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New to higher end audio and in need of help

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

First of all, I'm a teenage newbie, but I need help, and I don't trust places like Yahoo Answers, since the last time I asked, everyone told me to get Beats or Bose.

 

I've looked at a lot of the audio terms for describing music, and I really do not know what to apply to what I listen to. I'm only 15, so I haven't had years of experience with great audio equipment. Currently, I have a Plantronics Gamecom 380 headset, which is far from high end.

My uncle wants to get me a $200-300 set of headphones for my 16th birthday, but I really don't know what I'm looking for. I've heard that good headphones might not sound that great if the audio file is lower quality, since it may reveal too much distortion.Considering that my music ranges from 192 kbps mp3, up to FLAC (compressed from CD quality audio), and I'm just plugging in my headphones to my Macbook without any sound card, and I've never used an actual amplifier, so I'm pretty clueless about this.

 

I listen to some classical music (although pretty rarely), a lot of electronic, notably synthpop music by Owl City, Progressive House by Deadmau5, and House by Daft Punk. I also listen to Jamiroquai, Sky Sailing, the Bee Gees (although pretty rarely), and occasionally some country music. I also do enjoy playing games, so I'll be using the headphones for that. 

 

Only some of my music comes from CDs, and a lot of it I just play from Grooveshark. I would love to start getting higher quality files, but for now, this is all I have. As far as I've read, Grooveshark's bitrate varies :(

 

I often here that electronic music requires more bass, however in my sound system (5.1 Surround Sony Speakers - I set it to multistereo mode, don't know the model, but cost $360) I changed the default Bass +3 and Treble 0 to Bass 0 and Treble +3. I find that a lot of headphones that are meant to make you look cool, such as Beats (which I never understand the point of since they're so overpriced), have overpowering bass. Does this mean that I will be satisfied with less bass, like with the ATH AD-900s? Or does it mean that my Gamecom 380s and Sony speakers are too bassy already?

 

I'm really clueless on all this audio stuff, but unfortunately, everyone in my family, and all my friends, are only worse, so I need help from you guys on what I should do. Also, I prefer circumaural.

 

If I posted this in the wrong place, please tell me.


Edited by MultiverseAFK - 12/31/13 at 6:10pm
post #2 of 19

Yo! Welcome to Head-Fi, sorry about your allowance filled wallet fellow teenager!

 

First of all, I would recommend torrenting your music if just for the better quality, but to each their own (one surefire trick for people that feel bad about it is to buy, let's say, an album on iTunes and then torrent it for better quality).

 

A few headphone suggestions:

 

Bose QC2: New: N/A Used: $100-150

Despite Bose's rep they do make (IMO) 3 good sets of headphones, this being at the top of that range; the sound from these along with the comfort and noise-canceling properties makes them an awesome choice for traveling via train/airplane/bus/whatever, although they aren't in production anymore.

 

Ultrasone HFI-780: New: $250 Used: $150-200

You'll never need an amp with these 'phones, and they have really good bass (not "Beats" bass, actual bass)!  Like, seriously, everything else is okay, but the BASS!!! *Orgasms* In all seriousness the bass is very good, yet not overpowering the way you'd get on some other headphones that market themselves in this price range, and the mids are very good and  detailed as well. The whole headphone is very comfortable, but it also feels flimsy. You've been warned.

post #3 of 19

what sounding you want?

Natural? There i would try Beyerdynamic DT 880 Edition 250 Ohm. Very great headphones.

A bit more bassy? DT 990 Pro.

 

Want to use it mobile too? Custom One Pro (bass-slider to change the amount of bass, mobile, easy to drive, etc. So the absolute BEST allrounder headphones on the market. Not the best soundquality of course, but best allround, because easy to drive, bass-slider, removeable cable etc)

 

But how you use the EQ with your speakers, i would say, DT 990 for home use, and Custom one Pro for mobile use~. (Yep, im abit of a Beyerdyamic fan because of their awesome service, and pretty cheap spare parts for the next decades).

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiverseAFK View Post

 

I often here that electronic music requires more bass, however in my sound system (5.1 Surround Sony Speakers - I set it to multistereo mode, don't know the model, but cost $360) I changed the default Bass +3 and Treble 0 to Bass 0 and Treble +3. I find that a lot of headphones that are meant to make you look cool, such as Beats (which I never understand the point of since they're so overpriced), have overpowering bass. Does this mean that I will be satisfied with less bass, like with the ATH AD-900s? Or does it mean that my Gamecom 380s and Sony speakers are too bassy already?

 

 


I'm with you on that. Even though I like bass, I often turn it down on less capable systems because I don't like that boomy distorted sound. Give me clean bass. As for headphones here though, when people talk about a headphone like the DT-990 having "more" bass, they don't mean the boomy, cheap kind of bass. Pretty much all of the higher end headphones have a very clean, clear bass. The DT-990, for example, doesn't have overpowering bass by any means. So IDK if you will want headphones with more or less bass -- it really depends on what kind of sound you are looking for. Just wanting to avoid overpowering bass, though, isn't really enough to want a headphone with less bass IMO. 

In general, headphones that are known for less bass will have a larger, more open sound with more emphasis on the mid and high frequencies. Is that what you want?

Also, do you want open or closed headphones? Open headphones will generally offer the best quality, especially in terms of openness, but they leak sound and aren't good for using in the library, for example. If you're like me and mostly listen to music at night at home, then an open headphone would be a better choice IMO. 

Anyway, the Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro would be a good choice for a closed headphone with more bass, and the DT-990 Pro would be a good choice for an open headphone with more bass. Both are a very good deal for the money. For less bass, the AD900 or one of its siblings would be a good choice. There are lots of other options too. But don't sweat the decision too much. 


Edited by manbear - 12/31/13 at 9:11pm
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking about getting either the Audio Technica AD900Xs, or the A900Xs. I'm not sure whether to go with the closed or open version. I've heard great things about open headphones, but I go to school and plan on using these everyday. Do Open headphones let out that much sound, or is it only a little bit? Our librarian really hates any leaked sound.

post #6 of 19

I have not heard those particular open headphones, but all the open headphones I've owned have leaked enough sound to annoy the crap out of anyone nearby. Unless you listen at a quiet volume. You should get closed headphones. 

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiverseAFK View Post
 

I'm thinking about getting either the Audio Technica AD900Xs, or the A900Xs. I'm not sure whether to go with the closed or open version. I've heard great things about open headphones, but I go to school and plan on using these everyday. Do Open headphones let out that much sound, or is it only a little bit? Our librarian really hates any leaked sound.


You're going to want to look for a closed pair. Even the "quietest" open headphones are going to leak some sound.

 

If your uncle is okay with buying online, Mr. Speaker's "Mad Dogs" are a good closed choice. Other choices are the AKG K545, comes with inline mic controls. If you want bass, clean bass at that, try the V-moda M80 or M100's.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiverseAFK View Post

I'm thinking about getting either the Audio Technica AD900Xs, or the A900Xs. I'm not sure whether to go with the closed or open version. I've heard great things about open headphones, but I go to school and plan on using these everyday. Do Open headphones let out that much sound, or is it only a little bit? Our librarian really hates any leaked sound.
They really do leak quite a lot. I've spent the past year using ad700s as portable headphones, and I've finally upgraded to closed-back mad dogs! Plus, the open-back design means greater susceptibility to spills and such. That said, they had a great sound and an amazing soundstage that I often miss with my mad dogs!
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post
 


You're going to want to look for a closed pair. Even the "quietest" open headphones are going to leak some sound.

 

If your uncle is okay with buying online, Mr. Speaker's "Mad Dogs" are a good closed choice. Other choices are the AKG K545, comes with inline mic controls. If you want bass, clean bass at that, try the V-moda M80 or M100's.


Jinx! :D 

 

And I've got to second the mad dog recommendation; for $300 retail... man, they sound great! But for competitive gaming, the ad700's directionality can't be beat. I can only assume it's the same story with ad900s! Just depends on what you value most, I guess!

post #10 of 19

Can you get to a place like Guitar Center and try out a dozen or so headphones to see what you like in terms of overall sound? That'll give you a direction to head in. For instance if you come back saying you really liked the BeyerDynamic DT660s mroe than the DT770s you'll know you want a more neutral sound signtaure. If you find you don't like the smaller soundstage of most closed back headphones but still want closed back, etc then you know where to concentrate.

 

Until you've tried a few different headphones to see what YOU like it's pretty hard to make a recommendations. Here's a few to try to get a feel for different models:

 

Sony MDR V6/7506/7520

Beyerdynamic DT660/770/880/990/Custom Pro 1

The Audiotechnica you already mentioned

Shure SRH840/940

Sennheiser HD280Pro/558/598

 

There's a lot of variety there, and you'll probably find yourself heading in one direction or another pretty quickly. Research time on what you like is time well invested.

post #11 of 19

Presumably, aside from home listening, you'll be using your audio 'rig' on the go. Do you have an iPod or another type of DAP (digital audio processor)? You really should consider a portable amp to pair with your iPod or other player.

 

You'll most likely want closed headphones so you can wear them in public or wherever you so please. At $200-300 bucks your options are fairly limited, however you can still snag some decent cans in that price range.

 

Bowers and Wilkens P5s, PSB M4U 1s, and the VMODA M-100s are all great options. Given the type of music you plan to listen to I'd go with the VMODA M-100s, which are a cool $300. If your looking for a cheaper option it may be worth checking out their little brothers- the M-80s. 

 

I'd shy away from anything offered by Bose or Monster as although decent* headphones they aren't in the same league as any of the three pairs I've made note of so far.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattAnthony1990 View Post
 

Presumably, aside from home listening, you'll be using your audio 'rig' on the go. Do you have an iPod or another type of DAP (digital audio processor)? You really should consider a portable amp to pair with your iPod or other player.

Second this! While you will likely be able to reach playable volume levels with an iPod or other DAP, you generally won't get the full potential out of a good headphone without a dedicated amp. Maybe a future present?

post #13 of 19

There are lots of decent amps for <$100 out there.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post

 

If your uncle is okay with buying online, Mr. Speaker's "Mad Dogs" are a good closed choice. Other choices are the AKG K545, comes with inline mic controls. If you want bass, clean bass at that, try the V-moda M80 or M100's.


The Mad Dogs look like excellent headphones, but I don't think they are a good choice for using with no amp as the OP will. Correct me if I'm wrong though. 

Fiio E07K and E10 are the go-to recommendations for inexpensive DAC/amp combo units, but IDK how well either would work with the Mad Dogs. 

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sxooter View Post
 

There are lots of decent amps for <$100 out there.

C&C BH2 :)

 

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