CONFUSED: $100 range? hd280/dt231/hd497/hp890?
Aug 26, 2002 at 8:13 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 43


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Aug 16, 2002
A week or so ago i posted looking for decent supra-aurals <$100...and after trying on a pair of really comfortable Senns, I've decided to be open to either supra- or circum-aural headphones.

Other than sound, what I NEED in 'phones:

1) Comfortable
2) Little to no leakage...thus, CLOSED phones?

Here are the headphones I've been considering, based on comments here and head-room:

Senn HD 497 -- not the most comfortable, but they work
Senn HD 280 -- no experience with these
Beyer DT 231 -- no exp.
Philips HP890 -- no exp.
Sony MDR-d66sl eggos???

Feel free to suggest others in the SUB $100 range!!

I will be using these primarilly at WORK, and thus have to be considerate of my neighbors (in cubicles just a few feet away) as well as being able to hear my own phone ring.

My main source will probably be my computer's soundcard, or my Sony PCDP, if i have to (i'm hesitant to bring it in to work). Currently using an old pair of Sony MDR-V2 supra-aural 'phones. Lackluster sound, but they work, they're comfortable, and had them lying around. Time to replace them obviously.

Also, CDs i have with me today, to get a sense of what i listen to:
N.E.R.D - In Search Of...
The Roots - illadeph, Things Fall Apart
Jurassic 5 - Quality Control
Kruder & Dorfmeister - K&D sessions
Alice In Chains - Dirt
Nirvana - Bleach, Unplugged
The Smiths - custom mixed burned CD
Red Hot Chili Peppers - One Hot Minute
LTJ Bukem - Logical Progression disc 3: Classics

9/4/02 EDIT:
after reading asc236's thread on senn 590s, i feel like i should add something more. i definitely agree that i probably prefer LESS bass to the fidelity of the sound of accoustic guitar and more precise detail of the other instruments or subtle sounds (like a hidden cymbol crash or some cool little electric sample in the N.E.R.D. cd for instance). i love the twang or flick/slap sound from an accoustic bass...i possess no doctorate in music or music theory so excuse my imprecise language, but i do love the subtle details in the music. hope this helps guide your suggestions.

Also, at home I use Grado SR 125s, and have earbuds already, but need something i can wear ALL DAY LONG at work, that will be comfortable.

THANKS, all your comments are appreciated.
Aug 26, 2002 at 8:22 PM Post #2 of 43
Here's my run down:

Senn 280s: I'm not impressed with the sound quality, although they are closed phones, which may be a plus for you. In my opinion, not worth it.

Senn 497s: Pretty good phones for the price, but again, the sound quality issue. Also, I'm not sure they'd block out a lot of sound.

Beyer 231: No experience.

Philips HP890s: Here we go! Very comfy, but they are HUGE. I only heard RMSZero's for a few minutes, so I can't say anything definite, but I did like their sound. Not too sure about sound blocking, but they are circumaural.
Aug 26, 2002 at 8:31 PM Post #3 of 43
I would highly recommend the HP890. They have one of the most comfortable set of earpads I have ever had the pleasure of owning. They also block out quite a bit of noise for an open phone --- much more so than other open phones like Grado, Sennheiser and AKG.
Aug 27, 2002 at 4:57 AM Post #4 of 43
HP890 are open phones very heavy and bulky and are not worth the price you will pay for them sound wise. They are certainly not appropriate for the kinds of music you listen to.

I am not familiar with the other headphones on your list.
Aug 27, 2002 at 7:36 AM Post #5 of 43
I'd recommend a pair of Sony V6 or 7506 phones with the Beyerdynamic DT250 replacement pads. You can get a used pair with new pads for under $100 and they should be great for all of your requirements.
Aug 28, 2002 at 12:54 AM Post #6 of 43
I've owned the HD280s, and used the eggo D66s for a month. The HD280s are very isolated - virtually no sound escapes, but they block so much that I had to put my phone in front of me so that the LEDs would cue to the fact that it was ringing. I think they sound great, but they may be a little low on bass for your tastes - have a test listen of some burned in 280s if you get the chance. The D66 sound good also, the bass was not as tight as the 280s, the highs were a little harsher, but the mids were much nicer. They're more comfortable than the 280s, but don't isolate as well, although unless you drive them to extreme volumes, your cubicle mates won't hear them. Oh, and the D66 had very little soundstage - while the 280s had a nice soundstage for a closed phone. I haven't heard the V6, but from what I've heard, they'd probably be a good fit for you.
Aug 28, 2002 at 1:34 AM Post #7 of 43
I have both the HD 497s and the Sony V6s. They're both extremly nice phones, I wouldn't part with either one. If you're looking for a closed phone, the V6s are great. The 497s definitely aren't closed, and are perhaps not as accurate, but they're, well, punchy and fun and maybe a touch more musical than the V6s. But the bass on the v6s and the detail on the V6s are the best, and I find the isolation plentiful, and they have an exciting and angaging sound for me. The HD 497s I had to stretch on a basketball for two weeks to make them permanently comfortable. Comfort out of the box is a problems with the 497s, but it was curable, at least for me. Now they're very comfortable. Both great phones, really.
Aug 28, 2002 at 1:51 AM Post #8 of 43
Well, I have both the Senn 280's and Beyer 231's (the Beyers are for sale, actually), and if you need to hear your phone ring, I wouldn't suggest the 280's, they seal out outside noise better than anything else I've ever heard except Etymotics. It sounds like you really don't necessarily need closed cans, just maybe open cans that don't leak much. The Beyer's are pretty comfortable and sound great, although they do sit on, rather than around the ear. The Senn's aren't that comfortable for long listening sessions either. If you want to give the Beyer 231's a try, shoot me a PM ($35. plus shipping).

Aug 28, 2002 at 2:24 AM Post #10 of 43
thanks for the input so far guys!

i'm glad that youve mentioned what would/wouldnt go well with my music. despite my proclivity for listening to rap, i DON'T need huge amounts of bass. i want it present, but am definitely more into highs and mids, for a warm sound.

please keep writing your thoughts/suggestions.
any further comparisons between the headphones would be appreciated, you all seem to be saying positive things about different 'phones, so none of them would be horrible choices.

I have 2 votes for the philips hp890s, one against (are they REALLy not a good match for the cds i listen to or bad for the cubicle environment?)

a couple good things about the sony v6s (ill search in the forum for where to find some, but if you guys have any direct links or references, lemme know) wondering how comfortable these are. i've used a pair of mdr-v600s i think, and they just felt heavy on my head and somewhat clamped down and got hot...from what i remember. are the V6s comfortable and not like the crappy ones i tried?

any other opinions on the sony d66 Eggos?

a couple votes for the 497s (were just an OK fit on my ears when i tried them out last week, kinda sat on AND off my ears)

any more thoughts on the dt231s?
meithkiller, i PM'd you about the beyers.

Also, ive read a little about amps...while i cant afford one right now, any help on that subject (even just a link to a specific thread) would help. how much are these amps that ppl keep mentioning (meta42, etc), and what would be a good pick? airhead?

thanks again for all your help!
Aug 28, 2002 at 3:55 AM Post #11 of 43
Check out the new Ultrasone HFI-650 that Jan Meier just reviewed, too.
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Aug 28, 2002 at 4:46 AM Post #12 of 43
V6 would very well for you. They are comfortable, sound very good, and dont leak at all. go to i think. for $70. havent heard the hp890, but the 280s would isolate too much for you to hear phone, and they arent the greatest in comfort.
Aug 28, 2002 at 5:17 AM Post #13 of 43
When you purchase a headphone with a very wide soundstage, it can make the music sound hollow, especially modern pop/rock/rap music. I would venture that these are better for jazz/classical music. Let me re-itereate that these are truly huge, no one will be able to pass your cubicle without noticing your new giant headclamp. When it comes to what other people hear of them, you would have to ask someone who knows. When I had them, sound leakage was not one of my concerns.
Aug 28, 2002 at 7:45 AM Post #14 of 43
The DT231's billed as closed, but are virtually open phones. No isolation to speak of, quite a lot of leakage. Could be a prob. Comfort and sound for regular sized heads however is excellent. They start with a bright, detailed high, tail off a bit in the mids, then come back with excellent response and tight control, but rather weak for hardcore music - rather like the HD280 - in the lows.

The look aren't hot. They're made out of a 'raw molding' of what looks like really cheap plastic. On closer examination however, it's tough plastic. If they'd sprayed it with the same paint as the HD 497/212Pro with accents of black, it would look a lot better - a missed opportunity (to attract people like me).

I'm currently considering the 231 Galaxy as gaming phones for my games PC's.
Aug 29, 2002 at 4:10 PM Post #15 of 43
well, for $35 + shipping, i decided to go for meithkiller's dt-231s...we'll see how they turn out...and if they fail my criteria i'll just come back here and try again. please keep posting your opinions, as i may buy another pair of headphones for myself anyway.

Also, i'm still searching for a pair of headphones for my girlfriend, who is currently using a supra-aural pair she bought from Virgin megastore (Earhuggers ex-710...or something?). the bass is very present, which she likes a lot. however, the highs and mids are faint and distant...i REALLY want to get her a better pair.

she listens to a lot of hiphop/r&b, some pop, rock (red hot chili peppers, the smiths, tool), female vocals (aesthero, madonna, tori amos....). she also takes her headphones and PCDP with her, so im looking for a pair which WON'T be bulky or a pain to carry around. she likes her current pair of SUPRA-aurals, but hasnt tried any circum-aurals, so while she likes what she has, a really lightweight pair of circum may do her fine.

her current pair don't have much leakage, but have poor isolation, which is ok for her.

any recommendations are still appreciated. same sub $100 price range, lightweight, supra/circum aurals. I do want it to be a surprise, so i cant exactly go asking her too much about this, but any sneak tactics you guys may have employed when buying significant others' headphones are welcome!!!

Thanks everybody, its truly been a big help coming to head-fi.

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