andysaurus_rex t1_je6u6e2 wrote

Right now IEMs (in-ear monitors) are really popular at the budget level. They've come a long way in recent years and a lot of Chinese manufacturers are delivering them at a low price point.

There's no consensus of which the "best budget headphone" is. IMO it's the Koss KSC75 for $20, but that's just one opinion and you could argue that the sound quality is put on the backburner because the build quality is bad.

I have one pair for my desk which I use for "critical listening" and gaming. That's my Sennheiser HD8XX. For mobile use, I use airpod pros. The convenience is just so good. For my steam deck I use the Koss KSC75.


andysaurus_rex t1_je6et5l wrote

> Preference: I like neutral tuning with good imaging and soundstage. I am FPS tryhard(sometimes singleplayer)

HD800s and it's not even a question IMO. Since you're on the fence about whether they'd be worth the upgrade or not (I can't say, I've never heard the XS), I'd buy them new from somewhere with a no question return policy, or pre-owned and sell them if you don't like them. There's plenty of demand for a used HD800s.


andysaurus_rex t1_je3a2fo wrote

There’s a few that I listen to that I think accentuate different strengths and aspects of a headphone, but most importantly, you need to like the songs! Listen to your favorite songs.

The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (2004 remaster)

Do It Again - Steely Dan

Kiss - Prince

Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics

One Of These Nights - Eagles

With or Without You - U2

Over The Hills And Far Away - Led Zeppelin

Dark Fantasy - Kanye West

Mountains - Hans Zimmer

I would recommend listening to well mastered music that you already like and listening to the songs back to back on your 109s compared to a random source that isn’t nearly as good. You’ll hear things you didn’t know were even there.


andysaurus_rex t1_jdvoz9b wrote

Man those red M50x were my first entry into the headphone world. Personally I just never found them comfortable enough to wear long term and mine were the older model I guess without the removeable cable so they were kind of a pain to go around with. Ended up getting rid of them fairly quickly but I really appreciated the build quality. The plastics felt really really solid.

My next pair were the discontinued and absolute trash HiFiman HE-300. These things were such trash. I bought them with some bundled amp that was also terrible. Really really bad headphones. Uncomfortable, poor quality, terrible cable, sounded bad. I'm now temped by the HE-400SE but I'm still doubting the build quality and other concerns.


andysaurus_rex t1_jdl1zwq wrote

I bought the lambskin ZMF pads for my HD8XX. Big improvement. They feel awesome. No changes in sound that I could pick up but I didn’t AB test them so ymmv. I was curious about the suede because they look super comfy. Might pick them up eventually but I wanted to try the lambskin first.

Only complaint is I wish they were just a little thicker for more of a smooshy feeling against my head, but it’s a nitpick because they are really very comfortable.