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Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
#2991193 06/13/20 07:11 PM
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I'm finalizing my practice piano rig wish list. So far I have the Kawai ES110 and the On-Stage KS7350 Pro Heavy-Duty Folding-Z Keyboard Stand or On-Stage WS8550 Heavy-Duty T-Stand.

My ideal budget would be a maximum of $250. I'm leaning towards closed back headphones over open back to be fully immersed in sound, and I want less external outside sound when practicing. I'd like the headphones to be wired.

Another not too important thing that I think would be nice is a nice response on the low end/bass parts of the digital piano, I love a good low end. Hopefully a pair of headphones would recognize this well

So what are your recommendations for quality closed back headphones for a digital piano, such as the Kawai ES110?


Yamaha Montage, Yamaha Motif ES8, Kontakt and a ton of VSTs
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Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991199 06/13/20 07:52 PM
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FWIW (I'm old, so is my stuff in this case) --

I am using Sennheiser HD280 phones, which are well below your budget. I'm happy with them.

There is a Sennheiser HD300 Pro, available at $200 (Sweetwater and elsewhere). It gets good reviews, and some of them are from HD280 owners who have upgraded and are happy. One mentions that it's slightly bass-heavy, which should suit you fine.

For ultimate isolation (e.g. if you _don't_ want to hear your wife call you for dinner), the best I've found is a pair of closed-back in-ear monitors (e.g. Shure SE215), with a pair of industrial hearing protectors on top of them. It sounds awkward, but it's pretty comfortable.

Headphone "fit" is highly personal. So "try before you buy" is good advice, but may be impossible under current conditions.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991240 06/14/20 01:01 AM
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Superlux hd-662 evo. Cost me €30, sounds fantastic. I do tend to eq a little extra bass in, since these are definitely not bass heavy, but after adding some bass by eq the bass response is great as well.

Actually I'm so impressed by these cheap headphones I never even think of trying more expensive ones, but I might try a pair of the same but open-backed headphones, just to see if that's even better for the moments there isn't any noise to cancel around me.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991279 06/14/20 04:40 AM
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I like the Audio-Technica ATH-M70X...very comfortable with clear, accurate sound and even frequency response. That may not be what you're looking for if you want heavy bass, however.


Novus NV10
Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991294 06/14/20 05:37 AM
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Not sure how they compare to others, but I used to use a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones... (they seemed better than my girlfriend's Bose noise cancelling thingies). I was happy with them.

Some people on here have tried the Sonys, so they'll be able to offer a comparison vs other headphones mentioned on here hopefully.

You'll have to deal with the world's longest coiled cable though - being a studio/monitor workhorse, the rather long cable is to allow movement around the room when required (not sure how many pianists stretch their legs during a performance though!). Also, watch out for fakes being sold.

It's good to check that the impedance of your proposed headphones won't affect their performance as far as volume is concerned (some DPs stuggle to produce decent volume on different headphones - so ask/confirm with an ES110 owner).

Last edited by OscarRamsey; 06/14/20 05:38 AM.

Learning to play. Consciously incompetent, which apparently is a good starting point. smirk
Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991308 06/14/20 06:43 AM
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Superlux HD best budget headphones thumb


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Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
klausi6 #2991313 06/14/20 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by klausi6
Superlux HD best budget headphones thumb

I bet some/many of us would be fooled to think these are $200 headphones in a blind test.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
OscarRamsey #2991375 06/14/20 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by OscarRamsey
Not sure how they compare to others, but I used to use a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones... (they seemed better than my girlfriend's Bose noise cancelling thingies). I was happy with them.

Some people on here have tried the Sonys, so they'll be able to offer a comparison vs other headphones mentioned on here hopefully.
I've owned several MDR-7506s over many years before upgrading to the ATH-M70X and they're fantastic for the price.


Novus NV10
Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991599 06/15/20 05:57 AM
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I use the Sony MDR-7506 for my ES-110 and I think they sound awesome and also IMHO deliver the best bang for the buck.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2991648 06/15/20 09:28 AM
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I like the AKG 271 MK II, but I don't like closed headphones in general.

Sennheiser HD 25 is another option --and very good value for money.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992007 06/16/20 10:54 AM
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Another vote for the HD300 Pro. Looks like a successor of the HD380, which I owned and loved, especially for neutral detailed sound.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992150 06/16/20 05:05 PM
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I own an awesome pair of Sennheiser HD-598 (open backed) headphones which make my piano sound like a million bucks, but they're on the bulky side, plus they do leak a fair amount of sound. A few months ago I ordered a very nice, compact pair of Bang & Olufsen H2 (closed back) phones, and WOW, these are incredible! They are SO lightweight, and indeed sound every bit as good as the Sennheisers. Comfy too... the plush genuine lambskin is a very nice touch. And the H2's are very reasonably priced; they can usually be found for less than $100 US! A real steal compared to the HD-598's!

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992513 06/17/20 08:50 PM
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I have a Sennheiser 600, 598 open back and 598 closed back. They all sit on the shelf while I use my Yamaha brand closed back headphones. They are comfortably lightweight and give me the most accurate feeling of playing a piano of all of them. Don't really know why. Soundstage? With the others I get more the feeling of sitting on the audience listening to a great piano and not playing a great piano. Just my opinion. Each to his own.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
randymerk #2992811 06/19/20 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by randymerk
I have a Sennheiser 600, 598 open back and 598 closed back. They all sit on the shelf while I use my Yamaha brand closed back headphones. They are comfortably lightweight and give me the most accurate feeling of playing a piano of all of them. Don't really know why. Soundstage? With the others I get more the feeling of sitting on the audience listening to a great piano and not playing a great piano. Just my opinion. Each to his own.

What is the model # of the Yamaha headphones?

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992814 06/19/20 12:34 AM
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@ OP,
Sorry, don't have any recommendations for closed back phones. I have closed back headphones, Sennheiser HD 4.5, and don't particularly recommend them. Besides not having an open spacious sound, they're made of pleather? and become uncomfortable after a short while.

I'm under the impression that for extended practice sessions, that closed back headphones would become uncomfortable, just as headphones in general can be uncomfortable compared to studio monitors, which have a room to resonate thru and are not confined to a small space around your ears. Though not as private, I've always imagined that open back headphones 'breathe' more and would, in general, be more 'open' sounding and conducive to longer sessions.

Questions for the OP as well as everyone else:
1. How long do you practice for at a time? Over an hour?
2. How comfortable are the closed back headphones as you wear them extended periods? As compared to open back?

Am surprised that some of the highly recommended phones are not in the hundreds and hundreds of dollars. That's good news!

Randy

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992816 06/19/20 01:43 AM
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I don't like closed back phones either.

Open phones leak only a tiny bit of sound. But even that might be a problem when listening to music in public. So earbuds fit that situation.

But for piano? Who is being disturbed by the tiny bit of sound leaking from open phones? If someone is bothered, maybe give him movie money? smile

Closed phones don't do it for me.

Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
Mark122 #2992845 06/19/20 05:54 AM
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AKG 271 Mk. II. Can wear all day, sounds GREAT for piano.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
MacMacMac #2993063 06/19/20 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Randyman
Questions for the OP as well as everyone else:
1. How long do you practice for at a time? Over an hour?
2. How comfortable are the closed back headphones as you wear them extended periods? As compared to open back?
I always play at least an hour, sometimes several. I've never had any discomfort with either the MDR-7506 or the ATH-M70X. I think it's more about the design of the headphones and how well they fit you than whether they're open or closed.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Open phones leak only a tiny bit of sound. But even that might be a problem when listening to music in public. So earbuds fit that situation.

But for piano? Who is being disturbed by the tiny bit of sound leaking from open phones?
I use closed phones not to keep sound in but to keep external sound out. I don't play at high volumes and the NV10 (and the MP9000 I played before it) have noisy actions. For me, hearing thuds in unison with notes distracts from making music. Really, any external sounds at all can be distracting for me.


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Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
MacMacMac #2993220 06/20/20 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
. . .
Open phones leak only a tiny bit of sound. . . .

Yes, they only leak a little bit of sound _out_ --

. . . but they leak a whole lot of sound _in_.

Anyone who wants to practice in a household with awake kids (or a TV running) is going to seriously consider closed-back phones.


. Charles
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Re: Suggestions for good closed back headphones below $250?
MacMacMac #2993241 06/20/20 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I don't like closed back phones either.

Open phones leak only a tiny bit of sound. But even that might be a problem when listening to music in public. So earbuds fit that situation.

But for piano? Who is being disturbed by the tiny bit of sound leaking from open phones? If someone is bothered, maybe give him movie money? smile

Closed phones don't do it for me.

Not tiny at all. I have HD650 and it leaks like a cellphone speaker.

Tow major issues with earbuds are that #1 they are not healthy and #2 you will practice bad hygiene with them. They isolate your ear canals too much and easily damage your hearing more than anything you can think of and you shove a ton of germs and microbes in those canals each time.

Now other than the above major issues, earbuds design is always inferior. Earbuds lack the bass due to the small driver and crappy design.

Also, earbuds are really uncomfortable. Imagine something over your ears or something inside your body which one is more convenient and comfortable?

Have you ever seen any musician with earbuds in any studios? There must be a reason behind it!

The only advantage earbuds can have, is that they keep your hairstyle intact...

Last edited by Abdol; 06/20/20 03:20 AM.

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