Comfortable and Isolating headphone for 150USD -- SRH840, M50, HM5,etc
Jul 25, 2012 at 9:04 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

malignant01

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I really need another headphone because I have to send back my current ones for repair. Since I need headphone for work, phone (google voice) and school I will have to buy another one asap. Hopefully you guys could help me out. I didnt get a lot of feedback from my previous attempts at soliciting advice.
 
I need a closed headphone at the 150-200 USD range with the following priorities :
 
1. Comfort and Isolation
Both are extremely important. I understand these priorities can seem conflicting due to clamp force and whatnot but I just want to stress out that both are about equal importance to me.
2. Build / Durability
Really need headphone for most stuff that I do. So I want to have something that does not break easily.
3. Sound quality
My ears arent that great. Since I only listen for my enjoyment I also have no need for truly revealing cans.
4. Sound decent without amp
If necessary I can buy cheap soundcard like the Asus Xonar. I do have a Vox guitar headphone amp already but I would that the headphone can be driven by ipod / smartphone when the need arise.
 
Looked at the reviews and impressions of Shure 840, ATH M50 and Brainwavz HM5.
Since I found my 440 to be rather uncomfortable at times, I am wary of choosing another Shure. Aint that impressed with the 440's isolation at times. Bought it for 70 dollar so it truly worth the money making an upgrade to 840 not out of the question.
Read a lot of posts decrying ATH M50's reputation, calling it overhyped.
Currently leaning towards the HM5 due to its comfortable looking pads.
 
Anything else I should consider ?
Remember that I mostly care about comfort and isolation around the 150 USD range.
Everything else is only semi-relevant.
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM Post #3 of 14

tzjin

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The M50 is still very good. Just as there was overhype, there is now overcriticism. You could also take a look at the ultrasone HFI580. Do you have any favorite genres?
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 1:59 PM Post #4 of 14

malignant01

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The one that I actually listen to and sing along are normally rock, hard rock and metal type of music.
I do enjoy the famous opera arias and duets (Zauberfloete, Lakme, Turandot, etc).
While studying / reading I like to listen to piano solos and chopin's nocturne
 
I listen to other genres, like pop and jazz for example, without necessarily listening to them with great attention. Usually while I'm browsing or  doing other stuff.
 
Edited OP to add preference to headphone not needing amps
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 2:12 PM Post #5 of 14

Kukuk

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Two suggestions: Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80's or AKG K271 MKII's.
 
The K271's would probably sound better with your musical tastes, assuming you don't mind a slightly bass-light sound. They also isolate a little better than the Beyerdynamics.
 
The DT770 Pro's are more comfortable, and have a bassier sound, but have weaker mids than the K271's. They have a little better build quality though. (That's not to say the AKG's are built poorly.)
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM Post #6 of 14

malignant01

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I think I will skip on the K271 because they have those two cables justting out on top of the headphone. For someone like me it means I will accidentally wreck the cable within weeks.
 
The DT770 I've looked at and I am concerned with how it sounds unamped. Is it good enough to be driven by a normal built in sound card ? As I mentioned in the op, I do have a guitar headphone amp that can boost the headphone a little bit, however it is a 30 dollar guitar headphone amp so I dont expect much out of it.
I do like how it looks; those pads gotta be comfortable. I can imagine sleeping with those on.
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM Post #7 of 14

Kukuk

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The top wires are actually what holds the headphones together. They may just look like cables, but they are very rigid. I'd imagine every other part on the headphone would break before the band does.
 
Both headphones sound just fine unamped, but do improve a little with an amp. To me, they don't improve enough to go all-in for an amp, but maybe in the future if you feel like squeezing a little extra refinement out of them it might be worth buying an amp.
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM Post #9 of 14

malignant01

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The Fisher is not available on Amazon which is about the only place I buy from.
Supposedly the HM5 I listed above is pretty much the same thing.
Right now for me its a two way contest between the HM5 and the DT770
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM Post #11 of 14

staticfi

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Isolation is awesome with the HM5. Build quality seems good, and sound is great.  Comfort may be the weakness here. The clamp could be too much for some and the headphones can feel heavy on the head sometimes to me. I think the HM5 is okay in comfort, not the best. They could be the most comfortable headphones in the world to you. 
tongue_smile.gif
 Oh, and they sound greet without an amp.
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 4:01 PM Post #12 of 14

malignant01

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Decided on the DT770. Comfort is a bigger issue since I can raise the volume to block out outside sound.
I will be buying an Asus Xonar DG as well because reviews of the DT770 often mention the need for amp to drive it correctly.
Will buy within the hour unless I get a better recommendation :)
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 6:19 PM Post #13 of 14

eucariote

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DT770 excel in the first two criteria but fall far short on the second two, which as a head-fier I'd say are more important.  SRH840 are the only ones mentioned that excel without amplification and sound extremely good for the price.
 
Jul 25, 2012 at 9:51 PM Post #14 of 14

Boullion

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If comfort is a top priority, I would scratch the M50 off the list right away.
It's a combination of thin headband, tight clamp force, and hot-'n-sweaty pads. Not good.
I find the M50 so uncomfortable that I prefer using my meelec M6 IEMs ($20) most of the time.
 

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