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Cheapest over-ears headphones with some sound quality?

nas

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#1
Hello,

What are the cheapest over-ears headphones with a little sound quality and build quality in relative terms...? Think as Senheiser HD600 but 10x cheaper. Yes, 10x...
I am pretty satisfied with many in-ear headphones I listened, but most of them got its life ended in my dog mouth. Right now using simple Apple headphones with Apple usb->3.5mm dongle DAC and the sound is pretty good.

The negative is that it gets wet inside ear channel after longer listening and want to change the headphones to over-ears from time to time.

So:
1. Over-ears, closed or open, preferably open
2. Very cheap
3. A little comfortable
4. Neutral in sounding, with a little quality in the sound preferred
5. Simple wired plug
6. Available in EU. European Amazon or general blick&mortar electronics store is ok.
7. Low impedance

No hi-fi ambitions. The reason I am not posting this in specialized forums is either they are too hardcore and a bit in outer orbits regarding the price ranges or too much subjective and crazy about mods. No, I do not want to make complex surgeries to make them sound better ("different").

Thank you for suggestions!
 

Cahudson42

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#2
Look at the Phillips SHP9500. Usually about $79 on Amazon US. Comfortable.

I use mine for TV/casual listening, though switch to new $220 HFM Drop HE5XX for 'serious' music listening. But SHP9500 not bad for that, either.
 

bravomail

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#6
Thank you for suggestions!
For around $20 I know 2 good ones:
Monoprice 8323
Tascam TH-02

Monoprice wins since it has a detachable cable and a mic. But its plastic headband won't live long, no matter what - give it a year max. Tascam is really something, I could hear scratchiness in Phil Collins voice, which I never noticed before, I though the headphones were defective! :)
 

Robin L

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#7
The Philips Fidelio X2 HR is being unloaded at $150 right now. It's a great headphone, Tyll at Inner Fidelity says it's as good [albeit quite different] as the Sennheiser 600:

Like a Boss: The Philips Fidelio X2 | Stereophile.com

The article is worth reading front to back, with a lot of interesting writing on the gap between headphone measurements and perceived sound quality.

This is in reference to an earlier iteration of the X2, however his writing on the subject applies to the HR version as well:

"Comparisons with the Sennheiser HD 600
Any of you who have read my HD 600 review will know I hold them in high regard. In fact, many enthusiasts believe they may be the most important headphone in the hobby. Well, I don't think the X2 is going to change that—the HD 600 was a great headphone very early on and will forever hold an historic place in headphonedom—but I do think the X2 is the first headphone in the mid-priced, open headphone class that might deliver a superior listening experience.

Bass response of the X2 is tighter and significantly more satisfying in level. Treble response is a little less grainy on the HD 600, but it doesn't seems as well balanced. Image width and depth is much better on the X2. Mid-range is about the same on both, but the overall impression of the sound is much nicer on the X2. It's almost as if everything is accentuated on the X2, the overall balance is so good it's as if you get instant access to the whole of the music.

The only good reason to purchase an HD 600 over the X2, in my opinion, is when you're pairing it with a high output impedance tube amp. The 35 Ohm impedance of the X2 just isn't going to pair well with a 100 Ohm output impedance OTL amp. The HD 600 will remain an important headphone for those applications...unless Philips comes out with a 300 Ohm X2, then all bets are off."

The X2HR works really well with low-power devices. The Fidelio X3 just came out, so the market now has a lot of X2s cheap. If you can stretch your budget, this is the way to go. For what it's worth, my other headphones include the Drop 6XX 'phones, and I like them a lot. The bass of the X2HR 'phones is better than the 6XX/650, the treble is closer and can turn ragged compared to the ultra-smooth top of the 6XXs. But the sense of impact and proximity of the X2 is better, the stereo imaging extends further outside one's head as well.


1. Over-ears, closed or open, preferably open: Over ears, open
2. Very cheap: Not so cheap
3. A little comfortable: Really comfortable
4. Neutral in sounding, with a little quality in the sound preferred: Yup
5. Simple wired plug: 3.5 mm on both ends
6. Available in EU. European Amazon or general blick&mortar electronics store is ok.: Don't know about EU Amazon, US Amazon has them at $150
7. Low impedance: 32 ohms
 
Last edited:
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#8
easily available in europe, ranked by price:


- tbone hp56 (over, 32Ω , 6€)



- behringer hpx2000 (semi-open, 64Ω , 13€)



- superlux hd681 (semi-open, 32Ω , 20€)



- sennheiser hd206 (over, 24Ω , 30€)



- sennheiser hd100 (over, 26Ω , 32€)



- sennheiser hd200pro (closed monitoring with noise reduction, 32Ω , 49€)



- sennheiser hd559 (open, 50Ω , 99€)
 
Last edited:

3125b

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#9
For 20-30$ some of the Superlux offerings are decent, they actually measure and sound fairly good, build quality and comfort are drawbacks though, definitely get some thick aftermarket pads with them. Bought a like new used HD 668-B for 10€ a few weeks ago, can't wear them for more than half an hour with the stock pads though.

You could find Shure SRH440 or AKG K361 used for less than 50$. Some of the older Sennheisers maybe, I picked up a very good condition HD 555 for 20€ recently. But that varies based on location of course.
 
OP
N

nas

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Thread Starter #10
easily available in europe, ranked by price:


- tbone hp56 (over, 32Ω , 6€)



- behringer hpx2000 (semi-open, 64Ω , 13€)



- superlux hd681 (semi-open, 32Ω , 20€)



- sennheiser hd206 (over, 24Ω , 30€)



- sennheiser hd100 (over, 26Ω , 32€)



- sennheiser hd200pro (closed monitoring with noise reduction, 32Ω , 49€)



- sennheiser hd559 (open, 50Ω , 99€)

That is a zoo of headphones, t.y. will take a look at them
 

ZolaIII

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#11
The Phillips SHP9500 still wins regarding overlay comfort and what you really need to begin with. Superlux HD681 has a similar sound signature but as you need to invest in ear pads & half deacent cable's and considering how the cable plug side on them brakes in a two years they aren't that good choice at all. Creative Aurvana Live first gen ain't bad but again it brakes easily. In the end investing a bit more & going for some older let's say AKG model as an outlet is a better choice.
 
OP
N

nas

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Thread Starter #12
The Phillips SHP9500 still wins regarding overlay comfort and what you really need to begin with. Superlux HD681 has a similar sound signature but as you need to invest in ear pads & half deacent cable's and considering how the cable plug side on them brakes in a two years they aren't that good choice at all. Creative Aurvana Live first gen ain't bad but again it brakes easily. In the end investing a bit more & going for some older let's say AKG model as an outlet is a better choice.
Too expensive most of them - philips is ~140EUR, Superlux is available in my local eshops, for ~25EUR. No known outlet nearby. Budget is 20-40EUR, so I am looking for an incredible value, like apple usb->3.5mm dac for 11 EUR.
 

ZolaIII

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#13
Too expensive most of them - philips is ~140EUR, Superlux is available in my local eshops, for ~25EUR. No known outlet nearby. Budget is 20-40EUR, so I am looking for an incredible value, like apple usb->3.5mm dac for 11 EUR.
Actually Superlux HD681 is OK, it doesn't have detachable cable I mixed them with HD668B which have described problem, my mistake. Well you can snatch HD681 & valur ear cups for mentioned budget.

One advance thing that fall apart fast aren't incredible value, they aren't value at all.
 

julian_hughes

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#14
Hello,

What are the cheapest over-ears headphones with a little sound quality and build quality in relative terms...? Think as Senheiser HD600 but 10x cheaper. Yes, 10x...
....

So:
1. Over-ears, closed or open, preferably open
2. Very cheap
3. A little comfortable
4. Neutral in sounding, with a little quality in the sound preferred
5. Simple wired plug
6. Available in EU. European Amazon or general blick&mortar electronics store is ok.
7. Low impedance
Koss KSC 75 or Koss Porta Pro have had this niche for decades and nobody made anything better yet that doesn't cost >10x more! They are seriously good. The KSC 75 is a little more neutral and less warm/dark than the Porta Pro. They would certainly appeal to someone used to high quality headphones. I often listen with my Koss Porta Pro or KSC 75 even though right next to them are my HiFiMan HE4xx and Sennheiser Momentums.
 
OP
N

nas

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Thread Starter #15
Got Superlux HD681, so, the very first impressions when listening for first 30min through Apple usb-3.5 dongle with 0 EQ:
The good:
-Bass: enough of it. Actually not bad at all, has some clarity and punch
-Trebble: not bad too!!! It is not annoying or too sharp. It is also very ok
-On-ear comfort: i am very very impressed as they fit my ears very well, but a bit tight around head
-The sound quantity: more than enough, I am listening on 8/100 from PC with no additional amp
-Sturdiness: metal parts look sturdy
-Build quality for money: good.

The bad:
-Voice range: no, it is not ok at all - they sound like a bit weirdly V shape EQed. It feels that you are listening the band with singers, violins and guitars behind some cloth.
-Coloration of sounds:... way WAY too many. No, except the quantity of bass and decent 3kHz+ treble they are not into level of even mediocre in-ear headphones (as all of them are chewed by dog I dont remember much the sounds...)
-Highest freq: the trebble is nice, but the highest freq seems too shallow
-Clarity...: except for the bass, there is none... Sound is moot and dark, too soft.

Overall: no hifi ambitions, but still a lot of upgrade if direct comparing to in-ear Apple headphones except voice range. The bass and 2-5kHz range sounds very good. With the sound volume increased they seem to perform better. They are OK.
 

julian_hughes

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#16

That's a very good and fair review of the Superlux. See also https://www.stereophile.com/content/superlux-hd-668b-and-hd-681-headphones

Tyll described the Superlux like so: "...sounded like listening to good headphones through razor blades." I think he was being a little kind. Unfortunately these were a hyped up flavour of the month at head-fi several years ago and it seems people still recommend them. They have some really serious faults, only some of which are correctable. Yes, I have owned a pair. I gave it to a charity shop and 5 or 6 years ago and have missed it for zero seconds.

Seriously when you can't stand them any longer (probably it'll be in hours and days, not months or years) try the cheaper Koss. They are vastly superior in every way. If you can do a return and refund or exchange then I'd so so.
 

ZolaIII

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#17

That's a very good and fair review of the Superlux. See also https://www.stereophile.com/content/superlux-hd-668b-and-hd-681-headphones

Tyll described the Superlux like so: "...sounded like listening to good headphones through razor blades." I think he was being a little kind. Unfortunately these were a hyped up flavour of the month at head-fi several years ago and it seems people still recommend them. They have some really serious faults, only some of which are correctable. Yes, I have owned a pair. I gave it to a charity shop and 5 or 6 years ago and have missed it for zero seconds.

Seriously when you can't stand them any longer (probably it'll be in hours and days, not months or years) try the cheaper Koss. They are vastly superior in every way. If you can do a return and refund or exchange then I'd so so.
While Koss is serviceable unfortunately sound wise they are worse (in my book at least).
Never said those are fabulous to start with. With EQ and velour earcups they are fine all do lower bass will remain rough to say at least.
Keep in mind Sennheiser's or AKG's (which visually mentioned Superluxes copied) which are a steep up are around 200$ & still considerd as bang for $.
 
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#18
I like the JVC HA-S500 on-ear available from the auction site from Japan for under $50, if EQed based on Tyll's Innerfidelity measurements. Not comfortable for long periods though. One can add full-size pads and hold them on using a 2 5/8"- 3/16" O-ring; no idea what effect that would have on the needed EQ though.
 

julian_hughes

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#19
While Koss is serviceable unfortunately sound wise they are worse (in my book at least).
Never said those are fabulous to start with. With EQ and velour earcups they are fine all do lower bass will remain rough to say at least.
Keep in mind Sennheiser's or AKG's (which visually mentioned Superluxes copied) which are a steep up are around 200$ & still considerd as bang for $.
That a $30 headphone is very bad copy of a $200 headphone does not make it worth bearing in mind the good quality original! ;)
 

bravomail

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#20
The bad:
-Voice range: no, it is not ok at all - they sound like a bit weirdly V shape EQed. It feels that you are listening the band with singers, violins and guitars behind some cloth.
-Coloration of sounds:... way WAY too many. No, except the quantity of bass and decent 3kHz+ treble they are not into level of even mediocre in-ear headphones (as all of them are chewed by dog I dont remember much the sounds...)
-Highest freq: the trebble is nice, but the highest freq seems too shallow
-Clarity...: except for the bass, there is none... Sound is moot and dark, too soft.
.
Superlux r hard to drive. Apple dongle is too weak. Welcome to the HiFi club. Cheap doesn;t mean good here :)
 
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