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Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722191 03/18/18 11:00 AM
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The Samson headphones and also see Superlux - I think there are a few models that have removable cords, seem like a great bet. I use Koss Portapros, often under $30, when I take walks or when I'm listening to music in bed. They have a lot of adherents, and they're very portable. For piano, you would probably want an extension cable.


Roland FP-90; Pianoteq 6 + many add-ons; 2 Yamaha HS8s; ATH-M50X and Samson SR850 headphones; Xenyx Q802USB interface. 2; I make a living playing a Yamaha PSR-S970 with FBT Maxx 2a's, Crowne Headset Mic. I also play guitar.
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Beakybird #2722197 03/18/18 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Beakybird
I use Koss Portapros, often under $30, when I take walks or when I'm listening to music in bed. They have a lot of adherents, and they're very portable. For piano, you would probably want an extension cable.


Agreed. The Koss Portapros sound good, comfortable, have been around forever, and are inexpensive.

Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722258 03/18/18 02:38 PM
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@Digitalguy, thank you for the very detailed answer! That will definitely help me in my choice when the time comes. Hope they'll be on sale on Black Friday or something, because I'm not prepared to pay the price smile Although I see the HD598SR are 127 euros, which is a little less than I expected. I hope sometime in the future I'll get them and then I'll be able to recommend the SR850 knowing the difference smile

Back on topic: @Peter071, I see Qaroll made the same recommendation as I did. The Superlux HD668b is the same headphone as the Samson SR850. I have the later. I also had the HD681 Evo for around a year, and had the two at the same time for quite a while. The SR850 is way better for piano in my opinion, the sound is significantly clearer and feels more natural. And it's also very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I've never had any sensation of discomfort even when wearing them for hours on end. Do consider them.

Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722268 03/18/18 02:53 PM
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Most of the Superlux headphones are rip offs made after some famous headphones and that's even mentioned on their specification page in a cryptic way. For HD668b it's Beyerdynamic DT-990 and I believe if they are recreated well then it's a good thing.
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Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722410 03/19/18 01:10 AM
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You can -- IMHO -- get better sound from $20 "in-ear" phones (sealed into the ear canal; _not_ open "earbuds") than from $20 headphones.

I don't know what the current market leader is. I used SkullCandy (I hope I spelled that right) $20 buds for a while, and they were OK. My current Shure SE215 ($100 +/-) are better, and more expensive.

Checking the HeadFi "Guide to in-ear headphones", there is _one_ that meets your $50 spec:

. . . Final E2000 ($50).

Koss has several models below $50, as does Sennheiser.

You might also check here:

http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneReviews/Reviewss/recommendations.html

(the Koss PortaPro is on that list)

and here:

http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneReviews/Reviewss/InEars101.html

You might find a pair of AKG K240's on "deep sale", for $50 or close to it. They're old (in design), and not suitable for battery-powered devices (cell phones, etc). I don't know how they compare to current open-back designs. Some people like the way they fit, others don't.

Having said all that, when I want to _really listen_ to something, I reach for my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro phones. Maybe it's just habit. They're in the $100 range, I think.


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Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722456 03/19/18 06:47 AM
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I have tried in-ear phones and don't like them for piano. I even tried a 1000$ pair of Shure ones in a piano shop and disliked them. Full headphones sound more natural to me.
Having said that, I have looked into the Samsons out of curiosity (looked a few reviews from sites and channels I trust) and the conclusion seem to be, the sound is quite good, except the highs, that are a bit too piercing (I am very sensitive to highs, but maybe not everyone is), but the pads are not comfortable, too stiff, and many suggested replacing them with those of more expensive headphones (which however almost doubles the cost of these cheap headphones). What those that have them think about the pads? (if you have tried other headphones)


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Vienna Imperial, Galaxy Vintage D, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722467 03/19/18 07:25 AM
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The highs aren't piercing in my opinion. They sound quite natural. The highs from 5he sr950 and hd662 Evo are more piercing. And those of iPhone standard earbuds are even more so. If you find the highs are too pronounced for your liking, a very simple mod would be to place a pieces of tissue paper (with one or two layers should be more than enough) under the foam disk and that should take the "edge" off. Although personally I don't feel they are edgy. They're pretty much flat AFAIC.
As for the pads, they were a little stiff in the older versions. The more recent versions switched to a softer pleather which I didn't bother changing even if I have the velour pads (from the 681evo), because they are quite comfortable as they are.
And the current version comes with the velour pads as standard which should feel quite good as well. Those from the sr950 and those from the hd681evo are very comfortable if you ask me.

Re: Best headphone opinions.
mcoll #2722474 03/19/18 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mcoll
The highs aren't piercing in my opinion. They sound quite natural. The highs from 5he sr950 and hd662 Evo are more piercing. And those of iPhone standard earbuds are even more so. If you find the highs are too pronounced for your liking, a very simple mod would be to place a pieces of tissue paper (with one or two layers should be more than enough) under the foam disk and that should take the "edge" off. Although personally I don't feel they are edgy. They're pretty much flat AFAIC.
As for the pads, they were a little stiff in the older versions. The more recent versions switched to a softer pleather which I didn't bother changing even if I have the velour pads (from the 681evo), because they are quite comfortable as they are.
And the current version comes with the velour pads as standard which should feel quite good as well. Those from the sr950 and those from the hd681evo are very comfortable if you ask me.

Thanks for the information mcoll, I had heard the tissue suggestion in one of the reviews. As for highs, it really depends on the instrument (I have many virtual pianos), some instruments have more pronounced highs, others are ok with any headphones, but in general I prefer more recessed highs...While these headphones are not for me directly (as I have already 10 pairs and some more high end ones than these) it's good to know them if somebody asks me for a cheap pair, given that they are only 27 EUR on Amazon France for instance (where I often buy stuff).
By the way, I recently ordered the $150 HD58X on Massdrop, hoping they are an upgrade to the 598s... (they should be a modified HD600) I will see this summer when they arrive...


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Vienna Imperial, Galaxy Vintage D, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722491 03/19/18 08:53 AM
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Digitalguy, without wanting to cannibalise this thread (as I've also contributed specifically on topic), I have to ask, do you think the hd58x would be more comfortable and natural sounding than the hd598? And how would they compare to the hd600, hd660?
If I get some expensive headphones I would really like to have the holographic feeling I get with the monitors (I. E. Piano floating in front of me, hearing the solist in front of me singing several feet away etc). Great imaging and sound stage would be imperative as otherwise I don't really see the reason to spend this much money. Lately I prefer playing on the monitors rather than on the headphones. Lastly, I hope that the hd58x can receive enough power from my steinberg ur22 (which isn't very loud), as I don't intend on getting a headphone amp and a change of audio interface would be another bother.
I did the math and the total, shipping and customs included adds up to 163e, which is a lot of money for me, but very tempting if they compare well to the hd600, HD 660 and are significantly above the hd598.
For reference, the hd598sr are 137e, the hd599 = 157e, the hd600 = 310e and the hd660 = 430e.

Re: Best headphone opinions.
mcoll #2722620 03/19/18 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mcoll
Digitalguy, without wanting to cannibalise this thread (as I've also contributed specifically on topic), I have to ask, do you think the hd58x would be more comfortable and natural sounding than the hd598? And how would they compare to the hd600, hd660?
If I get some expensive headphones I would really like to have the holographic feeling I get with the monitors (I. E. Piano floating in front of me, hearing the solist in front of me singing several feet away etc). Great imaging and sound stage would be imperative as otherwise I don't really see the reason to spend this much money. Lately I prefer playing on the monitors rather than on the headphones. Lastly, I hope that the hd58x can receive enough power from my steinberg ur22 (which isn't very loud), as I don't intend on getting a headphone amp and a change of audio interface would be another bother.
I did the math and the total, shipping and customs included adds up to 163e, which is a lot of money for me, but very tempting if they compare well to the hd600, HD 660 and are significantly above the hd598.
For reference, the hd598sr are 137e, the hd599 = 157e, the hd600 = 310e and the hd660 = 430e.

Well to be honest I took a risk, as nobody knows how they will sound exactly, as Sennheiser is still fine-tuning them, and the drop will be over by the time they are ready... However, they should be pretty similar to the HD-580 Jubilee, which themselves are very similar to the HD600 in terms of resolution, but with better soundstage (soundstage is clearly better in the 598 compared to HD600).
As for comfort, 598s are unbeatable, but if comfort is similar to HD600/650 I am still fine with it. As for power, they are in between the HD598 and HD600, which is a plus compared to HD600. Like you, I don't want headphones that are too power hungry, but I use a small and cheap amp by Behringer (HA400, 4 outputs) that does not change the sound at all (and I mean compared to the output of my Babyface, which is one of the best interface you can buy, it's identical...)
Again it's a risk, but a calculated one, at 165 CHF in my case... I would have bought the HD600 (as I can easily afford them), but what stopped me was the need for an amp, the smaller soundstage and the slightly inferior comfort for some more resolution. I mean 598s are exceptional, so good I don't feel the need to turn on my Eris E5 (which are pretty good too). So good that I bought a second pair (on sale at 100 bucks). As I said above, they are "almost" neutral, with a slight bump in the mid-bass (around the 3rd octave) that makes some pianos with a strong bass in that area not ideal (but still not bad, I mean I still like very much the Ivory American with them, but I slightly prefer it on the super-neutral Focals), but the mids, the soundstage and the comfort are just spectacular... and beat anything I own. They are so enjoyable I should probably stop spending more money on headphones, but, if I am lucky, these 58X can also bring a lot of value for money (like the 6XX did). I am just afraid they might put a bit too much bass for me in them (like in the 650s), but at 150$ I am taking the risk, and I am certain that there will still be some pianos in my collection that will shine with them even if they have a bit more bass than the 598s...


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Vienna Imperial, Galaxy Vintage D, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722629 03/19/18 01:35 PM
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Does anyone else use the Sony MDR-7506? What are your thoughts on those headphones compared to the others mentioned in this thread?


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Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722631 03/19/18 01:40 PM
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I recently sprang for the Massdrop Sennheiser HD-6XX, and after spending $199, I was made aware of the fine print that they won't arrive until August. I'm going to use them with the Schiit Magni 3 headphone amp which is $99, and has received incredible reviews.

Because they're so cheap, I also just bought the Samson HR850 headphones for $32. One of my Koss Portapros broke, and I figured that even if I don't use them for the piano, I can use the Samson's in bed or when walking around the neighborhood.


Roland FP-90; Pianoteq 6 + many add-ons; 2 Yamaha HS8s; ATH-M50X and Samson SR850 headphones; Xenyx Q802USB interface. 2; I make a living playing a Yamaha PSR-S970 with FBT Maxx 2a's, Crowne Headset Mic. I also play guitar.
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722632 03/19/18 01:44 PM
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MDR-7506 are headphones that are used by live TV recording engineers (among others) because they have boosted highs and that will usually reveal any defects more easily. But for that reason they are not very balanced and to my ears they sound too piercing. I don't believe those are good headphones for either listening to music or piano playing.

Last edited by CyberGene; 03/19/18 01:45 PM.

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Re: Best headphone opinions.
Digitalguy #2722710 03/19/18 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Digitalguy

Well to be honest I took a risk, as nobody knows how they will sound exactly, as Sennheiser is still fine-tuning them, and the drop will be over by the time they are ready... However, they should be pretty similar to the HD-580 Jubilee, which themselves are very similar to the HD600 in terms of resolution, but with better soundstage (soundstage is clearly better in the 598 compared to HD600).
As for comfort, 598s are unbeatable, but if comfort is similar to HD600/650 I am still fine with it. As for power, they are in between the HD598 and HD600, which is a plus compared to HD600. Like you, I don't want headphones that are too power hungry, but I use a small and cheap amp by Behringer (HA400, 4 outputs) that does not change the sound at all (and I mean compared to the output of my Babyface, which is one of the best interface you can buy, it's identical...)
Again it's a risk, but a calculated one, at 165 CHF in my case... I would have bought the HD600 (as I can easily afford them), but what stopped me was the need for an amp, the smaller soundstage and the slightly inferior comfort for some more resolution. I mean 598s are exceptional, so good I don't feel the need to turn on my Eris E5 (which are pretty good too). So good that I bought a second pair (on sale at 100 bucks). As I said above, they are "almost" neutral, with a slight bump in the mid-bass (around the 3rd octave) that makes some pianos with a strong bass in that area not ideal (but still not bad, I mean I still like very much the Ivory American with them, but I slightly prefer it on the super-neutral Focals), but the mids, the soundstage and the comfort are just spectacular... and beat anything I own. They are so enjoyable I should probably stop spending more money on headphones, but, if I am lucky, these 58X can also bring a lot of value for money (like the 6XX did). I am just afraid they might put a bit too much bass for me in them (like in the 650s), but at 150$ I am taking the risk, and I am certain that there will still be some pianos in my collection that will shine with them even if they have a bit more bass than the 598s...


After asking that question, I did my reading as best I could, and I slipped in an order as well. I still have a little time to cancel in case I change my mind, if the maximum number isn't reached (4 more needed). Plus I gather I would be able to sell them for not much of a loss if I won't be impressed enough. I figure I won't see a significantly better price than this for the HD598 (maybe 50 euros better at best). And I hope I will like them, as in the past I preferred bright sounding phones.

As for what I've read, it pretty much echoes what you've said. This is the second drop if I'm not mistaken (there has been a 5000 lot in December or something like that). There are a number of reviews from reputable sources. Supposedly, the 58x are closer in sound to HD600 than to HD650. Maybe some similarities with the HD660s as well. They're the easiest to drive of the bunch, but not as easy as 598 (I'm concerned about that part). The comfort and soundstage are better in the 598 apparently, the sound stage being a little exaggerated, whereas in the HD600 (presumably in the HD58x as well) it's more "accurate".
I'm still not sure if I should wait for a discount on the HD598 or go with the HD58x, which presumably will be better value. I still have some time till the drop closes and I intend to keep reading until then smile

Re: Best headphone opinions.
mcoll #2722728 03/19/18 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mcoll
Originally Posted by Digitalguy

Well to be honest I took a risk, as nobody knows how they will sound exactly, as Sennheiser is still fine-tuning them, and the drop will be over by the time they are ready... However, they should be pretty similar to the HD-580 Jubilee, which themselves are very similar to the HD600 in terms of resolution, but with better soundstage (soundstage is clearly better in the 598 compared to HD600).
As for comfort, 598s are unbeatable, but if comfort is similar to HD600/650 I am still fine with it. As for power, they are in between the HD598 and HD600, which is a plus compared to HD600. Like you, I don't want headphones that are too power hungry, but I use a small and cheap amp by Behringer (HA400, 4 outputs) that does not change the sound at all (and I mean compared to the output of my Babyface, which is one of the best interface you can buy, it's identical...)
Again it's a risk, but a calculated one, at 165 CHF in my case... I would have bought the HD600 (as I can easily afford them), but what stopped me was the need for an amp, the smaller soundstage and the slightly inferior comfort for some more resolution. I mean 598s are exceptional, so good I don't feel the need to turn on my Eris E5 (which are pretty good too). So good that I bought a second pair (on sale at 100 bucks). As I said above, they are "almost" neutral, with a slight bump in the mid-bass (around the 3rd octave) that makes some pianos with a strong bass in that area not ideal (but still not bad, I mean I still like very much the Ivory American with them, but I slightly prefer it on the super-neutral Focals), but the mids, the soundstage and the comfort are just spectacular... and beat anything I own. They are so enjoyable I should probably stop spending more money on headphones, but, if I am lucky, these 58X can also bring a lot of value for money (like the 6XX did). I am just afraid they might put a bit too much bass for me in them (like in the 650s), but at 150$ I am taking the risk, and I am certain that there will still be some pianos in my collection that will shine with them even if they have a bit more bass than the 598s...


After asking that question, I did my reading as best I could, and I slipped in an order as well. I still have a little time to cancel in case I change my mind, if the maximum number isn't reached (4 more needed). Plus I gather I would be able to sell them for not much of a loss if I won't be impressed enough. I figure I won't see a significantly better price than this for the HD598 (maybe 50 euros better at best). And I hope I will like them, as in the past I preferred bright sounding phones.

As for what I've read, it pretty much echoes what you've said. This is the second drop if I'm not mistaken (there has been a 5000 lot in December or something like that). There are a number of reviews from reputable sources. Supposedly, the 58x are closer in sound to HD600 than to HD650. Maybe some similarities with the HD660s as well. They're the easiest to drive of the bunch, but not as easy as 598 (I'm concerned about that part). The comfort and soundstage are better in the 598 apparently, the sound stage being a little exaggerated, whereas in the HD600 (presumably in the HD58x as well) it's more "accurate".
I'm still not sure if I should wait for a discount on the HD598 or go with the HD58x, which presumably will be better value. I still have some time till the drop closes and I intend to keep reading until then smile

Yeah. we have probably read the same reviews...However concerning the "exaggerated" (vs "more accurate") soundstage, it seems to me a subjective opinion based on music listening and not on piano playing... HD598 is more similar to HD800 on this point... Some people don't like a very big soundstage (even on the HD800) as it's not intimate enough for music listening... but for piano playing, man that's what you want, you want to have the impression of heaving no headphones. So I would distinguish music listening (which is great by the way with the HD598) from piano playing. For instance for music listening my Focal are at least as enjoyable as the Sennheiser, which is fair as they are more expensive and praised as great value at around $300-350, but for piano playing they feel too claustrophobic, despite their amazing resolution (and reviewers online said it has a very big soundstage for a closed back headphone...). Sure, HD600 are much more open than the Focal, but still, HD598 are a step up for piano on this point IMO...


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Vienna Imperial, Galaxy Vintage D, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722823 03/20/18 12:36 AM
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Thank you for all the replies and discussion. I am really enjoying it and believe it will help my, and others research for good headphone to use with pianos without paying to much.

I have always used earphones as I can get them for US$5-6, and they last about 6 months before the wires break and there is little to no sound in an ear. Then I buy more. YEP, I heard you, if I had bought nice one in the first place... But which set to make such an investment on? I am now looking for that better sound and durability to use with my keyboard and evenual Piano.

I appreciate all the information as it is all new to me..and confusing. I asked here as I wanted information as to what is best for digital pianos. I will be doing a lot of re-reading this thread to sort out all the model numbers features of each along with prices. I also thank everyone for the price ranges, I learn this way about features that may be worth stretching a bit for, or at least learning about features that the more expensive headphone have.

I had never considered the argument between open and closed as I guess I thought they would all be what is considered closed. I had read in other reviews that some headphones have detachable cable, from my experience I can sure see the benefit of that saving your investment, a feature perhaps worth"stretching" for. As for some headphones being "flatter" than others. I had never given that though either, I guess I figured they would all be "flat" so that they reproduce the sound as accurately as the original recording medium(cd,dvd,vinyl) or amplified instrument played. I would have thought if one wanted to raise and lower/higher the frequencies one would use an equalizer. From my perspective I would think one would want flat to hear the true pianos true frequencies. Unless I guess some Piano makers output is so off and one needs to adjust for their error.

Putting things togather:
As I am planning on an eventual YD P-115 and have heard it has good sound output I hope a flat headphone set will work for me.
I do have a TV that my wife regularly listens to right next to where I play so I think a closed unit best for my use.
I like the idea of it sounding like your in a private room with the piano and forgetting your wearing a headset and the outside room and noise is left behind.
I like the idea of removable cord to protect my investment.
I am afraid I am wanting features that are to much for my budget. even if I stretch it.


Using an eMeda 61 KB for dummies Yup, That's really what it's called. Can you blame for wanting to upgrade to an 88 key Digital Piano (ie. YDP115w). Yep, I've got the bug for digital sound and 88 keys. I am learning to play using PianoVideoLesson.com Year 1 Course, and am currently in Unit 3.
Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722839 03/20/18 02:10 AM
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If you want closed headphones, you probably can't do much better than the HD662 Evo. They come with 2 detachable cords (1 and 3m), pleather and velour pads and have a very good sound overall. Slightly less flat than the sr850, but then again, most phones are. Also, the sr950 would do fairly well too. You would probably have to significantly up your budget to get something better (these are ~30e).

@Digitalguy - now I'm really thinking that maybe hunting a discounted hd598 would've been a better option and maybe I shouldn't have jumped the gun (after only reading for a few hours) :))
Regardless, I see I barely made it, since the drop is already closed, so I guess I'll have to wait and see smile

Re: Best headphone opinions.
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Wirecutter looked at this question last year:



I always enjoy reading their reviews: fun. Not perfect, not the last word, but useful.

On the strength of these reviews we bought the Sony MDR-7506 for my stepdaughter for Christmas. She seems to like them; and she used them a lot when she was home for spring break. But since they were a gift, she'd never tell us if they were less than perfect, so this doesn't really help you. frown

Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722871 03/20/18 05:02 AM
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Yes, reading about headphones is confusing.
Originally Posted by Pallen
I appreciate all the information as it is all new to me..and confusing.
I find that I don't learn much about the sound of headphones from reading about the subject.

The personal descriptions are entirely subjective.
Measurement data is suspect because the measurement conditions don't duplicate your listening conditions.
And who can judge sound from the lines on a graph?

Reading can give you an idea about what is available, and about what ancillary features each pair of phones possesses. But the only way to judge headphones is by trying them.

There are no "best" headphones. There may be phones that are best for you. But those might not be best for anyone else. So who can tell you which are best for you? No one but you.

The is much discussion on the subject, and tonnage more on other boards. But I've never been able to make a decision based on any of that.

The only sort of info that's been useful to me? Things like:

- High-impedance phones often need a dedicated headphone amp. Low-impedance ones generally don't.
- Closed phones are for keeping out background noise and for preventing your sounds from disturbing others around you.
- Open headphones generally sound better (to me and to others) than closed headphones. (But that's a personal judgement, and it's not very helpful, is it?)
- Some retailers allow for no-fee returns. (Buy a pair and try them. If you don't like them, return them and try another.)
- Some phones have cups not large enough for bigger ears.
- Some phones are tight and uncomfortable.
- Some phones cannot be adjusted for a large head.

This is all useful, but none of it helps me understand whether I'll like or dislike the sound!

Re: Best headphone opinions.
Pallen #2722884 03/20/18 06:57 AM
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Absolutely right. My preferred approach is to buy from a supplier that offers a no-quibble returns policy, and to expect that I will send most of them back. I'm still trying to find a lightweight wireless headphone that I like -- I'm on my fourth trial purchase so far. I'm not sure whether I will find one I like well enough to keep.

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