What are the best $40 closed cans? (hd201/k26p/hp460/htx7/rx700/d501/rp15)
Oct 18, 2008 at 10:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Mr.Roboto

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Hi, I've been looking for the best closed headphones for under $40 to be used with pop music from today, the nineties, and eighties, some classical, and some jpop. They have to be closed for use next to people and in libraries. Here are some choices I'm looking at, but feel free to offer additional suggestions. The * means that they aren't commonly mentioned.

Senn HD201 ($20) - Seems commonly recommended, but also widely acknowledged to be worse than PX100/PortaPro. No bass, but detailed with great soundstage according to the famous "15 closed headphones" review. Some have mentioned that its better with a Fiio amp.

JBL Reference 410 ($26) - Same as K26p/414p which are highly recommended by some sites but are generally disliked on Head-Fi.

*Phillips HP460 ($26) - Are said to be comparable to K81dj, so it should be better than the JBLs. Only mentioned in 2 threads, however, so its risky.

Panasonic RP-HTX7 ($37) - Generally well liked, looks very good. Not sure where this goes compared against the others.

*JVC HA-RX700 ($33) - Poor man's ATH-A900/A700 according to a thread. Recommened by (H)ard Forum but not mentioned much here.

*Denon D501k ($38) - Reviewed on a thread here and recommended by Headphonedeals.org. Said to be better than PX100, and both reviews say its comparable to HD280.

Equation RP15MC ($50) - Not under $40 but seems well liked here. Probably in a different level from the Senn, JBL, Panasonic, and Phillips. Supposedly very uncomfortable.


If anyone has any insight into comparing these or any experience, I would greatly appreciate it. Or if you have anything else to suggest. Thanks.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:40 AM Post #2 of 13

ourfpshero

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i'm the one who recently 'discovered the jvc harx700. several peeps have bought them here and at hardforum and have liked them.
on your list i've tried the senn 201, panasonic rp-htx7, and the equations. the jvc's blow them all away its not even a contest.
the senn201 is nice just because of its price. the equations are are all mid-bass and not much else- sounded pretty terrible to me. the panasonics are 'neat' ,compact, nice feel to them. comparable to those bose headphone u hear in the demo stands at Target (but much less $$). the panasonics also seem well made and durable- something to consider if this is going in your backpack. the jvc has a huge sound, loads of bass, nice highs. its an obvious audio technica imitator and sounds like one also- a good thing! its also a humoungous headphone-not exactly portable
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 3:03 AM Post #3 of 13

1Time

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Since you mentioned using them in a library next to others, you'll want to make a minimal amount of sound leakage your top priority, more important than how the headphones sound. Which one leaks the least should be the guiding question. Which one sounds the best should not.

I use the JBL Reference 410 (JBL410) and it keeps sound in very good IF the ear pads are positioned squarely on the ears to form a seal. I don't know how this compares to the other headphones listed.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 4:30 AM Post #4 of 13

Rocksteady

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I've got the jbl 410 and the panasonic rphtx7. I have no experience with any of the others you mentioned.

I think the rphtx7 will perform better between the two for the music you listed. I'm impressed with their sound once the mids are EQed a little higher. They also have more sound stage than the 410s. I find both headphones to be bass heavy. To me, the 410s are too bassy, which is also uncontrolled and that muddy up the mids. Taming the bass with EQ helped a little. For my ears, the sound quality sounds more correct on the rphtx7, all it needs are the mids to be raised up a little.

The 410s are really small and easily portable since they fold. Their inline volume control can come in handy; that thing is really tiny. The cable on the 410s are really thin too. As for sound leakage, they are about the same at all volume levels. If your music is loud or if your playing music with them not on your head, your neighbors will hear. One thing really annoying about the 410s is that once you take them off the size adjustment sliders retract into the headband, so every time you quickly take them off and put them back on they have to be readjusted. Both headphones tend to get lopsided since their adjustment sliders don't click into place. For comfort I prefer the rphtx7s. The clamping force combined with the small diameter earcups of the 410s get uncomfortable for me really quick. The 410 pads have a diameter of about 55mm. I like the build quality on the htx7s more too. I feel like they'd be okay if I tossed them around. If I tossed the 410s around I'd be worried that the small swivel arms which connect the headband to the earcups would snap. The 410s rubberized finish is nice though. I think I prefer that over glossy finishes that can show fingerprints, which is what you will find on the htx7. In the end, if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the htx7s.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 5:02 AM Post #5 of 13

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocksteady /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've got the jbl 410 and the panasonic rphtx7. I have no experience with any of the others you mentioned.

I think the rphtx7 will perform better between the two for the music you listed. I'm impressed with their sound once the mids are EQed a little higher. They also have more sound stage than the 410s. I find both headphones to be bass heavy. To me, the 410s are too bassy, which is also uncontrolled and that muddy up the mids. Taming the bass with EQ helped a little. For my ears, the sound quality sounds more correct on the rphtx7, all it needs are the mids to be raised up a little.

The 410s are really small and easily portable since they fold. Their inline volume control can come in handy; that thing is really tiny. The cable on the 410s are really thin too. As for sound leakage, they are about the same at all volume levels. If your music is loud or if your playing music with them not on your head, your neighbors will hear. One thing really annoying about the 410s is that once you take them off the size adjustment sliders retract into the headband, so every time you quickly take them off and put them back on they have to be readjusted. Both headphones tend to get lopsided since their adjustment sliders don't click into place. For comfort I prefer the rphtx7s. The clamping force combined with the small diameter earcups of the 410s get uncomfortable for me really quick. The 410 pads have a diameter of about 55mm. I like the build quality on the htx7s more too. I feel like they'd be okay if I tossed them around. If I tossed the 410s around I'd be worried that the small swivel arms which connect the headband to the earcups would snap. The 410s rubberized finish is nice though. I think I prefer that over glossy finishes that can show fingerprints, which is what you will find on the htx7. In the end, if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the htx7s.



JBL410:

Sound:
I agree - too bassy in stock form. I would only recommend it for its sound if modded. When modded, it actually sounds pretty good, balanced, aggressive and fun. I listen to mine quite a bit.

Leakage:
I agree - if playing loud, a neighbor will hear. At louder volumes, the sound will leak through your ears. Circumaural headphones would prevent this. In this price range, IEMs would be best for use in a library if playing loud music.

Comfort:
I disagree - it can be adjusted to one's preference because its band is bendable metal.

Size:
I agree - it's small with earpads measuring about 54 or 55 mm.

Durability:
I disagree - it would take a pretty good wack or twisted wrench to break a plastic swivel. Its weak link seems to be its thin cable.

Inconveniences:
I agree - the headband does not lock into position, but it's easy enough to adjust. Also, the cable twists at the Y. I just put it behind my head where it doesn't bother me.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 7:07 AM Post #6 of 13

Rocksteady

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 1Time /img/forum/go_quote.gif
JBL410:

Sound:
I agree - too bassy in stock form. I would only recommend it for its sound if modded. When modded, it actually sounds pretty good, balanced, aggressive and fun. I listen to mine quite a bit.

Leakage:
I agree - if playing loud, a neighbor will hear. At louder volumes, the sound will leak through your ears. Circumaural headphones would prevent this. In this price range, IEMs would be best for use in a library if playing loud music.

Comfort:
I disagree - it can be adjusted to one's preference because its band is bendable metal.

Size:
I agree - it's small with earpads measuring about 54 or 55 mm.

Durability:
I disagree - it would take a pretty good wack or twisted wrench to break a plastic swivel. Its weak link seems to be its thin cable.

Inconveniences:
I agree - the headband does not lock into position, but it's easy enough to adjust. Also, the cable twists at the Y. I just put it behind my head where it doesn't bother me.



Just bent my 410s headband, your right, they're more comfortable now. They sound a little better too, more balanced.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 7:14 AM Post #7 of 13

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocksteady /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Just bent my 410s headband, your right, they're more comfortable now. They sound a little better too, more balanced.


A trick I read in an older Head-Fi post for decreasing the bass is to position the ear pads so there's a slight gap, not a full seal. However, I much prefer the sound with a full seal and the foam mod I am using. Just listened to Rush's Tom Sawyer, classic rock, very good.
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 12:20 AM Post #8 of 13

Mr.Roboto

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A bit late on this, but thanks for all the replies everyone! I usually listen to music at very reasonable levels, so the library thing was really to justify my need for closed headphones over say, a portapro or px100.

I was hoping after Rocksteady's comparison to drop the JBLs, but now I have to reconsider yet again.

The JVCs do look very good, with Ourfpshero comparing them favorably against a number of the competitors. Others on the HARX700 thread have said it was better than the RP21s and KSC75 (and by extension the Portapro/PX100?) possibly making it the best for the price. I just wish it was more commonly mentioned/recommended. And I have to get over my brand prejudices (JVC is considered low end in my parts).

The Phillips and Denons seem mentioned even less than the JVCs. I might be able to test drive the equations in the next few days, so I can see if they are uncomfortable or too muddy.

As for the HD201, that seems to be the safest choice, but also most likely the worse in terms of SQ.

Another question: would the Sony V6/Denon D1001/Beyerdynamic DT660 ($69/71/76 respectively) be significantly better than these? And would the JVCs be comparable to these? Thanks!
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 3:01 AM Post #10 of 13

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Benaiir /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Awe, the JBL 410's sound awesome but the build is TERRIBLE. One driver broke off and JBL said they'd repair it, so I sent it out. And now they're saying they never received it, when the tracking # and address checks out just fine.

(Mr Postman got it wrong?)



No problems with either of the two JBL 410 that I bought. I've opened and closed the one that I kept numerous times in attempts to mod it. And it's holding up quite well despite my ongoing monkeying around with it and almost daily use.

I'd say the JVC RX700 would be a good buy at under $40 shipped. I would buy the D1001 over the other two that are priced over $40.
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 6:09 AM Post #11 of 13

-=Germania=-

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HD202 for $25 is a great deal.

Open up the cups and throw in some stuffing.
Replace the cable with some Canare/Mogami mini quad.

Instant durable, cheap, excellent sounding cans that compete with $100 heapdhones.
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 6:12 AM Post #12 of 13

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by -=Germania=- /img/forum/go_quote.gif
HD202 for $25 is a great deal.

Open up the cups and throw in some stuffing.
Replace the cable with some Canare/Mogami mini quad.

Instant durable, cheap, excellent sounding cans that compete with $100 heapdhones.



Good to know. Is it hard or expensive to re-cable as you suggested?
 

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