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Headphones
When I was short on money, I got $20 sony behind the ear headphones. They sounded pretty good, but

1) There is an "underwater" effect. Sorta like what you hear in MP3 artifacting at 112k CBR. No clarity.

2) Hissing.

3) Sounds very generic, like I have two tin cans on my ears.

I'm now looking for some new headphones. What's good? I'm sick of having headphones that themselves artifact and I think it's a bad MP3 until I check and see a WAV file playing. I tried some $40 ones my friend had, they were average koss ones, they sounded tons better. It sounded like I was hearing it for the first time, but I know there has to be better.

I'm looking in the range of below $100. What would be a good brand? I know there are a lot of rip-off headphones that sound like crap and just put the price up. Also, I don't want them to be absolutely huge. They can be big, but not the size of my head or anything like that, and I need them to be a bit durable.. Thanks 

  • TheQat
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Headphones
Reply #1
I highly recommend the Grado SR60s or the Sennheiser HD495s.

  • ben
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Headphones
Reply #2
Grado SR60's all the way.

Headphones
Reply #3
If you can deal with earphones, the Sony MDR-EX71 is a good set to try out.
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  • DonP
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Headphones
Reply #4
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Grado SR60's all the way.

Don't just mail order them.  Not many criticize the sound but lots of people
think they fit too tightly, so try them in a store.

Headphones
Reply #5
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Quote
Grado SR60's all the way.

Don't just mail order them.  Not many criticize the sound but lots of people
think they fit too tightly, so try them in a store.

Perfect. This way they don't get knocked off while I'm playing football with 'em on...

  • Daffy
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Headphones
Reply #6
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Grado SR60's all the way.

Don't just mail order them.  Not many criticize the sound but lots of people
think they fit too tightly, so try them in a store.

Agreed.  I got the SR60s for Xmas via mail order, and although they sound awesome, they are kind of tight.  My ears are smashed to my head after 1-2 hours of listening.

  • ben
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Headphones
Reply #7
Whoa, they smash your ears too?  Now I know it's not just me and my huge head 

  • STSinNYC
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Headphones
Reply #8
Got the Grado SR60 recently, sound is very nice. Was easily able to adjust the headband so they fit comfortably.

Also have the Sennheiser PX200 portable headphones, sound is very good on those as well.

  • ff123
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Headphones
Reply #9
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If you can deal with earphones, the Sony MDR-EX71 is a good set to try out.

I have Sony EX-70's, and they tend to make a whooshing sound (wind noise) if you jog with them.  I use them on my treadmill because they block out external sounds quite well.  Nice bass, but kind of a closed-sound otherwise.

ff123

  • ff123
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Headphones
Reply #10
Some people like the Sony MDR-V6 (or its identical twin, the MDR-7506).

It has very good bass extension, it's closed so it blocks out external sounds pretty well, and it's comfortable and durable.  Sound-wise, it doesn't knock my socks off, but other people claim that that's because it's accurate rather than something like the Grado's.  I haven't compared with Grado SR-60's, but I have compared with SR-325's, and I prefer the latter.  However, to be fair, the SR-325's are also a lot more expensive.

ff123

Headphones
Reply #11
I like my Koss Porta Pro's. They are durable and good-sounding for the price (US$50 or less), they can be powered adequately by a 1-battery (5mW-per-channel output) portable player, and with the adjustable ear pressure tabs they can be worn for hours at a time without discomfort. My MDR-V6's are built like a tank (I routinely drop them on the floor and step on them), but they still hurt my ears after a few hours even though I've been using them constantly for a few years.

My only problem with the Porta Pro's is their looks. People always stare at them and ask what I have on my head. :alien:

  • Daneel
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Headphones
Reply #12
Below $100?  Grado SR80s.  I have to say though I far prefer my Sennheiser 580s, but they are quite a bit more expensive in the US.  Only about $15 more than the SR80s here in the UK.

  • evereux
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Headphones
Reply #13
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When I was short on money, I got $20 sony behind the ear headphones. They sounded pretty good, but

1) There is an "underwater" effect. Sorta like what you hear in MP3 artifacting at 112k CBR. No clarity.

2) Hissing.

3) Sounds very generic, like I have two tin cans on my ears.

A friend of mine has the earphones too. I thought exactly the same as you. He had them plugged into his portable mp3 player and I coulda sworn he had an mp3 CD in it. But no, it was those headphones. They're awful.

At work I use my Sennheiser HD25s plugged into my Sony portable, the sound is outstanding. Really not practical for use out and about though, they cut out too much external noise.
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  • *.lsa
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Headphones
Reply #14
i'm thrilled with my mdr-v600's, bang for the buck.  full and flat, great for composing, great for listening.  Nice fit, too, have lasted many many sessions over 6 hours of nonstop wear with no ill-effects or discomfort.  oh, and there is no lack of bass, either.  :)
-j

  • anishbenji
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Headphones
Reply #15
Short answer:
The cheapest headphones that sound decent (much better then your average headphone that comes with a portable cd player) are the Koss KSC35 and the Koss KSC50 (they use the same driver).  I'm not sure if the Porta Pros use the same driver or not. The 35's are not made anymore, so you probably won't be able to get them. The 50's are available  for as low as ~$12-$15 shipped (use the cnet search engine). If you want something significantly better than that, you need to spend $50 or more for some Grados or Sennheiser HD497.

Long Answer:
There are many good companies to choose from. In your price range these are some good suggestions (in no particular order):
Koss: KSC35 or KSC50, Porta Pro?
Sony: V6 or  MDR-7506, mdr 888 (earbud)
Sennheiser: hmmm large selection, best bets HD497 or mx400 or mx500 (these two are probably the best earbuds in their price ranges)
Grado: Sr60, Sr80
Beyerdynamic: DT 231
I myself use Sennheiser HD580s & I love them, but they are pretty expensive at $150-$200 (or more). I generally receommend the KSC50's to my friends and none of them  have been disapointed yet. I plan on getting one for myself and my brother for outdoor use and at the gym.
Other criteria that are important:
-how comfortable is the headphone. How important comfort is to you is largely determined by how you are going to use the headphone: Length of usage at one session, if you will be active while you use them etc.
-how easy are they to drive. Most portable cd players have very weak headphone amps built in. You need a low impedance headphone to ensure that the are driven properly. Most of the headphones I have recommended here should be relatively easy to drive (not sure about the hd497 or dt231). Otherwise you will need a separate headphone amplifier, which is probably more effort and expense that you want to invest.
-If you get a chance to listen to any of these I highly recommend that you do. Which headphone sounds the best is, to a significant extent,  a matter of taste (and budget ).
There are many more points that can be considered, but I believe I have covered more than enough here. If you want more info I advise you to go to Head-Fi or Headwize as they are invaluable resources as far as headphones are concerned. The best source headphones on the web (though not the cheapest) is Headroom. They probably have the largest selection of headphones, headphone amps and other headphone related gear than anybody else.

ANish

Headphones
Reply #16
Thanks all, I am looking into these options.

Yet one more thing, how many of these choices will be in actual stores? Could you find any of these at best buy, what would be a good store for these? Off the bat I know there is a best buy and circuit city near here. A picture online is nothing that should make my decision on expensive headphones...

and evereux, yep. Every damn thing ff123 had on his site, my headphones made themselves. I can't stand using these...

  • anishbenji
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Headphones
Reply #17
Of the ones I recommended, the only ones I saw in BB/CC were the Koss ksc50s and the porta pros. You need to go to specialized music stores to be able to actually test most of these headphones.
Anish

  • mmortal03
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Headphones
Reply #18
The best place to go to help you learn about headphones and what is the best for your budget, etc, is here -> http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/forumdispla...hp?s=&forumid=2
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  • CiTay
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Headphones
Reply #19
Don't forget Sennheiser PX 100. $50.

  • fewtch
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Headphones
Reply #20
Just out of curiosity... does anyone have a recommendation for good (under $75) closed phones?  I do a lot of audio work on my PC and find that closed headphones are better for hearing problems with audio (and also, they block out the noise of PC fans).

Currently using a pair of Denon AH-D550's, but they're getting very old and could fall apart any second. 
  • Last Edit: 30 March, 2003, 10:54:14 AM by fewtch
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  • [proxima]
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Reply #21
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Just out of curiosity... does anyone have a recommendation for good (under $75) closed phones?

Commonly recommended closed headphones are:

- Sony MDR-V6 (even mentioned by ff123 in this thread)
- Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Use the search function of head-fi.org forums, there are a lot of useful infos.
  • Last Edit: 30 March, 2003, 11:06:35 AM by [proxima]
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  • ff123
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Reply #22
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Just out of curiosity... does anyone have a recommendation for good (under $75) closed phones?  I do a lot of audio work on my PC and find that closed headphones are better for hearing problems with audio (and also, they block out the noise of PC fans).

If you wish to address your fan noise issue, the silentpcreview site and forums is a good place to start:

http://silentpcreview.com/

However, the three noisiest components in your computer (power supply, cpu fan, and hard drive) are also the most expensive to fix (more than the $75 you want to spend on new headphones).

I haven't tried the Sennheiser 280's, but in general, I've preferred the sound of open headphones to closed.

However, the Sony 7506's (consumer version is the V6) are commonly used by sound engineers (so I'm told), so if you do lots of sound work, maybe those are the way to go.

ff123
  • Last Edit: 30 March, 2003, 11:40:43 AM by ff123

Headphones
Reply #23
What about these? I'm trying to find something here, since I completely object to buying stuff online(credit card, shipping charge/time, not knowing what it is) unless it's something I can't find in stores anywhere.

  • ff123
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Reply #24
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What about these? I'm trying to find something here, since I completely object to buying stuff online(credit card, shipping charge/time, not knowing what it is) unless it's something I can't find in stores anywhere.

You're limiting yourself to Best Buy?

I think a better policy would be to find a place which allows you to listen, and then return if you're not happy.  I think headroom (headroom.headphone.com) will allow you to do this.

ff123