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Help me pick my next pair of headphones!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by zxzx, Sep 17, 2012.
  1. zxzx
    Hey guys,
    I've been lurking these forums and other sites looking up reviews and information on all kinds of headphones. My birthday is coming up on september 19th, (turning 21!!), and I asked for a pair of headphones but I just can't decide which ones will suit me the best.
    Brands I've looked into are Sennheiser, AKG, and HiFiMAN.
    I listen to all types of music and I love some quality base. I'll be using the headphones just around the house and at the university library which makes me lean towards a noise cancelling headphone like the sennheiser PXC 450. My roomate just purchased the Bose Quiet Comfort headphones and they sound decent, but I didnt want to go the bose route.
    The only reason I wouldnt want a noise cancelling headphone is that I dont think the sound quality would be as good as the Sennheiser 598s,600s, or 650s. So how do noise cancelling headphones compare to open back headphones as such? Also, the Sennheiser RS 180s recently caught my eye due to them being wireless, but again, how would the sound quality compare to even the HD 598s?
    Sound quality is the main factor, but I dont want to spend more than $500. I would also sacrifice a little sound quality for a noise cancelling headphone is there isnt that much of a difference.
    The headphones I currently use are beats which I got about exactly 2 years ago during the whole beats "hype" [​IMG]. I've been using electric tape to hold them together and i've also realized I over payed for these headphones which is a little disappointing so I do not want to make the same mistake this time around!
    So overall, how would you rate the following on Sound Quality? (and compared to beats, because thats the only headphone I can compare quality to).

    HD 598
    HD 600
    HD 650
    RS 180 (and maybe the RS 220)
    PXC 450
    495 NC
    those are basically what i've been looking into.
    thanks for the help!!!! sorry if this is a stupid first thread, dont flame me!
  2. frix
    I can comment on RS 180 vs HD 595.
    I found the RS 180 almost as good sounding as the HD 595.
    The RS 180 having more bass emphasis than the HD 595.
    The HD 595 seems to be a bit clearer overall. Both are equally comfortable.
  3. zxzx

    thank you for the reply!! im guessing the HD 595 and HD 598s are about equivalent?
    If the sound quality is about the same, I might go with the RS 180s because theyre wireless. How is the noise cancellation with the RS 180s?? 
  4. KCxSmacker
    The HE400s have great reviews and I REALLY want to get a pair of these. The sound sig. sounds right up my ally. That being said I do own the 598s which I would not suggest to you if you want any kind of sound isolation. I love them, dont get me wrong, they are just so light and open you basically feel like music is just playing in your head. You will hear everything around you at the same volume that you would while not wearing them. For in house they are great though. If you like some solid bass I would for sure suggest the HE400s of all the headphones listed. Personally for sound Isolation I love my Denon 5000s. They feel almost semi open while being a closed back headphone. I can hear some sound when using them, but they keep much of the sound out. The bass is epic in them but wont feel muddy like the beats.
    SO for TL;DR go for HE400s or maybe consider some Denon 5000s or 7000s.
  5. zxzx
    Also, are all of those headphones I listed compatible with iphones, ipods, etc?
  6. KCxSmacker
    well most of them will "work" but many do not get the full sound or are not loud enough for a headphone right to ipod/iphone. If you are really wanting the most out of your headphones I would suggest maybe getting a portable amp to fit within your budget. get one that will help you in the future if you make other headphone purchases. I personally use just a Fiio E17 (some use e7) the E17 supports of to 300ohms and works great for most portable rigs. There are many reviews over in the Portable amp section. 
    Something like the hd650 is 300 ohms. So even a Fiio will just hardly produce the full sound. Some say it would not come close. Thats what I have the at home E9 amp for 600ohm headphones. If you really want something that will work without an amp then I would look for something with 30ish ohms or below. I have been told the HE400 Sounds decent right in an ipod/iphone. Not sure about the others.  I KNOW anything 50+ohms should probably be amped properly. 
    Again I am new to the audiophile scene but I have been doing a lot of research so maybe another member will chime in but I think most of this is correct. 
  7. zxzx
    The PXC 450s have 150/750act Ohms. would this need an amp on a laptop and iphone?
    Thinking more about how I will use these headphones, i guess the main use for these headphones will be fore noise cancelling at the library and for studying. An open back headphone probably wouldnt be the best option for me.
    Think the 450s will be my best bet?
  8. KCxSmacker
    I think they are a good choice, as are IEMs. If you are wanting a huge amount of sound Isolation good custom IEMS or something like these 450s will be a good choice. Again a closed back headphone will still give you a great amount of isolation. There are two forms of sound isolation that I know of. Active and Passive. Active are like the Sen. you linked. Passive would be something you get from say a closed back headphone. Are you wanting something that is going to need a charge or battery replacement?(active) Or would you rather have something passive?(closed back). How loud is your music listening area going to be? I personally like passive as it does not require batteries. Many closed back headphones sound great and with the accuracy of a open back if you find the right phones. As I suggested the denons are great but there are other options for closed back headphones. I have class so I will check back after and maybe give you a few more headphone suggestions.
    edit: also yes I would personally want an amp for the 450s
  9. zxzx
    thank you for all the info!
    I'll be using these at the library a lot so it makes me want to lean to a noise cancelling headphone. I will also look into the denons you suggested. Batteries or having to charge the headphones isnt really a problem to me, as i've been using the beats for the past 2 years that require 2 AA batteries.
    I think i've narrowed it down to the HD 598s or the PXC 450s. Both seem to have great reviews and the 598s are at 50 ohms so I wouldnt necessarily need an amp to go with it.
    What do you think would have better sound quality? would both of these be an upgrade from the beats?
  10. slawterjoe
    So you want a open back design ? Cause if your okay with noise leaking then HD 598 would be a better choice than the PXC 450 [​IMG]
  11. zxzx

    how much do you think the 598s will leak? compared to the 600s?
  12. KCxSmacker
     Both the 598s and 600s are open back. Think if it this way. Open = you hear the outside and the outside hears you. Both the 598s and 600s are going to leak tons of sound. If you want to keep the music from leaking and to keep the outside noise then you want closed back.
    For Open I think the 598s or 600s are a great place to start. I would personally get the he400 over both for open
    For closed I would suggest Denon D2k,5k, or 7k., Ultrasone Pro 900s, also an IEM would be good IEM would be something like the Shure ES535s.
  13. zxzx
    awesome! thanks for all the help!
    how do all those you listed compare to the PXC 450s?
    i think a closed back will be the best suited for my use of the headphones.
  14. zxzx
    ive been listening to my friends bose quiet comfort 15s and I can say im honestly not impressed.
    I'd prefer my overpriced beats.
    beats are considered a noise cancelling headphone as well right?
  15. KCxSmacker
    Yes Beats are considered that. They will do a poor job it of though ^_^.
    Here is a review done on the pxc 450s.
    Says they are just average for audio quality. But it does have the active noise canceling. 
    And YEA bose is pooy ^_^
    Edit: thanks for reminding me of HE-400s. :frowning2: just ordered some because I have always wanted them) Looks like Ramen for a month again ^_^
    Edit 2: it seems the more searching I do on it more audiophiles seem to avoid the active as it can cause a hissing in some and the rest just dont have the audio quality of IEMS or closed backs.

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