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Good Cans for $300? Mad Dogs?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm somewhat new to my interest in headphones, and right now I would really like an over-ear for home. I'm trying to stay around $300, but I could deviate some. Some things to note: I have Momentum on-ears, and I don't want to get more bassy than that. I still like a good thump in from bass and percussion though. My ears are pretty big, and a lot of over-ears don't get a good seal. The Momentum over-ears don't get over my ears very well at all, and my dad's B&O H6's are one of the few over ears that actually get fully circumaural. Even the Mad Dogs, which I've tried and enjoyed are a little bit small for my ears (just big enough that it wouldn't be a problem).

 

Good imaging and head stage/soundstage are some of my favorite qualities in a headphone, and as a home set, I'm okay with an open pair. I don't have the $ to dish out for an amp on top of this right now, so I'd like something that could be driven well by a phone or computer. I've heard the HE-400s are down to $300, but I also see some mixed reviews on them which might make me hesitate.

 

I've tried my friend's Mad Dogs without an amp and was pretty pleased, but I didn't listen for too long, so I can't be 100% sure they're the ones. From what I heard, they seem to really shine with acoustic music, which I don't have a ton of. I enjoy the ease and dark sound of the planar magnetics, but I'm not anti-dynamic driver.  I listen to mostly hard rock, alt rock, electronic alt, and some acoustic. I would really appreciate any suggestions.

post #2 of 12

I have both the Mad Dogs and the HE-400.

 

Both sound better with an amp, but i would say the HE-400 needs it a little less.

 

The HE-400 is better in terms of detail, soundstage, and instrument separation, but the Mad Dogs have a much smoother richer sound due to their great mids. in terms of bass i would say they are about even in quantity with slightly more detail on the HE-400.

 

Really what it comes down to is; if you want better detail and soundstage go for the HE-400. If you want a more neutral engaging sound go for the Mad Dogs.

 

Overall (and considering you don't have an amp) i would take the HE-400. be aware that the HE-400 with its stock ear pads sounds very sharp in the treble so the velour pads are worth getting.

 

I would also suggest getting either a Schiit Magni or an o2 amp later down the road since the improvement with both headphones is substantial. 

post #3 of 12
HE400 is my favorite for jazz and plays rock subgenres well, but I don't know how much I'd like it unamped.

If you liked MrSpeakers, I recommend ZMF as it sounds focused in all the ranges and has larger earpads.

SRH840 has an accurate soundstage, though it sounds more like the closed model it is. It plays rock and everything else well.
Edited by Claritas - 3/8/14 at 3:26pm
post #4 of 12

If you don't want amplification, the NAD Viso HP50 sounds perfect for you. It's got nice but not overwhelming bass, imaging, and so on. It will only set you back $299.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay, so a few things to say. The reviews I'm seeing for the NAD make it sound like a great choice, except that the area for the ears may be a little small. Not sure if you guys can confirm or deny that. Secondly, I hear a lot about the harshness of the HE-400's treble, and it makes me hesitate quite a bit. Do the velour pads really help that much? and when the harshness is mentioned, where is it usually heard (meaning, do you only really hear it on the top ends of female vocals, or does it take a screaming high guitar note, or will it be noticeable in most songs)?

 

Edit:  I almost previously bought the PSB M4U 1's. I tried the M4U 2's, but I can't stand ANC, and heard the 1's were the same without noise canceling. I thought they were pretty good all around, but nothing really jumped out at me too much, and I hear the NAD's are a very similar headphone. Thoughts?

 

I really appreciate the responses :)


Edited by coletrain104 - 3/8/14 at 9:27am
post #6 of 12

The HE-400 and Mad Dogs are great for the price.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post
 

Okay, so a few things to say. The reviews I'm seeing for the NAD make it sound like a great choice, except that the area for the ears may be a little small. Not sure if you guys can confirm or deny that. Secondly, I hear a lot about the harshness of the HE-400's treble, and it makes me hesitate quite a bit. Do the velour pads really help that much? and when the harshness is mentioned, where is it usually heard (meaning, do you only really hear it on the top ends of female vocals, or does it take a screaming high guitar note, or will it be noticeable in most songs)?

 

Edit:  I almost previously bought the PSB M4U 1's. I tried the M4U 2's, but I can't stand ANC, and heard the 1's were the same without noise canceling. I thought they were pretty good all around, but nothing really jumped out at me too much, and I hear the NAD's are a very similar headphone. Thoughts?

 

I really appreciate the responses :)

I thought the treble was a little sharp when i was using the stock pads, but when i got the velour it made the headphones much better in terms of balance and reduction of treble energy. 

 

Now i have no problem with the treble even when comparing it to the Mad Dogs.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post

Secondly, I hear a lot about the harshness of the HE-400's treble, and it makes me hesitate quite a bit.

I think a lot of that comment is relative to other headphones in that ~$400 (it's original price) and up headphones, and how loud people listen to them. I really like them, and I don't find them to be particularly harsh, but it does have more treble energy/emphasis than some other phones. And because of the treble emphasis, they could end up easily being fatiguing for someone that likes them very loud. Also because of the detail resolution of the planar magnetics, it does make poorer quality recordings with bad treble call a bit more attention to themselves because of how good other recordings sound.

Claritas is right, too. I think they need some kind of amp. My Note 2 can't quite get them to the volume I like, and the dynamics are squashed, particularly when it comes to bass. My Sansa Clip+ will reach the volume I like, but still needs more headroom. A FiiO E11 would work well for portable use with them. Or for desktop use, the O2 or Magni that Ginron mentioned.

That all being said, since you are mainly into rock, I would recommend trying some Grado SR225i. Grados are a love 'em or hate 'em kind of headphone. But for those that love them, they are the kings of rock. They have excellent transient response for a dynamic driver and that, coupled with their particular mid-emphasis, really brings out guitar.

Finally, since your friend has the Alpha Dogs and you are looking to buy in the $300 range, the best thing to do is pick another pair of headphones, buy them from Amazon (or fulfilled by Amazon, not 3rd party vendors who do their own shipping) and demo them at home and see if you can then compare them directly to the Alpha Dogs. Amazon returns on headphones is pretty painless, and in my experience it has only cost about $10 or $12. Pretty cheap to demo some headphones at home for a week or so.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

I think I'm gonna give the HE 400s a try. Thanks to all who posted :)

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

If anyone could provide ear cup measurements for the NAD visa HP50 and the Phillips Fidelio X1, that'd be awesome

post #11 of 12
The HP50 measurements were mentioned in the HP50 thread. From memory, it's very close to M50 but with deeper cups.

There's also an earcup measurements thread somewhere in the main forum. Search for it.
post #12 of 12

The Mad Dogs are very good, but they do need an good amp to shine.

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