Hi everyone! Can anyone help with choosing a nice pair of headphones for a fellow metalhead?
Apr 26, 2015 at 11:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

tolis626

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Hey there guys, new member here and loving the community so far. :)
 
So, a little bit about my situation. I've been stuck with a pair of AKG K514 MKII for the past 4-5 years. I've wanted to upgrade my audio for quite a while, but financial difficulties ensued and I also had to upgrade my PC to something nice because I was also stuck with a POS laptop. So I got the PC last year, and now it's time for better audio. Now, or maybe in the near future.
 
As I said in the title, I listen to metal music almost exclusively. Like 90% of my listening (or maybe even more) is metal. I also game a lot and watch movies/ TV shows quite frequently, but I want to upgrade my music listening most of all, everything else comes second or lower. I also prefer closed headphones, because I love the better bass response (although I'm not really a basshead, I just like punchy, tight bass, not mud all over my music) and I also use them on the bus or when I visit my parents, so I appreciate being able to blast the volume without disturbing others. I also usually don't wear headphones for more than 2-3 hours, so I don't have a problem with heat trapping. I will also need a better headphone AMP/DAC at some point, but that's another story. Still, I accept suggestions if anyone has something (I was thinking about one of the better Fiio amps, like the E18, E17 or E12 or something, because I'd be able to use them at home and on the go).
 
I should also mention that I'm a sucker for good looking equipment and my taste is rather... all over the place, I'd say. I'm stupid like that. For example, I hate how the HD558/HD598 look. I also hate AKG's (or any other) suspension mechanism headband, although I find it very comfortable. So, suffice to say this isn't only about the audio quality, but also about satisfying my idiotic sense of being pleased aesthetically.
 
WIth all that said, I'd say budget is loosely up to 300$. The lower the cost, the better, but if it's worth giving more money I will seriously consider it, as long as it doesn't go over 300-350€.
 
Right now, I'm seriously leaning towards the Sennheiser HD8 DJ. I love how they look, reviews have been positive, build quality is spectacular and I can find them for about 270€, so not too expensive, but certainly not cheap either. I also like the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7, but there aren't a lot of reviews (Although InnerFidelity's review covered me) and they aren't available here in Greece, so I would have to go through the hassle of buying from abroad.
 
Any more suggestions? Any reason to not go with the HD8 DJ?
 
Thanks in advance guys! :)
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 12:18 AM Post #2 of 12

Me x3

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Hey,
 
The SoundMagic HP-150 is a very fine pick among closed back headphones under 300. It's significantly more 'true to the music' in comparison with the HD8 DJ, which is a really coloured headphone.
The Yamaha Pro 500 might fall in between.
 
Best Luck!
 
 

 
Apr 27, 2015 at 9:04 PM Post #3 of 12

tolis626

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  Hey,
 
The SoundMagic HP-150 is a very fine pick among closed back headphones under 300. It's significantly more 'true to the music' in comparison with the HD8 DJ, which is a really coloured headphone.
The Yamaha Pro 500 might fall in between.
 
Best Luck!
 
 
 

First off, thanks for your answer. :)
 
Now, while I do aprreciate it when headphones don't alter sound that much, I don't mind if they are a bit coloured. That is, as long as it's within reason. So long as the sound signature agrees with my ear, it's alright. With that said though, it's unfortunate that there aren't any big audio stores near where I live, so I'm not able to test any of these headphones.
 
The SoundMagic seem alright. I do appreciate the simplicity of the design. The Yamaha on the other hand... Yikes. No. Just no. :p
 
EDIT : When I say I don't mind some colouration, I don't mean that I will accept any headphone no matter how much it's coloured. I just have a preferece towards a bit bassy sound signatures, with punchy, hard hitting drum sounds, but now at the expense of bloated or too dark sound. I'm not a basshead by any means, I don't expect my head to start trembling from the bass or something. I'm just partial to somewhat emphasized drum sounds, as long as I don't lose out from other instruments and vocals. I believe the HD8 DJ can provide what I want. Or at least I hope so. 
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 9:48 PM Post #4 of 12

cel4145

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The HP150 have a bit of treble and bass emphasis. So not completely neutral, but more neutral in class than most headphones.

Also, the AKG 553 are $120 on Massdrop: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/akg-k553-pro-studio-headphone. They are running out quick, though, because that's a really good deal. From what I understand, these are a slight update to the AKG 551. Massdrop does offer some kind of international shipping service. I have the AKG 551 and the HP150s. The 551 have better soundstage, one of the biggest for a closed headphones. The HP150 have better bass emphasis down low, although some people have indicated the 553 might have a bit more than the 553.
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 10:01 PM Post #5 of 12

tolis626

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The HP150 have a bit of treble and bass emphasis. So not completely neutral, but more neutral in class than most headphones.

Also, the AKG 553 are $120 on Massdrop: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/akg-k553-pro-studio-headphone. They are running out quick, though, because that's a really good deal. From what I understand, these are a slight update to the AKG 551. Massdrop does offer some kind of international shipping service. I have the AKG 551 and the HP150s. The 551 have better soundstage, one of the biggest for a closed headphones. The HP150 have better bass emphasis down low, although some people have indicated the 553 might have a bit more than the 553.


I was aware of the K553 drop and was literally ready to buy them. Then I saw that the cable is fixed. While it doesn't seem like a big issue for home use, it's actually a big problem for me. I will be using my headphones out of the house quite often, and a 3m cable can be quite problematic. Not to mention that if (when?) the connector breaks, the whole headphones are useless. I've already thrown one good pair of headphones because of a damaged jack that I couldn't repair. That won't happen again.

Having said that, I realize that I'm coming off as weird and stubborn. While I am stubborn, I hope you guys understand why I'm making a big deal out of buying a pair of cans. Finances are tight these days, so what I buy has to be what I want, as I may not be able to buy something else for quite a while. :)
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 10:10 PM Post #6 of 12

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  First off, thanks for your answer. :)
 
Now, while I do aprreciate it when headphones don't alter sound that much, I don't mind if they are a bit coloured. That is, as long as it's within reason. So long as the sound signature agrees with my ear, it's alright. With that said though, it's unfortunate that there aren't any big audio stores near where I live, so I'm not able to test any of these headphones.
 
The SoundMagic seem alright. I do appreciate the simplicity of the design. The Yamaha on the other hand... Yikes. No. Just no. :p
 
EDIT : When I say I don't mind some colouration, I don't mean that I will accept any headphone no matter how much it's coloured. I just have a preferece towards a bit bassy sound signatures, with punchy, hard hitting drum sounds, but now at the expense of bloated or too dark sound. I'm not a basshead by any means, I don't expect my head to start trembling from the bass or something. I'm just partial to somewhat emphasized drum sounds, as long as I don't lose out from other instruments and vocals. I believe the HD8 DJ can provide what I want. Or at least I hope so. 


Here you can compare frequency response plots:
.
This plot is from measurments of a SoundMagic HP-100 which is very similar to HP-150 (The HP-150 is the improved version)
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SoundMAGICHP100.pdf
 
There you can see a slight boost in the bass, pretty flat response across the midrange, a dip in the lower treble where sibilance issues take place, and a peak around 10Khz that normally stands for an added sparkle.
 
On the other hand here's the plot for Senn HD8 DJ
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD8DJ.pdf
 
There you can see a big boost in the bass, a strange dip in the lower midrange, really, really! dark upper midrange/lower treble over 1500Hz, specially between 5-7KHz.
Then it has a reasonable peak around 9KHz but almost nothing over 11Khz.
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM Post #7 of 12

cel4145

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Yep. The nice thing about the bass boost on the HP150s is it really doesn't show itself until you get down into subwoofer range. So it's not overly warm and doesn't have boosted upper mid bass (which I hate).
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 1:38 PM Post #8 of 12

tolis626

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Here you can compare frequency response plots:
.
This plot is from measurments of a SoundMagic HP-100 which is very similar to HP-150 (The HP-150 is the improved version)
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SoundMAGICHP100.pdf
 
There you can see a slight boost in the bass, pretty flat response across the midrange, a dip in the lower treble where sibilance issues take place, and a peak around 10Khz that normally stands for an added sparkle.
 
On the other hand here's the plot for Senn HD8 DJ
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD8DJ.pdf
 
There you can see a big boost in the bass, a strange dip in the lower midrange, really, really! dark upper midrange/lower treble over 1500Hz, specially between 5-7KHz.
Then it has a reasonable peak around 9KHz but almost nothing over 11Khz.

 
 
Yep. The nice thing about the bass boost on the HP150s is it really doesn't show itself until you get down into subwoofer range. So it's not overly warm and doesn't have boosted upper mid bass (which I hate).

Crap. I really dig how the HD8 look and would love to have them in my possession. But alas, it's about sound, so no, they're too dark for me. I also read grizzlybeast's review here, and he basically confirmed what you guys said. They are a good headphone overall, but not for my intended usage and certainly not when you want crystal clear audio. Shame...
 
The HP-150s seem like a very nice set of cans. To be honest, I really don't like how they look, but they are very close to what I need, so I could as well buy them at some point and call it a day. In the meantime, I will keep searching and am open to more suggestions, as it will most probably be summer when I buy anything.
 
Worst thing was with the K553s. I really like how they look, the sound should be awesome and the price was right. But that cable... 3m and non-removable? Deal-breaker right there. I can't imagine whipping out a 3m cable in the bus and somehow being able to manage it. That and I've owned AKG headphones for the past 8 years. I'd like to try something new, so not too bad there.
 
Anyways... I also quite like Beyerdynamic's Custom One Pro. The reviews about them are rather good, too. Although I don't think they stack up well against something like the DT 770 or 880, or even the similarly priced (And open, ***) HD558. What I've come to realize is that I don't really like circular earpads. I don't know what's gotten in my head. I very much prefer oval-shaped ones. That should go away though, if I intend to stay sane. :p
 
Lastly, in the distant possibility that I can shell out about 400€... What do you guys think about the Oppo PM-3? I mean, they hit all the right spots for me. Closed, awesome looking, detachable cable (With a 1.2m cable that's got a mic, which I find awesome), not crazy high impedence and they are planar magnetic. The damn things have a 10-50000Hz frequency range. I get more excited than I should about stuff like that. :p
 
I also intend to buy something like a Magni+Modi at some point, so I imagine such headphones would have more appeal then. For starters, I will probably buy something I can use on the go, like a Fiio. But that's another story and I don't even know what I want or should be getting.
 
Again, thank you guys for your time.  :)
 
EDIT : What do you guys think about the Creative Sound Blaster E3? It's going for 90$ on Massdrop and seems quite nice. Or would a Fiio be better?
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 1:44 PM Post #9 of 12

cel4145

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Lastly, in the distant possibility that I can shell out about 400€... What do you guys think about the Oppo PM-3? I mean, they hit all the right spots for me.


The ear cups apparently run a bit small. Best to research that and make sure it won't be a problem for you (they wouldn't work for me). Otherwise, I agree. They seem like a great pair of headphones.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 5:01 PM Post #10 of 12

tolis626

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The ear cups apparently run a bit small. Best to research that and make sure it won't be a problem for you (they wouldn't work for me). Otherwise, I agree. They seem like a great pair of headphones.

The ears won't be a problem, as mine are medium to small sized. I haven't had a problem with any headphone whatsoever until now, I see no reason for that to change.
 
Bad thing is, I just realized that Oppo in the US won't ship to EU countries, and in Europe the PM-3 cost 530€. That's about 580$, 180$ more than what they cost in the US. What the hell? At 400$, they are a possibility. At 580$, they are out of the question by quite a lot. There are people selling their PM-3s here in the forums, but I'm quite hesitant of buying without some sort of fraud protection. So unless I find a way to order from the US... No PM-3 for me. :frowning2:
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 6:27 PM Post #11 of 12

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Lastly, in the distant possibility that I can shell out about 400€... What do you guys think about the Oppo PM-3? I mean, they hit all the right spots for me. Closed, awesome looking, detachable cable (With a 1.2m cable that's got a mic, which I find awesome), not crazy high impedence and they are planar magnetic. The damn things have a 10-50000Hz frequency range. I get more excited than I should about stuff like that. :p

 
B&W P7
Focal Spirit Classic
Focal Spirit Pro
Nad Viso HP-50
Shure SRH-1540
 
Many solid closed back headphones around 400, not sure about european pricing.

 

 
Apr 28, 2015 at 6:51 PM Post #12 of 12

tolis626

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B&W P7
Focal Spirit Classic
Focal Spirit Pro
Nad Viso HP-50
Shure SRH-1540
 
Many solid closed back headphones around 400, not sure about european pricing.

 


I feel bad saying this, but the only ones that appeal to me even slightly are the Shure, which go for over 460€ here. Most of the others aren't even available here. I've come to the point that I'm considering just getting an open headphone and then just buy some IEMs for the bus and call it a day. Seems all the love is going towards the open style headphones anyway.
 
So yeah, feel free to suggest open ones too, but if I can avoid them, I will.
 

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