Looking to buy heaphones for my big head

#1 Edited by Aesthetics (13 posts) -

So, I have had some experience buying gaming headsets but now I am looking into a regular headphones for listening to music/Bombcast :). My current headset is a 5.1 Tritton so I can't just take it with me.

At the moment, I am looking at http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-280-Pro-Headphones/dp/B000065BPB

Or

http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD448-Closed-Circumaural-Headphone/dp/B002DGTGO0/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt

I have a relatively big head and comfort is a very high priority. My aforementioned headset gets little use because it hurts my jaw/top of my head with even limited use if I don't use something else to pad it. I am not exactly an audiophile but do want something that sounds good. I am also on the fence of whether I should look at the "open" ones for comfort or "closed" for noise cancellation. My budget is about $100. But I would love advice or recommendations.

#2 Posted by RedRavN (400 posts) -

I have these headphones They are the beyerdynamic dt770pro 250 ohms. In my opinion, headphones in the $180-350 range generally are the best price to performance options. Headphones in this range are plenty good enough for just listening to music for most people. But now a days some of the lower priced options like the senheiser hd-280 are still very quality headphones. Heres 3 things to consider when shopping for headphones.

1) how many ohms of resistance do the headphones have? Basically the amount of ohms is the amount of "power", for lack of a better term, that it takes to move the headphone drivers to a certain volume. So the higher the ohms the more powerful amplifier you need. A higher ohm version of a headphone coupled with a good amp will get you superior sound to a lower ohm version. So for example, if you are on the go you might want to make sure you get around 32 ohms because that's low enough to run in just a phone, laptop or ipod. When you get up to 250ohms you really need a soundcard or at least a portable amplifier to drive them up to an acceptable volume. 600+ is really only for high quality desktop amplifiers. So to start you probably want a 24,32,or 80 ohm headphone unless you are willing to get an amplifier.

2) what is the frequency range and equalization of the headphone? Basically frequency (hz) dont matter to much because the range just gets bigger the more expensive the headphone is. It just means the extremes of high notes and bass are clearer and better reproduced. Equalization is VERY important because it tells you what the sound will be like. Some headphones are very flat sounding. This is the best for the most accurate sound reproduction. I like headphones with slightly higher bass and treble (like a rock preset on itunes or something) because I listen to a lot of aggressive and percussive music like electronic, metal, rock etc. Some headphones overdo the EQing in my opinion like beats by dre which are all super bass and scooped mids. I dont like a perfectly flat eq but I still look for fairly neutral headphones that give you natural sounding reproduction.

3) open back, semi open or closed back headphones? Basically the advantage of open back design is that it makes the soundstage open up tremendously. This makes it so it sounds like music is hitting you from all directions and that the different instruments are located in different spaces. Its hard to describe but its way better, more immersive and "huge" sounding. You also get better dynamic range. The cost of open back is a massive amount of sound bleed. So bad that you can't really listen in a public area. Even with semi open everyone will hear what you're listening to fairly clearly. Open style is made for stay at home use. Also, open phones are not noise cancelling. Closed back headphones have a much smaller soundstage and the music sounds like its "closer" and being funneled into your ear. I got closed because I want to be able to use them on a plane and cancel noise. Also, really unless you are going to spend a lot of money on very quality headphones, it won't really matter much if they are open or closed.

each headphone maker has a unique style. Sennheisers are warm and natural sounding. Grados and akgs are bass monsters. Sony's are very clear with a great shimmering treble. I really like the beyerdynamics. Also, keep in mind headphones need to break in before they sound their best. Hope that was helpful.

#3 Edited by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

I own the 280 Pros. They're great. Size wise, I have a normal head, I don't have to increase the length of the headphones though. So I assume its big head friendly. They are pretty durable, I carry them in my bag all the time. Best thing a lot of the headphone is replaceable. I would recommend these a lot. I use them for basic music listening on my iPhone and they're loud enough.

#4 Edited by MonetaryDread (2030 posts) -

The Wirecutter - Best HeadphonesThese guys know what they are talking about.

Plus, in response to earlier comments on impedance it really is not that important a stat for sound quality. Basically a high impedance headphone is really only useful for certain situations (ie. if you are hooking multiple headphones up to a mixing board or if you have an old stereo that outputs too much current for a normal headphone to allow). What really matters is how the headphone is designed, so for an example, an electrostatic headphone has a high-impedance because it needs the higher voltage to operate efficiently, and the better sound comes from the fact that it is just a higher quality headphone than a traditional headphone speaker.

In real world situations you want to find a headphone that has between 18-32 ohms (almost all non-specialized headphones out there). This allows you to run a headphone on your PC, iDevice, etc... You will find a better sound if you buy a headphone amp, but if you buy the right headphone you do not need to spend additional money.

#5 Posted by Slaegar (709 posts) -

I have a pair of Audio Technica AD700.

They are massive headphones. I thought I had a big head until I put these suckers on. They are open headphones which means you can sort of hear sound around you and others can hear what you are listening to. They also have less bass oomph than a closed pair.

I compared them to a broke in pair of AKG K701s. On a normal DAC the AD700s produce a warmer, livelier sound than the AKGs coldly accurate representation.

#6 Posted by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

I also need some good headphones for general use. Playing games, watching movies, listening to music. But i don't have much money to spend right now. I would say my limit is 80 dollars, maybe i can get to 100 dollars. I'm tired of reading about different brands and different models. I don't really know what to choose. And the headphones will be use connected to an Astro Mixamp, if that helps.

#7 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7096 posts) -
Sorry, Mr. Bighead. There's nothing I can do.

I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 598s that I'm sure would be great for a big head.

#8 Posted by Aesthetics (13 posts) -
#9 Posted by Robot_Sneakers (418 posts) -

I agree with @sexytoad and I have a very large head and have to adjust them quite a few notches. They sound great and can be sent back for repairs, I use them for everything and I love them, my vote is for Sennheiser 280 Pros.

#10 Posted by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

Hey guys, if i wait some more weeks, i'll be able to afford the Audio Technica ATH-M50. Everywhere i read, it is said it is the best set of headphones for under 200. And i can get them for 115.

#11 Posted by Cheesebob (1236 posts) -

You could always cellotape two speakers to your ears if your head is THAT big

#12 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to gladly spending money for quality. If I knew I could get enough out of it, I wouldn't hesitate to spend $800-$1,200 on a headset (and my home theater's audio setup ran me nearly $25k).

However, really high quality headphones are a bit of a gimmick and way overpriced. They really are (and I'm not even talking about the generic crap peddled to gamers with mics and shitty faux-surround and other crap, but actual high end listening headsets). There definitely isn't "one set fits all" as far as quality, either. Most true audiophiles (which I am not) own at least two $500+ headsets, because different music requires a different sound-affinity. One for jazz and classical, another for rock - for example.

Anyway, that said, I have never found anything with better quality at a lower price than the radio-industry, DJ-appreciated, truly beloved Sony MDR-V6. They have a fantastic overall sound, a decent feel, are very portable, and last forever. I only bought a new pair in the past year after having my last regularly used pair since my grandfather bought them for me when I was a kid in the early 90s. That's almost 20 years for a $100 headset (actually, it should be like $65 on Amazon).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_MDR-V6

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-V6-Monitor-Series-Headphones/dp/B00001WRSJ

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826159110

They have a slightly improved bigger-brother, but I prefer the sound of these and the bigger brother is $30 more for not $30 improvement, as far as I'm concerned. At any rate, the MDR-V6 is not the best headphone in the world, but it is a terrific value with a lot of respect for them (seriously, just google them and read for yourself). I give them as gifts. I now keep extra in the house, just so I have them if they're ever (not likely) discontinued. And while I could get better for $500 or $800, it's hard to justify that expense.

If you decide you need a mic, just add one, yourself. I'd suggest checking out the high quality attachable boom-mic from AntLion, called the "mod-mic". In fact, as someone who has given up on finding decently priced awesome-sounding headsets that *also* have awesome microphones, I've decided to always go for the headphone quality sans-mic and then buy the mod-mic to attach, separately. Opens up a world of choices.

Don't take my glowing praise as a repeat-buyer and 20+ year owner as gospel, of course, I guarantee you won't regret these. That doesn't mean there isn't better out there. Especially if you have a peculiar taste or need. But these are a really solid all-around use go-to if you just want an affordable high-quality set and not spend the next 5% of your life researching headphones (says the guy who spent ten months going down the rabbit-hole of researching every aspect of mice before buying my current mouse).

#13 Posted by Ben_H (3354 posts) -

I have a rather large head and have no issues fitting the HD 280s or the Beyer DT770s (I have both. The DT770s are sooooo good). I also have the older Sennheiser HD555s and those fit well too and are insanely comfortable.

#14 Edited by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

@branthog thanks for your post. Would you recommend the Sony MDR-V6 over the Audio Technica ATH-M50 then? I'm going crazy trying to decide what to get. It's funny you mentioned gaming headsets. Those were my first choice. I bought the Sennheiser PC360 G4ME, they were so expensive, but i thought i had a quality product. I'm on my second headset, and on both, the mic stopped working. Amazon replaced my faulty unit last summer. Last weekend, my second set of the PC360 decided to behave like the other... mic stopped working again. Amazon is going to refund me now, and after some research, i decided it's time to ditch the gaming headsets and just get a good set of headphones and a clip mic. I'm really interested in the Antlion mod-mic, but they don't ship to Europe, unfortunately, so i'm going to buy the Zalman clip mic. It's cheap and people say it's good. If you have some sugestions, i'm listening :)

#15 Edited by tread311 (356 posts) -

Every couple of weeks Buydig.com seems to have refurbished Audio Technica A900X headphones on sale. I picked some up like a month ago and they are great, much better than I expected. Good for a large head as well.

#16 Edited by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@mannycalavera said:

@branthog thanks for your post. Would you recommend the Sony MDR-V6 over the Audio Technica ATH-M50 then? I'm going crazy trying to decide what to get. It's funny you mentioned gaming headsets. Those were my first choice. I bought the Sennheiser PC360 G4ME, they were so expensive, but i thought i had a quality product. I'm on my second headset, and on both, the mic stopped working. Amazon replaced my faulty unit last summer. Last weekend, my second set of the PC360 decided to behave like the other... mic stopped working again. Amazon is going to refund me now, and after some research, i decided it's time to ditch the gaming headsets and just get a good set of headphones and a clip mic. I'm really interested in the Antlion mod-mic, but they don't ship to Europe, unfortunately, so i'm going to buy the Zalman clip mic. It's cheap and people say it's good. If you have some sugestions, i'm listening :)

I like both the ATH-M50s and the MDR-V6 as they have similar (but different) sound qualities and share a lot of physical design. I think a lot of it has to come down to what you really want them for, expect out of them, and are willing to pay. I use mine for games, music, and podcasts across my iPad, Macbook Pro, and desktop. The sound is everything I could really want, considering the source of almost everything I hear is a compressed audio file (320kbit MP3s, higher quality FLACs, compressed game-audio, 64/128kbit podcasts), so I don't personally feel I'm goign to get much more out of spending a lot more on expensive headsets. As a result, I'd rather get a known-good headset that is really robust and that I'm familiar and comfortable with that is cheap enough that I could replace it with another pair if something ever happens to them -- and still pay less than a competing brand/pair.

Ideally, you should find a local place that carries them and try them in meatspace. It's the only way to know the what is right for you since every person expects and needs something different in the way of sound and fit, both, that are hard to convey in an online review. That said, here's a pretty good comparison of the M50 to the V6. You can view the specs on their respective sites. you'll notice the M50 has a slightly bigger driver (and heavier lows), while the MDR-V6 has a slightly wider frequency and an overall "brighter" sound.

Hopefully the prices are comparable, where you are. In the US, Amazon has the M50s for $120 USD (normally $200) and the MDR-V6s are $68 (normally about $110). Either way, you won't be disappointed, if they're priced close to that where you are. Like a lot of things, the only way I think you'd second-guess yourself is if you bought one and then in six months, you try the other in a store. That is, even if you are missing something, you won't know it unless you are directly comparing them in the real world. Otherwise, you'll be happy with either purchase and just enjoy your music and podcasts. Again, I say that as someone who was ready to spend $500-$1,000 on my next set of headphones and eventually just said "you know what, fuck it -- really good is good enough". :)

Hope that helps, in some way. Sorry I can't be more decisive for you, but other than the price, they're both just too good to dismiss either one straightout.
#17 Posted by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

Thank you very much for your help. Unfortunately, where i live i can't find those headphones anywhere. The only way i can try them is buying them online. I'm going to use the headphones for general use. Games, movies and music (podcast included). And maybe i'll use them on my amp for when i want to play some guitar. Right now i think i like the M50 more than the V6, so i think i'm going with them. I just need a mic now, unfortunately the guys at AntLion don't ship them to Europe and i don't know anyone in the US who is travelling to Portugal to bring me one. Do you have any opinion about mics? I just want a mic to voice chat with friends while playing online.

#18 Posted by Lemon_Peel (7 posts) -

KOSS PortaPro is a fairly solid choice and they have been very comfy for me. Was using Sony PQ's which gave decent sound but were kind of bulky. The PortaPros are pretty well respected for their price and have been around for like ten years. I got a pair a couple weeks ago when the price was like 35, it may go down again. You could add it to a camelcamelcamel account and youll get an email for the lowest price when its available. http://www.amazon.com/Koss-PortaPro-Headphones-with-Case/dp/B00001P4ZH

#19 Posted by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

Does anyone know how much would it cost to ship the Audio Technica ATH-M50 to Portugal? Prices here in Europe are ridiculous :x

#20 Posted by Aesthetics (13 posts) -

So, I went around on the weekend trying to find a place where I could actually try on the Sony MDR-V6. None to be found. Anyone know of a retail place that carries them?

#21 Posted by AlexW00d (6274 posts) -

I use a pair of the 448s, they're pretty good. Also fairly comfy for a fellow big head.

#22 Posted by MannyCalavera (105 posts) -

I've made my mind. I recently found out about the Audio Technica A900X headphones, and that's what i'll buy. A cousin of mine is going to the US in 3 weeks, and he can get me those phones for cheaper than i can get in Europe, so he will bring them to me. By the way, the cheapest i can find in the US is 139 dollars. If you guys know of a better deal, tell me :)

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