Headphone recommendations?

These old Sony MDR-CD570 headphones that I stole from Vederman years ago have finally given up the ghost, so they’ve gone in the trash.

Any recommendations for a new pair? I use headphones primarily for listening to music on my PC, not so much gaming although good gaming performance is definitely a bonus.

I swear by my circumaural Sennheisers, HD500 FTW.

There’s better stuff for more money though, what’s your price range?

You’re talking about at home, in a relatively quiet environment? Sennheiser HD-650 headphones will give you the best sound you can get and are supremely comfortable besides. Not cheap, though.

Holy shit, $500? LOL

I’m thinking more in the $100 max price range…

Well, they’re really $350 at headphone.com, but yeah, still well above $100. I guess for $100 or so, you’re looking at the Sennheiser HD-280 (which gets okay reviews) or the Grade SR-60 (which is supposed to sound good, but be hideously uncomfortable, as it sits on your ears).

That said, if you can afford it, don’t automatically throw out the idea of spending a lot of money on headphones. I got a pair of HD-580 headphones (now tragically discontinued) for $300, and they gave me sound as good as a $5,000 speaker system and lasted me for ten years (and would have lasted longer if I didn’t get the upgrade bug). Meanwhile, the graphics card I paid $500 for two years ago is already worthless. Headphones are a fairly durable good, and it makes sense to pay for quality, because you get to amortize it out over a long time – plus, dollar for dollar, headphones are a steal for the audio quality you get.

Some additional points:

In an environment that’s generally quiet, IE a home, you are going to want “open,” or “open air,” headphones. They’re going to be more comfortable because they don’t act like sonic pressure-cookers on your ears like closed headphones do, and they have a more natural sound without the distortion at certain frequencies in closed headphones.

Some models to consider:




The HD555’s are the spiritual successors to my HD500, which I’ve had since around 2000 or 2001. They’re sitting on my head right now, and they sound as good as the day I got them.

Sennheisers always get a lot of love, so I’ll put a word in for Audio-Technica instead. I’ve got some ATH-A700s that were fairly inexpensive and sound quite good and are extremely comfortable. They’re closed back, though, because I wear them at work. Machfive’s probably right about wanting open air phones if you don’t care about disturbing others around you.

For the cheap bastards out there, I’ll throw out a recommendation for the Sennheiser HD202: picked up a pair for $20 last month and have been pleased with them. Only complaint is that they’re a little too tight for my ginormous head, so they pinch my ears after a couple of hours.

I swear by my Sennheiser HD600s. I have not tried the HD650s but I’ve heard that they’re even better.

HeadRoom makes a handy headphone amp called a “BitHead” which has a USB connection that both powers it and lets it use its own DAC. It also has a switch that makes it apply a slight delay and crossfeed to simulate the sweet spot of a stereo system. Very nice.

Hey now, he wants good headphones as a sub 100 price. That means no high endish Senns and most certainly no headphone amps (I hate the extra damn cords, don’t you all???).

I have the Sennheiser 580s–these are the 600s but with shoddy plastic construction that apparently sounds too plasticky (I keeed–they sound similar).

These cans (I hate it when “cans” is used for anything except those kind of cans, nudge nudge) are great, I love them to death.

THey’re also expensive as hell and there’s no way I’d have ever paid for them (they were a gift).

Headphone amp (I built a cmoy amp in an altoids tin–that’s my credentials) does help, but you get great sound out of most devices anyway w/o an amp (even a gdamned DS). This last paragraph is irrelevant unless you do get expensive headphones.

Spotted on Techbargains: Amazon currently has the Sennheiser HD-280 for $84; J&R has the well-reviewed Grado SR60 for $69 with free shipping.

HD555 > HD280, especially when the price diff is $15. The 280’s are closed anyways.

I primarily like the Bithead amp because:

A) USB powered (batteries optional for non-computer use)
B) Works as external DAC over USB - let’s my bypass my laptop’s horrendous headphone jack.
C) Crossfeed switch - works as advertised, makes a noticable difference.

I will agree that I can still get pretty damn good sound out of most devices without the amp, but the reasons listed above alone are enough to make this thing worthwhile.

I have the Grado SR 80’s, and they don’t really bother me much, comfort-wise…

I use these:

had them for years, and they are awesome. the ultimate phones for travelling by plane should you need to, but even where you don’t need the noise cancelling they are l33t. For games, nothing comes close. Noise cancelling means you can have reasonable volume for games yet still not be distracted by anything else. Get some.
You only realise how good these are once you wear them for a few hours, then try some cheaper ones. If at all possible, borrow them from someone.

I got a pair of Turtle Beach Ear Force X-52’s which sound really great but they make my head sweat. Then again, any “outside the ear” headphones seem to make my head sweat. They may be a little bit more “gamey” than what you’re looking for, but they sound pretty darn good to these ears.

I’ve had some HD 570s for years, and they’re the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used. Super soft and light. Most of the time I can’t wear any headphones for very long, but these I can go a long way with.

The current 5xx models should be similar.

The trick with Senns is you need to get ones with the velvet-ish material; the lesser ones with vinyl pads aren’t as comfy. I had 570s before someone sat on them, now 555s, both awesome. For a while I used Grado SR-80s but now they’re retired in a drawer because they’re not comfy.

For cheapo phones, get some Panasonic RP-HTX7s. They’re pretty comfy and sound pretty good; they’re closed so they work ok on planes. ~$35.

I’ll throw the Koss KSC-75s into the ring. I realise they’re “portable” (that is, clip-on), but they’re damn good sounding (though lacking the bass of the HD555’s on my head right now), and still comfortable for long periods.

And they’re only $20USD.

Still, HD555 for the win :)

I have had my Senns 580’s for a while now; a worthy investment. They broke a few years ago (due to some major abuse) and I upgrade to the 650’s. My advise is to grab an upper market Sennheiser and enjoy the music for years to come.

If the budget is a little tight, go for some inner-ear Sure E2C’s; fantastic (if you are impartial to inner-ear headphones; I am, and I love them; rate them above the Senns 580’s!)

Otherwise, follow Jaws_au advice; the Senns 555 are very good.