~$200 budget, need suggestions for unamped, no IEM, open headphones for gaming and rock music
Feb 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7


May 12, 2007
I'd have thought this would turn up quite a few results in my forum search, but it is quite specific indeed. Well, I have a set of $400 speakers which have served me well for a few years now but the neighbours just started complaining so I'm always going to be afraid to turn up the volume. So, for my peace of mind mostly, I'm getting headphones.

I have a Xonar DX sound card with an optical cable (not sure if I can use this with headphones?). I listen mostly to rock music, and play games. I also watch movies too, but whatever. I don't want any amps/DAC/IEMs or any of that weird stuff, I just want headphones to plug into my sound card. Simple as that.

I'm on the computer 14 hours a day, so I'd like them to be open. I don't need noise isolation, there's a foot of concrete between my neighbours and me I don't think any noise leakage from open cans would be significant. So I'll go open for the comfort, mostly.

Budget is flexible at around $200, since I'll be selling my speakers to pay for it.

If it helps (since different headphones handle different frequencies better than others), I fiddled around with the equalizer settings on my sound card, and I like the sound of things best when there's a drop in the low-mid range (250-2000hz) and an increase in the bass (up to and including 250hz) as well as gradual increase back up from about 2000hz to 6000hz, then peaking the high ends as well. So kind of a subtle U-shaped curve on the 10-band equalizer.

Feb 4, 2010 at 4:58 PM Post #2 of 7
You might want to look into the SR-225i. I do not own them, but usually people recommend them for rock music to people who want open phones. A search on them will pull up plenty more information than I can give you.

The comfort is not for everyone though. I do own the SR-80, and I will admit they can get uncomfortable after extended periods of time. You can minimize this by loosening the headband, which really does help a lot.
Feb 4, 2010 at 10:15 PM Post #3 of 7
How about a Audio Technica AD700 for gaming and a Grado SR80i for your rock needs. Just an idea though, not necessarily a recommendation. Just do a search on both of them to get an idea of what they're like.
Feb 4, 2010 at 10:33 PM Post #5 of 7
Open: SR-225i
Closed: Audio Technica ATH-ESW9A (technically out of your range but can be found for $220 at Adorama)

You'll be happy with either, they're solid performers unamped with accurate, warm sound colored somewhat along the lines of your EQ -- you will likely be able to decrease the amount of equalization. I think the Grados will sound wider, warmer and smoother at a cost of privacy. The ATs are pure class.

AKGs are some very comfortable headphones.

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