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Sub $400 headphones

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Basically been looking through tons of headphones but still don't know what to get. Input would be appreciated.


For reference, my current headphones are the FA-011 and the Westone ES3X. Current speakers are the Swan M200 mkii. Not much of a fan of the FA-011 anymore; it is fun but it's quite fatiguing to me. Bass is quite muddy to me now too after listening to the ES3X. I much prefer the ES3X sound signature, which seems to be much more vocal-oriented. I do like my rumbling bass though, just the FA-011 is too muddy. The reason why I'm looking for a headphone by the way is because I would prefer not to use the ES3X at home and the sound isn't really centered due to what I believe is a fit issue (reshelled by UM twice but didn't want to keep paying $40 to ship it over. I still get a seal on both sides but yeah, it's not centered). M200s sound great to me.


Genre preferences are (my most favorite's first):

Vocal Trance (especially songs with female vocals)

Trance + instrumentals / acoustic mixes / piano covers

Progressive House

Liquid Drumstep / Dubstep


Drumstep / Dubstep


and then everything else really besides hip-hop/rap and metal.



What I want (favorites first):


Sound Stage / Separation / Imaging (Really not a fan of a congested sound, I like to be immersed. I REALLY like to be immersed. Like realistic-sounding immersed. Almost like the ES3X with some songs though it's still more in-your-head, due to it being an IEM and all).

Mids / Vocals

Quality > Quantity bass, though a noticeable rumble would be nice, not overpowering though. Like a bit more than the ES3X if anyone has listened to it.

Non-sibilant treble (despite the fact I can probably hardly hear it, I still fatigue quite easily from it).

Doesn't really matter if it's open or closed as I'll be using them at home, though I'd say closed would be more of a preference currently.


and in general, a sound signature close to the ES3X, and even closer to the ES5.




70% Music

20% Voice-Chat / Games (the problem I had with the FA-011s was that my friends voices would rumble and the bass would bleed into their voice, making it hard to distinguish what they were saying)

10% Movies


I'll be powering them through an ASUS Xonar DG > E9 and will probably buy a Magni/Modi combo later. As of now, I can't really justify spending a few hundred on an amp as I haven't heard the effects of a good vs. bad amp yet (asides from on-board vs dedicated + E9 with my ES3X. Even then, it's not much).


Main one I've been looking at were the Mad Dogs, but are they that much of an improvement from the original T50rps / are they actually comparable to the LCD2's? About a 400% markup. And then there were varying concerns about the bass. Other one I was looking at was the HD650 but I don't understand what people mean by the "veil" sound, and apparently the Mad Dogs sound better to many people from what I've read.

Edited by AyeVeeN - 1/18/13 at 4:43am
post #2 of 3

The Hifiman HE-400 works very well with the genres you mentioned. I also game & voice chat a lot with them (Dota, CS), no problems there.

post #3 of 3



Look into:


Hifiman HE-400

Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm

Sony MA900

Ultrasone HFI 2400

Ultrasone PRO 2900

Sennheiser HD650


Very best,

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