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Sennheiser HD 518 vs Audio-Technica ATH-TAD400? (for a metalhead noob)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I´m quite new to this forum, but judging by other posts, people seem pretty helpful (unlike on other forums :D).

I´m looking to buy my first cans, and I´d like something well suited for metal. Unfortunately there is no way for me to try the headphones before buying, and I´d like to avoid buying something, I´d need to send back.


Considering my budget and the range of products available at the stores, I narrowed it down to the HD 518 and ATH-TAD400.

I´m going to be listening mostly to metal (melodic death metal, metalcore, progressive metal, djent, groove metal) and Im ocationally planning to use them for mixing (because I live at a dorm). I´m not thinking about buying an Amp at the moment, not ruling it out in the future, but I would preffer cans that could be plugged right into my laptop (and perhaps my Tascam audio interface).


As far as sound goes, these would be my first "better" cans, and I havent had much experience with good headphones before. However I had a chance to try some cans at a store, and from the available models I really liked the AKG K520. I guess I´m looking for a balanced clear sound. I want to be able to hear every instrument clearly, and feel the energy without it ripping my head off :D


I hope you help me decide, If I purchase them in time, they could be my xmas present :D

Thanks in advance :)



P.S. here is a list of bands I currently listen to, if it helps you : In Flames/ Lamb of God/ Periphery/Dream Theater/ Protest the Hero/ Dark Tranguility/ As I Lay Dying/ Arch Enemy/ Children of Bodom/ Insomnium/ Machine Head/ Metallica/ Opeth/ Pantera/ Parkway Drive/ Sylosis/ Textures/ The Black Dhalia Murder/ The Human Abstract

post #2 of 23

I can honestly tell you that on the HD518's, Dream Theater will make you cry (at least they've had that effect on me). HD518's are fantastic with metal, a lot better than you'd think based on their advertised "deep rich bass". They've got a very neutral sound for <$150, and can be easily run without an amp. Amping does help them a bit, but it's completely unnecessary.

post #3 of 23



If you're going to be mixing, you're going to want to avoid using an open-air headphone like the ones you're talking about. For home listening with no one else around, open-air can work fine. But you're in a dorm, and that means other people are going to be there and with open-air headphones the environmental noise is going to be coming in loud and clear, and your audio is going to be shared with them loud and clear too. Sounds like you should be looking at a closed back headphone based on your situation.


I would have you look at:


Audio Technica A700X

Ultrasone HFI 780

Brainwavz HM5

Beyer DT770 PRO 80ohm

AKG K167



Very best,

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

The problem is that, so far, I haven´t come across closed cans I would like. Thats easyli possible due to me not coming across any good ones, but based on what I tried so far, open-back cans seem more balanced and clear to me. The bleeding shouldn´t be that much of a problem, since my roommate spends most of the time with his earbudds anyway.  About the mixing part, I´m just an amateur, that from time to time records something just for fun, however when I do record something, it would be nice to hear the details. My current problem is that I can´t really listen to the mixes of our next EP that the audio engineer is sending us, which is a real pain in the ass (but I precieve it as representing most of the end users).


What I´m a little worried about is the noise coming in from outside. But honestly, our dorm isn´t that noisy, and I guess that even open cans would have enough attenuation to block out the typing noises from my roommate.

post #5 of 23

OP -


not sure if you realize how 'open'

open headphones actually are.


(Perhaps you do realize; I don't know.)


But I have to agree with MalVeaux's suggestion

for closed headphones.  Especially as you're not

listening to angelic string quartets.



There are plenty of good closed cans available;

musicians, engineers, producers and other professionals

use them pretty much all the time.


If you're looking to get away from the claustrophobic

sort of closed sound, look at the Audio Technica

ATH A900 or the newer ATH A900X.  You might also

like the AKG K550 which are also a less constricted

sounding closed headphone,

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well fortunately my roomate is also a metalhead, and I often listen to my angelic music on my (****ty) speakers ;)

Nevertheless, thanks for the suggestions, I´ll have a look if I can find any of those models at a local dealer, if not, I´m probably gonna give the Sennheisers a try, worst case scenario, I have 14 days to return them, and keep searching :)


edit: having a quick look, they either don´t have the suggested cans, or if they do have them, they are 3x more expensive than I can afford, did I mention I was still studying? :D I was going to spend on them aproximately 100 Euro (around 130 USD), would it be possible to keep your sugesstions roughly around this range?

I think I´ll try the Sennheisers, I want to know at least how much they leak, and thats something I have to hear for myself. To be honest my current headphones (Philips SHP1800) leak quite a lot as well, so from my roommates point of view, not much will change. What I hope will change is the quality of sound for me. As I sayd, he has his earbuds in all day anyway, so I couldn´t care less about leaking, I´m not planing on using them outside.

Edited by tommy321 - 12/14/12 at 6:24am
post #7 of 23

If you want the 518's, buy them.

Otherwise they'll stay on your mind till you do.



post #8 of 23

The 518's honestly don't leak bad at all for an open can. the grill keeps most of the sound from leaking out. It'll really only be noticable if you're either blasting them, or your roommate is right next to you.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

I just got home with them :D

So far I´m really pleased with the sound, the initial burn is really easy to hear, the more I wear them, the better, clearer the sound gets. I´m not too thrilled about the material of the padding tough, my wireless philips cans have similar, and after a while it bites, but I hope that wont be a problem here, but I wont know that for another couple of hours



hours pass, and I don´t feel any discomfort ,I did have to take off my glasses at one point because they were being pushed into my skull, but then, I expect the same with any circum-aural cans, and my eyesight is good enough to see the monitor :D.

So I guess I´ll stick with these cans for the time-being. I´d like to thank all of you for the advices and helping me decide :)

Edited by tommy321 - 12/15/12 at 7:25am
post #10 of 23

Yeah, I hate the cheap feeling material on the pads. I also take of my glasses, not because of comfort, but because the big flat stems change the angle of the cups, thus altering the sound. I'm glad you're enjoying your new cans!

post #11 of 23
How do i make my own fourm?
post #12 of 23

do you mean thread? because a forum is a whole website.... to make a new thread, click the white button below my post that says "start a new thread"

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

What song was it that made you cry?

post #14 of 23

Disappear for Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. probably because its lyrics matched my very recent break-up perfectly. but ya know.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

I think that more modern stuff (as in metalcore) sounds better on them than dream theater, for them I would like more clarity, and probably a bit less bass (i´m definitely not a basshead :D),

they don´t feel as clear as people in reviews described them, but that might be to the lack of burn-in, or I need to get used to hearing bass, as these are probably my first propper headphones. I´m definitely not giving them back, however it apears that they sound best a bit blasted, at which point I could be wearing speakers from my roommates point of view :D

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