Best Overall Headphones for Under $275

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by youraveragevinylcollector, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Correct. They have a shorter cable and are intended to be powered through a phone more easily. I’ve read their signature is closer to the 250 ohm version, while the 80 ohm version is bassier. Differences are probably minimal, though. More dependent on what’s driving your headphones I imagine.

    My hope for these is that, firstly, they are in fact comfortable. Sounds like they are but I think the 32 ohm version comes with thick pleather pads. Secondly, I hope that they don’t sound worse than the M50’s (to me). Then I’d have to choose between sound and comfort and I’m terrible at making decisions...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  2. Darwin1984

    Darwin1984 Active Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad, Ca.
    I would not call the M50x remotely audiophile....
     
  3. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    I got my DT 770 Pro (32 ohm) in the mail today and I'm using them now. I was pleasantly surprised on opening the box that the 32 ohm versions I got have velour ear pads rather than the leather people say these versions come with (even though the image did show velour). The velour is comfy but these do feel rather tight...I'm guessing they'll loosen up over time.

    For sound...so far I'm a little disappointed. I guess I'm used to M50x warmth, as these are colder sounding. The mids are much more detailed than the M50's, the bass is tighter, but it's not quite the amount I was expecting. They might be more accurate though, I am a bit of a bass head. I'm sad to report that yes, the treble is pretty sibilant and hard...bright mastered music sounds quite harsh and cold, higher vocals sound unnatural, especially s sounds. I'm missing the more laid back treble of the M50's (which I do still have). The stereo imaging also isn't quite as good as I was expecting.

    I'm going to give them time. I am coming from the M50's, a darker sounding headphone, so maybe I'll get used to the sound. They may also need a little burn in.

    If I do decide to return these...can anyone suggest an alternative? Something below $250, and portable enough (the 32 ohm DT 770's have a shorter cable), CLOSED BACK and comfortable.
     
  4. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    the best closed back in your price range is either
    meze 99
    oppo pm3
     
  5. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Uh...those are both above my price range.
     
  6. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    in your price range, you already have one of the best closed headphone in the ath m50. maybe try the nad hp50

    the meze 99 would be a big upgrade at 300$. this would be my pick, beating the senheiser momentum 2, oppo pm3 and most offering under 700$. a bargain at their price
     
  7. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Thanks for your recommendations. I'm going to try burning these in, see if that relaxes them a bit, and if I find I'm not enjoying them I'll send them back. After further listening I do find these much more detailed, and drier sounding than the M50's. The only issue sound wise is the brightness. It's almost artificial sounding.
     
  8. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    I recommend the NAD Viso HP-50 headphones. I really like them and have had them for the past 3 years. They are 32 ohms, sound great, and very portable. My only concern for you is they are a little clampy, tight.

    They have a steal of a deal at Audio Advisor: NAD VISO HP50 Over Ear Headphones-Audio Advisor
     
  9. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    I’ve seen these come up a lot over my last few days of researching. How do they sound?
     
  10. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    After giving these some more time, I'm liking the sound more of the 770 Pro's. The treble is sibilant and kind of digital sounding yes but after listening for a while they aren't so bad, in fact it adds a bit of detail to the highs. It's only kind of ugly on bright sounding masterings, which I guess makes these somewhat honest, as I'd listen to what are considered "bright" masterings with my M50's and I'd think "this isn't that bright!" These sound a lot more natural in the mids and lows, nice and dry, compared to the M50's. I've read some people say they sound similar but not at all. They both have totally different signatures imo, and I like them both, but right now the 770's are winning for their detail.

    Although now I'm kind of wishing I DID get the pleather version, as I'm reading those pads reduce the treble a bit.
     
  11. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    I would agree with this reviewer's comments.

    "In a word: Fabulous! I keep on wanting to write that these are a warm and punchy sounding headphone, but it's just not quite true...well, they're warm and punchy when the music is, and the bass is well extended and very tight, but they're also articulate and clear in the treble, and well balanced throughout the mids."

    "Simply put: The NAD VISO HP50 is my favorite sealed headphone to date for general purpose use… These headphones have a very pleasing, somewhat warm sound that doesn't get in the way of the details."

    - Tyll Hertsens, InnerFidelity.com, November 1, 2013

    I also use the Massdrop HD6XX phones, and while I enjoyed them very much, there are noticable differences in sound and practically. The NAD's are closed back, are more portable, and don't require a lot of power to drive them. I use them with my iPhone and an Audioquest Dragonfly Black and have a compact mobile unit. These phones fold flat and come with 2 cords and a nice travel case. I really enjoy these phones. My advice is to listen to any phones before you buy them as it really is a personal choice of what sounds good to you.

    I would also recommend that you spend some time listening to a verity of your music and give those 770's a good road test. There is an adjustment period with new phones and hopefully they will open a revelatory experience for you.
     
    bcaulf likes this.
  12. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Last night throughout my listening I felt as though I was starting to open up to them. When I first listened to the opening drums on Born In The USA they felt cold and harsh. When playing it at the end of the night, they sounded more “right”. I do think I’m going to get used to these and like them a lot. Thank you for your comment.
     
  13. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    While the debate of " burn in" is still being debated, my experience with this is that when listening to my new phones there was definitely an improvement in sound from the time I first put them on until a few days / weeks later. I trust my ears more than opinions. Both my NAD's and Sennhiesser 's blossomed and improved in sound over a short period of time. I am very satisfied with the sound of both of these phones. Have I listened to better phones? Yes. Is it worth the significant increase in price and upgraded equipment? Not according to my budget. I get a lot of enjoyment out of the equipment I can afford. Consider me a satisfied...for now. :D
     
    bcaulf likes this.
  14. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Actually, a lot of people seem to really like the NAD's...I might actually go for these. A lot of descriptions of these claim they are "warm" which is enticing, and more portable. A few things I'd like to ask you: how is the comfort? Do they leak sound? Finally, how to they handle high-bit rate lossy files? I use high but rate AAC on my phone. They sound just fine with the 770's.

    Also in consideration are the ATH-MSR7, also a neutral phone but closer to bright so I'd probably miss some warmth.

    Thank you for the recommendation. I am still going to try to like the 770's more but man...the treble. And these will be hard to work with on the go, I'm realizing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  15. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    As far as comfort, they take a backseat to the Sennheiser's. The HD6XX are one of the most comfortable headphones I have worn. Maybe the Oppo PM's are one my other favorites as far as comfort.

    The NAD tend to be tight at first, but will loosen a little over time. As far as comfort, for me, I can wear them for a 2-3 hours without much discomfort.

    The NAD's are closed back and do a good job in sealing in the sound and preventing leakage. And they do a pretty good job of isolating external noises. The ear cups are on the smaller side, so if you have large ears that could be an issue.

    I plug these headphones into my Audioquest Dragonfly Black DAC with my iPhone 6+ and use the Onkyo Audio player app with downloaded 96/24 AIFF HDtracks files, and 44.1/16 CD files imported from iTunes. I love this set up and it sounds very, very, good. I have been very satisfied with these phones and I highly recommend them to anyone. Truly best to try them first out if possible, but Audio Advisor has a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. They also have them on sale. If you are not satisfied with the DT 770's I think you should check these out. Do some research and check the reviews. There are few phones that compete in this price range. Good luck in your quest! If you have any questions just let me know.
     
    bcaulf likes this.
  16. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Thanks again, much appreciated! I do really dig the sound quality of these. They sound big, spacious and powerful. The power of GERMAN ENGINEERING. I find myself getting more used to the treble the longer the listening sessions go on for, and they might still lay themselves out a little after burn in. They aren't fatiguing in any way though, as some have said. I suppose they are good, as that means they have a nice extension, but it also makes snares sound a little digital. Then again, some of the music I'm listening to are masterings from the 80's so I guess that makes sense...

    The 32 ohm model originally came with pleather, while mine came with velour. If anything I could just change out the pads some day as I've read they decrease the treble impact, add to the bass, but worsen the soundstage. The velour just feels so nice, though :agree: I am, however, a bit nervous listening to these at work on Monday as supposedly the velours can leak quite a bit of sound.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
    DonnyMe likes this.
  17. beercanchicken

    beercanchicken Legendary Stickman

    Location:
    Chicago
    MSR7s can be amazing...but also terrible; I never had a headphone so dependent on the source before. And yeah, they can be bright, definitely not warm, the treble is probably worse than the 770s, IMO. I had the best experience using direct from phone but got tired of adjusting volume/equalizer when using with AQDF Black so sent them back...One of the more frustrating headphones I've dealt with.
    Sony MDR-1As would be something to consider. And check out Sennheiser HD 569 if looking for even more warmth...
     
  18. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    tbh, in the under 300$ closed cans, its impossible to have a "good" pairs. compared to open headphones, closed cans just always suck. you have to go with zmf Eikon or Atticus to get something almost as good as the open cans.
    ill audition the meze 99 myself to see how they compares to say, hd650 that can be bough for about the same money
     
  19. molinari

    molinari Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    I wouldn’t recommend the NAD’s - I just pulled mine out after putting them away last year and compared them to my ATH M50x, etymotic ER4SR and Senn 600s. I first put on the NAD’s and thought they sounded pretty good. Then directly comparing them to my current cans, I remembered why I replaced them. I originally got them because I was using Grados at the time and wanted something portable, closed-back and more neutral. They had a certain smoothness from bass to upper mids, but the higher frequencies were missing, and there was some coloration in the upper mids. Even against the etymotic’s and 600’s, which are not bright - they sound really muddy.

    With their faults, I prefer the AT’s to the NAD’s..
     
  20. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Interesting. I think I’m going to keep the 770’s. I’m really starting to enjoy them now. I’m hearing details I never heard with the M50’s. I was listening to Making Movies by Dire Straits, an album that sounded pretty cluttered to me at first, almost Phil Spector like. Suddenly, it sounds much more open and clear with the 770’s. Details I never noticed before were the specific bass notes being played at the end of Tunnel Of Love and the ripples in the drums that open Skateaway. It always just sounded like one big hit before. Their self titled album conveys a whole new mood for me now with the spaciousness. Shares in general have more snap now as opposed to the M50’s which seems to have muddied them on many recordings. Sibilance is still somewhat of an issue but it’s only there on songs that are already sibilant, it just really sticks out on these. Treble is more tolerable to me now and actually adds a nice little shine. And the bass is really good to my ears. Overall for the price these are excellent and they sound great powered through a phone or computer with the 32 ohm version. And I love the velour :)

    I can’t remrmber the last time I smiled while listening to music.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  21. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    I had thought about the MDR-1A’s but the beyer’s seemed to have more praise so I went with those instead. And they were cheaper domestically. I actually didn’t consider the 569 at the time and I didn’t really know about them.
     
  22. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I participated in a listening test for a magazine of more than 30 headphones a few years ago including some Stax. At that time the HD600 faired well as well as the AKG K271 Studio. My own K271 Mk2 is however disappointing and does not sound as the the old Studio variant with weak bass and peaky highs. I now went for the BD DT 150 modified with the DT100 velour pads and those are nice sounding headphones. The original pads gives a bit too much bass. I would rate the modified DT150 higher than the other BD headphones., e.g. the DT770 is a bit to much energy in treble and bass for my taste.
     
    bcaulf likes this.
  23. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    Just out of curiosity I was doing a little more reading and stumbled across the Sennheiser HD 569. Has anyone heard these phones? They're in that same under $200 price range. I was considering the 598CS at the time but a few negative reviews turned me away. Supposedly the 569's are the same sound-wise and more common I believe so I'm wondering if anyone here has heard them? If anyone has both the 569 and 770, how do they compare?
     
  24. husafreak

    husafreak Great F'n music that's difficult to listen to!

    Location:
    NorCal, Bay Area
    I don't know about the sub 600 Senn's but decide whether you really want to keep those Beyer's while you can. I personally can't handle them for the reasons you described. I can't take trebly cans.
     
  25. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    I’m hoping I can make a decision in about 3 weeks, as I am given a month to return them. These are great sounding headphones but man the treble really does strike on tracks that have treble energy. Everything else sounds wonderful. I’m hoping I can just get used to that. The Senns I’m hearing mixed things about, bass is good but doesn’t go as deep, treble rolls off and the kids are forward which could also be annoying, unfortunately I won’t know until I hear them and there really aren’t any places around here that sell/test headphones outside Best Buy and Target, which sells the generic brands like Beats and Bose.
     

Share This Page