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Looking for neutral budget headphones
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Looking for neutral budget headphones

My ATH-M40X headphones are starting to rattle on the right side.

Ideally they'll be in the $100 price range or less. Considering Superlux, Monoprice, maybe something by Sennheiser. The brand itself isn't too important as long as the headphones sound good and neutral (though I'd rather not buy more Audio Technicas because I don't like the proprietary cable).

Cable has to be replaceable.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
Are you looking for open-back or closed-back? What are these headphones going to be used for? Mixing? Tracking? You need to be a bit more specific.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gosef View Post
Are you looking for open-back or closed-back? What are these headphones going to be used for? Mixing? Tracking? You need to be a bit more specific.
Mixing and tracking. Preferably closed back.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
MandoBastardo's Avatar
If you've been happy with the M40X, then AT-M20X might be even better. At least when calibrated. Sonarworks rate the M20X (8.1), higher than the M40X (7.4) when calibrated. But dat cable thing... oh well...

The iSK HD9999 is well regarded. Needs calibration/correction with sonarworks or morphit tho.

Or maybe the Mackie MC-250... if you get a good pair and use correction.

Other decent closed back are way above budget. If you're willing to open up to open cans, the Beyer DT-880 or Senn 600/650 can be found under $200 used.

Headphones are so personal that purchasing somewhere with a great return policy is vital or in-store listening. Oh wait... there is no in-store demos of headphones anymore... maybe there are no returns either. Brave new frightened world.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by MandoBastardo View Post
If you've been happy with the M40X, then AT-M20X might be even better. At least when calibrated. Sonarworks rate the M20X (8.1), higher than the M40X (7.4) when calibrated. But dat cable thing... oh well...

The iSK HD9999 is well regarded. Needs calibration/correction with sonarworks or morphit tho.

Or maybe the Mackie MC-250... if you get a good pair and use correction.

Other decent closed back are way above budget. If you're willing to open up to open cans, the Beyer DT-880 or Senn 600/650 can be found under $200 used.

Headphones are so personal that purchasing somewhere with a great return policy is vital or in-store listening. Oh wait... there is no in-store demos of headphones anymore... maybe there are no returns either. Brave new frightened world.
I'm open to stretching the budget as well if I have to. I don't know how open I am to buying used cans though. Not a hygiene thing though. More of an issue with counterfeit headphones being around (I've been put off buying Sennheiser stuff of eBay after being sold a fake MKH416). Don't know about those two, but there are a lot of fake MDR7506s. I'm open to using those too, but they look like they're pretty hyped.

I have a pair of those cheap Monoprice "Hi-fi Premium DJ" headphones or whatever they call that $20 model with the removable cable. Sonarworks has a calibration for that one, but I can't imagine the headphones will actually become good.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Lunar Attic's Avatar
AKG K-271 MkII - Circumaural, closed back, vinyl and/or velours ear pads, replaceable (mini XLR) straight and/or coiled cable. Under ninety bucks.

Perfect for tracking. Light, comfy, non head-squeezing cans. I would use them for mixing if I wouldn't have my equally nice, open back AKG K-612 Pro's. (Just over a hundred bucks.)


T
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I'm open to stretching the budget as well if I have to. I don't know how open I am to buying used cans though. Not a hygiene thing though. More of an issue with counterfeit headphones being around (I've been put off buying Sennheiser stuff of eBay after being sold a fake MKH416). Don't know about those two, but there are a lot of fake MDR7506s. I'm open to using those too, but they look like they're pretty hyped.

I have a pair of those cheap Monoprice "Hi-fi Premium DJ" headphones or whatever they call that $20 model with the removable cable. Sonarworks has a calibration for that one, but I can't imagine the headphones will actually become good.
Those monoprice are pretty good for tracking (especially in their price range), but I only mix with them when they're what I bring with me in the field. Definitely not neutral, nor very representative of dynamics. I'd keep those for tracking and invest a bit more into getting a good pair of mixing headphones in the ~$150-$200 price range (DT880, HD650, etc).

I've heard a lot of bold claims for budget wonders, but the only one's I've used that live up to the hype are the legendary AKG 240 and some Superlux cans (668 or 681, whichever is supposedly more neutral). Heard isk has some great fairly priced stuff which wouldn't surprise me. I've been tempted time and time again by their Beyerdynamic DT-880 inspired HF2010 cans.

I've found it's hard to find all arounders in the budget range, but you can definitely find budget options that do one or two things well. Monoprice 8323 for tracking, K240 for referencing/mixing etc.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
MandoBastardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I'm open to stretching the budget as well if I have to. I don't know how open I am to buying used cans though. Not a hygiene thing though. More of an issue with counterfeit headphones being around (I've been put off buying Sennheiser stuff of eBay after being sold a fake MKH416). Don't know about those two, but there are a lot of fake MDR7506s. I'm open to using those too, but they look like they're pretty hyped.

I have a pair of those cheap Monoprice "Hi-fi Premium DJ" headphones or whatever they call that $20 model with the removable cable. Sonarworks has a calibration for that one, but I can't imagine the headphones will actually become good.
If you can stretch the budget and open the cans, there's the (mass)Drop Sennheiser 6xx for $220 - same as the 650 - but more stylish paint. Or the drop Senn 58X for $170 - re-engineered 580(ish).

If no opening is available... there's the new closed AKG 371, which benefits from correction/calibration.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
I don't plan to use the Monoprice ones for mixing (at least not those $15 ones, the 8723 or w/e), I have them for tracking and just as music headphones.

iSK has a closed back model called the HP980 which looks to be similar to the AKG K271.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 
MandoBastardo's Avatar
Since you've decided to up your budget... you did didn't you? Maybe it was just me... Have you considered the Ollo Audio S4Rs or the S4 open version? I'm curious about the latter... maybe not enough to purchase them now tho. ;-)

Another option that people seem to enjoy (more than me) is the Denon AHD2000. Still out-of-budget, because I'm happy to (over)spend your money today.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
You sure as hell don't need to spend $200 for very good headphones. AKG 240s, Senn HD280s, and Sony 7506 clock in $100 or less and highly regarded and more neutral than the bass-heavy ATs.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
For now I just decided to get the iSK HD-9999 since I only record myself. Once I have a more professional set up and location I'll invest in something better. I think for home studio purposes the iSK headphones will be fine.

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 3 weeks ago at 06:01 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
You may be surprised how far they carry you -
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

I'm in love with my AKG240 Studio. Not as neutral as higher end gear, of course, but if you get to know them after taking a look at the average frequency response, you're good to go imo.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
The iSK headphones arrived. They're a bit bright, but the mid dip isn't too bad. The brightness is only noticeable when driven by an interface. I paid quite a bit more than I care to admit because iSK Pro Audio is always out of stock when I'm looking for new headphones, had to order from Runaway in the UK. Most of the actual extra price was expedited shipping and a duties, so the actual unit price wasn't much different.

It's not a harsh brightness or anything, they just have a noticeably airy sound, though that also might be the pads, I'm using the bigger ones, which I think people have described these bigger ones as having a more open sound stage. I tried the headphones with Sonarworks' calibration. Not sure what I think, definitely more accurate to what you would hear (makes me think more like original recording vs finished mix), I don't think it change the sound too much for individual tracks, but definitely makes multiple layered tracks sound different, I don't want to say they sound "cramped", but there's definitely less seperation of instruments, though that's not necessarily a bad thing, that is what I'd expect a recording to sound like before everything is EQ'd.

Also bonus points for the mini XLR to 3.5mm. I'd prefer 3.5mm to 3.5mm, but the mini XLR will work for other stuff too. I really hate 2.5mm to 3.5mm though, and proprietary cables (that's why I didn't bother with a replacement cable for my ATH-M40X, plus the whole rattling thing, my coiled ATH-M40X cable actually snapped on the 3.5mm end after a couple months, and I'm not particularly rough)

None of this will matter to the casual user (or less invested YouTuber/streamer/content creator), you definitely need a decent DAC to hear the airyness. These are definitely gonna be my at home headphones for most stuff, I'll just use the ATH-M40X when I go out.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MandoBastardo View Post
If you can stretch the budget and open the cans, there's the (mass)Drop Sennheiser 6xx for $220 - same as the 650 - but more stylish paint. Or the drop Senn 58X for $170 - re-engineered 580(ish).

If no opening is available... there's the new closed AKG 371, which benefits from correction/calibration.
I ended up buying the AKG K361 after reading your recommendation. No calibration profile for them. There is for the K371 like you said though


I also bought a pair of ATH M40x . So im deciding which to Keep.

I think the ATH sound more entertaining and "full". but sound like theyd be next to impossible to mix on if ever needed. the ear cups are TINY, smaller and almost as shallow as the K371 which is crazy. but the bass response is nice. I dont have money for sonar works.

361 are FAR more comfortable, better sound stage, better to mix on. No calibration profile & questionable Quality Control with build quality. Worse earcup seal though

idk what to do
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Head
I'd return both, and get a dt880. You can get em used for ~$100, and all parts are replaceable. Use the extra money on sonarworks maybe. Just my 2 cents.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Nut
 
MandoBastardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 80 out of 8 View Post
I ended up buying the AKG K361 after reading your recommendation. No calibration profile for them. There is for the K371 like you said though


I also bought a pair of ATH M40x . So im deciding which to Keep.

I think the ATH sound more entertaining and "full". but sound like theyd be next to impossible to mix on if ever needed. the ear cups are TINY, smaller and almost as shallow as the K371 which is crazy. but the bass response is nice. I dont have money for sonar works.

361 are FAR more comfortable, better sound stage, better to mix on. No calibration profile & questionable Quality Control with build quality. Worse earcup seal though

idk what to do
Morphit, is a good alternative to Sonarworks, only 39 euros (but in brexit bucks is probably still alot). And no comp curves for the 361 either.

However, Frans at diyheaven tested the 361 and 371 - the 361 FR is close enough that a modded 371 profile could work. Frans has a TP mod for the 361 that gets really close to the 371 upper mids. Worth a try - even if you have to steal a roll of the premium stuff.

Morphit does have a comp profile for the M40x. But comfort is the #1 thing in phones. I know - after over a decade with the AKG 240DF or as I used to call them, Cruel Ears. Linear revealing phone, wrapped in pain and suffering. ;-)

The DT-880 is good suggestion as well - but needs compensation - it's not Mt. Beyer, but definitely in the foothills. ;-)

The Senn (Drop) HD58X is another good option. But, again, an open design.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Lives for gear
open for mixing......perhaps sennheiser HD*** something

closed for tracking (and it doesn't even have to be good) just enough to hear what you're doing

you can mix on anything as long as you listen to a SH*T-TON of music on them.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Cap'n Spanky's Avatar
 

For tracking (and mixing), I'd pick the $70 Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro Studio Headphones. According to Sonarworks, these perform better than many high-end models with the calibration software turned on.

https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/revi...review/#rating

I think the down-side to these may be comfort.
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