Where is a newbie to start?
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Duffrey

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I have been into car audio for a very long time, but now I want to branch out into home audio as well. My first purchase is going to be a nice pair of headphones to use as reference.
However, I don't know much about headphones.
I am looking to spend about $100-150 on a headphone/amp combo (ebay prices, not MSRP). As this will be my only pair of headphones, they must be able to work well for portable as well as home use.
What are some headphones and amps that are generally regarded as the best bang for the buck in my price range?
I listen to all types of music, but particularly acoustic rock, radiohead, and pink floyd.
I generally prefer a "warm", rich sound with plenty of midbass.
 
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jms007bnd007

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I would say that for your budget you might consider going for a JMT CHA47 amp and then either Grado SR60 headphones or Sennheiser HD 280 phones, depending on whether or not you want sealed. I had JMT build me the amp, and I use it with my sennheisers, and am very pleased. PM him about building you one. You won't regret it.
 
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andrzejpw

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jms007bnd007 laid out a nice path for you. A JMT amp + grados will be awesome! If you can swing it, get a pair of sr80s. They will benefit more from the amp.
 
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MacDEF

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Given the preferences for "warm, rich sound with plenty of midbass," I wouldn't recommend the HD 280, which are a bit brighter than some of the other headphones in this class. The Beyer DT250-80 fit your sound preferences perfectly, and can be driven from a portable or a dedicated HP amp. However, they don't fold, which may or may not be a problem for you.

As others have mentioned, Grados might fit you well, too. Some might disagree about them being "warm" though. They can be driven from both a portable and a HP amp. I'd also recommend the SR80 over the SR80 if you may ever get an amp.

$100-$150 for headphones *and* an amp is tight. If it were me, I'd spend the $100-$150 on a good pair of headphones now, then save up for an amp later.

You can also try a pair of Koss KSC-35, which have *exactly* the sound you describe, sound great, are inexpensive, and may end up making you happy for much less money. I'd get them anyway, regardless of what else you get
 
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dohminator

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The audio Technica A55 might be what you are looking for. It has more than plenty of bass. You can get it for $100 at www.audiocubes.com

It doesn't need an amp
 
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I second MacDEFs emotion:

No matter what else you decide to buy, be sure to get a pair of Koss KSC-35s. Martin Tibbs sells them on Headwize for $24 shipped.

Every headphone has champions and detractors on this forum. But the Koss KSC-35s come closer to universal approval than anything else. They compare favorably to cans costing 4 or 5 times as much.

It's quite rare to be able to say with confidence to anyone, "Buy these and you won't be sorry."

Well, buy these and you won't be sorry.

--Bill
 
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andrzejpw

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run, don't walk, to get a pair of ksc-35s. They are amazing for the price.
 
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kwkarth

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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
Given the preferences for "warm, rich sound with plenty of midbass," I wouldn't recommend the HD 280, which are a bit brighter than some of the other headphones in this class. The Beyer DT250-80 fit your sound preferences perfectly, and can be driven from a portable or a dedicated HP amp. However, they don't fold, which may or may not be a problem for you.

As others have mentioned, Grados might fit you well, too. Some might disagree about them being "warm" though. They can be driven from both a portable and a HP amp. I'd also recommend the SR80 over the SR80 if you may ever get an amp.

$100-$150 for headphones *and* an amp is tight. If it were me, I'd spend the $100-$150 on a good pair of headphones now, then save up for an amp later.

You can also try a pair of Koss KSC-35, which have *exactly* the sound you describe, sound great, are inexpensive, and may end up making you happy for much less money. I'd get them anyway, regardless of what else you get


Right on Mac!! spot on recommendations.
 
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Neruda

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I also concur with mac's reccomendations. Wait on an amp, and definitely consider the KSC-35s.
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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go koss first, then you will have a greater knowledge of what you wnat in a headphone. plus, you might be happy with the koss.
 
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Duffrey

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Thanks for all the replies, fellas.
Well, I'm convinced, I'm about to order some Koss KSC-35s.
So nobody mentioned an amp with these cans; would they benefit very much from an amp?
 
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joelongwood

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Quote:

Originally posted by jms007bnd007
I would say that for your budget you might consider going for a JMT CHA47 amp and then either Grado SR60 headphones or Sennheiser HD 280 phones, depending on whether or not you want sealed. I had JMT build me the amp, and I use it with my sennheisers, and am very pleased. PM him about building you one. You won't regret it.


Nice recommendation regarding the Grado SR-60 and CHA47 amp! I've been listening a lot lately to the SR-60s with this combo (and the META42 as well) and I've gained a real appreciation for what these Grados can do for $69 retail. To my ears, they are warmer than I remember the SR-80s to be (comfy pads at play here?), with excellent bass and a very smooth high end. For me, they do not exhibit any harshness at all, as some have complained. I know the Koss KSC-35s are an amazing bargain at around $25, but I feel the SR-60s, being full-sized headphones, are much easier for me to put on, and deliver sound that, for $69 is almost as good a bargain. Highly recommended.
 
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Duffrey

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OK, I have decided that I am for sure going to buy the KSC-35's. It sounds like I cannot go wrong with these. If I decide they are not enough, I will get maybe the SR-60's and the CHA47 amp, and the KSC-35's will still be great for the gym.
I have seen the META42 mentioned a couple of times, what is it?

Thanks again for the replies!
 
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kerelybonto

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The META42 is a new design drawn up by some of the guys on this forum and over at Headwize. I know that JMT, Tangent, and eric343 are making them for people, maybe a couple other guys too. Cost can vary considerably depending on what kind of components you put it together with.

Since you're getting the KSC-35, I'll also recommend the Grado for home use. I was going to debunk that, because they're not at all portable -- way too open for use in anything but a very quiet environment. But very good for home -- I use the SR80 (retail $95) and love them. Supposedly they have more and better bass than the SR60 (which I have not heard), so you may want to consider them instead. I like their bass very much. Grados also sound very good without an amp, if you don't want to commit to that purchase immediately.

You also said you prefer a warm sound. As MacDEF mentioned, Grados are not exactly that. They're actually fairly bright -- I can only compare them to my Sony V6, which are brighter, but not by a lot.

kerelybonto
 
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joelongwood

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Quote:

I have seen the META42 mentioned a couple of times, what is it?


Duffrey, it's a new type of amp that was designed by some Head-Fiers. By most accounts it's an improvement over the basic cmoy/CHA47 design that has been very popular here for the past year or so. Do a search for META42 and you'll find a wealth of information.
 
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