Trying to up my audio game, HELP

Hi. I finally have the ability to buy $200-$250 CAD headphones, and I am looking for guidance/recommendations. I currently have the monoprice retros with brainwaves pads, I LOVE THEM. All my music sounds ‘as it should be’ to me, and as zeos says in his review “there just fun”. And I couldn’t agree more. But now that I have a bit more money, I want to experience the next step/level in audio. I game a bit, but I’m more watching streams / listening to music. I also drop my headphones a lot, iv broken many a pair. So id like something a bit more well made.

I like the ‘fun’ sound profile, V or U or Warm seem to be the terms I’m thinking of, but I’m no audiophile or expert, stuff just seems to sound better like that. So where is my next step? Iv looked hard at the x2hr’s, x3’s, dt 770/880/990 pros & TYGR 300 R. And I keep finding myself coming back to the beyerdynamic TYGR 300 R. They are pushing hard on my budget, but I can make em work. BUT…BUTTTTT, is this the right call?

side note Bass is important to me. Gives me the rumbles in my tumbles, BUT, BUT. I DO NOT like bass head cans. Iv heard many, and I dont like it. But iv also heard a few AKGs which almost give me my sound profile, but are always missing the bass (in at least what iv tried/can afford). No bass, no go. But all bass, no go. These monoprice retros give me near EXACTLY what I ‘think’ I want. But due to there cost, I worry im missing a bit of detail maybe? or positioning? I dunno. Thats why I need help. I basically want a ‘better’ retro, are any of the headphones iv mentioned a ‘better’ retro?

Should I just buy 10 more pairs of monoprice retros and be good for life or… like would this be a real ‘step up’ for me? Or am I just splitting hairs at this point and wasting money? Can I ‘stepup’ for less? Maybe something would be a better choice. But for my sound profile, my use cases, and what I’m coming from, the beyerdynamic TYGR 300 R seem like a solid choice. Help me out fam, give me some ideas or tell me if I’m barking up the right tree <3

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Okay, so let me start out by saying that I have never heard the Tygr 300s so someone else is gonna have to help you there. That said, for v shaped tuning in your price range you’re looking at the main contenders that immediately come to mind.

The X2HRs are a solid set with some good low end with the basic tuning profile you’re looking for. What primarily sets them appart from some some of the other sets your looking it IMO is that they are warmer and have less treble energy. You might call them a kinda relaxed set. I only know the Retros based on what I have heard about them, but of all the sets you’ve named I think the X2HRs seem like the most direct upgrade that will have a similar tuning and warm tonality, but with more detail and better performance in things like imaging, layering, separation, etc.

When it comes to the Beyerdynamic sets, I have experience with all three of those you named, but before I go into them I need to ask what you’re planning to plug them into? The Beyers come in various impedances and what you’re plugging into will effect which, if any, people would recommend. So tell me/us what you’ll be using them with and we can go from there.

As for the X3s, I personally find them to be inferior to the X2HRs and I wouldn’t recommend them. I’ll leave it at that.

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First, thank you for the detailed response all ready ‘bows in thanks’. I am currently using my motherboard audio, nothing special. Due to my budget, I would be willing to get like a cheap $100-150 fiio amp or something. x2hr was my #1 contender UP UNTIL I read many people having there plastic joint/hinge/rotational plastic nub thingy break on em. And with my habit of damaging stuff, it made me a bit worried. But yes, after my research, the x2hr’s seem to hit all my sound profile wants, it was just that hinge that worried me. Those Beyerdynamic look to be all metal I think. and the 300r being low ohm should be powered easy from my mobo I thought? If I was to get a 770/880/990 it would be whatever was available around my price range at whatever ohm’age. I saw the 80 and 250 I think in there.

P.S I can get EXACT options if you need them

Hmm, I didn’t know the X2HRs had that problem. They aren’t one of the headphones that I think of as having quality control issues that I see being brought up over and over again, but it’s definitely something to take into account when purchasing.

The reason I mentioned the source issue is because with the DTXXX series of Beyers the lower impedance versions are generally not as good as the higher versions. In specific, most people agree that the 250ohm versions are better than the 80ohm versions and that the 32ohm versions should be ignored. For your sound signature preferences I would also ignore the 880s as they are more balanced and don’t have the v shaped tuning you seem to prefer.

I have owned the 250ohm versions of the DT770s and DT990s and the 80ohm version of the DT990s too. In my experience, the 250ohm versions have a less intense treble than the 80 ohm versions and since the Beyers border on being too much treble energy for me and many others to begin with, the 250 ohm version seems to be the way to go. That said, the 250ohm version will undoubtedly require an amp to drive them. I have heard some people say that the difference isn’t as noticeable in the 770s as it is in the 990s so if you went with the 770s the 80ohm version might be just fine and, depending in your mobo, they might be able to be used without an amp or be good enough to give you time to get an amp.

The Tygrs seem like something you could use without an amp direct from your mobo, but I know next to nothing about their tuning and performance.

Just a quick question do you not care whether these are open or closed back? I noticed that you seem to be looking at open and closed back models so I was just wondering.

welcome to HFG, WM!

for music and gaming, take a look at the Drop / HFM HE-400se. they are planar magnetic and well thought of for both activities. though…honestly it would probably be best to save up and buy something dedicated to each task, but to start, the 400se are awesome. I don’t game anymore, but I have them and like them more than the Drop / HFM HE-4xx I bought several years ago. :slight_smile:

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Lets me tell you ta tale good sir. The first headset that started me down the path of better audio was a steelseries 10 years ago. I had many cheaper ‘gamer’ headsets for years. But when I got my steelseries it was the first time not only my games sounded good, but my music sounded like a whole new experience, something closer to a good speaker.

After a bit of research, the community basically said “for gamer trash, steelseries sounds a bit better than most”. They were a closed set. So I tried a TON of closed sets, no I cant name names, but thats not the point of my story. I tried A TON of closed backs, didnt know why I hated them all. The ‘I’m inclosed/seashell’ effect comes to mind. Bit more research, my steelseries for being closed, had a very open sound to it.

So I started trying open backs. FIXED, open back was 100% the way, these sounded right. I tried a bunch of cheaper AKG’s and samsons an others in that price range. And the openess was good. the sound profile was great, BUT, where da fuq is the bass. I like the akg sound profile so much I stuck with that for 2 years and just suffered. THEN, I went to a friends who had some Sennheiser, couldn’t name it if I wanted to, but he said it cost him A LOT so… Now I new I could have my highs and my low, BUT, im a cheap f**k. Iv tried 10+ gamer crap, nothing other then the steelseries even came close. Iv tried many audiophile recommendations in the ‘cheap’ range, many coming close to what I wanted, but always missing the lows I needed.

THEN, THEN I found zeos. After binge watching his channel for what felt like days, I came across the monoprice retro review. Bought them + some pads almost seconds after watching the video. And finally, FINALLY. I had found a headphone that just sounded ‘right’ to me, right out of the box. lows were punchy, highs came in clear. It was $30 lol.

BUT!!BUT!! here is the kicker, the retros are closed back. Now everyone says for a closed back, there very open sounding, I also put velour’s on them which aided in opening them up. But the retro were the first closed back to ever not give me a ‘odd’ ‘inclosed’ sensation, dunno why.

WHY did I just make you read through all that. Well god sir, I love to tell a tale, but more so. dispite my retros being closed. im 99% sure I like open back more, or closed with a very open feel. Im not sure what you can do with this information. <3

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Nice story lol! I was just making sure that you didn’t need the passive isolation of a closed back. I didn’t want to keep talking open backs if what you really needed was a closed back.

I’m going to point you in a different direction and tell you to look at the Hifiman HE400i or HE400se. You will need an amp to get the best out of them and you should have some of your budget left over to work towards that with, but AFAIK they are great for gaming and they offer a price to performance ratio that’s great. They’re not the V shaped tuning you’re looking for, but they take to EQ well if they don’t have enough bass for you. That said, given what you’ve said about liking AKGs tuning with more bass, but not basshead levels, I think they’ll likely fit you just fine. I have also heard that they’re fantastic for gaming.

My second rec would probably be the X2HRs because they do sound like they have a sound signature you’d like. Also based on what you’ve said about your prefs, I think you’ll find the Beyers to be to bright and intense in the treble.

Im going to watch the review for the hifimans now, il get back to you. BUT I also remembered another set BEFORE the retros I liked, the Superlux HD668B. They broke on me 2 times, so I gave up on them. But PRE retros, they were what I enjoyed most. Id bounce between akgs and 668s. The retros were my first ‘they do it all’ cans

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Im going to watch the review for the hifimans now, il report back. Thank you.

Which AKGs did you have that you liked?

BTW, I have zero experience with the Superlux headphones. I know some people like them and think they’re a great value while others think they’re mediocre at best.

akg 240 (keep in mind, my budgets at the time meant I was never going above $50ish bucks on a sale, and I was a noob) Little sharp on the highs but overall the sound was right, EXCEPT no bass. I needed the bass. But in my mind I could ‘insert’ it, and I knew if I could just give them some bass/punch, they would be great.

So iv watched a few reviews for the he400se’s, and listened to a few sound demos (for as much as they can do). They sound pretty great, BUT. For someone who breaks things a lot. That cable, nothing over the magnets, I dunno, seem fragile. For the price though, I could easily throw in a better cable and a cheap amp (if they need them). The sound demos for what there worth sounded GREAT, I could feel the low end punch. But that zeos review of the 300r’s makes me think they may be a better one stop shop for me. Hmmmmm, going to look into them more. I will get back to you.

What cheap amp would u recommend? I was looking at some $100 fiio one, but cheaper is better for me, if im not compromising too much. And if im getting a amp, that would put the 770/990 back on the table right?

I keep coming back to any of the beyerdynamics 770/990/tygr300r because, and maybe im wrong here. They look like there built like tanks. And the he400se imo needs a aftermarket cable and seems more fragile. And my habbit of breaking stuff, stupid or not, has taught me the value of something you can treat like shit and still have come out the other end working/intact. SOO many factors to think about here

So once again, im doing more research, and il get back to you. But my heads at

If all of these get me the sound im looking for, those clear highs with that nice low rumble/punch.

hifiman he400se: Sound great, look fragile af, need cable, needs amp. (I dont know if they ARE fragile, im saying they look it imo) also the cheapest. So even once u add everything in, its about the same as the rest. And from reviews, seem like the most ‘bassy’ option?

x2hr: Sound great, the hinge issue maybe? no amp needed? Also maybe the most ‘bassy’ or the most warm bassy option? I hear the bass can muddy the mids or something?

770/990 250 ohm: Sound great? Built like a tank, needs amp

tygr 300r: Sound great, built like a tank, 32ohm easy to power (so no amp?) For where I live, the most expensive$$$. They ‘seem’ like the one stop shop solution?

I think I need someone to chime in with some 300r experience now lol. What affordable amp would you recommend for the he400/770/990? And maybe im letting the hinge issue on the x2hr’s hold me back, as they were where everyone pointed me to originally. hmmmmmm :thinking:

Okay, yes the Beyers (any of them) are built better than anything else mentioned. I really can’t say how well the Tygrs would do without an amp because even though they’re only 32ohms they’re also only rated at 96db/mW which puts them in a grey area where you can likely use them without an amp, but they’d also likely benefit from one. Someone with experience with then can probably answer better on that issue.

Yes, if you get an amp you could definitely run the DT770s or DT990s. I’m not sure what amp prices are in Canada so let me do some looking around.

Let me boil it down to this. If you have watched reviews and you think you’d enjoy the tuning of the Tygr 300rs, they are the least complicated purchase you could make except for the X2HRs. If you want to go no amp and keep it as simple as possible, these are the two you should be looking at.

From what I read, the Tygrs are v shaped with elevated bass and treble which is the Beyer “house sound.” The bass performance should be solid and if you’re not too treble sensitive then you shouldn’t have a problem. Also like other Beyers, they are built like tanks.

The X2HRs are a warm, moderate v shaped tuning. Plenty of bass, slightly recessed mids though not as recessed as the Beyers, and smooth treble. Sound signature and drivability wise these are the safest bet. You can definitely use them without an amp and they’re pretty well known for being easy on the ears. Your only concern is the issue you brought up with the build, but ti be fair, I think you might be overthinking here. I guarantee they’re built better than the Retros you’ve been rocking, but only you can decide if you’re comfortable with them.

My advice now is decide whether you’re more comfortable with the Tygrs or the X2HRs and roll with it. Based on what I’m reading from you it sounds like you’d rather not deal with the amp thing right now and either of these two sets will likely serve you well.

Im going to sleep on it. Thank you so much for the input! I will report back <3

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Sleeping on it is never a bad idea. The headphones aren’t going anywhere so take your time. You can always reply to me here or shoot me a PM if I can answer any ore questions for you.

O I know any of these will be better made then my retros, they die/need replacing on me every year or two. But since I have the pads for them all ready, and the fact there cheap, I can just keep buying more forever. But as I said, I want the next stepup/levelup, I want a better retro now. BUT, I cant be buying new $200-$250 headsets every year or two.

So I want tanks. I want to know if I treat em like crap, they will come out the other end alive. I normally wouldnt put up with the retro failing so much on me (iv literally bought 5 so far) BUT, as iv said. They are the ONLY headset up to this point that sounded right, so crap quality or not, I keep running back to them. I ‘feel’ like the Beyers are the right call for my quality built needs, and would survive my world well.

I just remember my trials to find a pair of cans I liked, and I blew through a lot of money to find em, and I dont have that ability in this price range, so I want something thats just going to work. Watching zeos (and others) review on the tygr 300r takes my brain to a ‘these sound like they will just work, no muss, no fuss’. But once again, im assuming, iv owned none of these before. And yes, im still training myself to be ‘ok’ with spending $250 on headphones instead of going to the dollar store to buy iem’s. So I have a bit of ‘this is a BIG purchase fear, I wanna get it right’.

Im really thinking tygr 300r is the call. But thats from hours of community back and forth, and once again. I was recommended the x2hr and adjusted after watching reviews to the 300r, the recommendation was always x2hr. And I fear there is a ‘warmth’ to the bass on the x2hr’s I dont want to miss out on… Many people tell me the low end on the x2hr’s is just kinda ‘special’

I guess what I was hoping to find was someone to say “THE TYGRS SUCK DONT GET EM” or “the x2hr suck dont get em!”. Sadly its never that simple. hmmmmmmm :thinking: I really need to deep think on this one. I have been directed to the x2hr’s time and time again, by smart people in the know (like you) and im the one moving that to the tygr 300r. And maybe I shouldnt be doing that, as im not ‘in the know’. BUT that could also be because more people have tried the x2’s so more are recommending them. Even though the tygrs ‘may’ be the better fit. I have to fill in some blanks on my own here it seems.

I think im a smart guy, I THINK its the right call, but once again. Everyones recommending me x2hrs, not tygrs, so maybe im adjusting incorrectly… Yes, im very indessive, its a problem lol. Im not used to spending this much, so I got the spookies in my tummies lol.

Id like to thank you for the time you have given me all ready. I greatly appreciate it! And feel im getting closer to the right answer. Im going to give the post another few days, to see if anyone else chimes in. Im ‘almost’ there.

Maybe even make another Tygr 300r vs x2hr post or something… We shall see

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The HE-400se are fantastic, but based on the OP’s original post, I think he/she may be disappointed by the perceived lack of bass. Plus the HE-400se do benefit from an external amp.

My suggestion: Meze 99 Neo ($199 USD) or Noir ($179). Both very FUN sound signatures, with elevated bass that does bloom a bit into the mids but not nearly as much as “consumer-oriented” cans. Decent mids and pretty nice treble. Average soundstage but solid imaging.

Great build quality. Comfortable fit if your ears aren’t too huge. And they’re among the easiest audiophile cans to drive. No amp needed at all.

Good luck!


Skipped through a review quick, and a quick sound demo. Im worried they may be a bit too narrow sound wise. And I wasnt getting that ‘punch’ from the low end some of the others gave me in there sound demos. I know thats not the best means to compare. But the meze 99 left me feeling like something was ‘missing’. The mids/highs sounded pretty good, but once again, something was missing. Sorry, putting this all into words is hard lol. They at least in my area cost $280, more then I think all the other options. Thank you for the input though :slight_smile: (and feel free to tell me im so wrong about them, and please explain) :slight_smile: <3

Im starting to think the best plan would be to go with the x2hr’s. They seem like I will love them, and good chance they wont fall apart on me. At worst, maybe I get 1-2 years out of them, they break. And then I can come back saying “No I need the build quality BAR NONE”. A life lesson if you will. It also gets me on/using the general recommendation everyone has been giving me. I can then come back and say “you nailed it, I’m in love” or “I got this wrong, im hearing ‘x’ and dont like it” basically would give me another data point that could probably get smarter people pointing me in the right direction.

Im thinking hard about it, maybe to hard lol. I have like 50+ tabs of sound levels and lines and reviews and sound demos lol. And the more I read, the more its getting harder to decide lol. When I think im almost there, im pulled back once again to the other lol.

Will report back