New Headphones ~100$

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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:29 pm

Tharbad wrote:Milo Burke and Firestarter: The computer is emitting ~20dba on standby and ~45dba in games. As far as I'v read about open vs close, close are better in this case. I don't intend to fall in the "premium gamer headset trap, pay a lot of money get moderate quality" so no headset is required.

Milo Burke: About the sound card. My current card is integrated HD Audio - [url="http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/codecs/vt2021/"]VIA VT2021[/url]. Is it good enough so I would notice the difference between the new headphones to my current (Silverline XT-HS75MV)?


According to Scott's recent comparison with the 290x, my GPU (5870) puts out 36 dB while idling and 49 dB while gaming. It is in a case with a lot of holes for fans, so much of it leaks out. It can get loud sometimes. I have two pairs of closed headphones and one pair of in ear monitors, but I still game with my open headphones. Why? Three reasons: First, they sound so much better. :) Second, noise (within reason) is less of an issue when I'm sucked into a game. Third, open headphones do block some sound, just not all the frequencies very well. I have no trouble hearing someone in the room talking or music playing in the room, but my open headphones do block out a substantial amount of the GPU fan noise. The fan noise tends to be pretty high frequency, like white noise, and the headphones are significantly better at blocking those higher frequencies.

Airmantharp is right and cyanan is very right about the noise, so don't let this be a deciding factor. Unless you game in a kitchen with someone washing dishes, or in a living room with someone watching a movie or something. That's when you want to game with closed headphones.

Tharbad, I have no stake in what headphones you buy. If you're happy, that's all you need. I hope my above answer helps you make an informed decision.

As for will you notice a difference on that integrated audio? Absolutely.

I don't have a great deal of experience with different integrated audio chips and I can't tell you which are different than others and how. My general perception is that none of them are great, and other people on the internet (including our friendly, neighborhood Tech Report writers) share that sentiment. And it makes sense: they've got to produce a motherboard with x number of features at y price-point and still make z amount of profit, so they cut corners. What are the first corners to cut? Any feature that is quantified as "does it have this feature?" instead of qualified as "how well does this feature work?". It's the same with the DAC and amp section of basically every laptop, tablet, and portable music player. They've got a price point to meet, so they'll cut corners. It's business. (There are exceptions with portable music players, but they are expensive.)

But that doesn't mean you can't appreciate great headphones. You'll get more extended frequency response in both directions. (Don't trust the specifications, if they don't tell you anything if they don't tell you +-3dB or +-1.5dB, etc.). You'll get clearer sound. You'll get sound that rocks more with good music, and sound that is more detailed with everything you listen to, from hi-res music files to YouTube videos. Sound effects in games are more realistic, and it's much easier to position the sources of sounds. Getting good headphones makes a difference.

But ... upgrading the DAC and/or headphone amp just improves it a bit more. :) (Mostly for music, but some for other uses.)

And Voldenuit is right, Grado's aren't as comfortable as some. They have stiff foam cups that sit on top of your ear, where as Sennheiser and AKG have cushioned pads that surround your ears. If you have a hard budget for $100 and want to mix music (and for some reason couldn't use speakers), I'd say get the Grado's.

As far as comfortable cushioned pads around the ears go, the AKG's have a firmer grip, and the Sennheiser's have a looser grip. Some find the looser grip more relaxed, but I find it irritating that the imaging and focused sound don't feel "locked" in place (contrary to the still-comfortable AKG's). Sennheiser makes really good cans, though. I've heard the HD 600 and HD 650. They're quite nice, although not quite as detailed as the good AKG's. Yet they are smoother and more relaxed. And the Sennheiser HD 800 is fantastic, although at $1,500, neither of us can afford it! :D

I looked up the headphones you currently have. The picture makes them look like an $80 USD gamer headset (could be good, could be bad). If my currency conversion worked right, they cost 70 New Israeli Shekels, or about $20 USD? I can't be sure because I haven't heard them, but I suspect unless they are well designed in the neighborhood of $150+ USD, the upgrade will be substantial. Even on integrated audio, even with a laptop or iPod or smartphone.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:40 pm

SunBurn74 raises another good point: headphones last forever. I bought my AKG k702 nearly five years ago, and I use them all the time. I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of them. But because I'm careful not to step on them or sit on them, and I don't have a dog to chew on them, they'll be going strong for another ten years. Probably another 20 years if I really didn't want to upgrade for some reason.

Cheap audio technology changes quickly. Good audio technology changes very, very slowly. Most of the microphone technology we have today was invented during WWII, at the request of Hitler, a man obsessed with the sound of his own voice. Well-made 20 year old speakers and 25 year old amplifiers are as good as anything you can find on the market today, and better than most.

I know we're all bred to upgrade stuff constantly these days: new smartphone every two years, new laptop every three, new car every four years, new home every six years. But good audio equipment will continue sounding good for a decade or three.

(However, recording DAW's, recording interfaces, and DACs do change more quickly. Five years is a long time for those, and ten years is ancient based on the rate of improvement in those areas.)
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:04 am

Milo Burke wrote:
Tharbad wrote:Milo Burke and Firestarter: The computer is emitting ~20dba on standby and ~45dba in games. As far as I'v read about open vs close, close are better in this case. I don't intend to fall in the "premium gamer headset trap, pay a lot of money get moderate quality" so no headset is required.

Milo Burke: About the sound card. My current card is integrated HD Audio - [url="http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/codecs/vt2021/"]VIA VT2021[/url]. Is it good enough so I would notice the difference between the new headphones to my current (Silverline XT-HS75MV)?


According to Scott's recent comparison with the 290x, my GPU (5870) puts out 36 dB while idling and 49 dB while gaming. It is in a case with a lot of holes for fans, so much of it leaks out. It can get loud sometimes. I have two pairs of closed headphones and one pair of in ear monitors, but I still game with my open headphones. Why? Three reasons: First, they sound so much better. :) Second, noise (within reason) is less of an issue when I'm sucked into a game. Third, open headphones do block some sound, just not all the frequencies very well. I have no trouble hearing someone in the room talking or music playing in the room, but my open headphones do block out a substantial amount of the GPU fan noise. The fan noise tends to be pretty high frequency, like white noise, and the headphones are significantly better at blocking those higher frequencies.

Airmantharp is right and cyanan is very right about the noise, so don't let this be a deciding factor. Unless you game in a kitchen with someone washing dishes, or in a living room with someone watching a movie or something. That's when you want to game with closed headphones.

Tharbad, I have no stake in what headphones you buy. If you're happy, that's all you need. I hope my above answer helps you make an informed decision.

In that case I'll go with the open. I play in a quiet place.

Milo Burke wrote:As for will you notice a difference on that integrated audio? Absolutely.

I don't have a great deal of experience with different integrated audio chips and I can't tell you which are different than others and how. My general perception is that none of them are great, and other people on the internet (including our friendly, neighborhood Tech Report writers) share that sentiment. And it makes sense: they've got to produce a motherboard with x number of features at y price-point and still make z amount of profit, so they cut corners. What are the first corners to cut? Any feature that is quantified as "does it have this feature?" instead of qualified as "how well does this feature work?". It's the same with the DAC and amp section of basically every laptop, tablet, and portable music player. They've got a price point to meet, so they'll cut corners. It's business. (There are exceptions with portable music players, but they are expensive.)

But that doesn't mean you can't appreciate great headphones. You'll get more extended frequency response in both directions. (Don't trust the specifications, if they don't tell you anything if they don't tell you +-3dB or +-1.5dB, etc.). You'll get clearer sound. You'll get sound that rocks more with good music, and sound that is more detailed with everything you listen to, from hi-res music files to YouTube videos. Sound effects in games are more realistic, and it's much easier to position the sources of sounds. Getting good headphones makes a difference.

But ... upgrading the DAC and/or headphone amp just improves it a bit more. :) (Mostly for music, but some for other uses.)

So currently I'll focus in headphones. DAC will be next.

Milo Burke wrote:And Voldenuit is right, Grado's aren't as comfortable as some. They have stiff foam cups that sit on top of your ear, where as Sennheiser and AKG have cushioned pads that surround your ears. If you have a hard budget for $100 and want to mix music (and for some reason couldn't use speakers), I'd say get the Grado's.

As far as comfortable cushioned pads around the ears go, the AKG's have a firmer grip, and the Sennheiser's have a looser grip. Some find the looser grip more relaxed, but I find it irritating that the imaging and focused sound don't feel "locked" in place (contrary to the still-comfortable AKG's). Sennheiser makes really good cans, though. I've heard the HD 600 and HD 650. They're quite nice, although not quite as detailed as the good AKG's. Yet they are smoother and more relaxed. And the Sennheiser HD 800 is fantastic, although at $1,500, neither of us can afford it! :D


That means that Grado is not for me.
By "firm" you mean that it won't move when I move my head? If so then I'll go with AKG. I might be able to check AKG and Sennheiser headphones tomorrow in the only local store that sell High end Audio equipment in the all country.

Milo Burke wrote:I looked up the headphones you currently have. The picture makes them look like an $80 USD gamer headset (could be good, could be bad). If my currency conversion worked right, they cost 70 New Israeli Shekels, or about $20 USD? I can't be sure because I haven't heard them, but I suspect unless they are well designed in the neighborhood of $150+ USD, the upgrade will be substantial. Even on integrated audio, even with a laptop or iPod or smartphone.

7-8$ will be more accurate.

Milo Burke wrote:SunBurn74 raises another good point: headphones last forever. I bought my AKG k702 nearly five years ago, and I use them all the time. I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of them. But because I'm careful not to step on them or sit on them, and I don't have a dog to chew on them, they'll be going strong for another ten years. Probably another 20 years if I really didn't want to upgrade for some reason.

Cheap audio technology changes quickly. Good audio technology changes very, very slowly. Most of the microphone technology we have today was invented during WWII, at the request of Hitler, a man obsessed with the sound of his own voice. Well-made 20 year old speakers and 25 year old amplifiers are as good as anything you can find on the market today, and better than most.

I know we're all bred to upgrade stuff constantly these days: new smartphone every two years, new laptop every three, new car every four years, new home every six years. But good audio equipment will continue sounding good for a decade or three.

(However, recording DAW's, recording interfaces, and DACs do change more quickly. Five years is a long time for those, and ten years is ancient based on the rate of improvement in those areas.)

So it will be better if I'll buy something good... Still, my budget is tight: I need to pay for shipping (20-30$) and local taxes (18.5%). So 100$ headphone is 150$ total. If it really worth the money then the maximum I'll be able to give is ~135$ headphones (~200$ after taxes and shipping).
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:24 am

Milo Burke wrote:I don't have a great deal of experience with different integrated audio chips and I can't tell you which are different than others and how. My general perception is that none of them are great, and other people on the internet (including our friendly, neighborhood Tech Report writers) share that sentiment. And it makes sense: they've got to produce a motherboard with x number of features at y price-point and still make z amount of profit, so they cut corners. What are the first corners to cut? Any feature that is quantified as "does it have this feature?" instead of qualified as "how well does this feature work?". It's the same with the DAC and amp section of basically every laptop, tablet, and portable music player. They've got a price point to meet, so they'll cut corners. It's business. (There are exceptions with portable music players, but they are expensive.)

From a design standpoint (EE degree here), having a dedicated analog output device is better because you can have better quality components. You could probably offer fantastic audio on a motherboard, but those things are crowded as it is, and the trend (from what I've noticed) has been towards smaller boards with less space for such components. Adding a sound card basically gives you more board space and better isolation from other components.

The same is true for DACs. Even if your DAC's key component is a single, large IC, you need board space for it, which a sound card can provide.

A sound card won't solve another issue, though, and that's supply voltage. If you audio is contained to a PC, you are going to be limited to DC voltages typical of ATX PSUs. Having a wider voltage spectrum allows you to do a lot more with design. For instance, some vacuum tubes require a LOT more voltage than an IC(which might be able to function on 12V DC). Good tube amplifiers will have their own power supplies to provide this voltage, and, if you hadn't thought of it already, this can also require a lot more board space, too.

I am just getting into the headphone hobby, but it's renewed by interest in electronics :D
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:36 am

Tharbad wrote:In that case I'll go with the open. I play in a quiet place.
...
Still, my budget is tight: I need to pay for shipping (20-30$) and local taxes (18.5%). So 100$ headphone is 150$ total. If it really worth the money then the maximum I'll be able to give is ~135$ headphones (~200$ after taxes and shipping).

I would just get a Sennheiser PX 100-II and call it a day. IMO they are the best sounding lightweight open headphone around, and you'll save a little money too. I have two of them (one at home and one at work); although they are quite portable (fold up small enough to fit in a shirt pocket) I just got tired of forgetting it at the office so I bought a second one.

You don't have to take my word for how good they sound either; they're mentioned on that "Wall Of Fame" page superjawes linked back on page 1. The light weight also makes them very comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Just make sure you get the regular (non-"i") version since you're not planning to use it with an iPhone.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:31 am

sony's MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 are very good closed headphones at ~$100. they've been the industry standard for decades now (well, for the MDR-V6 at least. the 7506 was introduced much later).
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:23 pm

I'm familiar with the Sony MDR-V6 and MDR-7506. I think they're very acceptable choices for tracking headphones for recording in a studio (for when decent isolation is needed but extreme isolation isn't.) But I personally wouldn't choose them for home listening, especially if your environment is quiet.

Superjawes is right, a lot of it can come down to space for quality components, dedicated components, and sufficient power. That's why sound cards will sound better, and dedicated DACs and amplifiers will sound better still.

I haven't listened to a single pair of Grado's long enough to know if they can become comfortable after weeks of use. Tharbad, I'd Google this. If they do become comfortable after longer use, I think they are the best bet for you based on your budget. By far. Because the SR80i is much cheaper than the other headphones we have been discussing.

I have no experience with the Sennheiser PX 100-II. They could be good, I really don't know.

Both the good AKG models (k701, k702, Q701) and the good Sennheiser models (HD 600, HD650) are comfortable. I've found the Sennheisers to be a little looser fit, and the AKG a little tighter, meaning the AKG squeezes the fabric-covered cushions to your head around the outside of your ears a little harder. I like that the sound image seems locked in and "focused" with that slightly tighter grip. Someone else I knew preferred the looser fit of the Sennheisers at the expense of that locked in sound (if that makes sense). But they're both comfortable, just different types of comfort.

I fear the good AKG and the good Sennheiser models are out of your price range. If you can go for any of them, great! If you can't, I don't know what to recommend. I don't like the AKG 240 headphones. They don't sound very good especially for the price. And I have no experience with the other AKG options or the Sennheiser options.

The best thing you can do is go to a store that sells them and listen to them yourselves. See what you like, and see what you can afford. And remember to focus on clarity and detail, not excessive high frequencies or excessive low frequencies. The excessive extremes get irritating over time even if you happen to like it now. But clarity and detail never gets irritating. (It gets addicting!)

As for a dedicated DAC, headphone amplifier, or combo, you won't need it if you get something like the Sennheiser PX 100-II that just brew it! mentioned. And you probably won't need them for the cheap (less than $200) Grado headphones either. I'm bad at car analogies, but here is one anyway: you don't put $1,000 worth of tires on a $1,000 car and expect great performance. Nor do you put $20,000 tires on a $20,000 car. It's not that the tires are bad, but the cars aren't good enough to appreciate the difference. You maybe put $1,000 tires on a $60,000 performance car, and $20,000 tires on a $250,000 racing car. (Just guessing.) Headphones like the Sennheiser HD 650 and the AKG k702 are higher performance and can put a DAC and headphone amp to better use. But if you only have $x to cover everything, don't take money out of a $200 budget to buy a headphone amp or DAC. Just buy better headphones. Maybe save up longer if you need to. Or maybe just get a $40 soundcard to drive the headphones in a few months instead of a $200 DAC/amp combo.

Best wishes!
Last edited by Milo Burke on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:25 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Tharbad wrote:In that case I'll go with the open. I play in a quiet place.
...
Still, my budget is tight: I need to pay for shipping (20-30$) and local taxes (18.5%). So 100$ headphone is 150$ total. If it really worth the money then the maximum I'll be able to give is ~135$ headphones (~200$ after taxes and shipping).

I would just get a Sennheiser PX 100-II and call it a day.

Agree, if the budget is tight and open headphones are ok, I'd go for the PX100's as well. Not only are they very comfortable and portable, but they also rock!

edit: To give you an idea how light they are: I used to take them jogging. That worked extremely well in combination with a trash metal soundtrack :D
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:58 pm

superjawes wrote:A sound card won't solve another issue, though, and that's supply voltage. If you audio is contained to a PC, you are going to be limited to DC voltages typical of ATX PSUs. Having a wider voltage spectrum allows you to do a lot more with design. For instance, some vacuum tubes require a LOT more voltage than an IC(which might be able to function on 12V DC). Good tube amplifiers will have their own power supplies to provide this voltage, and, if you hadn't thought of it already, this can also require a lot more board space, too.

Putting vacuum tubes inside a PC is insane for multiple reasons. That hasn't stopped people from trying though. The voltages inside a PC are more than adequate for a (non-tube) headphone amp; the real issue is filtering out all the supply rail noise and radiated EMI from the other components inside the PC.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:15 pm

Holy gimmick motherboard, Batman! :P

And yeah, power isolation is a big issue. You might be able to reduce EMI if you could passively cool everything (so no inductive loads), but that rules out mid to high range components for sure. On the other hand, there companies like Schiit offering headphone amps and DACs for $99 each they don't take up that much space. I think they even have a tube amp in the $120 range.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:20 pm

Good grief... :roll:

Tubes do not equal automatic goodness. However, they generally are an indication of 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion, which is a corruption of the signal in a way that some find to sound "fuzzy".

You can bias a solid state amp to sound like a tube amp. You can bias a tube amp to sound like a solid state amp. It's all in the hands of the one who commissions each amp (and what the amp designers recommend they aim for).

I just finished building my first amp this past Sunday. But I'm not skilled enough to bias it. That's happening in a week or so. How much 2nd harmonic distortion I want on my solid state amp will be completely up to me. 8)
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:12 pm

I don't know how important appearances are versus sound and quality, but based on recommendations from a ton of both amateur and professional DJs, I can recommend the Sony MDR-7506 Professional series if you want a close, over the ear design. Amazon has then for around $85 or so, I believe.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:15 pm

Yes, those Sony's are good for DJs. And sound booths for live sound venues, and recording studios for tracking musicians. And $85 is a good price for them, I might add.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:28 pm

liquidsquid wrote:Why people drop $100+ on headphones which consist of some magnets, wire, and some plastic is beyond me.


Try actually listening to them.

In all seriousness, there is a very wide range of quality in headphones. The difference can be amazing. With a really good set, you find that there is stuff going on in music that you never even knew was there.

That doesn't mean that an expensive set is automatically going to be better - it depends on the brand, the design, etc.

I'll second (third?) the suggestion for the Sennheisers; they are in my opinion the bast bang for your buck on the market.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:37 pm

cphite wrote:I'll second (third?) the suggestion for the Sennheisers; they are in my opinion the bast bang for your buck on the market.


Which Sennheisers? HD 600 or 650? Or the PX 100-II?

If the PX 100-II are really that good for that cheap, maybe I should pick up a pair to see what all the hype is about. :)
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:46 pm

Well, I will throw this out there. Honestly, I rarely buy new headphones; maybe one or two I think. I have in the past owned a sennheiser HD 555, hd 600, and HD 650 all I bought used. I have owned a denon AH-2000. Honestly, all of these headsets are built to last and I never had any issue buying a used pair from a seller who had taken immaculate care of them. In addition, when I sold my headsets, they also were in expert condition.

I think for you, I'd recommend trying the sennheiser HD 595. These things sell brand new for around $250 (though sennheiser has actually released a new model which they are selling), but you can grab used sets on ebay and on amazon for around $110 dollars. They are phenomenal headsets. In fact, the only reason I went with the HD 600s was I preferred the color and I actually wanted to see what its like to own a $300 dollar headset, rather than a $110 dollar headset (I had other $100 headsets in my care at the time).
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:01 pm

liquidsquid wrote:Why people drop $100+ on headphones which consist of some magnets, wire, and some plastic is beyond me. These same people will shop around to save $5 on the $50 device playing the music using compressed audio streams or compressed files as the source, or playback on a smart phone.


Keep in mind a lot of those people are were using terrible $10 earbuds before. A good set of headphones sounds MUCH better than those, even on a portable player with compressed audio. I agree with you about the "Dr Dre" headphones and similar stuff, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of good headphones out there.

The funny thing is even "expensive" Sennheisers end up being cheaper than generic earbuds in the long run. My experience with earbuds is they only last about 6 months on average because the build quality and wiring is so flimsy. Meanwhile I've had my current $90 set of headphones (Sennheiser HD280pro) for about 10 years. I've replaced the ear cushions once, so in 10 years I've spent about $110 on headphones. That seems pretty reasonable to me.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:49 pm

travbrad wrote:Meanwhile I've had my current $90 set of headphones (Sennheiser HD280pro) for about 10 years. I've replaced the ear cushions once, so in 10 years I've spent about $110 on headphones. That seems pretty reasonable to me.


How do the HD280pro headphones sound? That's a low price, and you've had them a long time, so you must like them!
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:06 pm

superjawes wrote:You might be able to reduce EMI if you could passively cool everything (so no inductive loads),

Fans aren't the main source of EMI. Yes, they're a source of magnetic fields, but those fields are relatively low frequency, and tend to be located at some distance from sensitive analog circuitry. Switching noise flowing back into the power planes from digital components and radiated by PCB traces carrying high frequency signals is a much bigger problem.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:32 pm

Milo Burke wrote:
cphite wrote:I'll second (third?) the suggestion for the Sennheisers; they are in my opinion the bast bang for your buck on the market.


Which Sennheisers? HD 600 or 650? Or the PX 100-II?

If the PX 100-II are really that good for that cheap, maybe I should pick up a pair to see what all the hype is about. :)


If you're willing to go a little above $100 ($130 on Amazon) the HD 558 are hard to beat. Great sound, very comfortable, and they'll last forever with normal use.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:17 pm

Milo Burke wrote:
travbrad wrote:Meanwhile I've had my current $90 set of headphones (Sennheiser HD280pro) for about 10 years. I've replaced the ear cushions once, so in 10 years I've spent about $110 on headphones. That seems pretty reasonable to me.


How do the HD280pro headphones sound? That's a low price, and you've had them a long time, so you must like them!


Just remember that the 'Pro' headphones are usually closed, and embody all that being a closed set entails. Not a bad thing, but they're not going to be the imaging champions that Sennheiser's open cans can be.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:40 am

Milo Burke wrote:
travbrad wrote:Meanwhile I've had my current $90 set of headphones (Sennheiser HD280pro) for about 10 years. I've replaced the ear cushions once, so in 10 years I've spent about $110 on headphones. That seems pretty reasonable to me.


How do the HD280pro headphones sound? That's a low price, and you've had them a long time, so you must like them!

Speaking as another HD280 owner, they sound a little bright. The full audio spectrum is there and clearly defined, so you don't lose anything, but they definitely pop out a bit in the upper midrange.

Once you get used to it, they're an excellent pair of 'phones, but that trait can be a bit jarring to anyone who has become accustomed to the bass-heavy reproduction of most off-the-shelf sets in the $15-50 range.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:03 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
Milo Burke wrote:How do the HD280pro headphones sound? That's a low price, and you've had them a long time, so you must like them!


Just remember that the 'Pro' headphones are usually closed, and embody all that being a closed set entails. Not a bad thing, but they're not going to be the imaging champions that Sennheiser's open cans can be.


Yep the open ear headphones will generally sound better as long as you are in a quiet environment. I like having closed headphones to cut out the sound of roommates, neighbors, airplanes (not that I fly that often), etc. I think the HD280Pros sound great. There are certainly better headphones out there, but in that price range you'd be hard pressed to find a better sounding closed headphone. Heck, most open ear headphones in the price range probably don't sound as good either.

ludi wrote:Speaking as another HD280 owner, they sound a little bright. The full audio spectrum is there and clearly defined, so you don't lose anything, but they definitely pop out a bit in the upper midrange.

Once you get used to it, they're an excellent pair of 'phones, but that trait can be a bit jarring to anyone who has become accustomed to the bass-heavy reproduction of most off-the-shelf sets in the $15-50 range.


Yep I would say that is more a case of those $15-50 sets sounding wrong in the first place though. :P You can always EQ them more to your liking as well if you really prefer to have tons of bass. I listen to many different genres of music (including some hip-hop), and they've always sounded pretty good to me. I've always thought the "shake your eardrums till they hurt" subwoofers and such are a bit silly though.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:47 pm

Today i was at a local store. I tried Sennheiser HD215(129$), HD202(53$- on sale), HD449(177$) and HD518(186$). They all sound more or less the same for me (except the 558 - they're open while all the other are closed). Therefore I think it not a good idea to buy a high end headphone if I don't notice any change between models... What do you say?
As those were firm enough for I would say that I will prefer Sennheiser and not AKG.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:34 pm

Tharbad wrote:Today i was at a local store. I tried Sennheiser HD215(129$), HD202(53$- on sale), HD449(177$) and HD518(186$). They all sound more or less the same for me (except the 558 - they're open while all the other are closed). Therefore I think it not a good idea to buy a high end headphone if I don't notice any change between models... What do you say?
As those were firm enough for I would say that I will prefer Sennheiser and not AKG.


If you can't tell the difference between them then there's probably not much reason to buy the more expensive ones, unless one has better build quality or is more comfortable. You are the one that's going to be listening to them after all. The only caveat I'd have is that it depends what your output device was at the store versus what you'll be using at home. My headphones sound a lot better even hooked up to my PC (which only has a budget sound card) compared to on my portable player (Sansa Fuze).

Audio equipment in general does get to a point of diminishing returns as well, but what that point is depends on the person. There are $1000 headphones that sound amazing, but the question is do they really sound $800 better than $200 headphones? Only you can answer that question.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:08 am

Tharbad wrote:Today i was at a local store. I tried Sennheiser HD215(129$), HD202(53$- on sale), HD449(177$) and HD518(186$). They all sound more or less the same for me (except the 558 - they're open while all the other are closed). Therefore I think it not a good idea to buy a high end headphone if I don't notice any change between models... What do you say?


I have a couple pairs of 201s, which are in the same class as the 202s, and to me they sound somewhat mediocre compared to the HD280s when either is connected to a proper headphone amp.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:06 am

Tharbad wrote:Today i was at a local store. I tried Sennheiser HD215(129$), HD202(53$- on sale), HD449(177$) and HD518(186$). They all sound more or less the same for me (except the 558 - they're open while all the other are closed). Therefore I think it not a good idea to buy a high end headphone if I don't notice any change between models... What do you say?
As those were firm enough for I would say that I will prefer Sennheiser and not AKG.

A store where they have a load of headphones lined up side by side won't give you a good idea how the headphones actually sound though. The source is often crappy (not to mention driving a ton of headphones), there is a lot of background noise and it's probably not your favorite music that was playing.

That said, 54 USD for HD202's? The HD202's are the second cheapest headphones that Sennheiser make, and they're not good compared to other headphones in the same price bracket. You shouldn't be paying more than 30 USD for them either.

Also, AKG makes excellent headphones that compete directly with Sennheisers across the board, so don't dismiss them so easily. In particular, the closed-back portable AKG K81 might be a good fit for you.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:08 am

travbrad wrote:Yep the open ear headphones will generally sound better as long as you are in a quiet environment. I like having closed headphones to cut out the sound of roommates, neighbors, airplanes (not that I fly that often), etc. I think the HD280Pros sound great. There are certainly better headphones out there, but in that price range you'd be hard pressed to find a better sounding closed headphone. Heck, most open ear headphones in the price range probably don't sound as good either.



If you really need/want closed cans, this is what the DJs are using at the moment:

http://www.acgears.com/sound/portable-headphones/aiaiai-tma-1-with-mic

ACGears is selling them for $165 instead of the $249 MSRP right now.
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:05 am

Tharbad,

If you can't hear a difference between the different models of headphones, save your money. Travbad is right, you are the listener. Buy what sounds good to you.

But before you do, I also recommend you listen a little more carefully. Do you have a laptop? Or something you can listen to audio with portably?

Pick three songs you like: one with natural instruments like acoustic guitar and female vocal, one rock song that really jumps out from the speakers/headphones and sounds great, and one electronic/dance song that sounds good to you. Listen to how clear and natural the first song sounds, how energetic and full the second song sounds, and how driving and powerful and fun the third song sounds.

Listen to these three songs over and over at home, on your current headphones, in your car; everywhere you can and multiple times. Now go back into the store and listen to these three songs from your own device using their headphones. Remember, you want clear, detailed sound. If you notice a difference between the headphones, decide if it is worth it to pay more. If you don't notice a difference, get the cheapest ones. (And if you don't notice a difference between open and closed, get closed headphones. A little more noise isolation is rarely a bad thing.)

Let us know which ones you decide to get.

And also let us know which three songs you choose. I'm always up for discovering new music. :D
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Re: New Headphones ~100$

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:52 am

Milo Burke wrote:Tharbad,

If you can't hear a difference between the different models of headphones, save your money. Travbad is right, you are the listener. Buy what sounds good to you.

But before you do, I also recommend you listen a little more carefully. Do you have a laptop? Or something you can listen to audio with portably?

I have 3 possibilities: Ipod nano 3rd, Ipod nano 7th and Samsung XE700T. I was unpreapered in the store so I used the nano 3rd.

Milo Burke wrote:Pick three songs you like: one with natural instruments like acoustic guitar and female vocal, one rock song that really jumps out from the speakers/headphones and sounds great, and one electronic/dance song that sounds good to you. Listen to how clear and natural the first song sounds, how energetic and full the second song sounds, and how driving and powerful and fun the third song sounds.

Listen to these three songs over and over at home, on your current headphones, in your car; everywhere you can and multiple times. Now go back into the store and listen to these three songs from your own device using their headphones. Remember, you want clear, detailed sound. If you notice a difference between the headphones, decide if it is worth it to pay more. If you don't notice a difference, get the cheapest ones. (And if you don't notice a difference between open and closed, get closed headphones. A little more noise isolation is rarely a bad thing.)

Let us know which ones you decide to get.

And also let us know which three songs you choose. I'm always up for discovering new music. :D

1) Hebrew song
2) Metlica's Smoke on the Water. Although it not that jumpy. have better?
3) I'll need a suggestion for the third one. I don't hear electronic/dance..

Firestarter wrote:
Tharbad wrote:Today i was at a local store. I tried Sennheiser HD215(129$), HD202(53$- on sale), HD449(177$) and HD518(186$). They all sound more or less the same for me (except the 558 - they're open while all the other are closed). Therefore I think it not a good idea to buy a high end headphone if I don't notice any change between models... What do you say?
As those were firm enough for I would say that I will prefer Sennheiser and not AKG.

A store where they have a load of headphones lined up side by side won't give you a good idea how the headphones actually sound though. The source is often crappy (not to mention driving a ton of headphones), there is a lot of background noise and it's probably not your favorite music that was playing.

Also, AKG makes excellent headphones that compete directly with Sennheisers across the board, so don't dismiss them so easily. In particular, the closed-back portable AKG K81 might be a good fit for you.

Because of the variation between the models, I prefer to listen before buying. I'm not looking for portable, I want something that will cover my ears. I have the KOSS PortaPro as a portables.

Firestarter wrote:That said, 54 USD for HD202's? The HD202's are the second cheapest headphones that Sennheiser make, and they're not good compared to other headphones in the same price bracket. You shouldn't be paying more than 30 USD for them either.

Shipping is ~30$... which means that 54$ is a good price :(
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