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Assistance needed in choosing a portable headphone

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I've been spending the past few months "lurking" on Head-fi trying to pick out some new headphones and decided to make an account so I could actually ask the experts! 


I am by no means and audio-phile (yet) and my standards for listening quality aren't the highest due to never actually having had a good pair of headphones to listen to.  


I listen to quite a variety of music and want sort of all-rounder headphone to listen to with my 160GB iPod Classic (some of the stuff I've been listening to lately: Alt-J, The Neighbourhood, Ivan and Alyosha, Mumford and Sons, Overwerk and other stuff from Monstercat, Detektiv Byran, and since I'm a Classical musician a variety of Classical music, but mostly string quartets). 


As for being portable, I want something that isolates well without having to have the volume cranked up all the way, and is comfortable enough for prolonged use (and something with a little style/flair would be nice as well, to satisfy my need as a teenager for being slightly "cool" biggrin.gif ).


The current headphones I'm struggling to choose between are the Phiaton ms400's and the RHA SA950i's.   The RHA's have the advantage of being significantly cheaper than the Phiaton's, and although they're new, by all accounts they're a good set of cans.  


Budget-wise, I don't really want to spend above $130-ish.


Any thoughts on these choices, and maybe a recommendation of something else would be greatly appreciated. 



post #2 of 12

Hi Goleg, welcome to Head-Fi.  smile.gif  Sorry about your wallet.  redface.gif


I can definitely help you make the decision between the two.  But first I'd need to ask you how you feel about highs (treble).  Would you rather have highs that are:  (a) airy, sparkly, and bright; or (b) smooth, relaxed and less fatiguing?

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 


I'm not terribly experienced in what I prefer sound-wise at the moment, but I think I'd like a sound closer to the first option; just as long as they're not piercing! smile.gif

post #4 of 12

Okay, then I think what you'll want is neither.  I would recommend the V-Moda M-80, particularly if the cool factor is important, but also because the sound signature is a very accessible one for (and don't take this personally) noobs.


The pricing on these tends to fluctuate a little.  I got mine (in Shadow) for $130 shipped from Amazon.  It's currently at $150 there, but the white and True Blood versions are right around the $130 mark (which is a very decent price).

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was actually planning on getting a pair of M-80's at first, but most of the reviews say that it doesn't isolate all that well, and I would like something that does isolate relatively well (i.e. good enough for bus rides and windy days).  Is there a particular mod I could perform on the M-80's that doesn't effect the sound, but improves the isolation?

post #6 of 12

Not that I know of, but then again I also don't have an issue with it's isolation at all.  In fact, just to relate this to another model you were thinking of, I would say that the isolation of the M-80 and SA950i are on par with each other.  Both lack a lateral swivel so they don't angle inward to match your ears.  I suppose that you could try to tuck something underneath the rear of the pads so as to angle them in more, but YMMV there.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hmmm, interesting.   Well, I'm going to try the SA950i in an Apple store within the next few days, but now I'm reconsidering the M-80s.   Thanks for your help!

post #8 of 12

You're welcome of course!  Yeah, definitely let me know what you think of the SA950i, particularly the highs.  smile.gif

post #9 of 12

i own m80s and wonder, if the sa950i would be some kind of upgrade. any thoughts on that?

post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

i own m80s and wonder, if the sa950i would be some kind of upgrade. any thoughts on that?


Hmm, I'd have to say no... although, if you've always felt the M-80 to be somewhat lacking in the lows, and you find them to be not-as-warm to you liking overall, then I would say it's a good lateral move to make  Beyond being portable, they're actually quite different really.


Since you've had the HD 650, here's a good way to understand the SA950i.  Imagine a reduction in soundstage and airyness (because it's a closed portable), and then bring the lower frequencies up by about 35%, and then roll off the highs about 1kHz sooner.  There ya go.  smile.gif

post #11 of 12
Hey goleg, though I'm not anything close to an audiophile, I would also recommend the M-80s, and the isolation is okay, but usually the music will drown everything out. I own them and I was surprised about how small they were. But bass is good, treble could've been slightly more pronounced, but all the sound is kept well separated if that makes sense... Well, one more thing, BUY DIRECT FROM AMAZON, there're some fakes floating around. Good Luck!
post #12 of 12

All radio shacks have there M80's clearenced for $120 somthing.

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