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Looking for a new headphones setup for the holidays; $125-$200 budget

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So about a year-and-a-half ago I made a thread asking for cheap headphones recommendations. In the end, I went with the JVC HA-RX700. I'm thinking of getting something better for the holidays this year. Unfortunately, I don't know what to get.

 

Here's some background info:

I really like audio to be crisp while still packing a punch. I listen to pretty much any genre of music, and I like to be immersed and have heightened senses while gaming (however, I'm not looking for headsets or any "gaming" headphones). Hopefully that narrows down the choices.

 

I currently use onboard audio (Realtek ALC898 codec). Although I enjoy high-quality audio, I don't know much about sound cards, amps, and DACs. What do I need to know and which of these should I get to suit my needs?

 

The JVC HA-RX700 is good, but I want better. My current headphones sound a little flat and aren't as comfortable as I'd like them to be. I'm wondering which headphones I should get next, along with any combination of a sound card, amp, and/or DAC, all for $125-$200. No more. I'm looking for clear, crisp, powerful audio that's good for any genre and any game. I know this would be easier with a higher budget, but I'm wondering what the best I can get with my current budget is. Thanks.

post #2 of 9

Get JVC HA-S680 - it's highly resolving with tight and hard-hitting bass:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/690493/the-jvc-ha-s680-s400s-and-s500s-big-brother-is-here

 

It's just 81$ on eBay, so you can spend another 57$ on the asynchronous Sabre DAC:

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123

This DAC is powerful enough to drive HA-S680 directly, no need for an amp.

 

This setup will blow your mind - at just 138$.

post #3 of 9
Hello,

I personally like the Grado SR60i + FiiO E07K combo for desktop use. If you prefer over the ears, I prefer the Sennheiser HD439/Sony MDR-7506

Hope it helps,
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for the replies.

 

I looked at the JVC HA-S680s. From what I read, I'm guessing they're on-the-ear headphones? I did read that I could install the HM5 earpads to make them over-the-ear (I prefer over-the-ear), but I read your comment saying that you prefer the stock earpads. Why is that? I'm not sure what to make of the headphones now.

 

As for the Grado SR60i, I didn't give them much thought because of them being on-the-ear.

 

I've seen the Sony MDR series commonly recommended, but I've never researched them much. They just always seemed to me to be aimed at people doing studio work. I'll have to look into them more.

 

And I've looked at many Sennheiser HD models in the past. The one I had my eyes on for the longest time was the HD 558. However, I heard that they have a very neutral signature. Is this the case for most Sennheiser HD models? I've only started exploring equalizer settings since I got the JVC HA-RX700, but I've found that I generally prefer a V-shape. Here's my current settings with my onboard audio, as an example:

http://i.imgur.com/xpv7VBA.png

 

 

And as for the HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 DAC and the FiiO E07K DAC, are there any significant differences between the two? I know that if I plan on getting headphones over $100 I should get the Sabre to stay under my $200 budget, but if I get headphones for less than $100, would it be wise to go with the E07K, or would the Sabre be just fine?

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydite View Post

Thank you both for the replies.

I looked at the JVC HA-S680s. From what I read, I'm guessing they're on-the-ear headphones? I did read that I could install the HM5 earpads to make them over-the-ear (I prefer over-the-ear), but I read your comment saying that you prefer the stock earpads. Why is that? I'm not sure what to make of the headphones now.

As for the Grado SR60i, I didn't give them much thought because of them being on-the-ear.

I've seen the Sony MDR series commonly recommended, but I've never researched them much. They just always seemed to me to be aimed at people doing studio work. I'll have to look into them more.

And I've looked at many Sennheiser HD models in the past. The one I had my eyes on for the longest time was the HD 558. However, I heard that they have a very neutral signature. Is this the case for most Sennheiser HD models? I've only started exploring equalizer settings since I got the JVC HA-RX700, but I've found that I generally prefer a V-shape. Here's my current settings with my onboard audio, as an example:
http://i.imgur.com/xpv7VBA.png


And as for the HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 DAC and the FiiO E07K DAC, are there any significant differences between the two? I know that if I plan on getting headphones over $100 I should get the Sabre to stay under my $200 budget, but if I get headphones for less than $100, would it be wise to go with the E07K, or would the Sabre be just fine?

I am personally using the FiiO E07K. It's rather warm and dark sounding. If you like this kind of signature, you will definitely love it smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydite View Post
 

Thank you both for the replies.

 

I looked at the JVC HA-S680s. From what I read, I'm guessing they're on-the-ear headphones? I did read that I could install the HM5 earpads to make them over-the-ear (I prefer over-the-ear), but I read your comment saying that you prefer the stock earpads. Why is that? I'm not sure what to make of the headphones now.

 

....

 

And as for the HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 DAC and the FiiO E07K DAC, are there any significant differences between the two? I know that if I plan on getting headphones over $100 I should get the Sabre to stay under my $200 budget, but if I get headphones for less than $100, would it be wise to go with the E07K, or would the Sabre be just fine?

 

They are on the ears, may be over the ears for some. The pads are very big for an "on the ear" - look at the pictures comparing them to S400.

The comfort is as good as it can be for an on-the-ear. HM5 make them over the ear, but decrease in SQ isn't worth it IMHO.

 

HiFimeDIY is more resolving and half the price - it's better and cheaper.

I prefer an older version of HiFimeDIY even over FiiO E17.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Still looking for some input.

 

Not sure what to get yet. I want something that sounds "fun" and is comfortable to wear for long periods. I'm not sure I'll need an amp or DAC unless the recommended headphones are "notorious" for needing them. With my current headphones, I don't notice any weird sounds even with the volume cranked up, and I usually keep it at about 55/100, anyway. So if I don't need any extra devices, I'd prefer spending the money on comfort and enjoyable sound from the headphones themselves. I'm not sure if the headphones listed so far meet the criteria.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydite View Post
 

Still looking for some input.

 

Not sure what to get yet. I want something that sounds "fun" and is comfortable to wear for long periods. I'm not sure I'll need an amp or DAC unless the recommended headphones are "notorious" for needing them. With my current headphones, I don't notice any weird sounds even with the volume cranked up, and I usually keep it at about 55/100, anyway. So if I don't need any extra devices, I'd prefer spending the money on comfort and enjoyable sound from the headphones themselves. I'm not sure if the headphones listed so far meet the criteria.

Maybe the Sennheiser HD439 + E07K for warm and fun sound. Otherwise, there is also the AKG K167 [I kept on forgetting to mention this xD ] and pair it with an amp in the future as it does benefit and improve the bass quality.

 

:)

post #9 of 9

Are open-backed headphones okay? Keep in mind they will leak and take in a lot of sound.

 

Take a look at the Beyerdynamic DT770, they're a good option for fun and extremely comfortable closed back cans under $200. You might also like the Ultrasone HFI-580/780. Personally I'm not a fan of those Ultrasones because they add a sort of "artificial" quality to the sound, but if you're just looking for some exciting headphones to rock out with you might love them. They're also not the most comfortable if you plan on listening for longer than 1.5 hours or so. Grados are good if you like really prominent mids.

 

I wouldn't recommend Sennheisers since you're trying to escape that "flat" sound. They make great headphones but they don't fit what you're looking for.

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