Best Headphones For $200

Hi, everyone, like the thread title suggests I'm looking for the best pair of headphones for around $200. These headphones will be used almost strictly for listening to music with a better sound quality than my earbuds. The genres of music I listen to are indie/alternative rock and EDM. I've tried AKG and Sennheiser's and while I love their sound quality more bass would be appreciated. Other than that over-ear is a must and I don't have a DAC to drive anything too crazy. Thank you all for your help, I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

I have had a couple of different headphones from several manufactures. The beyerdynamic have been my go to set over everything else. The only other set that I would recommend is the AKG 550. Both sets of headphones have a very flat sound, which does not color the sound of the music with extra bass or highs. I would consider both sets as reference headphones. Also, depending on how quickly your wanting to make your purchase, you can find either set for around 150 US dollars on amazon.

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I like the Philips Fidelio X2 (sale price) or, if you have a beefy amp, the Fostex T50RP Mk3. A lot of people are going to tell you the Sennheiser HD 6XX that is available through Massdrop, but I've never personally been a fan of the HD 650 of which it is essentially a rebadge.

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I have been very happy with my Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO and Beyerdynamic DT 990 PROs.

If you are looking for something more bass forward the 770s are the way to go. I like the sound stage that the 990s have my self. I like both the BeyerD headphone over the Sennheiser HD 650 IMO.

You may not have a DAC but with both of these headphones you could pick up a pair and a DAC for about $200. I think that you would be really happy with both investments.

From what you have ATH-m40x. Fuck the m50x. 40s are better. You will want different pads like HM5 or ZMF.
The only reason why I say this is bc everything else on this topic needs an Amp. Needs an amp. You are going to lose out on low end and you're going to muddle the highs with out one. And while they are all good cans they are too far out of your budget. Get a dac/amp combo it's worth it. Micca origin, smsl m3 the Fio ek10 etc. all good just depends on what you want for outputs and inputs.

bc you want an amp for all of the above mentioned headphones. They need one. So do yourself a favor and do one of two things. A buy a pair that can be powered off farts or save up a little so you can get a dac/amp. I don't suggest just an amp bc you might have some non linear stuff going on in your motherboard and you'll hear it with an amp.

After reading and doing some research I think I'm going to try the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones. With that said I would like to be able to use these with both my phone and laptop. Would I be better off picking up the 32ohm variant then since I would like to use them with my phone for convenience? My only concern about that variant is that I don't know if the bass would be affected too much. If it will I'll probably use them for my laptop and just pick up the 250ohm variant along with a DAC. Let me know what you all think and if you have any suggestions on good DAC's for under $100 or even more headphone options.

Edit: If I need to use a DAC I could get the 80ohm or 250ohm version and say a Fiio E17K.

I've used the 250 Ohm DT990s off a phone (and an iPod Nano). Gets plenty loud, but an amp does make it sound better.

Awesome, so I could get the 250ohm version and a Fiio E17K and be pretty well off then. That seems to be a great combo, but I'd love to hear if there's a better DAC for the price.

razer kraken 1 $50

I personally like my ATH-M50s but there are probably better headphones out there. These things are built very well, so I will give it that.

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so I guess your question is what does impedance actually mean. Well the higher the impedance the stiffer the diver. Aka the faster the diver resets to zero and less over shoot. Think of a steel sheet vs a fabric sheet. The steel is snappy and precise. The fabric not so much. The thing about impedance is that higher ohm doesn't mean you need more power. It means it's more resistive to voltage change. Which means you need a high impedance out put to really drive high impedance headphones not more power. So will 250ohm work on a phone. Maybe. Will it work as well as something that has a high impedance output no. So if you can take advantage of high impedance use it. If not it's not the end of the world. As for powering them off your phone that's a stretch. You will notice quite a difference. Fiio ek17k is fine. There are other much better portables but they are more expensive then your headphones.

I"m just going to come out and say the Philips SHP9500.

I got these because of the high praise for them, and HOLY CRAP, WTF!? Let me preface this by saying I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Sennheiser HD558's. With proper amping, they are absolutely amazing, and for what I use them for, I even like them more than headphones that cost 3 times as much. The key here is proper amping. I've tried some amp/dac combos where they sound just...too harsh for my taste, while others sound absolutely stunning.

The Philips SHP9500 are my HD 558's with more bass, and are more consistent on their sound quality across a wider selection of amps. The only thing my HD 558's win at is sound-stage, and easily replaceable ear-pads, and that is REALLY stretching it. Seriously, if I were to do a blind A/B, I would probably pick the Philips.

But don't just take my word for it:

Also The ATH-M40x are suppose to be REALLY amazing, better than the M50's. He praises the M40x's for being amazing closed headphones, but still puts the Philips on top if you include open back. Here again though, is also more praise for the Philips:

32ohm will work best for phones. Unelss you want to spend extra money on a amp or amp/dac combo, I would recommend buying the 32ohm set. For a general rule, (as far as I understand anyway) the lower the ohm the less power it takes to drive them.

Just to sort of piggy-back on your comment, I have the DT 770s and the DT 880s (premium, 250 Ohm) and I'm not sure what the price difference is over in the US, here in the UK the 770s are cheaper, but sometimes deals on the 880s make them a much better deal. The 770s definitely have more bass if that's your interest, but they clamp down hard and as a closed-back headphone, they're really isolating, to the point where they can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable after several hours.

Personally I'd suggest the 880s if they're within the price range, but if not 770s are still the best option I'd imagine. Unlike with Sennheiser and many other decent headphone manufacturers, Beyerdynamic build really durable, and easily repairable headphones. A pair of sennheisers are now cracking on both sides of the ears because they're plastic, and after 4 years of use, that just kinda happens. With Beyerdynamic, ordering parts is easy and repairs are simple. You can't go wrong.

No dac or amp, then the HP150. If you have a decent amp, then the K7xx or the Sennheiser model that Massdrop is selling.

This is what I have.
Without a doubt the best cans I have ever heard. I think you may be used to the over-blown bass in most audio products. Patented varimotion two layer diaphragm for sparkling highs and ACCURATE bass response. The bass is very good and if you need more, CRANK IT UP!

These headphone are made for professional music producers by one of the best producers that need to hear everything without their speaker coloring the music. Most headphones crank up the volume and the bass so when morons comparison shop at BestBuy they will say, "I tried them all and the Beats sound the best", when in fact the Beats just sound louder and louder always seems better.

They also have a microphone on the cord for phone use, but I have another mic I prefer for gaming.

This sounds like the ones you want but they are a bit over $200. Green? $220, Black $240, White $244.

Thank you to everyone who has made suggestions so far it's greatly appreciated. I've looked at all of your suggestions and I'm still leaning towards the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250ohm variant. With that said I'm still open minded and I look forward to hearing what more suggestions.

@AngryNun Thank you for clarifying on impedance as this was a new term for me.

@Cort_Byron I haven't had a chance to look into your suggestions yet, but I'll try to soon.

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The best thing about my Quincy Jones AKG headphones is the clarity. There have been many times when I said "I have been listening to this track for 10 years, and I never heard that instrument before." They transform every listen into the first time again.

But as these are my first premium headphones, I'm sure many other brands such as the Beyerdynamic will do that too.
Happy Listening!

Did a bit more research and I decided that I'm going to try the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80ohm headphones. Looking into the bass seems to be more pronounced than the 250ohm and the treble is supposedly the smoothest of the 770's lineup. I'm still looking into DAC's to use them to their full potential. So feel free to recommend the best DAC prefferably USB or Thunderbolt powered for around $100.

I've been posting this sorta all over and just came back from a Thanksgiving vacation (so odds are you've already made your purchase) but... The Hifiman Edition S are on sale for $150 (Down from 250) for Cyber Monday right now. They're worth considering if anyone is in the market.