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best value <$300 unamped headphones?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by rockket, May 14, 2013.
  1. rockket
    any suggestions for good value sub-$300 cans that sound good unamped?
    my priorities are:
    1) sound - think i lean towards details/"fun" sound, don't like overly-analytical
    2) comfort/not too heavy
    3) sound stage
    from what i can tell, the senn 598s fit these, but i'm not certain. i'd use these for train/office (though i have an office/don't necessarily need isolation). i currently own the takstar pro80s and ksc75s which I've enjoyed, but i'm ready for a step up. 
    thanks guys.
  2. GaryPham
    598s easily.  Try to for a refurb though, they're great at the 170-180 dolalr range, but not worth their full 250 msrp.
  3. jay567

    HE-400 cannot be beaten by any at that price range unamped imo. Seriously unbeatble unamped.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
  4. jay567

    Oh and yeah buy second hand to get them in your price range

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
  5. Trunks159
    Id say Sony mdr ma900. Sound beautiful unamped.
  6. posteriorpounde
    I wouldn't recommend orthos (HE-400) unamped.
    Well, you're looking for details, sound stage, and comfort. If you don't have a small head or wear glasses, I think the AKG K550 would be great. You can find it for ~$200 new too if you buy from Europe (yes, 150 euro to buy it then ship to US from Spain); also there's one in trade forums for $190 if you want to help out another head-fi'er. Some may find the AKG K550 lacking in bass however; if you're used to a bottom-heavy sound, the AKG K550 will feel anemic. However, their wide, natural soundstage, low impedance (32 ohm) and high efficiency (114 dB/mW - WOW) makes it great for unamped use.
    If you're looking for a boomy bass, look elsewhere though. You say you're looking for a detailed headphone that's fun but not analytical; usually analytical suggests detailed and neutral, but since you're looking for details and avoiding analytical, I'm guessing you want an exciting frequency response. Not sure if you're looking for bass heavy response, V curve, or emphasized highs. Perhaps you could clarify to get more personalized recommendations rather than whatever headphone someone else is enjoying at the moment, because it may not be right for you.
    I've also heard some weird things about the HD 598s in the "Headphones you regretted buying" thread.
    EDIT: Nevermind, just double checked. It's the HD 595s taking a lot of flak over there, not 598.
  7. rockket
    thanks guys. as far as sound preference goes, I think I probably prefer a bit more of a v curve, but I honestly haven't heard many quality headphones. the pro80s and ksc75 arent particularly bassy phones from what i can tell but ive been happy with them. i listen primarily to R&B, rock, hip hop, jazz, and classical.
  8. smallcaps
    I have been thinking about this as well. Top of my shortlist currently is the Sony MDR-1r. Also on that list is the AKG K550. Both are closed, both are decent unamped (auditioned both extensively using only my iphone 4s and 320kb MP3s), but the Sonys are a bit more portable. Next cans I will listen to are the Fischer Audio FA-003Ti, if I can find somewhere to audition them.
  9. Trunks159
    Ma900 is much better than the 1r. The ws99 is my favorite overall though
  10. smallcaps

    If isolation is not a concern, then from what I have read the MA900s are good. The flimsy build quality and open design would put me off tho if you are considering commuting with them, but for an office environment where sound isolation is not a concern, then they would be a decent choice. WS99 I have listened to extensively while working in Tokyo as a labmate had them. If you are a basshead and enjoy the "Beats" type audio signature then they should fit the bill.
  11. Phobos1393
    +1. The 598s sound right up your alley based on what you're describing.
  12. Trunks159
    Ws99 sounds nothing like beats. They have emphasized bass, but its not muddy, or lose, its well balanced and the mids are not recessed even in the slightest.

    Highs are a little recessed for things like rock but I just eq it.
  13. smallcaps
    i didn't say they sounded like beats. i said they have similar sound signature: smooth highs, slightly recessed mids, emphasis on bass.
  14. streetdragon
    Soundstage? HD598 comes to mind.
    Really comfortable too.
    Though they don't have a V curve. Quite flat, but almost 'n' i feel.
  15. jay567
    And I beg to differ.
    Orthos scale with power (and not too much with DAC from experience) but the HE-400 are said by Hifiman that they can be used unamped although lots of head fiers do so anyways.
    Running off a typical android phone, I cannot differentiate it from running off my HUD-MX1 and the HE-400 bests even the HD650 (although preferences come to play) unless it has a great setup.
    EDIT: I will put it this way. I am selling my amp because I hear no difference. 

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