Another headphone thread!

Games, Gaming and Hardware
I've been in the market for new headphones for awhile now but I keep getting stumped. I'll find one set of headphones I like, but then I find something I don't like about it. I then find another set I like, but find something else I don't like about it, so I'm coming here to get some help.

What I'm looking for:
-Something for music/gaming, but mainly music. No gaming headsets please.
-Genres of music: Mostly symphonic/gothic/progressive metal, some classical, and Final Fantasy music >.>
-Preferably over ear as I'm a bit tired of earbuds. I'm not completely opposed to on-ear as long as it keeps external sound out
-Closed. I'll be using these at school and work, so if they can keep my sound in and other sound out, I'd be really happy. I work at a paper printer company, with 2-3 printing presses and 4-5 stitching machines going at once, so there's a lot to block out.
-Portable and durable. I know this clashes with me wanting over-the-ear headphones, but if it's possible to get them over-the-ear and have them be portable, I'd be a happy durid. However, most of the time I'll be using them, I'll be in one spot for awhile.
-Comfortable. They'll be used for LONG periods of time.

Importance of these qualities in order: Sound quality>>>>closed/over-ear>comfortable>portable

Budget: Preferably $100-$150, but if it's necessary to got to $200 to get what I'd like, I'll consider it. If what I want is completely out of this budget, let me know.

What I've looked at:
-Audio Technica A9000 (http://www.amazon.com/Technica-ATH-A900-Audiophile-Closed-Back-Headphones/dp/B0006VT1TY) (my main complaint there is the 3 meter long cord)
-Grado SR80i (http://www.gradolabs.com/page_headphones.php?item=ec27f1750be96023333af0dfe546af44)(I hear the durability with these is iffy, especially if you travel a lot. They also don't look that comfortable, and they're open =\)
-Sennheiser HD 558 (http://www.sennheiserusa.com/around-ear-headphones-acoustic_504631)

Thanks ahead of time for your help!
I believe senheissers tend to be a good headphone for people who aren't bass heavy listenres, which is up your creek from what I see. I have the HD555s (open, around hear) and they are ridiculous comfortable and sound super crisp for Final Fantasy music (Yes I listen to FF music too). But they leak sound pretty bad, so I typically use them when it's quiet.
The A900s are a good choice.

Another one worth looking at are the Beyerdynamic DT770s. They're closed cans, very tough, but stretch your budget a bit. Also, the 250ohm version really needs an amp. There's an 80ohm version, but they're scarce and tend to be a bit pricier.

Both tend to be generalist headphones. They do most things pretty well. The DT770 is noted for very forward base.

Grados are...problematic. I haven't really heard anything about fragility, but they do have a niche sound. They tend to be very bright. They do classical well, but rock...eh...you'd better audition a set if you can.

All these cans are rather large. The Beyerdynamics would probably be the most durable. They're noted for it. Audiotechnicas look a bit spidery, but mine have held up very well. However, they don't travel much. I had issues with Senns, but mine were an open superaural model no longer made.
I tend to just grab Skull Candies. Only downside is they are super easy to break.
IEMs can give very good isolation. In a work environment, they might be best.

I don't have any experience with them, though. A trip over to Headfi.org would probably give you some ideas on what's out there and what's good--on a very subjective level, of course!
I'm liking how the DT700s are looking but they also have a 3 meter long cord. How would you suggest handling that?
12/10/2012 07:31 PMPosted by Manik
I'm liking how the DT700s are looking but they also have a 3 meter long cord. How would you suggest handling that?


Flex ties.
I have Sennheiser 598's (higher-end version of the 558's) and love them to death--both models have the velour earpads, not leather, so it won't break down as easily, but it's not quite as good for sound isolation; just something to keep in mind. However, they are quite possibly the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn, and I've worn a LOT of headphones.

I've heard very mixed things about Grados, but I see that set recommended a lot. Definitely a "try before you buy" brand--some people find them very uncomfortable, others don't like the sound. They're very love-or-hate. Regarded as THE headphones for rock.

You may also want to look into the Ultrasone PRO 550, which Amazon.com is listing for $140. They're comfortable and noted for their sound quality as well.

If you'll be listening at your computer, I'd highly recommend a sound card if you don't already have one. If you're on a budget, the Asus Xonar DG is my pick, running about $20, and it makes a MASSIVE difference versus on-board sound.

If you haven't found me terribly long-winded and dull, go visit http://www.head-fi.org, a whole community centered around listening to good music on good headphones. They have done a LOT of comparisons of headphones at various budget levels, and for different types of music. WARNING for incoming pricy hobby, but the information is absolutely invaluable.
Those Sennheisers are a bit out of my budget. I'm thinking of going with the DT 770s, but Newegg had to release a deal on a certain SSD I've been eyeing for awhile. I'm debating on getting the SSD now and waiting another couple weeks, but it's not a huge deal on the SSD and I listen to music far more than I game on my computer, so I think I'm going to go with the headphones.

Thanks for the help everyone! I will also definitely take a look at that site before making my final decision.
I just purchased the 80 Ohm version of the DT 770s. I can't wait to hear what they sound like!
Congrats. I think you'll be pleased.

Remember that cans sound better over a rather extended burn-in phase. You should see a steady improvement in sound quality over about 100 hours of use.

If this is your first foray into higher end headphones, I think the DT770s are going to blow you away.
So the headphones came in about 30 minutes ago and I'm listening to them now. At first the difference between them and the earbuds I was using before wasn't all that much, but once I tried on the earbuds again, I could definitely tell the difference. With the earbuds, most of the sound was muddled together, and any high pitch seemed very shrill. With the DT 770s, everything isn't as muddled together, and those high pitches are a bit more calm. Also, apparently there are some notes I wasn't hearing before. >.>

I didn't realize how hard it would be to describe the difference. There's a difference for sure, and they're much better, but it's hard to put that difference into words.

How big is the improvement in sound quality during the burn-phase?

EDIT: I can hear bass guitars now!
This is all pretty subjective.

The best way I can put it is the cans will "open" up more as they burn in. Kinda hard to describe. They appear to become "more" of what they are as they work themselves in.

Also, I don't have the greatest hearing to begin with. A lot of VERY loud hobbies, abuse and a permanent case of tinnitus make descibing things difficult at best. I know what sounds good to me and I go from there.

And...if you haven't spent enough already, there's a very active aftermarket in Beyerdynamic headphones. Things like woodies, different cords, pads and the like thrive in the third party domain. Also...headphone amps!

It can be an expensive hobby.
i like the Shure SRH840

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum