I have a pair of Sennheiser 600's that I use as you're describing, occasionally plugged into the headphone jack of an integrated amp. A used pair would be in your price range. They come with a 1/8" jack and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.
Make sure, you visit www.head-fi.org/
It's a site dedicated to headphones. Lots of info.
You can find headphones for $200, but based on my observations of your other audio goals in other posts you would not be happy with them for anything except the privacy they can provide.
At a minimum you need not only good phones but a seperate amp as well. I used to listen to some electrostatic headphones (STAX) and they were simply amazing, unbelievable clarity and absence of distortion unlike anything I've ever heard from speakers. But, in the long run I like the soundstaging effects of properly set up speakers. The in-the-head effect becomes more distractive than anything else. They are a great tool for diagnostic and analytical purposes though. You will hear everything going on in the recordings and your equipment. FWIW.
For ipod or computers and stuff with lousy amplfiers (most integrateds) then I find the Sennheiser HD25 Pro works great (low impedance and great dynamics + the cup cuts out external noise so great for hearing detail with only some slight artifacts from the cup). The other medium priced headphones I really like are the classic AKG 240S (the S version has low impedance and more bass than teh orginal 600 Ohm classics that you see in all the videos of musicians in studios - the classics are great but need a headphone amp to sound there best).
I was the first person to bring Stax into the US to the best of my knowledge, I showed them to the person who became the original importer. This was in the late 60s and I have used them ever since. If I were to listen to headphones exclusively or a majority of the time I would have nothing else. But to use as you describe the Sennheiser 600's are fine. I have a pair of them also and could live with them as a full time source. They will very likely sound better than your speakers.
My AKG 701's blew away my sennheisers and grados. You can find them used in the $250 range???
Headphones are even more individual than speakers. Each has a quality all their own. Mating them with a dedicated headphone amp is almost a necessity. I use Senn HD600 phones. I have a dedicated tube amp from ASL. I have played them through the Creek 5350SE and it is very good. I have played them through the phone jack of my CD players, and an Onkyo receiver. It was terrible. Some headphones sound better with tube amps. For now I would recommend the Sennheiser HD600 but by all means do more research on head-fi before you buy. It is also a good place to buy used phones and amps. Once you hear good headphones, you will want an amp. Good luck!
Am I the only one that thinks buying used headphones is creepy? I understand you can replace the pads, but still...
Cruz123 - Nah, not any creepier than kissing girls I really didn't know all that well.
I had a pair of Senns many years ago D50s (?) I think. I sort of Felt like and sounded like planar speakers
they didnt eliminate outside sounds well at all
I didnt keep them long. I think they were around 150 175 and that was back in 90-92, somewhere.
youre probably right
as usual.. But Im a gonna try. I had a complete audiology exam yesterday. Im clearly in the normal range
dont hear any dog whistls, however my sensitivity was quite high, but as I suspected my left ear is down 4 to 5db, from my right.
Consequently as Im to this point, singule, I figured to grab a pair of these goobers and kill two birds with one stone
save the gear/tubes some, and overcome the deficiency or disparity between left and right ears. Over that of relegating myself to the nearfield seating position or off center, as my usual perch.
With that in mind
another feature may be needed
volume/level control in the headset.
Stax sure get a lot of press..
RE Sennheiser 600's
better than your speakers
Whoa. I like my speakers too
. With my particular setup, of course. I well may add an amp expressly for them later on as Newbie alluded to my tastes for sonics
but for now, no can do. Ill make a selection with that possible future addition in mind
. Just not as expressly as an intentioned one.
me too, some.
Sennheiser HD25 Pro & AKG 240S.
I do like the notion of good bottom ends and leading edge definition, albeit not to the point of having to endure short lived sessions because of fatigue. Likely thats a non issue here. I dont crank anything up extensively or for extended periods. Just once in a while.
The variety of sources is a consideration for me too as no dedicated amp is going to be in place right off.
More unique than speakers
I suspect the head phone amp all are alluding to here is/are dedicated HP amps.
Wouldnt a Y off the output taps of a line stage preamp do for a while?
Any phones here have the vol adjustment for each side? This too, may be a non issue given this intensely near field situation HPs present.
This matter of imp that Shatern mentioned
how crucial is that in picking HPs?
Thanks so very much so far. it's a big help for sure.
I've also just headed down this path - wanted the option to listen to music at reasonable volumes when the house is otherwise under a noise ban - ie my 2 year old is sleeping! I picked up a pair of AKG K702s for $270 and an Audio-gd headphone amp for $335 plus delivery. The combination is still burning in but already sounds staggeringly good. My only previous headphone experience was with Ultimate Ears in-ears with my iPod and a pair of lower model Senns. The AKGs sound far more transparent than these others. They definitely need amplification, however - though I'm sure your headphone output from your amp would more than do the job.
It's likely true that a dedicated headphone amp is going to sound better than the amp built into an integrated amp, at least if you spend a reasonable amount of money. I had a very nice Headroom amp with the Sennheiser 600's for awhile and it sounded great but I found myself not using the headphones often enough to justify the amp.
To your question about considering the impedance when picking the phones, I would think what's most important is that you find headphones you really like first, then if you find you enjoy the experience, find an amp that matches the phones. Because of the issues of fit and the clarity of the sonics, opinions about what makes a great pair of phones seem to be even more personal than for other gear.
Thanks... I am begining to see that "to each their own" aspect.
That combo of yours sure seems attractive enough. I saw a couple reviews on both the Sen 600 & the AKC 701.
In reading some online reviews one note was put which gave me some pause
it regarded connecting the ??? HPs to standard amp speaker connections, instead of ¼ or mini jacks.
That sort of connection, was for older HP systems, right? Or is that an option for current modles, AKC or not?
Jim- the AKG K1000s run off speaker output terminals. They have very high impedence and require several watts (maybe 5-10) to sound their best. They are awesome cans, but since they are open to the air, front and back, they are not for everyone. They will also cost you way more than $200; they are discontinued and used pairs in good condition generally fetch about %750-$1K. For $200 the AKG 701s or Senn 600s are very nice. The Senns are more laid back. Both are very comfortable to me and there are upgrade paths in terms of cabling. They will both require a dedicated amp to sound their best (can run off tape loop or some have their own loop. Sfar's recommendation is good.
Are the AKC & Sen models 'open air' types?
I believe I'd prefer not to hear minor or normal nearby things when listening via headphones... thermos, fridge, the neighbor's Ever-ready battery powered puppy, the Avon lady, off track but nearby SCUD missles, etc.
The AKG K702s plug in to a standard headphone socket (1/4" or 1/8"), not the speaker terminals of an amp. They are open-backed but ambient room noise is not an issue as open backed really means sound gets out rather than sound getting in - unless you are listening in a very loud environment. In terms of sound quality, it seems universally accepted that open-backed give better sound quality than closed 'phones, though I haven't listened myself to test this. The K702s are essentially the same as the K701s but with a detatchable cord which I think is useful and enables you to upgrade the cable without having the phones modded - or even just get a longer (or shorter) cable.
I'm very impressed with the sound this combo (with Audio-gd amp) is producing but have not experienced many other combinations to compare, certainly not at this budget.
Thanks very much. Very good enlightening info there. I sure need it too.
Jim- YOu will hear not hear the fridge, you will hear the puppy (have you tried feeding him doggie downers? grin). As far as the Scuds go, they fall silently; its the patriot missile blasting off next door that you will hear ;~)
Casa Boom Boom has been eriely quiet lately. they're probably massing for an attack on my aural system.... but of late, are doing far better... except for "... the little dog too" aspect.
If I could just figure out how to extract that Ever Ready battery from her uh, whereever.... I'd be a happy camper again! She's a pill.
Hopefully these AKC cans will be good enough till I can do an HP amp.
Jim- Maybe you can just get the neigbors to lay off on the "puppy-uppers". Headphones are very personal. I like 'em but some don't. A headphone amp will make a big difference. Enjoy.