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#1 2019-01-11 15:21:58

S7.L
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Registered: 2018-09-16
Posts: 164

headphones / earphones

I am up for some better headphones or earphones, i can stretch the budget to $100 usd, what would you recommend ?

I have a set of sony headphones that cost me about $40 back atleast 3 years ago, so obviously things have changed. I dont need bluetooth or wireless capability. seems the wired technologies are slowly being faded out now....

Last edited by S7.L (2019-01-11 15:23:01)


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#2 2019-01-11 15:33:26

brontosaurusrex
Middle Office
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,620

Re: headphones / earphones

Not sure what to recommend for that price, personally using  Sennheiser HD 25 for a while now, but a new pair is kinda pricey.  p.s. You can wear this basically all day. Very subjectively the most beautiful headphones I ever owned.

edit: Grado SR60 maybe (I'd get extra pads with them). < They have this fun retro look (imho). p.s. I would't wear this all day. This are opened which means some sound will leak in both directions.

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2019-01-11 15:54:42)

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#3 2019-01-11 16:11:23

S7.L
Member
Registered: 2018-09-16
Posts: 164

Re: headphones / earphones

Thanks Bronto, definitely a good brand that one, i could probably swing that amount too, will look them up. Cheers


"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate."...Voilà!

~ V

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#4 2019-01-11 20:57:07

ohnonot
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Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 3,265
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Re: headphones / earphones

i had a very specific focus when i got my headphones:
they have to be LOUD and make the BEST out of anything that my mobile phone plays (low-quality youtube videos, web radio etc.)
balanced and sufficiently true to bass, mid-freq and treble.

if that is what you need, then these are perfect:
https://www.marshallheadphones.com/mh_uk_en/major-iii

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#5 2019-01-11 23:02:37

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 2,282

Re: headphones / earphones

S7.L wrote:

I am up for some better headphones or earphones, i can stretch the budget to $100 usd, what would you recommend ?

I have a set of sony headphones that cost me about $40 back atleast 3 years ago, so obviously things have changed. I dont need bluetooth or wireless capability. seems the wired technologies are slowly being faded out now....

Forget earphones, these are a sin.

Headphones are a science and a religion. It's a complex question. Check out r/headphones on Reddit (threads + wiki). https://www.headphonereviews.org used to be a good, user-curated site but they look dead and are out of date.

I'd start with

Open or closed? Open headphones are bad for trains and commute

Mobile or stationary use? Important aspect here are materials, durability, and the cable type (coiled vs straight, weight, length, servicability)

Use with amp or without?

Max price?

Build quality (like removable/replaceable cables, plastic vs metal (at $100 probably plastic), ear pads replaceable, ...)

Then compile, based on reviews, a few top choices and if possible listen to them. Or order all of them and return the duds back.

Personally, I've got Beyerdynamic DT770 for $100 recently but returned them because I underestimated their impedance and because they had non-removable cables. The headphones themselves were godlike but the big picture didn't match.

I'm still in the market for a pair in the range $100-300 myself; am curious what you end up getting.


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#6 2019-01-11 23:04:27

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 2,282

Re: headphones / earphones

brontosaurusrex wrote:

Not sure what to recommend for that price, personally using  Sennheiser HD 25 for a while now, but a new pair is kinda pricey.  p.s. You can wear this basically all day. Very subjectively the most beautiful headphones I ever owned.

edit: Grado SR60 maybe (I'd get extra pads with them). < They have this fun retro look (imho). p.s. I would't wear this all day. This are opened which means some sound will leak in both directions.

Supraaural is not uncomfortable over time? Only have got a circumaural sennheiser eh350 right now.


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#7 2019-01-12 00:26:15

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 6,275
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Re: headphones / earphones

Sennheiser for closed or open headphones, you can find a good pair on sale for about $100 USD. For open, try Grado SR125's for about $125-$150 or SR80s for a a little less...

https://gradolabs.com/headphones/prestige-series

A good headphone preamp can make a huge difference.

Hopefully, @glittersloth will add his input, he is the man when it comes to audio tech.

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#8 2019-01-12 00:27:54

glittersloth
...always giving it to you straight
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 684

Re: headphones / earphones

@S7.L
A bit of a bummer you're asking now and not a couple of months ago. Could've punched above your budget with all the Black Friday deals back then. Recommending headphones is a bit like recommending shoes, in that you won't know the full story until you get to try them on in person. Anyhooz, below $100, the pair that first come to mind are the Audio Technica ATH-M40, assuming you want over-ear closed back headphones that are easily driven by your laptop/desktop's internal amp. Also flexible enough for mobile use, assuming you have a smartphone with a headphone jack (more rare than unicorns these days, I've heard). Not sure about the official manufacturer MSRP, but I just checked Amazon and they're listed for $99 (minus delivery). Not quite as frequently recommended as the M50 (which is out of your budget), but they're said to measure a bit flatter. Shure also makes a model called the SRH440, which audiophiles hate but professionals love, which is (mostly) a good thing in my book. Listed at $99, last I checked. Grado SR60 and SR80 are also often recommended, though Grados as a whole are an acquired taste, both in terms of sound signature and comfort levels. They're like Marmite - love or hate, no middle ground. I'm sure Sennheiser also has something in that price range. I just haven't checked. There's also AKG, but they're owned by Samsung now, so I treat them like lepers.

@twoion
What variant of the DT770 did you get? There's supposedly 3 versions, and the 32Ω model is supposed to be made for those "mobile producers" wanting to plug straight the 3.5mm jack on laptops/tablets, though I've not tried that version myself. My personal rec: if detachable cables aren't an absolute must, I plonk the Phonon SMB-02 if you can stretch your budget by an extra $50. Over-ear design (circumaural), closed back. Not the type that'll smack you with [insert audiophile weasel-word] sound first-time out, but they're linear sounding and have an extremely non-fatiguing, uncoloured sound, made for those who sit in front of a mixing console for hours on end going back and forth between monitor speakers and headphones while mastering music. Easily driven (40Ω), though they can scale up well if you do upgrade your chain down the line. Possibly the best headphones I've used under the $500 - $600 mark, anything that beats it in that range (Senn HD600/650, Audio Technica Rx70, Shure 1840) is usually open-back and needs a dedicated external interface/amp to sound good. They're not for mobile use though, as their 3m long cable would suggest. Another possible downside is that they can distort a bit if used at very high volumes, though I'd be more worried about your hearing if you took them to those levels.

Last edited by glittersloth (2019-01-12 00:55:57)

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#9 2019-01-12 00:29:31

hhh
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Re: headphones / earphones

^ Nice timing. big_smile I'll have to check out those Technicas!

-edit- I'd spend a little more if you go for Grados, it's worth it. At least the 80s. Also, switching the provided ear cushions with Sennheiser HD414s improves comfort and base response, and gives the phones a nice look, like a bumblebee!

https://www.amazon.com/Pairs-Earpads-Re … B00I52VSBU

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#10 2019-01-12 00:42:00

glittersloth
...always giving it to you straight
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 684

Re: headphones / earphones

^ Edited and added a bit of info about Shure as well, in case you missed it. Frankly, below $100 is a really hard sector to recommend for these days. Pricing everywhere has gotten so bloated, and SQ has been dumbed down to "flatter" (in quotes because I'm trying to be polite) your usual Spotify/Pandora free-tier streaming quality. Half the time, you could probably get a $50 Sony or JVC that sounds just as good as anything listed for double the price. Heck, I've found those dental-coloured Apple buds to sound just as good as many sub $100 full size headphones if all you're doing is sitting in a quite room watching Youtube vids.

TL;DR = whatever the headphone, if you get something that manages to tame the sibilance from poorly mastered shit featuring cracked cymbals or nasal vocalists that overstress the c and s words (around the 5kHz to 8kHz range), you've already won half the battle. Let's face it, most people don't really know what a properly mastered album from ECM Records or Deutsche Grammophon sounds like. They don't have a reference point. Manufacturers know this and cheap out where they can, usually by simply drowning everything out with muddy bass.

Last edited by glittersloth (2019-01-12 00:58:03)

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#11 2019-01-12 00:48:22

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 6,275
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Re: headphones / earphones

glittersloth wrote:

[insert audiophile weasel-word]

A refined high end, silky smooth, with a neutral midrange and a slightly sloping bass. Gold-plated connectors ensure good head-space and a wide sound-stage. Trumpets on Beethoven's 9th are present without being glaring, and the timpani have sufficient bottom to kick you in your Versace slacks. Price: $12,000.

Every Stereophile review, ever

-edit- Source on my Grado info, I own a pair of SR100s that I picked up in the mid-nineties and they still sound great. Easily driven, a phone or laptop will do just fine but you'll need a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter to plug them in.

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#12 2019-01-12 12:37:23

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 2,282

Re: headphones / earphones

Hell, had I known that you're an audio tech expert!

glittersloth wrote:

@twoion
What variant of the DT770 did you get? There's supposedly 3 versions, and the 32Ω model is supposed to be made for those "mobile producers" wanting to plug straight the 3.5mm jack on laptops/tablets, though I've not tried that version myself.

250Ω. Though even the 32Ω version has non-detachable cables as it retails around here (link). Perhaps you are reffering to the Custom One Pro Plus?

Anyhow, realized people saying that they drove these things with their smartphones are full of bull. They sound godly in the mids but are missing almost everything that goes lower without proper amperage. Read into the types of portable headphone amps and decided it isn't worth spending an additional 100€ because I wouldn't know what I'd be doing.

My personal rec: if detachable cables aren't an absolute must

IMO they are. I'm already on my 3rd set of replacement cables for my now almost 8-year old Sennheiser eh350.

I plonk the Phonon SMB-02 if you can stretch your budget by an extra $50.

They seem to be hard to get in Germany and retail for $400 (350€) around here at the few shops that offer them, so almost double the budget (I'm assuming that is mostly due to taxes). Looking good though.

Possibly the best headphones I've used under the $500 - $600 mark, anything that beats it in that range (Senn HD600/650, Audio Technica Rx70, Shure 1840) is usually open-back and needs a dedicated external interface/amp to sound good.

Idiot me bought these specifically for use in noisy areas with people around, so open-back is a no-no for this purchase. At home, I'm 100% comfortable with my old pair of eh350.

When experimenting with the high-impedance DT770PROs though, I got to play with equalizer settings first time since a few years and it sensivitized me for the distortion my laptop audio introduces into the output at max volume. So I'm long-term in the market for a heaphone DAC/amp anyway as I'm now hearing the distortion in my eh350s too!

Pricewise, the Audio Technica ATH-M40 look very good. Most sellers here have the ATH-M40X, ATH-M50X, ATH-M60X, ATH-M70X though. Would you recommend the ATH-M50X over ATH-M40X? What does the X mean? These both look sturdy and I'd be willing to give them a shot (and both retail for <200€ (see my favorite online shop). On Reddit, r/headphones turns everything into religion, everybody there has spent $1000+ on specialty equipment and after  reading more and more headphone reviews I usually don't know more than when I started other than that 'it depends and I probably will buy something inferior'.

I'm listening to a wide range of music though (classic solo (mostly piano), classic orchestral, regular pop music, symphonic pop music (combo classical instruments and electronic), symphonic metal (think Nightwish) so with my old eh350s I thought it best (knowing nothing) to go for a 'monitoring' headphone type and, if necessary, fiddle with the sound of the music through an equalizer as I'm not willing to buy one pair of headphones for every type of music I like.

After saying that, would you recommend sticking to 'monitoring' type headphones? How do the ATH-M50X, ATH-MSR7 etc compare to that? Would they be acceptable for a wide range of music types with some EQ fiddling?


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#13 2019-01-12 13:26:18

S7.L
Member
Registered: 2018-09-16
Posts: 164

Re: headphones / earphones

Popular topic this one.

I much prefer a good speaker setup at home but folks nearby don't share my like of loud music or the type i like, so a good set of headphones is better than nothing i suppose. Ill generally wear earphones when i am out as they are nice and compact but headphones when i am at home or speaker setup at 8 am sunday morning while i am cleaning up house. When i have a bit more expendable income im also looking into something wireless from Denon as a home theater setup
https://www.au.denon.com/au/heos/wirele … lifiersmrs

And if i had the spare cash i would probably throw it at something like these for headphone...

https://www.au.denon.com/au/product/por … rHeadphone

Anyhow thanks for the input all, much to think about. Definitely will go and try some brands on before i buy.

Last edited by S7.L (2019-01-12 13:30:04)


"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate."...Voilà!

~ V

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#14 2019-01-12 16:33:12

twoion
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Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 2,282

Re: headphones / earphones

S7.L wrote:

I much prefer a good speaker setup at home

headphones are a hard requirement in any shared living arrangement. Speakers is what people living in their own homes, soundproofed condominiums or apartments can afford. Everything else strikes me as kind of impolite, to put it mildly smile Still can't understand why the people living two flats next to mine fail to get this.


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#15 2019-01-12 17:15:21

brontosaurusrex
Middle Office
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,620

Re: headphones / earphones

twoion wrote:

Supraaural is not uncomfortable over time? Only have got a circumaural sennheiser eh350 right now.

I guess the shoes comparison kinda holds some water. In this example iam talking about personal experience, your milage may vary (head shape/size for example) . In pro enviroments they have an edge, since I can free one or both ears with minimum force and still keep them on the head. At home I can jump into some very comfortable chair and they will not be on the way (unlike bigger closed cans). P.s. Grado sr60 are similar size, but not as comfortable (for me).

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2019-01-12 20:40:54)

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#16 2019-01-13 04:43:17

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 6,275
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Re: headphones / earphones

twoion wrote:

After saying that, would you recommend sticking to 'monitoring' type headphones?

My 2 cents? Absolutely, especially because you're listening to different genres of music with wildly different recording techniques. Some of those Stereophile buzzwords actually hold water... sensitivity, neutrality, soundstage. Combine those with comfort and low-fatigue (do those cans annoy you after a while?) and boom goes the dynamite.

-edit- The cheapest , most bang-for-the-buck upgrade you can make to your audio equipment is a good pair of headphones. Speaker placement and crossovers, room standing-waves, neighbors... all eliminated.

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#17 2019-01-13 11:54:03

glittersloth
...always giving it to you straight
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 684

Re: headphones / earphones

@twoion
Sorry, currently away visiting mother. Will have something typed out for you in couple of days. Before that, I'll try to find FR curves of that EH 350 you're used to, and see if there's anything with a similar signature in your preferred price range.

Last edited by glittersloth (2019-01-13 11:55:10)

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