Home The Best The Best Audiophile Headphones (Part II) [Complete Buyer’s Guide]

The Best Audiophile Headphones (Part II) [Complete Buyer’s Guide]

by Stuart Charles Black
The best audiophile headphones

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($0-100)


First:

  1. Entry-level ($0-100)
  2. Critical listening
  3. Closed-back

Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR V6

Note: This is the now discontinued V6, but both headphones are very similar.

Specifications

  • Official Review: Here!
  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H!
  • Type: Closed-back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 63 Ohm.
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 30 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 106dB/mW. What is Sensitivity in headphones?
  • Driver size: 40mm. What is a Headphone driver?
  • Material: Plastic, a bit of metal, faux leather.
  • Color: black, blue, red
  • Cable detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: Yes.
  • Cable length: 3m.
  • Plug style: straight.
  • Comes with straight cable: No.
  • Earpads replaceable/detachable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: Minimal.
  • Headband Style: Traditional.
  • Foldable: Yes.
  • Weight: 8.1 0z.
  • Accessories Included: Black Carrying pouch (faux leather), silver-plated 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

I absolutely love these and would rank them at or near the top. I do consider them to be #1, and they will compete with headphones way out of their price range.

These are some of the most time-tested, durable, and reliable headphones on the planet. They’ve been around for decades, and will likely always remain a staple in any serious audiophiles collection.

They’re built very well, with a compact, lightweight profile and a design that folds in on itself for added portability. The sound is incredible, especially for the price.

If there was ever a headphone that revealed minor details, the 7506 is it. They have a bright character in the treble, but it rarely feels strident or sibilant. What does Sibilant mean?

The really cool part about the 7506 is that it also works well as a casual headphone, but I would categorize it as a mixing option first and foremost.

Comfort-wise, they feel very snug on my dome piece but will become slightly fatiguing after a while. Just make sure you take a break every so often.

Things to be aware of

  1. The earcups do tend to peel over time. One of the only things I strongly dislike about them. It doesn’t happen immediately, but will over the course of a couple of years.
  2. The earpads may fall off as well. This happened with my MDR 7506 but hasn’t happened with the V6. Something to keep in mind.

Video Discussion

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Shure SRH440

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Closed Back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 44 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 22 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 105dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 40mm.
  • Material: Plastic, faux leather.
  • Color: black, blue, red.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: Yes.
  • Cable coiled: Yes.
  • Cable length: 3m.
  • Plug style: straight.
  • Comes with straight cable: No.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: Minimal.
  • Headband Style: Traditional.
  • Foldable: Yes.
  • Weight: .6 lbs.
  • Accessories Included: Black Carrying case, 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

The SRH440s are a great option for mixing/mastering as well, as their sound signature is even flatter than both the V6 and 7506. I do think the treble is a tad hot at times, but overall these are an extremely honest set of cans.

The build feels a lot flimsier to me, due to them being all plastic without the metal that you get in the Sony headband adjusting mechanisms.

The ear-cups are also a bit more rigid, and “tough” if you will. They aren’t quite as plush and rest on my head kind of strangely. I will say that the fit is a true circumaural one, as the cups are very big and should accommodate most ear sizes without an issue.

Another thing to know is that the bass here is markedly leaner, and not quite as lush as the V6 or 7506. I would characterize it as dry. The entire sound is that way actually.

Things to be aware of

  1. The build seems pretty average. I don’t feel all that comfortable dropping these.
  2. The earpads, while large enough, aren’t deep enough. My ears end up touching the drivers.
  3. They do tend to get harsh at louder volumes, so I would say keep them at a dull roar for best results.

Video Review

Credit to @metal571. Check him out on Twitter and subscribe to his channel!

 

 

 


Second:

  1. Entry-level ($0-100)
  2. Critical Listening
  3. Open back

Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

  • 2/27/19 Update: The 9500 is back up on New Egg for the time being. I’m hoping it makes an official return sometime soon!
  • 12/1/20 Update: 9500 has been back for a while!

I bought a pair in 2017 for around $54 on New Egg. I have always said (even before it was discontinued) that it’s worth way more than that. I’d value these headphones around $200 and would gladly pay that price for them if I had to buy them again.

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Open back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 12 – 35,000 Hz.
  • Sensitivity: 101dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 50mm.
  • Material: Plastic, metal, cloth.
  • Color: black, silver
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: Yes.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 4.92 ft.
  • Plug style: straight.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: Rotation inward slightly.
  • Headband Padding: Yes, cloth.
  • Headband Style: Traditional mechanism. Numbered with a small window for added convenience.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: 0.65 lbs.
  • Accessories Included: Detachable chord.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

Well, the secrets out. The SHP9500 has gotten a lot of deserved recognition lately, but by and large, you won’t find this one on a lot of best lists.

What really impressed me was the build. For a roughly $50 set of headphones, they feel very sturdy and actually have metal headbands. Most sub $100 sets are all plastic.

Another standout feature is the headband adjustment. Instead of guessing if both sides match up, the 9500 is numbered 1-6, with a small circular window on each side that you can easily stop at to get an accurate fit.

I lent these out to Metal571 to see what he thought, and I would agree and disagree with him.

He claims the Soundstage isn’t as wide as people claim, but I still think the overall image is fairly expansive and does immerse you quite well in the music.

They’re not going to provide that true 3D effect by any stretch (what headphone truly does?), but there is some really nice separation going on. More on that in my video review below!

As far as the bass, the trend here continues: it’s fairly lean and light, but still runs deep. You will be able to discern individual bass notes with greater precision, and it really becomes a joy to sit back and analyze the music.

It’s like a Mr. Clean type of sound. There’s sparkle, but it’s not overdone or harsh. I would call the mid-range definitely forward, as instruments and vocals really come to life.

It’s a bit frightening that these provide an eerily similar sound to headphones costing hundreds. I

t’s also nice to be able to turn them up without having to worry about sibilance. To be honest, I kind of prefer these over an HD600, and I never thought I would say that.

More on all that in the video review and the comments on Youtube. πŸ™‚

Things to be aware of

  1. They have a somewhat odd fit at first. When you put them on initially, you’ll be a little taken aback. “There’s no rhyme or reason to this at all. What have I done? Why did I buy these?” Just stay calm and don’t be alarmed. Lol. After a while, you’ll get used to the fit and it will blow your socks off.
  2. Your ears will touch the drivers. This seems to be a commonality with entry-level open backs. It’s not really a big deal to me, but it might bother you.

My Video Comparison to the 9600

 

 

 


Samson SR850

Samson SR850 Review

Specifications

  • Price: Amazon | Check Sweetwater!  | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Semi-open.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 30 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 98dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 50mm.
  • Material: Plastic, velour.
  • Color: black.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 8.3 ft.
  • Plug style: straight.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: No.
  • Headband Style: Hammock, self-adjusting.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: Not specified.
  • Accessories Included: 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

Oh man, these babies just came out of nowhere one day and blessed me greatly. Besides the venerable AKG K240, I can’t think of another headphone that delivers so mightily for the price.

Like the 7506, I believe these to be just about the best price-to-performance ratio open-back headphones around, and they compete with headphones way out of the price range. Like, far out, man.

The sound signature is incredibly detailed, airy, and open.

You’ll definitely start to notice minor details that truly make the song come together. In fact, I’ve heard things with the 850 that I haven’t heard with any other headphones.

It’s truly remarkable.

The bass, while leaner, is extremely articulate and enjoyable. It knows its place for sure, and the sound really just has this ability to make you smile with delight.

Things to be aware of

  1. They do have a tendency to be a bit “essy” or hissy at times, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
  2. They are very lightweight, and the earcups are very shallow like the 240s.

My Video Review

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AKG K240

The Best Headphones for Classical

The K240 still remains relevant over 30 years later.

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Semi-open.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 55 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 30mm.
  • Material: Plastic, faux leather.
  • Color: black, gold.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: Yes.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 9.8 ft.
  • Plug style: straight.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: No.
  • Headband Style: Hammock, self-adjusting.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: 8.5 oz.
  • Accessories Included: gold plated 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: Highly recommended.

Summary

Upon first listening, the AKG K240s are a bit uninspiring and dull.

It’s only after spending some time with them that you really start to appreciate their open Soundstage and detailed signature.

This is a headphone that simply won’t sound as good out of your phone or laptop.

I would highly recommend using at least an audio interface with these, preferably something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I would also advise you to keep these in the studio at all times.

Like the 850, the bass on the 240 may leave you desiring more.

It is however very textured and nuanced and runs pretty deep without all the impact. The treble isn’t recessed nor is it too bright. There is a wonderful sparkle to certain tracks, but unlike the 850, it doesn’t get out of line.

Of course, the mid-range is the highlight of these headphones.

Vocals and instruments really come to life and take on a new personality than the V-shaped cans that we discussed earlier.

Things to be aware of

  1. The build of the 240s is rather flimsy. I wouldn’t feel that comfortable dropping these or generally being rough with them. Proceed with caution. They really should never leave your studio.
  2. The earcups, like the 850s, are round enough, but not deep enough. Your ears will likely touch the drivers.

Video Comparison with the 850

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Audio Technica ATH-AD700x

Note: The AD900x is a nice upgrade, and sits just a bit outside the $100 range.

Specifications

  • Price: Amazon | Check eBay!
  • Type: Open back.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-ear)
  • Impedance: 38 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response:  5 Hz – 30000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 53mm.
  • Material: Plastic, velour.
  • Color: black, bronze accents
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 9.8 ft.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating earcups: Minimal. Slightly inward.
  • Headband Padding: No.
  • Headband Style: Winged.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: 9 0z.
  • Accessories Included: 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

The Audio Technica ATH-AD700x has an extremely airy signature and is very bass lean.

In fact, this might be the all-around best headphone for gaming due to its positional accuracy and open sound.

I would say that the 700x is a little bit more involved than a headphone like the HD558, but the sound signatures are very similar: Balanced, bass lean, with a brighter treble.

I will say that the 700x seems a bit more airy and open than the 558, and the overall sound is louder.

Look forward to the headphones lifting the veil off of the sound.

I start to hear more background vocals extremely clearly as if that person didn’t exist before with other cheaper cans.

Build wise, it’s a flimsy headphone. Haha. There really are no two ways about it. That said, I don’t feel like they’re overly fragile or anything, but you’ll want to keep them in the studio at all times.

It’s just not a headphone that I would be comfortable wearing out in public. It pretty much screams “Look at me, I’m a geeky audiophile!” Lol.

Comfort is a bit of a mixed bag.

When you first put them on everything feels right.

You think it’s a match made in heaven until the headphones start slowly and gradually slide down your dome piece.

The earcups actually end up resting on the tops of your ears because there isn’t an actual headband that holds them into place!

So in theory the winged idea seems logical until you realize that in practice it’s a pretty horrible idea.

That said, it’s still a bit of a nitpick. A simple adjustment will in most cases enable you to wear them. But really, what’s the point of a cool invention if it doesn’t actually benefit anyone?

Things to be aware of

  1. The treble will get harsh at high volumes, so keep it to a dull roar there, champ!
  2. Maybe the best overall unknown headphone for gaming. Positional accuracy is phenomenal.
  3. The winged headband has the capacity to become uncomfortable after a while due to the entire headphone sliding down on the tops of your ears. Not a deal-breaker in my eyes but something to consider if comfort is your highest priority. The rubber band mod works well and just involves placing a band around the wings, pulling them together so they don’t slide down. A simple but effective fix.

Video Review

Shoutout to Lachlan! Subscribe to his channel too! πŸ™‚

 

 


Third:

  1. Entry-level ($0-100)
  2. Casual listening
  3. Closed-back

Creative Aurvana Live!

Creative Aurvana Live! Headphone Review

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear)
  • Type: Closed Back
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
  • Weight: 7.41 Oz.
  • Accessories: Carrying Pouch, 1/4″ Adapter, extension cable (extra 5 ft.)

Summary

The CAL has officially replaced the 40x and its long-held position in the #3 spot in Budget Kings.

I believe this to be because the CAL sounds infinitely smoother, more musical, and more neutral than the sometimes overly flamboyant (and pretty bad) sound of the 40x.

The CAL does everything better and sounds more enjoyable from a casual, relaxation standpoint.

It also improves on 2 things the 40x has issues with – mid-bass and treble.

The 40x’s treble could get out of line and essy at times, with a metallic character that didn’t sit well with me.

CAL’s treble is much better and more relaxed.

The mid-bass on the 40x could also become overdone like your mom’s meatloaf. It had just a bit too much energy whereas the CAL’s is smoother and more natural sounding.

Things to be aware of

1. Build on the CAL is rather flimsy.

My Video Review!

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Status Audio CB-1

The Best Headphones for Gaming

The CB-1 is a fantastic open-sounding headphone.

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check eBay! Check Status Audio!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Closed back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 30,000 Hz.
  • Sensitivity: 97dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 50mm.
  • Material: Plastic, protein leather, metal.
  • Color: Black, Gold.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: Yes.
  • Cable coiled: Yes.
  • Cable length: 3m.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating earcups: Yes.
  • Headband Padding: Yes.
  • Headband Style: Traditional.
  • Foldable: Yes.
  • Weight: Not specified.
  • Accessories Included: 1/4″ adapter, Box, extra cable.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

The Status Audio CB-1’s best feature is Soundstage. These do tend to open up quite a bit, which is surprising considering they are closed-back headphones.

The deep ear cups and their 50mm drivers have a lot to do with this I think, and the comfort level is phenomenal.

This makes them a relatively easy recommendation, but they aren’t without their flaws.

In fact, I’m fully convinced that this would be the best budget headphone of all time if not for some glaring issues.

The detail retrieval and Soundstage are that good. Think of this as a budget Focal Utopia, except without the glassy smooth sound.

It’s shocking how much these pick up. It’s just that the signature is too raspy and rough around the edges, which is of course why they’re budget cans.

Things to be aware of

  1. The mid-range does have a tendency of sounding sucked out in some regards, with the music kind of taking a back seat and appearing somewhat distant.
  2. I perceive some bloat in the mid-bass, and the bass as a whole can sound kind of flabby at times.
  3. Treble is good overall but can become a little too metallic with certain songs.

Video Comparison to the 40x

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Fourth:

  1. Entry-level ($0-100)
  2. Casual listening
  3. Open back

Koss KPH30i

FiiO BTR3K Review

The gang’s all here.

Specifications

  • Price: Amazon! | Check Drop!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Closed back.
  • Fit: Supra-aural (On-ear).
  • Impedance: 60 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz – 25kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 101dB/mW.
  • Driver size: Coming soon!
  • Material: Plastic, metal, foam.
  • Color: Varies.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 4 ft.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: There’s a thin rubber piece.
  • Headband Style: Traditional.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: Light as a feather.
  • Accessories Included: 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No, but the BTR3K pictured above is a perfect pair!

Summary

I snagged a pair of KPH30i for about $20 after hearing amazing things about them.

I was not disappointed.

In fact, it’s borderline embarrassing how good these are in relation to headphones costing hundreds of dollars.

In other words, all of the hype surrounding them is most certainly warranted.

The first thing that jumps out at you is how natural they sound. No one frequency overpowers the other.

The bass, mid-range, and treble are all done perfectly. There’s not one single thing I could ever complain about, and frankly, it’s really astonishing.

When I go back into the recesses of my mind and think about how many headphones I’ve demoed, I can nearly always find something to complain about with the sound.

Either the treble is too bright, the mids recessed (or too forward as is the case with the Senny HD600s), the bass either rolls off too much or there’s too much mid-bass, etc.

With the KPH30i, none of that rings true.

If there was ever a perfect headphone sound-wise, this is it.

Video Review

Coming Soon!

 

 


Koss Porta Pro

Koss KSC75 vs. KPH30i vs. Porta Pro

Specifications

  • Price: Amazon! | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Closed-back.
  • Fit: Supra-aural (On-ear).
  • Impedance: 60 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz – 25kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 101dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 35mm.
  • Material: Plastic, metal, foam.
  • Color: black, turquoise.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 4 ft.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: No.
  • Headband Padding: No.
  • Headband Style: Traditional, sort of. Lol.
  • Foldable: Yes.
  • Weight: 2 oz.
  • Accessories Included: Carrying case, 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

These things are straight out of the ’80s.

No, for real. They actually debuted in 1984.

Koss has yet to update the design, and I’m glad. I love how nerdy they are.

Not only that, but why change something when it’s been working for so long?

Comfort is good for extended periods, as they are extremely light and rest on your head quite well.

The “Comfort Zone” is a spring-loaded mechanism that allows you to adjust how tight they sit, and won’t remain in position after the headphones are taken off.

This could prove to be somewhat irritating, however. The build is very impressive though, especially since they’re light as a feather. You also get a lifetime warranty, so don’t fret!

The sound is crisp and clean overall, with a bass that has an impact, but isn’t as meaty as some other more expensive offerings that extend lower.

The mid-range is very present, lively, and well-balanced, but maybe slightly overshadowed by the bass. The treble is crisp as well, though sometimes can sound a bit muffled.

Overall it’s a warm, fun signature, without any high-end harshness or fatigue.

Things to be aware of

  1. Mid-bass. These are ’80s headphones designed for ’80s music and it’s clearly heard. Mid-bass for the most part sounds good, but it can be a bit too much at times.
  2. Though the headband adjustment mechanism is very effective, there is a tendency for your hair to catch it. It’s so 90’s man. Since I’m an 80’s baby, I remember this sort of thing happening with cheaper sets. In fact, it still happens from time to time with even the most prestigious headphones.
  3. The lifetime warranty is cool, but you may have to pay Koss to ship them back should you have any issues.
  4. The Comfort Zone feature, while a good idea, doesn’t always work the way it should. The adjustment tends to change without your consent.
  5. To further enhance the treble and really make it come alive, employ the “quarter mod.” This is a modification in which you take off the foam pads, and place a quarter in the center of them. Then cut around it with a sharp knife and put them back on. This will allow the high-end to come through a lot better.

Video Review

Big shout out to @Metal571 for the dope review. Check him out on Twitter!

 

 


Grado SR60e

Grado SR60e vs. 80e

Specifications

  • Price: Amazon | Check eBay!
  • Official Review: Here!
  • Type: Open back.
  • Fit: Supra-aural (On-ear).
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 99.8 dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 40mm.
  • Material: Plastic, polymer.
  • Color: black, silver.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: No.
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: 7 ft.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating earcups: Minimal.
  • Headband Padding: No.
  • Headband Style: Traditional, but with a slightly different look.
  • Foldable: No.
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs.
  • Accessories Included: 1/4″ adapter.
  • Amp needed: No.

Summary

I was blown away the first time I heard the SR60e.

Yes, it being another bright headphone has something to do with it, but the clarity and detail here are unreal. One of the go-to headphones for anything rock, metal, or guitar-related, you’re going to really fall in love with the intricacy and small nuances you undoubtedly missed before in other headphones.

The trend is similar to many of the headphones we’ve gone over thus far. Nuance, subtlety, detail, clarity. Exciting times my friend.

Things to be aware of

  1. Mid-range issues around 2kHz. It’s there, and it’s obnoxious for sure. This is one of the main reasons why I always put the 60e near the bottom of any “best of” lists. It’s good but very flawed.
  2. As good as these headphones are, the build is lacking. I didn’t have any issues, but I could see how over time they might break down if you tend to abuse your gear a lot. Still, I think the risk to reward ratio is worth it.
  3. Comfort is pretty good, but you will find yourself adjusting them. The On-ear cups are prone to hurt your ears after a while, but all in all these headphones are worth the price of admission because of their sound alone.
  4. I don’t like the chord and find it much too bulky for a headphone of this weight. What were they thinking? The headphone is like a feather yet there’s this girthy chord pulling the cans in all directions.

Video Comparison of the SR60e vs. 80e

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12 comments

TJ January 29, 2019 - 12:15 am

Hey,
I’m looking for some headphones to listen to music with on the go, and also to game with in this price range. Any suggestions?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 29, 2019 - 2:55 am

Hey TJ!

Hmm.. First thought was the Superlux HD330 that I just reviewed. Excellent Soundstage for Gaming and very good on the go although they don’t fold up or anything. They are semi-open but have a nice sound signature. Good bass. Treble is a tad metallic.

The CB-1’s are also great for Gaming as their Soundstage is probably their overall best quality. They do fold up similar to an M50x so that could be an option.

Check out the HD330 and get back to me if you think that would be feasible. I don’t want to overwhelm you with a bunch of options.

I will also link you to my article on The Best Headphones for Gaming. Perhaps we could find something there as well. πŸ™‚

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TJ January 29, 2019 - 3:21 am

Thanks Stuart! The HD330 don’t look bad. Right now I found a used pair of M50x’s for $70 would you go with those or the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X if they were the same price? I read some of your gaming headphones article and it is inline with what I’ve been thinking in terms of open back or closed.

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Stuart Charles Black January 29, 2019 - 3:34 am

Thanks for the sub man!

M50x isn’t going to be that great for Gaming although I remember the Soundstage being pretty good for a closed back. I got some nice out of my head moments back in 2013 but that was with the original M50. Still I wouldn’t rely on that for Gaming. It’s tough because it’s a great headphone for everything else.

The 900x is probably the best overall but just as a forewarning: The bass is kind of lean (which is what makes it a great Gaming headphone actually). You’re able to hear EVERYTHING.

If it was me I’d probably go with the 900x since it’s also very good as a casual/easy listening can. The only thing is that it leaks sound so you may bother peeps on the go. I don’t know. This is tough! 900x is a pretty flat overall signature with quite a bit of bass roll off. Very revealing and detailed though.

What kind of genres are you into?

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Richard Reid June 2, 2019 - 6:45 pm

Regarding the Sony MDR V6 eventual peeling of the ear pads, replace them with velour ear cushions. They should fit the V6 perfectly and the velour ear pads are even more comfortable than the original Sony ear pads. Furthermore, they have no effect on the sound of the V6.

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Stuart Charles Black June 2, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Hey man! Can you link the exact ones you’re referring to? I would love to try them on my V6 even though the pads are still okay (I don’t use them everyday). Please let me know!!

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Freddie January 23, 2020 - 5:18 pm

Hi,

Will the AKG k240 mkII be a upgrade from my Hyperx Cloud Alphas?

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Stuart Charles Black January 24, 2020 - 2:30 pm

Hey man! Yeah I think so. The headphones sound signatures are completely opposite. The Alpha’s have a dip at 5k which negatively affects vocal and instrument articulation, while the K240’s actually rise at that point. It’s what makes them sound so lifelike and detailed, actually. The treble on the Alpha’s is boosted while the K240’s is more subdued. I think it works better over longer listening sessions because you’ll never really feel fatigued by it. Sometimes it can seem like they’re lacking a bit of energy though. Bass is also more rolled off on the 240, which will likely help in a gaming environment to be sure.

I’ve owned a pair of K240S’s and K240M’s (600 Ohm) and loved both. Don’t know why I sold the S (it was back in 2016), but the M version I bought from eBay and the guy failed to mention the slight buzz in the left ear. So I sold them. I’d like to have a perfect pair in the future. Right now I’m running the K702 with a K5 Pro for console gaming and also love it.

Overall, you’re getting a more even response out of the 240 but do be aware that it is a pretty ruler flat signature. That said, it’s extremely hard to beat as far as detail retrieval, instrument and overall timbre, as well as general resolution. It’s one of those “aha” moments that I just had to smile from ear to ear at.

Lastly, there are no differences in terms of sound signature between the MK I and MK II 240. The MK II comes with an extra set of pads as well as a coiled and straight cable. So yeah, easy decision there to go with the K240 MK II.

Let me know your thoughts!! Do you need a mic with them?

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Ethel December 7, 2020 - 6:23 pm

Hi Stu,
Thank you for the very thorough reviews and articles. I have been doing an extensive search of monitors cans for the past weeks, and I have to admit, I have a headache, and no solution, yet!
I live in a country where every set of headphones is 1.5 more expensive! Call me old-school, I thought buying in a shop may be more safe, in case of issues, than sending it back to wherever I ordered it from. And ordering from the US Amazon will cost me almost the same amount when adding shipping and taxes.
Would you recommend buying online?

I am looking for closed back since I want to record music and maybe launch a podcast.. as well, I won’t be able to afford several pairs. From my research, I learned that I would need a flat response, but at this stage, I am a beginner. Which ones would you advise for an all-around use and versatility? I thought of the Sony MDR-7506, it costs 150$ here (what a difference with the 84$!!), so it makes me wonder if I could find better options for the money? In comparison the Audio-Technica Ath-M40X is 140$, the Sennheiser DT 280 pro is 160$, the Sennheiser DT 25 is 180$, … and I also saw the Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO, which is the cheapest in the list (130$). Actually the latter is the only one that would be really cheaper to order from abroad, since I won’t have to pay tax on it.

I would love to hear your opinion, and of course, if there is any other headphones that I should be looking into?

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Stuart Charles Black December 11, 2020 - 8:42 pm

Hey Ethel!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

My replies are in bold/italic

Hi Stu,
Thank you for the very thorough reviews and articles. You’re very welcome! I have been doing an extensive search of monitors cans for the past weeks, and I have to admit, I have a headache, and no solution, yet!

No worries!

I live in a country where every set of headphones is 1.5 more expensive!

I know right? I talk to folks with this problem often.

Call me old-school, I thought buying in a shop may be more safe, in case of issues, than sending it back to wherever I ordered it from. And ordering from the US Amazon will cost me almost the same amount when adding shipping and taxes.

Would you recommend buying online?

I mostly buy online, yes. Audiophile gear where I live is kind of scarce outside of a couple of stores.

I am looking for closed back since I want to record music and maybe launch a podcast.. as well, I won’t be able to afford several pairs. From my research, I learned that I would need a flat response, but at this stage, I am a beginner. Which ones would you advise for an all-around use and versatility?

I thought of the Sony MDR-7506, it costs 150$ here (what a difference with the 84$!!), so it makes me wonder if I could find better options for the money?

Hmm. Yeah. $150 is a tad high because of the pad issues with extended use, as well as the annoying coiled cable.

In comparison the Audio-Technica Ath-M40X is 140$,

I would not get the 40x for mixing as it’s not flat at all lol

the Sennheiser DT 280 pro is 160$, the Sennheiser DT 25 is 180$, … and I also saw the Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO, which is the cheapest in the list (130$). Actually the latter is the only one that would be really cheaper to order from abroad, since I won’t have to pay tax on it.

I would love to hear your opinion, and of course, if there is any other headphones that I should be looking into?

Hmm. What about the Status Audio CB-1? Dirt cheap, amazing sound, comfortable, incredibly revealing, sounds like an open back, exemplary Sounstage. You can hear so much with it.

Here’s my review!!

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Johann M May 25, 2021 - 11:52 am

Hi
Great review!
I have the Koss KPH30i which is a great set. Which would you recommend to add to my collection:
-Samson SR850
-AKG 240
-Grado SR60e
-Audio Technica M20X
-Shure STH440
-Superlux HD681 EVO
or should I save my money and buy another Koss when/if this one breaks?

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Stuart Charles Black May 26, 2021 - 3:09 pm

Hey man! I’d probably hold tight. None of those jump out at me as being better but you may like an 850 or 240. The 240 is a very unique type of sound. Check this article out: https://homestudiobasics.com/akg-k240-vs-samson-sr850/

I would probably just skip all of those and wait for a true upgrade – something like an HD6XX/Sundara would be a nice step up. https://homestudiobasics.com/the-5-best-audiophile-headphones-for-under-500/

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