Best ~$60 Closed Headphone?
May 5, 2015 at 6:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24

theuprising

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Hey guys, I'm looking for my first good pair headphones, and I want them to be closed so they don't leak much, be fairly neutral, and have decent airiness and soundstage, which significantly narrows down what headphones I would be interested in. I listen to mostly rock, classical, and ambient and bought the JVC HA-s680, which are too boomy for these genre's.
 
 Atm I narrowed it down to the CAL! vs HD 439/449. My main worry with the CAL! is that it might lack isolation as it is practically semi-open, also it might not work well with my genre's of choice. I haven't found much information comparing it HD 439, and as far as I understand the 449 is its more detailed brother with less bass. Both of these headphones have more isolation than the CAL! There are mods for the HD 439/49 family which opens their bass up, but even then I'm not sure they can compete with the CAL! I can get all these headphones at around the same price, so that's non-factor. I think I would also like the HM3's/F38's but I'm just assuming the HD 439/49 outclass them as they are nearly double the price.
 
Anyone have any input on any of these phones or any other headphones in the price range? Thanks ahead of time!oo
 
May 5, 2015 at 6:21 PM Post #2 of 24

taffy2207

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May 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM Post #3 of 24

theuprising

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May 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM Post #4 of 24

bikerboy94

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The HD429 is a good choice and only $39 95 with code HAPPYEARS at Sonix.
 
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_71737_Sennheiser-HD-449-HD449.html
 
May 6, 2015 at 5:45 PM Post #8 of 24

Music Alchemist

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  Unfortunately these headphones have been described as "claustrophobic" :frowning2:

  That'
Yes. That's what's keeping me from buying them too. Some say they don't go completely around your ears. HD280 pros do, but they don't sound as good as 7506/V6.

 
Depends on the size of your ears, I guess. I have no comfort issues at all with the 7506. I can even wear glasses while wearing them, which is impressive for a headphone that doesn't have gigantic ear pads.
 
May 6, 2015 at 5:54 PM Post #9 of 24

MorrisL

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Depends on the size of your ears, I guess. I have no comfort issues at all with the 7506. I can even wear glasses while wearing them, which is impressive for a headphone that doesn't have gigantic ear pads.

You also have HD650. Isn't the inside diameter on the pads shorter than that on your 7506? I've got HD600 and the pads smaller than that (if ever so slightly) would make them unusable for me. (I only wear over-ears, not on-ears or almost like on-ears.)
 
May 6, 2015 at 6:11 PM Post #10 of 24

Music Alchemist

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  You also have HD650. Isn't the inside diameter on the pads shorter than that on your 7506? I've got HD600 and the pads smaller than that (if ever so slightly) would make them unusable for me. (I only wear over-ears, not on-ears or almost like on-ears.)

 
You're saying anything smaller than an HD 600 is too small for you to use?
 
Anyway, the 650 is only slightly larger than the 7506, and both totally surround my ears -- but I (apparently) have smaller than average ears.
 
May 6, 2015 at 6:58 PM Post #11 of 24

PurpleAngel

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May 6, 2015 at 7:07 PM Post #12 of 24

K_19

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I actually think CAL!'s are very decent all rounders. I guess if isolation is an issue they're not up to par (although I wouldn't say they're TERRIBLE at it either), but sonically I'd say I probably prefer them to all of the other ones candidates you mentioned. I think they're an excellent candidate for a first serious headphone, although I do admit that I may have sentimental bias here as the Denon D1001 (CAL! twin which is now discontinued) was my first serious around-ear headphone purchase when I first got into this hobby.
 
And while I think 7506 are great headphones (I have them currently), I'm not sure about recommending them as a candidate for a first serious headphone purchase... if you think you are more of a treble lover, value isolation and are willing to handle their brighter treble with some possible sibilance, coiled cable/shallow earcup comfort and heat build up, then they would be a great choice, but I find quite often those issues that I've mentioned can often be an issue with someone that is just starting out on this hobby, especially if it's going to be their only headphone for a while... then again, I do know many head-fi'ers who have started out on this journey with the Sony V6 (7506's twin, basically), such as the Head-fi's founder Jude himself.... so there definitely is a lot about them to love as well.
 
May 7, 2015 at 3:29 AM Post #13 of 24

DangerClose

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   I think I would also like the HM3's/F38's but I'm just assuming the HD 439/49 outclass them as they are nearly double the price.
 

 
You caught me on the perfect day for this.  I was about to write a "I forgot how good these are" post in an HM3 thread.  
 
I'd take the HM3/F38 over 439 for most anything except stock comfort.  I haven't listened to my HM3 in a while and was thinking of selling them or giving them away.  So I listened to them again today, and wow.  There's just something about them that is engaging.  They're aggressively-smooth.  Smoothly-aggressive?  Liquid Aggression?  I like that one.  Let's go with Liquid Aggression. 
 
They're smooth and warm yet have a sparkle in the highs.  They have good clarity, but it's somewhat hidden behind the bass.  I usually turn the low end down 1-3db, it just thumps too hard, and bump the 1k-2k area.  The soundstage width is good for closed, though the depth/height is a little disappointing.  
 
The ear pads are made out of rocks, but they're small so are cheap to replace if you keep them on-ear.  Get a little creative and you can put HM5 pads on.  I put Sennheiser 203 pads on, and it helped a lot.  I think they're pleather, but they're squishy.  The bottom of the stock pads would dig into my head.  But I put the stock pads back on today and they're ok.  I recall bending the headband slightly to take some of the curve out, so that probably did it.  
 
I just got done listening to HM3, Takstar Pro 80, Sennheiser 439, DT990, JVC HA-S400, foam-modded Senn HD558, and Philips SHP9500.  The HM3 beat everything for making me want to play air guitar during rock songs.  They're lively and fun and smooth and good clarity, and just... something. 
 
Maybe the 439 is deceptively strong, but it feels like a toy that will break if you take if off your head one-handed.  HM3 is much stronger than it looks.  Those are metal rods on the sides.  And I think it weighs 4 ounces.  That's noticeable over time over something like the Pro 80s.  Pro 80s only weigh I think 9 ounces, but there's something about them that they feel heavier on my head than that.  
 
It's not that the 439 really does anything wrong.  They're nice enough, (if I give the highs a little eq pop), and perhaps a bit grainy and unexciting.  And I know the Pro 80s are technically better, but the headphones on my head right now for some aggressively-smooth Liquid Aggression rocking out are the HM3.  Its stock pads are made out of rocks, but it's so fun I don't care.  ...Bending the headband helped a lot anyway.
 
Pro 80s are so bright in the 1k area, and that 1k is where a good bit of their detail/clarity comes from.  I usually drop mine 1 or 2db or they can dig into my brain. 
 
I don't know about the CAL, but if it comes down to the Pro 80 or the 439, the Pro 80 is simply the better sounding headphone.  439 has pads that do actually cover your ears (barely), and it weighs less.  I'd also consider the Tascam MX2.  I had that at the same time as these others, and I'd take that over the 439 every time regardless of price. 
 
May 7, 2015 at 3:43 AM Post #14 of 24

DangerClose

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The OP tried JVC 680, but I wonder how the S500 would do.  I've always hoped there'd be more JVC S500 vs. FA-004/HM3 comparisons around here.  I have the S400, and it's ok, but the mids and/or bass can muddy things up, and it sounds plasticky, and overall the sound is like trying to put 10 pounds worth of sound into a 5-pound bag.  It's as if it would sound so much better if the driver were just bigger.  The S500 driver is bigger.  I haven't heard it though.
 
May 7, 2015 at 2:58 PM Post #15 of 24

theuprising

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  The OP tried JVC 680, but I wonder how the S500 would do.  I've always hoped there'd be more JVC S500 vs. FA-004/HM3 comparisons around here.  I have the S400, and it's ok, but the mids and/or bass can muddy things up, and it sounds plasticky, and overall the sound is like trying to put 10 pounds worth of sound into a 5-pound bag.  It's as if it would sound so much better if the driver were just bigger.  The S500 driver is bigger.  I haven't heard it though.

Go check the S500 thread, but from memory the S500 was considered higher quality than the S400, however the S400 had a MUCH more neutral sound signature. The S500 is supposed to contain some great bass, while the S680 is supposed to be similar to the S400, however with a much larger soundstage, and HUGE BOOMY bass. The most impressive thing about the s680 is its design, it has a small opening at the back which gives you the best tradeoff b/w soundstage and isolation.
 

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