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Help choosing headphones for $200

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I was looking at two different sets of headphones, both around $200, the Grado 225i and Sennheiser HD 558. Unfortunately, there isn't anywhere around me where I could test two two sets to compare them, so I'll need some help to decide between the two.

 

I'm looking for a headphone that pairs well with rock music, has good instrument separation and isn't too fatiguing. I've heard that the Grados are typically love 'em or hate 'em, (Or so I've read) and that's why I'm hesitant, even though people say Grados work very well with rock music. Additionally, the Sennheisers are less expensive, more comfortable and have a wider soundstage (Again, from what I've read). For now, I only have an iPod touch filled with mostly lossless music, but I plan on getting a Fiio X3 and E12 amp within the next few months, and possibly a decent DAC and amp for home use. And yes, I plan on using these outside from time to time, and I am aware that they are both open headphones and will have a bit of sound leak.

 

Another thing in favor of the Senns are price, they are at $150 right now on Amazon, but the Grados will cost $215 if you include the price of an adapter, a pretty good sized chunk of change for a 16 year old with no job.

 

I am definitely open to other suggestions, but these two are the ones that look the best to me, I looked at the M50s and some others but they weren't what I'm looking for. So if anyone could help me decide between these two, I'd be very grateful (Been trying to decide for over a month).

 

*Sorry for creating a new thread, I don't really like to make them on any forums because they cause clutter, but I couldn't come to a  conclusion after many searches over the past few weeks, it's sort of a 'last resort'. Again, sorry.

post #2 of 9

The HD558s come with a stock 1/4" headphone jack and ship with a 1/4" F to 1/8" M adapter.

Using the adapter with portable audio is not very desirable.

So you might end up spending $16-$18 for a third party cable for the HD558 that come with the 1/8" jack as standard.

 

I've heard that Grado headphones make you feel like your sitting in the front row at a rock concert.

I own the HD558s, the sound could be described as a little cold or distant, some say veiled.

I do like the sound of the HD558s, as the sound is very functional, so they work fairly well for movies, music and gaming.

 

Check out the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X open headphones, $200.

I own the closed version, ATH-A900X, and really like the music quality.

Any they should be easy for the Fiio X3 to drive, without needing an add-on amplifier.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The HD558s come with a stock 1/4" headphone jack and ship with a 1/4" F to 1/8" M adapter.

Using the adapter with portable audio is not very desirable.

So you might end up spending $16-$18 for a third party cable for the HD558 that come with the 1/8" jack as standard.

 

I've heard that Grado headphones make you feel like your sitting in the front row at a rock concert.

I own the HD558s, the sound could be described as a little cold or distant, some say veiled.

I do like the sound of the HD558s, as the sound is very functional, so they work fairly well for movies, music and gaming.

 

Check out the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X open headphones, $200.

I own the closed version, ATH-A900X, and really like the music quality.

Any they should be easy for the Fiio X3 to drive, without needing an add-on amplifier.


First, thanks for your input. I thought about the AD900X headphones for a while, but decided against them. By 'third party cable' do you mean an entirely new cable, or different 1/4 to 1/8 adapter. I'm guessing the former, because I've heard that the stock cable is pretty poor. What cables would you suggest, and is there a place that could change them out for me? I'm pretty awful at that sort of thing. Although, I do have an on old pair of HD201s that I could practice on.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by AE86 View Post


First, thanks for your input. I thought about the AD900X headphones for a while, but decided against them. By 'third party cable' do you mean an entirely new cable, or different 1/4 to 1/8 adapter. I'm guessing the former, because I've heard that the stock cable is pretty poor. What cables would you suggest, and is there a place that could change them out for me? I'm pretty awful at that sort of thing. Although, I do have an on old pair of HD201s that I could practice on.

Get entirely new cable.

Guess someone was able to copy Sennheiser's 2.5mm locking jack (the end that plugs into the headphone cup).

Someone over in China makes a replacement cable that uses the 1/8" 3.5mm jack (end that plugs into audio source)

I'm not sure it's a better sounding cable, but for $16-$18, it makes it easier to use the HD558.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261255113290?var=560215640800&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Get entirely new cable.

Guess someone was able to copy Sennheiser's 2.5mm locking jack (the end that plugs into the headphone cup).

Someone over in China makes a replacement cable that uses the 1/8" 3.5mm jack (end that plugs into audio source)

I'm not sure it's a better sounding cable, but for $16-$18, it makes it easier to use the HD558.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261255113290?var=560215640800&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

 



I just did a search and found those too. I will definitely get them if I choose the HD558. Thanks for your help!

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by AE86 View Post


First, thanks for your input. I thought about the AD900X headphones for a while, but decided against them. By 'third party cable' do you mean an entirely new cable, or different 1/4 to 1/8 adapter. I'm guessing the former, because I've heard that the stock cable is pretty poor. What cables would you suggest, and is there a place that could change them out for me? I'm pretty awful at that sort of thing. Although, I do have an on old pair of HD201s that I could practice on.

The problem with the provided adapter is that it adds a lot of weight to the device, and adds extra length (about 5cm) to the device. It also makes it vulnerable to breaking. Grado actually makes good 1/4" to 1/8" adapters that reduce this problem.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Mini-Adaptor-Cable-Inch/sim/B001DK1ZVO/2

 

I don't think you need to replace the entire cable as it is more expensive. Also the HD 558 has detachable cable.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nfslmao View Post

The problem with the provided adapter is that it adds a lot of weight to the device, and adds extra length (about 5cm) to the device. It also makes it vulnerable to breaking. Grado actually makes good 1/4" to 1/8" adapters that reduce this problem.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Mini-Adaptor-Cable-Inch/sim/B001DK1ZVO/2

 

I don't think you need to replace the entire cable as it is more expensive. Also the HD 558 has detachable cable.

 



5cm long? As if the 3 meter cable wasn't long enough already. It's good to know that it has a detachable cable though, that's always a bonus.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Any other opinions on the two from anyone else?

post #9 of 9

If your looking for a good punch then give the HD 558's a go. I felt that they were more bassier than the Grado's. The grado's seemed a little bright, maybe not ideal for rock (unless you prefer it that way). The best option is to buy a pair of either or both from amazon and return the one you least enjoy.

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