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  • t-jay one
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
I am looking to buy an over the ear or on the ear headphone. Price range is flexible (preferably under $300). Characteristics I want-
1) Lightweight
2) Comfortable to wear long hours
3) Rumbling bass
4) Good sound detail

Characteristics I don't want/need-
1) Noise cancellation
2) Sound isolation
3) Punchy bass
4) Sibilance

So far I've found the following suitable models:
German Maestro GMP 8.35 D
Sony mdr-ma900
Sennheiser HD239

Please let me know of any better options, or your thoughts about the above three options.

  • skamp
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  • Developer
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #1
Denon AH-D1100. Very lightweight, strong clamping force (but not too much), comfortable, circumaural, huge bass.
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.

  • TomasPin
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #2
Although way below your preferred price range, I recently bought a pair of Koss UR55 and I'm quite happy with them. They're semi-open, so they leak sound out and let sound in, but not very much. Good bass, very lightweight, circumaural, detailed sound (at least to my modest expectations), comfortable for long hours of wear although they clamp quite tight. And not suited for big heads, which can be a problem, so be sure to try them beforehand or look for some sort of return policy just in case.

Edit: Well, certainly not "bass heavy" though... Should read posts more carefully 
  • Last Edit: 14 July, 2013, 12:03:21 PM by TomasPin
A man and his music: http://tubular.net/

Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #3
Sony xb500 are known to have ton of bass , cheap, & comfy.

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #4
What's "rumbling" and "punchy" bass? Are they opposite of each other?

HD 239 seems to fit most of your requirements but I have no idea about the above one. The bass on HD 239 is not very controlled or tight, does that make it rumbling?
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • t-jay one
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #5
I think rumbling means the sound of base guitar in rock.
Punchy is the high pitched drum beats (which I don't like to hear).

  • t-jay one
  • [*]
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #6
After looking up audio vocabulary, rumbling bass = deep (low frequency bass).
Tight and controlled bass, which means we'll be able to distinguish individual bass notes, would be nice, but is not the highest priority. Sound isolation is also not important as I have my own room.
How's the bass in HD239's?

I've owned some cheaper Sony headphones and earphones, and they all had high sibilance. Is the same true with the XB500s?

  • probedb
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #7
I think rumbling means the sound of base guitar in rock.
Punchy is the high pitched drum beats (which I don't like to hear).


Why wouldn't you want to hear some of the music?

  • t-jay one
  • [*]
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #8
I don't like high pitched drum beats. It feels like someone is banging on my head.

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #9
HD 239, being an open headphone, does not achieve the infrabass performance of a full-sized closed headphone such as HD 380. If I remember Koss Porta Pro correctly, the base was somewhat similar but a bit more detailed. Note that I only have HD 238 but HD 239 should sound the same.
I don't remember any high-pitched drum beats but isn't that a matter of the content, not the hardware?
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • t-jay one
  • [*]
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #10
Apparently there is a deep bass response as well as an upper bass response, and headphones may perform better on one than the other. I am looking for something that has a great deep bass and average to poor upper bass.

  • Gecko
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #11
Consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. Lots of deep bass. They are very comfortable and can be worn for a long period of time. They are not particularly lightweight but far from heavy. I have to add, that when I last heard them, the highs were a little too much for my liking. Others might call that "detailed". Here they can be had for 160€.


  • smok3
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  • Moderator
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #12
+1 for Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, I used to use them for a very long video editing sessions without discomfort (8 hours +).
PANIC: CPU 1: Cache Error (unrecoverable - dcache data) Eframe = 0x90000000208cf3b8
NOTICE - cpu 0 didn't dump TLB, may be hung

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #13
In case sibilance is what he doesn't want, the Beyers need not be the best pick. Anyway, it seems that HD 239 sound different from HD 238, which surprises me a bit. They seem even more over-bassed (ouch).

comparison
  • Last Edit: 16 July, 2013, 02:02:11 AM by Martel
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • t-jay one
  • [*]
Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #14
Thanks for the frequency response info. Based on the frequency response graphs alone, HD419 seems like the cheapest bet for good low frequency bass. Other HDXX9's also seem to be in the same high bass league.
Has anyone tried XB500, 700, and 1000 models? Do you think the 700 (or the 1000) is worth the extra cost over the 500 (or 700)?

  • mzil
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #15
I have a suggestion for the OP. I can appreciate why one would at times want to raise (or lower) some (or all) of the bass, but I'm confused why one would want to inherently and irretrievably build that into their headphones. There's absolutely no possibility you would ever want to hear as accurate a reproduction of the level of bass as  the original recording artists (and their recording engineers) intended you to hear?

Why not instead consider a completely neutral frequency response which you then variably adjust the bass of, per recording, using tone controls or an EQ? By doing so you can then adjust to your hearts content and don't have to worry about what the intrinsic, fixed tonal balance of the headphones being considered is, and if it happens to work well for you and your music, based on written reviews and/or visual inspections of frequency response graphs.

By intentionally choosing a music playback chain which purposefully skews the correct, original, artist selected tonal balance, one will never know for sure how the original song actually was supposed to sound, as intended by the artists. Granted, you may currently listen to a type of music where you feel this fixed alteration you seek is always appropriate, but what if your tastes (or the music you listen to) changes down the road? Tone controls and equalizers can be modified at will, with the flick of a switch, and are infinitely variable. Even more importantly they can be engaged or bypassed at will. Conversely,  speakers (and especially headphones) must be discarded and replaced with new ones, in order to accomplish the same result.
  • Last Edit: 16 July, 2013, 12:23:10 PM by mzil

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #16
Please, note that looking at a FR chart is a poor way to judge "good low frequency bass". It is useful to get a rough idea about bass/mid/treble balance of a headphone (or between headphones) but it does not tell you how it's going to sound when put on your head.
HD 419 "looks" like it's going to sound disgustingly overbassed (imbalanced). But there's more to music than bass. Usually, recessed high-frequency response (relative to bass/mids) will lead to subjective loss of detail.

You can try this with your current headphones and a parametric equalizer with sufficient number of frequency bands. Try lowering (or boosting) the whole 8kHz and above range and see what effect it has on perceived level of detail.

Unfortunately, buying a totally "flat" headphone is easier said than done. Especially when most of the commercial stuff is deliberately overbassed to appeal to the masses.
  • Last Edit: 16 July, 2013, 12:26:12 PM by Martel
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • mzil
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #17
Unfortunately, buying a totally "flat" headphone is easier said than done. Especially when most of the commercial stuff is deliberately overbassed to appeal to the masses.


Since you use the word "unfortunately", I take it that you at least agree with me that buying devices for a music playback chain with as flat a response as is possible, should generally be considered the desired goal, if one wants high fidelity, albeit a rather difficult if not impossible goal to achieve perfectly, especially with regards to current trends in most commercial headphone designs, as you put it [and I agree]. Yes?
  • Last Edit: 16 July, 2013, 01:39:35 PM by mzil

  • t-jay one
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #18
Has anyone tried the ATH WS series? What is your take?

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #19
Ideal headphone (wrt frequency/impulse response and stereo imaging) need not be the best for every genre of music. I own a headphone which I consider really flat - HD 215. While it renders instruments faithfully and this is great for acoustic music, it does not work so well for every genre.

I listen to a lot of metal and HD 215's ability to "isolate" instruments sometimes makes the overall experience worse. A bit more bass would not hurt either. While this could be compensated for using filters, it's not so easily achieved using DAPs.

After I learned this I started looking into open headphones with less analytical/refined sound and with slightly more bass (higher "fun" factor). Going through PX 100, HD 238 and HD 518, I'm disappointed. All those headphones have way too bloated bass and rolled off treble. The semi-open Superlux HD 668B has annoying treble. I have modded the HD 238 to suit my tastes (sounds almost better than my brother's PC 360 now) but it would be great if one could buy such sound out-of-the-box without spending many hours experimenting.
  • Last Edit: 22 July, 2013, 04:34:26 AM by Martel
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • mzil
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #20
Intentionally second guessing the original recording artist/engineer's intended tonal balance by buying parts of a stereo playback chain to insert a non-removable,  intentionally skewed frequency response, as opposed to desiring a flat response and (perhaps) optionally inserting an equalizer into the path to instead make infinitely adjustable alterations at will, on the fly, per recording, only on occasion if need be, makes little sense to me, but, whatever.

ETA: I'm reminded of how some retailers, including Crutchfield back in the 80's, used to market speakers with check marks for "good for rock", "good for jazz", and "good for classical". That is/was laughable to me! A good speaker is faithful to all genres and reproduces sound neutrally and with as little tonal coloration as possible. Thankfully, I think they stopped that, but they helped reinforce the offensive notion that music reproduction isn't about high fidelity and transparency, but  rather personal editorializing to one's taste and personal whims, and not faithfully reproducing the artist's intended sound.
  • Last Edit: 22 July, 2013, 12:28:56 PM by mzil

  • Gecko
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #21
I wouldn't worry too much about a little bass boost in headphones. The in-room response of suboptimally placed speakers in a regular living-room is likely to have much more offensive bass-peaks due to standing waves. I'm guessing many studios aren't perfect in this regard either. Some might even be mastering to compensate for the bass boost (consciously or not).

  • Martel
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #22
For whatever reason (likely to maximize profit), the headphone market is about making a particularly colored headphone with a color that most people (or the intended target consumers) like. Otherwise all headphones would sound alike (totally flat) and it would be only about aesthetics and comfort. While this would be awesome (my tastes are quite close to neutral/flat), demand for headphones is likely distributed in a different way (over-bassed is what most people want/expect, I assume).

I often use EQ but I would prefer having a headphone that matches my tastes out-of-the-box. Using EQ on my Rockboxed Clip+ noticeably decreases battery life, there are few frequency bands, I haven't managed to store/restore an EQ profile yet (for multiple headphones) etc.

I'm sorry, this is a bit off-topic.
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • mzil
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Lightweight bass heavy headphone
Reply #23
[Regarding Gecko's post] Part of what I like about headphones is I need not worry about room acoustic alterations, so the bass I hear should be better in that regard. One might worry about how closely their personal HRTF matches the averaged one used in the design of their particular 'phones, true, but that usually has nothing to do with the bass response, it is usually a response compensation only applied at 2 kHz, or so, and up.

Although probably every single recording studio in the world has at least one if not several different headphones at hand to listen to mixes, my understanding is that the final mixes and the overall tonal balance is almost always determined by the sound through speakers, not headphones. [Although this fad of preferring over emphasized bass may apply to the speakers they typically use as well, I don't know]
  • Last Edit: 22 July, 2013, 03:33:02 PM by mzil