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Looking for best music/gaming headset for $100

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by johnspack, May 14, 2011.

  1. johnspack

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    Hmm, are they better enough than the 280s to warrant the extra expense? I'm still preferring my desktop mic... I may have made a mistake.. dam. Didn't realize these had both connectors at one end, and I plug the mic in my computer, and the sound into my amp, and with only 2 inches of reach... so now I have to buy an extension cable. So currently, still using my old mic, dam.
  2. DanishDevil

    DanishDevil

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    The PC 350 has only a few inches of split between the two as well. Also, be sure to get a STEREO extension cable. I got one that didn't say stereo on it, and it was mono (for shame that they would even make it anymore). Comfort-wise, I won't wear my 280's for longer than 30mins before I go running back to my 350s, even if they don't sound quite as good for music. I actually haven't touched my 280s in 6 months. Holding onto them for when I finally pick up the electric guitar I bought almost a year ago :p
  3. Cybrnook

    Cybrnook

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    I still stick by the 280's. You have to adjust them correctly to your head as they are pressure fit due to having passive noise cancellation (35db), but I wear them for hours at a time and have no side effects.

    I apologize for advertising them as $100, here in the states they are much cheaper:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-280-Pro-Headphones/dp/B000065BPB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306292214&sr=8-1

    I searched for about 2 weeks to find the right set, at the end it came down to the Bose on ear, Bose over ear QC 15's (Both with active NC), and the Sennhesier HD 280's (Passive NC). For the price and bang for buck, the sennheiser's I feel have a better sound than the Bose, due to the Bose clipping due to active NC, and they were 1/3 the price.

    Good luck with whatever you pick.
  4. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Just send them back, pay the restocking fee, and grab a decent pair of headphones instead.

    To be fair, that doesn't say much. Bose makes shitty products. Their $300 headphones are, in reality, worth probably $40 tops. Only suckers buy them.
  5. Cybrnook

    Cybrnook

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    Well, to reiterate my thought I ended up wit the Sennheisers ;-) I agree with Bose products being quite overpriced, HOWEVER, quite a bit of the products they make are very high quality and do reproduce great sound. But what really turned me off to them (outside of the $300 pricetag) was the fact that they would clip at times when the active noice canceling speaker was working. I dont mind speanding a good deal of Moolah on a quality product, such as headphones as they are an invesment. In this particular case the HD 280's won Hands down.

    Sorry for ranting----
  6. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    No, this is not the case AT ALL. All of their products are low quality, and just made to fit an image.

    http://www.firstadopter.com/fa/archives/001749.html
  7. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    When I refer to soundstaging, I referring it to both the soundstage position, accuracy and size. If you have heard the phones I listed, I doubt you will still think the HD280Pro is superior.

    Well, anyway he just go ahead and bought a Razer anyway. It seems he don't need advises afterall.

    Bose is not high quality. If you have actually used some competitors' product at the same price range, you will now they are terrible. They sounds terrible too. None of my headphones are cheaper than Bose, they are nearly costly 3 times as much as their flagship. Price is not a good argument, but what you get with your cash gone and that false marketing is just giving it a bad name.

    I am still not sure why people are recommending HD280Pros, they are hands down the most uncomfortable pair of headphones I have wore and the sound is one of the worst in the price range. There are so many other choices far better than it. I hope people recommending HD280Pro have heard something else other than them.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  8. Cybrnook

    Cybrnook

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    Well, im pulling out after this one, but again, that is one persons toughts on bose as a whole dated 5 years ago. So it is to be taken with a grain of salt, as is anyones personal thoughts.

    Again, I have not recommended any Bose product ;-) and am not trying to hijack the tread in a debate whether Bose is good or not. HD 280's are my recommendation!
  9. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    How can you justify soundstage accuracy? You would have to compare it to the exact setup your source was final mixed on.

    I'll happily sacrifice that for more accurate response, attack and decay. And I have heard plenty in the $80-100 range when we were hunting for monitors, and not many other closed cans do as well. Lots of open cans are better, but not many closed ones, but the open one don't block enough outside noise.
  10. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    Most if not all the listening is done on my portable setup via line out. Soundstage accuracy is very easy to point out playing any mastered music. Where they tends to place different sound sources around the soundstage, if you can pin point sources it have a reasonable accuracy for a start. Then there is where live music comes in, it can be used to judge how it is representing a soundstage, it is overly small or too big? Where accurate response, attack and decay, they are not important for music listening, it is matter of taste there. OP is asking for headphones for listening, not mastering or mixing (not that you should master only using headphones anyway)

    The name Sennheiser automatically links the headphones with quality, IMO its not right. HD25-II and HD600 does sounds good, but not their HD800 or others.
  11. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    This is where you are wrong. First, you cannot quantify the sound stage accuracy. It is pure preference and completely subjective. It even changes from the same headphones between different listeners.

    Second, better sound stage does not mean it's better for listening vs something along the lines of what I selct. Again, matter of preference. He may be the same, or he may not, but there is only one way for him to find out.

    What isn't a matter of preference is frequency, attack, and decay accuracy. Those are measurable differences.

    You say the 280's suck because of sound stage. I say you are wrong, and that sound stage is of less importance than playback accuracy. Which style he prefers is entirely up to him. I prefer accuracy over soundstage for ALL headphone uses. Now, the best of both worlds is even better. I have my Grado 225i's for that, but my portable setup is through a set of RE0's. They notoriously lack warmth and soundstage, but are very accurate, just the way I like it.

    And we don't only mix on cans, btw. ;)
  12. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    If a pair of headphones can reproduce a soundstage similar to the original live recording, that is

    FR curve, square wave response and such are numbers that does not add up to raw real world performance. My A2000X and AD1000PRM might as well have one of the fastest response on a dynamic headphones, but does it automatically make it better? No. More over FR chnages a lot to ear size, head size, unless your head is the same as the head dummy, you are not going to hear the same.

    The 280 does not suck just because soundstage, in fact most monitor headphones have crappy soundstage save the SRH840. In fact they are mostly design with a condensed soundstage, it makes it easier to spot sonic clues. that is not useful for music listening. RE0 does not lack warmth, try out a good crossfeed on it you will have both the warmth and soundstage. :D

    All you said about playback accuracy over soundstage is merely a personal preference, he only listens on it, pure accuracy is unimportant. A good sound signature matching your personal preference is what matters the most.

    Funny that you bought in the Grados, they are by far one of the most coloured headphones out today. The mid is bumped up, the treble is elevated, they are by no means accurate sounding. Soundstage on them are not exceptional too, although changing the pads on them can make a huge difference, but also to the FR as well. If you haven't tried out different pads on them, I suggest you do. You might very well like a different pad vs the stock one.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  13. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    I find it better for music listening. This is what you seem to be missing. You simply cannot claim one way is better than the other for music listening. It is purely a matter of preference. Being purely a matter of preference, you simply cannot call HD280's crap as if it's a fact, because it isn't. I prefer them over all other $100 closed cans I have heard (Tho I haven't heard the Denons you mentioned). And I goddamn HATE HATE HATE HATE crossfeed. If I wanted to add warmth (and inaccuracy), I would use a tube amp.

    As far as sound stage, unless you were at the place the source was recorded (for live material) or final mixed (for studio material), you simply cannot quantify soundstage accuracy. Without a reference point, it is pure preference. Not to mention, everything that effects the sound accuracy of headphones, also effects their soundstage.

    Short version = HD280Pro's are not crap. They are crap to you. Very significant difference there.

    EDIT: 225i's don't have the exaggerated highs. Those are the older non-i models, and the 125's. They are relatively flat. And I have all 3 cushions for them to experiment with. (Well, I have the HD414 pads in place of the Grado branded pancake pads. They have the quarter hole mod in them.)
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  14. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    My point of reference on the soundstage is my own ears on the live venue and the live recordings, if they matches nicely, the soundstage is accurate. So yea, I am not making stuff up, if I am just right there... Listening to studio recordings to judge soundstage is hard, as there are far too many variables to take care of, and you are not liking to be in the studio when mastered, nor that the studio's gear is the perfect representation of the soundstage. If you really want warmth, just EQ it, most tube amps just adds distortions.

    Well, sound is subjective I can clearly say the HD280Pro sounds crap to my ears, but I hope you can agree on the terrible clamp on it, its unbearable. :cry:
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  15. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Unless you were at the exact venue at the exact time of the recording, you have no point of reference. And EQ can't add warmth, at least not what we call warmth around here.

    They are a bit tight until you adjust them tho.

    And I edited my post above with stuff about my Grados.
  16. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    That was when I was there, also a different seat. So unless you can clip through things you can say it is totally impossible as your position will always be different than the mic.

    Well, the Grados I have heard are the i and is models, my reference points are FR curves...

    [​IMG]

    Yep, totally not bright.

    [​IMG]

    Low distortion too.

    Using graph was your idea though. :p I guess we should hold off here before totally derailing the thread.
  17. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    That is my point, it is absolutely impossible to judge accuracy of the sound stage.

    Those are the 225's, not the 225i's. The i models are much improved. I did not like the non i models.

    And of course those 280's look bad in that company, they are significantly cheaper than any other can on there. lol.

    Again, very good, closed back, $100 or less cans. If the headphones you want to compare do not meet both of those criteria, they do not qualify as a competitor.

    EDIT: That said, I completely forgot about the HD 448's lol.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  18. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    Nah, I have already said I am not going to compare the HD280Pro, it is there for reference say the 225i s are bright.

    Interesting that you said, the curve is from the Headroom 225i measurement, maybe they missed out the i, or they are really just the 225. Well, to my ears and most members that have experience of many other headphones, I doubt any of them will not call them the brighter of the brunch. I am not going to argue further, if you like the headphones it is good! I've own a few extremely polarizing headphones and continue doing so, one might say they are best every, but the next reply can be worst headphones ever but what matters most is if you like it, it is good. Well the one looking bad there is the unidentified Grados 225/225i, which I am not sure anymore. :p

    M50 is around the same price as the HD280Pro if you do a bit of shopping, K701 is the same tier as the Grados, and many say it is very bright and thin.

  19. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    You missed my edit. I forgot about the HD 448's in the under $100 closed back category.

    You can't find the M50's for anywhere near $100 new, from a reputable seller. Maybe used, but not new.

    Also, through all of this, both of us have failed in one pretty large aspect: We aren't considering what is being used to drive these cans when we discuss how they sound. As a point of reference, I primarily use the headphone amp built into my Forte. My setup is just mid-fi.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  20. Ra97oR

    Ra97oR

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    I have always used a big beefy solid state class-A amp for driving headphones. All my impressions are done on class A amps and both my portable amp + full size if that headphones is designed to be portable. I am not a big fan of tube amps myself so I don't tend to use them. Maybe here is why our opinions are different. I found the headphone "amp" out on my Essence mediocre at best.

    I haven't heard the HD448 and not likely to do so ever, so I won't be commenting on it.

    Amps that I normally use for testing, Burson HA-160, B22, Luxman P-1u and HA5000 for Audio Technicas.
  21. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    I'm gonna have to agree.

    But, the OP also doesn't have the high end amps that you have, so I don't think the 280's are a bad choice for him.
  22. SpeedsticK

    SpeedsticK New Member

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    Well this might be considered a necro-post, but i was having the same never ending search for a good headset that has good sound quality.

    In the end heres what i did. (FYI its a small DIY job)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Headphones are amazing (JVC RX700's)
    Mic is a detachable mic that i found on another headset on Amazon for $11, and i just used a 3.5mm 12ft extender cable to let it connect to the back of my computer.

    Also i ended up buying the ASUS XONAR DG sound card because of the headphone amp and it makes LOADS of a difference.

    Heres some links if your interested for future reference.

    Anyways, after i finished making it, I'd have to say it sounds twice as good as my sisters Sennheiser PC-350 Headset. i use her headset alot even with her HT OMEGA sound card with a build in headphone amp.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013OWPV4/?tag=tec06d-20
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BY9F38/?tag=tec06d-20
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0045JHJSS/?tag=tec06d-20
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012MMW7E/?tag=tec06d-20

    Altogether everything was around $70, and im VERY happy with it.
    The zip-ties i used to go through the can didn't make a difference in sound quality at all, i thought it would change it but it didn't effect it at all.

    P.S. The mic is amazingly clear, i thought since it was cheap it wouldn't be good but its clear. ;)

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