Recommendations for CLOSED Classical phones under $150
Jun 30, 2009 at 7:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 50


New Head-Fier
Mar 17, 2009
Hello, I'm looking for a good recommendation of a < $150 pair of headphones with some amount of isolation for (mostly early, mostly choral) classical music. I know open headphones would be superior to closed for this but I am looking to block out outside noise/music to at least some degree. I originally had been set on an open pair and had tried the AD700s (absolutely perfect by my ears though awkward fit) and HD555s (couldn't stand them comparatively but willing to try senns again with closed). But, now with construction going on directly underneath me (which isn't so bad if the workers weren't listening to the radio all day) I'm looking for something with more isolation.

I'm currently leaning towards the A700s purely based on my experience with the AD700s, but would like to hear form anyone who listens to a decent amount of classical (especially sparser things -- not big orchestral pieces) on a CLOSED phone for a personal recommendation.
Jun 30, 2009 at 8:25 PM Post #2 of 50
I'm very happy with the K518 DJ for classical (despite the name!). The bass is a bit exaggerated, and the soundstage isn't great, but those shouldn't be much of a problem with early and choral music.
Jun 30, 2009 at 9:12 PM Post #4 of 50
What's the relation between the K-271 and the K-271 MKII in terms of SQ -- the latter being available on Amazon (where I'd prefer to buy), though a decent bit outside my price range.

What about the K-271 makes it a good choice for classical, as compared to the cheaper and more available A700?
Jun 30, 2009 at 9:18 PM Post #5 of 50
Have not heard the A700, but can second the K271 recommendation. Detailed neutral sound, no overpowering bass, comfortable and good isolation. The K271 / K271mkII / K272HD is the same headphone, but I believe the MKII comes with the velours pads standard (you'll want those). K272HD has a fixed cable.
Maybe you can find one in the FS forum, I think the going price is ±120.
Jun 30, 2009 at 11:18 PM Post #9 of 50
Am I right in assuming (after reading around for the past hour or so on head-fi) that the SQ of the HD280 really can't compare to the K271 or A700 for my musical interests? I keep seeing it sort of slammed in terms of SQ on head-fi...
Jun 30, 2009 at 11:30 PM Post #10 of 50

Originally Posted by hpaten /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Am I right in assuming (after reading around for the past hour or so on head-fi) that the SQ of the HD280 really can't compare to the K271 or A700 for my musical interests? I keep seeing it sort of slammed in terms of SQ on head-fi...

There is a greater chance of you preferring the K271 over the other two for your stated uses.
Jul 1, 2009 at 12:35 AM Post #11 of 50
Because of how I think they will fit my head and favorable reviews for classical music I'd like to try some AKGs if I can swing it in terms of my budget. Is the K240 remotely comparable to the k271 (it's MUCH closer to my price range) -- and second, does the K240 have any noticeable isolation (it being "semi-open").

My running comparison right now is the A700(poss A900), HD280(skeptical), K271($$$), K240(?) and possibly the ATH-M50 (can't find enough info yet to disqualify completely)

I'm probably way off base on the M50 being in the running but it seemed more in line with the K240, HD280, etc lower-end line up potentially. My budget like I said is around $150, but that's for easy-to-purchase, new, Amazon type items. Used I'd be extremely hesitant to lay out that much.
Jul 1, 2009 at 12:42 AM Post #12 of 50
Also is there anyone out there who can give me a first-hand comparison of the A700s (or poss 900s since they have similar attributes) with the k271s with classical music or small jazz ensembles perhaps? It's hard to compare separate reviews because both the AT camp and the AKG camp describe their phones similarly.
Jul 1, 2009 at 2:33 AM Post #14 of 50
I highly recommend you to up your budget a bit and get the ER4p. It easily is superior to any of the <$150 closed backs when it comes to classical music. Plus if that construction is really noisy a closed back might not be able to give you enough isolation.
Jul 1, 2009 at 3:58 AM Post #15 of 50
I've tried high quality IEMs and was extremely disappointed. I don't think they can compare for the aspects I listen for in the music I listen to. I'm looking generally for a large soundstage and the in-your-head-ness of the IEMs is intolerable to me. I'd trade isolation for quality any day but I have to have at least some isolation. I don't want to feel warn out at the end of a day and the in-your-head music wears me out as much as hearing the construction does. Also, both the A700/900 and the k271 seem to get good reviews of having a good amount of the properties of open phones despite being closed -- I'm hoping that that pans out in my listening experience.

As I mentioned... I owned a pair of AD700s for a while and that's about the sound I would be aiming for that is non-fatiguing and that I can really appreciate both the individual sounds (say the instrumental or voice single lines in Monteverdi's magnificat) and counterpoint (like in byrd or bach). I tried not the ER4p but something just below that at the peak of my budget and the sound of IEMs has to be the exact polar opposite of the AD700s. I also tried at the time some Senn 555s which I thought somewhat similar to the IEMs in the flatness (like a studio with mattresses on the wall, so that none of the sounds connected to the previous sounds). I'm not sure if it's just soundstage I'm talking about here but that describes the difference well.

On top of all that the IEMs are way too fragile. I don't want to worry about stepping on or snagging an IEM and loosing $200. I work as a sculptor and though the appeal of IEMs is nice in terms of not getting in the way, clay getting caked on them or a sharp edge of something severing the cord would suck compared to the same thing happening to something that is a bit easier to repair.

Honestly the AD700 was almost good enough in sound quality that I could ignore a good amount of background noise because I was able to focus so well on the music. The fit was too loose, though, and for long term flexibility some degree of attenuation of outside noise is probably a wise bet if these are going to be my only headphones.

Users who are viewing this thread