Best sub-$200 (flexible) cans for classical, punk, and some electronic?
May 26, 2015 at 11:35 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

TSNotD

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Hey all, my V Moda M80s are finally starting to die out after a few years, so it's time for an upgrade. 
 
Source: I'm driving these from my phone or computer without an external amp or DAC. Pretty much all of my files are 320kbps mp3s compressed from FLACs
 
Budget: Hopefully below $200, but thanks to stuff I've found on ebay and some credit card rewards, I may be able to get some things for a bit cheaper.
 
Musical Tastes: I mostly listen to ska/ska-punk, classical, and a little bit of electronic. I'm certainly no basshead.
Examples: 

Abelard - ☆SEINWAVE☆2000☆ What's the deal with airline food?

Arrogant Sons of Bitches - Last on my List
Bomb the Music Industry - Even Winning Feels Bad
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 4
 
 
I don't think I have enough experience to say that I prefer a 'bright' sound or a 'warm' sound, so instead I'll say what I like about my M80s and what I want to change.
 
M80s:
What I like:
-Portability (small, light, has a removable cable)
-Nice mids
What I want to change:
-I'm not a big fan of the on ear design. I wear glasses, and I usually have to take them off to listen to the M80s comfortably. Still, I can only wear them for maybe an hour
-I'm not sure what to say about the bass on these. Sometimes I want more (usually with sub bass), but other times it seems like a bit too much (usually with the mid bass). 
-The highs could have a bit more sparkle
-Instrument separation is meh at best
-I want a larger soundstage
 
Here's what I'm looking at so far:
ATH-A900X: I really like the sound on these, even if the mids aren't quite as present as I'd like. They're also incredibly comfortable. I don't like how huge and stationary they are, and the lack of a removable cable is a huge drawback.
ATH-MSR7: These are a bit over my price range, but they seem to have a lot of the qualities that I'm looking for, except for maybe having too fatiguing highs. 
V Moda XS: The logical upgrade to my M80s. I'm assuming that they'll still have all that I like and dislike about the M80s. Thanks to credit card rewards I can probably get them for $30-40 cheaper than the usual price.
V Moda M100: May be a bit too bassy for my tastes, but they also keep the aesthetics of the M80s that I like and would also be more comfortable. 
NAD Viso HP50: I've seen these recommended on threads in similar situations before. They're pretty far out of my price range, even if I can get a discount on them, but they're supposed to sound great. They are a bit ugly IMO and the cans seem to be fingerprint magnets. I'm not sure how durable they are. 
 
Any advice or further recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
May 26, 2015 at 11:51 PM Post #3 of 8

DILWeed

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Out of all the cans you mentioned, the A900X's are definitely the best I've heard for your taste. They're incredibly flexible and have a soundstage comparable to that of most open back headphones. That and the fact that they feel great even with my glasses on makes them the top pick for me.
 
May 27, 2015 at 12:14 AM Post #5 of 8

TSNotD

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appsmarsterx,
I'll definitely take the HP150s into consideration. From just a quick skim around the forums, the reviews I've read say they're kinda cold and linear, but also really open. Any direct comparisons on these to the M100s and NAD HP50s? I can get killer deals on the two I just mentioned , so despite the Soundmagic cans initially being cheaper, they may end up costing me more than the other cans. Do you think the sound on the HP150s is better enough to warrant spending that extra money? Thanks.
 
May 27, 2015 at 1:02 AM Post #6 of 8

appsmarsterx

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appsmarsterx,
I'll definitely take the HP150s into consideration. From just a quick skim around the forums, the reviews I've read say they're kinda cold and linear, but also really open. Any direct comparisons on these to the M100s and NAD HP50s? I can get killer deals on the two I just mentioned , so despite the Soundmagic cans initially being cheaper, they may end up costing me more than the other cans. Do you think the sound on the HP150s is better enough to warrant spending that extra money? Thanks.


I haven't heard the NADs yet, but according to impressions here, they might not be analytical like hp150. I haven't had much time with hp150, but they are not that colder imo, but I've seen some mentioned their plastic hinges have very poor build quality and may break after sometime,so take that into consideration too.

I didn't like m100s bass presentation at all, very uncontrolled.. and they are very uncomfortable too.

I think you might appreciate NADs more.
 
May 30, 2015 at 9:52 AM Post #7 of 8

H T T

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I'm the opposite of most here, as on-ear headphones are more comfortable for me than over-ear units. You still list some on-ear phones in your consideration list. With that in mind, the best on-ear headphone I have ever had the opportunity to listen to for classical music is, hands down, the Mikros 90. For the other genres, I don't see the Mikros 90 as well suited. The cost of the Mikros 90 is dirt cheap, sometimes $59. You then could take the left over cash and put it toward another headphone with a more bass forward signature. The Sennheiser Momentum models deserve your serious consideration. The MOE is not as detailed or as "magical" with classical music as the Mikros 90, but it is more pleasing with electronic music. The MOE is wonderful all-rounder. If you can tolerate IEMs, spare a few bucks and pick up a Zero Audio Tenore. HTH
 

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