Hello long time listener (errr lurker) first time caller (umm poster)
I have decided I want some better phones and from all I have read and my budget have narrowed it down to Audio Technia ATH-M50 and Sennheiser HD-558/598/momentum.
Now where I am in Australia I am unable to actually listen to the phones, all the stores near me only sell crap like Monster or Beats with some Sennheisers so I can try the HD-558 but not the other 3 phones. From the prices I can get the phones online I'm basically looking at spending as much as the HD-598 (around $210AU without postage) but am willing to get the Momentum (around $280AU) if they actually are worth the extra money but if the difference wouldn't be much then naturally I would rather not spend the extra.
Now for some background.
I am by no means an audiophile, i've never had any really good equipment. At the moment I listen to my music from my computer with just a base ASUS DG soundcard or a Sony Walkman NWZE465 (which I have to say is the best sounding mobile player i've ever used which has been quite a lot over the past decade). I currently have some Sennheiser HD-438s (I know, but they were 65% off and do actually sound pretty good though i'd only ever had like $25 headphones before that lol).
I listen to a lot of different music but am quite fond of stuff with a lot of strings/orchestral sounds or carried/operatic (is that a word ) vocals such as the following :
Two Steps From Hell
The stuff I listen to sounds fine at the moment but I can't help but think it can definitely sound better even if a lot of it is compressed to hell (much as I hate it I can see why they might want to do it to most mainstream music but don't understand wtf they do it to soundtrack music since the director or whoever has the track in the movie play to the volume he wants anyway and most people that hear it will only hear it in the movie so what is there to gain from compressing it to make it sound louder......).
I guess firstly would better phones give an improvement to the sound given my sources and current phones or would it just be a waste of money?
Secondly considering my sources I have also been considering a cheap headphone amp as I keep reading how much better the sound is compared to straight out of a PC or mobile device. I'm not looking to spend much only up to $120AU which is something like the Fiio-E17 which I have read a lot of good things about and how much better things sound, but of course there are still reviews which say it sounds crap or doesn't make it sound any better just louder.
I have no interest in the music being louder (usually only listen at night and only have the sony set to like 13/30 and that's fine) so my only interest in an amp is to run a line-out from the Sony to it to make it sound better, would something like the E17 be an improvement in sound quality with whatever phones you recommend (or even my HD-438s) or once again would it simply be a waste of money and no real use expect to make it louder?
So since prices are so different around the world (and more expensive here) think in relative terms of my budget being the street cost of HD-598s (will up to the cost of Momentums if spending that much more really is worth it) on a pair of phones and if it's worth it around half the cost of that on an amp. So much good but also bad (guess you get that with something so subjective) about anything that is out so i've picked the 4 which I think meet what I want however since I can not try them and have never actually tried anything good I am after your advice as to if they or something else is worth my time getting.
EDIT: oopsie typos
Edited by Bingles - 12/22/13 at 6:48am