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Open or closed headphone for ~$300-500

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I want a good pair of headphones for home use around the aforementioned price range. Can be open or closed, but I prefer open. No guarantees I'm going to buy these soon, but I want a few good suggestions. I listen to a lot of rock - primarily grunge and hard rock. There's some electronic rock in my library, as well, such as Muse and Radiohead. I value clarity and detail, so a neutral headphone would be nicer than a warmer headphone. If anything has to be elevated, I want it to be the mids. Velour pads are preferable for the sake of comfort, but I'm not overly concerned with. Again, these are for home use, so comfort is key. I'm using Fidelio X1s, which I'm in love with, but I want something that's a step up. I have sensitive ears, so sibilance outright ruins music for me. If an amp is necessary, that's fine. I'll be using it with onboard audio from my PC most of the time, but if I need to buy a dedicated amp, I'm alright with that. I'll probably buy an Objective2.

 

Some cans I've considered:

 

  • Sennheiser HD 600
  • Focal Spirit Classic
  • AKG K702
  • Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs

Edited by Dragonzeanse - 5/10/14 at 7:26pm
post #2 of 15

Used HE-500--if you are OK with a heavy can.

 

If new, the HD 600 is a good choice.

post #3 of 15

the FSC is not as comfortable as the others

 

it has low impedance so it won't require a strong amp.

 

if you want mid-centric headphone, which do not require an amp... i'd go for Audio-Technica's line/

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

the FSC is not as comfortable as the others

 

it has low impedance so it won't require a strong amp.

 

if you want mid-centric headphone, which do not require an amp... i'd go for Audio-Technica's line/


Like the ATH-AD1000X? AD2000X looks to be just out of budget.

 

I'm definitely giving the HiFiMAN HE-500s some consideration. I can find them used within my budget, and I don't mind heavy headphones that much. At least, I don't, so long as they remain comfortable to wear and have the sound to back it up. It's not like I'm wearing the world's heaviest Grados.

 

I looked up some reviews for the HD 6xx line and they apparently have a ton of emphasis on the mids. I think I would like that, because I want to be able the vocals incredibly well. None of my headphones do it exceptionally well save for maybe my Fidelio X1s, and debatable my ES-FC300s. And that's just compared to the headphones I happen to own.


Edited by Dragonzeanse - 5/11/14 at 1:39pm
post #5 of 15

AD900X or AD1000X  yes.

HE-500 requires a monstrous amp. (the manufacture says at least 2W at 50@)

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

AD900X or AD1000X  yes.

HE-500 requires a monstrous amp. (the manufacture says at least 2W at 50@)

If the HE-500s cost that much used, and anything short of, say, an Objective2 amp isn't strong enough to drive them, then I'm going to have to look elsewhere.

 

Have you any thoughts on the Sennheiser HD 6xx range? I've been beating around the bush for that one. I don't mind picking things like Focal Spirit Classics because I might even use those as portables, though I lean towards open because I only have one open pair of headphones right now (two, if you count the KSC75s). Having listened to Q701s, and suspecting that K702s aren't radically different, I'd definitely jump on those, but I'm not sure if the mids are recessed or not.

post #7 of 15

If you have the O2, You probably should choose between the DT880 / HD600 / Q701

the mids are not recessed. yet, all 3 present the music a little differently. 

 

read here for a better understanding between the three:

http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650

 

I had all three, and kept the 880s.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

...

 

HE-500 requires a monstrous amp. (the manufacture says at least 2W at 50@)


No--the $99 Schiit Magni with drive them.  Don't know about the Objective 2, as I am unfamiliar with it.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

If you have the O2, You probably should choose between the DT880 / HD600 / Q701

the mids are not recessed. yet, all 3 present the music a little differently. 

 

read here for a better understanding between the three:

http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650

 

I had all three, and kept the 880s.


Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the differences between the 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm variants of the DT880? Power requirements notwithstanding, of course. I've heard that the 600 Ohm - though it needs more power - provides more lush mids and highs. Granted, I don't know if I want that beast, but if I plan to get an amp in the long run, it probably won't be a problem. That said, it's excessively more expensive than the DT 880 Premium 250 Ohm on Amazon right now.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonzeanse View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

If you have the O2, You probably should choose between the DT880 / HD600 / Q701

the mids are not recessed. yet, all 3 present the music a little differently. 

 

read here for a better understanding between the three:

http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650

 

I had all three, and kept the 880s.


Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the differences between the 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm variants of the DT880? Power requirements notwithstanding, of course. I've heard that the 600 Ohm - though it needs more power - provides more lush mids and highs. Granted, I don't know if I want that beast, but if I plan to get an amp in the long run, it probably won't be a problem. That said, it's excessively more expensive than the DT 880 Premium 250 Ohm on Amazon right now.

 

I have both versions.  The 600 Ohm version cleans up and refines the already excellent sound of the 250 Ohm flavor.  The 600 Ohm version is clearly the better can, but usually the 250 Ohm version presents the better value.  See:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comparison-beyerdynamic-dt-880-32-ohm-dt-880-250-ohm-and-dt-880-600-ohm-headphones

post #11 of 15

The Magni will get the HE-500 to volume, but they will NOT reach their potential.

 

take for ex. the HiFiMAN HE-6;

the manufacture states that it requires at least 5W to be fully utilized.

but even the 55$ Fiio E11 can bring those to volume.

 

volume != potential

(for the layman: volume does not equal potential)

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyal1983 View Post
 

The Magni will get the HE-500 to volume, but they will NOT reach their potential.

 

take for ex. the HiFiMAN HE-6;

the manufacture states that it requires at least 5W to be fully utilized.

but even the 55$ Fiio E11 can bring those to volume.

 

volume != potential

(for the layman: volume does not equal potential)


I'm well aware that volume doesn't equal potential.  And properly driving them is not the same as bringing out the "full potential" of a headphone. I have both the HE-500 and the HE-6.  Even my $1,000 Questyle CMA 800R probably doesn't get the full potential from my HE-6 and HD 800, but is sure as heck properly drives them and they sound great.  Yet I'm sure that an even better amp is out there that will show more of what they can deliver (assuming you are also feeding them by playing an well recorded and mastered SACD through an Oppo 105 or top end Sony SACD deck.

 

Schiit says that the Magni properly drives the HE-500.  See (Magni FAQ):

 

http://schiit.com/products

 

I know from personal experience that the Asgard (1 & 2) do--and do it very well at $249.

post #13 of 15

Neither HD600 nor K702 really stands out with rock compared to the others you're considering. K702 is light on the bass and HD600 has a polite treble.

 

Fostex mods such as MrSpeakers or ZMF are better choices, but I find dynamic models more . . . dynamic (or aggressive in the good sense). This applies to something like HE500 too. Since you mentioned comfort, I would forget HE500 because it's heavy as hell. I would have recommended HE400 as it sounds somewhere in between a planar and dynamic, but you're concerned about sibilance and some have complained about that (I don't hear it).

 

The Focals are more comfortable than HE500, about the same as HE400, but less than the others. You might not find them uncomfortable at all if you don't mind their being partly on ear albeit with good thick padding. I think they sound best on your list. You'll want the Classic, not the Pro, because it's slightly more laid back in the treble and has better build quality. Look into HP50 too. I haven't heard it yet, but I expect it to be more comfortable and have a broadly similar sound.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 
...
Look into HP50 too. I haven't heard it yet, but I expect it to be more comfortable and have a broadly similar sound.

 

Yes--the HP50 is an excellent closed can in its price range.  I find it to be more comfortable than the FS Pro, but comfort is a very individual specific thing.  It is just a bit on the warm side.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

NAD VISO HP50s are something I'll definitely consider. Focal Spirit Classics seem to have the sound signature I would like, and a straight cable (cannot stand coiled cables at all). Isolation isn't really a big deal to me, but these could end up being my daily drivers - primarily for home use. I'm still on the fence with closed headphones despite being open to the suggestions. While I'm familiar with the differences between open and closed headphones, I struggle to determine if I might like any of the aforementioned cans better than my Fidelio X1s (and trust me, I love the Fidelio X1s). I wouldn't mind sacrificing a little of the bass for a little more mids. Too many bassy headphones to choose from IMO.

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