Soundstage and Detail under $300

Hi Everyone, I’ve had the SHP9500 for a month now, they are my first pair of ‘serious’ headphones along with the MH751.

I’ve noticed in the SHP9500 though, is that the bass isn’t all that impressive and instruments in that region tend to fade away or bass gets lost(?) or probably veiled? I paired it with the ifi Zen DAC and the bass boost on it helps the cans a lot.

My question is, what is a good upgrade from the SHP9500? What I’m looking for is even wider soundstage and better detail.

Based on the reviews I’ve watched I’ve been considering these 2:
DT 880 pro 250 Ohm
Hifiman HE400i

I’m still on the fence between the two, in my country, they’re pretty much the same price, though there is more support for the beyerdynamics here (Replacement parts, easy returns, servicing) compared to the Hifimans which only provide a 2week replacement warranty.

Any other suggestions are welcome as long as they are still under $300

Thanks in advance!

Either will be pretty good upgrades the he 400i I find to have wider soundstage and more impressive layering. But the 880 will have better details still a wide soundstage and imaging is much more on point than the 9500s or the 400i

The bass on the 880 goes deep but it has not so much quantity. It isnt boosted. So it’s only there if the music asks for it. Just something to keep in mind. If you don’t mind to EQ or use your bassboost, it should not be a thing.

I remember them to be much much much narrower sound stage. Everything was close.
Did not work in gaming since locating everyone just did not work.

I just wonder is anything as wider than 9500?

Might as well get the drop version. H4XX

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I have the DT880 250 ohm (non-pro, black special edition). It is now my daily driver snd favourite headphones for music. It is also by far the most comfortable headphones I own. Keep in mind that I do use EQ to address the flaws I perceive (more on this below).

Compared to SHP9500 the DT880 doesn’t have a very wide soundstage to me, but it’s there. And it’s a more natural soundstage. There is tons of detail and things sound more natural and less “grainy” than SHP9500. Despite not having a ton of bass, there’s something about the bass which impresses me, it always punchy as heck and really “fast”. The quick decay when it comes to drums, for example, makes everything sound super tight and impactful.

What I don’t like is that mids are quite recessed and vocals feel more distant. Also, treble is way higher than SHP9500 (though not as annoying as my DT990 Pro - I want to retire these headphones badly, waiting for my TYGR 300R to arrive). I adjust the EQ by dialling in just a bit of bass and even more mids, and dialling down treble just enough to keep detail but not making the highs take centre stage.

Depending on your tastes, I highly recommend DT880 - especially if you’re willing to EQ it.

Edit: Slightly misleading to say DT880 is my most comfy headphones because SHP9500 is more comfy to me. DT880 headband lacks a little thickness IMO. However, the clamp is ever so slightly more secure on DT880, which I prefer.

You may also want to consider a used/b-stock Sundara. (Edit: I bought mine b-stock for 285 and am loving it. No complaints whatsoever.)


I agree. Don’t forget, you can always kindly email the manufacturer and say that you would buy B-stock for XX amount of money. Usually they have it but haven’t put it up on sale. Won’t hurt to ask.

Never heard anything about the Phonon on here. Listen, I recommend you have a very close read over at Head-Fi about the SMB-02:
It’s over your 300 USD budget… but just have a read


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The akg k712 and 702 sound wider to me and the 400i and 4xx I find to be quite open.

probably makes sense to stretch to the sundara if you’re already thinking around $300 tbh