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replacing 555s, looking at ATH-AD900, mostly listening to Pandora One...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have some Sennheiser HD 555s that I think I bought in 2000.  The foam padding is flat, the plastic is starting to separate, and finally the left side completely cut out.  So I guess it's time to replace them.


I'm a developer, and I sit in a cube in front of a computer and listen to headphones probably 5 or 6 hours/day at work.  And recently I've been using Sennheiser MM 400s -- little bluetooth headphones that are pretty uncomfortable.  I miss my 555s.  They sounded better, but I miss how comfortable they were just as much as I miss the sound.  My work is reasonably quiet, and I don't really crank the music up, so the open design isn't a problem, and I think it sounds better.


I listen to Pandora One most of the time.  It's 192K AAC, and the quality is really good for streaming audio, but I still question how reasonable it is to buy headphones that cost more than $100.  I listen to a lot of symphonic music.  My main Pandora channels are Geminiani, Ulrich Schnauss, Aphex Twin ... some Kate Earl, Zero 7.  Mostly relaxing stuff, and I like the idea of a big soundstage and just an open, good sound that's not fatiguing ... but sometimes I also like to listen to Tool, Machine Head, and a lot of classic rock/metal, so I'd like something all-around decent.  But I don't want something muddy and bass-heavy.


And I spend a couple hours every day just listening to geek podcasts.  So I don't need $500 headphones.  It's streaming radio and podcasts all day on my phone (Nexus 4), and the quality isn't perfect, so I worry that some really high-end headphones would just be a waste.  I could get an amp, but the source is still gonna be my phone.


So, I'm looking at the Audio Technica ATH-AD900.  That looks really comfortable, and it's supposed to be a step up from the 555s.  Seems reasonable for $180.  The AKG K701s look pretty cool and retro, but that's a silly reason to spend another $80.


I just remembered I've got some PortaPros that I should probably be using instead of the Sennheiser MM 400s...


Anyway, I'm just looking for any general opinions.  I guess I'm looking for super-comfortable open headphones that aren't fatiguing and wouldn't be wasted listening to 192K AAC audio on a phone.  Would the AD900s be wasted listening to Pandora and podcasts all day?  I doubt I should be considering anything better, although I'm open to the idea of spending more since I listen to headphones many hours per day. Anything I'm missing that I should be considering?  Should I just stick with the PortaPros?



post #2 of 3

If comfort is a big issue for you, then look into AD900X, which is basically an improved version of AD900. Most people consider them very comfortable but some may disagree. After all comfort can be very subjective, I would suggest you to auction them first before buying.

post #3 of 3



I think it's still worth getting a ~$250ish headphone for even that use. Mostly because you're investing into something that feels good to wear, has replaceable parts, durable build, etc. Something that can grow with you over time, and scale with more source material should you get more into the gear and quality side of the hobby/art. Plus in the off chance you choose to sell, getting something that is actually able to re-sell is a nice perk compared to something that no one will ever buy back.


I would look into these:


Hifiman HE-300 r2

Beyer DT880 32ohm

Sony MA900


I would put most emphasis on the MA900 based on your descriptions.


Very best,

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