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  1. #1

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    Default Good set of cans

    I'm looking for a good set of headphones, wanted to get some advice. I don't really know anything about spefically what I'm looking for - I do know I'm not ready yet to drop a whole bunch of money into some phones, a preamp, and all that.

    I'm just basically looking for the best thing I can grab under $50 or so. I know I'm not going to get anything awesome for that price, but I'm gonna get some headphones and spend about $50 - so I may as well get the best I can.

    Any thoughts or advice?
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

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    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  2. #2

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    Probably over your budget though................ ;)
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  3. #3

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    Damnit Dennis, you beat me to it.

    If you can swing more like $90-100, you can probably find some Sennheiser HD590s, which are awesome.

  4. #4

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    If you can swing $9 more bucks, grab the Grado SR60's from Audio Advisor when they have them on sale (often).

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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  5. #5

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    Steve is right on that one. Those are nice cans. Not really that much fun to wear, but they sound nice.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizelbs
    Those are nice cans. Not really that much fun to wear, but they sound nice.
    IMO the good sound is not worth the pain the Grados inflict.

    This is a good resource sitte:

    http://www.headphone.com/products/headphones/

    I am fond of Sennheisers myself.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  7. #7

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    I concur.

  8. #8

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    Are grado's really that bad? I've never worn them but all I hear about them is how they sound great but you have to have just the right head to wear them otherwise they'll drive you nuts.

  9. #9

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    Occasionally, ecost.com has some Senn HD 465 refurbished for around 30-I love mine-sound good and are comfortable. They retail for like 80-90 so it is a VERY good deal IMO

  10. #10

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    Yeah, they really do fit that badly.

  11. #11

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    Depending on where you will be using these cans....

    I have used my Grado SR60s for over 8 years and recently changed out the stock pads (falling apart) for Sennheiser HD414 pads (under $10.00 shipped directly from Sennheiser). More comfy but the new pads are yellow in color. This headphone is possibly the biggest hi-fi bargain out there....sounds great without a dedicated headphone amp and can easily be driven by portable music devices. Comfortable? That's very subjective. I have no issue with the SR60's comfort level....just bend the metal headband a little so that the earcups don't clamp down on your ears. However, the SR60s are open-design heaphones, which means they will allow external sound to come in and allow the music to leak out as well. Not so good if used during commutes or in an office environment. Also, the thick cord can be an issue. If you can get the Audio Advisor demo at $59.00, by all means.

    In my opinion, the best closed-design headphone under $50.00 is the Sennheiser PX200. Extremely lightweight, foldable, and very good sounding. They isolated somewhat the external sounds and also shield the outside from your music. The big issue with these is the earcups, which are kinda small, and must have a perfect seal against your outer ears in order for them to perform well. If the seal is not there, the sound quality will suffer. The PX100 is the open-design version of the PX200 and they have better bass response. But not much isolation. Both can be had for about $40.00. Check ecost.com for refurbished ones.

    I have heard great things about Sony's XD series. They are not the usual Sony V-series crap (except the Sony MDR-V6, which is the consumer version of Sony studio headphones and these goes for about $69.00).
    Last edited by Danny Tse; 01-05-2006 at 01:55 AM.

  12. #12

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    www.head-fi.org
    everything headphone!

  13. #13

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    I run my SR60's straight off the Benchmark DAC---it's heavenly. I wish someone built a speaker with this kind of midrange/treble.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  14. #14

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    I second the Sennheiser HD590 recommendation. In fact I'm wearing a pair right now.

    Background: I have a pair of Grado 225s at home. Worst money I ever spent. Not from a sound quality perspective, but from a comfort standpoint. I can't wear the damned things for more than about 10 minutes before I have to rip them off. Too much pressure on the ear; uncomfortable as hell. I tried replacing the pads; didn't help enough. I probably ought to sell the darned things and recoup some of the money I have sunk into them. :(

    After doing a lot of research at head-fi, I waited for Amazon to put the HD590 refurbs on sale (ran about $115). I love the things to death. I can (and do) wear them for 4+ hours at a stretch at work. The cup fits completely over the ear and rests on your head. No weight is placed on the ear itself and the ear is fully enclosed. The cups are well cushioned.

    Some people don't like the forwardness of the sound on the 590s; they're a bit more "alive" as far as placement is concerned than other models. Note: give them about a 75-hour burn-in (put a CD changer on repeat shuffle and let the phones sit) before evaluating.

    I wholeheartedly recommend them.

  15. #15

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    Default Sennheiser Headphones

    I can get most models of Sennheiser Headphones wholesale. Let me know what you want and I'll check on the price. Most likely not a huge savings over the big guys as the Net prices and the MAP are not huge differance on some models and then there is that damn shipping! But I'm here if I can help!

    Peace
    John

  16. #16

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    Alright, how much for 650s?

  17. #17

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizelbs
    Alright, how much for 650s?

    I don't know how good these prices really are. With all the deals available to the big players I'm sure I'm not the best source, but they are new with 2 year parts and labor for $399.00
    MAP is $499.99.

  18. #18

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    Music Direct's latest flyer has Class B's for $250.00. I think I read they have 12 set.

  19. #19

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    Polkmaniac,
    Don't let them tempt you with over-budget offerings ;)
    For under $50 you should look into the Koss PortaPros ($40), Porta Pro2's ($35), and the Koss KSC-75 ($20). Koss is the king of good sounding dirt cheap headphones, and they come with a lifetime warranty.

    I own the PortaPros, for the price I think they're a great value. Haven't heard the newer KSC75, but some say they're even better sounding. I've owned over a dozen hifi headphones (including Senn px100,497,hd580,hd600,hd650, Grado sr200,sr225,sr325,rs2,rs1,hp2,hf1, AKG k340,k1000,k271s, AT w2002,w10vtg,w5000,L3000), all the way up to the $2000 Audio Technica L3000 (which is probably the best listening device I've ever heard) - still think the Koss are a great value for the money.

    The Koss headphones will offer a smoother, less fatiguing sound when compared to the low-end Grado models.
    Last edited by mulveling; 01-12-2006 at 11:29 AM.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

  20. #20
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    I prefer Grado's for their dynamics over the Sennheisers (at least when comparing high end lines). I've been using Shure E2c's (in ear) for my MP3 player on planes and they work wonderfully for $60. Cancels out the engine hum pretty darn well.

    That's my 2 cents.

  21. #21

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    I'm beginning to think about an entry-level headphone rig. Does anybody know about the Sennheisser (sp?) HD580? I've determined just from what I've heard about comfort that I don't want Grado, and the HD580's have been recommended. Do they need a headphone amp, or is it just recommended? I see AudioAdvisor has them for $200. Is that a good price for them?

    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
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    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?
    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.
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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by audiobliss
    I'm beginning to think about an entry-level headphone rig. Does anybody know about the Sennheisser (sp?) HD580? I've determined just from what I've heard about comfort that I don't want Grado, and the HD580's have been recommended. Do they need a headphone amp, or is it just recommended? I see AudioAdvisor has them for $200. Is that a good price for them?

    Thanks!
    I've owned the hd580 (and a whole lot more - see my post above). They will usually work OK from a decent headphone jack if your equipment has that. They are pretty good entry-level hifi headphones, but in my quest for a reference headphone rig they left things to be desired. They will improve with better backing equipment, but the same can be said for any good hifi headphone. What system were you thinking of putting together?

    In terms of accuracy, and resolution the hd580 are probably close to my Polk LSi15s. In terms of bass extension the hd580 is better. The Polks LSi's are probably slightly smoother, especially if the 580 isn't backed by great gear. The hd580 midrange is slightly recessed. Other than that overall balance is fairly neutral IMO. For mucial enjoyment, and especially HT enjoyment, the Polks will win. Your satisfaction will depend on what you expect and need from these headphones - they are not the world beaters I was lead to believe by some before I purchased them (my first hifi headphone purchase!). $200 is not a good price, call up and see if you can do better; IIRC a friend bought them new for $150 from AA though I don't know if they do that anymore. Join www.head-fi.org (best place for headphone advice), then call toddthevinyljunkie.com and ask Todd his best price for a headfier :) Todd is awesome and I've done a lot of business with him (bought my Meridian G08 from him). Alternatively you could wait for a nice used pair to pop up on headfi for under $120 (be sure to ask if they were used in a smoke-free environment).

    For the price, I can't think of anything that would be better overall, except the AKG K340. The K340 is long discontinued so you will have to find a pair used; and the price can fluctuate from $100-$200 for a pair in good condition. Also, the balance of the K340 varies with no visual way to distinguish them - some have only a little bass, some have a lot (I've had 4 pairs pass through my hands). The K340 is generally more musical than the hd580 and hence I found them much more enjoyable. The K340 is a bit heavier, but it's also circumaural so it doesn't hurt the ears like a Grado. The drawback is that the K340 is 400 ohms, so you will probably have to invest in a dedicated headphone amp.
    Last edited by mulveling; 01-14-2006 at 07:44 PM.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

  23. #23

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    Ok, here's the deal. Because of disturbing everybody else at home, I can rarely (about once every two months or so) turn up my stereo system to where I want it to be able to enjoy music. Also, I'm not going to want to take my whole stereo system to a dorm, assuming I end up going somewhere out of state. So, I thought a decent headphone rig would be nice.

    I was originally thinking about the Sennheiser HD580 backed by an ASL HB-1 amp. However, I've done some reading on Head-fi.com tonight, and I've read that the HB-1 isn't really an amp, but a buffer. So, I don't know what to think about that.

    As I said before, comfort is important, so I guess Grado is out. I also think I want a sealed design. I want to be able to listen to music louder than my parents would like :p and yet I don't want the person sitting next to me to be able to hear it. Can that be done in any open-air headphones?

    Oh, and I won't be able buy used except possibly through this board.
    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?
    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.
    My Saga
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    Yamaha KX-W900U
    Sony ST-S500ES
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    Parasound HCA-1000A
    Klipsch RF-35


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    ASL Wave 20 monoblocks
    Pro-Ject Phono Box MKII


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  24. #24

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    You don't want someone sitting next to you to hear it? That's not possible with open headphones, even at moderate volumes. Even most closed headphones will leak enough sound so that the person next to you can hear something's playing, especially at high volumes. The hd580 or course are open, the k340 is somewhat closed (and not the best isolator among closed headphones). I don't know what I'd recommend that isolates for under $200 that's any good - now an IEM (Inner Ear Module) would certainly isolate enough, and there's probably something that sounds decent for $200. However, if you have reservations about Grado comfort, sticking something in your ear canal may not be appealing either.

    I'm gonna have to punt - you should ask for advice from the other folks on head-fi :D
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

  25. #25

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    I don`t have alot of experience with head cans..
    I have the Sure e4c earbuds..spendy little boogers..!!
    and the Senn Hd-650`s...
    The 650 are sweet phones...the best I have heard, but again, I have a limited experience with headphones...

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by audiobliss
    Ok, here's the deal. Because of disturbing everybody else at home, I can rarely (about once every two months or so) turn up my stereo system to where I want it to be able to enjoy music. Also, I'm not going to want to take my whole stereo system to a dorm, assuming I end up going somewhere out of state. So, I thought a decent headphone rig would be nice.

    As I said before, comfort is important, so I guess Grado is out. I also think I want a sealed design. I want to be able to listen to music louder than my parents would like :p and yet I don't want the person sitting next to me to be able to hear it. Can that be done in any open-air headphones?
    If you are looking for a good sealed headphone I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro (HERE). I own them and they are very good for the issues you describe. Are they as good as the HD 580/590s or HD 650s? No...but they are as good as the Grado S60s IMO...and they are sealed, comfortable and a very good set of cans. I bought mine at Amazon but if there is a Guitar Center near you, they carry them since this model can be used for studio or DJ work as well. I've used them in my rig and with a portable Panny CDP without a headphone amp. If you can...check them out...they are $100± and may be just what you are looking for.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  27. #27

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    okay, how did you do that +- thing ?

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by beardog03
    I don`t have alot of experience with head cans..
    I have the Sure e4c earbuds..spendy little boogers..!!
    and the Senn Hd-650`s...
    The 650 are sweet phones...the best I have heard, but again, I have a limited experience with headphones...
    I like the Senn-650 too. I bring it along when I want to buy some cd's. It gets pretty close to the lsi9 home system so I get a better idea how the CD will really sound like. Also get rid of the ambient sound from the stores.

  29. #29

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    This was my headphone rig before:

    Sony SA5000, Sennheiser HD555, Sennheiser HD650 and a Headamp GS-1 amplifier (www.headamp.com).

    Here are some of my recommendations:
    For headphones, go with either the Sennheiser HD650, the Sony SA5000, or the AKG K701.... all of these are reference series in their own right.
    For amps, go with either the HeadAmp GS-1, a Singlepower PPX-Slam, or an M-cubed (M3) from Rockhopper audio.

    Here are the links to the cheapest prices of each of those products (the trouble I go for you :)):
    Cans:
    Senn HD650 (http://www.lcdtvs.com/lcd/Product.asp_X_SKU_Y_HD650) - good store.
    Sony SA5000 (http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?...e=sonmdrsa5000) - cheapest I found... especially since sony.com has them for $799.
    AKG K701 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search) - ask them about their best price, I think it's in the $279 range.... pretty awesome especially since it just came out and EVERYONE had it for $399.
    Amps:
    PPX-3 (singlepower.com)
    GS-1 (headamp.com)
    M3 (http://rockhopperaudio.com/)
    Last edited by Joey_V; 01-15-2006 at 01:37 PM.
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    Current Gear:
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    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  30. #30

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    I preferred the SA5000 to the HD650s in the end since the 650s sounded a little too dark for me. The SA5000 is light as a feather (both sonically and physically)... the MOST comfortable can I've ever had the pleasure of trying too.

    I havent heard the AKG 701 yet (my brother has them on order though), but if the AKG 501 are any indication of its sound, then the 701 will surely sound heavenly.

    PM me if you want more info, I've done the headphone thing before, my setup costed over $1000... I stopped myself before I went too crazy.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

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