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Beginner headphones for Study Music (Folk / Ambient / Post Rock / Instrumental)?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking to get into audiophile level sound. I mostly listen to post rock (Do Make Say Think, GSY!BE, Mogwai, etc.), warm-sounding folky stuff (Jose Gonzalez, Elliot Smith), and ambient and low-key electronica (Beef Terminal, Hint, Helios). Basically anything low-key and not distracting since I am a student.

 

From what I have read Grados would be good with this kind of music, but I think the open design would be a problem for studying in a library. I have heard that ATH M50 would be a great all-rounder and is closed, but that it maybe underperforms for the kind of music I listen to?

 

Basically I'm lost, and the more I read the more confused I get.

 

My price range would be under $200, and for the near future I would be mostly listening from an unamped iPod. Ideally this would be something sturdy and portable enough to fit into a bag.

 

Thanks so much for any help!

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Bumping for any tips.

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobphone View Post

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking to get into audiophile level sound. I mostly listen to post rock (Do Make Say Think, GSY!BE, Mogwai, etc.), warm-sounding folky stuff (Jose Gonzalez, Elliot Smith), and ambient and low-key electronica (Beef Terminal, Hint, Helios). Basically anything low-key and not distracting since I am a student.

 

From what I have read Grados would be good with this kind of music, but I think the open design would be a problem for studying in a library. I have heard that ATH M50 would be a great all-rounder and is closed, but that it maybe underperforms for the kind of music I listen to?

 

Basically I'm lost, and the more I read the more confused I get.

 

My price range would be under $200, and for the near future I would be mostly listening from an unamped iPod. Ideally this would be something sturdy and portable enough to fit into a bag.

 

Thanks so much for any help!

 

Heya,

 

Maybe look into:

 

Logitech UE 6000

Beyer Custom One Pro

AKG K167

Shure SRH840

 

By the way, getting into audiophile level sound begins with the music itself. Before you go spending money on higher end audio gear, start compiling a library of music that is high quality, starting with high quality recorded/mastered material, and then make sure it's not destroyed with horrible compression, try to keep it as true to the source as possible, lossless where able, if file size is restrictive, consider higher quality encoded Lame MP3 of high bitrate (320kbps). And don't use your phone as the source. Use your ipod, or consider something like an inexpensive Sansa Fuze or Clip, which can read FLAC natively. Start to learn about compression, loudness wars, and what to look for in terms of higher quality recorded music in general. Take a listen to some stuff at HDTracks.com for example. Start getting CD's from amazon/half.com and ripping them yourself to ensure they're high quality. Start this way, before wasting money on higher end audio gear, and your beginning into this will be much, much more appreciable.

 

Very best,

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

Maybe look into:

 

Logitech UE 6000

Beyer Custom One Pro

AKG K167

Shure SRH840

 

By the way, getting into audiophile level sound begins with the music itself. Before you go spending money on higher end audio gear, start compiling a library of music that is high quality, starting with high quality recorded/mastered material, and then make sure it's not destroyed with horrible compression, try to keep it as true to the source as possible, lossless where able, if file size is restrictive, consider higher quality encoded Lame MP3 of high bitrate (320kbps). And don't use your phone as the source. Use your ipod, or consider something like an inexpensive Sansa Fuze or Clip, which can read FLAC natively. Start to learn about compression, loudness wars, and what to look for in terms of higher quality recorded music in general. Take a listen to some stuff at HDTracks.com for example. Start getting CD's from amazon/half.com and ripping them yourself to ensure they're high quality. Start this way, before wasting money on higher end audio gear, and your beginning into this will be much, much more appreciable.

 

Very best,

Depends on what phone you use. The iPhone 4 for example is as good as (or better than) any ipod out there. The iPhone 4 can be considered an audiophile portable player.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Right now I am using an iPod classic and my laptop for most music needs. My library is mostly split between FLAC and mp3. I am just getting into this stuff, so I am trying to read more about how my library should be stored, and am trying to reaquire some of my music at higher fidelity. I've mostly been finding and reading guides on headphones/amps -- are there any easily accessible guides on storing music?

 

My main concern is getting a pair of headphones that sound great bringing out the layers in wall of sound type post rock, or more chill folksy or ambient music, which I'll realistically be listening to most of the time, not just rock/techno like I see a lot of posts about.

post #6 of 11

The biggest thing with music is to just make sure it's good quality. 256kbps AAC, is good, 320kbps MP3 is good, FLAC is good, but it's hard to come by if you are buying music online. If you are buying physical CD's then you can rip them into whatever format you want. I simply just buy 99% of my music from iTunes which is 256kbps AAC. All of my music collection is ripped at 320kbps MP3 or 256kbps AAC and it sounds great on both my GR01 and my Q701 which are both quite detailed and analytical. I've never been huge on FLAC. To me the file size is just to big, and I cant hear any differences anyway.    

post #7 of 11

When I was a student, I used the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80ohm for studying, and they were fantastic for that purpose.

 

They are extremely comfortable, with large earpads, and can be used for hours on end.

Sound wise, the one thing I don't love about these cans is that the mids are a bit recessed, meaning that the vocals sound a bit sucked out. However, this is perfect for studying because the vocals of a track are in the background, which don't allow them to distract while studying.

 

These have real good isolation to keep outside noise out, and they won't leak much sound to those around you.

While they are big and clunky and definitely not portable, they have a very rugged and sturdy build, meaning that you could toss them in a backpack without worrying about damaging them (although I always baby my headphones, so I used a case to house them).

 

The 80 ohm version plays fine (and loud enough) out of my iphone or ipod, but they won't reach deafening levels (which you wouldn't want for studying anyway).

And I got them for $180, so they'll fit your budget.

 

The Grado's are out because they are open and uncomfortable for long listening sessions.

The ATH-M50's are ok, but the earcups are small-ish and make my ears sweaty after a while, so they are not as comfortable. Also, the DT 770's sound much better to me.

I've never listened to the Beyerdynamic Custom Ones, so I can't recommend them; but read up on some reviews... the poster MalVeaux up above knows what he's talkin about.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info! Does anyone have more information on the Beyer Custom Ones? I cant seem to find much in the way of reviews, they seem rather new. The DT 770 sound really nice, but both the Beyer options seem a little bit more than what I would want to pay for given that AT M50s can be had for almost half as much, but I am afraid to pull the trigger on them if they will not be great for the kind of music I am listening to.
 

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Sorry to keep bumping, but from what I've been reading I've seen recommendations for headphones with good "bass" sound for people who listen to the type of music I listen to. I'm a little confused because I don't feel like the ambient artists I listen to (Stars of the Lid, Dead Texan, Beef Terminal, etc.) or post rock (Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, etc.) are very "bass-y" as in house/drum n bass music. Does this have a different meaning when talking about headphones? Is there a good guide out there that explains what musical genres have levels of bass or treble and corresponding headphones that match? 

post #10 of 11

In my opinion you should pick a headphone somewhere in the middle. Pick one that will do everything somewhat well. I'm one who picks a certain sound signature and enjoys all types of music with it. I don't have a bassy headphone and a non-bassy headphone. I use one sound sig for all. My GR01 and my Q701 both have the same basic neutral and analytical sound and I enjoy rock, metal, and various electronic with them both.

 

At this point id you're not sure what you are going to like you should make sure where ever you are buying from has an easy going return policy in case you hate them. The M-50 is popular around here, it has been for a while. It has a v-shaped sound from what I have read about them. I have never actually heard them. I would recommend the Koss DJ100, except for the fact that it's a bit power hungry. You could get the DJ100 and a portable amp both for under $200 though. Maybe the DJ100 + a Fiio E11.  

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'll look into the DJ100 but right now I'm thinking of trying to find something that would work well unamped, and trying to figure out what sound signature my music tastes have. From what I've been reading it seems that maybe the Skullcandy Aviators are good for acoustic-y type stuff? Even though skullcandy's normally suck? I keep reading that ATH M50s will be a good "all rounder" with a "v shape" but my worry is that they are too bass heavy for mellow music. I guess I am also concerned about finding a comfortable pair that won't leak sound.
 

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