$200 headphones Recommendations

Hi. I’m pretty new to the headphone world and I’m trying to figure out what my first real purchase will be. I already own a pair of Sennheiser HD1 (Used to be called momentum 2.0, the wired over ear version) and although good looking, their sound doesn’t cut it.

I don’t know enough about terminology but I really enjoy vocals and treble (I appreciate a good bass though) and I think I would like more imaging than soundstage. I don’t mind either open or closed back (or ohms). My budget is around $200 but it can stretch to $300 (I live in Canada so taxes and other shenanigans add up pretty quick).

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Hmm, something like the dt880 would work well, but they do have a wider soundstage.

If you want something light and airy to try out, the audio technica ad700x is pretty good, but it’s fit and sound is not for everyone

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Thanks for the reply! I actually like soundstage, I’ve just heard that it can compromise imaging at this price point. I see that the dt880 come in 3 different ohms, do you know if that changes their sound on any way?

So you will want to aim towards the 250 ohm or 600 ohm if your amp can handle it. The 32 ohm is harsh and not really that detailed. The 600 ohm is the most detailed with the most even response. The 250 is also fine just a little less detailed.

Also you would want to look at the “premium version”, as it has a straight cable and lighter clamp compared to the pro version which as a coiled cable and tighter clamp

What would you be using to drive the 880?


Thanks for the tip, and I am planning to buy an amp along with the headphones. I was looking at the fiio k3 but I don’t know if it can even push 250 ohms. What amp would you recommend? (I am also thinking about the possibility of saving money until I can afford the HD 600’s instead and I know those headphones required 300 ohms)

I would recommend spending a bit more for the fiio K5 Pro, as it’s a killer amp that can pretty much power most headphones really well

58X jubilee fit the bill. I think they land somewhere around 250 after taxes and duties. May want to double check though. Not demanding to drive at all, they also scale well if you upgrade to a dac / amp. These even get reasonably loud off of a smart phone.

Thanks guys, I actually managed to extend my budget to $400 so I guess I can afford the likes of m1060’s or sundaras. What would you recommend?

Cant speak for the sundara’s but i do prefer the 58x over the 1060 i had and the he 400i. I like the 1060c for some things but they are just way too heavy to wear at my pc for any period of time.

What type of amplification are you running? Might be better to roll some of that budget into amplification and dac if you are without.

For $400 58x, maybe the Blon b20 or m570? Still haven’t heard them just wanted to bring them up to see what everyone else thinks about the.

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1)Fostex T50RP(The semi closed back) with Vmoda cable and pad change .

  1. Fostex T60RP. Fostex made a better version of their existing cans and it has wooden cups.

The above headphones are 50ohm and will require an amp to really see what they are capable of.

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If you really enjoy treble, the sundara is great. Very detailed, not that amp picky, comfortable, and fairly refined for the price. I would say that’s a great option for what you are looking for

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My motherboard comes with this “TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier” and it’s advertised to be able to drive up to 600 omhs headphones. So I was planning to spend the big money on the headphones and then save up for an external amp.

I’ve watched many good reviews about them but the only thing keeping me away from them are the many quality control horror stories I read in Amazon reviews. Do you think is worth taking the risk?

I personally do because the headband snapping isn’t a concern with the sundara, they use known and replaceable cables, the build is fairly solid on them, and hifiman is actually pretty good if you need to rma them. I think it’s worth it

Also if you are getting them from Amazon there is a good return period if you didn’t like the sound of another aspect of them

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How well do the HD 600/660 and the dt1190 stand compared to the Sundara? (I realize 2 of those headphones are $200 more expensive lol).

I would say it comes down to preference imo. So with the 600 and 650, the midrange has great timbre and detail, and is neutral yet warm, but the bass and treble are rolled off making for a more relaxed sound that some may not enjoy. Also not the best for imaging and soundstage imo. Also they are kinda picky when it comes to amps so that’s something to take into account. The 660 is more exciting with less midrange detail but better highs and lows and better imaging, and is less amp picky. I actually feel that the 650 has a better timbre and is more detailed with the right amp, but the 660 is no slouch. All the senns have excellent build and comfort so no real worry there.

The dt1990 is more detailed overall compared to the senns and the sundara imo, and is also a brighter sound too, with great imaging and soundstage, but might be fatiguing for some since it is a more aggressive sound, but something you might like as well. They work well with most amps. Comfort and build is great so no issues there imo.

Comparing the 1990 to the sundara, the sundara has a more light and airy quick sound thats more intimate. The 1990 has a more aggressive sound that’s a bit farther away but still fairly even but bright. The bass on the 1990 is more satisfactory imo unless you like very quick bass that the sundara can provide, but I wouldn’t say the sundara is bass light per se.

Comparing the sundara to the 660 which I think you would prefer over the 600 or 650 based on what you want, I think the 660 is a much more warm sound compared to the sundara which is somewhat bright tilted. I think the sundara is more detailed then the 660 imo but the 660 has a more full sound.

I should also say that I think the build on the 1990 and 660 is better then the sundara, and depending on your head potentially more comfortable. I think the sundaras are fine regarding build and comfort but the 660 and 1990 just feel more solid and might be a bit more comfy.

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Thank you for the detailed answer. I settled for the dt1990’s and man, these cans are great. I’m Using my motherboards onboard amp so my next purchase will be a more capable one. Do you think the fiio k5 is good enough or should buy a liquid spark with a dedicated dac?

I would say it depends. The liquid spark is a bit more colored with a warmer sound with slight roll off in the highs which might be helpful if you find the 1990 a bit too harsh.

The k5 pro is a bit more transparent I would say. If you wanted even more transparency the jds labs atom is great.

For the liquid spark you could get the topping d10 or smsl m100 dac and have an excellent setup

Honestly the stacks mentioned above and the k5 pro are both great and will serve you well, so I would say it comes down to price and preference. Personally I would lean towards the more fun sound of the spark, but some people like a less colored amp

Also glad you enjoy them :+1: