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Mid Range Headphones $200-$300. AKG/Grado/Ultrasone/AudioTechnica?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm looking to get my first pair of decent headphones. My budget is limited to $400NZ. I'd prefer something around or under $250 though.

 

I've had a look around at headphones that get good reviews in that price bracket, and I've come up with the following. 

 

Jaycar Pro / Brainwavz HM5 / Fischer FA-003 / Yoga CD880 - $125

Grado SR80i - $169

Ultrasone Pro 550 - $195

Ultrasone Pro 750 - $360

Beyerdynamic DT660 - $195

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 Ohm - $225

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 Ohm - $240

Audio Technica ATH-M50 - $220

Audio Technica ATH-WS99 - $225

Sony MDR-1R - $250

Philips Fidelio L1 - $250

AKG Q701 - $315

Sennheiser HD598 - $250

 

It'd be ideal if something could be powered well without an amp, as I'll be running these from cellphone often. If I was to get an amp, I'd most likely get the Fiio E11, but potentially the PA2V2 or a cMoyBB.

 

The headphone would be used for music as well as gaming. I listen to primarily metal and post rock (Maybeshewill, Russian Circles, Cult of Luna, Heaven Shall Burn and Devin Towsend are few examples of artists on my typical playlists). I'd like something that has good bass and low-mids. I prefer The quality during music playback is more important that the sound quality in games, but something that finds the best of both worlds would be great.

 

I'd be using it on the go, in libraries, offices, etc, as well as at home. How bad is the sound leakage on open headphones. If it take my current Sennheiser HD202s and hold them at arms length with the speaker pointed towards me, they are almost inaudible at my usual listening volume. Are open headphones likely to produce more noise than that? One consideration I had was buying two sets of headphones, one open, one closed. I'd probably go for the cheaper sets if I did this, such as the Grado SR80i for home use, paired with the Ultrasone Pro 550 or Beyerdynamic DT660 for on the go. Does that sound like a reasonable idea, or am I better just to spend all the money on one really good set of closed cans?

 

I don't have much of an opportunity to try before I buy, so the safer the better. If you have any other suggestions within my price range, I'd love to hear them. The choice here in NZ is limited, I can buy certain models from Amazon (some included above), and I'm not opposed to buying from Ebay, but would prefer something local if possible. This link here covers most of the locally available stuff (http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?k=148).

 

Thanks for the help.


Edited by Word Of Madness - 9/30/13 at 5:24am
post #2 of 4

Something tells me you'd be into the Ultrasones.

 

The typical recommendation for rock and metal music is Grados, but you might find them lacking in the bass department. I've never been a fan of the V-Moda and I think the AKG will only sound superior if you amp it. The ATH-M50 might also be a good choice.

post #3 of 4
Grados are open headphones. So know that they are not a good choice for on the go use since people can hear your music, and you can hear your environment very well. I also don't think their design is good for carrying in a backpack or computer bag for porability (you would definitely need a case for them).

Grados have decent midbass that works well for most rock, but not good sub bass extension for other bass heavy genres like EDM (doesn't sound like you are interested in that). And their midbass is not heavily emphasized, although I would describe it as slightly punchy above neutral. What Grados are known for is their excellent transient response which makes guitar sound great in the mids. But if you like heavy bass emphasis, you could easily be disappointed with the bass.

If you'd like the idea of the Grados for at home use and want some good portable headphones that have more bass emphasis, the Grado SR80i paired with the JVC HA-S500 could be an excellent choice. Both pairs should fit into your budget smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Grados are open headphones. So know that they are not a good choice for on the go use since people can hear your music, and you can hear your environment very well. I also don't think their design is good for carrying in a backpack or computer bag for porability (you would definitely need a case for them).

Grados have decent midbass that works well for most rock, but not good sub bass extension for other bass heavy genres like EDM (doesn't sound like you are interested in that). And their midbass is not heavily emphasized, although I would describe it as slightly punchy above neutral. What Grados are known for is their excellent transient response which makes guitar sound great in the mids. But if you like heavy bass emphasis, you could easily be disappointed with the bass.

If you'd like the idea of the Grados for at home use and want some good portable headphones that have more bass emphasis, the Grado SR80i paired with the JVC HA-S500 could be an excellent choice. Both pairs should fit into your budget smily_headphones1.gif

 

I didn't consider open vs closed headphones. If I take my current headphones (Sennheiser HD202) at my usual listening volume, and hold them at arms length with the speakers pointed towards me, they're inaudible. I've watched some videos of the noise leakage from the Grados, and it seems bad, would it actually be that bad based on my findings with my HD202s, or is it just a case of them having a higher volume than I would?

 

I was after a headphone that would be suitable for both use at home, and on-the-go, and I use my current ones for both in equal proportions. Perhaps I'm best off playing it safe and going for a closed back headphone, despite the fact that I love the look of the Grados, and their sound quality seems like it suit me well.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by levinhatz View Post
 

Something tells me you'd be into the Ultrasones.

 

The typical recommendation for rock and metal music is Grados, but you might find them lacking in the bass department. I've never been a fan of the V-Moda and I think the AKG will only sound superior if you amp it. The ATH-M50 might also be a good choice.

 

There is some strange attraction to the Ultrsasones that I can't explain. The only thing holding my back is the minimal amount of reviews in comparison to something from a bigger manufacturer. They have some sort of surround sound thing called S-Logic, I'm not sure if it's actually any good, or if it's just a marketing gimmick, but if it works it'd be nice for gaming.

 

The ATH-M50s get a lot of great reviews, and their good bass and treble sounds nice to me, but a lot of people say they're overrated considering their price. Do you think it's worth the $10 upgrade to the PRO700MK2?

 

Are there some other AKG models that'd be worth considering? I do love the look of AKGs stuff, and had a low end set of their IEMs that I was fairly impressed with. The K272 would come from Amazon, and all of the models I can obtain locally are either low end, or more expensive than the imported K272s. I could have a peak on Ebay if there was a well recommended model in my price bracket, that either didn't need amping, or was cheap enough to allow in amp into the budget (or perhaps a little extra, the Fiio E11 is $69 for me for reference).


Edited by Word Of Madness - 9/28/13 at 7:07pm
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