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Looking for first decent headphones

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm looking for headphones mostly for rock, a bit of metal, indie, sometimes classical, synthpop and electronic, but 70% of the time I will be listening to rock.

Budget for heaphones at max is about 200$.

My source would be pc with ctreative xtrememusic, but I'm getting Fiio E17, so I don't have to switch between headphones and speakers all the time, my second source is Sansa Fuze, but I won't be using them outdoors, I have JVC marshmallows for that.

 

Right now within my budget are:

Grado Sr80i

Audiotechnica M50

Beyerdynamic DT770 LE

 

Also it would be great if they are really comfortable, as now I have Sennheiser HD202 but they tent to hurt my ears after few hours of listening, also it really doesn't matter if they are open or closed as long as they sound great for my budget.


Edited by Art13 - 12/17/13 at 3:46am
post #2 of 30

See my post here. They are a bit under budget, so they might allow you to front some more money for a half decent tube amp instead of the E17 (nothing against it, just not my style).


Edited by ThickGlasses - 12/17/13 at 6:10am
post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art13 View Post
 

Hi, I'm looking for headphones mostly for rock, a bit of metal, indie, sometimes classical, synthpop and electronic, but 70% of the time I will be listening to rock.

Budget for heaphones at max is about 200$.

My source would be pc with ctreative xtrememusic, but I'm getting Fiio E17, so I don't have to switch between headphones and speakers all the time, my second source is Sansa Fuze, but I won't be using them outdoors, I have JVC marshmallows for that.

 

Right now within my budget are:

Grado Sr80i

Audiotechnica M50

Beyerdynamic DT770 LE

 

Also it would be great if they are really comfortable, as now I have Sennheiser HD202 but they tent to hurt my ears after few hours of listening, also it really doesn't matter if they are open or closed as long as they sound great for my budget.

Grados for rock are a beautiful thing. However, the bass on the electronic music won't thump like it will on the M50s or the DT770s.

 

When I bought my Grados, I went to the store thinking SR125s but willing to spend $200 for the SR225s if they were that much better. I demoed them all with a Clip Zip and liked the SR60s best!  If I had to rate the low end of the Grado line based on sound alone (for my tastes), it would be SR60 > SR125 > SR80 > SR225

 

That said, if I had to chose one from your list, it would be DT770s.  They have great sound and are comfortable but definitely benefit from an amp. Mine worked fine with the Fiio E10 so the E17 should be good.

 

The DT990 might be worth looking at as well. 

post #4 of 30

I would personally skip the E17 amp and up your headphone budget to $300. While there are great deals for headphones in the $200 range (like the AKG K545 on sale at razer dog), $300 is the money spot for closed, portable headphones (aka sennheiser momentum on sale $300 at razer dog). You can grab a lot of great open headphones (akg K701 at $275). didn't mean to be mentioning razerdogaudio so much, but right now they are running a pretty sweet sale that I'm thinking about jumping up on.

 

You can basically pick best-in-its-class headphones w/ a $200-300 budget (I'm talking about upper-mid-fi class, next jump would be hi-fi $400+ to luxury $1000+). You'll notice that sound quality improvement much more getting a nicer pair of headphones over plugging a cheaper pair of headphones into an amp. amp is really only essential if you have headphones that can't be driven out of a headphone jack.

 

There are a lot of really nice headphones just a bit north of $200, that's really the reason I suggested it.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/17/13 at 11:12pm
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 

I chose for E17 mostly so I don't have to constantly switch between speakers and heaphones, but if my xtrememusic would be good enough I guess I can live with it.

 

Also I'm from europe, so buying from us, would be about 50% more costly, and bad thing I read that Grados ar overpriced here :/

 

Any more suggestions?

post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

I would personally skip the E17 amp and up your headphone budget to $300. While there are great deals for headphones in the $200 range (like the AKG K545 on sale at razer dog), $300 is the money spot for closed, portable headphones (aka sennheiser momentum on sale $300 at razer dog). You can grab a lot of great open headphones (akg K701 at $275). didn't mean to be mentioning razerdogaudio so much, but right now they are running a pretty sweet sale that I'm thinking about jumping up on.

 

You can basically pick best-in-its-class headphones w/ a $200-300 budget (I'm talking about upper-mid-fi class, next jump would be hi-fi $400+ to luxury $1000+). You'll notice that sound quality improvement much more getting a nicer pair of headphones over plugging a cheaper pair of headphones into an amp. amp is really only essential if you have headphones that can't be driven out of a headphone jack.

 

There are a lot of really nice headphones just a bit north of $200, that's really the reason I suggested it.

If your willing to buy used, there are a lot of nice headphones from the $300 NEW budget being sold for $200 used

 

DT 770 LE is a good choice, Sound Magic HP 100 is another, the Audio TEchnica A900x is another,  you MIGHT be able to find a Mr Speakers Mad Dog used for $200 [the head fi For Sale Thread has a few for about $225]

 

There is also the UE 6000 for around $115 on the eBay

 

and if your ok with open headphones, hands down the Beyerdyanmic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm is one of my favorites for about $150 NEW. And the E17 is a nice match for that. 

 

But I enjoyed my Sound Magic HP 100 very much with rock, it was closed back $200 NEW and easy to drive out of almost anything. 

post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

If your willing to buy used, there are a lot of nice headphones from the $300 NEW budget being sold for $200 used

 

DT 770 LE is a good choice, Sound Magic HP 100 is another, the Audio TEchnica A900x is another,  you MIGHT be able to find a Mr Speakers Mad Dog used for $200 [the head fi For Sale Thread has a few for about $225]

 

There is also the UE 6000 for around $115 on the eBay

 

and if your ok with open headphones, hands down the Beyerdyanmic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm is one of my favorites for about $150 NEW. And the E17 is a nice match for that. 

 

But I enjoyed my Sound Magic HP 100 very much with rock, it was closed back $200 NEW and easy to drive out of almost anything. 

The UE6000 can be found for sub-$100 (price fluctuates a bit - right now $95 on amazon.)

 

MDR-1R is a pair of headphones that retailed at $300, can be found sub-$200 now - $180 is the cheapest I saw for it.

 

Still my first recommendation for you would be to think about the AKG K545 is $200 on sale from razer dog.

 

buying used is a great option, but finding stuff on sale w/ a full warranty is even better :)

post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

The UE6000 can be found for sub-$100 (price fluctuates a bit - right now $95 on amazon.)

 

MDR-1R is a pair of headphones that retailed at $300, can be found sub-$200 now - $180 is the cheapest I saw for it.

 

Still my first recommendation for you would be to think about the AKG K545 is $200 on sale from razer dog.

 

buying used is a great option, but finding stuff on sale w/ a full warranty is even better :)

true, does the K545 have the same issues with Fit the K550 suffers from? 

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post

I would personally skip the E17 amp and up your headphone budget to $300. While there are great deals for headphones in the $200 range (like the AKG K545 on sale at razer dog), $300 is the money spot for closed, portable headphones (aka sennheiser momentum on sale $300 at razer dog). You can grab a lot of great open headphones (akg K701 at $275). didn't mean to be mentioning razerdogaudio so much, but right now they are running a pretty sweet sale that I'm thinking about jumping up on.

You can basically pick best-in-its-class headphones w/ a $200-300 budget (I'm talking about upper-mid-fi class, next jump would be hi-fi $400+ to luxury $1000+). You'll notice that sound quality improvement much more getting a nicer pair of headphones over plugging a cheaper pair of headphones into an amp. amp is really only essential if you have headphones that can't be driven out of a headphone jack.

There are a lot of really nice headphones just a bit north of $200, that's really the reason I suggested it.
+1
post #10 of 30

this is his first set up, most of us started with the E17, no reason to buy something nicer and then drive it out of an on board pc card that's honestly going to waste what ever headphone he's got. Headphones like the DT 770 LE, the HP 100, the Audio TEchnica ATH A900x and UE 6000 all of which fall into his price range new, are great starter headphones. ANd the E17 is going to give hime him a dac and amp of which will benifit his headphone. Not to mention the E17 eq controls to fine tune what ever he buys.

 

Let's assume he get's only an K545, and has the fit issues with it, then he's going to have a rather sour sounding headphone. 

 

going un amped with a on board dac is going to cripple what ever he buys. The E17 is so popular because it's such a great starting point for many new members. ANd most of those $300 new msrp headphones are going to be on par or below a $200 msrp out of the E17.

 

I went through a good number of $200-$300 mid fi headphones my self, and found most all of them to be in the same level of quality. Each had differeing sound signitures, and equal trade offs. 

 

ADditionally I don't think you;ve even heard the K545 have you Money? DOn't recommend gear you've never heard your self. I've listened to all of my recommendations, I have a review posted of them all on head fi around here some where as well. 

 

I've found it's best to start with introduction gear, like the E17 and a nice Mid Range can in teh $200-$300 [used at $300] bracket then jump straight into a headphone like a Mad Dog [which needs an amp honestly the E17 might not suffice...]  Start small and work you way up as your feel comfortable, if your only listening is with Apple Ear Buds, you may not appreciate or even notice the differeances between a HE 400 and a Dt 990, The HE 400 costing twice as much as teh DT 990, for example. Things like Sound Stage & 3D image, speed and decay are the biggest features of upgraded headphone, and going back to the HE 400 and DT 990, I owned both and found the HE 400 was only better than the DT 990 once I dropped $200 into it, with a Recable and new ePads. Not to mention going with a balanced amp, after dropping a LOT of money into my Source and my amp, only then did the HE 400 come out cleary aheaded of the DT 990, how ever stock He 400 and stock DT 990 out of my old mStage... they seemed to b more on the same level and again my dt 990 pro was $150 new, my HE 400 $300 used. 

 

But, op it's up to you.  I highly recommend you start off with a low priced headphone, something around the $200 msrp new. Beyer, Audio Technica, Akg, Sound Magic and Logitech along with Koss and Sony are good brands to look into, with an E17 and a well recommended headphone from the $200 bracket,  I know you'll be happy, additionally when you upgrade to a nicer headphone, the existing Dac and amp in the E17 should allow you to better enjoy the upgrade. 

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

this is his first set up, most of us started with the E17, no reason to buy something nicer and then drive it out of an on board pc card that's honestly going to waste what ever headphone he's got. Headphones like the DT 770 LE, the HP 100, the Audio TEchnica ATH A900x and UE 6000 all of which fall into his price range new, are great starter headphones. ANd the E17 is going to give hime him a dac and amp of which will benifit his headphone. Not to mention the E17 eq controls to fine tune what ever he buys....

 

But, op it's up to you.  I highly recommend you start off with a low priced headphone, something around the $200 msrp new. Beyer, Audio Technica, Akg, Sound Magic and Logitech along with Koss and Sony are good brands to look into, with an E17 and a well recommended headphone from the $200 bracket,  I know you'll be happy, additionally when you upgrade to a nicer headphone, the existing Dac and amp in the E17 should allow you to better enjoy the upgrade. 

 

+1 to this logic.  

 

First amp was E10; way better than straight out of my laptop.  Buying a variety of mid-tier head phones, I found I like different sets based on the music I'm listening to.  This led to the next step in amps -- a Magni and a Bravo Ocean (Beyers, Superlux) which I unfortunately bought a month before the Vali was announced.  

 

For me, this incremental approach let me determine my end game AMPs will probably be $300 -$500...not multi-$1000s.  I'd rather have a SS and a Tube setup.  This allows me to spend more on a few top-tier headphones when I'm ready.  Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the 'struggle' to pick my last mid-tier headphone between the Q701, DT880, & HD600!

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

true, does the K545 have the same issues with Fit the K550 suffers from? 

I've never had any fit problems with the K550, so I can't really comment on that. the K545 uses the same headband design w/ thinner earpads tho so I would imagine if you were having fit issues w/ the K550, you could skip the K545. However, the fix for that issue is quite simple, just bend the headband a bit, so the clamping force is larger.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

this is his first set up, most of us started with the E17, no reason to buy something nicer and then drive it out of an on board pc card that's honestly going to waste what ever headphone he's got. Headphones like the DT 770 LE, the HP 100, the Audio TEchnica ATH A900x and UE 6000 all of which fall into his price range new, are great starter headphones. ANd the E17 is going to give hime him a dac and amp of which will benifit his headphone. Not to mention the E17 eq controls to fine tune what ever he buys.

 

Let's assume he get's only an K545, and has the fit issues with it, then he's going to have a rather sour sounding headphone. 

 

going un amped with a on board dac is going to cripple what ever he buys. The E17 is so popular because it's such a great starting point for many new members. ANd most of those $300 new msrp headphones are going to be on par or below a $200 msrp out of the E17.

 

I went through a good number of $200-$300 mid fi headphones my self, and found most all of them to be in the same level of quality. Each had differeing sound signitures, and equal trade offs. 

 

ADditionally I don't think you;ve even heard the K545 have you Money? DOn't recommend gear you've never heard your self. I've listened to all of my recommendations, I have a review posted of them all on head fi around here some where as well. 

 

I've found it's best to start with introduction gear, like the E17 and a nice Mid Range can in teh $200-$300 [used at $300] bracket then jump straight into a headphone like a Mad Dog [which needs an amp honestly the E17 might not suffice...]  Start small and work you way up as your feel comfortable, if your only listening is with Apple Ear Buds, you may not appreciate or even notice the differeances between a HE 400 and a Dt 990, The HE 400 costing twice as much as teh DT 990, for example. Things like Sound Stage & 3D image, speed and decay are the biggest features of upgraded headphone, and going back to the HE 400 and DT 990, I owned both and found the HE 400 was only better than the DT 990 once I dropped $200 into it, with a Recable and new ePads. Not to mention going with a balanced amp, after dropping a LOT of money into my Source and my amp, only then did the HE 400 come out cleary aheaded of the DT 990, how ever stock He 400 and stock DT 990 out of my old mStage... they seemed to b more on the same level and again my dt 990 pro was $150 new, my HE 400 $300 used. 

 

But, op it's up to you.  I highly recommend you start off with a low priced headphone, something around the $200 msrp new. Beyer, Audio Technica, Akg, Sound Magic and Logitech along with Koss and Sony are good brands to look into, with an E17 and a well recommended headphone from the $200 bracket,  I know you'll be happy, additionally when you upgrade to a nicer headphone, the existing Dac and amp in the E17 should allow you to better enjoy the upgrade. 

agreed there no need to get a anything more than $100 dac/amp for a $200-300 headphones. UE6000 is an amazing deal at $100 (i've heard em lol & they have a lot of extras that consumers like such as portable, foldability, NC, mic-cable, stylish white design).

 

no reason to imagine that he wouldn't like the akg k545 lol. for $200, i think it's a great purchase. BUT it's always better (IMO) to get nicer headphones before investing in amp/dacs. Now the nicer headphones don't have to be more expensive & as you said there are great headphones in the sub-$200 range. However, w/ a $300 budget, you can pick basically ANYTHING on the mid-fi market and you can snipe headphones considered by some to be "best-in-class" such as the open K701 vs closed Sennheiser Momentum vs M100 (if you're a basshead lol) vs HE400 on sale. also, depending on the headphones you get, certain amp/dac pair better with em, so that is why I think upgrading headphones first, then amp/dac makes more sense.

 

yes, I agree that when browsing through the $200-300 headphone market, most headphones are of similar sound quality with the biggest difference being the sound signature. However, when you are stuck under $200, the best you can do is on-sale headphones that retail at $250, but at the $300 range, you can get things that retail at $400. There is no doubt (in my mind) that the HE400 ($300 during black friday) outperforms all the sub-$250 headphones on the market.

 

from my experience during my headphone hunt, I found it best to max your budget into headphones & then get a cheap amp/dac later on. You can always get a $100 amp/dac later on when you get more money, but once you've invested $200 into a pair of entry level headphones, it is much harder to justify jumping to a $300-400 set. You end up spending $600+ for a cheap amp/dac + a entry pair + mid-fi pair... if you just max out your headphone budget first, you end up saving money in the long run. Once you hit the $300-400 mark, your next upgrade jump would be $800+ dollars, so it's unlikely you will never feel the need to spend more money unless you actually can really afford it. I would recommend that OP try to get something MSRP $250-400 on sale for $200-300. That is really the best use of your money & you get the most sonic quality for your dollar.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/18/13 at 3:20pm
post #13 of 30

the example i like to use is that you can usually taste the difference between a $300 steak vs a $200 steak. However, adding $100 of seasoning onto a $200 steak doesn't make any sense as the $300 steak will always taste better than the $200 steak no matter how much seasoning you add to the cheaper steak.

 

amp/DAC are just seasoning for headphones. they can improve the sound quality by maybe 10-25%, but headphones+source is always the primary factor that depends your sound quality. your money goes farther if you put it into a better pair of headphones.

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art13 View Post
 

I chose for E17 mostly so I don't have to constantly switch between speakers and heaphones

You know there are dedicated switchers just for that don't you? 

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

I've never had any fit problems with the K550, so I can't really comment on that. the K545 uses the same headband design w/ thinner earpads tho so I would imagine if you were having fit issues w/ the K550, you could skip the K545. However, the fix for that issue is quite simple, just bend the headband a bit, so the clamping force is larger.

 

agreed there no need to get a anything more than $100 dac/amp for a $200-300 headphones. UE6000 is an amazing deal at $100 (i've heard em lol & they have a lot of extras that consumers like such as portable, foldability, NC, mic-cable, stylish white design).

 

no reason to imagine that he wouldn't like the akg k545 lol. for $200, i think it's a great purchase. BUT it's always better (IMO) to get nicer headphones before investing in amp/dacs. Now the nicer headphones don't have to be more expensive & as you said there are great headphones in the sub-$200 range. However, w/ a $300 budget, you can pick basically ANYTHING on the mid-fi market and you can snipe headphones considered by some to be "best-in-class" such as the open K701 vs closed Sennheiser Momentum vs M100 (if you're a basshead lol) vs HE400 on sale. also, depending on the headphones you get, certain amp/dac pair better with em, so that is why I think upgrading headphones first, then amp/dac makes more sense.

 

yes, I agree that when browsing through the $200-300 headphone market, most headphones are of similar sound quality with the biggest difference being the sound signature. However, when you are stuck under $200, the best you can do is on-sale headphones that retail at $250, but at the $300 range, you can get things that retail at $400. There is no doubt (in my mind) that the HE400 ($300 during black friday) outperforms all the sub-$250 headphones on the market.

 

from my experience during my headphone hunt, I found it best to max your budget into headphones & then get a cheap amp/dac later on. You can always get a $100 amp/dac later on when you get more money, but once you've invested $200 into a pair of entry level headphones, it is much harder to justify jumping to a $300-400 set. You end up spending $600+ for a cheap amp/dac + a entry pair + mid-fi pair... if you just max out your headphone budget first, you end up saving money in the long run. Once you hit the $300-400 mark, your next upgrade jump would be $800+ dollars, so it's unlikely you will never feel the need to spend more money unless you actually can really afford it. I would recommend that OP try to get something MSRP $250-400 on sale for $200-300. That is really the best use of your money & you get the most sonic quality for your dollar.

You apprently didn't read my post... I had both the DT 990 and the HE 400, and the he 400 did not out perform the dt 990 out of my oDac and M Stage, it took about  $800 in gear for the HE 400 to reallly outshine the DT 990, when I got my NFb 10ES2 and a balanced cable for the HE 400, only then running fully balanced did it out perform the Dt 990, other wise out of my M Stage and oDac which cost me liek $300 total, they perfomed very much on par. THe differance being sonic presentation. Better mids on the dt 990 better sub bass on the HE 400 

 

 I have actually listened to higher end headphones like the HE 400 [for months as well mind you], so unless you have heard a $400 don't make assumptions about them. Headphones in the upper teir of mid fi, such as the W1000x, the HE 400 they need high end amps and dacs to perform at the expected level. Without higher performance Dacs and amps to feed them they are sonically on par with low model Mid fi gear like the UE 6000 and the DT 990. 

 

Now going to the UE 6000 whats makes it SO good is it's sound! But the UE 6000 does NOT scale well. So for the $100 it is an EXCELLENT headphone, it doesn't need a high end dac or amp. So an E17 would be a good step above on board sound. And it would be more than enough for an UE6000. I find it best to get your self some intro gear. A simple Dac and amp. Then once you have that, then work into headphones. Don't feed a $400 headphone out of your On Board pc audio that's a waste. Spend $200 and at least get a Schiit Modi and Magni [or Vali now] and then from there with that intro dac and amp, you can run all the way up to an HD 800. THere are guys enjoying the HD 800 out of the Modi and Vali, so the intro dacs and amps are a wise invest when you have nothing. The E17 is a good palce to start if your really on a budgetm from there I recommend keeping the E17 for portable use [at school in the library at your friends hours ect...] and investing in about $300 to get a Dac and Amp. Such as the mentioned Schiit Stack. Those intro units can last you for a while! I know guys Running a $1000 Beyerdynamic T1 out of a oDac and M Stage, and there is nothing wrong with that, but investing in headphones should come after you at LEAST has some intro gear, a quality dac and amp [or a single combo unit] as those compents make a noticeable differeance over what ever Basic Onboard configuration your have on your PC. 

 

With headphones, you get what you put into. Feed your headphones crap the will out put crap. Again the E17 is a great starting point. It will nicely run almost all of the $200 headphones. When you can upgrade to something on par with a Schiit Modi/Magi[Or Vali] or even something like the Audio GD NFb 15.32 Which is a dac/Headphone amp for $235 [about $300 total with shipping] and with that intro dac and amp, your good to start trying the nicer high end headphones.

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