My dad is a a bit of an audiophile but I haven't really got the cash to get him a high end $300+ Pair of headphones but he said he is good with a nice pair of $100-$150 Headphones and these two seem to be getting the best reviews for the price.
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AKG K181's or M-Audio Studiophile Q-40?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I can't speak about the AKG's, but I own the M-Audio's and have not been that pleased with them. Within a couple months of light use they stopped playing out of one side altogether. They replaced my old pair, but my new one seems to be threatening to do the same. In general I've heard bad things about the long term dependability of M-Audio headphones and speakers.
I'm pretty happy with the sound, though. My main everyday complaint with them is that they get uncomfortable (because of clamping). If I could go back though, I wish I spent the little bit extra on the Audio Technica M50's. Everyone seems to like those. At the top of your price range:
In that price range, you can find a used Shure SRH840 or AKG K272HD both of which sound nicer than M50, Q40 and K181DJ in my opinion. For a warmer, fuller sound go with SRH840. For a clearer, crisper sound with tighter bass, get the K272HD. I would also recommend IEMs (in-ear monitors) if your dad doesn't mind those. In particular, JVC FXT90 is a fantastic buy, offering great bass and sparkly highs for a very exciting overall sound and I feel it has a higher overall sound quality than any of the aforementioned closed back full sized headphones. Etymotic HF5 is fantastic if accuracy if what one is looking far. It sounds extremely precise and realistic and beats the aforementioned closed back over the ear headphones easily in overall sound quality as well in my view.
Who are you!?!? This is creepy... you're asking the same question that I've been asking recently AND you have the same avatar that I had until I changed it today!
I've tried both and to my ears the Q40 definitely sounds better. The K181 has boomy upper bass and elevated lower treble for an overall aggressive sound. The Q40 has tighter bass with more rumble and isn't at all boomy, and the treble is very relaxed but with good texture and extension. The bottom line is that the Q40 sounds like a studio headphone with boosted bass, whereas the K181 sounds like a punchy mainstream/DJ set. I also find the K181 very uncomfortable - but maybe if you replace the stock supraaural pads with circumaural pads it will be ok. The M-Audio cable is apparently not at all durable despite looking and feeling high quality, so it's a matter of time before it will need to be replaced, but it's a standard 3.5mm plug so it's much cheaper to replace than a miniXLR like the AKGs.
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