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I have £200-300 to spend on headphones but I need some guidance!

NinjaBoiX

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I have £200-300 to spend on a really nice pair of headphones but I feel like the market is currently saturated with over priced noise cancelling models, and I feel like I’m struggling to get a solid answer if I’m not so concerned with wireless and ANC.

I know the Sony XM4’s are the go to model for someone after a “tick all the boxes” set of cans, but realistically I don’t think I’d really benefit massively from either wireless or ANC given that I mainly listen to music at home or though the stereo in my car. Having said that, if they’re a good buy on my budget then I’d happily take those benefits as a bonus.

So my question is pretty simple, what’s the best over ear headphones I can buy within a fairly modest budget, given that wireless and ANC aren’t really dealbreakers for me one way or the other?

Don’t get me wrong, wireless and ANC are obviously plus points that I’d happily take, but they aren’t on my list as buying points if you know what I mean.

I currently have a fairly cheap set of Senn’s from their “foldaway fashion” line (I’m fully aware that they’re branching out from the audiophile movement), but I’d like some really nice cans to sit and enjoy content while at home.

I’d love some input from you guys in the know, thanks!
 
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Need more info. Where do you plan on using them? At work in the office? At home? Outside? Do you mind sound leakage?
 

QSD

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I did a lot of DJ'ing in my student years on Sennheisers. Extremely durable, they never broke I just lost them at a particularly chaotic party

Right now producing and listening on AKG240K studio headphones. These feel more light/flimsy than the Sennheisers but have proven very durable as well, I even took them to a psytrance festival in portugal and they're still good
 
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I did a lot of DJ'ing in my student years on Sennheisers. Extremely durable, they never broke I just lost them at a particularly chaotic party

Right now producing and listening on AKG240K studio headphones. These feel more light/flimsy than the Sennheisers but have proven very durable as well, I even took them to a psytrance festival in portugal and they're still good
Would this festival be next to a lake, perchance?
 

AV

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If you don't need wireless/ANC don't entertain the XM3/4, or the Bose QC, that's their selling point. Also the XMs especially have a really rich, bassy profile by default, which I love, but which isn't great for neutral listening.

Closed back is really going to limit your options for higher end cans. Apparently people in this thread didn't actually read the OP in that regard. If you have to go closed back, maybe the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro? £130 on Amazon right now on sale. No experience with them personally, just see them come up in conversations about closed back.
 
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Maiden Voyage

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If you don't need wireless/ANC don't entertain the XM3/4, or the Bose QC, that's their selling point. Also the XMs especially have a really rich, bassy profile by default, which I love, but which isn't great for neutral listening.

Closed back is really going to limit your options for higher end cans. Apparently people in this thread didn't actually read the OP in that regard. If you have to go closed back, maybe the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro? £130 on Amazon right now on sale. No experience with them personally, just see them come up in conversations about closed back.

Beyerdynamics are great. Can't go wrong with these or Senns.

NinjaBoiX NinjaBoiX if your budget is a bit more flexible, I do recommend the HE-1's. It's a bit more, but it's an all-in-one package so you don't need to worry about finding a DAC & amp.
 
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Take a look at AKG open back headphones. The k240 are 60$ oe something like that. Theyr're very bassy and confortable. You won't regret it.
 

NinjaBoiX

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Thanks for all the input guys! Not sure why I stipulated closed back, that’s really not that important in hindsight. I know open back often give you a better soundstage and all that. I’ll edit the OP.

In terms how I’d use them, mainly ay home to watch movies/play games in the spare room. It’s not for any professional use.

I’ve been looking at the Sennheiser HD 599 which come in at around £160. I’d like to pay less than £200 ideally. I have a set of smaller foldable Senn’s that I’ve been using for a while and they’re decent enough, but can get uncomfortable after wearing them for a good while. This will probably become my travel cans while I use the more substantial set at home.

Any further input is always welcome!
 

QSD

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Wow, I’ve been reading up about the Fidelio X2’s, they sound right up my street!

I think we have a new front runner...
Hmmm I'm a dutchman but very iffy on the (dutch) Philips brand. I don't have any experience with their headphones, but for example Philips TVs I have found to be pretty unreliable. I'd definitely advise to try before buy, and find some people who've owned them for a couple of years to see if they don't break too easily.
 

NinjaBoiX

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Hmmm I'm a dutchman but very iffy on the (dutch) Philips brand. I don't have any experience with their headphones, but for example Philips TVs I have found to be pretty unreliable. I'd definitely advise to try before buy, and find some people who've owned them for a couple of years to see if they don't break too easily.
Yeah, I was initially very dubious upon hearing the name “Philips”, they’ve always been a bit of a naff brand IMO. I’d usually steer clear of their products.

But by all accounts those headphones are something special, maybe they found their calling?

They’re apparently incredibly comfortable, easy to drive and have very few drawbacks sonically for the price. They tick all the boxes by the sounds of it!
 

QSD

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Yeah, I was initially very dubious upon hearing the name “Philips”, they’ve always been a bit of a naff brand IMO. I’d usually steer clear of their products.
Historically the core business is lightbulbs, but they've been in consumer electronics for longer than I can remember. The unreliable TV problem might be pretty specific to that branch, they just found themselves struggling against samsung so they cut corners. They are certainly capable of producing hi quality electronics, they made a killing last year on medical equipment (respirators etc)

But by all accounts those headphones are something special, maybe they found their calling?

They’re apparently incredibly comfortable, easy to drive and have very few drawbacks sonically for the price. They tick all the boxes by the sounds of it!
Who knows, don't let this ol' cynic stop you!
 

NinjaBoiX

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Fair enough, I share your trepidation but I feel like they’re a solid set based on a good bit of research. Maybe they just make good lightbulbs and this one great set of headphones?

Other choices on this page I’ve had to discount:

DT770’s - they’re quite hard to drive and apparently they’re more of a reference/studio set rather than an enjoyable listen
Various AKG’s - apparently they were bought out by someone and their products aren’t nearly as good as they used to be
B&O 3 in ear - I’m not after earbuds
Loads of expensive ones - they’re expensive

So I think it’s down to the Senn HD599 or the Philips Fidelio’s, both sitting around £150. I feel like I’ll get more bang for my buck with the Philips? Apparently they launched at double that price a few years back, whereas the Senn’s are quite recently launched and that’s basically RRP.

Unless anyone else has some better options for big, comfy, luxurious sounding cans that won’t break the bank?
 
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Sidney Prescott

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I need to step my headphones game up. Currently rocking some £10 Headphones I got, and have been using them for years. I feel like I'd notice the difference If I got a better pair, but I guess audio has always been last on the priority list for me.

Which is strange, honestly, I use my PC with headphones and game with them like 90% of the time.

ron swanson listening GIF
 
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For the phillips: i was rightly called out: they are open design and leak sound. I use them for work all day and I really enjoy them.

I had the first version of Fidelio and it was still in good shape after 7 or 8 years, and bought the X2hrs because they were back to sale near $100, have a slight tweak to the sound for the better, and replaceable ear cups to get me through the next few decades. They dont take a lot to drive, which is something to watch out for in expensive headphones.

They are too big to wear outside for me, and they are better for sitting up then laying in bed.

At the price they sell, they are hard to beat. There is a new pair, X3s for near $300 but it the reviews read like they messed with it and the cost is just for looks. You could spend the next $200 on another pair that fits a specific use case.

The replaceable cable is a nice touch for making them last forever.
 

NinjaBoiX

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Hard to go wrong with Senns in whatever price range you're looking for.
Yeah, that’s why the 599’s are still in contention.

I feel like the Fidelio’s will be the better sounding headphones if I can get over buying Philips, but the Senn’s will be a safer choice.

I think I’ll get the Fidelio’s truth be told, so many people say they’d even be a bargain at twice the price.

2 words..... Planar Magnetic
3 words..... far too expensive.

I’m looking to spend around £200 max here, I don’t have an infinite budget!
 
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navii

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Got these for myself for Xmas:


They have ANC but it's not a big difference with it off/on. Their stand out feature I feel is their bass. It's deep. Try and sample these bad boys if you can. I never heard bass so huge on a pair of headphones. Their soundstage and instrument seperation is on point.
 

Soodanim

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Before I changed my setup and got some speakers I went down a rabbit hole and looked into headphones a lot over the course of a few months.

I first got some Beyerdynamic DT770 (80 Ohms) because I wanted some closed headphones. Then I got a pair of Sennheiser HD598 SE (special edition just means different colour and additional shorter cable) when I wanted some open back. 598s in particular are known for a wide sound stage, which might not mean much unless music on instruments sound like they’re physically separate. Same translates for games when you get a better idea of positioning.

As far as I’m aware, the Sen 599 is the replacement of the 598. I don’t know if there’s any other changes to the sound or the design, but 598s are very common as a price/performance winner although I don’t find them the most comfortable in the world. I find myself adjusting them to try and get good cup rotation and placement.

I had buyer’s remorse for a while on the 770s because the clamp on them was hurting my head. I looked it up then for a week I put them on some books to stretch them out a bit and now they’re fine. The 770s come in four Ohm ratings, which reflect how easy they are to drive. It’s kind of hard to find information on what a phone or TV can drive for example, but 80 is fine in my experience. There’s a step down (but I think the padding changes from velour to pleather) and you don’t want to go up without some sort of amp.

Speaking of which, I use a USB one for PC. Fiio E10K. Gives a bit more power to drive the headphones if they need it, and gives you a convenient volume dial for when you’re in game.

I’m not sure which pair it was now, but one of them was quite sibilant at first. That’s when the highs, like the S sound, is a bit piercing. That reminds me of something the headphone community talks about a lot, which is burn in. It’s where the headphones need some time being used before they reach their peak effectiveness and quality. Whole communities swear by it, but testing and measurement suggests the sound output doesn’t actually change and that it’s the brain that adjusts to the headphones. More here.

When I got my 598s I used uk.camelcamelcamel.com to keep an eye on the price and get told when they dropped back down to sale price. Might be worth a look.
 

rofif

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AKG k371 is recently great headphone and a revelation in audiophile world. Don't even need an amp for it.
Sennheise hd600/hd6xx is the usual answer and probably a safe chocie (needs amp)
My answer is Koss Porta Pro (no, really, it's great with everything, comfy and open)... the bass coming from this little thing is something else !
 

Soodanim

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AKG k371 is recently great headphone and a revelation in audiophile world. Don't even need an amp for it.
Sennheise hd600/hd6xx is the usual answer and probably a safe chocie (needs amp)
My answer is Koss Porta Pro (no, really, it's great with everything, comfy and open)... the bass coming from this little thing is something else !
I have the Porta Pro (Massdrop version) too, they’re good but they don’t look that great outside of a retro aesthetic. They have better looking simple headphones. The sound quality is still great for the price point, though. I was on the verge of getting the 6xx but I didn’t want to be stuck with more import fees like the PP.
 

TrainedRage

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Yeah, that’s why the 599’s are still in contention.

I feel like the Fidelio’s will be the better sounding headphones if I can get over buying Philips, but the Senn’s will be a safer choice.

I think I’ll get the Fidelio’s truth be told, so many people say they’d even be a bargain at twice the price.


3 words..... far too expensive.

I’m looking to spend around £200 max here, I don’t have an infinite budget!
I bought mine for around 250$ but do you. If you are spending that much why not go for the best?

Amazon.com: DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX Planar Magnetic Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones, Black: Electronics

Those beat Sennies any day but meh. Just get a USB DAC (100$) and you are good to go.
 
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rofif

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I have the Porta Pro (Massdrop version) too, they’re good but they don’t look that great outside of a retro aesthetic. They have better looking simple headphones. The sound quality is still great for the price point, though. I was on the verge of getting the 6xx but I didn’t want to be stuck with more import fees like the PP.
I love the look personally.
There is also koss kph30i. Sounds the same but looks different (more subdued ?)
 

Soodanim

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I love the look personally.
There is also koss kph30i. Sounds the same but looks different (more subdued ?)
I think they’re the exact ones I thought might be a nice replacement with a more modern design, never looked into the sound though so if they are then that’s great. They must be an underrated brand
 
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Buy $100 headphones and bank the rest.

AKG k371 is recently great headphone and a revelation in audiophile world. Don't even need an amp for it.
Sennheise hd600/hd6xx is the usual answer and probably a safe chocie (needs amp)
My answer is Koss Porta Pro (no, really, it's great with everything, comfy and open)... the bass coming from this little thing is something else !
I bought the AKG K371 at the end of last year for the office. For £100 they are an amazing buy. Been using them for Audio and Video editing and music listening in the office and bringing them home at weekends for music and gaming.

No need for an amp, they can run off a Laptop, Phone and ipad. They come with three cables of different lengths and a travel bag.

I also have a set of Philips X1s but since I have got the K371 the X1s have been sidelined.

 
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NinjaBoiX

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The more I’m digging into reviews the less convinced I am about the Fidelio’s, apparently the bass is exceptional but the treble is really harsh. I can’t stand overly bright treble.

I really think I’m just going to go with the Senn HD599’s now, they’re a safe bet from a brand I trust, they’re apparently INCREDIBLY comfy (which is a huge selling point) and they’re well within budget.
I bought mine for around 250$ but do you. If you are spending that much why not go for the best?

Amazon.com: DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX Planar Magnetic Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones, Black: Electronics

Those beat Sennies any day but meh. Just get a USB DAC (100$) and you are good to go.
Fair enough, but they don’t seem to stock them in the uk, so it’s another £30-50 to import them. Suddenly they’re double the price!

I bet they’re great though.

Edit: actually the shipping is closer to £70, that’ll be over £300 delivered. The Senn’s can be on my doorstep in a few days for a shade over £130.
 
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TrainedRage

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The more I’m digging into reviews the less convinced I am about the Fidelio’s, apparently the bass is exceptional but the treble is really harsh. I can’t stand overly bright treble.

I really think I’m just going to go with the Senn HD599’s now, they’re a safe bet from a brand I trust, they’re apparently INCREDIBLY comfy (which is a huge selling point) and they’re well within budget.

Fair enough, but they don’t seem to stock them in the uk, so it’s another £30-50 to import them. Suddenly they’re double the price!

I bet they’re great though.

Edit: actually the shipping is closer to £70, that’ll be over £300 delivered. The Senn’s can be on my doorstep in a few days for a shade over £130.
Make sure you buy a DAC as well... I recommend this series...

DragonFly Series · AudioQuest

 

rofif

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I bought the AKG K371 at the end of last year for the office. For £100 they are an amazing buy. Been using them for Audio and Video editing and music listening in the office and bringing them home at weekends for music and gaming.

No need for an amp, they can run off a Laptop, Phone and ipad. They come with three cables of different lengths and a travel bag.

I also have a set of Philips X1s but since I have got the K371 the X1s have been sidelined.

Great, now I feel I need to get one but I am to sworn to Koss :p
How is the build quality? There been done early concerns.
And how is bass? Can these get low?
 

NinjaBoiX

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Make sure you buy a DAC as well... I recommend this series...

DragonFly Series · AudioQuest

I appreciate your input and everything, and I don’t want to sound rude, but why on Earth would I spend £250-300 on a DAC for a £130 pair of headphones? That’s just not a sensible buy.

I’m on a budget man! Your suggested set of cans and accompanying DAC would be an outlay of around £600, I’m just not looking to spend anywhere near that kind of money.

Besides, apparently the iPhone 3.5mm dongle is a fairly acceptable little DAC on its own which is exactly what I’d be using.

 
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TrainedRage

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I appreciate your input and everything, and I don’t want to sound rude, but why on Earth would I spend £250-300 on a DAC for a £130 pair of headphones? That’s just not a sensible buy.

I’m on a budget man! Your suggested set of cans and accompanying DAC would be an outlay of around £600, I’m just not looking to spend anywhere near that kind of money.

Besides, apparently the iPhone 3.5mm dongle is a fairly acceptable little DAC on its own which is exactly what I’d be using.

If you are on a budget then just buy a pair of skullcrushers and call it a day. If you want high fidelity audio and are spending over 200 on some cans but don’t have money for an amp or d to a conversion then maybe you should do more research on what kind of audio quality you want.
You said 300 I posted a pair of 200 planar magnetic and a 100 dollar dac and you think that’s too much??? I mean what do you even need 200$ headphones for that some 90$ pair can’t do?
 
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NinjaBoiX

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If you are on a budget then just buy a pair of skullcrushers and call it a day.
Oh come on, that’s a reductive argument. There’s a huge range between high end planar magnetic cans that need a separate amp to drive them, and “we’ll just get the toy ones aimed at 12 year olds.”
If you want high fidelity audio and are spending over 200 on some cans but don’t have money for an amp or d to a conversion then maybe you should do more research on what kind of audio quality you want.
My budget was initially up to £300, but it quickly became apparent that I can get some really solid choices under £200, so that then became my target.

And this thread has actually prompted me to do plenty of research, I’ve looked at reviews for every set posted and I didn’t even know what “planar magnetic” was until you mentioned them!
You said 300 I posted a pair of 200 planar magnetic and a 100 dollar dac and you think that’s too much???
To be fair the cans you posted were £250 in the UK, plus another £70 import costs. Then that DAC was £250-300, suddenly were in £600-700 territory!
I mean what do you even need 200$ headphones for that some 90$ pair can’t do?
I just want a nice, comfy set of headphones to use with my phone, iPad, PS4, etc. I don’t want to have to mess around with pre-amps and DACS and all that, especially ones that require USB. But I totally get that you were coming from a more “HIFI” angle.

But “why not just spend £90 then?”

I guess why not just spend £20 then at that point? You get what you pay for and all that.
 
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Great, now I feel I need to get one but I am to sworn to Koss :p
How is the build quality? There been done early concerns.
And how is bass? Can these get low?
Build quality for me has been great, but the headband rotation and extension is plastic so only time will tell. I did read early QC was a problem.

Bass is good but not class leading. I also have a old set of Beyer DT770 at work, they have more Bass hit than the K371, but the K371 has more detail and easier to listen to for extended periods.
 
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rofif

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Build quality for me has been great, but the headband rotation and extension is plastic so only time will tell. I did read early QC was a problem.

Bass is good but not class leading. I also have a old set of Beyer DT770 at work, they have more Bass hit than the K371, but the K371 has more detail and easier to listen to for extended periods.
Any idea about k361?
This guy love them but I don't trust him...
 
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Any idea about k361?
This guy love them but I don't trust him...
Zee is a hype man, can be quite entertaining. I think it’s worth getting the K371, there is not much difference in price and they look exactly the same.

I like Metal’s Reviews, he liked the K371 more.


The hell is that attached to his computer? Holographic anime waifu?
If that offends you, best avoid his channel 😄
 

NinjaBoiX

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AKG K712 PRO​

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO​

I’m reluctant to go for an AKG set since they got bought out by Samsung, there’s apparently been some issues regarding QA in recent years.

And the DT990’s sound fantastic but have quite a high impedance for my needs, I’d likely need an amp which I’d like to avoid.