Open back headphones advice?

  • Thread starter RöyksoppForever
  • Start date
R

RöyksoppForever

Enthusiast
Alright

I’m looking for a top quality pair of open headphones for listening to music at desktop/PC. An added bonus for watching movies I suppose but 90%+ of use will be for music listening

I’m not an audiophile by any stretch so thought I would post on here for some advice

I’ve been using the CAL2’s now for years which are a decent set of cans. I like the fact they’re lightweight and super comfortable and have a punchy bass like the original CAL’s. I’m looking for something more high end now though with more clarity and detail, something that will enhance my listening experience

Apart from preferring the sound of open cans, I’ve tried several closed cans before and get some ear fatigue so comfort is a must

I mostly listen to electronic music (stuff like Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Ital Tek, Forest Swords to name a few), I know that’s not super important but my point is I’m not listening to techno or hardcore stuff where bass is maybe more prominent

Ideally I would like a set I can plug straight into the port on my PC tower and not have to buy a DAC or an amp, I’m not really wanting to get too deep into audiophile territory

The top end of my budget would be ~£300


In my brief research so far I’ve identified the following as potential candidates:

https://sites.google.com/view/headphoneadvice/open-back-headphones/hifiman-he400i

https://sites.google.com/view/headphoneadvice/open-back-headphones/sennheiser-hd600

https://sites.google.com/view/headphoneadvice/open-back-headphones/sennheiser-hd650


I like what I’ve read so far on the Hifiman ones, can anyone vouch for these?

Where it says in the Hifiman link, ‘amplifier requirement – yes’, do we take this literally? Will the headphones work perfectly fine just plugging straight into my tower’s audio jack with my onboard sound or will there be any compromise?

Otherwise, any other suggestions?

I appreciate all feedback and responses

Cheers
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I would recommend that you try the Grado SR80e headphones apart from the already stated ones. They have a better low frequency response than the Senheiser's.

I own a pair of the previous SR80 model. I love them. They have a very smooth overall response.

 
R

RöyksoppForever

Enthusiast
They most likely will work straight from your motherboard but you might not unlock their full potential. I personally prefer those Senheiser you have listed over Hifiman. HD600 are more neutral and HD650 have slightly darker sound signature. If you are going for HD650 you might want to consider these https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-sennheiser-hd6xx?referer=4568TG&mode=guest_open

Cheers for the response

I've noticed the HD6xx's exhibit an impedance of 300 ohms. Would it therefore be a 'risk' driving them straight from my motherboard without the use of an amp?

What about the Sennheiser HD599, do you have any thoughts on these cans? At a glance it looks as though they sit at about 50 ohms so I'm wondering if that will make them a 'safer' bet driving straight from my motherboard?

Ta
 
R

RöyksoppForever

Enthusiast
I would recommend that you try the Grado SR80e headphones apart from the already stated ones. They have a better low frequency response than the Senheiser's.

I own a pair of the previous SR80 model. I love them. They have a very smooth overall response.


Thanks for the response

What about the Grado SR325e's, this is a pair I've stumbled across on my research. Any thoughts on these per my requirements or would you stick with the SR80e's?

Cheers
 
eljr

eljr

Audioholic Chief
I like what I’ve read so far on the Hifiman ones, can anyone vouch for these?
i can but i have the 500 not 400

I also have teh HD 600 from sennheiser, skip it.

I like the Grado GS1000e best of the 3 and it's open but it's more than double the price you are looking at
 
afterlife2

afterlife2

Audioholic Warlord
I love my Senns 58x from massdrop. Clear treble and tight bass. A true bargain for 150$. Now 170 still a bargain:
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Cheers for the response

I've noticed the HD6xx's exhibit an impedance of 300 ohms. Would it therefore be a 'risk' driving them straight from my motherboard without the use of an amp?

What about the Sennheiser HD599, do you have any thoughts on these cans? At a glance it looks as though they sit at about 50 ohms so I'm wondering if that will make them a 'safer' bet driving straight from my motherboard?

Ta
HD600/HD650/HD6XX are all 300 Ohm. I personally have used HD600 straight from motherboard without issues but they would benefit from amping.

HD599 are solid cans but they are in different level than 600 series. Most likely you would get away with them as well. And yes generally lower inpedance cans are easier to drive.
Thanks for the response

What about the Grado SR325e's, this is a pair I've stumbled across on my research. Any thoughts on these per my requirements or would you stick with the SR80e's?

Cheers
Grados are on-ear headphones and don't suit everyone. I personally could not stand them for any longer period of usage.
 
R

RöyksoppForever

Enthusiast
HD600/HD650/HD6XX are all 300 Ohm. I personally have used HD600 straight from motherboard without issues but they would benefit from amping.

HD599 are solid cans but they are in different level than 600 series. Most likely you would get away with them as well. And yes generally lower inpedance cans are easier to drive.

Grados are on-ear headphones and don't suit everyone. I personally could not stand them for any longer period of usage.

Yeah upon research it doesn't seem the Grado's are the most comfortable, I'm most likely going to rule them out

For the build quality and availability on the market I'm probably ruling the Hifiman 400's out as well

For comfort and overall sound quality this leaves me pondering the Sennheiser HD599s along with the 600 series you mention

Again, if the 599s are easier to drive (50 ohms versus 300) I'm maybe leaning towards those (without really knowing my arse from my elbow on the subject)



I'm not sure how to find out exactly the spec of my sound

In the software tab of my AMD Radeon settings it says AMD Audio driver version - 10.0.1.6

I bought this years ago when I had my PC built and haven't added any additional sound cards: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00K8KMAW8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s02?ie=UTF8&th=1


Does that give you any insight into my audio spec of my PC and help ascertain whether the 600s or 650s would drive okay? I mean I could just buy an amp if going for one in the 600 series but don't think those things are going to be cheap


Cheers!
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Yeah upon research it doesn't seem the Grado's are the most comfortable, I'm most likely going to rule them out

For the build quality and availability on the market I'm probably ruling the Hifiman 400's out as well

For comfort and overall sound quality this leaves me pondering the Sennheiser HD599s along with the 600 series you mention

Again, if the 599s are easier to drive (50 ohms versus 300) I'm maybe leaning towards those (without really knowing my arse from my elbow on the subject)



I'm not sure how to find out exactly the spec of my sound

In the software tab of my AMD Radeon settings it says AMD Audio driver version - 10.0.1.6

I bought this years ago when I had my PC built and haven't added any additional sound cards: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00K8KMAW8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s02?ie=UTF8&th=1


Does that give you any insight into my audio spec of my PC and help ascertain whether the 600s or 650s would drive okay? I mean I could just buy an amp if going for one in the 600 series but don't think those things are going to be cheap


Cheers!
Best would be if you can audition them yourself and hear the difference. HD599 are nice cans and good value for the price. HD600 series is step up that for me was worth it but some might say it is not worth it. As for your motherboard it also depends on your expectations so hard to say. You can get nice amp for relatively cheap like this one https://jdslabs.com/product/atom-amp/
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
I would recommend that you try the Grado SR80e headphones apart from the already stated ones. They have a better low frequency response than the Senheiser's.

I own a pair of the previous SR80 model. I love them. They have a very smooth overall response.

Agreed - If you cant afford the SR80s the SR60s will work also at a lesser price. I have the 60s and they are my go to phones.
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
Just to throw another one out there: Philips is releasing their Fidelio X3 sometime this summer:
1591963373576.png


I have the Fidelio X1 and love it - it's a bass heavy open back and has a really fun sound signature. The X2 is even better and I am pretty excited about the X3. If you can find a deal on the X1s or 2s, they are totally worth it!
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
When I purchased my 13" MacBook Pro I received the Beats Studio 3 noise cancelling headphones for free. They last 20 hours between charges, cancel outside noise amazingly well and I can walk all around my home and even outside to the front street and still listen with them. No amp required as they work over bluetooth.


I have spent $3800 upgrading my audio speakers and receiver in the last 6 months and the definition coming out of the Beats Studio 3 headphones with a Tidal subscription is just as good or maybe better in some situations than my giant speakers. :D

I love the tasty sounds these headphones can provide from any room in the house. It's another great option for listening to my music.

 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I own way too many Senns and I vouch for HD600 as my best headphones. My other reference is Austrian AKG K712Pro - extremely comfortable, but I prefer the sound of HD600. If you prefer neutral(accurate) sound, don't think twice get HD600. If you like your headphones to alter the sound to your preferences, then all bets are off.
As for the amp, yes, PC onboard 3.5mm jack hardly has the power to drive 300ohm phones. I use Behringer umc404hd as I got it on a really good deal ($80) and since it, support native balanced out to my JBL monitors.
 
Last edited:
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
When I purchased my 13" MacBook Pro I received the Beats Studio 3 noise cancelling headphones for free. They last 20 hours between charges, cancel outside noise amazingly well and I can walk all around my home and even outside to the front street and still listen with them. No amp required as they work over bluetooth.


I have spent $3800 upgrading my audio speakers and receiver in the last 6 months and the definition coming out of the Beats Studio 3 headphones with a Tidal subscription is just as good or maybe better in some situations than my giant speakers. :D

I love the tasty sounds these headphones can provide from any room in the house. It's another great option for listening to my music.

Tbh I would not recommend Beats to any one as they are highly over priced for the quality they offer. As for speakers part it is a lot more than just buying expensive speakers, you need to setup them correctly and treat your room correctly to get best out of them.
 

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