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Best Headphones (without DAC) under $150

Hello folks, I've been following this blog for a while, and after a really long time, I've decided to get some nice cans. I am a student, so I don't think I can go higher than $150, and I don't have a DAC. I've researched on the following headphones- Beyer DT 770 80 ohm, AudioTechnica 50MX, Meze Noir, and some Senheiser models. As of now, I am leaning towards the DT 770's. Any recommendations as of 2022 on models I should check on? Any solid options?
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Jul 31, 2022
You've listed over-ear closed back models, with wires, so i'm basing reply on that. (as opposed to on/in ear, and as opposed to open back). I'm guessing you mean that you don't have an amp, which makes headphones louder. Any device you use has a built-in DAC to convert the music from ones and zeroes data on the device into the analog electrical signal that represents the waveform of the sound. An amp makes that electrical signal stronger (louder), so without an amp, you don't want any headphones over ~ 50ohm of impedance because it will be too low volume. (unrelated, impedance doesn't affect audio quality, higher impedance isn't better). An external dedicated DAC is used to try to make that audio signal conversion more accurate (it doesn't, but it's fun to pretend it does, to justify the price of buying one). Sennheiser and AudioTechnica make good headphones. AudioTechnica are good travel headphones (if you want to travel with over-ear). They look bad and are made of cheap materials, so they can be thrown in a backpack and beat up and it doesn't matter. The low quality pleather falls apart faster than other headphones but replacement pads are cheap. And AudioTechnicas have very good sound signature for the price. They're my main travel headphone currently because I don't like in-ear headphones. I have the open back Sennheiser 598 (and 6xx, and 800 S) and they're all very good headphones. I can't vouch for the lower end closed back models but they're probably good. The sennheiser closed back Momentums are bad headphones but I think they're targeting a different audience. Lower end AKGs like the K92 should probably be on your radar too. Good sounding headphones, generally bad build quality but again doesn't matter on the lower end. Less portable than the AudioTechnicas because they don't fold, but the AKGs look better. I find the AKGs super comfy too. I don't recommend Beyerdyanmic, they don't know how to design ear cups nor headphones. Uncomfortable and messed up sound signature. Also too hard to drive for you use case without an amp. Meaning they have too high impedance so you won't be able to play music at a high volume. I have the DT 880s and they're gathering dust. I also have the Custom One Pros which are the worst headphone ever made. Stay away from Meze unless you already know you like other garbage headphones like v-modas or beats. Nightmare bass cannons. Mezes are probably the best looking headphones on your list, and the worst ones to buy.
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