Best headphone solution for ~$200??
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

egglick

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Hey guys. I'm new to the high-end headphone scene, and I'm looking for some opinions on what my best options are for around $200. The majority of the time my source will be the headphone jack on my Klipsch Promedia 5.1 Ultras, as my PC is my main media playback device (SB Audigy2 ZS card).

I know that most high-end headphones work best with a Headphone Amp, but I have absolutely no idea what's good, nor do I know what the price range is for a typical decent headphone amp.

What are your opinions, and do you think I'm asking a little too much for $200?
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:29 AM Post #2 of 22

kevin1592

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could you give us some more info, will you need the cans to be open or closed? what music will you be listening to? will you be playing games? do you want/need an amp? Once you can answer these general questions, it will make it a lot easier to help you
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:54 AM Post #3 of 22

mr56k

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Yea definately need to no how you will be using the cans. $200 and under you can check these ---> Grado SR225, Sennheiser HD580's. Really depends on your music taste also. IF you have a local shop with any of the Grado, Sennheiser, AKG, etc on demo definately swing in and try to demo as many as possible. When I first started upgrading I bought a couple sets just on recommendations and that was a mistake. Everyone has there own taste. Good look
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:59 AM Post #4 of 22

egglick

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The headphones will be used for everything basically. I'm a very big PC gamer, but I'm a little more concerned with their music playback performance. I listen to a wide array of music, from lighter stuff such as classical, ambient, new age, etc where accuracy is very important, to other types of music such as hard rock/industrial. I also have some keyboard rack units, and would probably be using them for monitors on occasion.

As far as getting an amp or open vs closed, I really couldn't tell you. I was hoping you guys could help me out with that. Money is an issue, so if I could get awesome performance without spending money on an amp, that'd be great, but I've heard that the higher end headphones sound alot better with one.

Where would be a good place to demo different higher end headphones?? I'm in the Chicago area.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:04 AM Post #5 of 22

003

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I vote for the Audio Technica ATH-A900, you can get it at audiocubes. It's great without an amp. Others might also suggest the Sennheiser HD595, but I don't know how that one does without an amp, and it's an open headphone, and closed is generally better for gaming.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:09 AM Post #6 of 22

mr56k

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I dont no where you could demo any hardware as im in Michigan... But I would suggest maybe looking in the phone book for audio related stores as most carry headphones. I would say you would be better off getting a nice pair of cans and then maybe getting a amp later on. The Grado SR60's are very easy to drive and they can be had for under $100. If you didnt want to get a amp later on the sr60's would be pretty nice. They always get good marks in reviews. But for the $200 price range I would say get some nice cans and then when you have the cash get a amp and go from there.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:10 AM Post #7 of 22

JaGWiRE

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Quote:

Originally Posted by egglick
The headphones will be used for everything basically. I'm a very big PC gamer, but I'm a little more concerned with their music playback performance. I listen to a wide array of music, from lighter stuff such as classical, ambient, new age, etc where accuracy is very important, to other types of music such as hard rock/industrial. I also have some keyboard rack units, and would probably be using them for monitors on occasion.

As far as getting an amp or open vs closed, I really couldn't tell you. I was hoping you guys could help me out with that. Money is an issue, so if I could get awesome performance without spending money on an amp, that'd be great, but I've heard that the higher end headphones sound alot better with one.

Where would be a good place to demo different higher end headphones?? I'm in the Chicago area.



I think we are into similiar things, check out my thread (What is ideal for me?) I have a similiar price range, max is 350 Canadian because that's the price of 595's, the easiest headphone for me to buy locally. I was going to use the headphone port on my logitech z-5500 speaker base, but some guy here said it's a bad idea, so I'm guessing the same goes for your klipsch. I think I need a new card like an x-fi now due to my current card lacking Linux support and not being too good for headphones (heard that the powered external box for the x-fi's are great for use as an amp or something.)
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:31 AM Post #9 of 22

ej82m

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I've owned and tested both the 595 and a900 for gaming and prefer the a900 over the 595 for gaming. Both are great headphones and sound great without an amp. If you have a higher preference for gaming, I would pickup the a900 from audiocubes.com. Though I did prefer the 595's for music.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:57 AM Post #10 of 22

egglick

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Even though I do alot of gaming, it takes a distant 2nd in value of importance. I usually use my Klipsch 5.1 Ultras when playing games, because the subwoofer and surround sound adds to the experience. I typically only use headphones for gaming during hours when regular speakers would be inappropriate.

Music playback is much more important to me with headphones. If using an amp is going to significantly add to the experience without breaking the bank, then I'd probably opt to pick one up. I'm interested to hear more about what people think of me plugging an amp into the headphone jack on my speakers too.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 4:08 AM Post #11 of 22

kevin1592

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I would suggest:

1. audio technica ath-a900 - $200 great for gaming and also music, closed, no amp needed

2. Sennheiser 555/595 - $120 and $175 great for music i dont know about games, open so other people can hear, and you can hear other people, no amp needed

3. akg 501 - $130, great for music, wide soundstage, i dont know about games, amp IS needed so add about $100 to that, maybe less

Let me say that I have never heard any of these, so all this info is from reviews and research
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 11:46 AM Post #12 of 22

JaGWiRE

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Quote:

Originally Posted by egglick
Even though I do alot of gaming, it takes a distant 2nd in value of importance. I usually use my Klipsch 5.1 Ultras when playing games, because the subwoofer and surround sound adds to the experience. I typically only use headphones for gaming during hours when regular speakers would be inappropriate.

Music playback is much more important to me with headphones. If using an amp is going to significantly add to the experience without breaking the bank, then I'd probably opt to pick one up. I'm interested to hear more about what people think of me plugging an amp into the headphone jack on my speakers too.



Hehe, some guy in my thread recommeneded not using my speakers headphone jack. I think i'll need a new soundcard, I heard good things about the x-fi, and my friend said the x-fi's breakout box is powered and acts like a pretty expensive amp, plus has a dedicated headphone port, optical, coax, and rca (which will be good, because some of the amps do end up leaving you with rca at the end.) Anyway, I personally decided to go I think with 595's, because they are only $30 cheaper on the street price, and I got the phonebook out and called around, and some places do have a decent return policy (7 days, all but earbuds, no restocking fee), so I'm going to buy 595's and try them out, see if I like them or not. (I got street price from:http://headphones.warzone.org/?page=glossary)

Mines going to be MUSIC & MOVIES, I will do ocassional games, but like you, I care a lot more about music (jazz/rap/smooth jazz/electronic.)
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:33 PM Post #13 of 22

mr56k

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Yea when I still had a pc kicking around I had a X-FI Music soundcard in it and was really impressed. I would say if you have a really crappy onboard or similiar your better off upgrading that. I think you will be quite happy with the 595's. Get those and a new sound card and you will be rockin
k1000smile.gif
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 2:44 PM Post #14 of 22

JaGWiRE

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mr56k
Yea when I still had a pc kicking around I had a X-FI Music soundcard in it and was really impressed. I would say if you have a really crappy onboard or similiar your better off upgrading that. I think you will be quite happy with the 595's. Get those and a new sound card and you will be rockin
k1000smile.gif



I have a m-audio, but I want a dedicated headphone port, and am concerned about if the breakout box acts as an amp or not, because that could save me some money for some time.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 3:22 PM Post #15 of 22

mr56k

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All I had was the internal pc card. I didnt have the model that came with any breakout box so I have no idea on that one. Im sure you could always just call them up and ask them.
 

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