Nov 19, 2016

Best Entry-Level Audiophile Headphone for <$150 USD

I won't lie; I have a terrible problem with overthinking and it's plaguing me once more as I look for a good headphone to accompany my Blue Yeti. I've looked at dozens of options from such great companies as Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, and more. I've looked at great options like the HD598, AD900X, DT990 (770, 880, etc) M50x's, and more. They all seem like great cans but I can't really find one that really calls to me and I was hoping to get some feedback from people who own any of these or who have a better pair. I'm looking for an open backed headphone that would be great for gaming, rock/alternative, classical, and help isolate sounds such as footsteps in FPS games. My one thing though is that comfort has to be a massive factor for 10 hour sessions and that's why the AD900X's bug me with the winged headband. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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ath m50x are great
Look for Beyerdynamic 1350, sometimes its discounted so maybe you'll get it under 150$
Gaming headphones and musical headphones are different, *ahem*
Really, they give off different kind of tones and vibes,
Gaming headphones are often described to be, durable, good isolation, good comfort.
Musical headphones are firstly described with good sound, good comfort, and good isolation.

In all honesty, I have never bought a good headphone at all, my previous purchase was a 70buck headphone by sennheiser, they are used more for travelling purposes.

I would actually recommend the m50x, firstly they are durable, secondly, good sounding, and they the kind of "heightened " neutral headphones out there, ( heightened because they aren't really)

I could recall years back, I have a friend who would always bring out his m50s and would casually walk around with it, he use it for general purposes, well, except for gaming, he uses razer because it suits the game because of its EQ, well, to be said.. there aren't really any one headphone that fits all purposes, for example sound engineers uses a neutral one, a bassist and drummer would choose one that has a V shape or U shape signature, vocalist with a focus on the vocals, and the audiophile who simply just get fork out all the money they can find to get an "audiophile grade headphone.

Nuff to be said, I always think it depends on the user, and that's of the reason why I bought a china oem rather than a standard brand in ear.
Maybe, go with the Akg 240 on Amazon for approx $60 should serve as a starter. It should hold you, until you can save up for something meatier. Over time, you will get a chance to meet up with other fanatics and sample their gear, lols....
T20rp mkiii!!
Whatever you are consdering from the headphones you mentioned - you need to be aware of problems with properly amping them. Since there is no source mentioned and you did mention a blue yeti which i believe is a usb microphone of some sort, i am expecting an integrated soundcard in your pc. That is going to have a dac and particularly amplifier of rather poor quality. If your wanted goal is to achieve the best music/general sonic performance out of 150$ i would suggest buying a cheaper-shelf usb dac/amp + throwing in some entry level headphones that are generally known to be well performing for their pricerange, and have rather lower than bigger impedance (think 32-60oms instead of 300, with a dynamic driver).

Addidtionally be aware at this pricerange closed headphones are much easier to come by. In fact i believe some of the headphones you mentioned are fully closed.
There are no headphones at that price point you could consider to be "audiophile" grade. You might as well pick up a Superlux, save some money and call it a day.

Audiophile grade headphones start, at a bare minimum around $200 for a few old AKGs that are widely considered to be mid-fi. Decent mid-fi starts at around $300. I personally don't consdier anything less than hi-fi (approx 900 and up) to be "audiophile" , but mid-fi headphones will at least get you a very large improvement.

Consider what you want to achieve out of this hobby. If you don't place a great deal of value on your headphone listening, just get some mid-fi headphone, some decent amp/dac combo unit and enjoy. If you want to go for audio bliss (ie, be an audiophile), you will have ot adjust your budget priorities. For example, I'm about 5k in and still hunting for upgrades. Any serious audiophile will tell you to skip the mid-fi step altogether and hit hi-fi right from the starting line.

For a starting audiophile I would recommend the following:

Source:
Schiit Wyrd (USB isolator, required for any PC source using USB) - $100

DAC:
Gustard X20U (balanced Sabre DAC, exceptional value, easily modded improvements, big upgrade path for I2S) - $800

Amp:
Schiit Jotunheim (new product, balanced, which I tested back-to-back with my $1,700 Ragnarok and it was only a little inferior, mainly not as three-dimensional) - $400

Headphones:
HiFiMAN HE-6 (one of the best headphones period, amazing value, extremely power hungry) - $1000.

Cables:
The amount of benefit depends on the quality of your power. There's a number of high-value manufacturers, but I really like the value and performance of Audio Sensibility out of Canada.

So minus cables, this system represents a very strong start into hi-fi headphone listening. The HE-6 are end-game quality and can be tapped off of speaker amps. I auditioned the Jotunheim and its value is real. The Gustard is going to destroy anything around it's price point, the next upgrade is around 2.5-3k point, and it offers I2S with 4xDSD support which is an a large improvement by itself.
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GUTB
Your ignorance is amusing. $300 headphones are high fidelity.
FuckHead-Fi
They are higher fidelity compared to low end headphones. We call them mid-fi because they are greatly superior to lo-fi but still significantly inferior to the top end which we call hi-fi.
It's a shame that your AD900X's aren't working out for you. I can't think of anything better in that price range for what you're using them for. Personally I've got the ADG1's which are the AD700X's with a microphone attached and they're uncomfortable too but I'm hoping new earpads will solve that for me.
Get the sennheiser game zero great for games like csgo and overwatch
Jaydee_97
Basically the hd598 but with a sound tuned more towards games
Comfort had been my massive factor, too, to go for HD598 for pc sessions. There might be better ones regarding sound, depending on taste and setup, whatever, but i've absolutly no problems to use them for endless hours.
DT880 or the HD598 which ever is cheaper
Juka
I think HD598 has an edge among these two! :)
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