Suggestions for mid level at home listeners?

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Hey Audiophiles! I checked other threads to make sure that I'm not repeating a previous post. If I missed a similar thread something I apologize for creating this new one.
I'm a college student so I don't have a lot of money but I am looking for a new pair of headphones. I've currently been using the HDT4.40 from Sennheiser for a year now and I absolutely love the experience. I use them day in and day out wearing them from class to class enjoying all kinds of music. I feel like its time I branch out get something a step up in the headphone market.
What I'm looking for is a pair of headphones that I can use at home(open back or closed) that delivers better sound quality and listening experience than my current headphones. Headphones that I can improve sound quality with a DAC or AMP possibly later down the line.
If you guys have any suggestions under the 400$ range I would love to hear them!
Thanks for the help,
Shane
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Shane.B
5
Oct 23, 2018
Hey everyone! I appreciate all of the comments (did not expect this many responses to be honest with you) and advice given to help me decide on my next set of headphones. One thing I am kind of confused on is if there are benefits of having a DAP(which I believe has a DAC and AMP) over a DAC and AMP separated in terms of hardware housing . If I could get some opinions on the pros and cons of a DAP and DAC/AMP setup that would be awesome!
Thanks again for everyone's help! I really appreciate it!
-Shane
A DAP is a Digital Audio Player and is more than just Digital to Analog Conversion and amplification. Many DAP's now utilize a customized version of Android so they can offer similar functionality to a phone. The amp and DAC sections typically outperform phones (LG V series being an exception). A DAP can be handy if you already have trouble with your phone lasting a full day. Otherwise I would vote for a battery powered portable... the Chord Mojo is pretty stellar example but much cheaper options exist.
shimage
229
Oct 23, 2018
In that price range, I have been recommending the Audeze Mobius. Built-in dac/amp (good and bad, since you can't upgrade), bluetooth, virtual surround for movies/games on the PC. Sound quality is pretty good in this price bracket. Bass is worlds better than any <$1000 Sennheiser. I like the mids better too, but maybe that's just me. Treble is about the same. That said, I think my HD600s sound bad enough that I sometimes wonder if they are broken. Based solely on measurements, I would go for the HD58X before the HD6XX.
AudioFaze
199
Oct 24, 2018
I think it’s important to note that the older LG V20 and G6 are now priced similarly to entry level DAPs. As they offer call functionality, might not be a bad idea to carry two phones around.
shimage
229
Oct 25, 2018
There is no way I would carry two phones around, much less a DAP.
Megazine
511
Oct 22, 2018
Don't let "cost" fool you. I recommend the Sennheiser HD-58X Jubilee over the 6XX. You'll get a much fuller sound and bass is superior in terms of quality: deep, more full, and bass-clarity. 6XX are great headphones as well, with some arguing the mids are slightly superior, so you won't go wrong with either. Keep note: the Jubilee are only 150ohm headphones, while the 6XX are 300ohms, so you can do a lot more with the 58X when paring them with any amp. Also, I wouldn't compare these two directly - 6XX to 58X. The 58X right now is having a battle with the latest Sennheiser HD-660S; no joke! The sound fromm the two are so similar that some people are having the trouble telling them apart, and also many listeners claiming the bass on the 58X are on par with the 660S'. Keep note, these two headsets are using the latest drivers from Senneiser: I believe they are the same, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong. The argument right now is this, is it worth spending $500 for the 660S, when you can get the jubilee for $150 - cost to performance. I own the 6XX, 58X, 7XX and 4XX.
mindhead1
562
Oct 21, 2018
There is some good advice in this thread. I second the recommendation of the 6xx. It’s a great baseline headphone at a great price. That said, the 6xx is very dependent on amplification. It’s a power hungry headphone. The 6xx and Aune X1S would be a nice setup for a dorm room and meet your $400 budget. You could even feed some powered speakers with it for no—headphone listening.
ethanchan
239
Oct 21, 2018
If you have not made a choice yet I will suggest a pairing I have and think you will be very happy with unless you are a bass head. The HD6XX with the SMSL Sanskrit Pro and amp. I use it for all of my headphones that do not require a ton of power to push.
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Weaponhead
0
Oct 20, 2018
The HiFiMan 4XX at $169 is a fantastic deal. I use them at work and though maybe not as good as my Focal Elear or HiFiMan HE-500 they are very balanced and have no glaring weakness. If you can stretch a bit the Focal Elex (sp?) Massdrop offers is a great under $1000 headphone. Not sure about the Snn 6XX but my 650s fall short of the other 2 above.
DenonFanboy
807
Oct 20, 2018
Great news! Buy either the HD6XX or HD58X headphones, then buy a Schiit magni 3 and modi 3 for amp/dac. Within your budget and it’s a very hard combo to beat at its price.
Shane.B
5
Oct 20, 2018
Hey thanks for the comment! What makes these combinations of products difficult to beat in comparison to other options?
DenonFanboy
807
Oct 20, 2018
All of them have very high price/performance ratios.
iWasFirst
2
Oct 20, 2018
Safe a lot of money get the Senn 58x Jubilee headphones.
Shane.B
5
Oct 20, 2018
I like saving money, but why do you suggest that pair over other options in the sennheiser line up or even other brands?
cjpianist
4
Oct 20, 2018
Hey Shane so I just read all of the great reference comments and I just would like to add this. I think when you are a college student and you have that money it's important how you spend it. Let your goal determine the how, why, etc. What is your goal.. (like super specifically) in regards to sound? Some audiophi..I mean audio enthusiasts would like to seriously analyze what the hell is going on in the music they're listening to. In that case I would highly recommend hd600 from Senn. Those headphones are made for people who enjoys analyzing what they listen to. But if you want to just relax and focus more towards the vibe go for let's say the akg's. I would not recommend the hd58x.. when you can pay 50 bucks more to get a better package overall (hd6xx)(simply best bang for your buck hp imo). It's up to you and I highly advise you to have a goal and the more specific the better. (Side note if you are listening in your dorm or if your headphones are meant to be a stationary element go for open.. they're just better in so many aspects. Hope this helps.
Shane.B
5
Oct 20, 2018
Hey cjpianist, thanks for the advice! I am looking for something open back because I do a lot of work in my dorm room and it tends to be just me in there. You bring up a good point about what my goal for the headphones are and I would say I lean toward the relax and focus side of things. I'm not anywhere near educated enough to begin to analyze the music I'm listening to but looking to enjoy it in a way I haven't heard before in comparison to my current Head Phones. I've been lucky enough to have a house decked with Sonos gear and have had many enjoyable listening experiences with their products but need something more dedicated to the experience than anything I have.
fhood
713
Oct 19, 2018
Oh crap $400?! You are in excellent territory. I think that something in Sennheiser's HD6-- series is probably your best bet. I don't think you can do all that much better as far as accurate reproduction of sound regardless of how much you spend, and they also have decent sound stage and all that.
I recommend these as a starting point because they are very simple, and very good. They also give you a really good baseline to compare against should you later decide to try out some of the more exotic heaphone options out there (stuff like planar magnetic, or just more colorful or sound stagey stuff).
The only caveat I can think of is that the HD650s aren't terribly bassy even with pretty heavy adjustment, and the HD600s are even bassy. I haven't tried the HD660s and but I suspect they have a thicker low end than the 650s if past trends are continuing.
Shane.B
5
Oct 20, 2018
Also( I forgot to ask this ), is there a key difference in using planar magnetic tech instead of the normal tech used for headphones. What would be the pros/cons of such tech?
fhood
713
Oct 20, 2018
Tbh, I think it is a gimmick. But people seem to be really excited about them right now.
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