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The Hassle-Free Headphone Recommendation Thread: Cans that sound great without amping, modding, or burn-in.

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  1. doublea71
    I think the title says it all. What are the best headphones, open or closed, that need no amping, modding, or burning-in to sound great? If I just want to plug something into my ipod and be on my merry way, what should I buy?
    Suffice to say, many will likely improve with amping, but let's avoid debating the use of amps here; the purpose of this is to recommend products to people who have no intention of buying an amp, cracking them open for modding, and don't have the patience to burn them in (or don't believe in such a thing for whatever reason).
    I'm hoping this will become a useful place for people who just want to buy a set of cans and be done with it, but don't know where to begin. This will likely be most useful to new head-fiers, so I'm hoping people will be helpful when questions are posted. (To be honest, I don't have a wide range of gear experience, so this will be informative to me, too.) Have at it!
    abm0 likes this.
  2. sofastreamer
  3. doublea71
    Thanks! I hope this thread gets some traction, but we'll see. BTW, your profile pic look like Stephen King and Jay Leno's love child.
    RADI0HEAD likes this.
  4. sofastreamer
    damn, i am revealed :)
  5. BillsonChang007
    My top list for this:
    UE4000 (detailed, nice bass, slight artificial upper mids and highs thought)
    UE6000 ( Active NC, V-Shape sound, tight bass, a bit dark sound )
    HD 439 (warm, recessed upper mids and rolled off highs )
    MDR-1R ( smooth, slightly warm, good bass, mid-centric[my favorite], excellent for modern music )
    MDR-7506 ( right amount of bass for no basshead, neutral, clear mids, slightly bright sound to me)
    SRH-840 ( mid bass bump causing slight sibilants, smooth and creamy mids, neutral )
    HD 598 ( right amount of bass, forward mids, rolled of highs, slight warm, sibilants some music, soundstage )
    AKG K167 ( not very well controlled bass and very grainy sound, forward highs, awesome mids, great soundstage for what it is )
    Momentum ( bassy a bit loose, warm, clean, sparkle highs )
    that's all I wanted to say and I hope I help those who searching for new headphones in the future!
    Billson :)
    LaughMoreDaily likes this.
  6. doublea71
    Thanks for contributing! The MDR-1Rs appeal to me...they seem to be non-fatiguing and quite comfortable.
  7. doublea71
    Sony ZX700
    Sennheiser HD-25 II
    Both seem to be fine w/o amping or modding.
  8. realstar
    The entire Grado headphone range from the sr60i right up to the PS1000 works just fine straight out of most devices. Audio Technica headphones are also very easy to drive. The AD2000 is by far one of the easiest driven headphones I have ever tried. You get very good volume and performance even from an average portable device. Grado RS1i or sr225 are two of the better portable player headphones I have tried as well.
  9. wolfetan44
    Grados and MDR-1R.
  10. newphones
    koss ksc75 (I can't really use these right now: they sound too good, are therefore addicting, and cause me to listen for far too long at far too high a volume. Etched, exaggerated highs are too fatiguing for me)
    koss portapro (these burn in very nicely however IME but they sound great right out of box too)
    apple earpod
  11. obobskivich
    Grado headphones, most (all?) Audio-Technica headphones, the non-250 ohm Koss line-up, a good number of Sony headphones, Bose headphones (hey, they fit the criteria!), the older series Denon headphones (I think the new ones probably are too, but I haven't tried them - Denon claims they are), Kenwood KH-K1000, and probably others I'm forgetting. :xf_eek:
  12. Tsujigiri
    I think that headphones that can't be played loud enough without an amp are pretty rare and specialized. Here's the thing: a lot of headphones that people say need amps will still sound better unamped than low end headphones intended for portable devices. It would be more accurate to say that "it would be a shame not to use an amp" than "this headphone needs an amp."
    BlendedTwice likes this.
  13. obobskivich


    Primarily the headphones that'll fall flat with portables tend to be of the high impedance + low sensitivity variety; older Koss models, and the top-shelf from Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, and AKG tend to fit into this category. It also should be remembered that portable devices today have come a long way from where they were 10 years ago, especially as manufacturers are starting to respond to trends in personal audio.
  14. Mitchm
    I have so far the VSonic GR07 and the Audio Technica A900x I get a great amount of volume out of the MacBook I don't see the need for a Amp. I love the idea of making it simple with the Mac Book or my Samsung 3 using Mog music service. But I would like to have the best sound and a good value and enjoy keeping it simple. I'm being pulled towards the Sennheiser HD650 with an Amp to get a great sound and to an open HP. I'm also thinking of the HD 598 or the AD900x for a open can without an amp. I just don't want to be pulled towards something else that maybe better. Yes why should we buy cans that are 10 years old.
  15. obobskivich

    There's nothing wrong with age - I see this fallacy a lot, that "newer is more advanced and better" - and with speakers and headphones it generally isn't true.
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