Hello, I currently own the Superlux 668b's and I've decided I want to upgrade now to something $200 or less. I mostly listen to metal, more specifically, black metal, folk metal, melodic death metal. I want something that will represent the sound the best. I also game a lot, so the headphones need to be open. Some headphones I've been looking at are the Sennheiser HD 558/598, Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro's (250 OHM version), and the AKG Q701's. All help is greatly appreciated, thank you so much for your help =)
Recommendations for open headphones less than $200
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I'd pick the DT880, or Fidelio X1. The Sennheisers aren't good at rock/metal, and the Q701 is a little too distant. The DT880 is more neutral, with a slight favoring towards he treble.
The Fidelio X1 is pretty balanced, but with emphasized bass.
It depends on how you like metal. If you want to get a warm and punchy sound, plenty of energy I would suggest Yamaha HPH-200. If you love guitars I would suggest Grado Sr225i.
Sennheiser HD558/598 are forward but not completly transparent, this is often not a bad thing for metal but both maybe lack bass quantity and impact.
Beyerdynamic DT880 sound good with metal but nothing spectacular to me. This are neutral headphones (just a little bit on the bright side, and also a bit unforgiving of compressed music).
AKG Q701 are said to have huge soundstage and a pretty neutral and smooth response. You can find their sound distracting and distant. Some would find their sound good for metal, but most people tend to agree that this are a top pick for classical music.
If you prefer a laid back sound, with soft highs and big bass, you should also consider Philips Fidelio X1 (around 240 I think)
Last but not least, DT880 and Q701 need extra amplification to sound good (Something like Fiio E10)
558 and 598 are both top contenders for that price range.
The X1 is easily over $200...but a great headphone.
Note: With the mod, the 558 can be adjusted to sound very similar to a 598.
Edited by Nihl - 1/30/14 at 12:40pm
Thank you for your reply, I've done a little more research and it seems to be that Grado's are very popular for metal. I'm thinking about getting the Sr 225i's but they just seem uncomfortable and small to me, also, not even Amazon has them for sale, are they discontinued or something? I've also been looking at the DT 990 Pro's since they're completely open, but how do they compare to the 880's with regards to quality for metal?
DT990s have more bass than DT880 (which is a good thing for metal) but are really bright and unforgiving headphones. Most metal recordings tend to be compressed, having really low dynamic range (If you want you can read about the so called 'Loudness War'). I don't find DT990's analytical and high resolution presentation good for metal. I prefer my DT880 over my DT990 for this genre.
DT990s really shine with audiophile classical, jazz and some acoustic recordings specially those without many instruments and without sibilance.
Yamaha HPH-200s are probably more comfortable than Sr225i. (And have more bass)
Okay so I went to Bestbuy and tried out a bunch of headphones, the only ones listed in this thread that they had were the Sennheiser HD 558's and holy cow they are so comfortable. They sounded better than all the headphones there, even some $400 ones that I forgot the name of. I plugged my phone in to test some music out and there wasn't a huge gap between them and the Superlux HD 668b's for metal, but other genre's they shined. I would seriously just buy the DT 880's I'm just concerned about them being semi-open since I really want a nice sound stage. I also tried out Beats for the first time when I was there and everything I've heard about them is true... they sounded terrible... I think they're displays were messed up because they seriously sounded so terrible.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, but I listen more to electronic music (like kavinsky, justice, daft punk, not much house/deadmau5, never dubstep/skrillex stuff). I listen to a bit of metal/rock though (love some black metal emperor, dimmu borgir, older cof, some heavy like king diamond). Looking for a sub-$200 that's extremely comfortable, 8+ hours usage, don't care for isolation/leakage or portability, something also well rounded as I play SC2 (an RTS) and general media. I use a z87x-ud3h motherboard which has an alc898 + 600 ohm headphone amp DRV632.
There's a guy around here, natsuka, that said the shure 440 is better then the 598s and pretty much everything under $200 (i've used the 240a and they suck and were very uncomfortable, i dont know how close the 440s are to them though as they are supposed to be quite different in sound).
I'm also leaning towards the 558s. I just bought some 681 EVO for my girlfriend, should be similar in comfort to the 668b and sound quality (sound profile is very different though, much more V, colored, bass heavy, not as neutral), curious what you felt of the comfort of the 558s when you tried them at best buy compared to yours 668bs.
I also went to best buy and guitar center, they had some 428s which seemed comfortable enough but couldnt test them on my phone, they were hooked up to some stupid 1-track single so i have no idea how they really sound comparatively as it was an awful song. Best buy has a really limited selection, mostly trendy garbage (holy crap the beats studio suck, piercing highs that have that distortion/muffled sound when you blast sound out of a crappy $1 airplane set you know, overwhelming muffled bass, extremely uncomfortable, pretty much describes everything best buy has for sale though).
When it comes to comfort, the 558's blow the superlux's out of the water. After about a half an hour or so the 668b's start to really hurt your ears and surrounding area, but the sound is great for the price your paying. And I have a MSi z87 g45 gaming motherboard which has alc1150 and a 600 ohm amp also. I've also read there's a mod for the 558's where you remove some black tape on the drivers and it makes them more open and sound almost the same as 598's. And I love SC2, I haven't played in so long though lol
Yea I'm getting some fatigue around my ears/my ears when using these evo's. I'm not sure what's causing it since nothing is touching my ear, I think, and I'm sure it'll change when I swap in the velour pads and let it break in a bit. It might be clamping too much, which should go away too. It's definitely a lot more comfortable than anything I've used before and what I tried at the store, but after about an hour there's a bit of fatigue. Not uncomfortable, just some discomfort after a while, have to kinda shake the headphones a bit or readjust them.