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Aspiring Audiophile Semi-Poor College Student Seeks Headphone Advice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I understand that all these recommendation-request threads get pretty annoying after awhile, and I anticipate at lesat one "search the forums before posting" reply, but I assure you I've done some research and frankly, all it has done is overwhelm me for the most part. I'd greatly appreciate some recommendations to fulfill my rather specific needs.


I'm looking for some headphones (closed, open, IEMs, buds, I have no idea) in the budget range of $50-150 for a few purposes. I will be using them primarily in my apartment that I share with two others, for doing homework at the library, and on the short walk between the two.


My biggest factors (besides sound) to consider are noise isolation -- both inward and outward, although they don't have to be totally isolating, just useable in a library setting -- relative portability, since I'd like to be able to use them walking around outside or travelling wherever I might go, and comfort (important because I have a huge head, 24" or 7.5 hat size). I'm also a huge gamer, and I don't know if music headphones would really be suited to immersive gaming, but that's something to think about. Additionally, it would be nice, although not absolutely necessary, for the headphones to have a nice aesthetic.


I understand that as far as noise-isolation goes, IEMs are probably my best bet. The only thing is is I recently purchased some excellently reviewed Vsonic VC02's, and while they did sound pretty magnificent and had bonkers noise-isolation, I found myself fiddling with them all the time, couldn't really deal with wearing them cable-up (resulting in fairly heavy microphonics), and they tickled my ears like mad. After about a month of use, the tiny things broke and I sent them back to Amazon for a full refund. For these reasons, I'm not so sure IEMs are my jam, although I could be convinced otherwise.


The music I listen to is pretty broad. It leans a little it more towards dark electronic (think The Knife or Boards of Canada), ut there's a lot of indie rock and ambient stuff mixed in, with some hip-hop, orchestral, funk, and world sprinkled in. If i'd have to choose, I'd say I like slightly bass-heavy sound signatures, but certainly not overpowering ones. I usually listen to music pretty loud, but obviously not when working at the library.


Whilst poking around in the forums I cam across the House of Marley Exodus headphones, which are very well-reviewed. I adore their aesthetic, they're cheap ($80 at time of posting), and reviews say they have pretty good noise isolation and a wide soundstage. They are over ear, though, and apparently not well-suited to large heads, with makes me wary.


Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing when choosing this stuff right now. Any help would be awesome! Cheers, and thanks so much!

post #2 of 7

If the House of Marley cans appeal, can you find somewhere to try them out? Here in the UK, distribution is fairly widespread and easy to find a store with them on display.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

That's a good idea, somehow I didn't think of that. I'll do some investigation.

post #4 of 7

try the denons hp 700, youll be surpriced, and with even just little amplification, you'll get an amazing sound, with unbeliavable bass, and a balanced eq, where you'll hear every frequency and with LOADS, of detail, Im a musician, and I can learn rythmic patterns on guitar strums much easier since I had these headphones, just to give an idea. try them out. 100-150$ usual price

even with just an iphone or an android they sound great. if you can add a bit of amplification however, they sound even better!

and they isolate a lot.

Edited by Uppertaker - 6/23/13 at 1:42pm
post #5 of 7
I found the House of Marley ones to be built very cheaply... Ultrasone HFI-780's would suit your music styles and is a great headphone. It is my goto headphone for anything Electronic, it works well with everything else too but just shines with Electronic. It does fold up and comes with a soft pouch to carry them in. Some find the pads a bit uncomfortable, I have a large head as well and they fit me fine. For pads you can put the Brainwavz HM5 pads on for $20 then they become Ultrasone pillows... biggrin.gif

The shiny aluminium side will scratch up but there is no way to prevent that, poor choice of material from Ultrasone...

Best thing is to go to an audio store like GSARider said and listen to some headphones for yourself, take your iPod with you as well. You can ask and read all the reviews you want but in the end its all a matter or personal preference.

Enjoy the journey its a great one.

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk 2
Edited by TrollDragon - 6/23/13 at 2:15pm
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody! Sorry for the long response time -- I ended up getting sidetracked, changing my mind about IEMs (I can get used to them, right?) and buying a pair of VSonic GR06's. Unfortunately, after only a few days of use, it's already evident that IEMs (or at least mid/low range ones) aren't for me. I can't stop messing with them, and the GR06's seal much worse than my previous VC02's. So I'm in the process of returning them, and back on the search for some 'phones. I appreciate your guys' feedback!


I went all the way through |joker|'s list of portable headphones, and came up with a list of the ones that truly interest me:


AKG K81DJ - $79 ($50 at Best Buy!)

Pros: Look good, great isolation, seem portable, wide/dark sound signature

Cons: leaky bass, possibly uncomfortable


Sennheiser PX200-II - $90

Good, but not better than K81DJ


Denon DN-HP700 - $100

Pros: Comfortable, cool, great sound

Cons: Not too warm presence, bulky, need an amp


Sony MDR-V6 - $76

Pros: Great isolation, rugged, comfortable, moderate bass emphasis

Cons: ugly, monitor-centric sound signature


Fischer Audio FA-004 - $68

Pros: Look pretty good, decent isolation, good sound

Cons: considered uncomfortable by some


Phiaton MS400 - $180

Pros: Awesome consumer sound, beautiful housing, comfortable, great isolation

Cons: Probably too expensive


Audio-Technica ATH-M50 - $159

Pros: Great bass, great sound, attractive design, comfortable

Cons: Expensive, possibly needs amp



Right now, it seems like the purchase that would make the most sense would be the AKG 81DJ, in that it fits all my specifications, is very portable, and is way cheaper than any other option at $50.


The headphones I really want, though, are those pretty-pretty Phiatons The description of their sound signature really seems to line up with my own preferences, but I find it difficult to justify the expense when I'm on a budget. The more I think about it, though, the more appetizing it sounds...I'm wary, though, because I'm already prone to overspending and blowing my money.


Also, I appreciate the recommendations to go check out the headphones in person at a nearby store, but unfortunately, I'm in Boise Idaho, and all my research to find a headphone shop nearby has turned up nothing. So my plan is to buy, and if it's not good enough, return it.


EDIT: I realized that the MS400's are actually only ~$130 on Amazon, and that's definitely a more attractive price point. What do you guys think? Does it make sense?


Edited by Shaq-Fu - 6/28/13 at 5:57pm
post #7 of 7

the denons aren't comfortable at all =) they are slighty okay in the beginning, but you have to change the pads for them to be comfortable. also they don't really need an amp, they are okay with just an iphone, and sound amazing, though, if you really want to hear the magic happening, let's say these with an amp sound like much more expensive headphones. also they fold up nicely for travel, so the bulkyness is another correction.

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