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Finally asking for help.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. Been a member for a while, sold a couple of things on here. Been kind of looking at headphones on and off for a few years but now's when I'm really looking to find something I like.


I recently bought myself a pair of AKG K240s and found that I can definitely enjoy them. I bought them because I'm looking for a headphone that's relatively forgiving and fun to listen to. I just listened to Deafheaven's Sunbather after 100 hours of burn-in and, while I did enjoy the sound (they're also reeeeally comfortable), I found the sound signature to be pretty dark. Again, while I did enjoy the sound, I found myself wishing the mids and highs were more present and less held back.


Now, I looked at a glossary I found on this site with headphone terminology and I figured I'd pick what I'm looking for and see if that's helpful. The link is here:



I was definitely surprised by the 240's bass response. I was prepping myself for thin bass and it ended up being more plentiful than I'd readied myself for. For a while, I thought I was a basshead but, after buying a few pairs of headphones including the M50s, Custom One Pros, and a few others, I had an epiphany and realized I much prefer a better midrange and better highs (and everybody cheers!).


I'm coming to the conclusion that I need a pair of fun, exciting cans. That said, enough background, here's the list:

Crisp (added)



(Possibly) Bright


Euphonic (still not certain what this means)


Some fullness


Punchy, impactful




I'm not looking for something that's analytic or flat. I'd prefer something that isn't anemic or completely devoid of low end. At the same time, when the rest of the music is hampered by it, it can take away from my enjoyment. It's also important that the headphones be forgiving. Price isn't a big issue (edit: but I'm assuming higher price usually equates to less forgiving, I could be wrong. edit 2: below $300 would be a good price range, give or take) but I'm planning on using this with a USB sound card, specifically the Creative Sound Blaster Omni which comes with a headphone amp and is connected to my Macbook Pro. I'm not looking to upgrade the source, hence why I'd prefer something a little more forgiving.


I listen to a wide range of music so I'm not going to try to pin it down. Ideally, the headphones should make music lively and exciting.


Thanks in advance for your help!

Edited by genzeleam - 11/17/13 at 12:53pm
post #2 of 8

IMO, the Hifiman HE-400 meets most your criteria except for being forgiving and forward in the mids. Maybe the HE-300? I haven't heard them though. The HE-500 might be better, but I don't know if you can run it well from your soundcard, power-wise. 

Maybe Sennheiser HD600 or 650? Those are supposed to be forgiving headphones with rich mids. Not aggressive though. 

Usually, aggressive, bright, and attack make headphones unforgiving. Kind of the opposite of rich and forgiving. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

So you wouldn't say the HE-400 would be source forgiving? I'm reading a review that says these headphones are dark, yet another review says the midrange is forward and causes music to sound lively (he also mentions he's come from bass-heavy headphones).


Edit: Was considering the HD600s but I'm reading that they can sound a little laid back.

Edited by genzeleam - 11/17/13 at 12:56pm
post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by genzeleam View Post

So you wouldn't say the HE-400 would be source forgiving? I'm reading a review that says these headphones are dark, yet another review says the midrange is forward and causes music to sound lively (he also mentions he's come from bass-heavy headphones).

Purely IMO, the headphones are a bit v-shaped with emphasis on the bass and treble. The midrange is ever so slightly recessed, but this can be easily addressed with EQ. However, the midrange is also very clear and lively. It's just not at the front of the soundstage. I don't find the midrange lacking at all, I just wouldn't call it forward. Overall tonal balance is dark, but the highs also have an aggressive sparkle to them that I tame a bit with EQ. 

I don't think they are very forgiving. More than any headphone I've had before, they tell me exactly how well something was recorded. That's not to say that they make poorly recorded music sound like crap. I still enjoy music that's not very well mastered on them. But the headphones just make it obvious that X recording doesn't have deep bass in it, that Y recording is too bright, Z recording sounds dull and washed out, etc. They are very transparent headphones

They definitely have attack, aggression, punch, and snap in spades. The bass is powerful, but also fast and controlled. Textures like electric guitars have a lot of crunch and weight to them. Fast drums sound very tight and dynamic. I wouldn't call them rich or euphonic though... These words suggest a relaxing sort of blurring or softening of the sound that gives headphones a forgiving quality. The HE-400 is too fast and sharp and resolving to do this. Which I like. But these are qualities that tend to make flaws (as well as small details generally) in recordings more obvious, though not necessarily making them unpleasant.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Very informative. I've updated my original list. I'm considering these but, from the reviews I'm reading, they do mention the slightly recessed mids while saying they're definitely there. I'm also hesitant because, apparently, the HE-400s need a pretty decent source to sound good and, as you've said, they aren't very forgiving. As I'm looking at headphones for everyday use which includes listening to high bit-rate music but also listening to YouTube and internet radio (DI.fm premium @ 256k mostly), these seem like they're stepping into the enthusiast territory where they're not going to be for general, everyday use but more for specifically high bit-rate audio. I was looking at O2+ODAC combo as it's USB but it's also expensive. If these headphones with this DAC/amp will make general use inconsistent, then I'd say it's out of the range I'm shooting for.


Do you have any other suggestions or does my thinking need to be cleared up on this?


Thanks for the input, btw.

post #6 of 8
I don't have any experience with these, but maybe some of the grados? They supposedly have a very lively, fast, snappy, midrangey sort of sound. Don't need much in the way of an amp either.
post #7 of 8
The grados would work well for you. I'd go for an Sr 225. For their price they are phenomenal. Beyond that I personally would jump to the woody grados, I find the metal grados to be too heavy which leads to discomfort. You can also watch for some of the custom wood builds that pop up on the fs forums.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

After reading more on the HE-400s, I've decided I'm going to go for that and a good amp/dac (either O2+ODAC or Schiit Magni/Modi combo unless you have an especially good choice otherwise). I'll buy these when I get settled in in a few months as I'm going to be moving around frequently for the next few months.


Thanks for the help, guys!

Edited by genzeleam - 11/17/13 at 11:49pm
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