Headphones < 150€ for symphonic metal

Hello, total newbie here. First and foremost, please excuse any errors, English is not my native language.
I do not know anything about music from a technical point of view, I have always listened to music using very cheap (20€) in-ear headphones, never caring about quality.
Then, few weeks ago, I discovered Nightwish. For me it was like discovering a whole new world, probably because it is sort of a mix of what I have always liked: rock, classical music, film scores. So I have decided that it is worth spending some money to listen to Nightwish “properly”, and by this I mean using decent quality headphones.
My budget is 150€ max ($ conversion is almost 1:1). I know this is a low budget, but this is not my primary hobby and I do not want to spend the same amount of money that I would spend to book a flight and buy a ticket for a Nightwish show.

So, to summarize, I am looking for the best headphones according to the following criteria:

  • 150€ budget
  • Nightwish (and symphonic metal in general, but nothing heavy, I also like folk metal)
  • reasonably durable
  • to be used with PC or smartphone
  • audio sources: online (Spotify, YouTube) and offline (CDs, DVDs of live shows, etc.)
  • portability is not an issue, I will use them 99% of the time at home

I’ll leave here some links to youtube videos showing the music I am going to listen with these headphones:

Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:

You were missing out :smiley:

From my small collection of headphones, I like my AKG K-712 the most for Nightwish. Simply for the way stage and overall signature fit together. The K-712’s are over your budget and not particularly good for portable use.

I don’t have hands on experience, I would imagine AKG K-371 (or K-361) would work nicely.

I would strongly advise against T50RPs (which are hard to drive anyway).

I remember my first Floorgasm as well!

I was missing a whole universe…the YouTube algorithm was useful at least for once.
AKG 712 are well above 200€, so out of my budget. I was looking at the K701, K702 and K612 Pro. However, the K701 and K702 seems to have very pronounced treble (source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ro9j7vGBEQ). The K612 Pro seem to be more balanced but they require an amplifier (which I don’t have).

I have also found other suggestions online, for example: Philips Fidelio X2HR, Grado SR80e, Shure SRH840.

I am find the Emu Purpleheart on Massdrop are for 75$ and is one of the best Headphone for the price.

I have the Dt770 att home an the Emu an love the more as the Dt 770.

Yep, amazing. That woman on stage is incredible, can’t wait to see them live in Milan next year (hopefully, given the pandemic). On stage she looks like Xena, Arwen, and Lagertha all combined into one person. When she screams (together with Marco) at the beginning of “The Last Ride Of The Day” in Wacken 2013, it seems like the beginning of a battle scene in The Lord Of The Rings. I mean it really can’t get better than that…

Hi, I am in Europe (Italy, precisely) so I can’t buy from the USA because import taxes are quite high (+4% of the total cost including shipping, +23% of the total cost including the 4% mentioned before).

From what I read about the K-701 (and K-702), they make for excellent headphones when all you care about is mids and treble. In case of Symphonic (Metal), you want (= need) the bass the K-712 bring on top of the mid and treble.

I have not looked into the K-612’s

Last I checked, the X2HR’s were a rare find in the EU.
Can’t comment on the Grados
The Shure SRH840’s have good reviews. I have not looked into them, they strike me as competition to the AudioTechnica M40x though. So maybe?

I can easily find the X2HR on Amazon.it (https://www.amazon.it/Philips-X2HR-Risoluzione-Facilita-Adattatori/dp/B01N5VHLUG), they cost 135€, I think they’re the 2016/2017 model.
Shure SRH840 should be comparable with AudioTechnica M50x…at least this is what I understood reading reviews and forums.

floorgasm? le what? :smiley:

Haha, OP mentioned listening to a lot of Nightwish: Nightwish has a singer named Floor who is really a phenomenal soprano. Unsuspecting listeners who watch her inevitably get some serious goosebumps when she hits the big note which has been dubbed a “Floorgasm”.


@alphamarshan already explained it perfectly. If you don’t know who Nightwish are, I suggest you to watch some videos of their shows on YouTube. There is so much variety in their music that you will find for sure something you like :+1:

I have read other reviews and listened to some demos on youtube about different headphones (i.e. Shure SRH-840, AKG K702, AKG K371, AKG K361, AKG K612 Pro). Listening to sound demos on youtube is everything I can do since I do not live nearby any store where I can try headphones.
From these demos, I have to say that I like the sound of the K612 Pro and of the K361.
The K612 Pro have a 150 Ohm impedance, so I suppose I should use an amplifier. I have an old Sony TA-AX22 Stereo amp (my father bought it in 1982, max output 60 watt), here are the specs: https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/sony_integrated_stereo_amplif_23.html

If I decide to buy the K612 Pro, can I use this amp instead of buying a new one? I have tested it with very cheap headphones and it works well, of course I have to keep the volume to almost 0 both on the amp and on the pc otherwise the output of the amp is simply too much for the headphones.

ps: I have also noticed that the amp produces quite a lot of background noise, however, I can’t hear it if I keep the volume of the amp low enough (which is what I must do since I connect headphones to it and not huge speakers).

Honestly, no idea. Could try it, and get a dedicated headphone amp later.

No problem, thanks anyway :+1:
I have found an interesting video on youtube where they say that vintage amplifiers are better than new amps for headphones, because the old ones were built for speakers, therefore they have more power and they are built only with resistors, while the new amps are built with operational amplifiers, which are basically transistors (if I recall something from the electronic engineering course).

I have ordered both the AKG K-361 and the AKG-K612 Pro from Amazon…then I’ll keep only one of them.

Kinda sorta. (click to read this, if interested)

There are two amplifying elements that are widely used: Tubes and Transistors.
Regarding Transistors, I wrote this here on amplifier classes.

The better amplifiers on the market are often “DC coupled” meaning a direct current would be flowing through them more or less unchanged. This is often reflected in marketing or features as “No Capacitors in the Signal Path”. If that actually means anything is another discussion.

Op-Amps vs Discrete is a clear win for discrete circuits in most cases. This may change in the next 10 years.

There are also some amazing integrated amplification solutions (TPA6120A2 based RNHP is liked a lot on this forum :wink: )

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