I'm looking for recommendations on a new/different/upgraded set of cans from my current HD558s. I use them exclusively with my computer at home, 90% of the time after kids are in bed (music, movies, games), 10% of the time playing games while they're up. Further details about my setup follow (I saw this format in another thread and liked it):
Soundcard: Asus Xonar Essence STX ( pci-e )
Format: Apple iTunes Plus (256 kbps AAC), some Pandora radio
Preference (boosted or natural/neutral): Not sure, I think I tend towards neutral, maybe with a small boost. Before the 558s, I had a set of UE super.fi 5 pros, and loved the sound, though they weren't as accurate as the 558s are.
Musical instrument: grew up playing classical piano, now I sing 2nd bass in a good chamber choir
Genres: classical, choral, rock, alternative, movie sound tracks, games (no jazz, no R&B, no hip hop, no rap, little electronic)
Volume: 10% - 20% of the main PC volume
What type of listener are you: I listen to whole songs/movements, both in dedicated listening sessions, and as background music (Pandora is almost always for background, not dedicated listening). I also play games - mainly RPGs (Mass Effect series, Elder Scrolls series, Knights of the Old Republic, etc.), not a big FPS guy though I like the chaos of Unreal Tournament, Star Wars: The Old Republic (MMO).
The reason that I'm looking for another/different set of cans is that, while I love the accuracy and clarity of the 558s, they just don't excite me, I feel like they don't really make the music come alive. I've done a lot of reading of threads on this forum in the last 18 hours, and have seen references to the Sennheiser "veil" - this is probably what I'm experiencing, and I don't like it - everything sounds just slightly muted. I also hear a lot about the wide/expansive sound stages that open headphones tend to give, but I don't really feel like I can hear the position of orchestral instruments with the Sennheisers; I much preferred the sound of my Ultimate Ears, where the sound was right there, like I was right in the middle of it. I preferred the more intimate sound of the UEs. And I liked their more present bass. It wasn't thumpy, really, there was just a little more of it. I was listening to a recording, by a men's choir, of "Sleep, Little Baby Jesus Boy" last night, and was loving the last chord of the song, where the 2nd basses hit a low C...but I couldn't help but think that they could have been louder, or else my cans could have brought them out a little more.
What the 558s have, that the UEs didn't have, is accuracy, which is important to me. I like hearing fine detail in the music I listen to. And so, I'm looking for a set of cans that gives me the accuracy of the 558s with the close, intimate sound of the UEs, and that makes the music come alive.
And they HAVE to be comfortable. These will be around-the-ear headphones, as my earlobes stick out farther than most - the 558s are pretty comfortable to wear.
I've seen a few threads saying that the Beyer DT 770s and 880s pair pretty nicely with the Xonar Essence soundcard. I realize that the 770s are closed, while the 880s are basically open...but I also see that the 770s have greatly boosted bass, even compared to the 770s...which I'm not sure I will like...
I'm not nearly as familiar with closed headphones as I am open ones...so maybe I should be looking there?
Budget is $250...$300 if there's a compelling reason to step up the extra $50. Seems Amazon.com has at least a few of deals right now...(link).