Hi guys, long, long time lurker. I have spent many hours on this website but finally decided to join.
So, I've been searching around for some of the best headphones under $100 or so. The HTF600-S were on an amazing Amazon sale for ~$20 and I was aware of the cult following here on Head-Fi for them, so I grabbed them up. What a pair.
Just to give some background, I currently own a couple of cans. Right now the collection includes the HD201 (bass too light for me, a bit too forward mids, but amazing highs detail for the price), a Sennheiser PC350 that I use exclusively for gaming and works amazingly for that, A pretty new Sony MDR-V6 with about 100 hrs of burn-in on it (too shrill in the upper mids, really annoying, but incredible detail in the highs otherwise and awesome super clean, super balanced bass), and of course, the HTF600-S.
I have to say when I A/B the HTF600-S with the V6, it is easily recognizable that the Pannys are incredibly good for the price. The first thing I noticed was the very pronounced upper bass and even lower mids boost they have. It's so easy to EQ out that it's almost not even an issue at all, though. The upper mids are SO much more listenable than on the V6, but are just a little dark for my taste. The highs are surprisingly detailed as well, though I can definitely hear the peak around 10 kHz. It's not bad though, and even though my hearing drops off at around 15.5 kHz, they seem to reproduce the freqs higher than 10k quite respectably.
It's really hard for me to find a headphone I like. Most end up being too upper-mid heavy for me i.e. too shrill or sibilant or whatever you guys want to call it, primarily because I like to listen to hardstyle and metal/hardcore alike, and it's really hard to find a headphone that gives nice and punchy bass of electronic music but can also accurately reproduce metal distortion guitar without killing my eardrums with harsh upper mids. These HTF600-S are surprisingly great, but I know I can do better. They are making me, a poor grad student, want to sell off the V6 since it's just an investment that I don't really need to have made. Luckily I only got the V6 new open box for about $66, and they really do sound very uncolored aside from the awful upper mids harshness that I despise about them.
From here, I'm looking for a headphone that is a good mix between a "euphoric" frequency response and a straight up, super accurate studio monitor-sounding type of headphones with nice, easy upper mids, and super clean bass for under $100 and I'm really interested in what you guys have to recommend to me. I am right now considering the HD439 from my reading around, but the Sennheiser name means nothing to me if you can find something more towards what I'd enjoy at either the same or better price point if I can do better than the 439. It seems to have a very balanced sound and easygoing, highly listenable mids and highs. That's what I'm looking for. I'd like the bass to hit hard enough on hardstyle, but also be controlled enough not to be boomy on metal, while simultaneously capable of reproducing distortion such as the guitar tracks on Metallica's ...And Justice For All without killing my ears with shrillness.
Other plusses that I'd like: velour pads or possibility to install velour pads and fully circumaural design, i.e. my PC350 but the ear cups don't have to be quite that big. Right now the HD439 is looking like it could be the one, but I wanted to get your thoughts.
Edited by metal571 - 1/20/14 at 9:31pm