Looking for Closed back wired headphones for listening to music

Hello :upside_down_face:

(There is a TLDR at the end)

I am interested in buying headphones for listening to music from my phone. The reason for buying new headphones is to appreciate the music better and fully experience the sounds that I hear. I want to take my enjoyment to the next level. Though, I do have to mention that my budget is a bit tight.

This might be unimportant but I mostly listen to pop, soul and r&b music.

I would be happy if you could recommend me some headphones with the following criteria:

  • Wired
  • Over the ear
  • Closed back
  • Suited for listening to music from my phone
  • under ~170 dollars

I did some research based on the criteria I just mentioned and found out that often these headphones were mentioned in forums and audio sites:

  • Shure: Srh440A
  • Audio-Technica: Ath-M50X
  • Sony: Mdr-cd900st
  • Rode: Rode NTH-100
  • Beyerdynamic: Dt 770 Pro (Many mentioned that it has a harsh treble. I don’t really understand what that means. Would you be able to reduce the ‘harsh treble’ with an equalizer? Also, there are multiple versions based on the impedance (32, 80, and 250 ohms) - which one would I need?)

For the more expensive ones, these were mentioned:

  • Audio-Technica: ATH-A990Z
  • AKG: Pro Audio K553 MKII
  • Beyerdynamic: Dt 700 Pro X
  • Sony: mdr-1am2
  • Audio-Technica: ath-msr7b

BUT keep in mind that I actually want to buy headphones under 170 dollars. I am just mentioning them here to get a better overview of the available headphones on the market in the 250 dollar range. So, I would greatly appreciate it if you could recommend me a headphone under 170 dollars and then one that is a bit more expensive up to 260 dollars.

Until yesterday I was a complete noob regarding anything related to headphones. I would appreciate it if you could explain in simple terms why I should or should not take a headphone. If you have any other recommendations please mention them.

I can’t really say what is important to me in regards to sound quality, clarity, imaging, soundstage (the last two sound really fancy xD), etc. since I don’t really understand what these terms mean since I do not have a reference point. I need to experience the above-mentioned terms to really understand what they stand for. I did research their definition but I still don’t quiet get them.

Also, the only headphones that I own and have ever used are the AKG 371 (I was gifted them).

Through the research I did yesterday and today I saw that IEMs, DACs, and AMPs were sometimes mentioned. Not sure what the latter two really do but I would like to not be required to buy any additional equipment. And I am not interested in IEMs.


TLDR: Please recommend me some closed back wired headphones under 170 dollars that are suitable for listening music from the phone that would take my enjoyment and experience of music to the next level.


PS: If you recommend a headphone it would be great if you could also mention how they compare to the AKG 371 so that I could get a better understanding

PSPS: In what other forum would posting this be beneficial? I saw that there are multiple audio forums on the Internet and I chose this one … randomly. I am considering asking the same question on some other forums to get a variety of answers and perspectives, but at the same time, I don’t want to create spam.

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Tell us about your experience with the AKG K371.

Welcome aboard!

For an easy to drive closed back that sounds pretty good connected to a phone for cheap money, an easy recommend is the Audiotechnica ATH-M40X

Note the 40 in there - not a 50

quite a lot of reviews and recommendations I’ve seen all say that the 40’s just sound better than the 50’s. I’ve not heard the 50’s, but I can vouch that the M40X served me very well for several years before I got bitten by the upgrade bug, and they are among the staple recommendations for people’s first good headphone intro to hifi.

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Thr ATH-M50X was my only headphone for 10 years. They seem to get shunned in audiophile circles, but I still find them a competent set of beginner headphones. I used them for music as well as for monitoring guitar.

And B&H Photo has them on sale for $118!


Well they are amazing in comparison to the flimsy ear buds that I would usually wear to listen to music. I could hear much more detail - they opened a new experience of listening to music for me. They are also comfortable to wear.

Why are you looking for other closed-backs in a similar price range? What would you like to sound different?

Better sound as in the quality, fullness, richness … these are kinda subjective terms but essentially I want to buy another set of headphones in a similar price range where these are better or in a similar range as in the akg 371.

I’ve had the AKG K371 Pro a few times and if you want better than those for sound quality I’d compromise. Get a pair of Yincrow X6 on the ear buds for $12 and you’ll be really happy. I use them for daily drivers and you won’t need an amp, or eq, just plug them into anything and go.
To get better, in that price range, that doesn’t need an amplifier there’s not much to choose from that isn’t a sidegrade. On the ear buds have gotten so good, and these don’t leak sound more than a DT770 does. Also they’re so portable I take them everywhere instead of lugging headphones around. It takes 3 weeks to get them at Aliexpress but at the price it will make most headphones sound like a total ripoff :slight_smile:

If you’re not married to over-ears, you’ll get a lot more sound quality, value and choice from IEMs (in-ear monitors) in your price range than over-ear headphones.

welcome to HFG, FF! :smiley: