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Headphone Choice

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

I am pretty new to the headphone scene and am having trouble deciding which headphones I should purchase. Now i'm not a complete noob, as I know a few things that will narrow down the search. 

Firstly, I prefer headphones over headsets due to the fact that the sound will be limited as you are paying for a microphone as well... and I have heard something along the lines that headphones that run through USB rather than 3.5mm jack's produce lower quality sound. Additionally, its been said that you should steer away from surround sound (5.1 and 7.1). 

I will be using the headphones for 3 main things. Gaming, music and Skype. I have kind of worked out that gaming and music are not a good combination for headphones, but perhaps i'm wrong. The main gaming platform I will use the headphones on is of course PC, but it would be a benefit if I could hook it up to my PS3, however that is not an important aspect. I play FPS and RTS games regularly. For my music, I like to enjoy the sound. I'm not someone that just pumps the bass and listens to music loud. The quality is what I look for. I don't think I need to add anything about using Skype because the music/gaming is more important in deciding what to buy. 
** My price range is sub $200, and I don't want headphones that require an amplifier or sound card.

Additionally, I am worried about getting open headphones. I've only ever worn closed. I don't need it for privacy as I will only use it at home, and I know that open is supposed to give a better sound stage but I am worried that I won't like the open ones. Closed feels good as it blocks out everything else. I've also heard that you should stay away from "gaming" headphones, as they are supposed to be gimmicky. The headphones that I am really interested in are the ATH-M50's. They are supposed to be really good for listening to music, but are horrible for gaming (due to the limited sound stage). 

Some models I have looked at: (Please feel free to suggest others)
- Audio Technica ATH-M50
- SteelSeries Siberia V2
- TurtleBeach Ear Force Z6A
- Audio-Technica AD700
- Audio-Technica A700 or A700X
- Creative Aurvana Live!

Previous headphones that broke due to stepping on the cable once were the Creative Tactic3D Alpha's.

Sorry for the lengthy description, but any help is appreciated!

post #2 of 16
I think you've gotten mostly good information from whatever you've been reading! The only bit I'd "correct" is gaming and music - it is possible to have both, basically you just want to pick a headphone that has good soundstaging/imaging as well as comfort; that may not align with your tastes 100% for music, but generally cans that fit into that category are pretty solid all-rounders, and won't do a bad job with music (and usually headphones that do really well with music, do really well with gaming too).

As far as the open v closed debate, I think you owe it to yourself to try open headphones. There's a lot of great options in the <$200 segment, especially if you consider open headphones, and especially if gaming is a concern.

Onto your list - I'm unfamiliar with most of the gaming models on there, but will steer you away from the M50 (especially for gaming), and the A700 (the pads will fall apart and are expensive to replace; this is entirely a functional consideration (has nothing to do with the sound) - I think they fixed this with the A700X though). The CAL! are a good headphone but a little bassy, and are probably the winner if open-back cans are out and we need to stay under $100.

If open-backed cans are to be considered, I'd throw the Ultrasone HFI-2400 into the mix (and I would take it over anything on your list).

In the world of closed headphones, I'd also add another two models that have better imaging/staging than the ones you've got up there currently - the Sennheiser HD 380Pro, and the Bose AE2 (both have angled drivers, hence the better staging). Both are good sounding, the Sennheiser have more up top, the Bose are more relaxed (they're probably the least fatiguing and most comfortable headphones ever made - they'd be my top pick for gaming). You might also look at the AT A900X, they seem to run right around the $200 mark, and are a good all-rounder if they will fit your head. The pairs I've tried seem to have "fixed" pads (they don't feel like the disintegrating ones), so that'd get a nod if you want to go AT closed back.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for your help ^

I tried out a few headphones in-store today and what do you think about Sennheiser HD 598 vs. Audio-Technica M50's?

Those are the 2 that really caught my interest. Its open vs. closed, but I found that there is nothing wrong with open at all.

 

I'm just trying to weigh up whether the quality of the M50's with music is better than the versatility with the 598's (since it has a better sound stage and can be used for movies and gaming).

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyp245 View Post

Thanks very much for your help ^
I tried out a few headphones in-store today and what do you think about Sennheiser HD 598 vs. Audio-Technica M50's?
Those are the 2 that really caught my interest. Its open vs. closed, but I found that there is nothing wrong with open at all.

I'm just trying to weigh up whether the quality of the M50's with music is better than the versatility with the 598's (since it has a better sound stage and can be used for movies and gaming).

I haven't heard the 598, but I found the 595 fairly boring and drab. I more or less loathed the M50. I'd take boring over loathed. And remember the M50 will stick to your head and get uncomfortable over time. I'd probably vote Sennheiser if I had to pick between the two. *shrug* Were you able to try the HFI-2400 out?
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Nah I didn't get a chance to try them out, couldn't find them anywhere... but I think the sennheiser's might be better becasue there open (for movies and games) and they're more comfortable.. 

post #6 of 16
I will say that I had no complaints about comfort with any of the "EAR" Sennheiser models that I've ever tried - they certainly are easy to wear, and I think most people would agree with that. smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

 I don't think i can get away with getting the 598's. I was thinking perhaps 558's. I like listening to soundtracks, classical and a bit of electro + watch movies and play games, so the 558's are looking good becasue they are open. Open are better for that kind of stuff ey?

post #8 of 16
In the most general of terms, open headphones tend to be better at soundstaging - yes. But we're over-generalizing there. smily_headphones1.gif

The AKG K701 would be an easy suggestion for me to make, however I don't know if that exceeds your budget, or what you're meaning to plug them into. I also don't know what they're going for these days - last I knew it was around $250. The HFI-2400 are another good suggestion for what you're looking at, and will be fantastic with gaming and movies especially - they're around $220 on Amazon right now, but I've seen them as low as $180. I'll add the Bose AE2 onto that list to round things out - they will give you good bass impact, are very comfortable, and have a good soundstage (spectacular for a closed can) - they're also probably easier to find than the K701 or HFI-2400.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Ive never used amazon before, but ive created an account and got the basics of it... just one question.

Is this a good seller? He looks to have a good reputation over the past 12 months, but hasnt sold as much as other people. Does it look legit to you?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main?ie=UTF8&asin=&isAmazonFulfilled=1&isCBA=&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&orderID=&seller=A19UWB7L0RHHLP

post #10 of 16

the HD558 and HD598 are really good for gaming while being just as good for music. (though some people that is i guessed more used to bass heavy cans may complain it sounds boring)
the lack of subbass (as most other open headphones do too)compared to some closed back headphones can be fixed with a simple bass boost from an amp or eq.

haven't heard the HD595 before so i can't tell how it will be compared to the HD598


Edited by streetdragon - 1/1/13 at 3:39am
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyp245 View Post

I have kind of worked out that gaming and music are not a good combination for headphones, but perhaps i'm wrong.

Lol there's nothing wrong with that.

post #12 of 16

I had the Creative Aurvana Live!. It's great for movies and games as many people already know. I was blown away as a newbie. Then I had the HM5 (aka FA-003, Jayar, etc). It's much better than CAL! for just a bit more. You can read all the HM5/FA-003 threads and reviews to see what I mean. I sure won't be upgrading until I'm willing to pay more than a couple of hundred dollars for full-size can.

post #13 of 16
Street - I'm not used to "bassier" headphones and still think they're boring. I kind of resent the implication.

OP - doesn't amazon.com llc sell them? (They sell most ultrasones) If not - beach audio, J&R, dbroth, etc are good choices as third party sellers.
post #14 of 16

well it may be different with the HD598 since you haven't heard them before, also since we all hear differently afterall. (but agree these are not 'fun' cans, more of soothing therapy kind of sound.)

post #15 of 16
Yeah - I get flat and neutral as a sound, I've just always found the EAR cans as fairly drab - nothing bad or offensive, and I don't mean to say they are, just very average sounding to me.
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