Affordable (<200€) open-back studio headphones
Dec 11, 2017 at 5:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

Wowl

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Dear Head-Fiers,
after having had to leave behind my piano when moving, I will be getting a MIDI controller for Christmas and therefore I'm in need for a great pair of headphones. I plan to use this opportunity to experiment with other kinds of sounds in a DAW as well.
Specifically, this means that they should be
* <200€ in price (if there are some with good value significantly lower than that that'd be great as well)
* comfortable to wear even for long durations (this necessitates a circumaural design, and a low pressure on the sides of the head)
* good at representing piano sounds, but also fairly neutral for all manner of other genres (electronic music, rock, pop, ... (I'm a pretty diverse listener))
* neutral in their frequency response
* open-back(ish) (but not with entirely lackluster bass, since I enjoy playing around with really deep frequencies), since that apparently makes the sound open up and make it sound more like playing a real piano rather than something that's induced into my head; and is also more appropriate for mixing, as I've heard. (I will be using those headphones only at home.)
* void of harsh sibilance (I have a history of problems with those on some headphones, and experiencing the auditory equivalent of pain really dulls the enjoyment of music.)
(* made with replaceable cables as a bonus, since in my experience that's the #1 reason to have to replace headphones...)
Additionally, I might need a (linux-compatible) USB soundcard/DAC that's on the cheaper side for my laptop to drive them (I already have a desktop with what I would consider a good one able to drive high-impedance headphones as well).

I have already looked around through a considerable number of compilations, but most headphones either don't fit the criteria (a lot of them in that price range are closed-back, DT 990s have strong sibilance), or are much pricier (HE400, HD600, ...). That's why I came here to ask you fine people for recommendations.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Dec 11, 2017 at 5:35 PM Post #2 of 6

cossix

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Damn I was going to recommend the 600's. Is there any way you can get them secondhand?
 
Dec 11, 2017 at 6:13 PM Post #4 of 6

cossix

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I haven't heard them myself but I would be willing to bet that most people would recommend those at the 200 quid price point. I've done tons of research on them and everyone seems to agree that they are amazing 1) in general, and 2) for neutrality while retaining detail and clarity. They won't have sibilance and will be pretty comfy if you buy used because the headband will have had time to lose some clamp. I had to stretch my 650 over a cardboard box for a week before I could wear them without getting headaches. A used model should be more comfy than a new one. I don't anyone can really dislike the 600 unless they're already used to $1000+ headphones or if they're some extreme bass head
 
Dec 11, 2017 at 6:43 PM Post #5 of 6

buke9

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I found the 990’s comfortable but they are on the bright side. The 600’s are a very neutral headphone but a little bit harder to drive but not crazy hard and need to be stretched out to get rid of their clamp force. There are a bunch of headphones at that price that could work for you. You could look at the AKG line as they don’t tend to be as bright as the Beyers. I have two pair of K 240’s and they are both very comfortable and sound really good but they are older and both 600 ohm so really hard to drive for what you have but the newer stuff comes in with lower impedance models. For a closed back in your price range the Soundmagic HP-150’s are also very good. Like I said before lots to choose from at this price range.
 
Dec 27, 2017 at 11:11 AM Post #6 of 6

Wowl

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In the meantime I have followed your pointers and done some more research on top.
I considered but then ditched the K240s and HP-150s because, while seeming otherwise very good for the price, they aren't as sibilance-safe as the HDs.
Could anyone shine some light on the width of the soundstage of the HD600/650? After all I aim to play piano, and I've read conflicting reports about it from 'wonderful' to 'mediocre'.
EDIT: HD6XX, which are apparently an equal-sounding revision of the HD650s, are available for 200$ on Massdrop right now, so I'd love if someone could chime in with feedback to my previous question or this deal in particular.
 
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