General purpose full sized headphones, c£100 - £150

Discussion in 'Full Size Headphones' started by VFRHawk, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    Hi,

    Looking for some advise please. I currently have a set of Sennheiser HD500's which have developed a serious rattle in the right ear piece. As they're approaching 15 years old now I'm looking to replace them with a new set. Been reading reviews and threads on here, and a work colleague has recommended Beyerdynamic headphones, so I'm wondering what the best bet would be - I'm not ruling any other make out, I just like the personal recomendation.

    So, my listening habits.. pretty diverse. They need to be able to handle my AV setup (Yamaha RX-V 487) for both films and (occasionally very loud) music, but I also need them to be able to work with my PC for gaming. I'm about to buy a set of Teufel Concept B20 speakers for that to replace my now defunct Creative T40's, so I'm guessing anything high impedance is out as they won't be able to drive them?

    Musically, mostly classic rock, but I'll listen to virtually anything that isn't rap or dubstep. I like an occasional trip down classical music lane, so I'd like something that can handle my occasional need to deafen myself, but can also manage to sound clean and crisp when I'm just listening in general. If it adds any knowledge to my preferences, I have a set of Teufel Theatre 80 speakers on my AV rig which I think are simply superb for the money they cost.

    The only other must is a long cable, as I sit some 10' - 12' from the amp, so anything with a short or tightly coiled cable will require an extension!

    Hopefully that gives an idea of my needs. Price as per the title is <£150 or so.

    Any advice appreciated!

    Graham

    EDIT: Forgot to mention.. I live alone, so no need for closed back 'phones, if I can annoy the neighbours with headphones on I've definitely got them turned up too loud!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi VFRHawk

    You will almost certainly need an extension cable - here's a good one -


    Grado Headphone Extension Cable 450cm
    £31.06

    That leaves you with just about enough for these -

    Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO Open Headphones 250Ω (DT 990)
    £124.96 - You will need to have a reasonably powerful headphone amp for these though.

    also recommended -


    SoundMAGIC HP100 Closed Back Headphones (HP-100)
    £169.99

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Closed Monitor Headphones Coiled Cable
    £145.00

    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO Closed Back Headphones 250Ω (DT 770
    £126.95

    Hope that helps!:)
     
  3. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    Excellent, it was the 990's I was looking at!

    Would they work with my PC/speakers at all? Or would I need to invest in a headphone amp/external soundcard? I take it there'd be no issues with my AV amp driving them?

    Graham
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Graham

    Your AV amp may not power the 250 ohms set of DT990 - they might end up sounding a little weak.

    If this is the case (and it sounds like you may be listening to music from a PC) something like this would sort out any lack of power but could also seriously improve the output from your PC.

    FiiO E17 Alpen Portable Headphone Amplifier & USB DAC (E-17)
    £119.99

    or this

    FiiO E7 Headphone Amplifier & USB DAC in Black - B GRADE-WB
    £64.99

    Older but still impressive

    Both are excellent all in one DAC/Amps:)
     
  5. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    Hmm, that would start to make this a very expensive exercise then.

    I'm now going to consider the Audio Technica's. I'd like them to be circumaural which those appear to be. I'm guessing I'd still need the extension cable so we're a little over budget, but not so much.

    Shame all the Grado's seem to be on ear as I've been reading good things about those too. Oh well, guess next pay day I'll be ordering the M50's unless anyone has any other suggestions?

    EDIT: Having now read the portable DAC description, that might fix another minor problem I have. I use my phone (a galaxy S2) as a portable media player with some Phonak Audeo in ear phones I bought from you. I find them a little quiet, so if I could use the cheaper of those headphones amps with that, and maybe get better quality sound then it might be worth going back to plan A and adding the amp in..
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    That would work, I do feel a little bad adding to your budget though. The M50 are circumaural as long as your ears and not too big. Most people find them very comfortable and they have a great sound and are nicely made.
     
  7. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    You can always offer me a discount Robin... :)
     
  8. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    On a more serious note, what would you recommend given the same criteria and a £200 - £250 budget? If there's a better set of headphones that don't require the amp for that price I'd be better to spend my money there. OK, I lose the use of the amp for mobile listening, but that's a relatively minor consideration given how rarely I listen to music on the go.

    Just trying to get the best bang for my buck! :)

    Graham
     
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I actually tried hard with this one and gave up. Something in between the M50 and a Sennheiser Amperior that has a similar warm, lush sound - don't know. Maybe Quadpatch knows of something.
     
  10. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Perhaps you might like some of the Beyers. I don't think sound isolation was needed so maybe the DT880 (Neutral, Detail monster) or the DT990 (Warmer and a little less detail), they are both airy, open backed, super comfy and built like tanks with 3m cables (9.9ft). I would advise going for an amp with these but that could always be done at a later date, as long as you don't want to go with the 600Ohm versions (although from what I hear the 250Ohms are also pretty tough to drive).

    For a closed back, super isolating headphone that's full of detail I am loving the SoundMAGIC HP100 with the rPAC at the moment, a great combo, but the two together are a bit over your new budget. The coiled cable is also a bit of a shame, if only they hadn't put a locking mechanism on the 3.5mm input you could switch it for something else. Hey Robin, any idea if SoundMAGIC do a straight cable? (I'd buy one).
     
  11. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    There might be some variations (coloured and straight versions) in the future but it will probably be 2013. Lots of people hate coiled cables but they can be quite handy if you are using your cans with a portable set up or from an office chair.

    How long do you think a straight cable should be? It would be nice to have two lengths to choose between (maybe 1.5m and 3.5m?).
     
  12. VFRHawk

    VFRHawk New Member

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    I like the idea of the choice Robin. I guess something different from whatever most sets of headphones come with - so if they come with 1.5m cables doesn't seem a lot of point in a replacement the same length, if it the one it comes with is coiled. On the other hand if most headphones come with a 3M cable, a 1.5M would be useful. I use my cans with my PC, so a short cable would save me running the stock one over with my office chair!

    OK, done some more digging (sorry if this is dragging on a bit). The AKG Q701's seem to be in the higher price range, and they're a What Hi-Fi 5 star winner. Anyone have any experience of those?

    Also, I see the DT 990's come in a 32 ohm version that's £229 on here. Is there a particular advantage to the hi impedance version + amp over the low impedance version? I'd gain the amp, but that's a minor consideration, and having the amp would mean having a cable, maybe a 3.5 - 6.5mm converter, then the amp, then another cable to the headphones, which may not be a great idea and sounds a bit fiddly?
     
  13. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    I would be happiest with a 2m, that seems to be uncommon though so I'd be fine with a 3m - like most seem to have. I use headphones with either a portable or at a desk and I really don't like coiled cables for either. At short distances the weight pulls on the ear cup and gets in the way of my keyboard/tablet and at longer distances they pull a lot on the headphones and what they are plugged into. It says on the box that they can go to 4m, but unless I try to straighten the coil it will rip the connector out of the heavier amp or drag the rPAC across the desk at 3m.

    So far this is my only gripe with the SoundMAGIC though, if only it didn't have that locking mechanism on the ear-cup I could have put a generic cable in like I had to with the V-Moda.
     
  14. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    The Q701 and the DT990 are both nice and open, but are at opposite ends of the presentation scale. I couldn't quite get used to the AKG for it's extremely lean bass (bass light) and treble spike whereas the DT990 is a warm version of the DT880 and that's already way less bright, more prominent on the low end.

    The higher impedance Beyerdynamics tend to be a little smoother on the treble according to some. I have the 600 Ohm DT880 and I really like it, don't find it too harsh on the highs. Yeah it and the 250 Ohm will need amping, preferably something mains powered rather than USB, but then the Q701 sucks really, really bad when not driven properly and that compounds the lean bass. Its not so much a volume issue with the AKG, it just really doesn't sound worth the money!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  15. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The higher impedance Beyers are slightly less dynamic but give a more solid flatter feel. You obviously need a powerful amp to get the best from them. So there are two reasons to pick high or low impedance - Firstly to get a more or less dynamic sound and secondly to fit best with the power available from your set up.

    The AKGs have a very distinctive sound which definitely doesn't suit everybody. The Beyers are much closer to what the majority of people are expecting. People who visit us rarely purchase AKG K/Q 701/2 over Beyet DT##0 range but I have no way of telling which you would prefer, I like the Beyers though:)
     
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