Best Listening Headphones (Under ~$500)?
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ac500

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I read that the SR225 is unsatisfying in quality compared to the SR325, but I don't want a headphone that is fatiguing either due to shrill high tones.
 
Hmm. How would the SR225 compare then with the Sennheiser HD 598? I've heard that the HD 598 is excellent in terms of no fatigue and long term wearability, but I don't want an inferior sound either.
 
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Questhate

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Funny you've read that about the 225s and 325s because I've noticed that most people seem to prefer the 225s, given that it is less extreme. They use the same drivers, so putting the 225s in some wooden cups will smooth out and warm up the sound. But then again, if you don't like fatigue, you may want to stay away from the Grado sound altogether.
 
I'm sorry that I can't answer your second question, as I've never heard the HD598. I've heard HD595 and HD650, and the Sennheiser sound is something that just doesn't suit my preferences, especially to be a main headphone (although, I'm considering an HD650 to compliment my other headphones, but I doubt I'd use it much to be honest). The sound quality isn't bad at all, but it just seems like we value completely different things. You'd prefer laidback and mellow, while I prefer engaging. 
 
Can I ask why you ruled out the Audio Technica AD900? 
 
 
 
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Katun

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Under $500? Try the SRH940 or HD598. Two in my Top 5.
But, the HD598's are indeed a league ahead in comfort.
 
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ac500

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I didn't actually rule out Audio Technica AD900, I just forgot about it I guess. My last mention was asking how it compares to Grado. Strengths/weaknesses? Is it less fatiguing?
 
Also, I don't necessarily prefer laid back and mellow. I just want to be able to listen for hours and not have my ears hurt.
 
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Katun

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Quote:
Also, I don't necessarily prefer laid back and mellow. I just want to be able to listen for hours and not have my ears hurt.

Ears hurt as in "sound fatigue" or "wearing fatigue" ? Either way, the HD598 scores big in both areas.
 
 
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ac500

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As in sound fatigue, not physical wearing. Keep in mind that my experience in fatigue is from the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, so I don't know if these other suggestions from Grado etc. would be better or worse than that -- but I assume the fatigue is because the 280 Pro is supposed to be that way, since it's a "Studio" headphone.
 
I understand the HD 598 is really good in these areas, however for the price range I wonder if something like the Audio Technica AD900 would give better sound quality. For example I'm reading reviews now that put the AD900 above the HD 598 in sound quality, and it looks about as comfortable.
 
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Katun

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Quote:
As in sound fatigue, not physical wearing. Keep in mind that my experience in fatigue is from the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, so I don't know if these other suggestions from Grado etc. would be better or worse than that -- but I assume the fatigue is because the 280 Pro is supposed to be that way, since it's a "Studio" headphone.
 
I understand the HD 598 is really good in these areas, however for the price range I wonder if something like the Audio Technica AD900 would give better sound quality. For example I'm reading reviews now that put the AD900 above the HD 598 in sound quality, and it looks about as comfortable.
 
I'd actually take the HD598 over the AD900. I actually sold my AD900 due to the HD558 (that I debate myself on now) and then got the HD598 shortly after.
 
 
 
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ac500

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In what ways do you find the HD598 superior in your opinion?
 
It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to try these before buying, so the only way I can decide is by descriptively getting a feel for the type of sound from each, then choosing based on my preference.
 
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Katun

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I'll post what I PM'ed to a user that was wondering between the two as well.
 
Both the HD598 and the AD900 are two of the finest open headphones I've encountered. If I had to pick one right now, I'd take the HD598 due to superior comfort and preferred sound, and the AD900 if I was going for build, appearance, or design. I actually had bought the HD558 to compare to the AD900 and it actually caused the death of it. The HD558 added that missing bass that completed the spectrum. With how much I liked it, I knew I had to get the HD598, and boy did that improve upon the HD558 quite a bit. So, I guess you can say I find the HD598 superior to the AD900. It's smoother, more lush, warmer/enveloping, and has the missing bottom end from the AD900. The AD900 on the other hand is more resolving, has a bit more detail, is more clean and crisp, more treble energy, and also more upfront. Soundstage between the two is about the same. HD598 wins out on comfort, due to the AD900 driver touching your ear. HD598 is all plastic while the AD900 has magnesium and "higher" quality components. All in all, both are awesomely stellar, but with the HD598 running for $180 and the AD900 for $200, I think I'd take the HD598. Although, there is something about the AD900 that I really miss. Both are just fabulous though.
 
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ac500

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Ok. I did read about the ear-touching thing. My head is large, and I definitely don't want that to happen. So now it seems I'm back to the Sennheiser HD 598, or the Grado 225i. However it seems like the HD 598 is much less fatiguing. How fatiguing is the Grado 225i?
 
I guess it all comes down to this: If I can't listen to it for hours without getting tired, then it's kind of a waste of money for me because that's what I'll be buying them for honestly.
 
 
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ac500

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Interesting. I'm reading that the HD 650's, while obviously non optimal without an amp, sound better than HD 595's -- both without amps of course.
 
In case anyone missed this, **I am not going to be using an amp**. At least, not initially. If the HD 650 sounds better than the HD 595 without amps, then it seems the 650 is definitely the best option for me. Because right now, I can get a 650 for $350. Then later, I can upgrade by buying an amp.
 
What do you think?
 
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HD650 is a safe choice. It scales unbelievably well in the future, so it will keep you satisfied for a very long time.
 
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Quote:
Interesting. I'm reading that the HD 650's, while obviously non optimal without an amp, sound better than HD 595's -- both without amps of course.
 
In case anyone missed this, **I am not going to be using an amp**. At least, not initially. If the HD 650 sounds better than the HD 595 without amps, then it seems the 650 is definitely the best option for me. Because right now, I can get a 650 for $350. Then later, I can upgrade by buying an amp.
 
What do you think?


Oh now you want an amp? Psssh. Of course get the HD650 if you plan on getting an amp. If you don't plan on getting an amp, the HD650 will not do what you're paying it to do.
 
You really should look deeper into the DT990 32ohm though, or even the 600ohm if you plan on buying an amp. It's a very good headphone. Amazing sound stage. Great bass response (not overly done either). Does not fatigue, contrary to what some people say. It's only sort of bright, it's nothing like a Grado bright. It's not laid back though. I use DT990 600ohms as my mains pretty often for music and games at home. And my Ultrasone Pro 900 when on the go or listening to electronica. Beyer's are also legendary when it comes to comfort. Everyone buys their ear pads just to put on their headphones because of it.
 
Very best,
 
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ac500

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I don't want an amp right now. Right now I just want something really good without an amp, at least as good as a 595. But if a 650 without amp sounds as good as a 595/598, then it makes sense that it would be worth it since some people are saying the 598 is among the best for non-amped headphones in this price range.
 
Being able to upgrade by buying an amp is then just an additional bonus.
 
The reason I stopped looking into the DT990 32ohm is the reviews are extremely scarce, and it seems the 32ohm is weaker in the bass and some other issues as compared to a 600ohm one. I'll look into it now though as an alternate to the HD 650. Reasonably bright sounds okay if it's not fatiguing, even better maybe.
 
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ac500

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Ahhh. So many choices, and so many compromises everywhere it seems.
 
Well, I give up. I accept 'defeat': I'll plan on buying a high quality amp and/or sound card to go with a high quality headphone like the HD 650 or similar. This effectively means I'm going to plan on spending up to twice as much overall (< $1000) although I'd still like to keep it much lower than that.
 
I thought about it and I figure if I'm going to pay $200+ on headphones, I might as well just go all the way and get a nice "real" setup :). And I know that if I settle for a lower end headphone I'll always regret wasting the money anyway if I intend to buy a much better set like a 650 + amp anyway.
 
As for portability, I'll just have to go without an amp if I want to take them to work, but I also realized that I'm probably not going to want open headphones in a work setting anyway.
 
Sorry for all the run-around. In any case I learned a lot from this thread, and I know of a lot of good options to consider now :). I'm of course open to HD-650 class headphone suggestions (in both quality and price class), if anyone cares to continue humoring my quest for a high-end headphone setup :)
 
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