Best over-the-ear headphones for techno listening?
April 4, 2013 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I am looking to purchase an over-the-ear headphone under $100 for daily techno and deep house music listening. Which headphone would you recommend?
posted by likeapen to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
No specific suggestions but the people over at GoodCans know what they're talking about, so it'd be wise to see how your intended purchase rates over there.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on April 4, 2013

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. Comfortable, durable, high-quality headphones. I bought mine for mixing and now just use them to listen to music while I work. They are popular, too: Google stocks them in the supply rooms (or did, when I worked there) so they were easily the most common type of headphones you'd see people wearing there.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:19 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Grado SR-60 or SR-80s should be a good choice, they sound excellent for the price (in your range). They're an open design though, so they'll leak more sound than fully enclosed headphones, if that's a concern.
posted by reptile at 10:19 AM on April 4, 2013

The suggestions you will get here are the Sennheiser HD280s, the Audio Technica ATH-M50s, or the Sony MDR 7506s. Honestly, they're all great. You might want to give them a listen. The ATs are the most expensive of the bunch.

Grados are also great.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2013

Grado, hands down.
posted by mrrisotto at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2013

The Wirecutter recommends the Audio Technica ATH-M50s. (Read the review for comparisons to the above models, too). I got them on their recommendation, and they work like a charm. You could probably wait around a bit and get them for under $100, if you don't need them soon.
posted by Maecenas at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2013

Have you seen this post from the NPR Music crew?
posted by knile at 10:52 AM on April 4, 2013

These guys are on Head-Fi's top ten.

I use Sennheiser HD280s with this USB headphone amp, personally. I think the headphone amp makes a world of difference, and the D-A conversion is miles ahead of my Mac Pro's onboard sound card.
posted by supercres at 10:55 AM on April 4, 2013

I also agree with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros. I got them off Amazaon for $99.

As a fellow deep/tech-house and trance listener I can attest to the quality of the sound you get from them for this price range.
posted by OuttaHere at 11:40 AM on April 4, 2013

They're an open design though, so they'll leak more sound than fully enclosed headphones, if that's a concern.

Yes. The biggest question you need to answer for yourself is how much of the outside world you want imposing. Because, in my experience, the best headphones in terms of pure fidelity are generally not the best at cutting out exterior sound, which ended up being a big deal for me ... as I tend to do a lot of listening on the bus and in other noisy urban situations.

But I also didn't want HUGE headphones, so I ended up settling on this compact Klipsch option with what I'd call "very good" sound, including rich bass. Unfortunately, they're currently listing for about $120 (although that's Canadian).
posted by philip-random at 11:54 AM on April 4, 2013

No specific suggestions but the people over at GoodCans know what they're talking about

Also, if you are willing to dig a bit, the good people over at Head-Fi know a lot about headphones. A couple of results from a quick search for techno headphones:

Closed headphones for techno $100?

And the best techno headphones are...
posted by rtimmel at 1:18 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sony MDR-7506. 90-100 USD, what the pros actually use.
posted by werkzeuger at 2:32 PM on April 4, 2013

I have no idea, my brother is a passionate amateur music producer and has been for nearly 30 years, he got me AKG K240mk2, they're heaven. very bass-heavy, good fit. I wear glasses and these don't make the glasses press in and cut my ears like the Sennheiser did. Semi open. My dad has the type one grade higher, less bass-y (these are very bassy, but frankly eg for Rihanna who cares?) he listens to classical, but the fit is less close. I give these 100% but not for classical, i would go one grade higher. These were under £100 then, i know.
posted by maiamaia at 4:04 PM on April 4, 2013

If you want closed headphones, and you probably do, Lutoslawski's recommendations are the gold standard. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the Sonys are more comfortable, the Sennheisers isolate better and the A-Ts might be a little bassier.

(The Sony MDR-V6 is the 7506's near-twin (and it is not to be confused with the MDR-V600--those are not good).)

The advice to consult Head-Fi and is also good.

If you're going to spend $100, I think you're probably better off getting better headphones and no headphone amp. If you're going to spend $200 or $300, though, I would suggest that $100 headphones through an amp, even an inexpensive one like a Fiio or something, can sound better than $200 headphones without one.
posted by box at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2013

I use Sennheiser HD280s with this USB headphone amp, personally.

This is an excellent setup. I have listened, mixed, and produced with this combo(by which i mean those headphones+a decent amp, not that specific one). On the move, i plug them in to one of these. It's not amazing... but it's also $20 and no portable player can really properly drive these cans without at least something small like that to give it a boost.

If you have to save for an extra week or two to get a couple amps with the headphones, do it. I'd spend $30-40 on a USB amp for at home, and 20-30 on a portable one. I feel like it's the equivalent of getting a nice case when you get a decent laptop: completely worth it.

I have no actual gripe with the sound quality of the grados, but the open back design just makes them somewhat irritating to use in any place that isn't a quite room in your house. I also think the sennheisers have a bit of an edge on build quality over most of the other options in that price range. Several people i know bought these cans when they had just come out when i was in highschool, and are still using them many years later.
posted by emptythought at 9:03 PM on April 4, 2013

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