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Advice for some headphones:

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I currently own a pair of ATH M30s I have for general use and am considering upgrading them. Here's my criteria:

-I really don't want to spend more than $100 at most unless the price differential is immaterial and the performance differential is material.
-My usage is evenly split between movies/games (console)/and music.
-I listen to pretty much all genres of music except for country I guess.
-They must be comfortable with glasses on. I will take lower sound quality over comfort as long as the differential isn't massive.
-I prefer neutral headphones that are balanced.
-It has to be (noticeably) superior to my current pair of headphones. I realize this part is subjective though, so don't stress over it.
-I currently don't use an amp/dac with my headphones, but I'm willing to purchase one as long as the price is..."reasonable" (I'm willing to expand my budget slightly to accomodate it).
-I would really prefer if they weren't constructed like, *ahem* crap. I don't want to replace these in less than year assuming non-abusive environment.

I think that covers everything, although I can elaborate on anything you guys need more info on. I've narrowed my search down to basically the ATH-M50s, the Fischer FA-011s, and the Samson SR850. I can't seem to find the Fischer's to buy anywhere though, and I've read that you really need an amp for them to shine (making them the most costly option). I've heard great things about the sound quality of the Samson's, but the construction quality has me worried (that and I haven't heard enough about the comfort of these things). The M50s seem pretty solid, but they seem to excel in music and not really anywhere else (I guess because of the closed nature of it?), and I also don't know just how much better they really are over the M30s. I haven't mentioned the ATH-AD700s because the Fischers and Samson are supposed to be "superior" to them. Any additional insight or recommendations would be appreciated! Thank you!

EDIT: I have since learned how much it would cost me to get the Fischers...and I'm going to take them out of the running, lol. I have also read up on the differences between the M30 and the M50, and right now, the M50 is the front-runner for my choice.
Edited by mccaccttutor - 3/4/13 at 11:04pm
post #2 of 13
The construction quality of the Samson SR850 is about as good as your going to get for $50 headphones.
(The Samson SR850 are close copies of AKG K240)
You can get velvet/velour ear pads for $15 off eBay, The SR850 and AKG use the same size ear pads.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261173400917?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tacoboy for that tidbit!

On a different note, I'm going to take the Fischers out of the running. With an Amp and shipping, it'll probably cost me more than twice to get them compared to what I would prefer to spend.
post #4 of 13
I am using Sony MDR V6 headphones currently and I think they match pretty much all of your criteria.

They cost ~$70 now. I bought mine for $90

Not the best for some types of music, but they are amazing for electronic music in my opinion. This will vary from person to person. Great for movies/games

They are very comfortable for me with glasses. I have been wearing them for about 3 hours now and I barely feel them.

Very balanced, at first the highs were a bit overpowering, but after burn in they became much more balanced,

Very easy to drive, amp is not necessary, but I recommend one if you plan to use them with an ipod. No need for one when connected to my computer.

They have lasted me over 2 years now. I just upgraded the cushions for ~$20 a couple months ago and which made the headphones even more comfortable.

These headphones were first sold in 1985 and have been the industry standard for sound recording. Amazing for the price.

One negative: the huge coiled cord. Gets pretty annoying sometimes, but I am waiting for it to stop working so I can solder in a new straight cord which is pretty easy.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-V6-Monitor-Series-Headphones/dp/B00001WRSJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362467347&sr=8-1&keywords=mdr+v6

M50s are another good choice, but I have not used them for any more than 30 minutes so I can't tell you much about them.
Edited by fishymamba - 3/4/13 at 11:21pm
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mccaccttutor View Post

Thanks Tacoboy for that tidbit!

On a different note, I'm going to take the Fischers out of the running. With an Amp and shipping, it'll probably cost me more than twice to get them compared to what I would prefer to spend.

Might help to know what source(s) your plugging the headphones into?

To me the best sounding headphones for under $100 is the Gemini HSR-1000 (Amazon $75.41), but I'm not sure how comfortable they would be with your glasses
and they are not for people with a large head.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/585356/the-takstar-technical-pro-gemini-greathon-thread
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post #6 of 13
I'm not sure if you've read most of the thread on head-fi, but the Fischer FA-011s are no joke.
Properly amplified, they can hang with the best headphones out there.
Unamplified, (like I'm using them right now), they still exhibit their signature sound which seems impossible to find elsewhere; accurate spatial imaging, deep extending, hard hitting bass, and mids and highs that are never muffled by the lower frequencies and extend very high without almost ever being sibilant. I would not call them a neutral phone, that would be the Fischer FA-003. They are bass heavy, but exhibit none of the weaknesses that other bass heavy phones do. They are extremely fun.
The downside is of course, loss of volume. They are never loud even on max volume. Make no mistake, almost all people like to listen to their music somewhat louder than this headphone is when attached to my PC. It's a little louder on my phone. This is using the onboard sound for my motherboard, the Realtek ALC889 codec.
They look beautiful and sound beautiful. I wouldn't trade them for anything, and it's nice knowing that for around 100 dollars more for a decent amp, I have a headphone setup that can hang with anything out there.
In addition, the cups are well ventilated and never make my head feel sweaty, while being comfortable enough to have on for long sessions. (8+ hrs)
The self adjusting headband adds to the comfort level and ease of use.
To me they were well worth the 3 weeks I spent waiting for them to ship from Russia, but what you get is a totally unique product. It may be worth noting that my package arrived in perfect condition, and there were no scratches, tears, or off centered cuts in the padding.
Please reconsider them for your ear's sake. thumb.gif

Some quick comparisons to your other choices:
vs the
m50: FA-011s have deeper extending bass while being less boomy, and the m50s sound imaging is non existent, literally only left and right. The FA-011 also clamp to your head less. I have owned the m50. I do love the warm sound signature of Audio Technica, but would not choose to buy them again. (they were stolen from me)
While music is enjoyable on the m50, I enjoy it more so on my Fischers, as well as all other content. The m50 is without a doubt, not a neutral headphone and is a V signature. Most people consider this more "fun". AT does it well with their warm sound. I believe the m50 is built a little more solidly than my FA-011, but I have no kids and treat my things well. I don't expect them to last less time than the m50 would have.
sr850: This phone may be a close match, (especially with modifications), to the Fischer sound signature. From what I can gather, the bass extends and hits a lot less while sound imaging may be comparable. Build quality seems quite a bit less, also the sr850 is obviously easier to drive than the FA-011. It's a cheaper alternative but by no means will satisfy the kick drums in Deftones - "Around the Fur" for instance. This phone is definitely closer to neutral sounding than the m50 but I'm not sure I'd label it as neutral either.
MDR V6: Build quality may be this phone's strength as it's somewhat of a legend, like the Nokia bricks. Probably the most neutral phone here though still a V shape. The bass doesn't hit hard but they do have decent sub-bass. The audio positioning is lacking and the treble is a bit forward, making the mids recessed. Most people go for the MDR-ZX700 if they want something similar from Sony. They're more comfortable with better pads, have a more engaging low end and have better imaging, sounding more open.
K240: The most accurate sound imaging next to the FA-011. Bass is present but neither extends low or hits hard, though there's more extension than impact. If bass is important AT ALL to you avoid this. For a dedicated gaming phone, this is a good choice. I've seen people call the highs on this phone somewhat fatiguing. These aren't nuetral either, rather bass light.
HSR-1000: have not researched this one nor do I intend to, since I already have my Fischers. tongue.gif

I hope this helps!
Edited by jesh462 - 3/5/13 at 2:40am
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
@fishymamba: I was actually looking into the Sony's before buying my M30s as I have read a lot about them. The only reason why I picked the M30s over the MDR V6 is because of the mixed reactions I read on comfort with glasses on (I realize this is subjective though), which to me, is a big deal, but it's reassuring to read another positive report on the comfort front. Perhaps I'll give them another look.

@Tacoboy: I'll be connecting them into my PS3 through a RCA -> 3.5mm adaptor, and just directly into my Macbook Pro '12 (whatever onboard audio that thing has).

How would I know if I have a "big" head or not?

@jesh462: Thanks for the long and detailed response! I haven't read that thread in its entirely (it's pretty long...), but I'm aware of their solid reputation. I realize that at that price range, you probably can't get anything better in price-performance without spending significantly more, but unfortunately, it's still in the range that is out of my budget range that I currently want to spend on my audio equipment (I'm not an audiophile). At some point in the future, I may reverse this stance, but for now, I'm going to pass on the Fischer's.

I knew the M50s had recessed mids, and weren't a "neutral" pair of headphones, but at its price point, seemed like a pretty solid overall pair of headphones, so I was willing to overlook those shortcomings.

I wasn't aware of the MDR-ZX700s, I'll look into them.

The K240s sound a lot like the AD700s by your description.

Hm, I'll look into the HSR-1000s too.

Thanks again!
post #8 of 13
Add Sony MDR7506 and Shure SRH440 to your list, you'll have to read for yourself about comfort.
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post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

Add Sony MDR7506 and Shure SRH440 to your list, you'll have to read for yourself about comfort.

You can use different pads on the SRh440 to increase comfort.
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post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

Add Sony MDR7506 and Shure SRH440 to your list, you'll have to read for yourself about comfort.

MDR 7506s are pretty much the same as the MDR V6. The only change is the gold plug(which does nothing) and the sticker is a different color.

Some people say that the 7506 have a tiny bit more bass, but if you want a neutral sound MDRV6 beat them.
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