Best quality-price combination
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Brammie

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Hi, I'm new here. Currently I owe my first headphone, a Sennheiser HD-205. Thought the sound seems to be reasonably o.k. I would like to have a better quality headphone. I am not a rich guy yet so I am not going to spend over aproximately €700 on a headphone (including amplifier if needed) during the coming years, on the other hand I don't mind waiting 1 or 2 years longer and spare some money to buy a decent headphone. How much do you have to spend to get the best quality of sound when you want to spend €100-€600? What's the deal with the amplifiers? I have understood that you need one for the headphones which are a bit more expensive? Audio I listen to: rock, blues, jazz, pop, movies
 
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Uncle Erik

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For your music, a used Grado RS-1 would make you very happy. Grados are overpriced outside the US, so try to find a used one here and have it shipped over. They go for around $500 USD.

You don't need to amp the RS-1, but it does give some improvement. One European supplier in high regard around here is Meier Audio - take a look.
 
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Brammie

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I've read very good reviews about that model of Grado, I'll certainly try that one out. Any more suggestions? Too bad that's this brand asks higher prices in Europe, maybe I can let someone buy it when he is in the USA. Of course I can also use the exchange rate (Euro vs. American Dollar) to buy it a bit cheaper.
 
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MalVeauX

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Quote:
Hi, I'm new here. Currently I owe my first headphone, a Sennheiser HD-205. Thought the sound seems to be reasonably o.k. I would like to have a better quality headphone. I am not a rich guy yet so I am not going to spend over aproximately €700 on a headphone (including amplifier if needed) during the coming years, on the other hand I don't mind waiting 1 or 2 years longer and spare some money to buy a decent headphone. How much do you have to spend to get the best quality of sound when you want to spend €100-€600? What's the deal with the amplifiers? I have understood that you need one for the headphones which are a bit more expensive? Audio I listen to: rock, blues, jazz, pop, movies

Heya,
 
A lot of the quality of your sound is going to be determined by your DAC, or digital to analog converter. This is what takes the digital signal and turns it into an analog signal that can be rendered into sound from a driver. If you have lossless audio, and a good clean DAC, your audio will be a lot better sounding in your expensive higher quality headphones. If you have compressed MP3's and AVI audio from compressed movies coming out of a soundcard or basic phone or something, the quality of the sound coming from the same expensive higher quality headphones will not sound as great, and may sound outright awful. So I would stress getting a great pair of headphones as your primary budget, probably something that does not need an amplifier (ie, low impedance headphones). Then with the remainder of your budget, look to get a nice clean DAC that is stand alone (or a DAC/AMP combo if your budget requires, etc).
 
That said, a Grado SR225i would probably give you the performance and sound you're looking for in those categories you listed. Another alternative would be a BeyerDynamic DT880. Another alternative would be a Sennheiser HD598 (or even HD600 if you could swing it). There's also Ultrasones, like the 580 or 750 to look at possibly. And also, the Shure 940's perhaps could be of interest. I've noted some headphones here in the roughly $200USD range. That keeps your entry price better so you can have more room to even get two headphones if you wanted. And still have room for a DAC in your budget. It also leaves you room to grow into your sound, so as your taste evolves and you figure out other things you want, you'll have funding towards it. I find that around the $300 mark, the increase in quality for the cost is a pretty big plateau in terms of value. That's just my observation though, not fact.
 
I would suggest to you the Matrix Cube DAC + Grado SR225i or BeyerDynamic DT880 or Sennheiser HD598 (or HD600 if price permits). That would be a roughly $500USD entry to the world of HiFi that has a lot of room to grow (plenty of input options) and a headphone that will be excellent for a solid decade or more.
 
Very best,
 
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Beyerdynamic DT880 and Sennheiser HD600 should be around the same price over in Europe considering they are manufactured over there. Both of these phones will handle any genre nicely, a good solid state or tube amp would be required for their high-impedance. What's your source?
 
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