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Versatile headphones $150 and under?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So my search continues... I got the Koss DJ100s with M50 pads from Amazon and I think these actually might be my winner for now.  I have a fiio E7 (any upgrade to this for $70 and under?  Want it to have a DAC too)  Here's the background:

 

Music being listened to - Mostly heavy rock with some softer stuff and hip-hop mixed in.  A tough combo, I know but I'm big on vocals so the slightly forward mids of the DJ100s is attractive to me.  I like my music to have some punch but I also want it flat enough so that I get some solid clear detail.

 

Will listen mostly out of my Laptop and iPod.  (Like stated-Fiio E7).  I'm just a casual listener-not mixing/recording.

 

Budget: $200 total for headphones and a DAC/Amp (my laptop sound card isn't great so I prefer to bypass that).  I could go a little higher if I find something I really like.

 

Headphones I've tried: Sony 7506 (kinda boring), ATH M50 (felt muddy and recessed in vocals), DT 770s (Really liked the sound but they were pretty bulky and the huge circular earpads didn't work for me-any similar sounding headphones I could try?), SRH 840 (solid but something about them wasn't grabbing me), and these DJ100s which are as close as I've come.  I might prefer the DT 770s but I'm wondering if there is an alternative. 

 

Looking for: Closed cans that are over-ear (M50 pads are a good fit).  Do NOT have recessed vocals/mids, have decent bass so the music isn't too boring sounding, still have clear instrumentals and are crisp sounding.  I'm asking a lot-especially in this price range but the DJ100s are close.  I just feel like there may be an extra step I can take.  I read these things get better with burn in so I'm still evaluating them but in the meantime I'm curious what some other possibilities could be.

 

Disclaimer - Not really interested in grado even though they seem to be the Rock kings.  I have the E7 DAC/Amp and wonder what headphones would be great with this or if an upgrade is in store for around the same price.  Who knows-maybe I already found what I'm looking for.

 

Let me know if any other information would be helpful!  THANKS for any suggestions.


Edited by PortlandMayFire - 3/5/14 at 6:00pm
post #2 of 12

Look into the UE6000's. Great worth. Available on amazon for $100. The AKG Q701's are great with the genre's you mentioned. Double the price however, coming in at $200. Oh, and they are open back.


Edited by halfinfinity - 3/5/14 at 8:47pm
post #3 of 12

Since you like vocals, one mostly closed model (80%) that really stands out for its mids and vocals is ZMF v1.

 

Otherwise, consider saving up and buying something in the $300 range such as HP50 or the new Focals. I've heard neither, but the reviews have been positive.

 

Besides that, I'd be interested in your impressions of ProDJ100 both with stock and with M50 pads.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfinfinity View Post
 

Look into the UE6000's. Great worth. Available on amazon for $100. The AKG Q701's are great with the genre's you mentioned. Double the price however, coming in at $200. Oh, and they are open back.

 

Thanks.  The UE6000's look decent but they don't look like I'd enjoy the build.  And I'm looking for closed back.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

Since you like vocals, one mostly closed model (80%) that really stands out for its mids and vocals is ZMF v1.

 

Otherwise, consider saving up and buying something in the $300 range such as HP50 or the new Focals. I've heard neither, but the reviews have been positive.

 

Besides that, I'd be interested in your impressions of ProDJ100 both with stock and with M50 pads.

 

I have some thoughts on the DJ100s but I've only had a few hours of listening so I'll post those tomorrow after I get some more time with them.  Any thoughts on the DT770s or DT880s?  Would the E7 power the 250 ohm version?  I was a little surprised to see the 32 ohm versions more expensive.  I'm considering listening to these again despite wishing they weren't so round and big.  Any alternatives that sound like those or are those towards the top of the line for a closed headphone?  I'm definitely a vocal person but in general I want the music to sound sharp and full-I don't need the vocals taking control of the sound.  I just hate the recessed vocals sound which seems prevalent in many headphones due to bass.  It's all a balancing game for me and I want a "fun" headphone that leans towards mids a little.  Not to ramble on but what I heard from the DT770s sounded good so I'm curious what you think of those as an all-arounder from heavy rock to acoustic.

post #5 of 12

No, the UE6000's are closed back. I was referring to the AKG's when I mentioned they were open back. 

 

What "build" are you looking for?


Edited by halfinfinity - 3/6/14 at 12:26am
post #6 of 12
I would describe ZMF as full. I'm nor sure what you mean by sharp because that has negative connotations for me. Maybe you mean what I would call crisp? I wouldn't describe ZMF crisp.

DT770 can work for those genres, and it is full and sharp (though I don't consider sharp a compliment) but the mids are recessed. 880 is open. I haven't tried E7.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

I would describe ZMF as full. I'm nor sure what you mean by sharp because that has negative connotations for me. Maybe you mean what I would call crisp? I wouldn't describe ZMF crisp.

DT770 can work for those genres, and it is full and sharp (though I don't consider sharp a compliment) but the mids are recessed. 880 is open. I haven't tried E7.

 

How could I have forgotten. The DT770's have some of the best quality in the closed back genre under $200.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

The UE6000s remind me of a Beats type of build which don't really clamp.  I really liked the build of the M50s.  I found the mids on the M50s to be much more recessed than the DT770s.  Maybe because the bass felt more muddy to me which could have bled into the mids more (?).  The ZMFs are a little hard for me to consider being that I don't believe they're on Amazon or in Guitar Center.  If the 770s can work for those genres I'll probably give them another look.  Would there be a noticeable difference between the 250 ohm and 80 ohm soundwise?  The majority of my listening will be amped through my laptop but the option that I wouldn't ALWAYS need an amp could be appealing.  And yes, sorry, I meant crisp/clean sounding.  I found rock guitars to be crisper on the 770s than other headphones and didn't feel the mids being to recessed but I would need to listen again.


Edited by PortlandMayFire - 3/6/14 at 12:52am
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfinfinity View Post
 

 

How could I have forgotten. The DT770's have some of the best quality in the closed back genre under $200.

 

For the (VERY) little time I spent listening to those I really liked the sound.  I couldn't get over the oval earpads/build of the M50 being more preferable and left without the 770s but the more I think about it the more I think those might be my choice because I don't need them to be mobile really.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

Since you like vocals, one mostly closed model (80%) that really stands out for its mids and vocals is ZMF v1.

 

Otherwise, consider saving up and buying something in the $300 range such as HP50 or the new Focals. I've heard neither, but the reviews have been positive.

 

Besides that, I'd be interested in your impressions of ProDJ100 both with stock and with M50 pads.

 

Alright so my experience with the ProDJ100 headphones with the FiiO E7 amp is a bit mixed in the end but overall positive.  They definitely benefit from the amp and for general rock music to softer acoustics they perform REALLY well-especially considering the price.  I found the sound a little piercing during some heavy rock/metal tracks but that was mostly unamped through my classic iPod.  Listening to heavy tracks through the laptop with the E7 they actually performed really well.  The M50 pads are MUCH more comfortable than the stock pads imo.  I didn't really compare the differing sound between the two but I didn't become immediately aware of big differences besides the better seal.  These things hardly leak any sound at all even at high volumes.  The M50 pads are not necessarily a perfect fit as they're oval pads on a circular design but they fit on without any issues and the comfort is really solid.  If you were going to snag the DJ100s I would 100% recommend getting the M50 pads.  I'm a beginner when it comes to the audiophile world so I'm not able to get too technical but for a $50 price tag I'd be surprised to find a better bargain out there.  The clarity and soundstage feels too good for the price range-but as I've seen many people say, despite the low impedance they definitely don't reach potential without an amp.  I'm actually a little torn still.  These are solid but I think the DT770s are calling my name.  I know it's not fair to compare the 2 seeing as they're in a completely different class of headphones but I'm curious as to the differences I'll notice between the DT770 and DJ100.  Ultimately, for less than $50 on Amazon the DJ100s are a really good deal-especially if you already own an amp.


Edited by PortlandMayFire - 3/6/14 at 9:41pm
post #11 of 12
Thank you. Your clear impression helps considerably.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

Thank you. Your clear impression helps considerably.


Glad I could help.

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