Best headphones under 150, again but slightly different

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by john_dikeman, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. john_dikeman

    john_dikeman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Hello everyone,

    I'm new here and I read a few threads similar to this one however I realize recommendations can be very different based on your listening needs so I thought I'd start a new one.

    I am looking for the best headphones under 150. Will probably even try scrounging around ebay etc for a good used deal (or if any of you have a pair for sale).

    I am a musician that listens mostly to CD's on a Technics SL-XP150 however also on my computer. I listen largely to jazz and also spend a lot of time listening to my own recordings to figure out what's worth trying to release, etc... Here are two examples to show the extremes of what I'm listening to. My main concern is getting the most accurate and detailed sound which can be hard with such dense music. Of course, I'd like it to sound rich and full but not artificial.

    Side A by Cactus Truck 2 on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    It has happened before... by GJ Dikeman on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    Any recommendations are most welcome and sorry again if this post seems redundant. Also, I am not averse to getting an amp, though at the moment I'd probably just go for a CMoy. Comments there are also welcome.

    thanks,
    john
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Here are some

    Open Back Headphones

    If you scroll down, you'll see the Beyerdynamic DT990 and Audio Technica ATH-AD700, which look like a match.
     
  3. john_dikeman

    john_dikeman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Hey Dalethorn: thanks for the quick response. Just curious why you'd recommend the open back models as opposed to closed cans. I was mostly considering the Audio Technica ATH_M50 or Beyerdynamic DT 770 or 880(if I could find one cheap enough). Is there a main difference that caused you to recommended the above over those?
     
  4. john_dikeman

    john_dikeman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Ah, I think I see now... did some research and according to headphone.com the Beyerdynamic 990 gets a sound rating of 10 out of 10 where the other models got 5's or so. However I am a little concerned about just how much noise they will make to the outside world. I often listen to music while biking through town. I don't care about the bulkiness etc... But how much louder to outsiders are these headphones than my previous Sennheiser PX200s?
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Dt-990?

    Good questions all. And all other things being equal, the open headphones have an advantage in sound quality since it's harder to make a sealed headphone sound as good. But that's a matter of design principle, so you still have to choose on a case by case basis. With open headphones the leakage of sound to the outside can be a problem in an office or when you're listening in the same area as someone who is sleeping or watching TV and so on, but it's much less of a problem when you're in a very noisy area. The other end of the issue is usually a greater concern for music listening though. In noisy places with an open headphone, the delicate and subtle qualities of the music that make the difference between a hi-fi listening experience and something low-fi are usually masked by the noise, since the open headphone doesn't block that noise.
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    Dale is right that the Open Backs tend to have a more natural and airy feel. The Closed Back Audio Technica M50 is a good all rounder though, portable, very little sound leakage, easily powered and a folding design. They are very clean and clear with great bass response.

    I'd suggest reading through the best headphones reviews on our store and see what you think fits you best. We've picked the best headphones at each budget.
     
  7. john_dikeman

    john_dikeman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Thanks guys for your input that helps a lot. Frankly, I like the idea of headphones that will sound fantastic while listening in an ideal environment and less amazing while on my bike than something that sounds a little better biking but not as good at my home trying to make out the subtleties of a loud chaotic group with two drummers, two bassists and horns...
    Purely in terms of sound how would you compare the Beyer to the Audio Technica M50? Or the open backed Audio Technica for that matter.

    And another question. I am at a point where I would love to get some really nice headphones and not have to worry about upgrading anytime soon however I am a musician (making very unmarketable music) so I don't really have lots of cash to do it. What about buying used? At this point the Beyerdynamic DT990 is probably my first choice and I've seen some older models. Has the design changed significantly over the years? Would the same model from 10 years ago in great shape sound just as good? Of course, I know it's easy to get burned on ebay and buy a supposedly great pair which is blown.... But assuming they really are in good shape, what would be different? If there's a chance of getting some excellent sounding headphones I'll try and do some research but if you both say forget it I'm more likely to try to suck it up, save the money and buy it new.
     
  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Biking

    For safety, on or off road, I strongly recommend open-backed headphones. Closed are not a good idea unless you have infinitely good vision and total alertness in all directions all the time. In other words, closed are not a good idea for biking.

    At home, I much prefer open-backed, unless I need isolation for sounds coming in or going out. But here's something to consider: When I'm at home or out, and it's noisy, like the dishwasher going or whatever, closed back does not isolate well enough for me to enjoy the subtleties I really like in my music. Open-backed late at night is 100 times better than closed in the daytime with the dishwasher running 20 feet away. And that's a *good* isolating headphone BTW.

    Note where I said 100 times better, that applies only to noise levels, nothing else.

    For eBay, make sure you're covered 100 percent for defective items. Then all you probably have to worry about is maybe replacing the earpads if they have too much wear.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  9. john_dikeman

    john_dikeman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Ok, that's really helpful, I think open back is what I'm looking for.

    Re ebay, I hear what you are saying about protection against defective items but just in terms of design do you have any idea how much Beyerdynamic DT990s changed over time? On ebay you can find them up to 20 years old. Sounds a bit risky in terms of a greater chance of them being blown or such, but you can also buy them for $20 so maybe worth the risk. However, in terms of design, how similar would they be? What about a 10 year old pair?
     
  10. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Used headphones

    I know some people who have bought used Beyerdynamics from eBay - not the 990 but several of those were the same model manufactured over a period of nearly 30 years. The big difference seems to be in the earpads, partly because they change specification by the manufacturer sometimes, and partly because the material in the pads loses certain qualities that affect the sound, over a long period of time. The cable should not make a big difference unless it's about to break internally, which you can't see from the outside most of the time. Drivers are hard to judge. They may sound the same, but nobody that I have ever heard of on any forum has bought several used of the same model and put new earpads on all of them, so as to compare the drivers only.
     
Loading...

Share This Page