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Best headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Mark Pitchford, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. Mark Pitchford

    Mark Pitchford
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    I've got about £100 pounds to spend on headphones.

    Which are the best value for money under this limit?
     
  2. Jase

    Jase
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    Sennheiser HD580 Precision are worth checking out. Around 80-90 quid at some UK dealers. :)
     
  3. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Grado SP83. Open backed so quite noisy and you'll look like a 30's newscaster but when you listen to them- you won't care. £80-90 depending on dealer.
     
  4. kryten

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    I've got a pair of Grado SR60s and think they are great.

    Are you using a dedicated headphone amp?
     
  5. alexs2

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    The Sennheiser's are excellent value,as are the Grado's,and about the best for quality at that price range....things only really get much better after the £200 mark,and all of these will benefit from a dedicated headphone amp.....the Creek is a good relatively cheap option,and prices go up from there....I'm sure NicB will recommend some also!
     
  6. Mark Pitchford

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    Not thought about an amp to be honest. Although if the quality really improves I would consider it.

    Just looking at plugging them into my receiver (and my computer) for night-time listening (and playing).
     
  7. alexs2

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    Depends on how much you want to spend.....the Creek is about the cheapest one that I'd recommend,although a few people here are raving about the Musical Fidelity X-Can in it's various incarnations.
    Those can all be found on ebay at reasonable prices 2nd hand...others,like the Earmax/Slee/Headroom amps are much more expensive,but the sound quality can be amazing.
     
  8. stevegreen

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    I use Beyerdynamic DT331 and am very pleased with them, lovely warm sound and very comfortable, I think they come in at under £100 :)
     
  9. Craig Sowerby

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    Hi,

    I use beyerdynamic, try the DT531 @ £99 and the Grado SR60/SR80 @ £89 and £109.

    good luck.
     
  10. avanzato

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    I've had a pair of Grado SR60 for years and they're great :smashin:
     
  11. NicolasB

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    I regard Sennheiser HD580 headphones as breathtakingly good value at anything under £100. I think they're quite a long way ahead of Grado SR60s or Beyer DT531s.

    The only problem may be if the thing you are listening to is battery-powered, in which case you might be better off with (say) Grado SR60s which don't require quite so much "oomph" to drive them.

    A good headphone amp will certainly improve the sound even more, but that can wait.
     
  12. andy572

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    Rather a delay here, but please could you qualify your comments regarding the 580s in comparison to the Grado, Nicolas?

    Having had my sole set of headphones break this week (darn gravity!), I'm now looking into buying something rather better. The cheaper, very much the better for me; but I am getting tempted by the more well-considered 'phones such as the SR60/80s, Sennheiser and Beyerdynamics in the £40-100 range.

    A set of vegetarian-friendly, comfortable, sweet-sounding headphones are <cough> 'all' that's required - along with the moon on a stick, of course :clap: . I'd love to hear of experiences with 'supra-aural' and 'circum-aural' 'phones, along with those relating to open, closed, and semi-closed :confused: sets too. The week's reading would suggest that I prefer the sound of on-ear, as I have so far found my cheap set to be the best that I've heard; but I do find them lacking in mid-range and far too bright, on occasion - though still preferable to the 'muddy' sound of the few full-sized headphones that I've tried. Reading about the above products suggests that this doesn't have to be the case, however - so I remain open-minded and interested to hear comment.

    Incidentally, I wear glasses too, so comfort with specs would be beneficial. Don't want much, do I? :laugh:

    Thank you for listening :smashin:
     
  13. Line_Man

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    I have heard that Zalman sell some 5.1 headphones, they are suppost to be fantastic, and cost £70. They use 3 speakers on each side, place at front rear and center, to create excelent 5.1 tricking your ear.
     
  14. Mark Pitchford

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    It's real funny seeing your thread resurected from the dead as it were...

    Anyway, I followed the advice given here and got myself some Sennheiser HD-580's and they are nothing short of superb.

    After hearing these, a speaker upgrade is definately on the cards!!

    Edit: I wear glasses too and have no problems.
     
  15. avanzato

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    I've just upgraded my headphones too. Decided to move up from the Grado and ended up getting a pair of Ergo Model 2 (£149) as they sound very like speakers, not headphones, which is exactly what I wanted.
     
  16. NicolasB

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    I wouldn't get too hung on open/closed, supra/circum, etc. No specific option like this will guarantee better sound.

    Circumaural 'phones are sometimes a bit more comfortable than supra-aural ones - but there are some very comfy supra- 'phones out there. The BeyerDynamic DT231 Galactic (good value at about £40) is a good example.

    Closed-back headphones tend to shut out external sounds more, and similarly also tend to prevent "leakage" of what you are listening to into the room more, so if you specifically need someone close not to hear what's happening, or you're trying to block out noise, they can be a good buy. There aren't actually that many really good closed 'phones, mind you - Sennheiser HD250 II and Beyerdynamic DT831 are possiblities.

    If you want the ultimate in outside-noise-exclusion, though, you should try some of the inside-the-ear 'phones from Etymotic Research.
     
  17. andy572

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    Funnily enough, I hadn't until this week! :laugh:

    I'd just got reasonably lucky with some 'phones that were bought for me several years ago. Having not examined the sets I've briefly used in the past, I've no idea what I'd been using; but started to wonder, following the memory that they all sounded 'murky'.

    I feel fairly certain that any headphone will be an improvement on the old set and comfort is now the important factor (along with non-vinyl ('cause the old ones left black bits all over my ears!), non-leather or foam covering).

    The 231 Galactic was my immediate choice, after the old set broke. In the following days, I got more than a little distracted by the abundant, positive talk of the Grado and Senn' headphones within my £100. Okay, okay - and a little (ahem, lot) above! :laugh:

    Just last night, considering the likely improvement and connection to the 'low-end' gear that I own, I was on the point of buying the 231s. Go to the site, click through... aaaaarrrgh, they've gone! A couple of hours or so later, I found them cheaper and closer to home. :smashin:

    At this point in time, sound leakage isn't a problem; but shutting the rest out does appeal. Not at the expense of the sound on the inside, however.

    As I respond to the enquiries of others, an audition and subsequent forming of one's own opinion is best; but as I am extremely unlikely to be able to do that (I'm house-bound, due to illness), is it possible to say if there are vast differences between headsets between the £40 231s, relatively mid-priced Senn' 570/80/90s and something like the Sennheiser 250s?

    Sorry for all of this. I thought I was done with AV buying for the year!

    I can at least close my ramble with one certainty: the Etymotic buds are definitely beyond my budget! :rotfl:
     
  18. andy572

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    An answer to one question may sort me out. Ha! Oh... :blush:

    Can I rediscover mid-range via these headphones?

    That's the one improvement that I'd really like to achieve. The old set had a nice depth, with good lows at the appropriate time. Early on, the high-end made a pleasant companion and so, the sound initially seemed better overall (to me!) than that of friends' large 'phones. However, with certain types of audio, the brightness became wearing and allied to 'hot ears', either distracted from the experience or left one with a headache.

    Might I find a headset that's easy to wear, with a more 'comfortable' reproduction at this price level?

    Thank you for the responses, guys.
     
  19. NicolasB

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    Sennheiser 580s are on a whole different planet from Beyer DT231s. But it does depend a bit on your source. Ideally you need a dedicated headphone amp to get the best out of them, which makes the whole system a LOT more expensive. If you can find someone who will let you demo 580s at home, see how your current source copes, I think you owe it to yourself to try.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with 570s or 590s, but some people like the 590 sound.
     
  20. tekmonkey

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    Just to have a poke I'd say Grado will be the best sounding/most comfortable/lightest headphones at or around £100.00

    Monkey malarkey!
     
  21. kryten

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    The Grados sound great, but I wouldn't describe them as 'comfortable'!!
     
  22. alexs2

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    I have a set of these....absolutely superb for noisy environments(like your home if the kids are about!),and also a very good sound quality indeed....nothing like the usual ear-bud type sound,but not cheap either.
     
  23. avanzato

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    I found the Grados OK and could wear them for several hours, you just have to bend the headband to fit, they do make your ears warm though.
     
  24. Hawklord

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    I own a pair of Galactic DT231 headphones that have just been relogated to my pc since buying the Senn' HD600's the other week. The Dt231's were very good for the money imo offering superb sound and incredibly comfortable too. I've had many 3-4 hour sessions on my pc recently (playing Neverwinter nights) and never got tierd ears.
    The HD600's are completely different beasts however and since using them instead of the DT231's I'm satistfied the improvement in sound quality is well worth the £140 I paid for them. I've just been using the headphone sockets on my gear for the time being but will be taking delivery of a GSP solo MkIII headphone amp later today. The benefits of having a headphone amp are yet to be realised but just based on the performance through normal phono jacks alone lead me to the conclusion that these have been an increadible purchase for the money. If you can find a bit more money I'd recomend the HD's but the DT231's will be an excellent compromise.
    :D

    p.s. I'll post my thoughts on the headphone amp when I've had a chance to play.:smashin:
     
  25. NicolasB

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    I own Sennheiser HD600s myself, and they are very nice indeed. But I'd say the difference in quality between Beyer DT231s and Sennheiser 580s is much greater than it is between 580s and 600s.

    Maybe one of these days I'll treat myself to a pair of HD650s. :)

    I should say, though, that the level of performance you get not using a headphone amp can vary a lot from amplifier to amplifier. Producing good headphone output from pre-amp or integrated amp is not actually very difficult, it's simply that most manufacturers don't bother in order to cut costs. The headphone output quality of an amp often bears no relation to the speaker/pre-amp output quality. So with some amps you can get away without using a dedicated headphone amp. With others you can't. Without trying it, it's very hard to predict which.
     
  26. andy572

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    Thanks for the awesome answers, guys. Keep 'em coming!

    Re: a headphone amp, I'm afraid that's a non-starter for me. I'll have to 'make do' with plugging straight into the usual headphone socket :( :D

    I've read a lot about the built-in output, nicolas. It doesn't look good; but it's what I'm used to, so I think I'll cope! For now :rotfl: .

    Following on from an earlier comment regarding the 231s, are they 'round the ear' 'phones or 'on the ear'? I'd got the impression that they were of the potentially more comfortable 'round the ear' variety (and they appear to be), but one line suggested they were of the on-ear type.

    The 580s are prime candidates, at the moment - though the 231 Galactics are still up there too. I can get the 580s for £99.95 though, which appears to be a really good price when compared to most dealers. Dunno if they're actually in stock though... :laugh:

    I've also found the 600s at £169.95, though can't really justify that. Can I? Can I...? No! Maybe. Oh... :rotfl:

    It's a shame the 580s have two cables running away from the headset though. I snagged on my old pair countless times and it would have been nice to try the single connection.

    I've put the initially enticing Grado options off my list, as I have read of them being 'bright' (something I'd like to get away from a little, if my last 'phones are anything to go by) and rather hot and uncomfortable.

    So, I'm stuck somewhere between thinking the Galactics could make a nice stepping-stone (and don't cost 50+% of the hardware they'll be connected to!) and that I should grab a set of Sennheiser 'phones whilst they're at a good price (and in the case of the 580s, available). I keep think that I'll 'grow into' the Senns too i.e. if my hardware improves, they'll be right there, giving their best.

    If only I could get out and try these things... :(
     
  27. Hawklord

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    The Dt231's are around my ears at least but if you've got huge ears then I presume they'd be on ears.
    I bought my HD600's here for £139 and you can pick the DT231's for £34:-

    http://www.askdirect.co.uk/uview?call=ask.productBrowse&id=351&topcatid=7

    It was mentioned in a previous thread that some one found the HD600's elswhere for £110 but I can't see to find them myself for that price.
    I'd definately go for the best you can afford since it will mean you'll not need to upgrade again later on down the line when you decide to upgrade your sources or even purchase a headphone amp. (That's how I justified it to myself anyway lol).:blush:

    happy hunting:smashin:
     
  28. andy572

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    Nope, no 'Dumbo' here. Just a big guy, with little ears. :laugh:

    I'm filing that! Just in case, loik. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-aaaaaa! :devil:

    Hey, a guy needs come-back. And/or a mountain goat. Scapegoat! A guy needs a scapegoat! :lesson: :rolleyes:
     
  29. AV-Will

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    Get the 580's and put the money saved over the 600's to a dedicated headphone amp.

    Living in a block of flats I love my HD600's for late and loud movie viewing and the details you can pick up are amazing.
     
  30. NicolasB

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    The original Beyer DT231s are definitely "on-ear". (I am looking at a pair now). I haven't actually seen a pair of the "Galactic" version in a while, but I thought the were also on-ear... maybe I'm wrong. But comfort is definitely not an issue with the 231s - very light and lovely padding.

    (Note that DT231 and DT231 Galactic aren't the same. I think Hawlord's link may be to the non-Galactic version).

    A headphone amp is something that no one ever sees the point of until they try one. Then they say "God, if only I'd tried one of those a bit sooner!"

    Expensive, high impedance 'phones like the Sennheiser 580s and 600s sometimes benefit more from a decent headphone amp than cheaper ones do. I once plugged my HD600s into my girlfriend's £50 CD player, and they actually sounded worse than Beyer DT231s plugged into the same machine. It's a little bit like trying to use very demanding loudspeakers with a totally inadequate power amp (although it isn't always low-impedance swings that are the issue, sometimes just lack of power, especially with battery-driven devices).

    ASK Electronics have HD600s for £139. (Click here).

    Harrow Audio will often quote you a good price for HD580s (sometimes as low as £80). Telephone 0800 174 219. You might also want to check in the latest issue of "What Hi Fi?" to see if they have any sort of "quote this code when calling" special offer.

    Btw, you want to pay attention to the source, as well. If you were using a £500 CD player, £400 headphone amp, and Sennheiser HD580s, the biggest improvement you could make to the sound quality would probably be to upgrade the CD player, not the headphones. If you were using the same player with HD580s and no headphone amp, then using a good headphone amp would be often be the best possible upgrade.
     

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