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Help me choose between these headphones

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Alright, so I've got a buddy who's an acoustical engineer, and works for a hi-fi company. I asked him what good headphones I could get for around $150, give or take about 50 maybe. He told me to look at these:


Sennheiser HD558

Denon AH-D401

Denon AH-D340

Grado SR80i


I didn't really give him much information about what I'd be using them for or anything else, so I'll give you some stuff to consider.


-I only want over the ear headphones.

-I listen to music a lot on the go, but also at home. I've used bulky over-the-hear headphones on the go before, and they don't bother me as long as I'm careful and don't put my head through any walls or anything.

-I use headphones primarily for music, but occasionally for movies as well

-I try to use lossless files for my music as much as possible.

-I generally will listen to music through my iPod, or my Macbook Pro (2010 version)

-I listen to varieties of rock, metal, and hip-hop. I'd primarily want them to focus on the rock and metal, particularly things like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Russian Circles. Atmospheric rock as it were. 

-Something not too leaky.


I don't really have any hi-fi or other audiophile equipment, hopefully that'll change in the future when I become a multi-millionaire. 

I should also say that so far, the Sennheiser are looking to be my favourite, but that can change of course.


If you could suggest to me which of these would be best for me, or if there are others you think I should look at, I'll definitely give them a look.


Any other questions, feel free to ask.



post #2 of 8
Get closed headphones instead of open like the SR80i or HD 558. With open headphones, you can hear your environment too easily. Not a good choice for on the go use.

Look for headphones with impedance say of 32 ohms or maybe up to 50 ohms. They are easier to drive with portable devices and laptops.

Do you like some extra bass emphasis? Or would you be happy with headphones that are more balanced?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Extra bass could be fun, but only if it doesn't take away from the headphones. Like, only if the extra bass doesn't mean they focus less on treble, mids, durability, etc.


So how leaky would the HD558's be, in terms of letting sound in?

post #4 of 8
Well, if you get bass emphasis in frequency response, that means that the mids and/or highs will have less presence in comparison.

Open headphones are just a bad choice for portable use.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will say no for the bass emphasis.


So with the closed back headphones, would the Denon be the way to go? If so which one? Unless there is another that I should look into?

post #6 of 8
Check out the Soundmagic HP100. Might be a good choice for you: http://www.head-fi.org/t/616201/soundmagic-hp100-review
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Cheers, I'll be sure to give those a look.

post #8 of 8

HD558 has some really nice features to its sound but it really, really magnifies and static and distortion in metal albums. Closed headphones are also smoother sounding than open. Takes the edge off a bit with some compromise to the openness of the sound. But it also helps the phone retain bass. Wish there was a closed back K701, it sounds better than most any closed phone I've heard if I just put my hands over the outer earcup. I would also consider K550, Yamaha Pro 400, and  Sennheiser Amperior. I've written extensively on each. I think one of those three would fit the bill for you. You should be able to search my posts. Or just check some of the latest recommendation threads or threads about rock/metal phones.

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