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Need help choosing a pair of closed, portable, circumaural cans on a budget

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,


Been a long time reader of this forum, but I finally decided to take the leap and register. Here's to hoping my wallet doesn't take a hit! :P


Anyway, a little background on my history with headphones first. I took my first step into the world of good music about a year after I got my iPod. I think my dad got sick of the constant noise leaking from my ears from those horrible earphones, and he brought me over to a distributor of Sennheiser products. That's the day I got my PX 200 (first gen). I used the iPod to listen to a 128kbps live recording of Hotel California by the Eagles, and I was blown away. Goes to show that it doesn't take much to be better than those crappy white earphones, huh? 


Anyhow, since then, I've had a Sennheiser HD202, which I really enjoyed but for the long cable. Then I got an Apple In-Ear, which I really quite enjoyed until they broke, which I replaced with a CX 300-II, which I didn't appreciate too much but they were okay I guess. I also got an AKG K518DJ which I gave to my sister for a while and she wrecked, and I've replaced them with an AKG K518LE which I still enjoy. They were a little bass heavy though, so I also got a Sennheiser HD448, which I found to be a little bass light. I also got a PX200-IIi as a gift, and boy are they a step up from the old ones.


My current kit is a Sennheiser PX 200-IIi (which I'm selling), the AKG K518LE and a Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 for working out. Unfortunately, I lost the HD448 and I'm looking to replace them. My criteria are: 


a) Circumaural 

b) Good noise isolation and comfortable

c) All round SQ performance (I listen to everything from Beethoven to Lamb of God, from Skrillex to Rod Stewart)

d) Portable and durable

e) Decently stylish.


So, the products I'm currently looking at in order of price where I am (Malaysia), converted for the sake of convenience to US dollars :) :


i) Philips Citiscape Uptown ($110)

ii) Sennheiser HD449 ($115)


Unfortunately, because I want something portable, durable and a little stylish since I'll be wearing these cans out and about, I'm not considering a few contenders such as the Shure SRH440, Grado S60 and S80 and the Audio Technica ATH M50.


If it's worth the price jump, I'd consider getting the V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones, but from the reviews I've read it doesn't seem to be worth the premium (costs about $160). I would also consider going for the UE6000 if I can find them for a decent price here, since they cost about as much as the Crossfades.


Any comments or other recommendations?


A very hearty thanks in advance, guys :)

Edited by PhantomThief - 1/23/14 at 9:43pm
post #2 of 14

I can only speak to the Uptowns, but I really like them, especially considering you can find them for 50-60USD out there. I haven't heard the 448 to compare, but they aren't as bass heavy as the K518s. The low end is more punchy than boomy. Not what I'd call bass heavy, but I find it works well for listening to everything from metal to prog rock to classical to dance pop to jazz. I don't EQ mine, but they respond well to a mild bass hump if you need it. Mids are forward and highs are nice and crisp without being offensive. Very good soundstage too. The warm sound profile is great to my ears.


Downsides I might see are the fact that they don't fold (though they're pretty durable if you just want to wear them around or throw them in a bag) and the volume slider, but it works fine if you just keep it all the way up.


Hope that helps you out a little at least.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey zap,

Thanks for the reply. I've been reading good things about the uptown too, but unfortunately I can only find one company selling it here in Malaysia, and it's about $110. Getting it from anywhere else costs a bomb in shipping, and I don't look forward to the possible custom duty or tax either.

Let me ask you this. If it had cost you $110, would you still think it's a good pair of headphones? Would you still have bought it and been happy with your decision?
post #4 of 14

I'd be happy paying ~$100 for them (I paid 70 something for mine), although the UE6000s get a lot of love in that price range too. I haven't tried the UEs out though, so I can't really give my own impressions or comparisons.


I think $110 would be a decent price considering they retailed for $179 and people liked them at that price. I believe most of the Uptowns are selling new for $90+ on Amazon in the US right now. The cheaper ones are open box or refurbished.  

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm tempted to get the UE 6000s too, but unfortunately the price point is pretty different here in Malaysia, usually a hefty $50 or so more. I wouldn't mind splurging, but my New Year's resolution has been to cut down on excessive spending, and I'd hate to break my resolution so early in the year. Haha.


T'is a conundrum indeed.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Can anyone else weigh in on this? I've pretty much eliminated the Sennheiser HD449 from the list, but I'm still undecided between the Philips Uptown, UE6000 and V-Moda Crossfade LP. If possible, I'd like something that's pretty tough and durable, so that I don't have to get another new pair anytime soon.

post #7 of 14
At $100 you've got:
Citiscape Uptown: Warm, ambient, laid back, good soundstage, comfortable, good looking, great build. Great isolation too. Not the most detailed.

UE6000: More mids and slightly more bass then the Uptown (its tighter too, and extends deeper). Dark and dull. Not really great at rock, or brighter genres in general, and EQ doesn't help too much.

ES FC300: Best bass, great soundstage, good treble presence, slightly recessed lower mids, good details. Definitely the best all rounder.

Martin Logan Mikros 90: Bright, emphasized mids, great bass, most detailed of the bunch. Best treble and mids/vocals.
post #8 of 14



You should also consider Gemini HSR-1000 (Takstar Pro 80)


Best Luck!

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've been looking at the Onkyo ES FC300 as well, they look lovely and I've read amazing reviews. Unfortunately, the cheapest I can find them here in Malaysia are $220, and frankly at that price I'd go for a Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro or something similar. It's unfortunately way out of my budget. 


No one here seems to sell the Martin Logan Mikros 90 or the Gemini HSR-1000/Takstar Pro 80, so I can't get either of those too :(


From what I've read, the UE6000 doesn't have replaceable earpads and also have ANC circuitry. I suppose that bodes poorly for it in the long run? The earpads would wear out and can't be replaced, while electronics have a tendency to go haywire after a period of time, right? I have no experience with any ANC headphone, so I wouldn't know about their longevity. Though I also remember reading that the sound is better without using the ANC anyway, so that could be a positive point.


Oh headphones, how you torment me.

post #10 of 14
The pads are not replaceable, but the ANC is totally optional so that's good.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm getting very tempted to go for the UE6000s now. It's a fair jump over what I initially planned to spend though. What do you think of the V-Moda Crossfade LP though? I could get those for the same price as the UE, and I think they would be more durable, since there's spare parts galore for them. I know they're not as well rated as the M80 or M100 but those are way out of my price range.
post #12 of 14
The LP is just...bad. Muddy ime. The UE6000 is also superior to the M80.
post #13 of 14

I wouldn't bother with the UE6000. Demo the yamaha pro 400 if you can. you'll find a lot of info if you search my older posts.

post #14 of 14
Yamaha Pro 400? You recommended 'phones that are twice the budget range - and probably more than that in his country.
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