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Most bang for 200$ ?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by pierrel, Sep 15, 2012.
  1. Pierrel
    I'm new to the Head-FI world, but I've had a few years going with a speaker and amp setup. Due to some circumstances (sold the Amp and speakers) I've began to think about getting a head phone setup. I now need your help and input to make the most out of the 200$ budget I've set. This is the maximum I want to spend, since I don't know if head phones truly is for me, but it's worth trying!

    I've been looking in these boards and found that the :
    Koss DJ100
    Fostex T50RP 
    Seems like good "budget" phones. I've also looked at some amps but haven't really found anything in particular.

    I'm mostly going to use the phones while at home (stationary), connected to either a computer or an iPad. I'm working on upping the quality of my music library. 

    My music taste is very wide, I.e. Pop, rock, dance, acoustic etc etc.  There might even be some spontaneous movies.

    Input, advices, help and guidance would be much appreciated!

    Night Crawler likes this.
  2. Ninjaninja84
    I'm pretty new here myself, one pair of headphones someone suggested to me was HFI 580s. They are under $200 and seem like a pretty good pair of headphones. However I don't know much about them but you can look into them.
  3. obobskivich
    What kind of equipment do you already have to plug them into? Basically I'm interested in what's inside that computer.

    Anyways, the DJ100 are around $50; while I'm not opposed to seeing people save a lot of money, they aren't (imho) the best thing you can get within a $200 budget (personally I didn't like them very much, but there's some posters on here who I tend to agree with who do happen to like them, so I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and say someone may find them enjoyable - the advantage is, Best Buy sells them, and likely has them on demo).

    Within your budget, I'd suggest looking at the following:

    - Ultrasone HFI-2400
    - Creative Aurvana Live!
    - Bose AE2 ("AE2i" adds nothing but iDevice controls - so you can save the money if you don't need those features)
    - Sennheiser HD 280 and 380 Pro (380 being the better of the two, but also more expensive)
    - Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (there are a number of versions, they all sound the same)
    - Grado SR-125 or 225
    - M-Audio Q40
    - Koss R/80

    I know that's a fairly large list that I've constructed, and I would consider it a starting-off point more than anything else. For what you've listed and since you're unsure on whether or not headphone listening is really your bag, I'm really inclined to suggest the Koss R/80 or DJ-100 (imho the R/80 are more comfortable and balanced sounding, despite being the less expensive model) instead of pushing you towards something that sinks your entire budget. However if you want to go "straight to the finish line" the Grado SR-225 or Ultrasone HFI-2400 would be it; the Ultrasone have a bigger soundstage and more bass, the Grado are faster and more airy/open sounding.

    The various closed/monitor headphones that make up the rest of the list have varying degrees of bassiness and "closed-in" feeling, from the very closed-in M50 and HD 280 to the relatively open-feeling AE2 and HD380. The Aurvana and Q40 will sit about in the middle.
  4. Pierrel
    Wow, thats alt of good feedback! Oh, and I should probably have mentioned I'm not in the US. But I'll try to demo the headphones anyway!

    The thing is I'm basically starting from zero again. The computer is a MacBook pro, Meaning there is no bells and whistles worth mentioning. That why I thought an amp / DAC would be a good addition to the headphones themselves to up the listening experience. I.e a small FiiO device?

    I think i am more inclined to start off not spending a great deal of money since I'm not sure if this is my field of play. The market for used headphones isn't that big, is it?

    The R/80 and DJ100 seem to be the kind of phones I'm looking for. I want a good all round headphone that can handle most music (that is a challenge I know).

    Thanks for the help guys!
  5. obobskivich
    There's some used headphones available here on Head-Fi, but as a new member I don't know how you'd fare at making offers. I'd avoid eBay because fake headphones are not uncommon.

    For most of the models I listed, your computer should have no problem driving them directly.
  6. bass thump
    well, if people are tossing $50 headphones into the mix here, $40 superlux 681 EVO phones are really nice for the price, and offer a lot of customization options right out of the box, literally. they have swappable 3 foot and 10 foot cables which is AWESOME for me as i use them mostly for travel and hate how REAL headphones rarely offer short cable options. i've taken the foam filters out of them (easy to do and undo) which has opened their treble up a bit, and they come fitted with pleather pads, but also include plush ones as well! that's a lot of stuff for a $40 pair of semi-open cans that sound more open than closed ones.
    many have said that they have too much bass and that it sounds loose, but to my ears, they sound just a bit bass light compared to full range speakers, but have more bass than most headphones, and sound pretty clear down low too. i've heard subs and speakers that sound sloppier.
    they have been compared favorably to standards several times their price like AKG ATH-M50s (which didn't wow me in the bass department despite their reputation like $100 sol republics did at B&H photo) and even more expensive sennheisers. owning a pair that's STILL improving after maybe 20 hours of break in, i can see why. it's very easy to just sit back and enjoy the music with these without hearing anything annoying except maybe siblants on some recordings after taking the foam pads out, but the improvement to treble air, percussion speed and brass bite are worth the tradeoff. they sound too treble polite with the pads like the difference in the sound of a cowbell on a soft dome tweeter compared to a good metal dome.
    i'm sure they're not the absolute last word in resolution, air & imaging etc., but for what they cost, what they offer, and how they sound, i'm quite happy with mine and am in no hurry to upgrade. they really do nothing wrong. they clamp a little tightly, but don't cause pain for long sessions, even wearing glasses and CAN be loosened up, and at 98dB, aren't going to play the loudest, but on the other side of that coin, they offer decent isolation for semi-open cans where my no bass having sampson AKG clones let everything through. as you're budgeting for an amp, their output isn't that big of an issue.
    i actually had the same question as, when i start getting some extra spending money, i was looking to plop $200 down too and wanted to see what everyone said, which, like my "$50 tight bass" thread, not a lot of people had anything to say. without that input, if i was going to spend $200 on a pair of headphones right now, i'd buy sennheiser HD25-1s.

    i made the mistake of buying HD25s that look virtually identical for $100 thinking i was getting a half priced bargain a few years ago until i was disappointed that they had no bass at all where the HD25-1s are well known for it and discovered i bought a completely different headphone.
    i sent them back to B&H who've ALWAYS given great customer service, but was annoyed that what i wanted was still out of my reach. i loved the things they share in common with their upscale siblings... they are SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT! if one were to judge them by feel, one would think they're cheap, but they didn't sound like it at all, and ACTUALLY, i think their softer plastic would be more durable than the more brittle plastic used in cheaper headphones, including my superluxes. they had a VERY easy natural sound right out of the box, but still no bass after about a week's worth of high SPL overnight break in. unlike typical senns, they had a just right clamping force and even though the cups are small, they felt quite soft and comfortable.
    cans that could do everything the HD25s do with nice bass to boot would be very nice indeed, and with their 115dB rating, they can get along just fine without an amp, and i'm not a fan of amps which merely add to the junk you need to carry, demand charging, and insert a source of noise and distortion into the audio chain.
    i can easily believe all of the raves for HD25-1s having met their little brothers and see why they are rated #1 in the "on ear" category here.
    if there's anything better for $200, i'm all ears. (ugh! i couldn't resist!)
    i'm just nowhere near ready to spend $300+ yet where so many here put $1000+ cans at the tops of their lists which include $500+ lower ranked favorites.
    if you're still following this thread, hope that helps.
    oh wow! 2012! never mind! LOL

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