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Headphones advice and Open/Closed question, Which headphone set is the best for my needs?
post Nov 20 2012, 03:55
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tldr; Sennheiser 650, Ultrasone Pro 900, or other at similar cost for someone who likes rock/alt/pop/metal/ etc. but who doesn't need to be portable and who gets headaches pretty easily? Also amp pairing suggestions? total budget. ~$750

Hello, I'm new to this forum and and to high end headphones in general. However I have some experience with high end stereo systems and am a performing musician, so I hope I can provide enough information to ask my question adequately. I recently changed living circumstances and it has become much more difficult to listen to my home audio system, so I am looking into getting a nice set of headphones with an amplifier/dac in order to improve my daily listening experience. In general, in audio equipment I would say that I'm less concerned with purchasing a product which perfectly reproduces the source material and more concerned with something I can really enjoy listening to and in this case which is good about audio fatigue and headaches (I'm using software crossfeed at the moment which helps some but I frequently get headaches with my current headphones, a Koss ProDJ100 set that is fairly good overall but uncomfortable and with sound quality obviously reflective of its more budget price range). As I've done some searching, I seem to be split between my desire for something easy to listen to and something which sounds really great for aggressive music, and in my price range the Sennheiser 650 seems to be ideal for the former and the Ultrasone Pro 900 for the latter.

Obviously the 650 is open, which seems like it would be really nice (some audio bleed is no big deal), but many people seem to think it isn't well suited for the music I listen to most frequently, and I am a little concerned about the 300 ohm impedence, meaning I would have to drive them pretty hard for a really nice sound? I'd prefer not to do that on a regular basis (I listen to music while I work and also alone for relaxation/whatnot and I'm trying not to absolutely destroy my ears).

On the other hand, the Ultrasone Pro 900 seems to be great for a fun listening experience for edgier music, but its closed back and some people even specifically claim it is more fatiguing than most. It does have an interesting technology which claims to broaden the soundstage and to reduce effective decibel pressures, which seems nice, but I don't really know how it works firsthand.

Unfortunately its extremely impractical for me to hear any of these headphones before I purchase them sad.gif Any suggestions? Thanks so much and I hope I'm following forum guidelines correctly!
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post Nov 20 2012, 17:04
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I have a pair of HD-280's, which are about 1/3 the price and which I've found to be an amazing pair of cans. They are closed circumaural and have a stronger than average clamping force so they take a little getting used to. But, I'm very used to them now.. They weigh a bit, but the padding makes them comfy and they are VERY good at isolating you from room noise. They actually weigh slightly less than the 650's. The audio quality IMHO is absolutely phenomenal. My first reaction to them was a little bad because my other Sennheisers all have much stronger bass response than the 280's, but after about a week of using them I came to realize the bass was there, it was just evenly weighted. They've shown me just how uneven the frequency response on my other phones are.

If I had to sum up the 280's in 1 word, it would be "accurate". The sound is exceptionally even, and even the lows have a crisp, sharp, accurate feeling to them. All my other phones now sound boomy and muddy to me, and those are all phones I used to think sounded awesome.

I've not had a chance to try any of the super high priced Sennheisers yet, but I personally have a hard time believing they can improve the audio quality enough over the 280's to make the expense worth it.
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