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Headphone upgrade recommendations needed

Dragostapelia

I'm looking to upgrade from my old (and terrible) no-name gaming headset to an actual pair of headphones. I'm not really familiar with audio stuff, and could do with recommendations. Here are some things that may be worth mentioning:

  • They'll be used pretty much exclusively for PC gaming and everyday listening (music, podcasts and whatnot);
  • I'd like to purchase something that won't require an amp or a DAC, simply because I can't purchase both things right now;
  • I would like to avoid 'gaming' headphones/sets if at all possible;
  • I'm on a somewhat strict budget and would like to not spend over $100. I CAN go over that, maybe to around $150, but would like to avoid it if possible.

That said, I've been looking around and found a couple of viable options. If someone could give me some pointers as to whether or not they're worth buying (and if they'd require amps or whatever else), I'd be grateful.

  • Sennheiser HD 200 Pro;
  • audio-technica ATH-M20x;
  • Sennheiser HD 569;

  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

I've also heard about the AKG 240 MKII being a decent option, but at the same time I constantly hear about AKG products being outright bad nowadays, so I was reluctant to put them on the above list.

 

Any help is appreciated!

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None of the headphones you listed are very good, the 280's are alright if you live in a super noisy environment because they isolate tons of noise. Could you try and give more details? The main things i need to know are:

Where on the planet are you? Region pricing/ availability varies lots by region

Are you looking for closed back or open back headphones? Closed backs drown out the noise around you, but they tend to not sound great. Open backs let all noise in around you, but they tend to sound much better than closed back headphones.

Do you have any material allergies? Some peoples skin reacts to synthetic leather. 

AKG being bad now is kinda misleading, AKG was never great, if anything AKG is in the best state it's been in for at least 10 years, if not closer to 20. Any K240 that isn't specifically a Sextett is most likely terrible, i have a pair of K240 MKII's sitting on a shelf and i'm happy to keep them on said shelf, they are not good whatsoever (at least they're better than the K92) 

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33 minutes ago, Cocococo said:

None of the headphones you listed are very good, the 280's are alright if you live in a super noisy environment because they isolate tons of noise. Could you try and give more details? The main things i need to know are:

Where on the planet are you? Region pricing/ availability varies lots by region

Are you looking for closed back or open back headphones? Closed backs drown out the noise around you, but they tend to not sound great. Open backs let all noise in around you, but they tend to sound much better than closed back headphones.

Do you have any material allergies? Some peoples skin reacts to synthetic leather. 

AKG being bad now is kinda misleading, AKG was never great, if anything AKG is in the best state it's been in for at least 10 years, if not closer to 20. Any K240 that isn't specifically a Sextett is most likely terrible, i have a pair of K240 MKII's sitting on a shelf and i'm happy to keep them on said shelf, they are not good whatsoever (at least they're better than the K92) 

 

Sorry for the lack of details:

 

1- I'm in the United Kingdom, so availability is generally decent considering I can import from continental Europe if necessary;

2- I'd prefer open-back. Closed-back isn't a deal breaker to me, but having most/all outside noise cut off feels very disorienting to me;

3- No allergies that I'm aware, though I don't really like fake leather because of how hot it gets, and how it turns into a flakey mess after some time. Again, not really a deal breaker

 

Shame that those I aren't great options, given their price range. For the budget I set, I could pick up a "gaming" headset from a somewhat reputable, but I'd still like to avoid it, seeing as even the pricier brands don't seem to have good audio quality

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1 minute ago, Dragostapelia said:

 

Sorry for the lack of details:

 

1- I'm in the United Kingdom, so availability is generally decent considering I can import from continental Europe if necessary;

2- I'd prefer open-back. Closed-back isn't a deal breaker to me, but having most/all outside noise cut off feels very disorienting to me;

3- No allergies that I'm aware, though I don't really like fake leather because of how hot it gets, and how it turns into a flakey mess after some time. Again, not really a deal breaker

 

Shame that those I aren't great options, given their price range. For the budget I set, I could pick up a "gaming" headset from a somewhat reputable, but I'd still like to avoid it, seeing as even the pricier brands don't seem to have good audio quality

For pure price to performance the KOSS KSC-75 are well regarded as the one true god of budget audio, you need to spend a lot more to get a real upgrade, at the high end of your budget the Sennheiser HD560S are your best sounding option available, there is the DT880's that are close to HD560S but they are definitely worse, you can pick up a pair of AKG K702's/ K612's for a bit less, just about all the good closed backs and open backs are going for roughly the same price on UK amazon at the moment, AKG K371, Rode NTH-100 and Shure 840A being the closed backs i'd consider worth buying. I made an unhealthily long reply to another post wanting headphone recommendations, as for the open backs i previously mentioned the HD560S are comfortably the best sounding and don't use any synthetic leather, as an added bonus these headphones are pretty easy to get genuine Sennheiser replacement earpads (this is an exception, not the norm unfortunately) The AKG K702 are actually my main gaming headphones, they're pretty durable, lightweight with solid imaging and acceptable tuning. K612 don't have a removable cable and are tuned so neutral that they sound boring, best soundstage and imaging of the bunch though. DT880 also has no removable cable, don't sound as good as the 560S, don't image as well as 560S and are imo less comfortable than 560S.

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I would recommend the Philips SHP9500 for your budget and open-backed preference. I liked them a lot for the brief time I had them - especially considering the price!.

Did not hate them - my head just does not like over-ear headphones lol.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-SHP9500-00-Headphone/dp/B00ENMK1DW/

 

There's also the SHP9600 but most people seem to agree it's a sound downgrade.

 

The Fidelio X2HR are also within your budget. I just don't have personal experience with them, but I do seem them recommended a lot.

@StarsMars would recommend them 🙂

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-X2HR-Resolution-Headphones-Isolation-Black/dp/B01N5VHLUG/

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38 minutes ago, saintlouisbagels said:

I would recommend the Philips SHP9500 for your budget and open-backed preference. I liked them a lot for the brief time I had them - especially considering the price!.

Did not hate them - my head just does not like over-ear headphones lol.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-SHP9500-00-Headphone/dp/B00ENMK1DW/

 

There's also the SHP9600 but most people seem to agree it's a sound downgrade.

 

The Fidelio X2HR are also within your budget. I just don't have personal experience with them, but I do seem them recommended a lot.

@StarsMars would recommend them 🙂

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-X2HR-Resolution-Headphones-Isolation-Black/dp/B01N5VHLUG/

I have both the SHP9500 and Fidelio X2HR.

I enjoy both but the Fidelos are built better, sound a little better, have good bass.

The SHP9500 are great for the price. Very comfortable. But they lack bass and eventually started to sit too loose on my head.

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7 hours ago, Cocococo said:

KOSS KSC-75

I've never heard of these before, but I'm definitely gonna keep them in mind as a possible secondary pair. The price is good, and I really like the look of ear clip headphones. Thanks for pointing it out!

 

7 hours ago, Cocococo said:

at the high end of your budget the Sennheiser HD560S are your best sounding option available

I've still got a few weeks to go before I actually purchase anything, so I'll keep an eye on these. If I find them for sale somewhere, they'll probably be the priority option.

 

7 hours ago, saintlouisbagels said:

I would recommend the Philips SHP9500 for your budget and open-backed preference.

What a way to be reminded that Phillips also makes audio stuff! I'd completely forgotten about that.

Seeing as they fit well into the budget, I'll definitely look into either the SHP9500 or the Fidelio in case the HD650S doesn't go on sale anywhere in the meantime.

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