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Am I headed in the right direction? Newbie needing first major purchase advice on closed headphones.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by richardw, Nov 12, 2012.
  1. RichardW
    I've been doing research, but seeing as how this will be my first step into higher-end headphones I thought I'd post. I've never heard open headphones before and to my knowledge there aren't any places local to Birmingham, AL for me to audition headphones in general. There's a local Guitar Center with the DT 770 Pro 80, but they don't have listening stations setup for health code reasons (understandably). Although, they do offer a 30-day return.
    Max Budget: $275
    Listening Habits: Classical, Electronic / Dance (mainly Trance, Ambient, etc.), Progressive Rock (mainly Dream Theater - my all-time favorite band), Talk (mainly podcasts), TV (mainly through my Slingbox), Movies, Gaming (mainly World of Warcraft); I do like music with bass, but I don't want it to be the only thing.
    Amp: Based on reviews I'm going with the Fiio E10
    Source: 100% Computer using iTunes, MOG, CDs; Right now I have a MacBook Pro and Windows 7 PC at my work office. I run a line-out from the MacBook Pro to the line-in on my Windows 7 PC. This allows me to use one set of headphones (currently some inexpensive Sonys) to hear sound coming from both computers at once. I do have an iPhone 5 which might become a source (but not in a portable sense).
    I prefer closed, because my primary listening area will not be in a solitary and/or completely quiet environment. I'm a systems / network admin / programmer for my department. Our area (just IT) is in an open space with my boss sitting about 20 feet away who likes to use his computer speakers to play music that's not bad, but not my cup o' tea. I'm surrounded by the hum of computer fans. I'll also be listening for long periods of time, so comfort is a plus.
    Here's what on my list (strictly based on research and no listening tests):
    1. Audio-Technica ATH-A900X
    2. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80Ω (Would the E10 power the 250Ω sufficiently?)
    3. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Limited Edition
    4. Ultrasone PRO 750
    I'm currently leaning towards the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80, but I just wanted to make sure there's not something I'm missing before laying down the money. Is there a big enough difference between the DT 770 Pro and the Limited Edition to warrant going with one over the other?
    Thank you!
  2. MalVeauX
    I would go Beyer DT770 or AudioTechnica A900X. The limited edition is just another DT770. I would just get the 80ohm or 250ohm, the E10 will power both just fine, and they're identical beyond the impedance (higher is not better, nor worse, it's just a way to match load to an amplifier). In general I suggest the 80ohm, it's going to have more power from amplifiers and more universally easy to drive. It's isolation is great, helps block out that hum and fan noise.
    Very best,
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I vote ATH-A900X.
    I think the over all audio quality on the ATH-A900X is a little better over the DT770s
  4. RichardW
    Thanks for the replies. After taking your responses to heart (and more never-ending, crippling research. lol!), I'm leaning away from the Beyerdynamics and more towards the Audio-Techincas.
    I did want to include a few additions to the list and wanted to know if your recommendations would change (given this new list):
    1. AKG K 550
    2. Audio-Technica ATH-A900X
    3. Denon AH-D600 (I know these are above my budget by $125; They probably aren't realistic, if I'm being honest.)
    4. MrSpeakers Mad Dog
    5. SoundMAGIC HP100
    6. Shure SRH940
    Thank you!
  5. MalVeauX
    K550 is rather neutral, dry.
    A900X is warm, very fun, casual.
    D600 is slightly bassy, warm, slightly sparkly in treble. (these are way over your budget, and I wouldn't even both with them)
    MadDogs are warm neutral.
    HP100 is roughly neutral.
    SRH940 is anemic, analytical. (this is really not for you, the bass went on holiday here)
    Very best,
  6. alv4426
    If you have a best buy with a Magnolia center near you they have a900X and K550 demo models available
  7. RichardW
    Thank you for the feedback. Very helpful and what I was looking for. Trying to narrow the list down can get cumbersome and overwhelming. I think your comments even more solidified my direction to the A900X. Quick question, though. I thought the MadDogs were $300 or did I misread his website?
    Thanks for the tip. I don't think my Best Buy has one, because the online indicators for my city (Birmingham, AL) don't show these headphones as a stocked item — only that they can be shipped to the store. But I'll double-check.
  8. MalVeauX
    Correct, the Mad Dog is roughly $300ish. They're warm neutral. Great headphones.
    I think I must have misread your budget being closer to $125, now I see it's $275.
    Very best,
  9. PurpleAngel Contributor
    What is the make and model number of the motherboard in the Win 7 PC?
    Connecting to the Win 7 PC using the USB connection will mean zero surround sound for gaming and movies.
    Does the Macbook Pro come with a S/PDIF optical output?
    Options (my two cents).
    Get the Fiio E10 for use with the Macbook Pro and An Asus Xonar DG sound card (surround sound).
    Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80-Ohm, as the Pro 80-Ohm will work fine with the E10 and Xonar DG.
  10. RichardW
    Just an fyi, I still like the thought of the Beyerdynamics (I really like the velour pads for lon listening sessions), but I was getting turned off by the reviews mentioning lack of midrange. Am I readin too much into that?
    Ah, cool. I thought maybe I misunderstood how his service worked and the cost was in addition to the cost of the Fostex T50RP. [​IMG]
    I appreciate two cents. That's why I'm here — any info I can get is helpful.
    I'm using an EVGA X58 SLI motherboard (PDF manual) with on-board sound. Just to let you know, I don't really care about surround sound, 2-Channel sound is fine. Yes, the MacBook Pro has an S/PDIF optical out via Mini-Toslink. It's an "Early 2011" MacBook Pro.
    I've considered the idea of upgrading my sound card, so I'm not opposed to going that route.
    Thank you both.
  11. MalVeauX
    Over-stated beyond belief how many headphones that are excellent have "recessed mids." Nearly every headphone out there has "recessed mids" by this reasoning. If the mid range frequencies are at all even a fraction of a db lower than a bass frequency or treble frequency then it is recessed. The DT880 is not a headphone that sounds recessed in a way that is poor. It's a world class headphone. Sounds fantastic with instruments and vocals and everything. Are the mids perfectly in line like a flagship highend that costs $1200~2000? No. They're off by 5% or so maybe. This is expected though. Everything in audiophilia and the chit-chat about it is a bunch of boasts, claims and squabbling over absolutely minute differences. Beyers happen to have some of the worst amount of "differences" over-stated because of their plethora of impedance values available, and heaven forbid you show a number junkie a "bigger number."
    Very best,
  12. RichardW
    Makes sense. This is what I needed to hear. My lack of experience in (and eagerness of getting into) this field is probably letting the commentary aimed at the more discernible ear be too influential. Perhaps I should just stick with my original plans and enjoy awesome sound compared to anything I've ever heard before from a set of headphones. :)
  13. PurpleAngel Contributor
    If your motherboard had decent built in audio, you could get the Fiio E17 and connect it with S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) to the PC motherboard and still be able to use the motherboard's built in audio features.
    But as the motherboard's built in audio is a little dated and you really only care about 2-channel audio, spending $140 for the E17 is not needed.
    The Fiio E10 ($68) USB-DAC-Headphone amp. will work with the USB ports on your Macbook Pro and Win 7 PC.
    The Asus Xonar DG sound card is only $26., install it into your Win 7 PC and it will be fine for driving headphones up to 150-Ohms
    The Xonar Also comes with Dolby Headphone 5.1 surround sound, (but you said you only want/needed 2-channel audio)
    Then you could keep the Fiio E10 with your Macbook Pro.
    Or skip the Xonar DG and just get the Fiio E10 and switch it between the Macbook Pro and Win 7 PC.
    Technically, the Fiio E10 comes with a better DAC and headphone amplifier then the Xonar DG.

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