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Another Greenhorn Seeking Headphone Advice - Versatility Around 200$?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello all!

 

I've been roaming through the threads for about a week trying to decide on a pair of headphones and possibly associated equipment. This forum seems to be one of the biggest knowledge-bases filled with helpful enthusiasts, which is why I am here. 

 

Here is the story - 

 

Fiancee is buying me headphones - 200$ budget. I am able to kick in money in case something is going to be "totally" worth it for another 75 MAYBE 100 bucks.

 

I've never owned anything but iPhone earbuds and am curious if I am missing out on something, a big secret perhaps. They definitely do not sound like my floor speakers, so I think it is likely better sound can get straight to my ears. 

 

After thinking about what I want/"need", I've come to the conclusion it is versatility. I want a pair of headphones that I can listen to at home, work, and commuting. I've come to understand that there are specific headphones for each of these purposes, but I am hoping there could be something I have overlooked. I am a sweaty person - So I was thinking open ears, but apparently this doesn't mesh well with commuting or being at work. Just how much does the sound leak? If the music isn't blasting, will it be that much louder for people around me than if I am blasting my in ears?

 

For music - I listen to rock from 50's to 00's, alternative/post-hardcore, folk, punk, psychedelic, experimental, lo-fi, classic, and all that noise. I also listen to quite a bit of jazz, all forms from swing to free. Then there is blues, soul/funk, indie, and a variety of vocalists. Classical music has been growing on me and would like to explore it further as well. Again this might not be possible on my budget, but again versatility is key. 

 

I will be mostly listening out of iPhone and Mac, though sometimes out of my receiver. 

 

Also, if an amp/DAC is required for optimum listening, so be it. 

 

I'm not really set on any type of headphone, though I have primarily been looking at over ear. Maybe this will not be compatible with my desires, so I am open to any ideas. A chord that is not stuck in the headphones would be ideal I think. 

 

Thanks for any and all help!

post #2 of 25

IEMs would be your easiest choice for versatility. You can use this

http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone-list/ to search and then read the reviews for the relevant models. One important overlooked quality is "microphonics." You want a score of 4.5 or better to be sure that the cables won't bear noise which would interfere with listening.

 

This one http://theheadphonelist.com/custom-in-ear-monitors-reviews-list/custom-in-ear-monitors-review-previews/#MusicOne caught my eye as being undervalued, but I haven't bought it as I don't use IEMs often enough now.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Sounds like you're pro in-ear. Is there a particular reason? Best suited for the commute perhaps? The commute is a small portion of my day and most time is spent at work and home. 

post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

Sounds like you're pro in-ear. Is there a particular reason? Best suited for the commute perhaps? The commute is a small portion of my day and most time is spent at work and home. 

 

I'm actually not pro in ear in general. I haven't used my Etys for about a year. I thought for the commute and it would be easier at work if you work with others to take one out if you need to chat for minute. They also have the best isolation and leakage, again for the commute, work, or if you have noisy family members / neighbors. They're also easy to carry (and maybe to lose).

 

If you're looking for over ear, you're right to go for a closed model. My favorite (and my recommendation) in your price range for your genres is SRH840. It's warm, but still clear. It plays everything well. I tried it with classical, jazz, and metal / rock, vocals--everything sounded good. No disqualifiers. The only possible negative is that the headband is a little heavy, but you can always mod it fairly easily with the foam from HD650.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply Claritas, reviews of the SRH840 do seem very positive. I think I am leaning toward closed headphones at this point and haven't come across these yet. You say you have a pair of these, do your ears get hot with extended use? Does the weight make it uncomfortable? Also when you say "It's warm, but still clear," what does warm mean? 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Also - I am still open to hearing other peoples suggestions.. so DON'T be shy :-D and thanks!

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

Thanks for the reply Claritas, reviews of the SRH840 do seem very positive. I think I am leaning toward closed headphones at this point and haven't come across these yet. You say you have a pair of these, do your ears get hot with extended use? Does the weight make it uncomfortable? Also when you say "It's warm, but still clear," what does warm mean? 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Also - I am still open to hearing other peoples suggestions.. so DON'T be shy :-D and thanks!

 

The SoundMAGIC HP100 are another great option, as well! 

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

Thanks for the reply Claritas, reviews of the SRH840 do seem very positive. I think I am leaning toward closed headphones at this point and haven't come across these yet. You say you have a pair of these, do your ears get hot with extended use? Does the weight make it uncomfortable? Also when you say "It's warm, but still clear," what does warm mean?

 

I don't own it, but I've used it many times. It doesn't make your ears too hot, not more than normal for pleather earpads. Most other models are worse in that respect. The weight was a problem mainly because the rubber padding of the headband isn't soft enough. So I looked into modding and found that several guys here fixed that by using the foam from the HD6x0 headbands. I didn't end up buying it because I don't need a closed model, but it's still my top choice (or another Shure, SRH440, which I haven't heard). Here are some modding photos:

 

Finished product: http://www.head-fi.org/t/485381/shure-840-frankstein-headband-mod-mission-complete 

Process: http://www.head-fi.org/t/484116/my-shure-840-mod-warning-lots-of-pictures

A slightly different mod: http://www.head-fi.org/g/a/679752/modified-shure-srh440/

 

Looks easy enough. This first guy went to the trouble of adding clips to hold the wires. I wouldn't bother.

 

By warm, I meant that the sound is inviting and has more bass influence in the overall mix than sharp treble  (but definitely not basshead). This is as opposed to a cold and analytical sound, which is more useful for monitoring.

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Dang, those look good too, thanks!

 

How would I go about deciding between the two though (or others that people may suggest)? They seem fairly comparable.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

Dang, those look good too, thanks!

 

How would I go about deciding between the two though (or others that people may suggest)? They seem fairly comparable.

 

I can't recommend something I haven't heard (though I've seen guys here do it :angry_face:). Credible reviews indicate than SRH440 is neutral or maybe somewhat bright. That's doesn't sound warm and inviting to me, so I'd go with 840, except maybe for classical.

 

As to how to choose, listen to the most unbiased-seeming fellows, people who aren't simply recommending their favorite or the only thing they've ever tried, but instead are trying to give good advice specific to what you're looking for; and ask whatever questions you need to.

post #10 of 25
I've had my 840s for 3 years. Great performance for the money. I still use them a lot.

I agree with claritas; they work great with every genre except classical, though classical by no means sounds terrible on them.

They are also nice and non fatiguing for movies and videos on the computer.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newton2105 View Post

I've had my 840s for 3 years. Great performance for the money. I still use them a lot.

I agree with claritas; they work great with every genre except classical, though classical by no means sounds terrible on them.

They are also nice and non fatiguing for movies and videos on the computer.

 

Thanks for the confirmation. When you say classical "by no means sounds terrible," what does that mean? Classical is on the back burner anyway - if a genre needs to be dropped it will be that. 

 

When looking at these two headphones - both have great reviews. I am wondering how much I should be reading into frequency response charts of headphones. From my novice perspective it seems that the HP100s trump the 840s (only looking at the flatness of the plot across frequency ranges as my indicator). Are these types of differences going to be negligible? I have a gut feeling that they will be (especially for me), but before investing so heavily into something - I would like to know for sure. I know, I know - If I want to know for sure I should go somewhere and test both in a store. Wish I had more time :-/

 

Again, thanks for the input. All you people who haven't chimed in yet - let's get this show on the road here…. lol jk

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

 

Thanks for the confirmation. When you say classical "by no means sounds terrible," what does that mean? Classical is on the back burner anyway - if a genre needs to be dropped it will be that. 

 

When looking at these two headphones - both have great reviews. I am wondering how much I should be reading into frequency response charts of headphones. From my novice perspective it seems that the HP100s trump the 840s (only looking at the flatness of the plot across frequency ranges as my indicator). Are these types of differences going to be negligible? I have a gut feeling that they will be (especially for me), but before investing so heavily into something - I would like to know for sure. I know, I know - If I want to know for sure I should go somewhere and test both in a store. Wish I had more time :-/

 

I don't agree that classical sounds terrible--it sounds OK and there are better. But what an all rounder, Lord!

 

As to FR charts, they can tell you only so much. Consider these two:

 

 

No one who's heard them would confuse them. K702's clarity and soundstage simply aren't conveyed here. Clarity, soundstage, speed, integration across ranges--these are among the many important aspects an FR chart can't tell you.

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

I don't agree that classical sounds terrible--it sounds OK and there are better. But what an all rounder, Lord!

 

As to FR charts, they can tell you only so much. Consider these two:

 

 

No one who's heard them would confuse them. K702's clarity and soundstage simply aren't conveyed here. Clarity, soundstage, speed, integration across ranges--these are among the many important aspects an FR chart can't tell you.

 

Do the SRH840s require an Amp/DAC or any other fancy gizmos? 

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

 

Do the SRH840s require an Amp/DAC or any other fancy gizmos? 

 

It doesn't need an amp, but sounds better amped.

 

Whether you require a DAC doesn't depend on your headphones. It depends on how good your computer soundcard or other player is. An external DAC bypasses the soundcard for cleaner sound.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownslug View Post
 

 

Thanks for the confirmation. When you say classical "by no means sounds terrible," what does that mean? Classical is on the back burner anyway - if a genre needs to be dropped it will be that. 

 

 

I was saying that classical is probably the one genre where it doesn't shine, but that classical still sounds okay on them.  Sorry about the confusing grammar.

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