Headphone recommendations?


for prolix: DAC is 1/2 of a sound card…it converts digital to analog only. You can think of it as the sound output side of the sound card.

Some differences between Stusser’s Behringer and the Creative 5.1 Pro are: the Behringer handles stereo only, while that Creative can do 5.1 output by optical (to a home theatre receiver). The remote control that comes with the Creative is not really general purpose…it can control Windows Media Player only, IIRC, plus volume. Finally, the Creative can process 96kbps, if you are into HD audio. Probably doesn’t matter if you are plugging headphones into it.


Audio quality is very important to me: the hissing (as others have mentioned) drive me absolutely up the wall, and I’ve been frustrated by headphones in the past. I bought a pair of Alessandro MS-1 headphones in 2006 or so, and they lasted for about five years: great audio quality but poor build quality. I then upgraded to a set of Beyerdynamic DT880s in 2011 and I’ve been in love ever since. The headband shows wear, but that’s only because I shave my head and when it’s not smooth, the stubble has a sandpaper effect over the years that’s worn a bit of the plastic away.

I’ve paired this with an Asus Xonar Essence STX soundcard that’s dedicated for headphones. There’s not a better soundcard out there for the money, in my opinion. I could go on and on about it, but I’m not sure how many people here are willing to put down some $500 just for sound on a computer. (That’s more than I’d ever consider for a video card, but only because I listen to nearly all my music on my home setup.)


I also have fallen in love with my pair of 250 Ohm DT880s. After listening to them almost every day for the last 3 months I have to say they were worth every penny. Sadly, at $200+, they’re a bit out the price range for most people. I elected to skip the traditional sounds card and buy a DAC/Amp combo (Fiio E17) that I can take with me and so far “just works” with every PC I’ve plugged it into.

For <$100 it is hard to beat the Grado SR80 recommended above.


But one can still dream… /sigh


If we can go back to headphones for a moment, anyone have recommendations for a decent set of Bluetooth? Earbuds might be preferable, but not required. Decent (stereo) sound is required.

Probably a bit overpowered/expensive for what you’re after, but I got these lovely cans for Christmas. The sound quality and isolation is excellent, and the NFC functionality is suprisingly useful for switching between my phone and iPod, which used to be a fiddly process.


The lower-end (relatively) Grado headphones are a great value, but in my experience they aren’t very sturdy. I went through a set of SR60s in a couple of years and have balked at replacing them with Grado. Ended up spending about the same on Sennheiser hd 25 ii’s. Those sound good and are tough (but ugly). Also got a set of B&W P5s as a gift. Those don’t sound as nice but are beautifully constructed.



I agree about the build quality of the Grados. While they are outstanding sounding, they do feel kind of cheap and flimsy.

Still, if you treat them with care they will last. I’ve had mine for about 3 years and no issues, I just treat them a bit gingerly. I had a pair of Sony headphones that lasted forever even after I banged them around, dropped them, slept on them. Of course they didn’t sound anywhere as good as the SR80s but they were also $60 less.

I went through 3 pairs of Sennheiser PX100 in 4 years, one of the wires would always give. Why did I keep buying them? I fell in love with the sound which was very detailed and smooth and neutral, perfect for the progressive rock stuff i normally listen to and also for jazz. Still, after the 3rd pair I swore i wouldn’t buy another. But that’s not an issue anymore since they upgraded the model to include a thicker cable/housing which you can see here (it’s the one on the right): http://www.headfonia.com/sennheiser-px100-ii-vs-px100/senn_px100ii_3/

Of course, the price also went up about $10 but they’re totally worth it.


Also been very pleased both with my very basic HD202s and my higher end HD448 I got for Xmas 2 years ago. All Sennheiser.


Been using these Audio Technica ATH-AD900 cans for nearly two years now. The product review on the link is accurate, but what really strikes me about them is the comfort - the “wing” design means they sit very lightly on your head, and are by far the most comfy headphones I’ve ever worn. I pretty much forget that I’m wearing them. The sound quality is excellent for music, but like the review says the bass is subtle rather than in your face. The BeyerDynamic DT440 that I used to have sounded better in games because of the bass, but damn they were uncomfortable after an hour or so, and they eventually collapsed due to the spring-loaded plastic design.


I was soooo going to link to that site, krazykrok! They are based here in Perth and I drive past them regularly. I purchased my ATH-AD700’s from them a couple of years back, along with a DIY speaker kit 5 or so years ago that are really outstanding for their price. I tend to find that their recommendations are usually on the money.

Great store as well, happy for you to waltz in with your own music and try out the offerings, from cans, to speakers, to amps, etc.

Edit - Oh, they don’t do speakers and hi-fi equipment anymore, the had a sister company working out of the same building called theloudspeakerkit.com, but looks like they sold that part of the business and it relocated to Melbourne.


The wireless model of the A30’s bundled with the mixamp is on sale at the Microsoft online store for $110. Pretty good deal.

Wireless Astro A30’s.


Can someone point me in the right direction please? Info online can be overwhelming (and contradictory, of course!)

I’m looking for a good-audio quality, reasonably priced, portable headphone. No in-ear, no open-ear. Must be relatively sturdy, but better audio quality would trump that.

I’m currently using the classic old-school Koss PortaPros. I think they sound really great and they basically meet my current needs. While they occasionally pull out my hair, my biggest gripe is that they conk out ever 1.5 to 2 years or so. Yes, Koss offers a lifetime warranty so a new pair is only the cost of shipping away (now up to $9 !), but I’m curious to try another brand/model out.



Does no “open-ear” mean the Koss KSC-75 are out? That’s a pity as they offer the same quality audio at less than half the price. Yes, they still die every 1.5 to 2 years, but the financial impact is less ;) I have no problem with the feel, and wear mine running, but they don’t work for everyone.


On the “more expensive” side of the spectrum, I’ve been using my Sennheiser HD-448s (recently replaced by the 449s) for about 3 years now without any issues. They’re not super portable (normally just moving around my apartment depending on whether I’m watching movies in bed or listening to music @ my desk while I work), but they’ve come cross-country with me a couple of times for trips in that timespan and weathered it okay. Compared to my gf’s preferred HD 202s, which only last about a year and a half, I think I’m getting a better deal.

Mind you, no idea what your standard for portability is, but given the appearance of the PortaPros you linked, I can’t imagine the 449s are any worse.


Isn’t your portapro open-eared? Reference: Tested has a brief article on open vs closed eared headphones.


I guess, or at least semi-open, but I’m looking to change.


Sennheiser MM 400-X Folding Bluetooth Travel On-Ear Headphones It’s Woot so today only.


Okay folks, I need some headphones guidance.

My current shortlist is:
[li]Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus (32ohm)[/li][li]Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X (38ohm)[/li][li]Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (32 or 250ohm)[/li][/ul]
These are all roughly the same price and highly regarded, but each have their pros and cons.

A bit of info about my scenario:

I own a pair of HD280 Pros, AKG K26Ps and some PX200s. Of the three, the AKGs are my favourite because they’re warmer and have more power/presence. The 280s and 200s may be more balanced but they sound very… ‘thin’ and lifeless to me in comparison, even after dicking around with an EQ. The 280s aren’t especially comfortable either with that clamp, all the pleather is falling to bits (same on the 200s and the original buds on the AKGs) and they get sweaty after a while. They also have a coiled cable which drives me mad because it’s heavy and gets snagged on things. Time for a change I think.

Which ever pair I pick up it’ll be mostly used for gaming with TV/movies and music on the side.

I have a Xonar DX and a Yamaha AV receiver so I have two options when it comes to driving them. Still, I’m not too sure how capable either are. The Xonar has 100ohm impedance, I think, and the Yammy has “Headphone Jack Rated Output/Impedance CD, etc. (1 kHz, 50 mV, 8 Ω) - 150 mV/100 Ω” I have no idea what that means. I know sensitivity is also important but, again, I’ve no idea what that means.

At present I’m leaning more towards the Custom One Pro Plus because they’re easy to drive, have solid bass control, are customisable with easily replaceable parts, a straight cable and a mic socket if I ever need one. Only problem is they’re closed and use pleather which from experience always seems to degrade into flaky bits (see above)! Velour sounds nice which features on the open AD900X and DT990 Pros as standard.

Anybody have experience with any of these?


krok has the ATH AD900’s. I use the 700’s, which are great, but are brighter than you may like for movies and games. Not sure if the 900’s are similar in that regard.

I doubt your amp is going to have an issue driving any of those. TBH the Xonar will probably do an admirable job as well, but the Yammy will smash it in pure power headroom. I have driven my 700’s from two different headphone amps (solid state and tube - both ebay jobbies) and directly from inbuilt and Creative XiFi sound cards. Amp was still preferred for the power headroom. $50 ebay tube amp was the best, but sadly that carked it eons ago. :(

Closed will tend to perform better for lower frequencies, open better for balanced reproduction. Open will ventilate better and, all else being equal, be more comfortable for it.

Can you get anywhere to try any of these? Being open and velour, I’d probably lean towards the DT990 if it produces a fuller tone, but hard to tell if you can’t get a listen.


Think the 990pro comes with a coiled cord…

Custom One Pro looks like it may be the go. I reckon it will be better suited to games and movies than the AD900’s if you prefer a fuller sound.