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Headphone suggestions? Help I'm stressed.

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  1. trevinthefionaapplefan

    This is my first post here. I made this account because I have a big dilemma and that is that I don't know what headphones I need to get.

    Here's some backstory, skip over this next paragraph if you don't care.

    So I've only ever had about 3 expensive pairs of headphones. A few years ago for Christmas I got a Beats Solo on-ear headphone (maybe solo2 but i've no idea). I thought they were pretty nice, but I was only 14 so i didn't really know much about headphones. It was just about music and they played music. The headband broke after a couple years so I got a new pair of Beats Studio 2.0 wired in early 2016 because they were marked 33% off. I really liked their sound, and perhaps I even took them for granted. They were bassy, powerful, fun. and now I know they are "v-shaped", which sums it up. They sounded really great on certain albums that I love due to their signature (D'Angelo's Black Messiah, Beyonce's self-titled, etc). However, early this year their earpads started to fall apart and the headband too. Eventually their headband broke too. So in about March/April of this year I really start getting into headphones and researching and understanding all this overrated audiophile stuff (oops)

    For my birthday this year, after extensive researching, I bought a pair of Oppo PM-3's. Almost everything I read about them was high-praise and acclaim. However, after having them for a couple weeks, I noticed I was enjoying music significantly less. They don't have the dynamics or immersiveness of the beats. Even listening to folk records and albums that aren't very bassy (Carrie & Lowell, The ArchAndroid, etc.), I found these albums much less enjoyable. I've read in many places that these headphones are pretty polite and "dark" sounding, so maybe they just aren't for me.

    A few months after, I decided to try another pair of headphones. I ordered the Audio Technica ATH-M50X after reading countless reviews saying how they are the best headphones under $200 and how they are slightly warmer sounding (which is what I was looking for, I thought). At the time of me typing this, I've had the M50X for about a week. I was initially impressed because I noticed I was enjoying music again. But they are significantly less comfortable, less clear-sounding (muddier), worse for gaming, and worse quality for watching videos. I'm honestly pretty disappointed by them and I'm really confounded by all the love for them.

    So right now I'm very frustrated because I've bought 2 headphones that are supposedly great for their respective classes and both have fatal flaws IMO and have me missing my Beats (yes I know boo Beats suck). I use Tidal HiFi to listen to music (use my Android phone mostly but my laptop sometimes). I have an eclectic taste in music (everything from Beyonce to Arcade Fire to Joanna Newsom to Kendrick Lamar) and like almost every genre except for country and heavy rock/metal. So I'm really looking for headphones that can take on all genres. I'm really looking for closed-back, under $400 headphones. Any suggestions? What should I do?

    TL;DR: After buying a pair of Oppo PM-3's and ATH M50X and being disappointed by both (Oppo's for their boringness and lack of dynamics, M50X for their thick and somewhat muted sound), I really don't know what to do. Both headphones have me missing my Beats Studio 2.0's, but I'm looking for a more musical and fun headphone to upgrade to. Advice?
  2. ammthe
    try on Meze 99 Classics $310 and let me know if they are bassy or musical enough for you.
    I fell in love with them for the same reasons you are looking for.
  3. Musicmedic
    If I were in your situation I would get myself a pair of massdrop thx00 and a cheap amp. One amp I would consider is the objective 2. The 02 amp is a great value based on price and can be had on massdrop as well.

    The reason I recommend the thx00 is because they have the bass impact you're looking for that goes well with the style of music you're looking for and are detailed for your highs.

    Worst case if they don't do what you want/expect them to do you can always sell them because they do hold their value. At the very least you will check another headphone off your list and get a better idea of the sound signature you're after. I think you're looking too much into reviews when you should be trying to figure out which sound signature you prefer then find headphones based around that.
  4. Noah H
    I wasn't a fan of the m50s myself, try these

    Best bass i have found in a headphone, best trebleble also, they aren't made anymore, so get them while their hot.

    You could also try soundmagic hp100s or hp150s, great headphones at great prices, they have awesome mids.
  5. michaelwheeldon
    Beyerdynamic dt770 pro maybe, beats bass with decent everything else.
    Under budget too.
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    PM-3 have a very flat response and the high sensitivity planar drivers make it less likely that whatever you're hearing has to do with the amp being incapable of driving them properly. That's really just how they sound like, unless you'd try denser and thicker earpads. No way of knowing what effect these can have exactly other than boosting the low end, but even then, no idea which frequencies exactly and by how much.

    Well they probably fit other people better. And other people may listen to music that could use bass quantity more than quality.

    Also what were you driving them with? It's relatively easy to drive, no different from teh PM3 in terms of power quantity requirements, but being a dynamic driver it needs low output impedance a lot more. if whatever you plugged them into has a high output impedance, if not higher than its nominal impedance, then you end up with lower damping factor and ergo bass distortion, which basically makes its tipped up upper bass response worse. Depending on what phone and laptop you have those could be the problem, although that's not to say that using a Schiit Magni3 and having better control over the drivers' movements would just correct everything (it will just tighten up the bass, not reduce it; for that you'll need EQ).

    Well, chances are, if you see it that way, everything potentially has a fatal flaw considering that every headphone is technically a product of compromises: current tech, sensitivity, response width and linearity, impedance, closed or open back, price...it's a matter of people finding something that has flaws they can live with and are good at things that are less negotiable to them.

    And likely not even increasing the budget can guarantee you'll easily find what you want.

    Well I tend to tell people that if there was a headphone that they really like even if it wasn't perfect they should stick with them. I've had my HD600 since 2010. It's not perfect but I'd rather accept its imperfections that correct those and then just deal with other imperfections like sharp treble, something harder to drive that will complicate my system if my amp fizzles out (and it's tough importing amps here), etc. Basically since you know you like the Beats sound you might as well just get another one. Not to mention Beats are practically tuned somewhat like a Prestige series Grado with more low end and a closed cup (high sensitivity, boosted upper bass; except Beats reaches lower), ie, the kind of stuff that works with pop music.

    If you really don't want to keep dealing with it breaking, though not to say I'm sure you won't break other alternatives, maybe try the Focal Clear. Its bass response is somewhere between the PM3 and M50X, treble is a little bit clearer than M50X but it's more because the bass and treble aren't fighting for dominance over the midrange.
    PaganDL likes this.
  7. Mhog55
    Get a pair of Thinksound On2 from Amazon for 135 bucks. If you don't like them you may be crazy, but at least you can return them. Read some reviews on them. It's literally the only headphone I've never read a negative comment about in regards to sound. They sound better than many, many more expensive headphones I've heard. Fun, musical, and a whole lot more. Easy to drive as well.
  8. trevinthefionaapplefan
    I would but i'm not quite a fan of on-ears.
  9. Mhog55
    Weren't your Beats on ear? If not, my recommendation would also be the Meze 99 Classics, or B&O H6 2nd generation. Both are dynamic and lively, with the H6 being a little smoother and balanced. None of the congestion or muddiness Beats are known for, but still a whole lotta fun
  10. trevinthefionaapplefan
    I'm concerned the h6 will be too mellow and unexciting (like PM-3's) based on some of the things i've read about them. I will have to read more about the Meze's.
  11. ribosradagast
    Late reply here, but I'll also throw in my vote for the Mezes. That is, as long as you don't have a big head...

    I'll also stick up for the Oppos as well, as I'm a dedicated user of them for years and years now. Yes, they sound flat and boring when not properly amped, but they really come to life with a little juice behind them. I find that they have perfect synergy with the Oppo HA2, which sadly is discontinued.
  12. BunnyNamedCraig
    I cast my vote for the Meze 99 classics as well. They are my go to pick for people looking for an engaging headphone, easily driven from a phone, affordable, among many other reasons. Excellent bang for the buck. Here’s a pic of one for ya, in the flesh-
  13. Mhog55
    They're not. Not even remotely. No clipping what so ever, dynamic and engaging yet super smooth. Guitar distortion is handled very well, without killing excitement
  14. Beyakusenn
    So far, I get the impression you like a warm and somewhat dark sound signature. As I have yet to hear the Meze, I can't recommend them to you yet. Still there is a headphone missing in the recommendations above that should definitely be on your radar: the Denon AH-MM400. It's warmer and more impactful than the PM-3, better overall sound compared to any Beats headphones, compact, over-ear and well built. If you look well, you can find them for under $300 and perhaps even around $250.

    If you are interested in good wireless pairing with your phone, sound customizability and excellent noise cancelling, you could also consider the Sony WH-1000XM2 for a similar price and still very good, warm overall sound.
  15. kukkurovaca
    Sounds like the OP really just heckin' likes bass, which is totally fine. Maybe check the dedicated basshead thread? https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-hardest-hitting-headphones-are-the-extreme-bass-club.716711/

    Also, seriously consider EQ and/or an amp with a bass boost function to add bass?

    Another factor may be source. If they're currently driving everything off their phone or w/e, then it's possible that some of the nicer headphones they've tried are actually revealing problems with the source.
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