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Closed Headphones Update Needed

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  1. thebombdigiti
    Hey all,

    I'm looking to get new headphones, closed back and over the ear. I love the sound of my MH50s but the headband has become crazy uncomfortable, even with the wool add on piece you can get off Amazon.

    Anyways I'll keep it short. I've looked over some of the other posts similar to this and will add the recommendations from there into here so you guys can maybe plus or minus them.

    What I will use them for:
    - Video/Sound editing
    - Computer music listening (have a SoundBlaster Z which, I believe, has an amp...maybe)
    - Video games (have a stand alone mic)

    - Under $350 US (I'm in Canada so if I can find them in Canada the better)
    - After how much the AT MH50's started to hurt my head I liked the look of a headband system like on the Argon
    MK3's or Meze Classics but other comfortable suggestions are good
    - Preferably available without a waiting time
    - Don'w really care about cables, so having one is fine

    A list of ones I've looked at so far:
    - Argon Mk3 (unfortunately it's a 12 week wait for them)
    - Meze 99 Classics
    - Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (250 Ohm)
    - ZMF Classic (wait time, although not long)
    - Audio Technica ATH-900x
    - HiFiMan HE400i (open backed)
    - Fostex RP

    If you've read this far thanks, looking forward to the suggestions.

  2. kukkurovaca
    For the Argon and ZMF Classic as well as the stock Fostex RP models, you will need to make sure you have sufficient amplification, so you may want to drop those from the list if you don't also want to go amp shopping at the same time. : )
  3. thebombdigiti
    The audio card I have in my PC does have an amp in it, although I'm not sure on it's strength, there is one there.
  4. kukkurovaca
    Well, any device with a headphone jack in it has some kind of amp in it, basically. You may want to confirm the output specs of your sound card in this case, or at least if you roll the dice be ready to possibly have to look for an upgrade. (My laptop actually does a decent job driving them, so YMMV. But many folks insist on them needing many watts of headroom.)
  5. thebombdigiti
    So the amp strength on my card is 600 Ohm
  6. kukkurovaca
    That refers to impedance, which is one factor in driving headphones. (Basically, that's them saying that you're good for use with high-impedance headphones like Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, etc.) The Fostex RP based headphones are low impedance, but low sensitivity. Some amps are good at both high impedance and insensitive low impedance headphones, but some are only good at one.

    What you would want to know is the power output (in mW or W) at a given impedance, in this case 50ohm.
  7. thebombdigiti
    Ah ok, so different headphones, depending on their impedance, will preform better with amps that match their impedance level? Is there is difference in quality between the high and low impedance? If so is it worth it to go above the sound card in my PC and get something to use with it?
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
  9. thebombdigiti
    I do like the Sennheiser's but I'd like something closed back if possible. A lot of noise around me where I'm working.
  10. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Technically the SB-Z (Sound Blaster Z) can drive 600-Ohm headphones, but your better off using headphones that are no more then 300-Ohms, with the SB-Z.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  11. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The headphone impedance it's self is not really the best way to judge the sound quality of the headphones.
    Having the headphone's impedance 8 to 10 times the impedance of whatever source (headphone jack) it is plugged into is preferred (rough guideline).

    When the headphone's impedance is above 100-Ohms, it would have to sound good or no one would buy them and higher Ohm headphones also require more power (voltage). more need to buy a headphone amplifier.
    Lower sound quality headphones (cheap headphones) are usually in the 32-Ohm to 60-Ohm range.
    And there are headphones in the 25-Ohm to 60-Ohm range that cost a lot and sound really good :)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  12. kukkurovaca
    Sometimes; there are even amps that offer switchable output impedance, like the garage1217 ones.

    When it comes to the Fostex RP driver headphones, the output impedance of the amp shouldn't matter, however. But to know how much power your device is putting out at a given impedance level. When Sound Blaster says "600ohm" they're just telling you they think their amp can drive 600ohm headphones, they aren't actually telling you how much power it's putting out.

    For example, here's how Schiit gives the power specs for the Magni 3:

    Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 3W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 2W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 1.3W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 430mW RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 230mW RMS per channel

    The max power output is different at different impedances. Fostex RP & derivatives are 50ohm.

    There's a diversity of opinions about how much power you actually need to drive these headphones; many insist you need something like the Emotiva Bas-X 100 which would provide something like 8W at 50ohm. But according to normal headphone power calculations, you would only need something like 100mW, so ::shrug::
  13. thebombdigiti
    Ah, OK. Despite having a good handle on computers, sound is... a whole different ball game.

    Should I still probably drop the Argon, ZMF Classic and Fostex idea?

    Are you guys leaning towards any recommendations?
  14. PurpleAngel Contributor
    For audio production (Creation, mixing, editing) you might be better off getting Sony MDR-V6 or MDR-7506 headphones (buy used off eBay)
    Get other headphones for gaming, music, movies.
  15. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Audio Technica ATH-A990Z.
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