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Looking for ~$300 audiophile headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by narrillnezzurh, Nov 19, 2012.
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  1. Narrillnezzurh
    I was considering getting a pair of M-100s, but it looks like they aren't quite as audiophile friendly as I'd hoped. I'm looking for a fairly transparent set of headphones that will work with a wide variety of genres and are suitable for mixing, and from what I've been reading the M-100s don't fit that bill, so I'd love some recommendations for other headphones to look at.
    I primarily listen to modern metal and electronic, but no genre is outside my interest, and as I'd like to be able to use these for mixing a realistic representation of the music is what I'm after. Isolation doesn't really matter to me within reason (I don't want everyone else in the room to be able to hear my music as well as I can, and at low volumes I'd like the headphones to be relatively silent as far as sound leakage is concerned), so I don't have a preference as far as open vs. closed goes, and I'd like a fairly open soundstage. I'm also more than willing to get an amp if necessary, so I don't have a preference as far as impedance goes so long as I can drive the headphones with a semi-portable amp.
    Headphones I'm considering at the moment include AKG K550s, PSB M4U1s, and the Philips Fidelio L1, but I'm open to suggestions so long as they fit the above criteria. My total budget is around $300, but a little over is fine.
    Whatcha think?
  2. NA Blur
    I think the K550 is an excellent choice and they would receive my vote.
  3. Narrillnezzurh
    The K550s look good, but several of the reviews note a pretty severe resonant peak in the upper mids, and that's a big turnoff.
  4. MalVeauX
    KRK KNS 8400 & 6400
    AKG K271 MKII
    AKG K272 HD
    AKG K550
    AudioTechnica A700X
    Sennheiser HD380 PRO
    Shure SRH840
    Sony MDR7506 & MDRZX700
    Very best,
  5. Narrillnezzurh
    How would a pair of Grados work? I've always been intrigued by them, but I don't want to limit myself genre-wise.
  6. MalVeauX
    Grados work great for listening to music.
    But there's two problems:
    1. I wouldn't mix on them. They're quite colored.
    2. They leak like sieves. Even at low volume. It will sound like a little radio is on for someone in the next room.
    Very best,
  7. Narrillnezzurh
    Alright then, no Grados :wink:
    I'm leaning toward a DT 880 at this point, it seems like it'll be able to cope with the various genres I listen to while providing a substantial amount of detail. My only concern is the impedance. Will I be able to drive the 600 ohm version with a portable amp, or will I need the 250 ohm version?
  8. MalVeauX
    I drive 600ohm Beyers with portable amps. It's fine. But I would recommend someone else use a 250ohm. If you look at the measurements over at innerfidelity, or just use your ears, the 250ohm and 600ohm are virtually the same. So I wouldn't stress the 600ohm. It's not higher quality. It's just another way to match a load to an amplifier for a specific synergy. The 250ohm will be universally easier to match to more equipment, both portable solid state, and desktop solid state & tube.
    Note, the DT880's are semi-open, and will leak.
    Very best,
  9. Narrillnezzurh
    How bad is the leakage, would you say? A friend of mine has a pair of V-Moda LPs, which are advertised as semi-open, and they don't leak very badly at all. If it isn't too over the top I don't think it'll be a problem.
  10. MalVeauX
    LP's are closed back. I have a pair. They don't leak much.
    The DT880 leaks about as much as a full on open-air headphone. If leaking is an issue, you're going to have to stick to closed back. Semi-open and Open both leak, nearly the same.
    Very best,
  11. Chops
    I may be jumping the gun here since I only have about an hour and a half experience with them, but maybe you should consider something like the Mr Speakers Mad Dog. The music I'm listening to right now is the same stuff I've been listening to for the past week or so on a pair of well burned-in Sony MDR-7506's.

    I can say without a doubt that the Mad Dog's are more neutral, more flat, more detailed, have better, cleaner, deeper bass, a more natural, non-fatiguing top end, a wider and a deeper sound stage than the Sony's. Vocals are crazy. They sound very lifelike. That's saying something considering the Sony's are the industry standard world wide in the studio for monitoring and mixing. I'm hearing all of this already, and these headphones aren't even broken in yet.

    Oh yeah, and they are closed, yet sound more like they are open. You get the best of both worlds!

    They are in your price range of $300. They cost me $310 with shipping. They are definitely worth considering.
  12. Scarred Taka
    Well, I wouldn't use them in a library, or anywhere else someone is in the same room with no background noise and trying to concentrate. If someone is in the same room is watching TV? Ok for the person watching TV, but you'll probably be able to hear the TV as background noise, esp. during quiet sections or between songs. 
    At 75db at the earcup, (which is a bit louder than I normally listen (60-70db)), I can distinguish words and recognize songs coming out of my DT880 at a distance of about 8 feet away. Your mileage may vary. 
    The V-Moda LP have 3 small slits in the cups that the sound leaks out of. The DT880's cups are mesh-like, with the entire ear cup leaking sound. 
    The banner at the top of the page shows what the DT 880 earcup looks like.
  13. Narrillnezzurh
    I don't know if it would be an issue, to be honest. What would you recommend that's similar to the DT 880s, but with a closed back?
  14. Narrillnezzurh
    Alright, I'll check out the Mad Dogs.
  15. MalVeauX
    Mr Speaker Mad Dogs
    AKG K550
    AudioTechnica A700X
    Very best,
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