Ideal headphone under 200

I’ve had 3 headphones so far, the Samson SR850 and the Fidelio X2HRs, and out of the two I preferred the Samsons as I thought they were a much better deal compared to the X2HRs with some messing around with EQ settings. The X2HRs sounded muddy to me at first, but I got used to them but they didn’t seem like the upgrade that I wanted. I also just got my hands on a KPH30i and I think they’re really good with a slight bass boost and a ton of treble, but they lack detail. I don’t really know if IEMs are a good point of comparison, but I liked the BL03s without EQ and the FiiO FH3 with bass boost and a ton of treble. I’m thinking about a DT770, HD58x, or a HE400i. I don’t really care about anything else, just the sound. I also have a BTR3K to power the headphones.

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If you can stretch your budget by 20 bucks, you can get the HD6XX from Drop. I own the Hifiman Deva, and people said that its the same HE400i - my impressions are mostly positive, however, they are kind of bright and they can get fatiguing. They are very open and detailed, not the best bass response I’ve heard, but not lacking. I love my HD6XX though.

With the BTR3k, I doubt you’ll get much out of planars like the HE400i. You will also need a better source if you want to get the HD6XX (they are kind of power hungry).

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What about Tygr 300r? Your amp doesn’t give a ton. Beyer will give good detail, but Tygr will give more bass and low resistance compared to many Beyers.

Sennheiser 58x has half the impedance and a touch more flesh then rest of 600-series. Can run balanced pretty easy with a new cable and maybe get by without immediate amp upgrade needed that way.

What do you want to listen to on them?

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I saw the Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium were on sale and so I got those because they were well under 200, they were bright, and I think they look the best out of the three I was looking at. I might regret it since they’re 250 ohms and I don’t know if my BTR3k can power them good.

hmm, your headphones of choice here are kinda all over the place with sound signatures lol. What sound signature would you say is your preference? Genre of music? Use case just music?

depending on your country you can actually find those in mint used for like… $100 actually lol. lots of people hate the 990. It’s extremely V shaped and bright so leads to a lot of sibilance and discomfort less you can stand that

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I was thinking that they all had a bright sound, and my most used headphone is the SR850 and they’re sibilant too but I really like the treble on them. I EQ’d them to have more low end so I guess that turned them into a pretty extreme v shape. As long as they look better, sound good enough so I can justify the price, and are about as comfortable, I’ll be happy with them.

They’ll be sitting at my desk, for music, videos, and light gaming. Psych rock/pop

nope, I can elaborate to help you a bit in that… SR850 are bass recessed mids pushed up and treble bright, x2hr are warm they are bassy with a more balanced signature overall just with emphasis on the bass and a slightly peaked treble but more warm than anything… Bl03 is a bit hard for me to classify but id say probably V signatured… the mids are scooped but the highs and bass(especially the bass) are increased just not to a severe degree, FIIO FH3 I am surprised you bass boosted it as it’s more warm… but it does have that small peak on the treble so again either warm or V signature hard call on that one for me as I didn’t have a lot of time with it… just really didn’t like it lol. DT 770s are entirely V signatured to a large degree, 58x is balanced neutral with some touches of warmth, 400i are bright and relatively neutral, 6xx is another neutral headphone(most sennheisers are) but with some other sound characteristics slightly different to the 58x and a narrow soundstage it responds incredibly well to tube amps, tygr 300r are a weird V signature… they are warm ever so slight scoop out in the mids and a slight increase in the treble but more in the bass. 990 are to an absolute extreme degree V shaped

If you like vocals skip V signatures, if you like bass and a balance in your tonalities you definitely want a Warm headphone x2hr just has that issue with muddyness… there are others like meze 99 in your price budget while narrow is quite warm and very comfortable listening… Tygr300r fits into that as well but it responds very poorly to equalization. 770 can turn into a bit of a bass cannon despite the scooped mids but it can be equalized to be better on mids if you prefer. 880 has the most balanced tonality of those 3 beyers as it has good bass great mids and raised highs that aren’t too sibilant being one of the most recommended for brighter headphones in your budget post pad swap 880 may be up your alley in this case. 990 is hard for me to recommend due to that brightness just being far too much for like 85% of everyone I meet lol. 6xx would fit but from the sounds of it you definitely prefer more of a thump to your bass so it may be wise to skip the sennheisers

oh and, yes the btr3k will power 250 ohm beyers… however, do not try the 600 ohm it will not power those. If your getting a beyer make sure if its a DT its the “edition” or “premium” however they want to label it as these have the straight cable

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Some people have said that the SR850s were too bright too, but I enjoy them. I’m guessing I could just EQ the 990’s if I find them too sharp, or just put some foam over the drivers. I’d much rather have a sibilant headphone over a muddy one. If I’m not happy with the 990’s I’ll definitely see if I could take a look at the HE400i or the HD58x.

Also thanks for the description and the comparisons they’re very helpful

brightness depends on the person. Take myself for example I have quite literally zero intolerances to bright headphones whatsoever… meanwhile I have a friend who can’t tolerate even the slightest bit of treble and has to rely on dark headphones. We hear things different and have seperate preferences. If they weren’t too bright for you and fatiguing, and you enjoyed that sound, you may have a preference towards bright headphones… if you liked that added bass well your probably a fan of the V signature then or a Harman tuning(close to the same as a V signature… not so much on the scooping out of the mids).

considering its 250 ohms, equalizing will take more power and you do not have a power house amp to back that up. You may get some eq out of it but not a whole lot.

lol yes this does work as does the toilet paper trick, just keep in mind this will also dial back your bass and deplete some soundstage.

400i probably won’t be what your looking for if you are a fan of bass and 58x is super neutral. They are worth a shot but I have a strong feeling your more suited towards the 770 or 880 in this case. Definitely worth experimenting though see what fits for you.

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How big of a difference are the 880s and 990s? The DT880 Premium is almost the same I paid for the 990s on Amazon, I picked the 990’s over the 880’s because the 990’s were just about sold out

990s as said are an extreme V signature, they are fully open backed with ethereal highs and a lot of bass but heavily recessed on the mids. Lots of detail retrieval, large soundstage, aggressive, great imaging. Here I will post FR graphs of these two that may help. frequencies will be seperated at the bottom between lows(bass) mids(vocals) and highs(treble).

^ DT 990 250 ohm
v DT 880 250 ohm

It’s rather clear that the 990 definitely has more bass and treble but the 880 maintains a more balanced signature with some treble increase. The bass is still present yet impactful on the 880. Both respond to a pad swap quite well and both obtain quite a lot of bass from something such as a pair of suedes. 880s are semi open back though so they aren’t as open and aren’t as good on the imaging and air to the sound

Edit: for good measure… heres a FR graph of your Samson

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I’m imagining with the EQ I have on the Samsons, it’ll look closer to the 990, but I am considering getting both and keeping whichever I liked the best. Do you know anything about instrument separation and the detail between the two? My Samsons are awful at instrument separation and it’s terrible for games because of that.

separation, imaging, and soundstage are typically superb on Beyerdynamics lineup. It’s due to this they get recommended for competitive gaming. Between the two in that regard they would be more neck in neck based on preferences. Tygr, 770, 880, and 990 all respectively share this trait… tygr does as well because it’s actually just the 990 redone up and made to be of a different signature reeled back to 32 ohms much like the mmx300 is actually just the dt 770

As for detail between the two? Due to the major increase to the treble the 990 appears heavily over detailed but the 880 is no slouch either as it’s detail retrieval is also superb just not to such a degree as it is no where near as bright.

Something I feel I should add since your using the btr3k, is that the beyers can also be modded to have a detachable 3.5mm cable… this allows them to make use of a 3.5mm blue tooth dongle making them wireless and giving them the capability to turn into a low latency headphone as well depending on the setup of course but this setup overall takes quite a bit

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I don’t really have a need for bluetooth if they’re gonna be sitting at my desk, and I have next to no soldering experience. I think I’ll stick with the 990’s since they look like they’ll fit my tastes. I don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of returning stuff, returning my X2HRs was already a headache and a half. Thank you for your help, I think I made the right decision blindly buying the 990s lol

eh maybe, they were my first brighter headphone. I like them a lot and used them till I upgraded.

Give them a whirl, should tell you what you would change and the like otherwise hell you may love the 990

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I think the 990 with proper amp and dac is the best headphones under 200, absolutely in love with them. I prefer 990 250 pro even to 880 600ohm.

But just not judge them right of the box, burn in period aprox. 50 hours. From the box the bass will flat and dull, the highs will destroy your brain, midrange will be absent at all. Just give them a time with proper amp. From not expensive amps, asgard 3 is on top with them.

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Hmmmm, driving that with a BTR3K, questionable choice in my eyes!

If you like to have a slightly brighter headphone in the 200$ range, the Sennheiser HD560s would be my choice.
The BTR3 is powerful enough for that one.

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