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Can't Decide Between Open or Closed Headphones

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for my first pair of audiophile grade headphones. I'll be using them with surround sound for mostly games, but also a bit of music. I've heard that open headphones are my best bet when it comes to audio quality and directional accuracy. However, closed headphones will give me much better bass, they'll be much less airy, and they'll be less likely to need to be amped. I'm hoping that using surround sound with the closed headphones will make them sound a bit more like open ones. If not, then I'll be going with open. As you can see, I'm pretty indecisive.

Right now, I'm looking at these headphones in each category:

Closed
M50

Open
AD700
AD700X
HD558
Q701

What would recommend? I'm looking for durability and comfort on top of sound quality. Portability would be nice, but not if it compromises audio quality. I plan on using them in an environment where I shouldn't have to worry about bleed too much. I'm trying to keep it below $200, although I'm willing to go above that if necessary.

I'm also looking for a nice sound card below 100$. I was thinking the Sound Blaster Z, although I'd like to hear from the experts.

Thanks in advance!
Edited by thePhysicist8 - 11/12/13 at 3:06pm
post #2 of 6

Especially in that price range, you will have to pick what is most important to you.

 

If you want big bass at the expense of recessed mids and small sound stage, the closed M50 is the pick from your list.  Only it is suitable for portable use.  The AD 700 is very easy to drive but has the least bass.

 

If you want big sound stage with extended but not predominant or high impact bass--and are willing to get an amp--the Q701 is at the top of your list.  The HD 558 is also good, especially if you don't have an amp--moves to the top of the list.

 

Durability depends on how you plan to use these cans.  None is a problem in this area--if they are used as intended.  That is tossing one of these open cans into you back back is not an intended use.

 

Once again I’ll mention that headphone comfort is a very individual thing.  Sizing and sensitivities are unique to each person.  We can point you to headphones that are generally considered to be comfortable and mention others that have garnered complaints for being uncomfortable.  However, the only way to know for sure is to wear them yourself for a time equivalent to your longest listening session.


Edited by KG Jag - 11/12/13 at 3:33pm
post #3 of 6

HI!

 

Unless you are wanting to get impactful bass from your new headphones or good isolation, I would go with Sennheiser's HD 558.

 

M50's seem to be a solid pick otherwise.

 

You can also consider Philips Fidelio L1, wich are 'hardly open' headphones that combine some things of both worlds (Closed/Open)
They have very nice bass extension and its overall sound signature is pretty dark. Some people like this kind of sound, some people don´t. You can read about them in this forum or just ask if you have any doubts about them.
L1's are really well built, better than most headphones at its price range. One negative issue: no replaceable earpads as far as I know, then the only option is to take care of them.

 

I agree with KG Jag about confort being a very individual thing.
Some people find L1 earpads too small, some don't, some want more cushion in the headband, you know.

 

You can also consider getting a Fiio E07K USB DAC/Amp instead of a sound card and add some portability to your set up.

 

Best Luck!

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by thePhysicist8 View Post

I'm looking for my first pair of audiophile grade headphones. I'll be using them with surround sound for mostly games, but also a bit of music. I've heard that open headphones are my best bet when it comes to audio quality and directional accuracy. However, closed headphones will give me much better bass, they'll be much less airy, and they'll be less likely to need to be amped. I'm hoping that using surround sound with the closed headphones will make them sound a bit more like open ones. If not, then I'll be going with open. As you can see, I'm pretty indecisive.

Right now, I'm looking at these headphones in each category:

Closed
M50

Open
AD700
AD700X
HD558
Q701

What would recommend? I'm looking for durability and comfort on top of sound quality. Portability would be nice, but not if it compromises audio quality. I plan on using them in an environment where I shouldn't have to worry about bleed too much. I'm trying to keep it below $200, although I'm willing to go above that if necessary.

I'm also looking for a nice sound card below 100$. I was thinking the Sound Blaster Z, although I'd like to hear from the experts.

Thanks in advance!

Go to best buy and audition the HD558.

 

I'd buy one from amazon, and return it and i don't like it.  The MDR MA900 is imo better than all of those.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me x3 View Post
 

HI!

 

Unless you are wanting to get impactful bass from your new headphones or good isolation, I would go with Sennheiser's HD 558.

 

M50's seem to be a solid pick otherwise.

 

You can also consider Philips Fidelio L1, wich are 'hardly open' headphones that combine some things of both worlds (Closed/Open)
They have very nice bass extension and its overall sound signature is pretty dark. Some people like this kind of sound, some people don´t. You can read about them in this forum or just ask if you have any doubts about them.
L1's are really well built, better than most headphones at its price range. One negative issue: no replaceable earpads as far as I know, then the only option is to take care of them.

 

I agree with KG Jag about confort being a very individual thing.
Some people find L1 earpads too small, some don't, some want more cushion in the headband, you know.

 

You can also consider getting a Fiio E07K USB DAC/Amp instead of a sound card and add some portability to your set up.

 

Best Luck!

The Philips Fidelio L1s look amazing, and seem to be just what I'm looking for. However, I'll probably wait for the L2s. They look even better.

 

The portable amp is appealing, but I'll mostly be using the headphones at home so I'll probably stick with a sound card.

 

Thanks for the suggestions!


Edited by thePhysicist8 - 11/12/13 at 9:50pm
post #6 of 6

Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card, $100

AKG K612 Pro headphones, $160

I've never listened to the K612, but they seem to get mostly good reviews.

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