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Need help finding comfortable headphones in ~$50 range for music and gaming.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by murky44, Sep 27, 2011.
  1. murky44
    Hello Head-Fi,
    I just started my second year of college, and I'm having some trouble looking for and deciding on a pair of good headphones to use in my apartment. I'm currently using an old Creative HS-980 headset for everything, and it just isn't cutting it for me anymore.
    They'll mainly be plugged into my computer (onboard SoundMax AD2000b), but I'll also be using it with my Peavey amp for practicing guitar. I mostly listen to metal (mainly symphonic stuff), and will also be gaming on my off time. Comfort is also a huge factor, since I'll be having these on for long periods of time. I'm also looking for something that can at least somewhat block out ambient noise, so I can keep the volume down.
    I've been looking at a lot of Sennheiser stuff, but again, I'm having a hard time determining which ones are best and most comfortable for the price, and for what I will be using them for. Can you guys help me out and throw some recommendations my way? I know I said $50 budget, but I'm a little flexible on that, and I am willing to spend a little more for something better suited. My max price would probably be about $70.
  2. bcasey25raptor
    Do you want open or closed?
    Can you stretch your budget to $80. Get Grado sr60s.  You can probably find them used on here under $70.
    But then again some people find them comfortable and some people can't stand them.
  3. koolkat
    The Grados aren't the most comfortable headphones around... I personally wouldn't use them for extended listening. The Sennheiser HD428 ($60), 438 ($80) and 448 ($100) are under recommended around here. They have got comfortable pads, and a serious lack of clamping force making them great for extended listening. Plus, you can mod them according to your needs (voids the warranty). 
    Some popular sub-100 headphones like the Superlux models, AKG K81dj and even the Monoprice/Panasonic RP-HTF600 get decent reviews. 
  4. murky44


    Open or closed, doesn't matter to me, as long as they are comfortable for extended periods of time and can somewhat block out ambient noise.


    If the Sennheiser HD4X8 series are as comfortable as you say they are, then I'll seriously take those into consideration. The HD428 are $50 on Amazon right now and the HD438 and HD448 are both around $90. Based on the Amazon reviews, the 428's don't seem to be quite as comfortable as the 438 or 448. Plus, the sound quality seems to be a lot better on the 438/448 as well. Do you think they are worth saving up for over the HD428?
  5. koolkat
    The HD428 and HD448 come with pleather pads while the HD438 come with velour pads. I think there are a couple of other differences between the HD428, 438 and 448, but mostly in the packaging. The HD418 and HD438 are slightly bass heavy but they're definitely not enough to satisfy a basshead. Both the HD428 and HD448 are a little less bassy. I think the HD428 will be enough for your needs, but the HD438 is more suitable for me.
    A huge plus for me is that the HD438 comes with 2 detachable cables. The HD448 is basically a slightly better version of the HD428 and I really don't think it's worth $100. The HD4X8 series isn't suitable for portable use due to the minimal clamping force. Build quality isn't amazing either, but if you don't abuse it, it'll be fine. 
    TL;DR They fit really good and I can wear them for hours without feeling any discomfort. 
  6. BBlord
    Panasonic HTF600-S.  Its 30 bucks, and if you want you can get velour pads for it for about 20.  Great headphone.  It is semi closed (closed back with vents), so its not 100% isolating, but I use it at work and I can't hear my coworkers, and they can't hear my music, at reasonable/safe hearing levels.  Its bassy but also has a very warm sound.  
  7. MalVeauX


    I will second the HTF600-S with Velour pads. Stupid good for $50 total for both the headphone & the pads. Bassy, warm, musical and great for guitar, gaming, movies, anything you throw at it. It does every genre justice. Great headphone. Can't get enough of it these days it seems.
    Very best,
  8. NamelessPFG

    Between you and Dsnuts, the HTF600-S seems to be the flavor-of-the-month headphone...
    ...but what I really want to know is if it can beat the Samson SR850 both of you also like so much, at the $50 and under mark. Neither of you compare the two that often, though I think I read something about the SR850 having more control and authority over the bass so it doesn't leak into the mids (at the expense of head-slamming impact).
  9. murky44

    I 've been reading this thread about the HTF600-S's, they seem to be really well reviewed, but I noticed they're described as bass heavy, and I'm not really a fan of loud, thumping bass, as it's a little discomforting to my ears. At this point, I'm narrowed my choices down to the HTF600-s or the HD428. I'm also thinking about saving up a little more for the HD438, since they supposedly sound a lot better than the HD428, and they come with velour pads for better comfort than the HD428. I know you guys like the Panasonics, but keeping in mind I'm not a big fan of loud or particularly heavy bass, would you guys still recommend the HTF600-S over the Sennheisers? If so, can somebody link me to the velour pads for the Panasonic, and where I can find them for $30? Amazon has them for $41, and I can't seem to find anywhere cheaper shipped.
    BTW, thank you everyone for the helpful responses.
  10. Hexidecimal
    If you watch the Amazon Used - Like New section and can stretch to 60, you can get a pair of SRH440s and they're comfortable and sound good.
  11. bcasey25raptor


    I also really recommend these. But comfort might not be the greatest unless you get the Shure srh840 pads.
  12. MalVeauX


    The SR850 has less sub-bass impact. It also has harsher brighter highs by comparison. The SR850 is a good semi-open headphone for it's cost. It's comfortable. It's good for gaming, has a good sound stage. For music, it's fine. They're not similar though. Again, the SR850 is brighter and while it has bass, it's not as warm and doesn't have the low end of the HTF600. The HTF600 is more warm and musical and more smooth in the highs (so a bit darker). If you want a more detailed headphone, the SR850 would be it. Overall, I prefer the Panasonic, I like warmer more musical headphones. But the SR850 is a great headphone too. I just don't compare them because they're not very similar.
    Very best,
  13. murky44
    Can somebody link me to where I can find the HTF600-S for this $30 price everyone is talking about? I can't seem to find that price anywhere.
    Also, these are the velour pads I would use with them, right?
  14. MalVeauX


    Yes, those are the pads.
    Amazon has them for more than $30 right now. Last night they were $31. They literally change their price every day on these headphones because, well, they keep getting bought since a lot of folk are trying them out. Just wait a day and look at Amazon again. The moment it's $36 or less, nab it. Though honestly, I'd pay $150 for this headphone without even thinking about it. It's really a $60 headphone in terms of retail cost, but they sell for half that on Amazon usually. So again, if you want one, just watch it a day or two, the price will fluctuate and hit the $30's again. Nab it then.
    Very best,
  15. NamelessPFG

    Points taken. I'm just trying to figure out which is the more ideal all-around headphone with more of am emphasis on gaming (meaning it needs to synergize with CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone, but still want to make the owner go listen to music every now and then) for the sub-$100 price range, mostly because recommending vintage Stax Lambda setups all the time to people in need of advice is rather impractical due to availability issues (not to mention cost and possibly being overkill for gaming).
    I've also noticed that when people talk about "detail", there's an emphasis on the treble implied. This whole time, I thought it meant fast transient response across the board (even being able to pick out and analyze bass notes, as people claim to be able to do with the Ultrasone Pro 900) and generally revealing of even the subtlest nuances, no matter where they are on the spectrum. I guess it's that most of the nuances tend to be in the highs and mids.

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