Open-Back's under $200

(crossposted from r/headphoneadvice)

Hello! I have developed a new interest in the world of the audiophile, and I am looking for a pair of open-back headphones to match that interest.

Budget: Preferably below $200

DAC/AMP: Fiio K3 (maybe need another suggestion on this? DAC/AMP below 100)

How the Gear Will be Used: Gaming, Music Listening. I do need open back, as I stay home alone and need to hear things going on downstairs.Preferred tonal balance: I like a nice, punchy bass. Other than that, fairly balanced

.Preferred Music Genre(s): I listen to everything from Rap to the Rolling Stones, and lots in between (Alternative, Electronic, LoFi, Rock, Rap, and others I’m forgetting)

Past Gear Experience: Logitech G430 (what i liked: it put out sound :P); Current Setup is ATH-M50 (non-x’s) through a Behringer UM2. The M50’s are pretty comfy, but the pads could be better and I get fatigue from them easily.

What aspect of your current listening experience would you like to improve?: Overall Sound Quality, initial dive into the world of the Audiophile

Right now, I have looked at the HE400i, Fidelio X2HR, DT 990 PRO, DT 990 edition 600 OHM, DT 880 PRO, DT 880 Edition 600 OHM, HD58X, HD 6XX,HiFiMan HE4XX.

I’m currently leaning toward the DT 990 Pro, the DT 880 Pro, and the HE4XX’s



Edit 1: Added HD58X and HD 6XX to the “looked at” list
Edit 2: Added HiFiMan HE4XX
Edit 3: Links and what I’m leaning Toward

firwst off no amo dac under $100 can support 600 ohms but the k3 i great and the best all rounder headhine IMO is the 58x in this rice point but if you want something fun the fidelios are definitely a great option

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I heard the 58x was a little weak on bass, is that true or…?

Edit 1: Also, thanks for the tip off on the K3 output
Edit 2: Would it be better to spend the extra 50 and get a Seperate DAC and AMP like this one from massdrop?

It’s honestly not that bad bass wise. It also takes decently well to eq, so I don’t think that will be an issue. The HD6xx/650/600 is noticably bass light, but I have no issues when using the 58x listing to bass heavy music. The HE4xx/400i is also very good for bass slam, and has a little more then the 58x if you are looking for a focus on bass performance.

Edit: I also prefer the sound of the k3 over the O2 because of the features

If you wanted a killer dac/amp setup, perhaps consider a topping d10 and jds atom or liquid spark stack. Will be better then both the O2 and k3

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A set of AKG K7XX should be added to the considered list. Better bass slam than a HD series set, lighter than the hifiman stuff, and extremely open. Used sets are a bargain at under $100 and are very easy to drive

If your really into bass like I am I would say they are somewhat bass light. I’m not a audiophile I’m not about “listening to music the way it was meant to be listened to” I’ll pump whatever frequency I feel like. If you want a bass heavy open back look into the fidelio x2. But if you just want a little more bass the he4xx is an excellent option. Also I would say spending the extra $50 would really open up your choices .

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Imo the 58x and the 4xx are a higher tier of headphone then the k7xx, but the soundstage on the 7xx is great if you value that.

also I forgot to say I can’t confidently say that the o2 would be able to power 600 ohm beyers but should be able to power headphones like the he 4xx very well or a 250 ohm 990

Thanks for all your replies! I think i’m going to get a D10 and a JDS Atom instead of the K3. I haven’t heard a lot of comments on the beyers though, is there a reason for that? Are they not as good as the HE4XX’s or others I mentioned in my post?
Thanks again!

They are a different type of sound, and seem to be more polarizing then other headphones, especially the dt990, but are also solid choices. I personally like the 880 600 ohm more then the 990, and the 250 ohm version of the 880 is also good.

If I was doing anything regarding production or editing of sound, I would pick the 880 over the 58x or 4xx. If I was mainly gaming and cared about competitive, I would go with either the 58x or 880/990 depending on the type of game. If I wanted a music enjoyment can, I would go for the 58x or the 4xx over the 880. If I wanted bass slam, I would go for the 4xx over the 880 and 58x. If I wanted more high end, I would go for the 880 ( or 990 if you really like emphasized highs) or possibly the 4xx since while the highs aren’t really elevated, they are detailed. If I wanted a warmer sound, I would go for the 58x.

There are many more scenarios I could list, but it mainly comes down to your preference and what you want

The 58x and the dt line are well built and durable, also fairly comfortable, but the dts don’t have a removable cable, and the cable isn’t as nice as the 58x cable, but it’s longer. The 58x also might be a bit clampy for some out of the box, but it should get looser.

Some people dislike the he4xx headband, but I really didn’t have a problem with that style of headband. I find the he400i headband more comfortable though. It also feels nice, and has an ok detachable cable.

If I want bass slam I would go with a closed back or a Fidelio X2

I should have mentioned this, I was only comparing the 3 listed

Okay, I do care about competitive gaming quite a bit, and the 880’s seem like a good balance between good music listening and competitive gaming cans. I’m thinking of going the route of Liquid Spark, Topping D10, and Beyer Edition DT 880 600 OHM, does that seem right?

You may want to consider the jds atom amp over the spark in this case just because the atom is rated to handle 600 ohms. While the spark would probably work just fine and have no issues, it’s only officially measured up to 300 ohms. Just something to take note of, but realistically I don’t think there would be an issue with the spark. It would put out about the same power at 600ohms if I calculated it correctly.

Pretty sure the spark packs more power than the atom anyway

Yes, but when you calculate at 600 ohms it comes out pretty close, otherwise the spark has more power in the lower impedances

I would go with the 58x and if the bass is still not to your liking you can EQ or Mod them (pad roll and driver mod both can increase bass on the 58x)

tbh I would say the 58x and 880 600ohm have similar lower bass performance, but the 880 pulls slightly ahead on subbass. The driver mod is a nice mod to do, but imo changing the pads kinda messes up the sound

I truly love my HE4XX. Such a smooth and relaxed sound, no harshness whatsoever. If anyone ever asks me this question, that’s my answer. If people ask me for a budget audiophile product in general, that’s what I point to. I think most people could listen to that headphone and never feel like they would need another one. That’s people outside this hobby who are sane of course.

I also recc the 4xx. The only downside is that it’s not really ideal for competitive gaming, if people do a lot of that.