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What are the best headphones for me on a budget

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a pair of headphones in the area of $150 but cheaper is better on the wallet for sure. I listen to a lot of acoustic music, and classic rock (e.g. Clapton, Hendrix, Dire Straits, JM), so clarity is fairly important. I do want a well rounded and fairly balanced sound, so I wouldn't want any bass heavy headphones. I'll mainly be using them at home so open headphones are certainly an option but I'd also like the ability of using them as monitors in the future. These will be my most expensive headphones to date so I'd like a nice, versatile pair. I also have to note that I currently don't have a headphone amp. I've looked at Sennheiser, AKG, and ATH headphones but I still am unsure of which to get. 

post #2 of 32

Sooo many options! (and so many opinions, as you'll probably find out!!)

 

I don't know where you live, but I cannot stress enough the importance of demo before you buy!! What sounds perfect for me is  $#!t to someone else.

 

That being said, the usual suspects in that range I'd recommend (please take with the appropriate grain of salt!!) are:

 

the Audio Technica M-50's,

the Shure 840's (my favorites,if you catch them on sale).

I've even had a couple of good demos with (please don't attack me too hard for this) the Skullcandy Aviators (more balanced than you might think)

 

Open back are the Grados (SR60i, SR80i & SR125i from $80 - $150)

the Sennheiser HD 558 (on sale for about $135 right now)

I've read great things about the Philips Fidelio L1, but haven't heard them. (I mention them because they were originally a $300 headphone, but are on sale a lot...

they're here for $138: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010392-REG/philips_l1_28_l1_fidelio_headphones.html )

 

I'm sure you'll get lots more suggestions (and some of mine may get trashed too) so please listen where you can!!

 

Good luck!

 

If  a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a demo is worth 1,000 reviews

post #3 of 32

SR60i/80i plays those genres well, but it's too colored for monitoring. I'd recommend that with an aftermarket headband.

 

For that you'll probably want something closed anyway. I'd suggest getting the Grados, enjoying them, and buying something else for monitoring such as KNS8400. The two activities--casual listening and monitoring--tend to require different models, and one can easily lose out by getting something not ideal for either activity.

post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 

Interesting suggestion. I can only get one pair for now and music listening is a priority for now although I still do want good clarity. I hear the KNS 8400 has a unique sound signature that is not appealing to everyone so I don't know if I should get that despite some people saying it's good for both. What about the DT770?

post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinxy245 View Post
 

I've read great things about the Philips Fidelio L1, but haven't heard them. (I mention them because they were originally a $300 headphone, but are on sale a lot...

they're here for $138: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010392-REG/philips_l1_28_l1_fidelio_headphones.html )

 

The Philip X1/28 Fidelio headphones are the ones that use to sell for $300 and now sell for $232.

Your listing the Philips L1 headphones, which I believe were always selling for under $200.

post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesnrock View Post
 

Interesting suggestion. I can only get one pair for now and music listening is a priority for now although I still do want good clarity. I hear the KNS 8400 has a unique sound signature that is not appealing to everyone so I don't know if I should get that despite some people saying it's good for both. What about the DT770?

 

I didn't find anything "unique" about KNS8400. The treble is crisp, though one can soften it by putting cotton balls under the earpads, and it's somewhat bass light. It's very resolving and clear. So ideal for studio work, but I didn't enjoy listening to it. The only negative is the stock cable, which bears noise; I'm pretty sure the replacement cables for K450, Q460, and M50x fit, but check on the KNS appreciation thread.

 

DT770 has been used for both, but I wouldn't use it (or SRH840) for monitoring--too much bass. I enjoy SRH840 more because it's less extreme at both ends of the chart, which makes it less potentially offensive. It's warm but still pretty clear. The only negative is the heavy headband, which could use some modding.

 

Nothing's perfect, or at least I haven't found a closed model in this price range without its deficiencies. That always bums me, but I think someone will get it right in the next couple of years.

post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesnrock View Post

Interesting suggestion. I can only get one pair for now and music listening is a priority for now although I still do want good clarity. I hear the KNS 8400 has a unique sound signature that is not appealing to everyone so I don't know if I should get that despite some people saying it's good for both. What about the DT770?

DT770 Pro 250 ohms, which are in your budget range, need an amp.

I'd try the Grados or the HD558s because of the better soundstage of open headphones over closed. It just improves the listening experience.

For something fairly neutral and easy on your wallet, how about the Brainwavz HM5 and Fisher FA-003:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/585281/review-brainwavz-hm5-a-new-neutral-champ
http://www.head-fi.org/t/491632/review-fischer-audio-fa-003-a-neutral-champ
These have been popular in the <$150 class, and are the same headphone.One manufacturer makes the cups and drivers, and then they are rebranded for different sellers. Right now, you can can get the NVX Audio XPT100 version of them for only $80 off Amazon. Then you could get yourself a pair of SR80i or SR80i Grado headphones as your fun headphones for rock later on.
post #8 of 32

I'm only human,  and I've been wrong before (and I'll be wrong again, I'll bet) but I am pretty sure the original MSRP was $299.

 

either way, the current MSRP is $279: http://www.usa.philips.com/c-p/L1_00/fidelio-over-ear-headband-headphones

 

seems like a good deal to me!! :)

post #9 of 32

HD558

post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 

I'm really eyeing the Sennheisers right now (558 and 598) as well as the Grado SR80i. I hear great things about both but I also hear the SR80 is sort of a 1 trick pony and really only good for rock and it's much more aggressive, so I wonder how that would work for more acoustic music. The A900x I hear is also great un-amped and can be had for $150 on ebay. The SR80 does have an appealing price tag though (about as much as 558)

post #11 of 32
What do you mean by acoustic music?
post #12 of 32
Hello,

IMO, go for SR60i if you are only, (and only) listening to rocks music and maybe some of other genre. For mastering, you are better off getting MDR-7506 or SRH-840. Not sure how the HD598 will work with mastering but it does suit your needs too! If I will have to choose between HD598 and SR60i, the HD598, IMO is better for you. Less coloured, more comfortable, less agressive = easier to listen to. You can pair it with an amp later for furthur improvement

Hope it helps
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillsonChang007 View Post

Hello,

IMO, go for SR60i if you are only, (and only) listening to rocks music and maybe some of other genre. For mastering, you are better off getting MDR-7506 or SRH-840. Not sure how the HD598 will work with mastering but it does suit your needs too! If I will have to choose between HD598 and SR60i, the HD598, IMO is better for you. Less coloured, more comfortable, less agressive = easier to listen to. You can pair it with an amp later for furthur improvement

Hope it helps
Billson smily_headphones1.gif

+1 HD558/598 is a good deal more versatile than 60/80i when it comes to genres.
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

What do you mean by acoustic music?

I mean like acoustic pop and more classical music. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillsonChang007 View Post

Hello,

IMO, go for SR60i if you are only, (and only) listening to rocks music and maybe some of other genre. For mastering, you are better off getting MDR-7506 or SRH-840. Not sure how the HD598 will work with mastering but it does suit your needs too! If I will have to choose between HD598 and SR60i, the HD598, IMO is better for you. Less coloured, more comfortable, less agressive = easier to listen to. You can pair it with an amp later for furthur improvement

Hope it helps
Billson smily_headphones1.gif

 

Thanks for the input. I'm only looking to get 1 pair right now because I am strapped for cash so right now music listening itself is a priority. I think I will skip out on the SRs and go for another pair and potentially the Sennheisers. The 598 is really pushing, and possibly outside of my budget. Is there another pair you'd recommend or should I just go all out on the 598?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post


+1 HD558/598 is a good deal more versatile than 60/80i when it comes to genres.

So is the 558 my best bet for sub $150 phones?

post #15 of 32
Some people like Grados for classical; some don't. The Sennheisers are the "safer" choice, but not necessarily what you would enjoy the most.
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