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Cheap (big known brand or not) Headphone recommendations.

Earfonia

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One of my favorite in that price range would be Audio-Technica ATH-R70x. Best from what I've tried and own in that price range.
 

RickSanchez

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Check often. Goes back in stock or out from one day to another.

As FrantzM says: check the link (http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/he400i-open-box-with-2-5mm-plug.html) regularly as the stock goes in/out often. If my currency conversion is correct it's just inside your window of £100-150. I'm basing that on a comment from @daftcombo in this thread:
"I'm in France and just placed an order. 166€ shipping included."



Also: I don't own either of these but it might be worth researching the Monoprice Monolith M1060 / M565. Both are open-back planar magnetics, and both have a 5 year replacement warranty. (You'd want to double-check that the warranty is applicable outside the U.S.) Although the M1060's are outside your price range a bit -- unless you buy open box -- both of these models are end-of-life, as they're being replaced by the M1070 and the M570. So I expect the prices on both will continue to drop, especially during Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
 

daftcombo

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If my currency conversion is correct it's just inside your window of £100-150. I'm basing that on a comment from @daftcombo in this thread:
My order got cancelled tho (by me) because it would have shipped from the US by boat without tracking and risk of loss.
 

solderdude

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Below some recommendations of headphones I personally think are interesting. Note the vast majority I actually heard but some are general recommendations. There may be gems out there I have not heard but are excellent, these are not included.
In the end... you need to audition them yourself. And keep in mind a headphone that sounds impressive on first listen may not be that in the long run... and vice versa.

Cheap price point €15 – €50 (in alphabetical order):

Beyerdynamic DT235 (lacks treble finesse)
Koss KSC35 / KSC75 / PortaPro (top pick in the portable on-ear class)
Presonus HD7 (somewhat bright)
Samson SR850 (slightly boring)
Sennheiser PX100 / PX100-II (lacks subbass)
Superlux Superlux HD681-EVO with Chinese pads, HD662-EVO
NOTE: When buying Koss PortaPro headphones beware there are fakes out there that do not remotely sound anything like the original and are very bassy and lack highs. How to distinguish them can be found HERE.



Medium price point €50 – €200 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K181 (quite neutral) / K551 / K553 (fairly neutral slight treble peak))
Audio Technica ATH-M40X (NOT the M40fs version !), Audio Technica ATH-M50X or ATH-M50 >2012, ATH-TAD500
Beyerdynamic DT250-250 Ohm version (very neutral, some product variances, lacks treble finesse), Custom One Pro (but only on setting 2 and 3 when using EDT770V(B) pads, DT990 (a bit treble happy)
Creative Aurvana Live (a bit on the ‘warm’ side)
Denon DN-HP700
Fischer Audio FA-003 = NVX XPT100 = Brainwavz HM5 = Jaycar AA2065 = Studiospares M1000 = Lindy HF-100
Fostex T50RPmkIII, T40RPmkIII (lacks subbass and ‘air’ in the treble )
Goldring DR150 (only 2nd hand)
Grado SR60i/SR60e (a bit bright and lacks subbass, not very comfortable)
Philips SHP9500 (neutral, slightly lacks presence), SHL9505-uptown with SRH-940 pads
Roland RH300 (but only with Brainwavz HYBRID pads fitted)
Sennheiser HD555 / 558 / 595 / 598 / 599 / 238 / 239 / 439 / 569/ 58X Jubilee / 580* (* only 2nd hand)
Sony MDR-1RA (with ports closed) / MDR-100AAP (on the warm/bassy side)
Skullcandy Aviator (warm/bassy)
Takstar PRO 82
V-Moda M80
Yuin G1A/G2
Zoro II HD


Higher price point €200 – €500 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K550 / K551 / K267 / K712 / K7XX
Audio Technica AT-R70X / ATH-MSR7b
B&W P7
Beyerdynamic DT880 / DT990-edition / DT1350 (MUST try before buy) / DT1770, Amiron (most of these have a bit of a peak in the upper treble), DT1990
PSB M4U-2 (noise cancelling)
Denon D2000 (only 2nd hand)
Focal Spirit Professional (mechanically not the best)
Fostex TH-X00 (Massdrop only)
HifiMan HE400i / HE4XX (massdrop) / Sundara
Klipsch Image One
Meze 99 Classics (warm and bassy)
Philips Fidelio L2, X2HR
Sennheiser HD600 / HD650 (> 2013) / HD630VB / HD660S
Sony MDR-100ABN / MDR-1000X
Shure SRH840 / SRH1540
Thinksound ON-1
Verum 1


Those looking for a ‘flat as possible’ headphone; the Sennheiser HD600 is the best possible option but does lack in subbass.
It can also be found in the second hand market. With a set of new pads they sound like new again. The HD580 (second hand only) is almost the same headphone.
A truly ‘flat’ headphone is not liked by everyone and may even sound boring to some.
Flat measuring headphones in general only sound excellent on well made recordings. In general TOP40 songs aren’t amongst those (with a few exceptions).
To many it will not be considered THE best sounding headphone, but it is one of the most ‘honest’ ones. It does lack sub-bass though.


Expensive stuff €500 to €2000 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K812
Audeze LCD2.2(Fazor > 2015) / LCD3 (Fazor > 2015)/ LCD-X (brand is known to have failing drivers and cracking wood cups in older models)
Audio Zenith PMx2
Beyerdynamic T5(P), Amiron Wirelss
Denon D5000 / D7000 (only 2nd hand)
Focal Clear
Fostex TH900
HiFiMan HE500 / HE560 / HE5 / HE6 / Edition X / Ananda
Kennerton Magister
Koss ESP-950
Mr. Speakers ÆON closed, Ether C Flow, ETHER
Sennheiser HD800S
Stax SRS-5100
ZMF Atticus / Eikon / Auteur


Obscenely expensive > 2000 (in alphabetical order):

Abyss AB-1266
Audeze LCD4 / LCDMX4
Focal Utopia, Stellia
Final D8000
Grado HP1000 / HP2 (only 2nd hand)
Hifiman HE1000, Susvara, Shangri-La, Jade II
Kennerton Odin
Meze Empyrean
Raal SR-1
Sennheiser HD820 / Orpheus / HE60 / HE90 (only 2nd hand) / HE1060 (Orpheus-2) = HE1
Sony MDR-R10 (bass-heavy) (only 2nd hand)
Sonoma Acoustics model One
Stax SR007 / Omega 2 / SR009 + amp / SR-L700 + SRM-353X
 
Last edited:

Robin L

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Below some recommendations of headphones I personally think are interesting. Note the vast majority I actually heard but some are general recommendations. There may be gems out there I have not heard but are excellent, these are not included.
In the end... you need to audition them yourself. And keep in mind a headphone that sounds impressive on first listen may not be that in the long run... and vice versa.

Cheap price point €15 – €50 (in alphabetical order):

Beyerdynamic DT235 (lacks treble finesse)
Koss KSC35 / KSC75 / PortaPro (top pick in the portable on-ear class)
Presonus HD7 (somewhat bright)
Samson SR850 (slightly boring)
Sennheiser PX100 / PX100-II (lacks subbass)
Superlux Superlux HD681-EVO with Chinese pads, HD662-EVO
NOTE: When buying Koss PortaPro headphones beware there are fakes out there that do not remotely sound anything like the original and are very bassy and lack highs. How to distinguish them can be found HERE.



Medium price point €50 – €200 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K181 (quite neutral) / K551 / K553 (fairly neutral slight treble peak))
Audio Technica ATH-M40X (NOT the M40fs version !), Audio Technica ATH-M50X or ATH-M50 >2012, ATH-TAD500
Beyerdynamic DT250-250 Ohm version (very neutral, some product variances, lacks treble finesse), Custom One Pro (but only on setting 2 and 3 when using EDT770V(B) pads, DT990 (a bit treble happy)
Creative Aurvana Live (a bit on the ‘warm’ side)
Denon DN-HP700
Fischer Audio FA-003 = NVX XPT100 = Brainwavz HM5 = Jaycar AA2065 = Studiospares M1000 = Lindy HF-100
Fostex T50RPmkIII, T40RPmkIII (lacks subbass and ‘air’ in the treble )
Goldring DR150 (only 2nd hand)
Grado SR60i/SR60e (a bit bright and lacks subbass, not very comfortable)
Philips SHP9500 (neutral, slightly lacks presence), SHL9505-uptown with SRH-940 pads
Roland RH300 (but only with Brainwavz HYBRID pads fitted)
Sennheiser HD555 / 558 / 595 / 598 / 599 / 238 / 239 / 439 / 569/ 58X Jubilee / 580* (* only 2nd hand)
Sony MDR-1RA (with ports closed) / MDR-100AAP (on the warm/bassy side)
Skullcandy Aviator (warm/bassy)
Takstar PRO 82
V-Moda M80
Yuin G1A/G2
Zoro II HD


Higher price point €200 – €500 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K550 / K551 / K267 / K712 / K7XX
Audio Technica AT-R70X / ATH-MSR7b
B&W P7
Beyerdynamic DT880 / DT990-edition / DT1350 (MUST try before buy) / DT1770, Amiron (most of these have a bit of a peak in the upper treble), DT1990
PSB M4U-2 (noise cancelling)
Denon D2000 (only 2nd hand)
Focal Spirit Professional (mechanically not the best)
Fostex TH-X00 (Massdrop only)
HifiMan HE400i / HE4XX (massdrop) / Sundara
Klipsch Image One
Meze 99 Classics (warm and bassy)
Philips Fidelio L2, X2
Sennheiser HD600 / HD650 (> 2013) / HD630VB / HD660S
Sony MDR-100ABN / MDR-1000X
Shure SRH840 / SRH1540
Thinksound ON-1
Verum 1


Those looking for a ‘flat as possible’ headphone; the Sennheiser HD600 is the best possible option but does lack in subbass.
It can also be found in the second hand market. With a set of new pads they sound like new again. The HD580 (second hand only) is almost the same headphone.
A truly ‘flat’ headphone is not liked by everyone and may even sound boring to some.
Flat measuring headphones in general only sound excellent on well made recordings. In general TOP40 songs aren’t amongst those (with a few exceptions).
To many it will not be considered THE best sounding headphone, but it is one of the most ‘honest’ ones. It does lack sub-bass though.


Expensive stuff €500 to €2000 (in alphabetical order):

AKG K812
Audeze LCD2.2(Fazor > 2015) / LCD3 (Fazor > 2015)/ LCD-X (brand is known to have failing drivers and cracking wood cups in older models)
Audio Zenith PMx2
Beyerdynamic T5(P), Amiron Wirelss
Denon D5000 / D7000 (only 2nd hand)
Focal Clear
Fostex TH900
HiFiMan HE500 / HE560 / HE5 / HE6 / Edition X / Ananda
Kennerton Magister
Koss ESP-950
Mr. Speakers ÆON closed, Ether C Flow, ETHER
Sennheiser HD800S
Stax SRS-5100
ZMF Atticus / Eikon / Auteur


Obscenely expensive > 2000 (in alphabetical order):

Abyss AB-1266
Audeze LCD4 / LCDMX4
Focal Utopia, Stellia
Final D8000
Grado HP1000 / HP2 (only 2nd hand)
Hifiman HE1000, Susvara, Shangri-La, Jade II
Kennerton Odin
Meze Empyrean
Raal SR-1
Sennheiser HD820 / Orpheus / HE60 / HE90 (only 2nd hand) / HE1060 (Orpheus-2) = HE1
Sony MDR-R10 (bass-heavy) (only 2nd hand)
Sonoma Acoustics model One
Stax SR007 / Omega 2 / SR009 + amp / SR-L700 + SRM-353X
I've got the Sennheiser HD 599, also its close cousin the HD 579 [a little more diffuse than the 599, less going on top and bottom]. I'd throw the Sennheiser Urbanite XL into the mix, more going on in the lower octaves, lots of detail in the upper registers. The Urbanite XL is bass forward, but not overdone.
 

RickSanchez

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Below some recommendations of headphones I personally think are interesting ...

That's an impressive list; I'm going to bookmark that post.

For the OP: the HiFiMan HE4XX are active on Drop with EU shipping. I see them listed as USD $160, so ~£125. They have a whole EU collection of headphones; might put some well-regarded headphones in your price range.
 
OP
L5730

L5730

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The Takstar Pro 82 seems like the kind of thing I was hinting at in my clumsy original post.

Personally, what I decide on may cost more, I have no problem with spending more to get more. I was just kind of wondering if there was a bargain set of headphones that really did a great job for a low price, as we are seeing with some DAC and headphone amps.

My issue with the Taskastar Pro 82 is that there are two versions, and who knows how consistent they are. They seem to have changed driver without really clearly stating it, and whilst not a huge change, it's clearly detectable and measurable.

I wish a local store had a bunch so that I could just listen and feel. I don't feel right doing a return on an item if it's not faulty, but just because I don't like it. Not so bad if not used, tested or really opened, but once used, how will the retailer sell it? Plus there is an argument of it damaging my account score with the retailer. Though, the flip argument is that perhaps they should have bricks and mortar shops for people to try stuff in, or not complain when it comes back after people test in their homes.

Me personally, I am not a fan of the MassDrop thing. Dealing with shipping for returns and whatever, some things are just DOA. I'll stick with Amazon.co.uk (fulfilled by) or UK retailers. Pre-owned is an option though.

Thanks for the input, people. It's interesting reading.
 

JJB70

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If you shop around for clearance, B stock and returns it's surprising what you can get without breaking the bank. Also, keep an eye open for eBay 10% and 20% off coupons.

All of my headphones have been bought at good discount:

Beyerdynamic T5P II £399 B stock from UK importer, the things were new
Sony MDR Z7 £370, new clearance
Oppo PM-2 £430 new clearance
AKG N90Q £550, manufacturer refurbished

In some cases distributors and manufacturers sell excess stock as B stock as it allows them to clear shelves without prejudicing pricing policy if they do a restock later.

My latest is B stock Denon D7200's for £315, that's well worth a punt.

Keep an eye on the Sennheiser outlet, they regularly have terrific deals and top models like the HD650, HD660 and even HD800 regularly appear at excellent prices.
 
OP
L5730

L5730

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For the hell of it, and because I was getting irritated reading reviews and not getting anywhere, I grabbed the Takstar Pro 82 for just under £50.
They were from a seller on Amazon.co.uk and are the white box models, so I guess these are the less desirable driver (older?).

Compared with a memory of some £25 (on sale) Vivanco cans, which disintegrated! These Takstars sound full and pleasant.
Compared to my taped together HP USB headset (£12.50 on half price sale some years back), those sounded extremely boxy and needed aggressive EQ to not sound like a muddy box. Takstars are in a different game rather than league!

I can only guess the bass switches on these headphones are for use with a particularly anaemic portable device, as I've taken out 4dB @ 50 Hz and the bass still sounds great and fun. I needed to tame some treble for all but the most 'perfectly' engineered music.
Sound stage, well I can hear stuff come from the sides and there is some sense of depth in front, but nothing really sounds like it comes from behind.

You know what, putting together all of the reviews on these Tasktar Pro 82s, both old and new/genuine and fake drivers, I got the impression they were nothing special, but a set of useable comfy closed back cans. That's how they sound. Not impressive like a cheap DAC, but not disappointing either. I now have a benchmark and sensible jumping off point for further exploration - although I think there's more chance in me getting a sub and a much more decent set of near field monitors than any more headphones.

I wonder what the Superlux cans are like. But I don't really need a house full of cheap less-than-great stuff.

Thanks to all, and especially to @solderdude for the big list and constant input when I should just read a lot more of the DIY-Audio-Heaven site! ;)
 

RickSanchez

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Midwest Blade

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Grado SR80e - the equiped ear pads can be a little itchy, I switched to doughnuts and have been very pleased. Easy to drive, very balanced and neutral easy to listen, open back which I find adds to the sound. Nice to listen with for extended periods. Under $100 here in the US.
 

JustPoo

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I thought I'd add two cheap and two cheapish IEM's I've bought recently and really enjoy. One has been mentioned already - the KZ ZS10 Pros. I got those for £25 on eBay UK and while they're far from "reference", with a bit of a tweak they're a lot of fun and a nice fitting hybrid; great for rocking out, going mobile or exercising. Or all three if you're feeling feisty!.

The Blon BL-03 seem to be the flavour of the month at the moment and I have to agree that they have a fab tuning, I haven't EQ'd them at all. For £30 Amazon Prime shipped you can't argue, although you'll probably want to switch the tips and cable out. For a non-fatiguing pair of dynamics these are your boys, once you've got the fit sorted.

Next are a bit of a jump in price - the Shouer Tapes at ~£100. I bought a pair from Linsoul on Amazon but unfortunately the left side became faulty. Cue the return process to China that you wanted to avoid. To be fair to Linsoul, they dealt with it quickly and professionally, paying for return costs and refunding promptly. They said that they've shipped a batch to Amazon UK for Prime delivery so if you're not in any rush then they're worth the wait if you don't mind paying a small premium for the peace of mind buying from Amazon themselves brings. I really couldn't wait so I spent £140 to import a set from Amazon US. They're extremely detailed electrostatic IEM's with an excellent low end and midrange. The only caveat is an occasionally peaky top end so they need a EQ nudge or some foamies if you're sensitive like I am. I'm a delicate flower :)

The last set are the planar Tin Hifi P1's and might be my personal favourite of the bunch, I paid £130 from Amazon, but I just checked and they seem to be £170 at the moment. For midrange these are the ones you want, they remind me most of a pair of Sennheiser 6 series. Bass isn't their strength - it's there but not the main show. You can improve that by taping the little holes and/or a bit of EQ. Treble is smooth, nothing jumps out. And like the Tapes, they're very detailed indeed. One tiny thing - you might wanna buy a nuclear reactor to power them, they're insanely hard to drive for an IEM. For the moment I'm stuck at home with them, but I've never been so happy to be housebound :)

That's it anyhow, just a few I bought recently and thought deserved a mention. There seems to be a new IEM appearing every day and there's some real gems no matter your budget.
 

bravomail

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For the hell of it, and because I was getting irritated reading reviews and not getting anywhere, I grabbed the Takstar Pro 82 for just under £50.
They were from a seller on Amazon.co.uk and are the white box models, so I guess these are the less desirable driver (older?).

Compared with a memory of some £25 (on sale) Vivanco cans, which disintegrated! These Takstars sound full and pleasant.
Compared to my taped together HP USB headset (£12.50 on half price sale some years back), those sounded extremely boxy and needed aggressive EQ to not sound like a muddy box. Takstars are in a different game rather than league!

Now, get Audiotechnica M40x, and compare them to Takstars!
 
OP
L5730

L5730

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Now, get Audiotechnica M40x, and compare them to Takstars!
Haha, nice try. I don't want my Amazon account marred by sending flagged products back after trying them. I've read that headphones are an item that gets noticed if you keep buying and sending them back on Amazon.

I know someone who might have some ATH-30x but also might be some other AT cans. They look small.

Do you have any local stores in your town? I have 2 HiFi shops and a couple which do sell HiFi components and headphones, but none of them listed anything I wanted to try on their sites. It's gotten too cold for me to walk around this cruddy town just to find out that no stores carry anything I want to try "but can get them in if ordered for purchase". Urgh.
 

patient_ot

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I highly contest the recommendation on the MDR-7506 for music listening, even though I've heard it many times. They don't seal well, so their bass response is all over the place and generally pretty lame. They also don't do upper treble very well. They are pretty good as a cheap monitor headphone for vocal recordings, which is their usual usage. Their mid response is pretty natural so that's why they are good for vocal monitoring, but everything else is sub-par.

The V6 and 7506 may be more pleasing to some folks with aftermarket earpads and some EQ correction. That's how I use mine.
 

dorirod

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Higher price point €200 – €500 (in alphabetical order):
...
HifiMan HE400i / HE4XX (massdrop) / Sundara
...

I think you can safely drop the HE4xx to the lower bracket (on Massdrop regularly for $130).
 

Yaniv

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Grado headphones!
I own the sr125e, 150$, but the sr80e are 100$ and should sound great.
The bass is tight and a bit rolled of, but mids and highs are great with tons of details.
 
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