An open headphone under $150 for more acoustic genres and gaming?
May 11, 2015 at 1:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

slmckay73

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Hey, Head-Fi. I just jumped into the headphone hobby pretty recently with the ATH-M50x, and now I'm looking for my next set of cans.
 
I'm looking for--as the title says--a sub $150 open-back headphone that I'll use for music as well as gaming. But, I'm not planning to buy them immediately since they'll be my pc gaming cans, and well, I haven't exactly built a pc yet.
 
On the music side of things, I want some headphones that do really well with more acoustically focused music, like folk, indie singer/songwriter, and some classic 60s & 70s stuff. Some of the artists I'll be listening to a lot are:
 
Josh Garrels
The Oh Hello's
Neulore
James Vincent McMorrow
Creedence Clearwater Revival 
 
If you haven't heard of some of these artists, feel free to click the links and hear a sample of their music. Hopefully that will give you an idea of what I'm looking for. Some other qualities I'd like in the headphone are a very spacious and well defined soundstage, great comfort, excellent transparency, and a focus on mids and highs that are detailed but smooth and not fatiguing. At least a smidge of bass and low mids would be nice, just to give lower strings and voices some weight, but I realise I probably won't get all these things at once. My source will be the Fiio E10K.
 
For gaming, I really only need the sound to be clear and the spacial imaging/positional audio to be really good.
 
I've done some looking around on the forums already, and one pretty frequently recommended model was the ATH-AD700 (old thread), and I've been seriously considering the AD700x. It seems to be a pretty popular choice, and they're crazy cheap on Amazon right now. As I write, I'm listening to my brother's Senn. HD598, and I can't say I'm crazy about them, so let's rule those out. Other than that, I'm not really sure what else is out there. I welcome you guys' sage advice. 
 
May 11, 2015 at 2:38 PM Post #2 of 13

PurpleAngel

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The ATH-AD700X will not have much bass at all.
I prefer my HD558, as they come with a little more bass then my ATH-AD700.
 
If you could up your budget, there is the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X open headphones, around $170 on eBay, shipped from Japan.
 
Or maybe wait until you have built your PC and decided on what it will have for driving headphones, like on-board audio, or add-on sound card or external DAC/amp (solid state or tube amp), etc
 
May 11, 2015 at 4:35 PM Post #3 of 13

slmckay73

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Thanks for the reply. Do you know if the 558 sounds pretty similar to the 598? If they do, then I'd rather go with something different. I could maybe bump my budget up if it came with a significant increase in sound quality, but I've heard that the AD900x isn't $60 better than the 700x. I'm also willing to compromise on the bass since I have the M50x; I can listen to those if I absolutely need more bass. After all, I feel like it might be a bit of a waste to get something with a sound signature that's too close to what I already have. My source will be the Fiio E10k dac/amp, and it has a built in bass boost that could also help round out the low end. I'm fine with not much bass as long as it does well with the genres I mentioned. 
 
May 11, 2015 at 4:43 PM Post #4 of 13

cel4145

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What do you dislike/want to improve about the HD598s? What do you like better about the M50x? If you can tell us more about why you like/dislike those headphones, that can give people a better idea of what to recommend you :)
 
May 11, 2015 at 5:27 PM Post #5 of 13

PurpleAngel

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  Thanks for the reply. Do you know if the 558 sounds pretty similar to the 598? If they do, then I'd rather go with something different. I could maybe bump my budget up if it came with a significant increase in sound quality, but I've heard that the AD900x isn't $60 better than the 700x. I'm also willing to compromise on the bass since I have the M50x; I can listen to those if I absolutely need more bass. After all, I feel like it might be a bit of a waste to get something with a sound signature that's too close to what I already have. My source will be the Fiio E10k dac/amp, and it has a built in bass boost that could also help round out the low end. I'm fine with not much bass as long as it does well with the genres I mentioned. 

 
The HD558 and HD598 use the same 50-Ohm driver, I believe the design of the cups is what makes them sound a little different.
Maybe the AD700X is the best choice?
 
May 11, 2015 at 9:33 PM Post #6 of 13

slmckay73

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What do you dislike/want to improve about the HD598s? What do you like better about the M50x? If you can tell us more about why you like/dislike those headphones, that can give people a better idea of what to recommend you
smily_headphones1.gif

This may sound like an odd complaint, but in the 598 the soundstage seems to be shifted to the left. There never seems to be much going on in the right half of the stereo image. This could just be some quirk that's particular to my case. As far as what I do like about the M50x, the sound is better textured to my ears, as well as just sounding more lively--maybe having better attack is what I'm trying to describe? I don't have much experience, so it's still a little hard for me to pinpoint what exactly sounds different. Of course they have more bass, but like I mentioned in the original post I'm looking for a different sound signature just to mix things up a bit. 
 
May 11, 2015 at 9:46 PM Post #7 of 13

cel4145

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Could be a channel imbalance on that particular pair of HD598s.

Given that you find the M50X more lively, sounds like maybe you prefer a bit of a v-shaped sound. Or at least more treble emphasis than the HD598s have (I find the HD598s a bit demure myself).

The problem you'll have is that there aren't too many open headphones <$150. K612 Pros are currently right around that price, but they are a bit difficult to drive. They are more of somewhat netural class of headphone, so they would do well with the genres you listen to (definitely less bass emphasis than the M50 series).
 
May 11, 2015 at 10:15 PM Post #8 of 13

slmckay73

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I looked up the 612 on Amazon, and I could do $156 if they were worth the money. Driving them shouldn't be an issue. The E10k is rated up to 150 ohms in low gain and 300 in high gain if I remember correctly. So you think they would fit the bill pretty well?
 
May 11, 2015 at 10:19 PM Post #9 of 13

cel4145

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It's not the impedance that is the issue. The K612 Pro are insensitive headphones that need noticeably more power than your M50X or the HD598s.
 
May 11, 2015 at 10:26 PM Post #10 of 13

PurpleAngel

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  I looked up the 612 on Amazon, and I could do $156 if they were worth the money. Driving them shouldn't be an issue. The E10k is rated up to 150 ohms in low gain and 300 in high gain if I remember correctly. So you think they would fit the bill pretty well?

 
AKG K612 Pro selling on eBay for $120 or best offer ($9.95 shipping)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151676488766?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
 
I'm going to guess the E10K will be able to drive the K612s, at least decently.
 
May 11, 2015 at 11:04 PM Post #12 of 13

slmckay73

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  I looked up the 612 on Amazon, and I could do $156 if they were worth the money. Driving them shouldn't be an issue. The E10k is rated up to 150 ohms in low gain and 300 in high gain if I remember correctly. So you think they would fit the bill pretty well?

 
AKG K612 Pro selling on eBay for $120 or best offer ($9.95 shipping)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151676488766?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
 
I'm going to guess the E10K will be able to drive the K612s, at least decently.

Thanks, that seems like a pretty good price for them. I'll do some research into whether I could drive them adequately or not. 
 

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