Closed Headphone blues
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tml09

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Hey everyone. 
 
After listening to my crappy 2.0 Logitech speakers for so long, I've decided that it's time to buy a new pair of headphones. Over the years, I've owned a few decent headphones, which I use about 70/30 for gaming and music respectively. These were the HD598, HD555, and the AD700. However, these were all open headphones, which used to be fine. Now, due to, isolation/leakage concerns and the like, my goal is to find a closed set with decent isolation, decent soundstage, and low sound leakage for musing and gaming. 
 
Last week I bought the Beyer DT770 Pro 80s. After reading so many decent reviews about it, I thought I'd give them a shot. They isolate decently, they have massive bass (an initial shock; for reasons why, reference my previous headphones), and a good soundstage, but I just can't wear them for longer than 20 minutes. It's not that they're uncomfortable (quite the contrary). They clamp just enough, and the pads feel really nice.  It's not due to their slightly bright treble; I can tolerate that. They just give me a headache; there is a sort of pressure that builds up after a while that makes me take a break. I've never experienced this before. Even unamped, it's the same story. I thought that this might be just getting used to headphones after a while, but I've used them for a few hours over the past few days, and it persists. I thought I was crazy, but I did some research and others have reported similar. For example:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/540036/closed-headphone-fatigue-blues
 
eucariote's post specifically mentions the DT770-80 as the only headphone to cause this.
 
Does anyone know why this happens? I was just about to pull the trigger on a set of Ultrasone Pro 900s and a new amp, but I wanted to get some guidance first, before I purchase something else. 
 
I was going to upgrade my amp soon anyway (a CmoyBB was all I kept after I sold all my previous equipment; I mean to buy an iBasso D4 dac/amp whenever it's restocked). Any recommendations for new headphones? My budget has increased a bit, since I don't want to run into this again; if I do, back to the 2.0 speakers :frowning2:. I've got about $250 to spend on the cans, and $200ish for a dac/amp. I've got my heart pretty set on the D4, but my wallet is pretty much ready for the inevitable wringing (if the new set calls for it).
 
Thanks everyone.
 
 
sidenote: if anyone wants to take these dt770s off my hands, let me know.
 
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boodleboy

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Go find some Denon D2000 s on ebay, they dont have the best isolation but they are so comfy and are great for music and gaming
 
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tml09

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Quote:
Go find some Denon D2000 s on ebay, they dont have the best isolation but they are so comfy and are great for music and gaming
I wish I could find some. There's only one on eBay for $550 from the UK, which is pretty much out of my price range. Everywhere else, it's pretty much gone:frowning2:
 
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Well, it's not a problem specific to closed headphones -
they're the choice of many if not most studio professionals
(producers, engineers...) who wear them for several hours
at a time. 
 
I wonder if it's the excessive bottom on the DT770 that's
causing this issue; it's a strange one indeed. 
 
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DnB4Guy

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Quote:
Hey everyone. 
 
[snip]
Any recommendations for new headphones? My budget has increased a bit, since I don't want to run into this again; if I do, back to the 2.0 speakers :frowning2:. I've got about $250 to spend on the cans, and $200ish for a dac/amp. I've got my heart pretty set on the D4, but my wallet is pretty much ready for the inevitable wringing (if the new set calls for it).
 
Thanks everyone.
 
 
sidenote: if anyone wants to take these dt770s off my hands, let me know.

I'm suggesting that you'll find a pair of PSBs M4U 2 would be a worthwhile audition. They already have an AMP, and IMO most DACs are fine ie: iPod, DAP's, PC's, CD Player etc. If your source doesn't make a drum sound like a drum or a guitar sound like a guitar through your speakers/headphones now, then yes you need a new DAC, otherwise I suggest you spend your money on headphones/AMP.
 
edit; they don't get a lot of attention, but they just won Sound & Vision "Product of the Year" award...
 
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zazex

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OP - you're looking for "decent isolation, decent soundstage, and low sound leakage for musing and gaming."
 
That's not the tightest language :wink:, but it brings to my mind the Beyer DT880 250 ohm,
A 'semi-open' design that has more bass than most open headphones, superb build quality,
decent soundstage, and overall exceptionally enjoyable sound. 
 
They're also consistently praised for their comfort.
 
It's really tough to find decent soundstage in closed headphones.
Some buck this trend, like the AKG 550, but those have other issues.
 
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It is possibly something you just need to get used to. I seem to remember having a similar problem with getting headaches just from making the transition to exclusively using speakers to using headphones more often.

The AKG550 is indeed another option and has been going on mad sales due to the release of the K551. It is true they are not fit friendly for people with certain shaped heads or glasses wearers because you need a good seal for bass.

But these are my 2nd favorite headphone. I recently found they sound tremendous with a 75 ohm adapter with my Schiit Lyr.
 
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MalVeauX

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Heya,
 
Don't get the PRO900's. If you think Beyers are bright, the PRO900's will make you straight deaf in a day.
 
The reason you're fatiguing quickly is due to the bass and the treble, the bass is a large amount of sound pressure to produce, so you're getting fatigue from the physical force of it. Not everyone is sensitive to this, but you may be. The treble is the other culprit, very high pitch sounds are not pleasing, we're designed to avoid high pitch squeals and when we hear them we either run from it, shoot it, or feed it. Anyhow, it will fatigue you faster than anything if you're sensitive to it. The PRO900 has this written all over it. It really is a headphone for deaf people, through and through. I made the mistake of trying to like them myself. Alas, expensive learning experience (but man they are some of the most beautiful looking headphones to this day).
 
My suggestion to you is to simply equalize your headphones. Drop the treble by a few dB, like 5khz, 7khz, 10khz, 14khz, drop them by 2~3dB each in an equalizer. If bass is really bothering you, do the same there with the mid-bass where the hump is. You don't need to keep getting different headphones to find one that naturally has a tuned coil that has reduced treble, or roll off, or is dark, to enjoy audio again. Just equalize.
 
Very best,
 
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tml09

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Quote:
OP - you're looking for "decent isolation, decent soundstage, and low sound leakage for musing and gaming."
 
That's not the tightest language :wink:, but it brings to my mind the Beyer DT880 250 ohm,
A 'semi-open' design that has more bass than most open headphones, superb build quality,
decent soundstage, and overall exceptionally enjoyable sound. 
 
They're also consistently praised for their comfort.
 
It's really tough to find decent soundstage in closed headphones.
Some buck this trend, like the AKG 550, but those have other issues.
I haven't seen much praise for it's isolation/leakage performance. From what I've read, 'semi-open' might as well just be 'open' (at least, for the 880s). When I was looking for open cans, these were at the top of my list. I meant to try them, but got the HD598s and enjoyed them so much I didn't look back. If I ever do get some open cans again, I'll definitely try the DT880s. The 550s seem like they might be worth looking more into for my current needs.
Quote:
It is possibly something you just need to get used to. I seem to remember having a similar problem with getting headaches just from making the transition to exclusively using speakers to using headphones more often.
The AKG550 is indeed another option and has been going on mad sales due to the release of the K551. It is true they are not fit friendly for people with certain shaped heads or glasses wearers because you need a good seal for bass.
But these are my 2nd favorite headphone. I recently found they sound tremendous with a 75 ohm adapter with my Schiit Lyr.
I'm curious about the differences between the 550 and 551. I've looked, but haven't found much to go on. The only physical differences seem to be the inclusion of a mic and short cable on the 551s. It doesn't seem to have become widely available yet, so I haven't found (m)any reviews. They do look like they might fit the bill. 
Quote:
Heya,
 
Don't get the PRO900's. If you think Beyers are bright, the PRO900's will make you straight deaf in a day.
 
The reason you're fatiguing quickly is due to the bass and the treble, the bass is a large amount of sound pressure to produce, so you're getting fatigue from the physical force of it. Not everyone is sensitive to this, but you may be. The treble is the other culprit, very high pitch sounds are not pleasing, we're designed to avoid high pitch squeals and when we hear them we either run from it, shoot it, or feed it. Anyhow, it will fatigue you faster than anything if you're sensitive to it. The PRO900 has this written all over it. It really is a headphone for deaf people, through and through. I made the mistake of trying to like them myself. Alas, expensive learning experience (but man they are some of the most beautiful looking headphones to this day).
 
My suggestion to you is to simply equalize your headphones. Drop the treble by a few dB, like 5khz, 7khz, 10khz, 14khz, drop them by 2~3dB each in an equalizer. If bass is really bothering you, do the same there with the mid-bass where the hump is. You don't need to keep getting different headphones to find one that naturally has a tuned coil that has reduced treble, or roll off, or is dark, to enjoy audio again. Just equalize.
 
Very best,
 
Yikes. The Pro 900s sound kind of scary :) 
 
Like you said, the discomfort seems to be due to the bass, which looks to be the consensus. That coupled w/ the closed design is the problem. I've never had cans w/ huge bass, nor speakers for that matter (not even in my car). I could just be my ears getting used to all that bass the 770s throw out. 
 
Still, I'd love to try and experience the Pro 900s first hand, but they're probably out of the question. Thanks for the info about them. I'll try eqing the 770s during this next week and see how that works out. 
 
 
Looks like the K550s are a solid contender too. I've seen some praise for the A900x as well, which looks ok as well. I'll try to find a pair of each and listen to them. Hopefully, I find something that works. I'll give the 770s some more time as well.
 
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