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Headphones Advice


Looking for headphones advice.

Here is requirements list (sorted by the weight of the preferences. Important on top):

  • [3.5mm] - the bigger one would not allow my Raven case top panel to properly close. 2m cable should be fine.
  • [over ear] - should have plenty of space for my ears (which are big: for example, the Razer Kraken I have are too small)
  • [weight] - The lighter they are the better.
  • [closed-back] - preferred.
  • [use-in-for] - Desktop PC. ALC892
  • [microphone] - Would be nice to have. Rarely used, so would be nice if its folds in or is detachable.
  • [connection] - Preferred to be cabled. Wireless is acceptable(with replaceable, re-chargeable batteries). USB, in all formats is forbidden.
  • [design] - Darker color or wooden texture is preferred.
  • [multi-channel] - don't care for it. its mostly in software anyway.
  • [software] - should be usable without it.
  • [volume/mic control] - would prefer to not have any, or be really non-obtrusive.
  • [price] - less than 100 euro.

Currently looking at Plantronics RIG 600. The only thing I do not like is the cable, which looks pretty flimsy.



Any preference for closed back or open back headphones?

As for the microphone, if you get headphones with a detachable cable you could get a VMODA BoomPro. Good mic and good cable, and you can remove it when not in use.



I did not know what the difference is. A quick Google search fixed that. To be honest I don't think my girlfriend will be too happy with the open-back set. As far as I remember going back, they were always closed back. Also would prefer no volume/mic adjustment thingie, unless its not made from cheap plastic. I will adjust preference list accordingly.

The VMODA models sold here in the Netherlands start from 150 euro, which is quite a lot to ask for a set of headphones. Thank you for the suggestion.



The BoomPro, which is just a mic and cable, is €30 or so it looks like. It's easy to use because it can just plug into most headphones from any brand that have removable cables.

I am not too familiar with headphone prices in Europe, so I'll have to look around at the prices and get back to you on the headphones.



I understand now. I was watching a video review of the thing, waiting for the guy to show the headset, thinking "come on...come on.. oh. Dum me..." :)



In terms of hardware longevity and solidity, the Sennheiser HD205 and HD215 are at the top. These don't look like much, but they are incredibly solid. The HD205 is on-ear, so independent of ear size, but is a high pressure insulating DJ headphones set, so a lot of mids, not really a relaxing music listening experience, and very high SPL. The 215 is something in between a studio set and a hifi set, which is just right for gamers, because things like footsteps or other important little noises are subliminal in hifi sets, and better audible in studio sets, but studio sets are a bit to fatigue inducing for long term music listening. The HD215 is a bit more on the hifi side, but still enough studio-like to offer a full balanced spectrum. The HD215 is over-the-ear and uses big drivers and big cups, and the pressure is not so high because closed back over the ear is insulating enough. The HD215 - in contrast with the HD205 - is therefore a better choice for general use and is also very comfortable to wear.
Advantage of buying a big brand like Sennheiser is that you can always get new pads for a couple of bucks. Other than that, there is no real advantage of one brand over the other, it's not like big brands offer real support on items that are more consumer-priced than aimed at professional buyers.



The HD215 looks good. The HD205 looks a bit small for my ears to be honest.

P.S. - Today I went to our local tech shop / monopoly(mediamarkt) to try some headsets. One of the was the HD215, which did not have a showroom set. The interaction went like this:

Me: Hi, I would love to buy these, but is seem there is no showroom set. Could you un-pack one?
Cust.Rep: No.
Me: So, you are telling me that I cannot try them on, but I can buy them and return them at full price?
Cust.Rep.: We will not refund full price (which, as far as I know is illegal here).
Me: Yes, you will because you even sent me a customer card, which has that as one of the perks. So, now can You open one?
Cust.Rep: No.
Me: Walks out the door...



It's sad right, but it's the same everywhere, so hard to really test a product before buying, especially something like headphones which involves preference and comfort factor.

1 Like


Yeah, Sennheiser is usually a good choice.

It looks like there are some Sony headphones for reasonable prices too, the MDR-ZX660AP and the MDR-XB950AP. The higher end Sony's are well regarded, and these cheaper ones seem to have decent reviews.



Unrelated but nice idea. Deskthority have a moving keyboard or boards to try different boards. The request them in the thread and when it gets to their post it is sent to them from them last person and from them to the next and so on. Means everyone can try a switch type on a board for a week or so and only have to pay the price of shipping.

Something like this for headphones would be really nice. Lot of trust involved though.



I recommend getting regular good headphones and adding "mod mic". (or similar)



Like @Zoltan allready mentioned, Sennheisers in my opinion are pretty good.
But the best way is basicly go to a shop and listen yourself.
Because audio quality is a very personal thing.
I listened to a couple of diffrent Sennheiser models, and in my opinion,
pretty much all of them sounded pretty well for their price points.
Even the cheaper lower budget ones did suprise me.
But of course its all personal, and it also matter on which kind of audio you listen to.



Not sure how the EU headphone market looks like, but I'll list a couple here.

Status Audio CB-1
Audio Technica ATH-M40X. Probably pick up some Brainwavz HM5 pads cuz the stock pads are garbo.
Sennheiser HD 598cs. Reviews have been a bit meh on the overall sound though.



Thank you all of the feedback and recommendations.

I picket up a pair of Audio Technica M50X for about 130 euro, after trying around 20 sets (found a new shop, geared towards musicians). Extremely comfortable and they sound really good. I also like how when you open them the two speakers stay parallel to each other.

On a side note, just spend 1.5 hours re-building my desktop, trying to get the Realtek card working. My first guess was Windows 10, however it does not work on Linux Mint either. In both OSes the card is stuck on "front audio jack" only and no other audio is detected. The HD audio connector is connected to the HD Audio port on the MB. Speakers or headsets are not detected / produce sound in front or rear ports.

At this points it looks like that If I want to use both speakers and headset without having to plug them in or out in the monitor (thank god for that), I need to get a new MB (this would be the second board with Realtek audio to have its audio chip go bad).



Good choice in headphones.

As for the sound card issues, I've had that happen before and the only way to really do anything about it was I had to open the audio playback preferences and set whatever it was that I wanted to use for sound at that moment as the default device.



Tried that. The problem is no matter what I do, only one device is detected, on a non-existent input. This is on multiple OSes. I found a thread with the exact same problem on techpowerup forums. Ended with a MB replacement (twice actually, because who does quality control these days).