Newbie wishes help

I’ve been using a pair of Siberia v2’s for 3-4 years, and they finally decided to kick the bucket (the suspension gave up big time) after a long while of usage. Thus, I’ve decided to let myself fall into the unknown world of headphones and sound.

My experiences with headphones are extremely limited. Other than my V2, I’ve tried some HyperX Cloud I’s. I could hear more detail with them, but the higher sounds were… Less than enjoyable, for me. Furthermore, I felt like they were severely lacking in the lowers, but that might just be me. I’ve also tried some headphones of which I forget the model, but it was extremely cold/analytical, and I did not enjoy that.

I’m looking for some open-back, over-ear headphones, as I do not enjoy the feeling of being “closed off” from my surroundings (IEM’s are also off the table, as no matter the model or design, they always end up hurting or being uncomfortable after an hour or so), and they’ll be exclusively used at home for gaming (Vermintide 2 and Destiny 2, to name a couple), and mostly metal (like Winds and Insomnium), and Synth-wave music.

My budget for some headphones is about 300 USD (2000 DKK), but won’t mind at all if its a possibility to go under. Again, I’ve not delved much into headphones in the past, but I’m open to grabbing some headphones to eventually later down the road throw myself at amps and DAC’s to fully widen my horizons.

I’d prefer them to be dedicated headphones, as I’ll be buying a dedicated microphone later this year to complete the “auditory” part of my setup.

I am willing to test headphones, so any suggestion will likely get put on the list to go try them out at shops, if it is possible (and if it is possible to find them in Denmark, too).

I would highly recommend checking the AKG K612.

Hi! Thanks for the reply! After doing extensive search, I seem to be unable to reach a physical version of it (unless I were to purchase it online) without using $50 and 5 hours in transportation (each way) to the other side of Denmark. I will certainly keep it in mind if I am unable to find other kinds of headphones closer to me.

I own a pair of Philips Fidelio X2’s that I really enjoy (usually sell for $200-250) which are open-backed headphones with a detachable cable. They have a small boost to the lower frequencies with slightly sparkly treble that I don’t find fatiguing; they sound crisp and clear, deliver decent bass for an open-backed headphone and they have a relatively wide soundstage – all of this combined creates a “fun” listening experience more so than a purely neutral one. I’ve used them for gaming, films and music and they are relatively easy to drive (32 ohms) so a powerful amp isn’t necessary (I usually use them paired with the Dragonfly Red DAC for both my PC and phone). The X2’s also are built like a tank using high quality materials so they should last a good while.

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I’ve been looking at the Dragonfly Black/Red for a possible investment after I get some headphones, yeah, been reading up on them and I reckon they’d be a good place to start delving into DAC/AMP-related things. Got a big chain nearby that has the X2’s stocked in a different warehouse, so I’ll pop on down there to see if they can get them sent over and hopefully I can try them out.

Sennheiser, just about anything in your price range. I’ve wandered around but I seem to always come back to that brand.

I am very satisfied with Beyerdynamics DT 990 Pros. They can be purchased for about 200 USD. If you are near Copenhagen, try to go to Accord Nørrebro - Musik & Film at Nørrebrogade 90, 2200 København. They have (at least they did at my last visit) the DT 990s available for listening.

@jflores476 I’ll be able to try out a Sennheiser late next week, see if its a brand that can pull me in.

@rwtheisen I’m not near Copenhagen, but I can get there relatively quick, so I’ll make sure to go there and see if they still have them early next week! (They also seem to be as low as ~150 USD and up to little over 200, so that’s a pretty good deal I’d reckon?)

Which model?

I was able only to find the PXC 480, so a closed-back model instead of an open-back, but, I’d imagine that different brand closed-backs feel (if only slightly) different from each other?

Sennheiser has an outlet store website in Europe. You might be able to find a bargain there.

I would not recommend the X2 unless you like shit bass and mids. There are better ways to spend that money just not on the X2. Same goes to the K7XX, same league of bad.

I’d suggest the MassDrop HD-6XX ($200) or HD-58X ($150) if you can get in on the drops since they are probably the best deals these days. I’m not to sure about shipping to Denmark but if you can get them shipping and with the import fee/taxes I think they will be under your $300 budget.

I know you say you don’t like too much treble but I think the newer “e” series Grado with some generic G-pads might work for you. SR225e ($200) + generic G-pads ($6), one of the best under $200 sounding headphone to me.

I’ve modded mine with SMC jacks so I can change the cables out, generic G-pads, and added dynamat in the cups so these are quite a bit different from a stock SR225e.

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Definitely check out the 6XX lineup from Sennheiser before you settle on anything. They may not be what you go with ultimately but they deserve a listen. There is a reason so many people own the 6XX and 8XX family of headphones from Senn. I own two pairs of Senns and I would recommend them highly.

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“Shit bass and mids” in comparison to what? They have arguably better bass and mids than the Sennheiser HD 600/650’s which are usually highly regarded.

The X2 has more elevated bass in that region and when combined with the high distortion (that the Senns also have though the lower quantity of bass masks it more in comparison), the X2 just sounds really muddy.

When you overlay the HD650 and HD600 over the X2’s frequency response, you notice that the midrange is more dipped, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you combine that with very elevated bass and midtreble it makes for a less than ideal combination for those looking for accuracy.

Yes, I covered this in my first post in this thread (the sound signature on the X2’s isn’t completely neutral since it has boosted lows/highs). Before purchasing the X2’s I compared them side-by-side in a shop with the HD 600/650’s and I preferred the sound signature of the X2’s but of course this will vary from person to person so I’d recommend listening first before buying.

However, the X2’s are far from being “shitty” (in my opinion) in either area even if one doesn’t like their sound signature/how they are tuned when compared to other mid-fi headphones in the same price range. Also, not sure if you’ve read the article I linked above but Tyll makes a good point that comparing graphs alone usually isn’t sufficient since graphs may be somewhat misleading if you haven’t actually listened to the headphones (not implying you’ve done so).

If you prefer the X2 that’s totally fair; I know some people prefer a V-shaped sound.

I bought an X2 during one of the low points for it price-wise (I think somewhere around $140) and honestly I felt like I overpaid even then. I wouldn’t call it one of my least favorite headphones but I found it a chore to use them for more than half an hour because of the muddy bass, very harsh and grainy treble, and overall lack of resolution even compared to the DT880/HD6X0/K712. I always thought it belonged more in the ~$100 range of headphones in terms of quality.

I think measurements can be immensely useful as a starting point when you’re trying to find general trends. You can generally assume high THD along with an elevation in FR in that area will lead to muddiness, you can look for peaks in which you’re sensitive, and many other things. I do think it’s silly to only look at measurements though because FR can only tell so much. For example:

I don’t know if you’ll find too many people who would say the Utopia and HE500 sound the same, but you can hear some general similarities. Both have some coloration and shout in the upper midrange and do have somewhat of a mid treble peak, though the Utopia’s treble peak bothered me much less than the HE500’s.

Wow, really? I’m curious if that was close to the time when they switched where the X2’s were being manufactured at and had a bad run (some people had to send several pairs back for exchanges when this happened due to receiving defective units that sounded horrible but supposedly this was later fixed). I’ve listened to quite a few $100 headphones over the past 25+ years and the X2’s are a night vs. day difference as far as sound quality goes (when compared to cans under $100).

Some quotes from Tyll when comparing the X2’s vs. the Sennheiser 600/650’s:

  • “With an equivalently good and properly matched amp I think I’d take the X2…but it’s probably more about what you’re looking for. While I really like the laid-back sound of a Crack and HD 600, I think the X2 gets things a bit more tonally correct.”

  • “I think the X2 bests the HD650 bass. It’s a little more emphasized down low where it should be, the HD 650 really doesn’t have any low bass emphasis.”

  • “The real advantage of the X2 for many will be their excellent imaging…or maybe sense of space is a better word. The bass is damned good though on the X2, and I’m sure it will satisfy many folks wanting a better sense of thump than they get with measured flat bass response cans.”

  • “Other than the general shape of the frequency response plot (which I think might be very good, and I’ll be looking for more headphones with a similar response), I find these measurements to be significantly poorer looking than the headphones sound. I suspect Philips may work on getting the time domain responses (300Hz square wave, impulse response) to be a little cleaner, but I have to say again that I found these cans much better sounding than they look on paper.”

  • “The HD 600 was a great headphone very early on and will forever hold an historic place in headphonedom—but I do think the X2 is the first headphone in the mid-priced, open headphone class that might deliver a superior listening experience.”

  • “Bass response of the X2 is tighter and significantly more satisfying in level. Treble response is a little less grainy on the HD 600, but it doesn’t seems as well balanced. Image width and depth is much better on the X2. Mid-range is about the same on both, but the overall impression of the sound is much nicer on the X2. It’s almost as if everything is accentuated on the X2, the overall balance is so good it’s as if you get instant access to the whole of the music.”

I remember that being controversial but I actually bought the X2 because I heard one months before and was repulsed by it and wanted to hear another to see if it was a fluke and the one I bought sounded basically exactly the same.

I have the utmost respect for Tyll and what he’s done for the hobby but I’ve been having a really hard time agreeing with his impressions because they’re often incredibly far off from mine. He does seem to have a preference for the Harman curve though, which I’ve always thought sounded very inaccurate.

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