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Finding the perfect pair of dedicated home cans

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm mostly an in-ear guy, and when I do travel with full-size phones, my go-to is the German Maestro GMP 8.35D which offer a blend of excellent sound, very good isolation, and extreme durability... However now I'm building a dedicated home setup, so I'm looking for a pair of headphones aimed at achieving just the absolute best sound for the money, in this case, that money being $500 or less. New or used works.


The sound I like is warm, transparent and detailed with nice (but not insane) bass. The goal here is to find something with the above qualities and a soundstage that gives you that "the band is right in front of you, not clamped to your ears" quality. Not a fan of anything dark or claustrophobic.


So far, I've been looking into the Hifiman HE-500, the Mr. Speakers Alpha Dog and a few others... Always wanted to check out a pair of planar magnetic phones, but really am open to anything... I'm more interested in achieving the sound I like, not in how that sound is delivered. Open or closed, makes no difference to me, although I'm assuming most suggestions will be for open cans.


Long story short, suggestions needed!


By the way, these will be pushed by a Rotel RA-05SE, so any and all power requirements will be handily covered.



Edited by Earbones - 4/16/14 at 2:48pm
post #2 of 4

I was recently in the market for precisely just such a pair of headphones, and I ended up settling on the newly released MrSpeakers Mad Dog Pro.  I had tried a secondhand Alpha Dog, and I found that, while it was certainly an impressive headphone in its own right, it didn't deliver the kind of sound signature I was looking for.  It was a little too polite, with not enough oomph in the bass for all the types of music that I enjoy listening to.  The Mad Dog Pro struck the right balance sound-wise, and its lighter weight makes it more comfortable for long-term listening.  I encourage you to check it out, provided that a closed design is more appropriate to your needs than an open one would be.

Edited by Valens7 - 4/16/14 at 3:05pm
post #3 of 4
You can find the HE-500 for $500 used or open box. I don't know if you will find a better headphone at that price point. I just bought a pair myself at that price and I couldn't be happier. They sound phenomenal. You would probably want to invest in an amp to properly dive them though...
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Found a good deal locally on a pair of Shure SRH940, which have compared favorably to the Senn HD600/650 and the Beyer DT880... Picked them up and gave them a listen. Long story short, my German Maestros kicked their ass. The GM has all the detail, clarity, and soundstage of the Shure, but with a warmer overall sound, better bass, and faster signature. The Shure felt a bit slow, anemic, and colored (towards the bright) next to the GM. Don't get me wrong, the Shure is a very nice phone, but it wasn't a close contest.


Seeing as how the SRH940, DT880 and HD600/650 all compete with the HE400, HE500 and Alpha Dogs  -that is to say you'll find a lot of comparisons with people who like one of them over the others based on personal preference, with no consensus that one is far and away the superior phone- I'm wondering if I may need to up my price-range if I want to find something that will be categorically superior and a major upgrade over the German Maestro...



Edited by Earbones - 4/17/14 at 4:28pm
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