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Thread: Headphones : £50 budget.

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    Headphones : £50 budget.

    I'm looking for a decent set of open-eared, quality headphones. I don't need a microphone so that should narrow the options. In the past 7 years I've only had two sets, one Sony (5 years), the other Sennheiser (2 years). Whilst the Senn's were better, replacing the foam ear pads would cost half the price of the actual headphones, whereas with the Sony's it was a couple of quid.

    Will primarily be used for music & movies, with a smattering of gaming (would love something to emulate surround sound, but by no means essential). I'm not an AudioNut by any means, so I'm looking for suggestions.
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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Which Sennheiser do you have? Headphones do vary a lot according to models.

    I actually find it quite hard to pick a £50 headphones. For a lot less money than that, the Koss Portapro is one of my favourite. Not much to look at, but sweet, sweet, sound and one of my top choice for headphones *up to* £50 (despite costing much less).

    If you are willing to go above that somewhat (by £10-15), you have a couple more options:
    - I think you may -just- manage to get the Sennheiser HD-555 for £65 if you shop enough. Lots of people are happy with it, they aren't my favourite, but deserves mention.
    - Grados (excluding that sporty one) are notoriously expensive in the UK, if you don't mind buying international, Alessandro MS-1 is a good pick. They are somewhat are basically modified Grados.
    - Sort of in this price range (if you shop - cheapest I've seen is still a touch over £70 atm), I really like the Audio Technica ATH-AD500. I actually prefer the ATH-A500 even more, but it's closed (yet one of the very, very few closed headphones I like), and twice your budget unless you don't mind importing (Audiocubes).
    Last edited by TooNice; 30-07-2009 at 11:59 PM.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    If your not after a headset i'd personally look at a pair of Sennheiser HD 555 you can pick them up from play for £60, i know its £10 more but iv'e heard nothing but praise for them.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Grado 100%

    You might have to stretch the budget a touch but it'll be worth it.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    I have the Grado SR80 and SR125 and they are great for use on the computer for music and gaming purposes as they sound great and are very easy to drive.

    If you don't mind closed back headphones the Beyerdyamic DT231 Galactic sounds great for the money and have very comfortable pads:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyerdynamic...8997679&sr=8-2


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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Sennheiser HD202/HD212. Pads are 100% intact after 3 years of heavy use. They've been dropped, trod on, tugged on, and had a real hammering, and still work faultlessly and even still look the part. The sound quality and comfort is also superior to any otherset of headphones I've ever had. Best £30 I ever spent.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    I should point out that Audio Technica are pretty comfy to wear. I really like the Grados sound, but relatively speaking, it's still the least comfortable headphones out of my collection.

    Still, due to the cost of the Grados in the UK, I highly recommend that you look into the Alessandro if you go down that route. Comments here and here. Some people have likened the MS-1 to the SR-125 in sound quality, so you are getting good value.

    Having said that, if you want to have an rough idea of what Grados sound like, I still recommend looking into the Koss headphones (Porta Pro, KSC-75). They are really a cheap way of evaluating whether the Grados sound is for you (they are a little love/hate - the Alessandro, being a little more mellow doesn't suffer from that as much, but still). Put it this way. I introduced it to someone who had the Alessandro MS-2i (modified Grados SR325i - which costs about £250-300 in the UK), and he was really amazed at the similarity given the price difference. And I can personally vouch that it has some striking similarities to my Grados HF-1. And as CAT mentioned, Grado cans are generally easy to drive, so you get quite a lot out of their potential without needing an amp (ditto for Audio Technica suggested, and Sennheiser cans ending with '5' in their model numbers).

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice View Post
    Which Sennheiser do you have?
    Currently using PC131, a little light for my liking, but pretty damn good.

    Headset isn't important at all, but might be nice if I ever get back into online gaming/voice comms.

    Will look through the suggestions so far, thank you.

    *edit - still a little confused, direct links would be appreciated, closed back are not an option. I could stretch the budget, but they would have to be well worth it.
    Last edited by WhiteGiant; 31-07-2009 at 10:52 PM.
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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Audio Technica ATH-AD500. I really like those. Not mentioned as much in the UK, but they are widely used in Japan. I think they are better all-rounders than the Sennheiser in the price range, though the Sennheiser may be better for classical/jazz.

    Koss Porta Pro They don't look like much, but they are known to sound very good. You'll soon find out if you Google it.

    Koss KSC-75. Probably not what you are looking for, but an alternative of the above (same driver, similar sound, yet even cheaper - my defacto bang/buck recommendation). I find them nice for outdoor use so maybe as a secondary?

    Sennheiser HD-555. Despite not being my favourite of this group, they are still quality cans.

    Alessandro MS-1. Rock cans. Need importing, and you may be alarmed when you try to order from them, but everyone I know who ordered from them did get the product fine.

    None of those are headsets and chances are, they will sound better than most headset in the market. None of them emulate surround either, but this is best done via software anyway (I like the X-Fi's CMSS) since you wouldn't want that for music.

    There is really a lot more that can be said for each cans, but maybe just want a straight answer and I've listed more options than you really want. If you want to learn more, Google aside, Head-fi has a wealth of information too.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Cheers TooNice, I like the sound (no pun intended, honest!) of the Koss Porta Pro.
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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Definitely the bang for buck of the group (aside from the KSC-75, but those aren't 'head'phones). Can be bought for £19.99 here. The other headphones in the list are technically a step up, and while great, but they are not quite twice as good (IMO) despite being about 3x the price. I think it also sets you up from knowing if you are likely to like Grados in the future.

    For fairness and completeness sake, the Sennheiser headphone that is closest in category (yet very different sound) is the PX100. Like the PortaPro, it's unassuming in appearance, yet offer outstanding sound quality.

    Basically, the Koss are more like Grodos (forward, aggressive, possibly more suitable for fast music) while the Sennheiser sound like.. Sennheiser which is more laid back and arguably better for classical, jazz and so on. Of course, it doesn't mean that the later sound crap on the PortaPro, or you can't listen to rock on the PX100. I've never tried the PC131, so I am not sure if they are comparable to the headphone listed here, but if they are, they are most likely more similar to the PX100 than PortaPro.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    I would still look at the Beyerdyamic DT231 as they are considered a better pair of headphones:

    http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/bey...-px100-110198/

    They are very comfy headphones(at least for me). They were What Hifi? 5 star rated for years. I would say the the Beyerdyamics have a smoother sound the Grados I have.


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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    I would highly recommend the Goldring DR150s.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goldring-DR1...9162531&sr=8-1

    They are a serious bargain at that price. There's a review here: http://www.stereomojo.com/GoldringDr...onesreview.htm Bear in mind they were reviewing them at $150 and you can get them a lot cheaper.

    There's a very long impressions thread over at head-fi: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/off...thread-172888/

    I would personally rate it above the Sennheiser HD595 (edit: and HD555) for everything but soundstage. They actually remind me a lot of the higher end sennheisers I've tried such as the HD580 or HD600. They're quite amp dependent. With some amps they remind me a bit of Grados - the same kind of immediacy. Other amps tend to bring out a Sennheiser-esque subtlety. They're very easily driven and sound good out of most sources but amps can bring an extra dimension out of them.

    As for the surround sound - add a Xonar D1 or DX soundcard and you're away (I'm using a D2). I'm currently using the DR150s and they sound superb with Dolby Headphone from one of those soundcards. Not all headphones have particularly good synergy with dolby headphone. Angled drivers, such as you get in the HD555 and ATH-AD700 don't help. HD580s, HD600s and DR150s all sound great with Dolby Headphone.

    Edit: if you did get a pair, I would highly recommend checking inside to see if there's an excessive amount of tape holding on the cloths inside the ear grilles. Mine had too much in one ear. Removing it really opened up the bass end of the soundstage.
    Last edited by Uriel; 01-08-2009 at 11:04 PM.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    SENNHEISER HD 228 Headphones, The Germans make the best headphones in my view Sennheiser are one of the best headphones I have ever purchased. Please be aware though, they are not cheap and some are very expensive just look at their website and go to their online shop and you will see what I mean. I paid over £100.00 for a pair a couple of years ago and they are still going strong and they are awesome.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    and I paid £30 for an amazing set of headphones, also Sennheisers. I'm not a fan of spending hundreds of pounds on audio equipment when it isn't necessary. I'd probably say go for the expensive grado etc. headphones if you're an audio technician etc, but for normal use, I really don't see the need for expensive ones.

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    Re: Headphones : £50 budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uriel View Post
    I would highly recommend the Goldring DR150s.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goldring-DR1...9162531&sr=8-1

    They are a serious bargain at that price. There's a review here: http://www.stereomojo.com/GoldringDr...onesreview.htm Bear in mind they were reviewing them at $150 and you can get them a lot cheaper.

    There's a very long impressions thread over at head-fi: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/off...thread-172888/

    I would personally rate it above the Sennheiser HD595 (edit: and HD555) for everything but soundstage. They actually remind me a lot of the higher end sennheisers I've tried such as the HD580 or HD600. They're quite amp dependent. With some amps they remind me a bit of Grados - the same kind of immediacy. Other amps tend to bring out a Sennheiser-esque subtlety. They're very easily driven and sound good out of most sources but amps can bring an extra dimension out of them.

    As for the surround sound - add a Xonar D1 or DX soundcard and you're away (I'm using a D2). I'm currently using the DR150s and they sound superb with Dolby Headphone from one of those soundcards. Not all headphones have particularly good synergy with dolby headphone. Angled drivers, such as you get in the HD555 and ATH-AD700 don't help. HD580s, HD600s and DR150s all sound great with Dolby Headphone.

    Edit: if you did get a pair, I would highly recommend checking inside to see if there's an excessive amount of tape holding on the cloths inside the ear grilles. Mine had too much in one ear. Removing it really opened up the bass end of the soundstage.
    Might give these a try for general usage and see how they stack up against my SR80s.


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