDIT: I will mostly be using the headphones inside. I won't necissary bring them with me anywhere.


Edited by lowko - 10/10/12 at 11:29am
post #2 of 49

I'm also a newbie, but from what I've seen on the forums, I bet you'll get a lot of recommendations for the Audio Technica ATH M50. Once I grew up and got past the Bose phase, my first pair of quality headphones were in fact the Sennheiser HD598s. I love them to death, they sound wonderful and they've opened up a whole new world to me. My next couple of purchases will probably be the M50 and probably a pair of Grados.

post #3 of 49

AT M50's are wonderful. Here is a great review.

 

http://kenrockwell.com/audio/audio-technica/ath-m50.htm

post #4 of 49
Thread Starter 

I will defintely consider the M50s, saw those being mentioned many many times on this forum. However, they are a little bit expensive for me right now.

Is there anything that's a little bit cheaper or are the M50s REALLY what I should go for?

post #5 of 49

I don't even own the ATH-M50 (yet) but that's what I think you should go with. They seem to  be the best set you can get for the price. Plus, they're also under $150. I know you'd probably rather spend closer to $100, but what's an extra $30 gonna do when you're paying for a quality item? It's worth it.

post #6 of 49

The price varies greatly. I got mine for $114 shipped no tax from Amazon. Keep looking and they might drop back down.

 

Actually they are $109 now here. http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/category.cgi?item=ATH-M50-PROMO


Edited by Rocko1 - 10/10/12 at 4:06pm
post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocko1 View Post

The price varies greatly. I got mine for $114 shipped no tax from Amazon. Keep looking and they might drop back down.

 

Actually they are $109 now here. http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/category.cgi?item=ATH-M50-PROMO

Biggest problem is that I'm in the Netherlands. Cheapest webshop is selling it for 172 euros which is 221 dollars. I know I can do international shipping, but it's kind of a hassle since I don't own a credit card.

:( Would have defintely picked it up instantly for 109 dollars.

 

EDIT:

Shipping would cost almost 80 dollars. So if I would go for the M50s I would buy the one for 172 euros which is 221 dollars.

 

I'd like to have some more suggestions though. Thanks a lot so far guys! :)


Edited by lowko - 10/10/12 at 4:31pm
post #8 of 49

you're not gonna find a pair of fones that's "great" for everything. classical and metal/rock are all very polarizing types of genre. the best you can get is a fone that's really good for everything. all fones will have their color and characteristic and good for certain genere while some will do better with most. 

 

having said that, since i've owned them, i would recommand Audio Technica AD700. why not M50 you ask? M50 is closed. i had a chance to try the M50 as well and wasn't as impressed with the sound compare to the AD700. the extra punch you get with the M50 also isn't that much more. so you're essentially sacraficing a lot of the signature soundstage and treble for that bit of bass. 

 

the AD700 is bass shy, but still seems more power than other analytical fones like AKG702 and AD900. i know the graph says otherwise, but i've owned both AD700 and AD900, the AD700 has more bass punch than AD900. 

 

if you can spend the extra money where you are, the HD598 is the next thing i would recommend. it really is the best allround headphone for most type of music genre while still give that LARGE soundstage. 

 

of course the usual IMO, 2cent yadi yada. 

post #9 of 49

Heya,

 

Philips Uptowns would be a relatively new kid on the block with a lot of good things going for it. You can get them on special quite often; nabbed a pair for $60. Equivalent to Ultrasone HFI 580, AudioTechnica M50, Brainwavz HM5 (but with a little more bass coloring), but less expensive, very portable, and sounds great with great isolation and a neat sound stage (angled drivers). Also look into the Shure SRH840 and Brainwavz HM5 (MP4nation.net, free worldwide shipping). Look into the AudioTechnica TAD400 & TAD500. Look into FischerAudio FA002.

 

M50 - Overhyped and too often recommended by people who have not even tried it. See above. It's a mediocre headphone, with an above average cost, and an astronomical amount of hype.

 

AD700 - Incomplete headphone, not worth it's cost at all. This headphone is incomplete. It cannot perform sub-bass. It drops off bass so quickly and early, after 100hz it just falls like a nose dive. It cannot perform and reproduce all music because of this and that makes it an incomplete or incompetent headphone. This is way too expensive for a headphone that cannot even reproduce the sound frequencies that you will be missing. Avoid this headphone. There are cheaper headphones that can do more frequency range, with a good sound stage. The AD700 is not magical. It's actually a bad product. I would suggest you look at the AudioTechnica TAD400 if you want something similar, cheaper, and does more to be a complete headphone.

 

Over all, try and find a used headphone. You can get a lot more headphone that way. Most folk include shipping or will at least work with you on shipping to where ever you are in the world if it's not too much of a hassle.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 10/10/12 at 6:06pm
post #10 of 49

My thoughts/recommendations

Not sure on pricing in your area - but as an alternative (and I believe better) all-rounder to the Ath M50 - consider the Shure SRH840.

 

If you can't afford that - and want a cheaper starter can - then for closed, looked at the Fischer FA-003 (and clones).  This includes:
Brainwavz HM5

Lindy Premium - http://www.lindy.co.uk/premium-hi-fi-headphones/20378.html

Jaycar Digitech Monitors - http://www.jaycar.co.uk/productView.asp?ID=AA2065&form=CAT2&SUBCATID=1015#4

 

Neither Shures or the FA-003 (or clones) need amping.

 

Additional Comments

Just be careful with the M50's - good headphones, but they tend to be overhyped a lot - especially by newbies.  Classic example - post #5 recoimmending them without hearing them .......    You'll also get a lot of people recommending them - but it's the first and only real can they've demoed.  Don't want to shove aside any recommendations - but try and get a few from people who've owned several headphones - you'll likely get a more balanced view.  I extensively auditioned the M50 vs the SRH840 when I was first getting back into audio.  Biggest issue I had with the M50's was their slightly recessed mid-range.  The Shures mid-range is more forward.  Both are good cans - but if you prefer the vocals to be to the forefront, the Shures IMO are the better match.  Saying that though - they are a good recommendation if you can get them for the right price.  Very good for electronic music IMO.    

 

Also - AD700 for classical = nice.  For dub, rock, trance etc - IMO no.  Definitely no.

 

For open vs closed - for home use I definitely prefer open - but unfortunately with your limited budget, a lot of what I'd recommend would be out of your price bracket.  I'll let someone else give you some thoughts on open budget cans.  You could also just do a quick search:

EG - open headphones under $100 (http://www.head-fi.org/search.php?search=open+headphones+under+%24100)  Refining it further will get you more relevant data.

 

Everything I commented on above I have either owned - or in the case of the M50, extensively demoed (spent over an hour with them side by side with the SRH840).  The FA-003 clones I had were the HM5s.  Hope some of this helped.

post #11 of 49

AD700 definitely shines in classical, acoustic, and instrumental (soundtracks) type of music i can attest to that. and it's really a very good entry audiophile phone consider the price going for on amazon. i just wouldn't expect a lot out of it for Rock, Rap, Techno type of music without at least a bit of EQ at 30hz and 60hz. i always prefer open cans because they give you a more airy realistic soundstage like you're "not" listening through a headphone, as oppose to closed, but that's just my preference. AD700 is actually what got me into audiophile grade fones. 

 

too bad HD598 costs more than twice of AD700, which makes AD700 even a better deal. 

 

since i still own AD700 and HD598, although i don't own the AD900 anymore. i can say that if you bump the 30hz up by 5~10db, and 60hz up by 3~5db, and 100hz up by 2db, the AD700 actually sounds real nice with Techno/trance. 

 

i really just wasn't too impressed with M50, even tho tons of people recommand it. it just sounds too "closed" and you know you're listening through a pair of headphone, and not a lot of spatial feedback. 

 

hope this helps. 

post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

AD700 definitely shines in classical, acoustic, and instrumental (soundtracks) type of music i can attest to that. and it's really a very good entry audiophile phone consider the price going for on amazon. i just wouldn't expect a lot out of it for Rock, Rap, Techno type of music without at least a bit of EQ at 30hz and 60hz. i always prefer open cans because they give you a more airy realistic soundstage like you're "not" listening through a headphone, as oppose to closed, but that's just my preference. AD700 is actually what got me into audiophile grade fones. 

 

too bad HD598 costs more than twice of AD700, which makes AD700 even a better deal. 

 

since i still own AD700 and HD598, although i don't own the AD900 anymore. i can say that if you bump the 30hz up by 5~10db, and 60hz up by 3~5db, and 100hz up by 2db, the AD700 actually sounds real nice with Techno/trance. 

 

i really just wasn't too impressed with M50, even tho tons of people recommand it. it just sounds too "closed" and you know you're listening through a pair of headphone, and not a lot of spatial feedback. 

 

hope this helps. 

i thought the AD700 sounded nice with everything, and i didn't really notice the lack of bass people described, it is bass light, but it's all there. i would steer clear of them though if you need that punch, because they definitely don't have it. if you want something that can pull lots of detail out of your music, for 100 dollars i think it's hard to beat.

post #13 of 49
Thread Starter 

Woha, went to bed and woke up to this. Thanks a lot guys!

 

Been reading this all very carefully and what suprises me is that the AD700 is apparantly twice as cheap as the HD598. I don't know the standard pricing for those two headphones, but both are around 150 in my area. Same goes for the Shure SRH840 and (found a better shop now) the M50's.

 

So for now if I'm willing to spent ~150 I can't really go wrong with:

- AD700

- HD598

- SRH840

- M50

 

If I wana spent a little bit less (80-100) I could go with:

- HFI-450

- SRH440

 

Are any of those 4 headphones ridiculously priced for my location?

 

Also, thanks for sugesting MP4Nation, although I would prefer buying it a little bit closer to home but I will order there if it's much cheaper.

I've heard a lot of people suggesting the SRH840s. I've also read good things about the SRH440s, which are half the price.

 

Questions now: What about SRH440? Which of the above would you choose and why?

 

Thanks a lot for all the great help so far!

 

EDIT:

Something that is really important to me is that they are comfortable. There will be plenty of days where I will be using the headphone for 6+ hours in a sitting so please keep that in mind, this is one of the reasons why I love the Siberias from Steelseries even though their sound may not be as good.


Edited by lowko - 10/11/12 at 1:06am
post #14 of 49

Of your first choices - comfort wise .......

 

AD700 very comfortable - I used to forget mine were on.  If anything - they sometimes felt a little loose.  Only complaint was that they could get a little creaky sounding if you moved your head around a little.

 

Next for me would be the HD598.  Soft velour pads,  Soft headband.  Again - really comfortable.  Might even top the AD700 - would be close.  Sonically the HD598 is probably the best can listed.

 

SRH840 can be hit or miss for comfort.  They are a little heavier.  There were a few head-fiers (when they were going through their fotm stage) that found the headband uncomfortable.  I loved mine - and could wear them for hours.  The pads are extremely soft.  The SRH840 is the only can I've formerly owned that I'm actually thinking of rebuying ......

 

M50 - didn't do it for me.  Pads aren't as soft as the SRH840, and they are also quite clampy - although this can be alleviated by stretching the headband.  They are very robust though.

 

Unfortunately can't comment on the SRH440 or HFI450 as have not heard either.

post #15 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I've found something similar online. People saying the SRH are pretty heavy and get uncomfortable after a while of using.

Right now leaning mostly toward the Senn HD598.

 

Sennheiser makes a lot of headphones. Are there any other quality headphones from them around the 100 euro mark, or do we then have the same problem all over again?

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