Best open back or closed back headphones for £120

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by kamranh3, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. kamranh3

    kamranh3 New Member

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    After my Phonaks breaking in less than a month, I've decided I need something more durable without sacrificing sound quality. Closed back headphones have better isolation, less sound leakage and generally better bass. Open back headphones have a better soundstage and more natural sound. Are there any recommendations? Help appreciated :)
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    I know you already have quite a bit of knowledge so I will just recommend to budget.

    Open backs first. I don't really recommend using any of these in public as they are very leaky, lovely sounding though.


    Grado SR80i Open Back Prestige Headphones (Grado SR 80i)
    £108.00

    GermanMAESTRO GMP 240 Open Back Hi-Fi Headphones (GMP240)
    £119.00

    AKG K-240 MK II Semi-Open Studio Headphones (K240 MK-II)
    £97.96

    Closed backs - As a rule, Ultrasone headphones have a very 3D sound with great soundstage, they sound quite open.


    Denon AH-D1100 Closed Back Stereo Headphones (AHD1100)
    £99.95

    Ultrasone HFI-580 Closed-Back Foldable Headphones (HFI 580)
    £119.95

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Closed Monitor Headphones Coiled Cable
    £134.95

    The M50 are very accurate and sturdy and probably suit wanting to use them anywhere a bit more than the excellent HFI 780.
     
  3. kamranh3

    kamranh3 New Member

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    I've seen in some other posts the Beyerdynamic DT770 came highly recommended, how do these compare?
    And what's the difference between the 80ohm and 250ohm? Besides one of them being harder to drive, will a Fiio E5 amp be satisfactory to drive them?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The DT770 are great headphones which I didn't mention for two reasons. Firstly they are a little large which doesn't matter if they are only being used at home but they are not nearly as portable. That's why I added the German Maestro GMP 240, they have a similar feel but are much lighter and a bit smaller, same with the AT M50. Secondly they are 80ohms impedance, which isn't that high but is definitely on the borders of what can be powered by the majority of MP3 players. The 32ohm DT770 version is considerably more expensive and comes in a different housing wich is actually bigger.

    That aside they are superb soundwise, if portable use is not particularly important and you will be able to power them sufficiently then they might be my favourite out of the mentioned models. They are very comfortable with excellent bottom end that feels accurate, strong but not bloated. The sound is accurate and solid with tons of detail.:)
     
  5. albroun

    albroun New Member

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    Similar question - price range up to £200

    I was pointed to this thread as I had asked a similar question which I have replicated with a few refinements below -

    I listen to electronic ambient music and therefore need:

    1. A big open spacious sound
    2. The ability to handle ultra-deep bass with depth, precision and clarity, and without boominess.

    I listen via a Hi Fi amplifier (an old 1980's Technics model - I think about 40W per channel - dont know headphone socket spec) and I have a portable headphone amp FiiO E7 with L3 dock cable output for my iPod Classic so high impedance should be OK? (though I may upgrade to something better than the FiiO E7 as to be honest I cannot detect any improvement in sound quality over the iPod headphone socket).

    Headphone portability and sound leakage is not an issue and I prefer over-ear to in-ear headphones. I generally find open headphones more pleasant to wear than closed headphones, but it's not really a big issue.

    At present I have Sennheiser HD555 which give a nice natural sound, reasonably open and spacious but certainly could be a lot better, and dont handle the ultra deep bass. Also, Sennheiser HD380 Pro which handle ultra-deep bass quite well (and have very sharp treble), but have a poor mid-range and sound rather nasal and compressed.

    The main difference is that I can go up to £200 and sound leakage not an issue, but basically the same question - how to combine good bass with soundstage. I hope I am on-topic! Any advice appreciated.

    Many thanks.
     
  6. nicolaspiazza

    nicolaspiazza New Member

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    As albroun, I have the same doubts. I listen to electronic ambient music, but listen to death metal too. I'll use it with an iPod in the bus.
    It'll be my first phone that costs more than $10,00, but I can't afford to buy an expensive phone yet. I'm looking for something around $100,00. I don't know if Shure SRH440 or SRH550 would be the ideal phone to this kind of music.
    Leakage and portability aren't issues too.
    Thanks.
     
  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Albroun

    I would go for these

    Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO Semi-Open Headphones 250Ω (DT 880)
    £194.95

    The DT880 are very comfy full size headphones with an eye on accuracy and detail. The DT880 is actually more neutral than most headphones. For an Open backed (semi) design there is very little leakage, they are really comfy and have superb sound stage and stereo imaging. Dolby use these for live mix (with the Headzone Pro) when they cannot build an onsite 5.1 mix room. They are not clinical sounding and feel natural whist being accurate. These are actually one of my favourite headphones, the different Ohm options (32 Ohms, 250 Ohms and 600 Ohms) differ in the amount of power needed to drive them but also as the impedance goes up the dynamic response shortens (smaller gap between loudest and quietest sounds on the record).

    Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium Semi-Open Headphones 32Ω
    £209.95

    Hope that helps:D
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  8. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi nicolaspiazza

    I would urge you to save a bit more for the DENON D1100. I bet you would love this headphone! Another that you would like is the Audio Technica M50. I think the SRH-440 is pretty good for the price but it lacks the solidity and bottom end power of its big brother (SRH-840) or the D1100 or the M50. Treated well headphones last for 10 - 15 years, even when used all the time, it is worth getting one that really makes you feel great. Pick it to fit your tastes, a few dollars extra could make all the difference between love and hate.;)
     
  9. kamranh3

    kamranh3 New Member

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    I ended up buying the Shure SRH750DJ and for going out some Soundmagic Pl11s, was it a good choice?
     
  10. nicolaspiazza

    nicolaspiazza New Member

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    Unfortunately I would take too long saving money for it because of the tax on imports. Could you suggest me another one? It'll be my first decent headphone.
     
  11. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    It is a wonderful thing if people shop with Hifi Headphones after being on the forum, but it is certainly not mandatory! You can get these in the States for $150 or less. I suppose you may not be in the USA - Where in the world are you nicolaspiazza?
     
  12. nicolaspiazza

    nicolaspiazza New Member

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    In Brazil. Our currency is very weak, like 1 GBP to 2.8 BRL. A headphone that costs £100,00 would cost, with taxes, R$504,00 (it's our minimum wage).
    That's one of the reasons that I'm looking for an entrance headphone that deals well with metal or ambient music, but doesn't exceed $100,00 :p
     
  13. albroun

    albroun New Member

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    .....
    Many thanks. I have also been recommended the 990 version too, and my shortlist includes:

    Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO Semi-Open Headphones 250Ω
    AKG K701
    AKG K702
    Audio-Technica ATH M50
    Audio-Technica ATH A700
    Ultrasone HFI 580
    Ultrasone HFI 680
    Ultrasone HFI 2400

    I live in the Highlands miles from anywhere so have to rely heavily on recommendations and user reviews.

    You seem to have the most extensive wide-ranging knowledge of the various models in question so if you think the 880s are more suitable for my needs than the others I would probably go for these.

    Sound-leakage, size etc not an issue. Mainly just deep precise sub-bass and wide big soundstage. So long as the rest (flat frequency response etc) is reasonable then that is fine.

    Will have to think about the Ohms issue - would prefer to have higher Ohms for my main hifi amp as I have to keep the volume control almost at zero for my Sennheiser HD555 and 380Pro! So long as my FiiO E7 can drive 250+ Ohms headphones adequately for my iPod, then high Ohms would be preferable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
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