First mid-fi headphone
Apr 28, 2014 at 6:43 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 28, 2011
I thought there was a headphone rec sticky? oh well
Alright guys, so I'm in the market for some headphones.
I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for in a headphone:
I don't care for the soundstage all that much. I like natural highs; I don't want them boring nor pronounced. I don't it shrill or thin, but I like to keep the intensity and pierce of real cymbals. Same with low end, I'm no basshead but badly textured, excessively slow, and weak/lacking bass I cannot stand.

I like space, hearing the emptiness between notes, separation/space and decay.
I want something neutral, and natural.
I was thinking open cans as I've only ever tried closed, but if their benefit is sound stage/imaging I may go closed.
Apr 28, 2014 at 7:15 AM Post #2 of 16
What is your price range?
Considering you are Australian, I might be able to help here a bit.
I immediately thought of 2 headphones when I read your post. The DT880 and the HD600 - both of which are what you would consider either very neutral or very natural depending on the listener. Especially considering your desire for space, openness and clarity without sacrificing any particular part of the frequency range. The HE500 being perfect at a higher price bracket.
Apr 28, 2014 at 8:08 AM Post #3 of 16
I was thinking about the HD600/650. The impression I've got from other peoples impressions' is that the HD600 is fairly even (if lacking in bass), and a reference headphone most people seem to go to, whereas the 650 is a tad warmer?
I've heard good things about the DT880 (600ohm) but I've also heard the highs are pronounced. Have you heard it yourself?
I've seen HE-400s at around the same price as the 600/650, but I feel as if the senns are the safer option.

Going to buy on here when the right headphones pop up, wanting to keep it >300 (which is what, an extra 20 to convert to USD)
I guess my main concerns are texture at all frequencies, and space or decay or idk what.. not sound. I don't want it to sound like it's struggling with challenging music. There needs to be enough of everything and not too much of anything.
It's hard, because when someone says natural highs some people think it means dull - I want the raw crash, the natural/inherent sparkle, but not pronounced.
Again, I'm leaning towards the 600 or 650 but other options are on my mind, and I'm sure there are more headphones to consider that I am unaware of.
I'm actually thinking of delving into vinyl, but I figure better cans come before a turntable.
Apr 28, 2014 at 8:24 AM Post #4 of 16
I think either of the senns mentioned would be a good choice
A can that really surprised me is the Alessandro MS2 I think they would fit what you have described very well
I would advise saving some cash and going for the  HE500 they are excellent value now and much better than anything so far mentioned
Apr 28, 2014 at 8:28 AM Post #5 of 16
Yeah, its certainly a bit tough to recommend based on not wanted pronounced highs, but not wanting dull and having crash etc. The thing is we need to know any headphones you've heard or something to compare what you mean when it comes to the amount of bass or treble.
The HD600 is not weak in the treble to me at all, it is basically as recorded - if not a tiny bit brighter than normal. The HD650 however is duller/darker in the treble by a little bit. The HD600 bass as far as midbass goes is not weak, the lower bass is but only compared with many headphones above neutral there. The HD650 has stronger bass than the HD600 by a small bit as well. The DT880 is pronounced in the treble compared to the HD600/650 but for me it isn't too bright, I have no idea if they'd be too bright for you though - they have more treble than neutral. The bass is weaker than either of the Sennheisers.
The HD600 is not the master at super fast complex stuff eg Trance, Metal etc, but its only beaten by Planars and a few headphones in that price range. I felt that it was adequate for my tastes. I only have the HD650 because I like stronger bass in my music.
Another headphone to consider, but I think it may stretch the budget is LFFs paradox headphones... someone will have to chime in here though, I haven't had the chance to hear these.
The HE400 is bright, and dark at the same time. It has weak upper mids, and a high peak in the treble which is unnatural to my ears.
I think thats as far as I can help in this topic, we need another couple of opinions.
Apr 28, 2014 at 9:08 AM Post #6 of 16
Appreciate your input man, has given me a bit to think about. I have some T50RPs that I badly modded and one of the speaker wires disconnected, I haven't been bothered reconnecting it.
HE-500 is more than I want to spend.
My main headphones are sennheiser 448? There was tape over three holes in the housing which I removed, and put in a bit of cotton to soak up the bass.
I also want headphones with decent seal/clamp. These are quite loose.
I am leaning towards the HD600 at this stage, but I will deliberate for some time further.
Thanks again for the replies
Apr 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM Post #7 of 16
hd600 if you want natural highs and accurate timbre.

He-400 if you want textured bass, fairly neutral sound. Highs can be a little tizzy but off speaker taps or if you are not anti-eq they can sound really great and in many ways punch above their price point. They sound very close to the he-500's.
Apr 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM Post #8 of 16
...also mad dog 3.2 are comfortable, have natural highs, and decent clamping force.
Apr 28, 2014 at 3:24 PM Post #9 of 16
Amongst the four you mentioned--all good to very good in their own way and with the right genres, you are right that HD600 is the safest choice:
I hear DT880 as bright and some others don't.
I don't hear HE400 as bright and some others do (or maybe it simply doesn't bother me).
I hear HD650 as dark and pretty much everyone else does too.
I hear HD600 as balanced and most others do too.
Apr 29, 2014 at 12:44 AM Post #10 of 16
I'm tossing up between the HD600 and the HE-400 at this stage.
It's hard, because I can't say I'm mainly worried about lows or highs or mids, but I know how to appreciate the lows/highs more than mids.
I'm not a basshead, but I need good bass. Not overpowering bass, I like decent attack/weight behind it but thats not my main issue.. I like bass that is tight, textured, true timbre.
Same with highs. I hate pronounced highs, but if the song is harsh or sparkly I expect my ears to tingle as if I were near a drum kit or a UFO, not muffled and thin.
I expect mids to be there, but certainly not pronounced.
Though not the usual style of music I listen to, this is one of my favourite bands and a good example of challenging music that I expect done well, especially the separation.
This stuff is pretty noisy, so the space/blackness/airiness/no sound is more noticed in the lower frequencies with the super quick double kicks over the 808 kit
Thanks for all the replies guys. I don't think I will be dissatisfied no matter which I buy, just trying to figure out what I really want (hard to do when you don't know how to describe it)
just want a clean, solid headphon that doesn't struggle with lots of sound at the same time and speed/quick tempo.
Majority of my music is a rock set up (guitars, drums, bass, vocals) as well as some soundscapes/extra noise. I tend to hear a lot of dynamics and crescendos, so it has to keep up with the speed when it's called for. I don't like headphones that sound like they're struggling, or sluggish.
Apr 29, 2014 at 12:51 AM Post #11 of 16
Based on your genre and sonic preferences, I think you'll enjoy HE400 more than HD600. Look into HE400i too.
May 2, 2014 at 2:19 AM Post #12 of 16
Can the O2 drive a HE-4 (not HE-400) well?
I have read it will struggle, but it doesn't add up to me..
I'm also considering the DT880, which I feel the O2 will be great with.. I have more research to do
May 2, 2014 at 2:23 AM Post #13 of 16
Loud... maybe, well probably not. Its a headphone that almost all owners have recommended more powerful amps for than a o2.
May 2, 2014 at 3:00 AM Post #14 of 16
You might have trouble with the HE-400's treble. 
Another headphone I would recommend is the Q701, which I find to be pretty neutral and very spacious with a bass port mod and properly amped.
May 2, 2014 at 3:11 AM Post #15 of 16
I have heard the HE-400s are easier to drive but are quite V shaped
If I go by this I see the vali isn't significantly more powerful than the o2.
If they can both drive the HE-4 to = SPL, then both amps are putting the exact same voltage, power, and current through the headphones.
The only thing I can see is an amp running out of current before running out of voltage.
I mean, you can't put more current through headphones at the same voltage. Ohm's law is [voltage = current * resistance] as it's the same headphone resistance, the voltage and current will be the same.
Then again, I don't know how Ohm's law sounds to my ears (and that's what I care about)

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