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Where do I start

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am interested in learning and getting more depth to my listening experience with headphones. I currently own a probably pathetic headset (Alienware tactx) when I listen to music, bought mainly as a headset and still used as such. However when I settle down to do design and concept I tend to kick on some tunes listening through my PC.
What I'm looking for is a good starting set of headphones that will enhance my listening enjoyment. I find my headset makes it hard for others to get my attention and I really don't want isolation or noise canceling but still want long wear comfort. I'm not sure where to go. My budget is relative but preferred lower as I'm still somewhat skeptical as to how much quality headphones/setup will really enhance listening. My music is lossless files I've pulled from CDs.
What I'm looking for is the first headphones to make me believe there's a difference. My locale is limited of audiophiles. Headphones in stores are usually cheapos Bose and beats all of which I'm uninterested in. I've had sennheiser momentums and Grado SR80is in my online cart but I've never felt like I wanted to commit the money to an unknown idea. Is it worth it. What's the make me a believer headphone for me?
Edited by IrradFish - 4/24/14 at 8:24am
post #2 of 9
First off, what sort of budget are you looking at? Specifically, is there a dollar amount that is absolutely too high? (This could trim the list of suggestions considerably.)

Second, can you find a place to try out some headphones? You don't necessarily need the specific model. My current favoirite is the Sennheiser HD600, and having tried a few dfferent Sennheiser models, I can tell you that they all had a similar feel. Basically, try out a few models so you know what is comfortable for your head. We can make some general suggestions, but the shape of one's head and ears is going to be a big factor in comfort.

Third, skip the "setup" idea and stick to headphones for now. Whatever your budget is, stick it all on headphones. It will give you the best sound improvement for your money, and you can always add those bits later.

Okay, with that out of the way, it sounds like you are going to want something open to avoid isolation issues. I find open headphones better sounding than closed, so that's an added bonus. From Sennheiser, you're probably looking at the HD518, HD558, and HD598 depending on budget. I personally love my HD600's, which are excellent all-around headphones. The 598's are going to be the closest in comparison, and yes, those are the most expensive out of the three. Amazon is selling them for $187 right now.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Budget currently up to $300, but the higher the price the more the logic of my brain says maybe that can wait.

Places to try stuff locally not likely and time limits me. Any local store that may have demo headphones other then Bose or beats is usually on a 9-5 schedule which (funny) is the same as mine.

Sennheiser has been a strong contender for getting my business.. I'll keep the HD598's on my radar.
post #4 of 9
Gotcha. Keep an eye on the used market, then. Not only can you get gear below the list price, but you can always try something out and resell it to remain as cost-neutral as possible.

No idea if you have one, but Best Buy seems to have more than just Beats and Bose (at least here in the Chicago suburbs). They might not carry the 598's, but they should at least carry a few more models so you can determine comfort. A Guitar Center (or similar music store) might also have some 'phones, but you'd want to call ahead and see if they'd let you try them or have demo models.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Nearest best buy is a 3 hour drive. I do make every few months to take the family shopping but my wife would glare at me if I walked out of the store having spent over $50 on headphones. But I will certainly try them next time I'm out. I'll also see to inspecting local music shops to see if there's anything else around town.
Yes I consider used an option. I'm always scanning local for someone selling any headphones I've read about. Though so far I've only spotted one set of Grados, but they came with a laptop and I have no need for a new laptop.
post #6 of 9

I believe there's a set of used SR80i's in the FS forum on this board. You should look through there to see if there are any deals on any HP's you're looking at.

post #7 of 9
Many of us buy two different sets of headphones from Amazon and return one. Amazon or fulfilled by Amazon (but not 3rd party vendors that do their own shipping) makes RMAing easy. Just keep everything mint, including the retail packaging. My experience is that return shipping is only $10 or $12, which is a small price to pay for an in home demo. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Found a day off to go walking through down town and found a set of ATH-M50's the only set of halfway decent headware in town, with here now shipping and a price tag of $159.99 I decided heh, why not. Not the open head phones to keep me from getting in trouble, but maybe for the best since I do a lot of work when everyone is sleeping.


Conclusion, they sound good, but I am no expert on sound. They certainly sound a lot better then my headset.

post #9 of 9

IrradFish, although I think the Grado sr80i is a pretty good introductory set of headphones (they started me on my head-fi journey), I wouldn't say they are the best for extended listening.  Those headphones sit on your ear rather than over them and after about 25 minutes of listening to them, I remember my ears being a little sore.  +1 to the guys recommending Sennheiser over-the-ear models.  That company generally does a very good job in the comfort and clarity departments.

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