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Best headphones for under $350

A Y

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I just plugged my HD-600 into an iPhone 4, and there was plenty of volume. I can't imagine anyone listening above 2/3 full volume without incurring hearing damage.
 

jslade

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I just plugged my HD-600 into an iPhone 4, and there was plenty of volume. I can't imagine anyone listening above 2/3 full volume without incurring hearing damage.
No kidding. From what I've read, an amp does more than just boost the volume of the headphones, though, correct?

How are your experiences with the HD 600? I like the look of them, and from everything I've read, they definitely seem like part of the gold standard of sub-$500 headphones.
 

A Y

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No kidding. From what I've read, an amp does more than just boost the volume of the headphones, though, correct?
How are your experiences with the HD 600? I like the look of them, and from everything I've read, they definitely seem like part of the gold standard of sub-$500 headphones.

Sorry, I meant HD-650. I started with the HD-580, then HD-600, and now listen to the 650. There have been incremental improvements over the years, but the character's pretty much the same, which is to say they're pretty mellow and invite you to listen in rather than beat you over the head with their sound. I'd love to try the 800 or 700, but I'm pretty happy with what I have now. I use the 600s at home occasionally, and I'd be happy with them, too. That one I plug into an iPad for listening.

I like how Sennheiser phones, at least in this line, are pretty user serviceable. Over the 18 years I've been using these phones (got the 580 in 1994), I've been able to fix bad cables, tired ear cushions, and even one dead driver (that was caused by my clumsiness) by myself for very reasonable parts cost.

An amp does a bunch of things, but basically it has to make the input signal bigger at the headphones without doing anything else to the signal. This has any number of technical implications, but if the volume is loud enough, there isn't obvious distortion, and the frequency balance seems the same, then it's doing a good job --- you don't hear a good amp in operation.

I have a bunch of headphone amps in a range of prices, but in general, I think the need for them is overstated.
 

idfnl

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Sennheiser HD595 here.

No complaints, great sound.
 

Arthur PE

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Stereophile rated these as one of the products of the year
Grado SR125i can be had for $150 or so
 

Artisan Fan

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Off the top of my head other suggestions, Sennheiser HD600, Grado 325i, Ultrasone Pro 900, AKG701, Denon D2k. Check out reviews for them online and see what suits you.

These are good but also look at the new budget Hifiman cans. If you can find some used Grado RS-2s in this range then that would be ideal. I use Grados for my professional classical recordings. They sound more accurate than Senns on string instruments.
 
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Trompe le Monde

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Audio-technica ATH CK-10 if you can find them
Etymotic Research ER-4P
 

Nerkg

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Hi everyone,
So this is what I've done (and just placed an order on Amazon for):
I purchased the Sennheiser HD 600s and an Fiio E7 USB DAC / Amp.
I did a bit of research, and it seems like the Fiio E7 is really the best option for a budget amp (in the $100 price range).
I'll definitely upgrade in the future (most likely adding the E9 onto it), but this is about the best I can do as of now on my college budget.
I don't consider myself an audiophile by any means, but am learning more and more every day!
Any thoughts on this combination?
arent the senns open? thats gonna cause major problems for people around you, its like having a radio on, very loud. and in my experience the e7 is wothless even when docked on the 9, i had both with the akg 700, no where near enough power, i wasted my money and learned my lesson, new people always buy the E7 and regret it. imo i would get a phone that does not need to be pushed or save up for a good amp
 

idfnl

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arent the senns open? thats gonna cause major problems for people around you, its like having a radio on, very loud. and in my experience the e7 is wothless even when docked on the 9, i had both with the akg 700, no where near enough power, i wasted my money and learned my lesson, new people always buy the E7 and regret it. imo i would get a phone that does not need to be pushed or save up for a good amp

Sennheiser's are open. You can hear them but they are not that loud unless you listen at getto volumes.
 

Kiwi Man

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First of all, congratulation to jslade for buying Sennheiser. It is really a great brand. I have their lower-end headphone (HD202). It still works well after one year of usage and several spots of cracks along the cable line.

arent the senns open? thats gonna cause major problems for people around you, its like having a radio on, very loud. and in my experience the e7 is wothless even when docked on the 9, i had both with the akg 700, no where near enough power, i wasted my money and learned my lesson, new people always buy the E7 and regret it. imo i would get a phone that does not need to be pushed or save up for a good amp

I'm sorry to sound really naive, but what does it mean by open? I thought HD series are closed ear.........

I like how Sennheiser phones, at least in this line, are pretty user serviceable. Over the 18 years I've been using these phones (got the 580 in 1994), I've been able to fix bad cables, tired ear cushions, and even one dead driver (that was caused by my clumsiness) by myself for very reasonable parts cost.

I don't know how you can fix the headphone. I was told that Sennheiser headphones are repairable by anyone, but you MUST order the part ONLY from Sennheiser themselves. In other words, you cannot buy part in the market where they do not sell Sennheiser product. Am I right on that? I have HD202 headphone and the plastic jacket of the cable cracks. Even though it still works perfectly fine, I'm concerned that the copper inside the cable will be torn apart now that it is not properly protected.
 

A Y

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I'm sorry to sound really naive, but what does it mean by open? I thought HD series are closed ear.........

It means the back of the headphones --- the sides that face out --- are open (they have a mesh), so sound can go out there even if the phones are circumaural (enclosing the entire ear). Sealed head phones, like the Sennheiser HD280s have their backs closed off. Grados are also open headphones.

In other words, you cannot buy part in the market where they do not sell Sennheiser product. Am I right on that? I have HD202 headphone and the plastic jacket of the cable cracks. Even though it still works perfectly fine, I'm concerned that the copper inside the cable will be torn apart now that it is not properly protected.
I think so. If you're concerned about the cable tear, and don't mind it looking a bit ugly, some electrical tape can help protect the copper wire.
 

kiya

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Just got a pair of Ultrasone PRO 900 headphones.
Shit is bananas. I've never heard anything like it, i've spent my entire life using high-end IEMs and just realized that sound protection is less important than a round even sound.
You can get these on Amazon for $375, literally $200 below retail and worth every penny.



 

imatlas

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I like how Sennheiser phones, at least in this line, are pretty user serviceable. Over the 18 years I've been using these phones (got the 580 in 1994), I've been able to fix bad cables, tired ear cushions, and even one dead driver (that was caused by my clumsiness) by myself for very reasonable parts cost.

I wish I knew what I was doing when it comes to electronics - I've got a pair of Senn HD600s with a side out. I would have no idea where to begin to fix it, our local stereo shops don't repair phones, and the Senn certified guy in LA wants $60 to look at them and tell me how much further he'll rape me. I'll bet it isn't even anything complicated.
 

idfnl

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I wish I knew what I was doing when it comes to electronics - I've got a pair of Senn HD600s with a side out. I would have no idea where to begin to fix it, our local stereo shops don't repair phones, and the Senn certified guy in LA wants $60 to look at them and tell me how much further he'll rape me. I'll bet it isn't even anything complicated.

Even though you've been disrespectful to me in other threads, I'll chime in.

Its likely not worth the $ even though those are pretty expensive phones. There is a chance its just a loose connection, but you'll never know. It might be worth the $60 but there is a pretty significant chance that he will take you for more.

If you had a multimeter you could at least tell where the signal dies. They do come apart, but when you see how thin those wires internally you'll be afraid to touch them. I know, cuz I wrecked a pair of 560's that way.
 
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