Hi everyone, here's a list I made for a different forum that I think some people may find useful.
Update: had to cut some stuff out to meet the 10k text limit.
The list was made for gaming and music listening. The headphones listed won't generally give you the competitive edge b/c some are listed for their "fun for gaming" traits, such as bass. If you want the competitive edge, the AD700 or A700s are what you might want, but they won't be very fun if you like realistic explosions or lots of bass.
Before I get started, I'll just list the best of each price point, strictly aimed at the soundstage. These will be the ones you want to gain the most advantages possible.
Questions? PM ME.
$20: HD 201
$40: JVC HA RX700 (Possibly Superlux HD 681)
$70: AD700 (open), AH-D1001 (closed)
Bonus set: DT990
~$10-49 range - Sennheiser HD 201, 202s, 205s, JVC HA RX700, and Superlux HD 681
The HD 201s are going to be your cheapest headphones for around $15-20.
The HD 202s are going to be a tad bit more by around $5, but they have a better bass overall.
The HD 205s are going to be better overall than the 201/2, but a heavier price comes with that.
The JVC HA RX700 are going to be your best low range price headphones. Many consider them an excellent bargain and comfortable. You can find them for around $35.
The Superlux HD 681 is a recent addition to this list, but they seem to come highly recommended; http://bit.ly/n2XRsC I really hope to try these out eventually, as they seem to be a clone (at least externally) of the AKG k240. They seem to have pretty good bass, as well as an excellent soundstage. So to me, they sound like a very close 2nd to the AD700s for gaming. Quite possibly, if everything holds true, a very good entry headphone for gaming. They can be found on Amazon for under $40.
~$50-79 range - Shure SRH240 & Sony MDR-V6 (Probably the weakest of the ranges)
The SRH240s are going to be your $50-55 range headphones, these don't have much bass in them. These are also going to be the only one of the two that can provide any noise isolation, the Sony's really don't for the most part, as the fairly light and don't block out much. They're decent headphones, anyone looking for bass is out of luck for the most part. However, they do look good. People sometimes compare to them Dre Beats, which are commonly accepted to look cool and acceptable to wear in public. A big plus is the soundstage, most users say they're pretty good, not the best, but it's something considering what they bring to the table.
The MDR-V6 are going to be in the area of $65-75 range. These are known for their quality and being monitoring headphones. The soundstage is decent these I suppose. They have a great reputation in the recording industry for their sound. These also have a coiled cord. They're really on in this list because there aren't many headphones in this price range. You'll most likely see the higher priced versions on music videos or some where were they show voice recording. They also fold up and are pretty portable.
~$80-99 range - Shure SRH440, Ultrasone HFI-450, Sennheiser HD280, Audio Technica ATH-AD700(Open), & Denon AH-D1001
The SRH440s cans are the higher end model of the SRH240s. The SRH440s has a extended frequency response and a much more balanced response. It also has removable cable, this enables you to replace the cord if broken.
The HD280 is another popular set of headphones. I personally own these, but I got them for $10. They have a very subtle bass, not enough to overwhelm other noises, but enough for someone who likes some bass. Another feature is everything is replaceable on the headphone. The soundstage is iffy. It's on the border of being good enough for gaming, but sometimes you might wonder about it sometimes. They are definitely not designed for a wide soundstage or gaming w/ one. These have a coiled cord on them, which I love, as they dont get tangled. I think they're more of a monitor type with extra bass thrown in, especially when EQed and amped.
The ATH-AD700 are the only open pair of headphones on my list for one reason; They have an amazing soundstage. They out due the HD555s and even higher priced headphones. I dont usually recommend open headphones for gaming, as theres problems with outside noise and noise leaking from the headphones. But since these headphones have one of the best soundstages around and for the price, they had to be on this list. So if you dont have any problems with outside noise or with noise being leaked, these might just be for you.
The AH-D1001 (closed) headphones are just plainly the best headphones so far listed. They have a great soundstage and along with that great sound quality overall. However, the AD700 may fair more in the soundstage department.
The Ultrasone HFI-450 are unknown to me, but from what I gather, they are similar to the HD 280s.
~$100-130 range - Audio Technica ATH-A700, Audio-Technica ATH-M50, & M-Audio Studiophile Q40
The ATH-A700s are just awesome headphones. They have an excellent soundstage, one that rivals the AD700s, but since they are closed, they arent as good in terms of soundstage that is, but extremely close. Very little bass, but when the bass is present you will enjoy it. These headphones are very comfortable, the wing design on them also on the AD700s, basically make the cans float on your head. These are price for about $115-120. Ill also add, these things are big ;o, Im talking, I cant find anything to describe them big, so look at a video for reference. If you like bass in your gaming, music or sound, these next two may be for you.
[DJ Style] The Studiophile Q40s are good headphones for traveling. The cord is detachable and coiled. You can find them for around $119.
[DJ style] The ATH-M50s are another great pair of headphones. They come in straight or coiled cords. The advantage over the Q40 is the soundstage and deeper bass. They also are reported to have better build quality over the Q40s.
Since these two are usually the same price and are similar, I wont go in depth about them since you should find which sound suites you best, but I will link you below for a head to head comparison. If you want to know, I would go with the M50s.
Q40 vs M50 see this link. http://bit.ly/bZBxRK
Out of the $100 headphones, the A700s are more for people who dont listen to techno/rap/metal that use a lot of bass, as its more targeted for classical type music. While the M50s are more for techno, rap, and metal ect ect.
Bonus: $170-200 range - Beyerdynamic DT 770/880/990 32Ω, 80Ω, 250Ω, and 600Ω.
These headphones are pretty much the best for gaming without going into ridiculous priced headphones.
The DT770s are the closed pair in this set. While they are closed, you do get the noise isolation that comes with it, but you lose the soundstage. This soundstage is probably the best of the closed cans so far, not sure how it compares with the M50s though. Your also going to get a good bass response from these.
The DT880s are the semi-closed pair in this set. Unlike the DT770 and DT990, youre not going to get much bass from them. The soudstage is going to increase here though. For gaming, these would be for the gamer who doesnt want bass, but wants a more neutral, airy sound with a good soundstage with minimal sound leakage.
The DT990 is basically the DT700, but open and overall better. These have a better bass response and soundstage. The problem is, that they are full-open cans. So youre gonna have sound leak in and out easily.
Note: The 250Ω and 600Ω (and perhaps the 80Ω) version will need an amp or something with an amp built in, i.e. a stereo receiver or sound card.
Amps: FiiO E5 (for sound control only), E7, E9, & iBasso
If you just want in-line volume control, the FiiO E5 @ $20 is a no brainer, but dont expect it to drive anything.
If you want a portable amp that can power, power hungry headphones, the E7 is most likely what you want. You can find it for around $70-90. It also has a DAC, which can be used as a external sound card, the DAC also slightly increases quality.
The E9 is going to be the stationary amp, however it can power 600Ω headphones easily and has an input for the E7 for further performance. These run for around $100-120.
The last amp, would be from iBasso. They have a few selections starting around $100+. I would do some independent research on them if you don't want a FiiO amp. Otherwise most people will be good with an E7 or E9.
For more details on these headphones, I recommend reading a few reviews both professionally and from consumers like on youtube. Just for pointing out the obvious that some may have missed, THESE headphones listed improve in quality the higher the price goes, more specifically, with each new price point and not within the price point. Ex. A) 1,2,3 B) 1,2,3; A) 3 may not be better than A) 1 however, B) 1 is better than A) 1 - 3.
I can guarantee you that these will perform better in every category then any gaming headset.
If you feel I left something out go ahead and say something, but Im pretty positive I havnt . Also, I realize open headphones have better soundstages, but I pointed out above details on this.
BTW, I kept these reviews short and brief, while trying to point out their main features. So if the review seems lacking in proper English or is low quality writing, you know why.
This list is more so you know what headphones to look at, I just provided a very brief background on them that most people can understand.
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