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Looking for versatile open headphones for $200 to $300

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by peternguyen, Dec 28, 2011.
  1. peternguyen
    Hi people of Head-Fi. I've been searching for a suitable pair of headphones and am struggling a bit due to the overwhelming choice on the market. I have done various searches here on the forums but there tends to be a wide variety of what people are trying to look for because of the varying preferences so I bit the bullet and decided to create a new thread.
    So what I am looking for is a set of over ear, open headphones. These will be for home use exclusively and I will be using it on my computer. I will be getting a headphone amp for it, which will be the Fiio E10 when they eventually bring out the revised version in February 2012. Comfort probably goes without saying but I guess I will state that I probably won't be using the headphones for more than 3-4 hours at a time, mostly no more than 2 hours.
    The tricky bit is the type of music that I will be listening to, because it does vary a fair bit. The main types of music that I listen to are alternative rock, lounge, trance, orchestral hip-hop and r&b. I like the tight punchy bass of trance, but also enjoy the boom of hip-hop/r&b. I also want to feel immersed in orchestrated music and I like to hear the string and percussion instruments with clarity when listening to alternative rock. I actually don't know what to say about lounge music, but I listen to that a lot.
    I don't know if there is any headphones that is good for all or most of these types of music, but I would love to hear some thoughts because then it would give me some direction. If you could name some good headphones that you would recommend then I'll definitely look them up. Thanks.
  2. MalVeauX
    I'd put you on something neutral and detailed then. Also, I would suggest you consider something more powerful than the E10, maybe go with something that will give you a lot more headroom for the future.
    NFB-12 (or even simply go E7 + E9 for a lot more power than the E10).
    As for headphones, your budget includes a lot of the good mid-tier neutrals. Just look for reviews and see what will suit you potentially:
    Sennheiser HD600
    Beyer Dynamic DT880
    AudioTechnica AD900
    Fischer Audio FA-002
    AKG Q701
    Hifiman HE-300
    Very best,
  3. NinjaSquirt
    Second on Beyer DT880 although youll want something that will drive it well.
  4. ssrock64
    The Sennheiser HD600 would be a good choice. It's neutral and therefore won't specialize in one genre while making others sound horrid, and it's a pretty well-known can around these parts. I'd also recommend a slightly better amp.
  5. Redrider469
    Since you'll be using them at home, I'm not sure if you care what they look like but the Ultraonse HFi-2400's are a very nice pair of open back headphones. I personally have never listened to them but have read many good things about them. They don't have as good of isolation as closed back but neither will any other of your other choices. They also come with a detachable cable. You say you want to be immersed in you music? The S-Logic Plus on the HFi-2400s will give you that experience. Price is on the low end of your budget at $197. That at least is the last price I saw on Amazon.com. 
  6. lucozade
    The Q701 or
    German Maestro gmp 400
    are good all rounders at neutral sounding 
  7. peternguyen
    Thanks for your suggestions; more are definitely welcome and I will start looking into the headphones already mentioned.
    What attracted me to the E10 is that it appears to be the preferred amp that is a USB DAC, but also does not require AC power. Would the amp that you have mentioned be significantly better? The price according to the price list is 200USD, which is more than double that of the E10...
  8. peternguyen
    I've been reading up on the headphones mentioned in this thread. Going by the feedback and how people are describing the sounds of these headphones, I've been leaning towards the Beyerdynamic DT880, and also possibly the AKG Q701 which seems to be comparable to the DT880.
    The only thing that I am unsure about is that people often seem to believe that the DT880 lacks bass "impact" although having more quality or "texture" but I am unsure what that term means. Similar responses have been made about the Q701. I am wondering if anyone has any further comments on this? Is it lacking bass in bassy music or is it lacking bass in general?
  9. ssrock64


    What they're saying is that the bass is very detailed and sounds very nice, but won't rattle your skull or anything. They're still bassy cans, but you hear a lot of it instead of feeling it.
  10. peternguyen
    I've decided to get the DT880, however I am uncertain of which ohm version to get. Comments frequently say the 600 ohm but would it be any harder to drive than the 250 ohm version? When I get the headphones, I want to be able to power these headphones (at least at first) with the Fiio E10. Will this amp be able to drive the 600 ohm version?
  11. stv014
    For the E10, 250 Ohm (maybe the Pro version) is preferred, the 600 Ohm one would not be unusable, but it would be limited to a few mW of power. If you do not need portability, get the E9 instead, that would output a few times more power even to 600 Ohm than the E10 does to 250 Ohm.
  12. peternguyen
    What attracts me to the E10 is the power being from USB since I currently all my power points are used up. And from reading, it appears that the E10 has superior quality to the E7/E9 combo.
    How much difference would there be between a DT880/250 + E10 setup vs. a DT880/600 + E7/E9 setup for example?
  13. lejaz


    You might wait until the e17 comes out. Not sure how it will power high impedance cans, but hopefully it will be a bit more powerful than the e10. Maybe someone else has heard more about it. I've been eyeing the e10 myself, but may wait to hear more about the e17 which is due out soon I think. Like the e10 it will likely have a better dac than the e7.
  14. lejaz
    Just noticed the OP's musical preferences, and if it were me, the 70X wouldn't be my first choice for hip hop. They're good for a lot of acoustic genres....folk, jazz, classical, but the bass is not full and weighty enough for hip hop. I've never heard the 880, but once I got the hd580, I really appreciate what good/full....but not bloated.... bass sounds like. 
  15. peternguyen
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I had decided on getting the Beyerdynamics DT880/250 ohms which I just recently received. I am now looking into a suitable DAC/amp that will adequately drive these headphones. The new E17 is looking very promising so that is what I am currently considering.

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