Newbie looking for some entry-level headphone advice
Apr 29, 2015 at 9:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

infj25

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Hiya folks!
 
Like the title states, I'm fairly new to this whole audiophile thing and I heard great things about your community so I figured I'd give it a go. I have a custom-built PC and the current headset I'm using just doesn't do it justice at all. The source will be the motherboard (ASUS z87-Pro) and I will be using the headphones unamped for now (unless someone can really sell me on the necessity of a desktop amp/DAC or soundcard), as I'm still figuring out the what's-what regarding that type of thing.
 
I'll pretty much be using the headphones strictly at home on the computer as I have a nice set of Sennheiser earbuds for my portable enjoyment. I listen to most music (minus country, rap and metal) via Pandora, Winamp, Spotify, as well as streams on Twitch and YouTube, movies on Netflix, etc. I game, but not competitively at all, mostly World of Warcraft, Skyrim, Heroes of the Storm, and so on and so forth. I do use various VOIPs as well as Skype for chatting with my friends - I'll be buying a ModMic for that purpose - so I'd like to be able to hear them pretty well, too. I'm not a huge basshead or anything so I think my safest bet would just be a good, all-around sounding headphone for my above mentioned activities - at least until I figure out my specific tonal preferences. My home environment is generally not too loud and I do sometimes need to be able to hear around me in case someone needs me, but other than that open or closed headphones should still work fine as I typically listen to my music and stuff at a normal volume. Looking for either on-ear or over-ear and my budget would be around or under the $200 mark unless someone suggests something just mind-blowing for more than that. Comfort is also a plus as I wear my headphones for several hours at a time and my current headset gives me a fierce headache by the time I'm done with it.
 
Currently I've been looking at the Sennheiser HD558s (looked at the 598s but I really don't like the color scheme), but a friend of mine who produces music absolutely swears by the Sony MDR-7506s and says I should get those instead. He brought them for me to listen to and I did enjoy them, but I'm a very indecisive sort so I figured you fine people may be able to help me a bit better. I don't really have a way to listen to any headphones besides what my friend has (the nearest Best Buy and such is not-so-near to me) so I'll kind of be buying blindly (or I guess deafly, lol). I'm open to opinions on either of my choices, or even entirely different suggestions in my price range. I would also be willing to purchase a soundcard or desktop amp if it was needed to improve my set-up, so I can up my budget to accommodate that; I just didn't want to overwhelm myself when I'm just starting out.
 
Any help you guys/gals can offer me would be much appreciated. Cheers!
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 11:32 PM Post #2 of 8

cel4145

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Open headphones have the advantage of a bigger sound stage, but they do leak sound in and out. So think a bit for sure about whether or not you want to go open or closed.

I have the MDR-V6. The 7506 is essentially the same headphone slightly changed and rebranded (some people feel they sound the same). Given your budget, I recommend the Soundmagic HP150s. Somewhat similar closer to neutral with some emphasis like the 7506. But better low end bass extension, better bass, treble, and mids resolution--just does better what the 7506 do.

Then for a really good deal right now, Massdrop has the AKG K553 for $119. These are a slight update to the AKG K551s that you can find plenty of information about, which sold for a good bit more than the Massdrop deal. The K551s are known for having the biggest soundstages for a closed headphone.

Some headphones would need an amp to be used with your computer. For example, any of the 250 ohm Beyerdynamics may not be driven well by your motherboard audio.
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 12:59 AM Post #3 of 8

PurpleAngel

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Audio Technica ATH-AD900X open headphones, $168.30
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221735489269?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
As they are only 40-Ohms, will easy work plugged straight into the motherboard's on-board audio.
 
Sennheiser HD558 if you want to save some cash.
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 3:16 AM Post #4 of 8

infj25

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Open headphones have the advantage of a bigger sound stage, but they do leak sound in and out. So think a bit for sure about whether or not you want to go open or closed.

I have the MDR-V6. The 7506 is essentially the same headphone slightly changed and rebranded (some people feel they sound the same). Given your budget, I recommend the Soundmagic HP150s. Somewhat similar closer to neutral with some emphasis like the 7506. But better low end bass extension, better bass, treble, and mids resolution--just does better what the 7506 do.

 
I generally listen to my music and games at a fairly low/moderate volume (about 35% or so on my computer); is the sound leak of open headphones still going to be super prevalent even at lower volumes like that, or would I generally be okay? And those HP150s do seem very interesting, I'll have to check them out, thanks!
 
I suppose my main issue is the fact that I don't know what I really like in headphones yet, so I have no idea what I want in terms of sound, which leads me to lean towards neutral, all-around headphones to start. These are good suggestions though, I'll have to give them all a thorough look-over.
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 6:27 AM Post #5 of 8

lakedmb

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I agree on the AKG K553 deal going on over at Massdrop.com. I think for the price, $119, they are incredibly hard to beat. I was working on a paper last night and listened to them for roughly 5 hours straight without any discomfort, while wearing glasses. I can run them off my desktop with little trouble, but do use a little DAC/amp combo, the Fiio E10K ~$75.
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 11:33 AM Post #6 of 8

cel4145

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I generally listen to my music and games at a fairly low/moderate volume (about 35% or so on my computer); is the sound leak of open headphones still going to be super prevalent even at lower volumes like that, or would I generally be okay? And those HP150s do seem very interesting, I'll have to check them out, thanks!


Set your headphones to the volume you listen to them. Now, take them off your head and lay them on your desk still playing. Open headphones will never leak more sound than that :)
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 10:08 PM Post #7 of 8

infj25

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Set your headphones to the volume you listen to them. Now, take them off your head and lay them on your desk still playing. Open headphones will never leak more sound than that
smily_headphones1.gif

That is fantastic advice, much appreciated! Never knew about that trick. The AKG K553s do seem like a pretty fantastic deal for the price, and I do enjoy getting the best bang for my buck. I may have to go with those and use the rest of my budget for the ModMic and a soundcard or something. Would you recommend the HP 150s or the K553s more?
 
Apr 30, 2015 at 11:23 PM Post #8 of 8

cel4145

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I'd say that the HP150s and K551s that I have are comparable in sonic signature sound class. Be hard to know which you would like better. Since you don't know, I'd say go with the much cheaper pair. Also, they should (no promises) hold their value for trading on head-fi because of the $119 price.

That being said, the one thing to know about Massdrop group buys is that it can take a month or two before they all ship out to everyone. If you are looking for headphones now, Massdrop is not the way to go.
 

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