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What are the best headphones you would recommend in the $100-$250 range? What headphones do you have?

solderdude

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The HD650 was the 'flagship' back in the days (not counting the Orpheus) and the HD650/HD6XX still remains an excellent headphone today. Certainly for that price.
The HD6XX definitely is one of the top contenders in: What are the best headphones you would recommend in the $100-200 range
But there are more of them for sure and the question 'best' is rather subjective and relative depending on what one feels is the most important aspect.
 
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Shoaibexpert

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Here are some of my findings regarding the pressed dome and a 'veiled' HD650.

You have to scroll down to the bottom part of the article.
Thanks for the measurements and apologies for late response. My observation corresponds to your measurements. Once i fixed my D650 driver (as above)...it did sound rather brighter than before and the mids did seem to have been recessed after fixing. Im not sure if i liked the pressed in driver (like before) or the brighter sounding fixed driver sound...btw my D 650 is 2017 model as you can tell by the date on the driver.

For comparison, I am finding the HD800S to be more veiled and darker sounding than the 650...odd! i know! Did check the drivers and they seem fine in the 800S as you can see below....damn its a big driver I feel my Hifiman Arya is more dynamic and engaging than my HD800S...dont know i others can relate..
20200128_234130_resized.jpg
 
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I listen to classical all time, my setup is topping DX 3 pro and Sennheiser HD 598 (now it's 599 as a successor to 598). It's a little bit above your budget but worth it. For reference, I play violin and I used to be in an orchestra. The staging is definitely not HD800 (10x the price) level but it's good enough.
 

Shoaibexpert

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Here: https://mega.nz/#!AookwAoQ!aqZf5Mwvt4rGXTQZ-KPm6Pou6kwghYafg-AwAuHxADA
They're very similar. I've reduced the cut to the upper bass/lower mids by 1 dB and also reduced the 5.8 kHz cut by increasing gain and Q.
Thanks. May I ask if you've actually used a HD800S to optimize this EQ or is it based on frequency graphs...asking coz I know you have the 800 and not the 800S (AFAIK).

I've used iterations of the Oratory 1990 EQs before...they always seem to take away the openness if the HD800S and make them darker with lesser sound stage...you know the feeling when all frequencies have messed up altogether at the same time...maybe it's my unit!
 

Shoaibexpert

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I had a similar experience. The HD800S is a bit recessed in the 2-5KHz region where a lot of details live, especially for steering and brass instruments. I chalk it up to that.
I had the Arya and still went for the HD800S (used) only to find exactly what you've said. All reviews said that HD800S was the detail king and I find the trumpets to be shallow, kick drums to be fake sounding and bass to be really lean! Mids if the Arya were much more forward with depth and layering. HD800S lacks in depth albeit a slightly larger sound stage...it doesn't move you with anything!

Any EQs you use to make the 800S more lively? I got mine for $800 used and thinking about not selling it around that price as it may not be worth it! (Though im so tempted to!)
 

flipflop

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Thanks. May I ask if you've actually used a HD800S to optimize this EQ or is it based on frequency graphs...asking coz I know you have the 800 and not the 800S (AFAIK).

I've used iterations of the Oratory 1990 EQs before...they always seem to take away the openness if the HD800S and make them darker with lesser sound stage...you know the feeling when all frequencies have messed up altogether at the same time...maybe it's my unit!
I don't own either of the headphones. The EQ, for the pair I use, is mainly based on FR graphs, but has been fine-tuned by ear.

oratory's EQ presets are often very "aggressive". His preset for the HD 800 S adds a lot more bass and cuts a lot more treble than mine. My preset takes measurements from 5 different sources into account, whereas oratory is going all out with the numbers from his own measurement of a single unit.
 

pwjazz

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I had the Arya and still went for the HD800S (used) only to find exactly what you've said. All reviews said that HD800S was the detail king and I find the trumpets to be shallow, kick drums to be fake sounding and bass to be really lean! Mids if the Arya were much more forward with depth and layering. HD800S lacks in depth albeit a slightly larger sound stage...it doesn't move you with anything!

Any EQs you use to make the 800S more lively? I got mine for $800 used and thinking about not selling it around that price as it may not be worth it! (Though im so tempted to!)
I only borrowed the HD800S for a week and didn't play around with EQ, so I don't have any suggestions, sorry.
 

Shoaibexpert

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I don't own either of the headphones. The EQ, for the pair I use, is mainly based on FR graphs, but has been fine-tuned by ear.

oratory's EQ presets are often very "aggressive". His preset for the HD 800 S adds a lot more bass and cuts a lot more treble than mine. My preset takes measurements from 5 different sources into account, whereas oratory is going all out with the numbers from his own measurement of a single unit.
Thanks. I'll try and report back.
 
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Shoaibexpert

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I don't own either of the headphones. The EQ, for the pair I use, is mainly based on FR graphs, but has been fine-tuned by ear.

oratory's EQ presets are often very "aggressive". His preset for the HD 800 S adds a lot more bass and cuts a lot more treble than mine. My preset takes measurements from 5 different sources into account, whereas oratory is going all out with the numbers from his own measurement of a single unit.
Alright I tried the EQ on the 800S and found it quite nice. I have 2 questions: why the -4.5 pre amp and why the 5.8K dip...I thought they fixed that with the S version. iam very interested to know how much variation did you find between the various pairs of 800S. Anyways, your EQ is definitely much better and less manipulative than the Oratory EQ. you have my respect man!

now if you can link to the Arya and 650 EQs (if available) and advise what sampling rate should i set in my windows sound settings for the DAC for tidal hifi...thatd be awesome!:)
 
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flipflop

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I have 2 questions: why the -4.5 pre amp
The preamp setting is to avoid clipping. It should mirror the highest boost of the EQ, which in this case is at 4.1 dB, but I just "rounded" it up to -4.5.
and why the 5.8K dip...I thought they fixed that with the S version.
They didn't fix it, only reduced its impact.
iam very interested to know how much variation did you find between the various pairs of 800S.
The unit-to-unit variations were modest. I don't want to confuse you with the measurements, because some of the discrepancies can partly be ascribed to the different measurement rigs and methodologies employed by the sites publishing measurements.
What I can tell you is that the great channel matching shows that these headphones are subject to good quality control.
now if you can link to the Arya and 650 EQs (if available) and advise what sampling rate should i set in my windows sound settings for the DAC for tidal hifi...thatd be awesome!:)
I'm afraid the Arya hasn't been measured by a reputable site yet. Here's my HD 650 profile: https://mega.nz/#!8sxGjKRJ!1fdJFdEQFhufGsAJvgKVTD30pWrIT4u9AD83LxcQJRo - EDIT: Forgot about the preamp setting. Uploaded a new file with -8 dB of gain applied.
Tidal uses a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz.
Enjoy.
 
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Shoaibexpert

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I'm afraid the Arya hasn't been measured by a reputable site yet.
Darn it...Arya has seriously good driver...EQing it would make miracles i feel!

Many Thanks! I liked how your EQ doesn't play much with the Mids that much. what target preference do you follow...im sure its not Harman Target.
Tidal uses a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz.
Windows has 16bit 44.1 as well as 24bit 44.1 settings...any preference to emulate 'Bit Perfect' mode?

thanks
 
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