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LF General Reference Headphones $350

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey there, complete audio newbie here. Going to do the cliché thing and ask for some recommendations on headphones.


I've been using FL Studio since 2007 and decided I finally need to get some reference-class headphones to help with my hobby. I don't have the means to make a studio at the moment so the sound from any standalone monitors would just bounce all around the walls. I primarily compose orchestral pieces and the strings and piano are more prominent for me than the brass. Might be a different case if I had a better sound library for the brass sections, but I can't complain too much about it. I wouldn't mind having a pair of headphones I could use both for creating and listening, but if one has to compromise the other I'd rather favor the referencing quality. In the listening department I have a wide range of music I like to listen to; Vocal, Progressive, Electro-Jazz, Rock, etc. You name it and I'll listen to at least a little of it from time to time, with the exception of Country (sorry fellow Texans, just not my thing).


I had been originally looking at the Shure SRH840/940's, but this was well before I did any proper research on the subject. I just knew from word-of-mouth that Shure made good audio products and that I had gotten a mic from them. What I didn't know at the time was the difference between closed and open headphone setups. Seeing as though most of Shure's headphones are closed, I'm somewhat reluctant to try them now.


That being said, I've never owned a "high-end" pair of headphones so I don't honestly know much of what I would need. Probably the highest end earpieces I've owned have been a pair of Sennheiser CX300 Mk II earbuds and an older pair of BOSE earbuds. Therefore my opinion on what I might need is kind of uninformed and based solely on reviews I've seen and articles I've read. Unfortunately many reviews I've come upon have been somewhat biased and it doesn't help that everyone has different audio preferences as well. After stumbling upon this forum I thought about going to one of the meet-ups to try out some equipment and have some of my questions answered only to find that I just missed the Dallas area meet-up a few weeks ago. Therefore I'm limited to a forum post and no actual in-person testing :( sad day.



Other pairs I'm currently looking at include:

Sennheiser HD 598

AKG K702

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X (somewhat not sure about these... saw a review that talked about the gap between the upper part of the earcups and the side of the head that seems to be common for a lot of people)


I've also taken a look at the buying guide thread: http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-buying-guide So opinions on those are welcome as well as any other suggestions.


Hell, I'm not even sure if a pair of open headphones would be the best option. Should I still be looking into pairs of closed headphones like the Shure's? I understand that open configurations give you a "wider soundstage" and an overall more natural sound instead of it seeming to come from inside your head, but I've never had the chance to try them so I have no idea personally what would be best for my needs. I also understand that open headphones have no isolation, but don't worry I'm not concerned about that in the slightest. These would be headphones I would use at-home exclusively. I am by no means a "bass-head", but there is something to be said about an absolute absence of the lower frequencies I've seen being talked about in some open headphones.


I'm looking for a good pair of cans for no more than $350 that can sufficiently cover the needs I've mentioned. I have no brand preference as I've no experience in higher end audio.

My onboard audio solution has a bundled 300-ohm headphone amp (advertised signal-to-noise ratio of 110dB). Currently don't have to funds to purchase a dedicated amp if I'm going to be spending this much on the headphones. Could probably get on in the next few months though. Would my onboard audio solution's bundled headphone amp be sufficient to drive these headphones?


Thank you greatly for your time, opinions, and suggestions.


PS: Sorry if I misuse any lingo.

post #2 of 4

Anyone who gives you advice on what your on board audio will properly drive, given the information you have posted, almost certainly also enjoys shooting crap on penny stocks.


All I can say is that the more efficient the can, the more likely it will work well (or at least OK) with what you have.  Of the cans you mentioned, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X, rated at 38 Ohms and sensitivity of 100 dB/mW, might be your safest bet.  No guarantees though.


I will add that the three open cans you mentioned are all quality mid-fi choices, although which one you prefer will probably depend on what sound signature you like best--as well as what you have to drive them.

Edited by KG Jag - 10/12/13 at 12:41am
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your input. Sorry I didn't give much information about my onboard audio. The soundcard itself is Asus's onboard solution named "SupremeFX IV". A detailed description of the "card" itself can be found here, http://rog.asus.com/131512012/maximus-motherboards/what-is-supremefx-iv/ which provided a link to the amplifier that it uses http://www.ti.com/product/tpa6120a2


Unfortunately I'm not ware of what kind of sound signature I would prefer. This will be my first major audio purchase and I've virtually no previous experience with differences of audio profiles when it comes to headphones.


I'm mostly interested in what set of cans would be best suited for monitoring orchestral projects. I know different brands tend to cater to different types of audio, but that different models within that brand do the same thing.


Thanks again for your help.

post #4 of 4
I use Propellerheads Reason and I'm familiar with FL studio. I also live in a condo and I'm not going to be able to create my sound proofed project studio. So headphones are my choice.

Eventually I'm planning on buying the best headphones I can get for my music (AKG K812 mb) but until then I recognize that decent mid-fi headphones will allow me to compose, and do some engineering work. Mastering and mix downs I'll do at a friends place if needed.

I would seriously look into the AKG550, the Shure SRH840 and 940. I use a sound card but all of these headphones should be fairly easy to drive from your internal sound card. Not entirely sure about the 940 though.

I have e SRH 840 and can attest that these are spectacular performers for project studio work. Excellent mid-range and with enough low end to find your groove. Beyond studio work these are just solid headphones. I have a pretty big head and find these among the most comfy headphones I've owned (the HD555 being more comfy).

I enjoy piano compositions, orchestral and electronic. The Shure works great for this. I would look for one used, and also research the 940 and AKG 550 as it may be a better buy. If you can get the 840 for around $150 or less then go for it.

Also, all of these are closed headphones, and these can have some advantages for monitoring applications. One is that you'll be able to tune out outside sounds, and listen at lower volumes.
Edited by Malfunkt - 10/12/13 at 4:16pm
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