Looking for my first set of high quality headphones, preferably around $50
Aug 15, 2010 at 1:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

windyapple

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I'm not a true audiophile (obviously).  However, I have a really deep appreciation for music and beautiful, quality sound in general.  It excites me to hear even the little nuances that make a piece of music what it is.  I know I'm not alone in this.
 
The only listening devices I've ever used are earbuds that come with mp3 players, and one of the jelly kind from Walmart.  I evaluate the sound as being "okay", "mediocre", nothing special or particularly amazing.  The actual pieces of music are lovely, yes.  The earbuds don't lend much at all to my listening experience, though.
 
Currently I'm using a pair of earbuds that came with a zune.  To date, they are the best I've heard.  Since I carry them around with me in a pocket in my purse, it's incredibly hard to try to prevent them from becoming tangled, wrapping around things...becoming damaged.  They stay in my ears well enough, as long as I'm not moving about.  I'd like to be able to move reasonably (dance?) without having to hold them in my ears.
 
I want circumaural headphones, though I'm not completely sure whether I want open-air or closed.  As I understand it, closed headphones block outsides noises so that the music volume can be lower, but the closed design affects the sound in a slightly negative way.  Open-air headphones produce an undistorted sound, but they offer no outside sound protection, and the sound travels to those around you, as well.  Am I understanding the pros and cons?  Correct me if I'm in error.
 
My musical tastes include classical/choral, instrumentals, jazzy ballads, soft rock, a bit of pop, techno, electronica, house, and a few songs with amazing guitar solos that I'd love to hear at their best.  I'd like a set of headphones that has the ability to sound both smooth/delicate/detailed and full.  I need adequate, noticeable bass.  Not boomy, excessive bass, though.  I think the best way I can say this is that I like tonal balance.
 
And I want all of this for $50, more or less.  Is it possible?  I'm not sure.  At this point in time however, I'm not sure I can justify a much higher price.  I just want the best I can get for around that price.  And though $50 is low in the audiophile quality/price range, remember that the best I've heard is zune earbuds, and the most I've ever spent on earbuds is $10.  So what's "alright" or "acceptable" for trained ears such as yours is likely mind-blowing for me.
 
Now that I've given my life story (ha), I hope that someone can provide product suggestions!
 
I've been looking at the Sennheiser HD428 and HD515.  It would be great if someone could provide a small review or feedback on those two.
 
Aug 15, 2010 at 6:03 AM Post #2 of 10

MuppetFace

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Hello, and welcome to Head-Fi. Have you considered the Koss PortaPro? In my opinion, they're some of the nicest sounding headphones you can get for about $30-50. They may look kinda cheap, especially compared to the Sennheisers you mentioned, but I prefer their sound personally.
 
Plus they fit nicely in my purse while I owned them.
 
Aug 15, 2010 at 10:07 AM Post #3 of 10

Drubbing

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$50 isn't much. The largest SQ jump in audio IMO, is at the FreeBud - $100 range. I think the Portapro is a very good recommendation though, and provides a lot of sound for the money.
 
Yes they look 80s, but that's because they've been making them that long, and they're still selling. That doesn't happen much these days.
 
Aug 15, 2010 at 1:30 PM Post #4 of 10

krankkall

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I've been using a pair of first-generation Sennheiser PX-100's for years now, with an OPA2227 Cmoy amp.
They are VERY lightweight, yet do an excellent job at pretending to be full-sized headphones!?
If I'm not mistaken, Audio Advisor (NO affiliation) is also selling the well-regarded Goldring DR-100 headphone for $50, plus shipping.
Both would be good choices, for headphones on-the-cheap.
 
Good luck!
Steve
 
Aug 15, 2010 at 2:24 PM Post #5 of 10

MuppetFace

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Windyapple,
 
You mentioned wanting circumaural headphones. The problem is at the $50 price point there isn't much that's worthwhile in the circumaural category IMO. The Goldring DR100 that krankkall mentioned seem like a pretty good choice if you have to have full-sized headphones. I like my DR150s quite a bit (as my avatar would suggest) though I have never tried the DR100s.
 
If you don't mind the semi-circumaural or "ear pad" type of headphones, then I think the Koss PortaPros and the Sennheiser PX 100 II are the two best bets for $50.
 
I own really expensive headphones, and yet I still found myself listening to the ProtaPros just as much because they were so convenient and sounded spectacular. I would still have them, except they were stolen from my purse, sadly. I never replaced them so I would be forced to listen more to my expensive headphones!
 
Aug 15, 2010 at 5:46 PM Post #6 of 10

Katun

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Quote:
I'm not a true audiophile (obviously).  However, I have a really deep appreciation for music and beautiful, quality sound in general.  It excites me to hear even the little nuances that make a piece of music what it is.  I know I'm not alone in this.

 
*I see a future audiophile right here*
 
Good, good. Nicely put. And no, you are not alone, especially here at Head-Fi.
 
Quote:
windyapple said:


I want circumaural headphones, though I'm not completely sure whether I want open-air or closed.  As I understand it, closed headphones block outsides noises so that the music volume can be lower, but the closed design affects the sound in a slightly negative way.  Open-air headphones produce an undistorted sound, but they offer no outside sound protection, and the sound travels to those around you, as well.  Am I understanding the pros and cons?  Correct me if I'm in error.
 

 
Nailed it right on the head. Although, at this price range I'm not sure it would matter if you got either one.
 
Hmm, recommendations? JVC RX700 / RX900, Sennheiser HD438, PortaPro, just to name some of the "known" ones.
 
Aug 17, 2010 at 11:43 PM Post #7 of 10

windyapple

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Quote:
Have you considered the Koss PortaPro? In my opinion, they're some of the nicest sounding headphones you can get for about $30-50.

 
Quote:
$50 isn't much. The largest SQ jump in audio IMO, is at the FreeBud - $100 range. I think the Portapro is a very good recommendation though, and provides a lot of sound for the money.

 
The Koss PortaPro does sound like a good choice.  But I really do want a complete around-the-ear headphone.  I've used the ear pad type before, and they don't sit well with me.
 
Quote:
I've been using a pair of first-generation Sennheiser PX-100's for years now, with an OPA2227 Cmoy amp.
They are VERY lightweight, yet do an excellent job at pretending to be full-sized headphones!?
If I'm not mistaken, Audio Advisor (NO affiliation) is also selling the well-regarded Goldring DR-100 headphone for $50,

 
Quote:
The Goldring DR100 that krankkall mentioned seem like a pretty good choice if you have to have full-sized headphones. I like my DR150s quite a bit (as my avatar would suggest) though I have never tried the DR100s.

 
I would gladly consider the Goldring, I'm just having trouble finding reviews for it, and that's what I'm going off of - people's reviews and ideas about the particular sound the phones.
 
Quote:
Katun said:


*I see a future audiophile right here*
 
Hmm, recommendations? JVC RX700 / RX900, Sennheiser HD438, PortaPro, just to name some of the "known" ones.

 
I very well may be in the future, as my resources increase.
 
The JVC RX900 looks like a winner to me.  I just wish I had a chart that categorized according to sound quality and other qualities. 
 
I also wish I could hear these phones before I bought them.  If only there was a headphone store somewhere...hm...
 
In any case, thanks very much to all who responded!  Now I can continue my research armed with more choices.
 
Aug 18, 2010 at 12:36 AM Post #8 of 10

tdockweiler

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I'd suggest the Koss UR-55. They sound just as good as the Porta Pro if not better. They are also portable and very comfortable to me. The bass also is pretty good on them. They run about $50 now at Best Buy. If you wear glasses the Porta Pro might not be a good chance. They're painful for me.
 
I wish someone could do a comparison of these vs the Porta Pros. They might share the same drivers, but i'm not sure! I would guess no, but maybe.
 
Aug 18, 2010 at 5:09 AM Post #9 of 10

Olimoronio

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Quote:
 
The Koss PortaPro does sound like a good choice.  But I really do want a complete around-the-ear headphone.  I've used the ear pad type before, and they don't sit well with me.
 

 
I would gladly consider the Goldring, I'm just having trouble finding reviews for it, and that's what I'm going off of - people's reviews and ideas about the particular sound the phones.
 
Quote:
 
I very well may be in the future, as my resources increase.
 
The JVC RX900 looks like a winner to me.  I just wish I had a chart that categorized according to sound quality and other qualities. 
 
I also wish I could hear these phones before I bought them.  If only there was a headphone store somewhere...hm...
 
In any case, thanks very much to all who responded!  Now I can continue my research armed with more choices.

 
For goodness sakes I wish someone saying this would listen to me. Go to RadioShack. Buy the Auvio 33-279 "Concert Class" headphones which are usually $50 but are on sale for $30...
 

 

Take 'em home, burn them in and give 'em a listen. If you don't like them within 30 days return them for a full refund.
 
 
Aug 20, 2010 at 9:10 PM Post #10 of 10

windyapple

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Quote:
I'd suggest the Koss UR-55. They sound just as good as the Porta Pro if not better. They are also portable and very comfortable to me. The bass also is pretty good on them. They run about $50 now at Best Buy. If you wear glasses the Porta Pro might not be a good chance. They're painful for me.

 
I will be looking into these.  Thanks!
 
And, yeah, I am a glasses wearer.  Definitely don't want the headphones to be painful.
 
Quote:
For goodness sakes I wish someone saying this would listen to me. Go to RadioShack. Buy the Auvio 33-279 "Concert Class" headphones which are usually $50 but are on sale for $30...  
Take 'em home, burn them in and give 'em a listen. If you don't like them within 30 days return them for a full refund.

 
Radio Shack never crossed my mind, so thanks for the rec!  I will certainly heed your advice.  I need to be able to hear them.
 

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