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<  TechPrime  ~  Headphone recommendations

PostPosted: February 18th, 2009, 3:00 am
User avatarPosts: 76Location: SwedenJoined: October 31st, 2008, 10:57 am
So, I was thinking about getting myself a new pair of headphones for home use exclusively. These will be used mainly for listening to Lustmord, Steve Roach, Lull and ambient/isolationist in general, but also for listening to the rest of my music library, which contains basically everything; 50's jazz, funk, hip hop, indie rock, punk, bluegrass, electro, glitch/breakcore, noise, drone, raw black metal, etc etc. Both tonal and atonal music. Thus, they need to be able to handle all kinds of music and sound, but I'd prefer the emphasis to be on delivering a good sound for ambience and bass drones, which is why I post here. Good Lustmord headphones, in short.

The problem is this: I have quite a restricted budget, so I'm looking for something in the region of 40 bucks. That amount won't get me far, but as the Swedish saying goes: "there are levels even in hell".

So, first and foremost, what are the specifics I should look for? Since it's for ambient music, I presume that closed headphones would do best. And also, how important is the low end? The headphones I've been considering so far have had a low end of 15 hz, is that sufficent for decent sound quality? I've been recommended Sennheiser a number of times, I use the CX300-II in-ear plugs for my iPod and I'm very satisfied. But, as far as I know, Koss and Philips make good headphones as well. Are there any other aspects I should take into account?

Also, quite importantly, my head size is above average, so they need to be adjustable. The problem with Sennheiser headphones is that none of them seem to be.

Here is one pair that I've considered. If anyone has any experience of these, please share. ... Efs%5EUR40

If you have any further directions on what to look for, or specific headphone recommendations, I'd be glad to hear them.

Thanks in advance.

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2009, 8:42 am
Posts: 2Joined: February 13th, 2009, 8:29 pm

Sorry, wen't back and re-read, didn't see the 40 bucks limit first time.

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2009, 1:30 pm
User avatarPosts: 76Location: SwedenJoined: October 31st, 2008, 10:57 am
Just found these while looking around: ... SHP8900-00

5 - 30,000 Hz, adjustable headband, good looking, big cups. There's a Swedish online retailer where I can get them for about 45 bucks, including shipment. Would that be a good choice?

Brian, if you're reading this: you have a lot of experience, what is important to consider when buying headphones?

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2009, 11:17 am
Posts: 57Location: SwedenJoined: March 14th, 2008, 1:27 pm
If price wasn't much of an object, I'd recommend AKG K701 (or K601). When price IS an object, I'd mention AKG K518 DJ (at around 465 SEK).

Looking at frequency specs at the stores and retailers won't give you much information on performance. I would actually say it doesn't say much at all.

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2009, 10:23 pm
User avatarPosts: 169Location: GAJoined: December 21st, 2006, 11:04 pm
I'd highly recommend becoming involved with Head-Fi if you really want to learn a thing or two about headphones. For a little over a month, I've been reading and participating in the threads -- almost obsessively -- and have come away with a lot of insight; there are some headphone aficionados on there who have been in the game since the early 70's.

There are three main things to consider when it comes to a good headphone setup:

1) Your headphone -- you need to know if it has a high or low impedance, and figure out how to drive it accordingly. There are other aspects such as frequency response, transient response, and other dynamics to consider, but I won't get into that here.

2) Amp -- If you have high impedance headphones, this is basically mandatory. It will enable such a headphone to play sounds cleanly, especially bass, without distorting. Headphones with a lower impedance might get away with being used without an amp, but it is still highly recommended in order to produce the best sound.

3) DAC -- This is what converts your music's digital signal into an analog signal, which is thus fed into an amp, and then to your headphones. It is best to play lossless music, such as CDs, DVDs, FLACs, etc., over such a device; although, you might still get away with a higher quality lossy format (320kbps, etc).

Your internal PC card's DAC is almost certainly going to do a bad job at conversion, especially considering the noise it will generate inside the PC case with all sorts of interference; although, I've heard some good things about a few audio cards on the market -- such as the Xonar Essence STX and the HT Omega Claro Halo (both of which can be especially useful for those of you who also like gaming). External hardware such as the Dac magic, E-Mu0404, (two more or less budget oriented examples) and a wide selection of other DACs are available.

My personal setup now includes an HD650 headphone (the absolute best deal on a new pair of these can be found at J&R), Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3 Kontrol Edition (I came across a rather competitive Academic discount at Kelly's Music and Computers website, so I snagged it), and a soon to arrive Purity Audio KICAS Caliente headphone amp (probably one of the best amps on the market for under $1000, and made by a small business consisting of just two guys. It has a great no frills simplistic design, and focuses on sound quality, rather than on a brand name commercial look. I was lucky to get in on a group buy, as they only do pre-orders and stay within their means by building only up to 50 amps a month).

Needless to say, I am excited about what this setup is going to sound like. I can only imagine I will be doing a lot of critical listening/rediscovering of a lot of music I own.

Last edited by walking barcode on February 19th, 2009, 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2009, 10:38 pm
User avatarPosts: 169Location: GAJoined: December 21st, 2006, 11:04 pm
Oh, and for listening to music like the wide selection you mentioned above; if all you have is $40-$45 bucks, I'd recommend you save your cash. But that's just me.

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2009, 11:38 pm
User avatarAdminPosts: 612Location: Los AngelesJoined: November 19th, 2005, 10:22 am
Note that there are already threads on headphones.

Search is your friend.

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2009, 11:56 pm
User avatarPosts: 76Location: SwedenJoined: October 31st, 2008, 10:57 am
walking barcode, thanks for the extensive information. Even if I'm far from being an audiophile, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the specifics that you listed. Always good to know. And even though my budget is limited, I still need headphones, so I'll just go with the best I can find. Once again, I'm far from being an audiophile.

Brian, when a forum has one page, the scroll wheel is the only friend I need. The previous headphone-related thread was intended for people to list the brand of headphones that they use. In this one I wanted recommendations based on certain guidelines. I probably could've converted that one into a recommendation thread as well, but the forum is not going to flood anyway.

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2009, 12:08 pm
User avatarPosts: 169Location: GAJoined: December 21st, 2006, 11:04 pm
I just realized this is a new headphone thread. I personally think it is a better idea to have all info regarding a topic in one thread, as it seems B suggested. Although, I have made a few mistakes in the past.

Anyways, I wouldn't necessarily consider myself an audiophile; I just want a good sounding headphone setup, as an actual speaker setup is currently out of the question -- not to mention a comparable speaker setup would probably cost thousands. I think the term audiophile denotes something far more extreme.

I've got a Sony MDR-7506 that might be up for sale soon, and within your budget, if you're interested.

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2009, 9:25 am
Posts: 12Location: Pittsburgh P-AJoined: October 29th, 2009, 8:51 am
i'll have to plug Sony headphones .
I have the MDRV900 HD's ... good reasonably priced phones .
Good low end presence . Not the most detail but you'd have to get their top of the line phones for that and they're $300-500 .
Sennheisers are ok also but not real bassy .
All depends on what you're plugging them into of course and what you're listening to .
Some people have them re-cabled with silver coated copper wiring and stuff .

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PostPosted: April 18th, 2012, 10:56 am
Posts: 2Joined: April 18th, 2012, 10:45 am
While this topic is in deep slumber, I wish to place this note as some other people may be searching for something good and cheap.


I got these because I was afraid to carry my K701s to venues (live monitoring) or on travel (mobile production). Still, the price makes them an excellent entry level candidate for auditioning.

What I am talking about here is the Superlux 668 B. Here you can find an enthusiastic review and here some discussions on the subject matter.

Keep in mind that you WILL need some fairly expensive (AKG or not) velour pads with it... if you care about your skin that is. Also, be aware that they need an extensive burn-in time (mine tightened the bass and softened the treble after around 200 hours of pink noise, and music on rotation).

Good luck on your journeys.

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2012, 11:29 am
User avatarPosts: 32Location: WalesJoined: April 23rd, 2007, 4:46 am
Not cheap but I got a pair of Grado 325is 6 months ago - my opinion - brilliant.

took a while to burn in too but the stereo imaging is pin point and I'm hearing sounds in my own music I've not heard before....still exploring my music collection


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PostPosted: November 18th, 2012, 3:23 am
Posts: 15Location: Milan, ItalyJoined: August 28th, 2007, 4:25 am
sennheiser hd600s are the best/flattest i've ever used or heard. very happy with them here, partnered with a crookwood DAC and amp combo.

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PostPosted: May 11th, 2013, 1:26 pm
User avatarPosts: 13Location: AntarcticaJoined: May 5th, 2013, 2:45 pm
Babaluma wrote:
sennheiser hd600s are the best/flattest i've ever used or heard. very happy with them here, partnered with a crookwood DAC and amp combo.

I share the same opinion.

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