or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Help the Newbie pick some Headphones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Help the Newbie pick some Headphones

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'd like some help picking some headphones within my budget.  I have been doing research on Google, and each time this site has had the best information I have found, so I thought I would ask you directly.

 

I'm looking for headphones in the $50 USD ballpark.  I can go a little higher or--preferably--lower.  I'm a metalhead, I need something that can put out some nice bass but still have clear sound.  I'm not too familiar with audio and the workings of headphones, though I'd love to learn more.

 

I recently owned a pair of Sennheiser HD202s, which were my first real effort to get some good-quality headphones, and I just loved them--they were the best value headphones I have ever seen, sound quality better than any of my friends' showoffy Skullcandy or Beats and for only $25 on Amazon.  They gave up on me after less than a year, though--one ear failed, I have been trying to cut and splice the wire back together but it hasn't worked so far.  I need something with extremely good build quality--I am a college student, and I like to take them wherever I go, which means being lost in a messy dorm and beaten around in a backpack.  The Senns weren't up to that.  Also, I'm willing to spend a little more this time, maybe for something a small step better.

 

Here's a list of some headphones I have found in my research that seem okay--I'd love more information or personal experience, and recommendations.

 

Sennheiser HD 203 (It's much pricier than the 202 so I assume it must be better?  or is it just marketing?)

AKG K511 (looks great value but other sources say the build quality sucks, is it true?)

AKG K512 (again, it's much more expensive for only one number higher within its series, is it worth it?)

Audio-Technica ATH-T300 (not much info out on this one.  Leery of the Japanese company if a German pair failed on me, is build quality ok?)

 

Anything else I haven't heard of in that price range?  Again, good sound for metal music (specifically melodic death mostly, if it matters) and build quality are very important.

 

Thanks for the help.

post #2 of 15
Hey,
Look up the
Koss ProDJ100, Koss Portapro, Creative Aurvana Live! (Newer Version), Audio Technica M40, M30 (newer M40 has removable cable.) Just giving you other things to look at. You're going to have to see if they will be good for your genre of music though.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Most of those cost a little more money than I am interested in spending, I'm trying to avoid going as high as $70.  The only one really in my price range is the Koss PortaPro, and I'm a little leery of it.  I was hoping for an over-ear rather than an on-ear design, and just from the picture it looks flimsy.  Still, can you give me a little more info on it?

 

Thanks.

post #4 of 15

Grados SR60i may work for you. I haven't tried them myself but they do tend to get some pretty good reviews.  I found an ebay auction for a used pair. The starting bid is $46 so you may be able to save some cash since it retails around $80 new I believe.

 

Here's the link:

 

 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Grado-SR60i-Prestige-SR60i-Stereo-Headphones-/151252126257?pt=US_Headphones&hash=item2337544a31

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

yeah, I had already looked at those and wrote them off because of the price.  The ebay deal looks cool but I'm not ready to buy them yet, have to wait for a paycheck.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by barastyr View Post
 

Most of those cost a little more money than I am interested in spending, I'm trying to avoid going as high as $70.  The only one really in my price range is the Koss PortaPro, and I'm a little leery of it.  I was hoping for an over-ear rather than an on-ear design, and just from the picture it looks flimsy.  Still, can you give me a little more info on it?

 

Thanks.

Check out this website; http://camelcamelcamel.com/Koss-PortaPro-Headphones-with-Case/product/B00001P4ZH?context=browse

You can track the prices of other headphones too. Also DO NOT hesitate to buy Amazon Warehouse Deals. Headphones are often much cheaper, and half the time look, and work completely new and are sealed in the box (I and multiple other people saw this when we ordered the Q701 off Amazon; original price $199-220, I got them for $123). 

 

I love my PortaPro to death and used to bring them to school with me everyday. I stuffed them in my backpack without any case. They lasted me two years until the cable finally gave out on the jack (my parents constantly used them too.. they would stand up without remembering they had them on and pulled the cable really hard). It only cost $8 to send to warranty and get another pair. They may look flimsy and feel like it but I have yet for mine to break. Oh and I once fell pretty bad while longboarding and they didn't break. They are excellent for Rock/Metal, they do any genre well (except classical, Q701's are made for classical ;)). Please keep in mind: people will hear your music around you. They are open headphones. Read the reviews for them.

 

If you have any more questions just ask! 

 

If you can, I would buy two pairs and then return the one you don't want. Headphones are all opinion. 

post #7 of 15

There are quite a few good sounding and sturdy options in your budget.

Some recommendations: Audio Technica ATH-D40fs, M40fs, M30, M35.

All are professional monitoring headphones and come with very rugged construction and durability (much much better than the HD202 you have).

The top sounding ones are the M40fs and D40fs.

M40fs is very linear and neutral sounding, while the D40fs is it's "precision enhanced bass" brother. Sound quality wise they're equally good, the only difference is in the presentation and tonality.

 

Given your music preference my first choice would be Audio Technica ATH-D40fs, hands down.

I personally own this headphone for many years and it's usually the headphone I pick for listening to rock and hard-rock, even though I have much more technically competent headphones in my stable.

The bass is tilted just enough to give them that extra punch and authority, but it's also very well controlled and precise. Overall this is a very fun sounding and musically involving headphone.

And given the fact their price has decreased a lot over the years, it is a steal. For many years M40 and D40 were well north of 100$.

Today you can pick them up for as low as 49$ on Amazon. A steal!

 

For an even tighter budget the ATH-M30 is also worth considering. It's very similar to the 40's build quality and the sound signature is more similar to the D40 than M40.

 

And my last recommendation would be Superlux HD681 EVO. 

This is also a very good value headphone and I think it's built solidly enough to withstand quite a bit of punishing. Sound quality alone it's not far off from the Audio-Technicas.

For ~35, what they sell for, and given the fact they now throw in an extra set of velour pads, you get a lot of headphone for your money.


Edited by Bobby S - 3/12/14 at 5:20am
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Amazon is something I haven't thought of.  I was judging headphones by MSRP, didn't realize how much of a deal I could get there.  With that said, I can consider headphones that are in the ballpark of $100 MSRP, because I can usually get them for $50-$60 on Amazon.

 

In that case, should I just go on and get a higher-level Sennheiser?  Are they worth it?  And if so, what the hell is the difference between all the models?  The website is selling the HD 280 Pro, HD 439, and HD 429s for all the same price--any more info on that?

 

And how do the Senns compare to Audio-Technica you mentioned?  both sound quality and build quality.

 

Also, no one has mentioned the AKG I looked up--are those any good?

 

Again, thanks for answering my questions.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info, but the more I think about it, I really don't want an on-ear headphone.  I'm at a college campus, I need something to block out noisy roommates and such

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by barastyr View Post
 

Amazon is something I haven't thought of.  I was judging headphones by MSRP, didn't realize how much of a deal I could get there.  With that said, I can consider headphones that are in the ballpark of $100 MSRP, because I can usually get them for $50-$60 on Amazon.

 

In that case, should I just go on and get a higher-level Sennheiser?  Are they worth it?  And if so, what the hell is the difference between all the models?  The website is selling the HD 280 Pro, HD 439, and HD 429s for all the same price--any more info on that?

 

And how do the Senns compare to Audio-Technica you mentioned?  both sound quality and build quality.

 

Also, no one has mentioned the AKG I looked up--are those any good?

 

Again, thanks for answering my questions.

HD280's aren't the most comfortable I have to say; I hate their sound. Sometimes at BestBuy they have these in the Magnolia Home Theater section. I also remember seeing Koss ProDJ as well as HD429, HD439. 

 

HD429's aren't bad to me, I've tried them. But all Sennheisers are that flimsy plastic. The Audiotechnicas are probably better built. 

post #11 of 15

Quality wise I feel the Audio Technica D40fs is right up there with any circa 100$ headphone, regardless of manufacturer.

They're very detailed and technically accomplished headphones, but their ability to play rock music with top notch involvement is really what sets them apart from most, and the reson I've hold on to them for so many years. That's my take on it.

To address your last point - all the Audio Technica models I've listed are closed, circumaural headphones. So they insulate very well outside noise, and the pads sit around your ear.

 

And since your price range has been gone up a bit, another worthy mention would be Creative Aurvana Live. They're also very good headphones, closed and circumaural as well.

They have a huge following so you can find lots and lots of feedback on them.

From the Sennheiser and AKG camp I'm afraid I have no suggestions to make. I don't know of any models from these companies which can suit your needs and your budget better than the above mentioned alternatives.

 

Later edit:

I second the opinion on the 280 pro's.

Comfort is really iffy and sound quality is underwhelming even compared to an ultra-cheap Superlux.


Edited by Bobby S - 3/12/14 at 6:33am
post #12 of 15

Seems like the Audio Technica will be your best bet. Sennheiser build quality is worse.

 

P.S. (OP you can ignore this) I wonder how the those AudioTechncia-M40DS compare to KossProDJ100's. They are both the same price and the Koss perform way out of it's price range.

 

ANOTHER EDIT:

If you're looking to save even more money;

Creative Aurvana Live can be found for $63 on Amazon Warehouse Deals (Like New; Item may come repackaged)

The AudioTechnica M40s can be found for $26 on Amazon Warehouse Deals (Also Like new; packaging may be damaged)


Edited by Fuzziekiwi - 3/12/14 at 6:51am
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

yeah, so far it does sound like that audio-technica d40fs is a good choice.  I was leery about the company at first, just cause in general German made things tend to be built better than Japanese made, but maybe that doesn't apply to headphones.  I'll wait until I get a paycheck or two and then order them.  I'm just about to start a new job.

 

Right now I'm listening to Dark Tranquillity in my ****ty backup in-ear headphones...  I hate in-ears, they just feel nasty.

 

Also, anyone know anything about how to fix the senns?  The problem in is the wire to the left side, after the wire splits to go to the different ears.  I cut around where I thought the break was, and I've stripped the wire and am trying to connect the sides back together, but for some reason it hasn't worked so far.

post #14 of 15

All Sennehisers, except the very top models, are made in China. 

As for non-German headphones some of the best headphones in the world are Japanese (take STAX for example).

As for Audio-Technica, it's been a top manufacturer of headphones probably for just as long as Sennehiser has (if not longer). They don't have an aggressive marketing strategy, like Sennheiser,  and they're more of a pro-market oriented company.

That's why most people lack familiarity with them and with many many other top audio companies, for that matter.

Senns are good, but they're just one of many.

 

Quote:
 I wonder how the those AudioTechncia-M40DS compare to KossProDJ100's. They are both the same price and the Koss perform way out of it's price range.

I haven't heard the DJ100 so I have no idea how they compare.


Edited by Bobby S - 3/12/14 at 7:05am
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by barastyr View Post
 

yeah, so far it does sound like that audio-technica d40fs is a good choice.  I was leery about the company at first, just cause in general German made things tend to be built better than Japanese made, but maybe that doesn't apply to headphones.  I'll wait until I get a paycheck or two and then order them.  I'm just about to start a new job.

 

Right now I'm listening to Dark Tranquillity in my ****ty backup in-ear headphones...  I hate in-ears, they just feel nasty.

 

Also, anyone know anything about how to fix the senns?  The problem in is the wire to the left side, after the wire splits to go to the different ears.  I cut around where I thought the break was, and I've stripped the wire and am trying to connect the sides back together, but for some reason it hasn't worked so far.

 

Where headphones are made; I don't really think it matters. My ProDJ100 are built like a tank; not built in Europe or America as far as I know (I may be wrong). Sony MDR-V6's are made in Taiwan, still built like a tank. Q701's are made in Austria, build quality isn't the greatest, and my HD558's (Made in China) are full rubbery plastic. My 558's actually started cracking on the hinges within a year of use. Sent them in for repair a few months ago, got a whole new pair in the box and everything. It really just depends.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Help the Newbie pick some Headphones