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Audiophilia: Headphones, Amps, DAPs, and Empty Wallets

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Posts

  • MyDcmbrMyDcmbr Registered User regular
    I like the AKG K240 for around $50 myself. http://a.co/f52XOFB

    Steam
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  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Get over yourself. Registered User regular
    Whats a good $50+ set of non earbud headphones these days

    Depends on a lot of things. What are you using it for? Do you need it to be portable? Open back or closed?

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    I'm looking for a sub-$100 pair of headphones, mostly for gaming but also for music. I've mostly been going off of Zeos' Recommendation List. I really like everything I've seen about the Phillips SHP9500's, but I'm concerned about sound leakage. I'm guessing all open headphones are pretty much going to be bad about that?

    For closed, he recommends the ATH-M40x and the Status CB-1's. Thoughts on either of these? He hated the ATH-M50x's, but said the 40x's were a huge improvement. Any other suggestions? Main things I'm looking for:

    Sub-$100
    Good construction, won't break easily after moderate use (I'm looking at you "gaming headsets")
    As little bleed as possible (so I can game around my wife without bothering her (her desk is right next to mine) or rock out at work without anyone else hearing
    Good for gaming, which I guess needs a decent soundstage and bass

    It would also need to be okay without an amp. My motherboard supposedly can drive up to 600 Ohm speakers with DAC features, but I don't know how good it is, and my work laptop has nothing. I'd be up for a pad upgrade in the near future, but probably not now.

  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    I'm looking for a sub-$100 pair of headphones, mostly for gaming but also for music. I've mostly been going off of Zeos' Recommendation List. I really like everything I've seen about the Phillips SHP9500's, but I'm concerned about sound leakage. I'm guessing all open headphones are pretty much going to be bad about that?

    For closed, he recommends the ATH-M40x and the Status CB-1's. Thoughts on either of these? He hated the ATH-M50x's, but said the 40x's were a huge improvement. Any other suggestions? Main things I'm looking for:

    Sub-$100
    Good construction, won't break easily after moderate use (I'm looking at you "gaming headsets")
    As little bleed as possible (so I can game around my wife without bothering her (her desk is right next to mine) or rock out at work without anyone else hearing
    Good for gaming, which I guess needs a decent soundstage and bass

    It would also need to be okay without an amp. My motherboard supposedly can drive up to 600 Ohm speakers with DAC features, but I don't know how good it is, and my work laptop has nothing. I'd be up for a pad upgrade in the near future, but probably not now.

    This is based on my own, very limited, cheap ass experience.

    For open, they bleed sound. Like a motherfucker. I love my grado sr80's off an amp. I've listened to cans costing far far more that my grado's came out ahead of. I've also listened to cans costing far FAR FAR more that they could not beat. Anyone in the room will know what you are listening to. You may want new foam cushions for longer listening, depending on personal preference. That warranty is for real, they replaced my cans 3 days before it ended because the left ear had developed a slight pop that I suspect is more to do with putting them in and out of my magni (schiit stack) than anything.

    For semi-closed (a made up term I just decided on for not technically sealed but other people won't be annoyed) , honestly, the koss porta pros still sound better than they have ANY right to. And they certainly don't need an amp. And for me at least are comfortable for dayyysssss. And they toss in your bag. And if they DO die (I've never had a set die that wasn't due to traumatic injury to the cord) you just...buy another pair. They won't seal out ambient noise, but for me that is a plus.

    Reading over your post again, if you want a mic built in to a set of decent headphones...I suddenly have no help. Not because that is a bad thing to want, but because I don't have any aside from some $25 logitech ones from staples that are...fine, I guess.

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I have some SHP9500s, and they sound great -- but, yes, they are open backed and sound will get out (and also in, if you want to be able to cut out external distractions).

    And while they're very comfortable compared to headphones that are too tight, they're almost _too_ much like that -- they always felt a bit insecure on my head, even after some significant bending-in. But if you want to avoid sound escaping, they won't do it, you'll want closed-back for sure.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-over-ear-sealed has a pretty wide range; I have some Sennheiser HD201s which were cheap as chips, were plenty robust for what I needed, and sound just fine for the money, so I'd guess the HD202s are okay as well; the monoprice ones he recommends also get a lot of good reviews, and these could very well be enough for you if you want to avoid going down the path of spending more and more.

  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    Reading over your post again, if you want a mic built in to a set of decent headphones...I suddenly have no help. Not because that is a bad thing to want, but because I don't have any aside from some $25 logitech ones from staples that are...fine, I guess.

    For a mic, I just plan to get something like the Vmoda BoomPro or the Antlion Modmic.
    I have some SHP9500s, and they sound great -- but, yes, they are open backed and sound will get out (and also in, if you want to be able to cut out external distractions).

    And while they're very comfortable compared to headphones that are too tight, they're almost _too_ much like that -- they always felt a bit insecure on my head, even after some significant bending-in. But if you want to avoid sound escaping, they won't do it, you'll want closed-back for sure.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-over-ear-sealed has a pretty wide range; I have some Sennheiser HD201s which were cheap as chips, were plenty robust for what I needed, and sound just fine for the money, so I'd guess the HD202s are okay as well; the monoprice ones he recommends also get a lot of good reviews, and these could very well be enough for you if you want to avoid going down the path of spending more and more.

    Cool, I'll check those out. Thanks!

  • BolthornBolthorn Registered User regular
    This may be helpful, maybe not. I love the ATH-M40x but I use them for audio work, recording, first pass mixing, etc. I don't use them much for just casually listening to music. I don't use headphones much for listening to music at all. The sound profile is very flat, which is great for creating/mixing music. If you want the music to sound pretty close to how it was recorded, then these would be great. Or if you have some extra EQ between the music and the headphones that you could use to color the sound to your liking.

    Sir Carcass
  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    I've used cheap grocery store headphones my whole life. I just got a pair of Sony MDR-7506 and it's like hearing music for the first time. Also useful for mixing my own music. :rotate:

    chrishallett83MyDcmbr
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    I ended up getting the ATH-M40x's. So far I'm really happy with them. They sound great, for both music and gaming. They really need a pad upgrade, though, which I'll do in the near future.

  • BolthornBolthorn Registered User regular
    I ended up getting the ATH-M40x's. So far I'm really happy with them. They sound great, for both music and gaming. They really need a pad upgrade, though, which I'll do in the near future.

    Cool, glad you're happy with them. I don't find the pads to be bothersome but I usually force myself to take breaks every hour or so when using them for mixing.

  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    Bolthorn wrote: »
    I ended up getting the ATH-M40x's. So far I'm really happy with them. They sound great, for both music and gaming. They really need a pad upgrade, though, which I'll do in the near future.

    Cool, glad you're happy with them. I don't find the pads to be bothersome but I usually force myself to take breaks every hour or so when using them for mixing.

    Yeah, I wear these a lot at work, sometimes for 6 or 7 hours straight and they kind of get uncomfortable after a while. I also have a big head, so that doesn't help. I think bigger pads with more room between my ear and the foam will help a lot.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Any SteelSeries Arctis owners know how to make the most of the engine's mixers, toggles and virtual buttons an knobs?

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  • McFodderMcFodder 'SploringRegistered User regular
    edited April 13
    I have another random question in my quest to be a tightass but still have stuff sound good.

    I've been offered an old (probably nearly 20 years old?) Sony hifi system that isn't being used any more but was apparently pretty expensive when new. I don't really have a pressing need for a dual tape deck or anything, but I'm wondering if I could pick up an AVR with enough HDMI inputs and use the speakers from it to improve on my current 'home theatre in a box' system.

    The one I looked at the back of was an SS-T471, not sure if all 4 are the same or not - seems these ones were generally used as rears and a slightly different model was used as fronts.

    Specs I could find (in case these tell people anything):
    Model SS-T471/SS-T571
    Speaker system 3 way speaker system
    Magnetically shielded type
    Speaker unit Woofer: 25 cm, cone type
    Mid-range: 8 cm, cone type
    Tweeter: 5 cm, cone type
    Rated impedance 8 ohms
    Frequency response 35 Hz - 20,000 Hz
    Sensitivity 88 dB/m/w
    Dimensions Approx. 285 ´ 900 ´ 285
    mm (w/h/d)(SS-T471)
    Approx. 285 ´ 1025 ´ 345
    mm (w/h/d)(SS-T571)

    TLDR; would using old speakers with a new AVR be likely to improve on my HTiB? Or is it a fools errand?

    McFodder on
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  • GvzbgulGvzbgul Hillary had it in his veins Registered User regular
    My gaming mic is actually a camera mic, which works out ok, I get nice sound. But, it runs off a battery, and after the battery died for the second time while chatting I decided I ought to spring for a decent headset/mic combo. I was aiming for about $80 as that is what my brother got his for. Turned out he just walked into a shop and bought the first one he saw so he had no advice for me. Buying headsets online is hard and I ended up googling and reading an article on PC Gamer. So I have a Steel Series Siberia 350 gaming headset heading my way. It's a little more than $80, about $200 shipped. But my crappy headphones have lasted for a few years (with only some wear on the padding) so I suppose I can justify a more expensive replacement if they are also going to last a few years.

    Since I forgot about this subforum and can't retroactively ask for advice, please validate my purchase and/or tell me I have horribly screwed up.

    I wanted a USB headset with surround sound and a mic. I've got that, in theory. I've never had a USB headset or a surround sound headset before. I've heard that setting up surround sound in games can be finnicky.

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    My biggest problem with "gaming" headsets is that the build quality usually sucks. I've had them break too often to really want to buy one again. Also, generally the surround modeling isn't anything better than what you can get with a pair of regular headphones, since the game already does the processing. You can get a headphone with multiple drivers, but those don't usually sound as good because you have several small drivers instead of 1 large one. I prefer to get a regular set of headphones and use a separate mic. If you want a headset mic, you can use something like the BoomPro or a Modmic. My current headphones came with a separate mic that you can clip onto your shirt (like TV interviews) and it sounds great. I also am not really a fan of USB because, at least with my last pair, the USB jack got a little loose to where if I turned my head the wrong way, the connection would drop, and with most games I would have to restart the whole game to get sound back. Such a pain.

    All of that said, I don't know anything about your specific headphones and at that price they're unlikely to sound bad or anything. I would just be careful with handling them when you're not wearing them.

    Gvzbgul
  • GvzbgulGvzbgul Hillary had it in his veins Registered User regular
    Longterm I'm thinking of getting a let's player style desk mic. Not because I want to do that sort of thing, but just because I find poor voice chat in games offensive. So many times I have physically recoiled from my PC when some person with a bad mic/connection starts speaking. I don't want to cause that suffering in others.

    150,000 people die every day.
  • CormacCormac Registered User regular
    I use a Blue Snowball iCE on a boom arm as my PC gaming mic. It takes a little bit of time to get used to having this thing in front of you while looking at the screen, but soon you don't even notice it anymore. While I never necessarily sounded bad on the Logitech USB table mic, I just wanted something nicer. It wasn't much of an investment as the Snowball was on sale for around $40 and boom arm was maybe $20.

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  • DarkMechaDarkMecha The Outer SpaceRegistered User regular
    edited April 21
    I've got a turtle beach PX22 headset and I quite like it. Sounds good, has separate volume controls for voice / game sound etc, and the build quality feels solid. Wasn't that expensive either.

    DarkMecha on
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  • Gear GirlGear Girl Registered User regular
    edited May 1
    Hey guys, my Mom just got a bunch of her old records returned to her but doesn't have a record player. I was thinking of getting her one for Mother's day. Any decent options around $100? Speakers in the unit would be preffered.

    Gear Girl on
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  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Hi all,
    I bought a used pair of Behringer MS40 speakers and I have an old Samsung LED TV. I don't have an AV receiver but have XB1, Asus Chromebox and Chromecast connected to the said TV (all HDMI). In order to get the best sound quality from all these devices, should I be connecting the speakers through Digital Audio Out (TV) to Optical Input (Speaker)?

    Thanks.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I've had to routinely buy new extension cords for my headphones, which I use to connect to my Home Theater (using the included 2.5mm jack) for late night watching/gaming. They keep getting worn out to the point where I'm losing audio on one side of my headphones, and I have to constantly fiddle and twist the cables around until it works.

    So I was wondering if anyone could recommend any extension cables that were less prone to wear out and can last a good while. Alternatively, I wish I could just use wireless headphones, but I can never find a consensus on any good recommendations (I use the Gold headset for PS4, but that's it: if I were to invest in another pair, it would have to work on my Home Theater and everything attatched to it, from my PC to Xbox to Switch and so on).

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    I assume wireless headphones convert to a lossy format before transmitting, and the main difference is how much they compress and what formats they use.

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Thirith wrote: »
    This is a bit of an intersectional question: this weekend I read the Eurogamer review of Sony's Platinum headphones for PS4. So far, I've used a set of Sennheiser headphones hooked up to an AV receiver for most of my PS4 gaming - they're good, but they're stereo only. My questions are as follows:

    1) How good is 7.1 and 3D sound on headphones?
    2) Anyone has any first-hand experience with the Platinum headphones?

    Fair warning, I'm not an audiophile by any stretch of the term. I'd like to point out though that the PS Gold headphones are quite nice on their own and are fantastic when paired with PSVR. For instance, RE7 regularly has areas where you can hear things being dragged on the floor above you, and it actually sounds like the noise is coming from above rather than just being there in the mix. I'm not sure if this is an actual function of the headphones or some sort of brain trick, but it's pretty neat.

    That being said, I don't have any experience with the Platinum headphones and the preceding paragraph only holds true for my experiences with the Gold headphones plugged in to the PSVR headphone jack. Subjectivity is king, unfortunately, and YMMV.


    So I know this is, like, 3 months late.

    But I just want to say it.

    Both the PS4 Gold and PS4 Platinum are stereo headsets. They are not 7.1, they are 'Virtual 7.1' which means they are stereo with on-board processing.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    MKR wrote: »
    I assume wireless headphones convert to a lossy format before transmitting, and the main difference is how much they compress and what formats they use.
    Bluetooth wireless uses either aptX (352 kbits/sec max) or SBC (345 kbits/sec max) compression for audio. The bluetooth standard itself allows for an infinite variety of compression codecs, but it seems like the industry has settled on aptX and SBC, as I don't know of any wireless headphone that uses an alternate compression codec.

    Note that the bluetooth 4 spec goes up to 768 kbits/sec, but when transmitting over the air, you have a lot of interference problems, so you can only rely on half that bitrate for stable transmission. The bluetooth 5 spec has double the bitrate, so eventually when more devices use bluetooth 5, there's a good possibility that a third wireless audio compression codec standard around 700 kbit/sec will appear. For comparison purposes, CD audio is 1411 kbit/sec.

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  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    I think my Sennheiser 518s are getting worn out finally.

    I am going to think about replacing them, I really am not looking for a major upgrade and my price range is probably going to be around what I spent on them 4 years ago.

    Anyone got good recommendations? I do like a over ear headphone for comfort.

  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    Looks like the direct replacement is the 559: https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-559-Open-Headphone/dp/B01L1IIEKM/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

    CCC tells me that it drops to $120 on a semi-regular basis, and they've already hit $100 on a one-day sale if you can wait around.

    chrishallett83
  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    Best Buy has the HD558 for 80 bucks at the moment? Is that comparable at all? It's probably what I spent on the HD518

    I ask because I was thinking of grabbing an affordable USB dac or something too to drive them from my PC?

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    558s are great headphones. the 559 is just a restyle of the same thing, basically. There may be slight changes to the drivers between the 558 and the 559. Incidentally, mechanically the 558 and 598 are identical except for some sound-deadening foam tape in the earcups of the 558s to improve bass output.

    a5ehren
  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    I just grabbed a pair while out grabbing lunch.

    Hooked it up to my PC and put on Murder the Mountains by Red Fang since I got that in flac.

    Wondered why it still sounded a tad muddy, but still better than the 518s. Looked in my audio driver panel and woops headphone virtualization was on!

    One thing I noticed right away is the earcups are a tad smaller than the 518s, which is nice actually since they fit a tad more securely (also since the pad at the top of the 518s headband came off like a year and a half ago.)

    Uriel on
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  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I finally got around to making a headphone stand, because otherwise things just get too tangled up at work (headset for skype, headphones for everything else). For something made out of some miscellaneous scraps of 2x4 and deck board I had in the garage, it's nice how much better it looked after routing off the edges and giving it a coat of stain and varnish:

    D5Yh77p.jpg
    I also made an iphone dock the same sort of way:
    GTAgH6I.jpg

    Cormacwebguy20McFodderShazkar ShadowstormSir CarcassInfidelBolthornBanzai5150chrishallett83schusshtmMrVyngaardan_altCampyDrovek
  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    Since I saw some people talking about this upthread, what do I need to get virtual surround sound in games, either via headphones or via a nice set of stereo speakers (if such a thing is even possible)?

    Right now what I have is a Behringer umc204hd interface that functions as my DAC and two nice speakers hooked up to it, and a pair of Audio-Technica M30-somethings which I also hook up to the interface when I use them. I'm looking to upgrade the headphones, if that matters.

    From there I'm not sure what else I need or how to get it all set up. I'm seeing a few software options, including one from Razer and one that seems to be built into Windows 10, and I've also heard of some other hardware (mixamp?) and software (Dolby something?) that I might need. What's the best way to get me up and running?

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    Marty81 wrote: »
    From there I'm not sure what else I need or how to get it all set up. I'm seeing a few software options, including one from Razer and one that seems to be built into Windows 10, and I've also heard of some other hardware (mixamp?) and software (Dolby something?) that I might need. What's the best way to get me up and running?

    Razer Surround is free for the basic edition, so it's an easy way to try it out and see what you think. It does seem to make sounds 'more 3d' in games (as far as is possible with headphones) at least, though you need to remember to switch it off when listening to normal sound or it messes things up.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Get over yourself. Registered User regular
    The hd6xx drop is up on massdrop. Get them before it's too late.

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  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    The hd6xx drop is up on massdrop. Get them before it's too late.

    Hrmm but I am already happy with my akg k7xx

    But

    ...

    | Steam & XBL: Shazkar | 3DS: 3110-5421-3843 |
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    The hd6xx drop is up on massdrop. Get them before it's too late.

    $250 this time, bleh.

  • CormacCormac Registered User regular
    edited June 26
    Hmm, $250 is still a good price for a new set of 650's. Especially for people who are not comfortable or interested in getting a used pair of 650's. Even at $250 you'd be hard pressed to do better as an entry into really good headphones (so long as you also have the budget for an amp to sufficiently power tham).

    I recently bought a set of Focal Elears and they absolutely stand up to the hype. They very much are 650's upgraded and refined in every way, but, to me, they're also a great mix of 650 and 700's. The Elears were the first headphone to make my Audio-GD Compass sound like the $300 amp/dac is it. My Gustard A20H sounds way way better than it, and it combined with the Elears are pretty much my open back endgame. At some point I'd like to add an equivalent closed back headphone and a planar magnetic for some variety.

    Edit: It most likely was the USB DAC I used with my Compass, an Emotica Little Ego, showing it's deficiencies versus a class-A balanced dual AK4497EQ chip DAC.

    Cormac on
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  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    Hm, I am gonna keep out of the audiophile wormhole

    I am happy having dipped my toe in

    I will wait a few years before I dip further

    | Steam & XBL: Shazkar | 3DS: 3110-5421-3843 |
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Get over yourself. Registered User regular
    If I didn't have the k2xx I would be all over the HD6XX.

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    So, considering I would be plugging them straight into my motherboard, is the HD6XX still worth the money? Because I see the AKG-M220 and ATH-M50x sitting *right there*. It turns out the split headband on my Superlux HD668s isn't the most comfortable for 2+ hr sessions.

    I will freely admit that $250 is a stretch for something that's going to spend its life attached to my computer, but if these are really as good as advertised, then they would (potentially) be the last headphones I'll have to buy for a solid decade.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Get over yourself. Registered User regular
    Why not get a schitt stack? It's a cheap butt substantial upgrade

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    Shazkar Shadowstorm
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