Compare 3 headphones in $100 range

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by David W Floren, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. David W Floren

    David W Floren New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Greetings from Livermore, California. My goal is to spend less than $200 total for an upgrade to my headphones and PC sound card, primarily for consumer listening purposes (genre: classical music (symphonic, chamber, solo and small ensemble). My current setup is unacceptably poor but I so am I financially right now, so I was wondering if any of you might help me decide between the following headphones, and provide some guidance on how to select a better PC sound card (and explain why a better sound card matters).

    Current setup:
    Headphones: Sony MDR-zx100;
    PC sound card: Not sure .. using stock hardware soldered to the motherboard of my Compaq Presario Dual Core PC (purchased in 2008).

    I'm contemplating purchasing the following headphones:
    (sound quality is my first concern, followed by product durability, then comfort in a distant third, cord length not a concern):
    (1) Audio Technica AD700 open air;
    (2) Grado SR80i;
    (3) Sennheiser HD-280 PRO;
    (4) AKG K142HD

    Also, any guidance on whether a different PC sound card than the one I'm using will make any noticeable improvement in listening experience would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    The AT and AKG should be good, the Grado will be strident, and the HD280 pro, while very good sonically despite a weak upper bass, is easily the most uncomfortable headphone I've ever used, with earpads like sandpaper.

    I can make a very educated guess as to a better soundcard (external only for reasons complicated enough to require a consulting fee), but there's no way to know if it will outperform what you have now. The music you listen to and your knowledge of proper tone will be your best guide.
     
  3. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Messages:
    213
    Hi David,

    The Audio Technica AD700s are great for the genres you specified. They have a great sound stage and they are very natural sounding. The Grados aren't for everybody - I really like them but some people find them too transparent.

    With regards to a sound card, it is worth upgrading but it's hard to say if you will get a big improvement at this price point. There is an amp/DAC by Fiio called the E07K - this would likely improve the sound of your PC. The other option would be to spend all the money on some great headphones, then you can upgrade the sound card at a later date.
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Just wanted to add another thumbs-up on the FiiO E07k - FiiO did an amazing thing with the E07k, providing most of the features of the costlier E17, and with the same quality.
     
Loading...

Share This Page