Headphone (Budget) recommendations?
Nov 28, 2016 at 1:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

Dkline

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I've been trying (and agonizing) over trying to find a good pair of over the ear closed back and durable headphones recently. I'm not extremely well-versed in the headphone audio world, but I do have a love for headphones. Years ago, I used almost nothing but Koss UR20's simply because they lasted forever. First pair, the cable went out, so I soldered in a new cable, then that one went out and I got another pair of Koss UR20's because they were just durable and; you guessed it, cable went out.

Fast forward 2 cable replacements later and I decided to look for some new cans. I found the Monoprice 8323, detachable cable! I looked up reviews for them and found this forum, and saw rave reviews, pulled the trigger. Hated the eapards - replaced them with some Turtle Beach cloth ones because my ears felt squished in the original pleather ones, and I loved the headphones, they sounded fantastic and the detachable cable made it so I never had to replace it. Then, the joint for the swiveling mechanism snapped. Tried to repair, repair seemed to work, and it snapped a couple days later, taking the wiring on the inside with it. 
 
Now, I'm trying to find a new pair to replace the 8323's with. I've been looking for about 2 weeks now, but the pickings for a fairly budget headphone while remaining durable is difficult. Looking for something that's going to sound decent with a preferably detachable cable and be durable. While I take very good care of my headphones, I do use them a lot, I'm wearing headphones more often than not. My budget is probably about $60 dollars max right now, as I'm moving cross-country soon (US), and that's a fair bit of money. While I have a fairly wide range of music that I listen to, I mostly listen to classical, jazz, folk and soft rock, electronic, and occasionally classic rock/country. Though closed back is a must, as I'm in a fairly noisy environment at my house and at work as well. They don't need active noise cancellation, just closed back and isolation be average, like most closed back headphones. 
 
I've been looking at the Sennheiser HD 439 (Detachable cable), and a few of the Superlux options for the detachable cables, as well as the JVC HARX 700 cans, while they don't have a detachable cable, I was thinking I could possibly zombify my old 8323's and pop in the 3.5mm jack from those into the HA RX 700 cans if the cable went out. Any cans I'm missing that could fit the bill of durable/decent sound quality? Thanks for any help, I've loved reading these forums thus far, and hope to get more into them once I get settled up north and start getting a wider collection of cans!
 
Edit: Note, I am a believer in the saying "You get what you pay for", usually. I'm not expecting a pair of miracle headphones that are built like a tank with superb sound quality, but something that's going to be okay and not break on me within 3~ months of extended use, though doing a detachable cable mod is something I'm fairly comfortable with doing as well myself if there's a pair without it
 
Nov 28, 2016 at 3:15 PM Post #2 of 8

ktmracer12345

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Start with Sennheisers. The durability and sound are above all others in their price category. My 598's have been excellent. They are 10x the headphones my monoprices are. Find the best Sennheiser that you can find on sale for your budget. It's possible to get 598's in the 90's but you'll probably have to go a couple steps down to get in the $60's.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Sennheiser fanboy. I just haven't heard anything at or below the 598 price that can compete. They've got a little monopoly on the under $125 price range.
 
Nov 28, 2016 at 3:42 PM Post #3 of 8

Agent Cooper

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Sound like we are similar situations (see the thread I made yesterday).
 
As I said in that thread I ended up ordering the Cad Audio MH510's which I got for around $50 on amazon UK, they were the last in stock though and the other colours were nearly twice the price. Looking at amazon.com it seems like they are available in black and chrome for $65.
 
Can't testify to how they sound as it will be a few days until they are delivered,  but the reviews I have read about them are largely positive.
 
Nov 28, 2016 at 7:11 PM Post #4 of 8

Dkline

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Thanks for the replies! I'm looking into the CAD Audio headphones you mentioned, Cooper, and I might try those. So right now it's between the 439's and the MH510's, I'll report back with what I order, and give some tidbits on the sound (compared to the 8323's that I loved), and the build quality for anyone else that might be searching for the same thing I am, thanks again for the recommendations folks 
biggrin.gif

 
Dec 3, 2016 at 5:47 PM Post #5 of 8

Dkline

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Update: I got the CAD Audio MH510 headphones, and at first, I was extremely displeased. It said they were over the ear, they were almost completely on the ear for me, and the earpads were thin, so it was very shallow (parts of my ears touching inside of headphones that weren't on the earpads). I was going to return them, but then I decided why not try experimenting first! I remember reading on the forums a long while back about people doing "foam mods" on earpads for other headphones, and I have a massive block of Memory foam, so I cut off a small block from it, and cut off some lines from that, stuffed underneath the earpads, and voila! They now perfectly go around my ears, the distance between the driver housing and my ears is just right, and I have to admit they even sound a bit better to me.
 
Also, if you're considering buying these, keep in mind- these will not work with all computers out of the box. When I say this, I mean these do seem to need a bit of extra power, some of my devices can drive these well enough to where they sound nice and the volume is good enough for me to use, such as my tablet. On my desktop computer and my laptop, they both need amping. Absolutely needed for my two computers, there's really no way around it. Without an amp, these sound extremely muddy, I've honestly heard better $5 pairs that my 4-year-old niece uses for Disney games. Plug them into an amp, and they clear up beautifully.
 
 
Result, these sound better than the 8323's (in my opinion) after some light "modding" of the eapads. If you already have an amp, I would suggest getting these. Honestly, I'm not sure why these need an amp, from the specs these are supposedly only 26 Ohm headphones, but they simply don't work without one on either of my computers.
 
Dec 4, 2016 at 11:59 AM Post #6 of 8

Agent Cooper

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My pair won't arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'm a bit worry now after reading your experiences Dkline.
 
One of the things that drew me to them was that they look quite comfortable, which would make a welcome change from the monoprice 8323's, I especially like the fact they came with two sets of ear pads. Previously, my only worry in terms of fit was that they may be a touch big or bulky. I do have a fairly small head and ears through so I'm still quite hopeful they will be a decent if snug fit. I'm more concern by the need for an amp, since I don't already have one. I read through most of the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere and can't recall that issue being raised and as you said since they are listed as 26 ohms (less than the 8323's I believe) I never imagined an issue in this regard. At least they seem to work well in some devices, hopefully I get lucky with my devices. Out of interest though what amp are you using? Really curious as to why they need an amp for some devices given the supposed specs but don't know enough about headphones to know if that's common or to speculate as to why. 
 
Dec 5, 2016 at 12:15 AM Post #7 of 8

Dkline

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I'm using a Fiio A1 (portable amp) I picked up for about 20 dollars on eBay, if I forget to charge it in between long sessions I just charge it while listening so it's not much of an issue for me. But, I've heard some people say they get a (quiet) whine if they use it while charging, I've never experienced this though. Also, they do have a bit of clamping force, but I also have a giant head, and my ears while not extremely large aren't small. So you could be perfectly fine as far as fit goes with the ear pads and clamping force, but the clamping force I took care of by putting them around a box to stretch them over night and the clamp force is just fine now.
 
Jan 12, 2017 at 1:17 PM Post #8 of 8

Agent Cooper

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Sorry for the bump I meant to give my impressions of the Cad Audio Sessions a lot sooner but I was ill for a few weeks and only started using them extensively over the last few days.
 
Firstly, I'm really happy with the build quality and comfort levels, the longest I have worn them was the duration of a 2 hour and a bit movie and I almost forgot I had them on. I haven't even bother trying the velvet pads yet as the leather pads are fine. I could see how if you had a bigger than average head or ears there could be a problem as the ear pads are a comfortable but somewhat tight fit on my relatively small ears. Very happy with the noise isolation  of the cans as well.
 
As for the sound, well my first impression was one of disappointment. Unfortunately I don't have the expertise to go into depth as to how they sound expect to say to my ears my old Monoprice headphones sound better, to me the Cad Audio's in comparison sound quite muddy (as Dkline said). I have never tried a headphone amp before but I can totally imagine how one would fix this issue and definitely plan to pick one up. From a quick glance of what's available I'm torn between the Fiio A1 and the Behringer HA400, I would just go for the A1 since I know it works well but knowing my luck I would suffer the whining issue plus I like that the HA400 work solely from the mains but it also has less reviews and seem like a splitter as much as an amp.
 
As it stands I don't regret buying them but that's because I picked them up for £40 (they are double that on Amazon UK at the moment). My experiences with them have made me realise what outstanding value the Monoprice 8323's are though, however presuming an amp rectify the issues regarding the muddy sound I think these are worth the extra £20 for the comfort, build quality and a considerable improvement in noise isolation, no way are they worth £60 extra though.
 

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