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First highish end headphones purchase, need advice and help understanding a few things

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi Head-fi!  


This is my first post, so bear with my noobness.


I am looking to finally get a pair of worthwhile headphones, after using my sennheiser PC150s (or maybe 160s, I'm not even sure) for so long.  And no I'm not joking.


My budget is generally under $200, or more accurately, my parent's budget is under 200 bucks, since there is a good chance that I will find a pair of cans sitting under the tree on the 25th.


Now, to what I am looking for, I listen to a massive amount of music, and watch the occasional movie on my laptop or ipad.  Most of the stuff I listen to comes from, or sounds like it comes from, the 70s, but I am a massive nerd for production when it comes to bands like radiohead or sigur ros.  So while I would say rock/acoustic is probably my most listened to genre, I'm pretty well rounded, and my girlfriend is finally getting me into Jazz/Classical, so clarity is certainly important.   While I certainly enjoy bass, I also hate listening to bassy headphones for a long time, and i often feel like it destroys music that needs to feel crisp to be effective.  Treble is something I don't have any sort of strong opinions on, other than a hate  for "shrill" speakers.   Mids, well honestly I don't really understand mids, but I do know they often affect vocals/lead and solo guitars, and I love all those things. 


As far as build goes, I need something that is durable and comfortable.  I will mostly be using these at coffeeshops/libraries, but the option to be able to walk around with them on the street would be nice as well.  I tend to work for several hours at a time, so it's important that the phones have comfortable cups and pads (preferable circumaural).  As far as look goes, well I keep going back and forth on this one, on one hand I'd like to say that the sound matters above all else, but I am about to graduate from college, and I plan to pursue business/marketing, so I really don't want to purchase a pair of headphones that doesn't look in some way professional.  If these were going to be at-home phones only I wouldn't care, but if I'm going to be in public I want to make sure they don't cause people to discount me in anyway (the world sucks sometimes doesnt it?)


Now on to the three I have on my list of possible purchases:


The ATH-M50 - As a new, but thorough lurker on head-fi, I noticed that these seem to be the most recommended sub-$200 headphones.  The sound is tantilizing, but i worry that they really aren't as portable as I'd like.   I've also heard complaints of discomfort, and the look certainly isn't anything special.


The Philips Uptowns - I totally discounted these when I saw them at Best Buy, there was no way they made them sound good if they put that much time into looking that freaking amazing.  Well, after reading a few reviews I guess I was wrong.  I am attracted to these because of how beautiful they are, and how aparently comfortable they are.  What I'm not sure about, is their portability, and sound.  I read several posts championing them over the M50's, particularly for people who are simply using the phones recreationally, but I wasn't sure if that was just FTM fever.   Can anyone weigh in on this stuff?


Finally, more of a wish than an  actual possibility, but the PHILIPS L1's look like everything I've ever wanted.  If you've tried them out, are they $200s worth of better sound and comfort than the uptowns?  Are these phones as good as they seem, how do they sound (for those of you who use them regularly).  The fact that the cups rotate makes them attractive for on the go listening.  Also, again, freaking beautiful.


Now, my other question deals mostly with the L1's, though it applies to the others as well.  I've never bought an expensive pair of headphones before.  Where should I be looking for the best price?  And as far as the L1's go, what's the cheapest you think I could get them for (any chance of a sub 250/200 price?)?


Finally, with all that in mind, have I missed anything?  Should there be any other sets I should keep in mind? 

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 5



Look into these headphones instead:


AudioTechnica A700X (amazon)

Brainwavz HM5 (mp4nation.net)

Shure SRH840 (amazon)

AKG K167 (amazon)

KRK KNS 8400 (amazon)

Mr Speakers Mad Dogs (google)


Very best,

post #5 of 5

My vote goes towards the Mr Speakers Mad Dogs. Second would be Sony MDR-7506 and/or MDR-V6. Maybe even a pair of Senn HD-650's.


Personally, you shouldn't base looks on your final decision, no matter what professional field you go into. If they're ugly, who cares. If your client asks about your ugly headphones, have them listen to them, then they might understand why it's not always about looks. Marketing going both ways, looks or quality.

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