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Metal/Post-Rock Headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by myaman, Nov 21, 2012.
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  1. myaman
    Hey Everybody,
    I'm hoping you can help me in deciding which pair of headphones would be most suitable for my musical library and needs. Below are the details:
    1. Will be used about 80% of the time to listen to metal: Agalloch, Dark Empire, Primal Fear, Buckethead (not sure if he fits here) and alternative, progressive and post-rock: Anathema, Leech, Sleep Dealer, Long Distance Calling.
    2. Will be used about 20% of the time to listen to classical music and some rock (AC/DC, UFO, etc.)
    3. I would prefer a closed back over-the-ear headphone as a lot of the time I will be listening to music at the office. However, I've been reading that open back headphones offer better sound than closed ones. Not sure if having sound leakage and listening to office background noises is worth the sound difference though. Any thoughts on that area?
    4. I have recently bought an electric guitar and have started learning to play it, so I'm gonna be needing to connect the headphones to the amplifier for late-night practice sessions as well.
    5. If my understanding of the terms is correct, I need something natural-sounding with good sound stage and a tight bass (nothing muddy or too bassy). I read many forums and reviews recommending the Grados but it was always mentioned that sound leakage was high.
    6. I made a shortlist of headphones I liked based on what seemed to be recommended for people with somewhat similar requests and would be interested in having your opinions on them (this is in no way a finalized list so please feel free to recommend other headphones as well)Denon AHD2000, Beyerdynamic T70, AKG K550 (AKG have also newely released the K551. Not sure if anybody can recommend them. Haven't seen much reviews for them)
    1. Price range is up to $400 but could be stretched a little if needed
    I hope this helps and please let me know if any details are missing.
    Thank you all in advance.
  2. Negakinu
    On last sunday's headphone meet I had a good listen to the Mr. Speakers Mad Dog, a modded Fostex T50RP and it is now my favourite closed headphone for rock and metal. And for every other genre I threw at it by the way. :) 
    To quote my own impression from the meet's thread:
    "In hindsight, this was my headphone of the day. First, the comfort was incredible. Definitely the most comfortable closed headphone I've ever listened to. Mr. Speakers' pad mod is flawless. Isolation is incredible too. Some of the best isolation I've experienced from a passive design really. Sound quality was stellar. Very realistic, weighty, punchy and holographic. Involving like nothing I've heard from a closed headphone. Everything was there and I couldn't fault it at all."
    Here's a review:
    Here's the website:
    Here's a nice picture:
  3. myaman
    Thanks Negakinu.
    I've been meaning to ask ... Is there a specific feature I should be looking for in a headphone if I'm to use it to listen to music both through a portable device and a guitar amplifier?
  4. Negakinu
    Nope. :) A guitar amplifier is a source just as much as a mp3 player. I'd think more about if you need isolation or not.
  5. ru57y
    they look absolutely awesome...
    I'd love to have a day with them to check 'em out. 
    are they the flavour of the moment as many head-fi-ers seem to rate them? 
  6. Negakinu
    I don't think so. You hardly see them in real life and the fact that they're a third-party modded Fostex T50RP scares a lot of people off as well. They're not cheap either. 
  7. nk77
    Leaking of sound would be annoying to others I guess and probably affect you if the office is noisy and you start cranking volume up etc..possibly damaging hearing etc..
    I was in an office with a guy with open backs behind me who cranked his tunes which got a bit distracting. It was a relatively quiet office as well. I eventually got IEMs so I never cared much after that...
  8. myaman
    I see. In that case, could you provide me with more closed-back options that fit my requirements or advise on the provided ones?
  9. Negakinu
    Just for the record, the Mad Dog hardly leaks any sound at all and isolates very well. Just avoid open headphones if you don't want leakage. 
  10. myaman
    What about their sound quality Negakinu? In your review, you mentioned that the Mad Dog offered sound quality better than other closed headphones you tried. Would you say they would provide a "realistic" sound experience when they are connected through the guitar amplifier?
    Also, has anyone tried the AKG K551? I've read many positive reviews about the K550 for rock and metal and would like to know how the new model improves on them.
  11. Negakinu
    I haven't tried it on a guitar amplifier and I have no idea what your idea of realism is compared to mine. :) AKG K550 is very bass light by the way, we had it at the meet as well. 
  12. myaman
    I would love to attend one of those meets. Unfortunately I don't have the option of trying out any of the mentioned headphones before purchasing them as none are available in my country!
  13. myaman
    Any other suggestions or thoughts?
  14. macrocheesium

    Rock is a genre that doesn't usually sound better with a particular sound signature, and it's going to be hard to find exactly what you like without being able to try things out. It doesn't have to be natural sounding. For example, Grados have an extremely forward midrange and are usually shy on bass. I personally prefer Ultrasones, which are the polar opposite with super strong bass and treble. I haven't heard the Mad Dog's, but they seem to be very well-liked around here.
    To add to your list:
    Sennheiser HD25
    Ultrasone HFI-780
    Denon D2000
    Beyerdynamic DT770
    There is no clear "best" choice, but hopefully after looking through some reviews you can decide what's best for you.
  15. Negakinu
    My choice for metal, considering only the headphones I own or have heard, in order of preference:
    1. Audeze LCD-3 (haven't heard a better headphone so far)
    2. Audeze LCD-2 (a bit dark but very forgiving and musical, ideal for metal)
    3. Mr Speakers Mad Dog (perfect value)
    4. Hifiman HE-500 (fast, great soundstage, a bit sibilant)
    5. Sennheiser HD600 (good soundstage, relatively neutral, does nothing wrong)
    6. Sennheiser HD25-1 II (fast, punchy and visceral. my favourite portable for metal)
    7. Beyerdynamic DT770 Limited Anniversary Edition (smooth, warm and full, great for slower metal)
    8. Sennheiser HD590 (really nice V-curve and very forgiving)
    9. Brainwavz HM5 (actually very nice. on the warm side of neutral)
    10. Grado SR225i (some would put this much higher on the list for metal music. I find it too uncomfortable and grating)
    11. Beyerdynamic DT880 (good soundstage, too bass light, not enough mids, too sharp in the treble for metal)
    12. Beyerdynamic DT770 (too boomy)
    13. Superlux HD668b (very hot in the treble)
    14. AKG K701 (no bass, strange mids for metal. great with classical)
    Note, this list doesn't mean, for example, that the Superlux HD668b is a better headphone than the K701. It's only about which headphone I prefer for the genres rock and metal. 
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