I have a pair of ath-m40xs, but am looking for open back headphones. I will most likely get the DT990pros, but was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for headphones that are in a similar price range.
Additional question to those with 250ohm+ headphones: do you guys find a headphone amp necessary? I do have a Scarlett solo and xone23 DJ mixer, which are rated at 200ohms. But I was wondering if a dedicated amp would be necessary.
I use DT990 Pro and 770 Pro for vocals when I can remember to use them. But, I have a hybrid system so my phones come out of an interface.
If you are looking to use headphones directly out of eurorack it’s definitely worth seeking either a headphone output with poke or possibly a separate headphone amp. For a while with my old Focusrite interface I used a cheap Chinese Sabaj PHA3 amp with good results and they’re less than £40 on Amazon.
I had a pair of AKG (open back) for years, can’t remember the model. about 150€ 10/15 years ago. let’s say 50/55 ohm, no need for an amp. I loved them so much! now they’ve got no good bass response anymore, but still pleasant to listen to. Now I have a pair of AT-M40x (closed back). I bought them because I needed to record a voice, otherwise I would have gone for open back again. Next headphones will be expensive…but it won’t be soon
I use DT 770 Pro’s, the 32 ohm version because I wanted to plug them straight into a laptop or interface. I do find them a bit light on bass, someone suggested a dedicated headphone amp would improve the low frequency response but I haven’t tried that.
I use ATH-R70x open back, and I love them. They’re light and comfortable enough to use for hours, and the frequency response is fairly flat. The impedance has never been a problem connected either to my Scarlett 4i4 or directly to my MacBook Pro (which kinda surprised me), so I’ve never needed a headphone amp.
I also use SoundID Reference to improve still further on the already flat response.
When out and about, I usually use my more portable ATH-M50x closed back, which are also a lot less fragile.
My DT 770 Pro (80 Ohm) is plugged into an ancient Prosonos Audiobox USB and bass response is just fine, very balanced sound. Super confy as well, can wear them for hours without any issues.
Ollo Audio S4X (32 Ohm) plugged into an Audient ID22 interface.
Considered the DT990 Pros at the time (a couple of years ago) but went with the Ollo’s. No regrets.
Still like my Sony MDR-7509HD Professional a lot. Very revealing and detailed at any volume level. No need for a pre-amp.
- Power: 3000 mW
- Impedance: 24 Ohm
- Sensitivity (dB/mW): 107
- Frequency Response (Hz): 5 - 80,000 Hz
The 7509HD Professional is no longer made though. I bought mine second hand some years ago. But, the Sony MDR line still lives on. The Sony MDR-7506 (under $100) recently ranked ’ BEST WORKHORSE PAIR
’ at Music Radar Best studio headphones 2023 (nov 2023).
Beyerdynamic DT770/990 (PRO) have been around for ages in various forms and are still much used and appreciated. Same goes for the Audio Technica ATH-M40X/50X/60X70X. Sennheisser HD 400/600 headphones also still rank high. Same for AKG-240 and such.
A pair of neutral in-ear monitors (IEM) will do fine too in many cases. Not just for connecting to a laptop or outboard DAC. Also for jus listening, because audio outputs from phones are of very high quality lately. If your phone still has a 3.5mm jack that is…
Top quality IEM’s can be bought for under $100 (e.g. HiFiMan RE-400 Waterline or Philips Fidelio S2 In-Ear Earphone. Or even around $50. Or even less. Alas some of the really cheap top IEM’s are no longer made ( Xiaomi Piston 3 In-Ear Earphones or Sony MH1C ).
But be carefull with IEM’s. When sealed well and with no way for any excess pressure to escape out of your ears…you can easily destroy your hearing at higher volume levels (watch that bass!!) and prolonged listening sessions.
In-Ear Earphone Review List | The Headphone List
A great test tune for headphones is Massive Attack - Angel (Mezzazine 1998). It feature very low bass, clear vocals, resonant distorted e-guitar, FX, ebass, driven epiano and some dry drums/hats all in one song. Pretty hard to keep balanced, detailed and seperated for many headphones.
Angel (Remastered 2019)
I second the Sony MDR7506, I use those anytime I can’t use my speakers, I trust them completely (honest mids is the most important part for me). I can mix on them trusting what will come out anywhere else and they last yeaaaars.
I listened to a lot of Ollo S4X at work and I really liked what I heard.
I tried two different times an Audeze LCD-X (at work too) and was brutally underwhelmed (for the price), it was probably just me not beeing used to them but meh…
And I never used a dedicated preamp…