Hi all, I'm looking into getting my first pair of decent over the ear headphones. I currently use a pair of Klipsch Image S4s for listening on the go, which sound decent to me. Since I'm a gamer, while at home I use a pair of Steelseries Siberia V2s, which while being extremely comfortable, I can tell that they are lacking in audio quality. I also use an Asus Xonar DGX sound card. I mostly listen to house and alternative, but I do like a bit of metal and rock. I enjoy bass, but not when it is overwhelming. My budget is around $150 for a pair of closed back headphones, and in that price point I have found a lot of potential candidates, almost entirely from the same brand. I have been looking at Audio Technica ATH-M50s, Ultrasone HFI-580s, 680s, and 780s, Ultrasone Pro 550s and 750s, and the Ultrasone DJ1s and DJ1 Pros. I'm open to any other suggestions as well. Thanks a lot in advance for the input.
(P.S., I'm quite new to the audiophile world, so please excuse my lack of knowledge/ misuse of terms
Personally I really didn't like the ATH-M50 - too congested and "wall of sound" like (especially no good for gaming), and not very comfortable. The actual sound signature isn't overly offensive, the presentation just isn't great imho, and they won't really "get into" acoustic genres (like rock or metal). Finally I found them a bit boomy (this would be overpowering) - not something I'd like with extremely bassy music. They do alright with small ensemble stuff and light electronic music though.
What I would suggest instead would be either the Koss TBSE / DJ100, or the Bose AE2 (I know Bose takes a bad rap in a lot of audiophile circles, but hear me out) - the Koss have a nice mid-forward sound with pleasantly extended and rolled-off bass and treble. They're very easy to listen to, and very comfortable - they will work well enough for gaming (staging isn't perfect but it's not bad either), and are very nice with a wide genre of music. The Bose are going to be more comfortable still, isolate better, have much better imaging/staging (because of their angled driver design), but their signature is a bit different - they're rolled-off on the top and well extended on the bottom. They aren't over-bearing anywhere, and are very easy to use all-day (both comfort and sound signature); absolutely fantastic for gaming, and competent with a wide genre of music as well. What they give up over the Koss is fantastic intimate voicing (which is a long-running theme in headphones - you either get intimate mids or a wide soundstage).
Given that you mentioned gaming, I'd probably point towards Bose, but consider the Koss as a serious contender if you aren't playing games that need high positional accuracy a large portion of the time. I can also tell you that both companies will stand behind their products.
Unfortunately I haven't tried any of the Ultrasone closed models (but I do enjoy their open models) - so I can't really comment there. I will tell you some of the ones you've found are "duplicates" though - the DJ series are slightly tweaked and re-packaged versions of other models (iirc the DJ1 and HFI-580 are more or less the same thing, and the DJ1-Pro and the PRO550 line up in a similar way).