Not the lowest price ever but still very decent. Well-regarded open back headphones.
Great deal! I've had these since November 2020 (bought them for $179.29) and I absolutely love them. They are super comfortable (especially when I contrast them with the Sony WH-1000XM3's I also own) and the sound quality is fantastic. I bought a V-Moda BoomPro Microphone to use along with it although I don't use it for gaming. I do find the maximum volume a little low so I'm using some software to slightly increase the dB (I don't use an amp, the headphones are connected to the headphone jack slot in my laptop). I would highly recommend looking through the comments of previous deals from other OzBargainers for some more points on why they're a great purchase. I've summarised a few below:
Here's some useful commentary by an OzBargainer called Gnostikos from a previous deal:
Great bang-for-your-buck, entry-level audiophile headphones, especially at this price and quite possibly some of the most comfortable circumaural cans ever produced.
I would grab them while stock is still available as they have been discontinued since October 2020 due to the release of the (inferior and less well-reviewed) X3s(amazon.com.au) and there hasn't been a deal on these since last December.
Very colourful, warm, bassy, V-shaped sound signature that will go well with most genres and tastes and as mentioned, very easy to drive.
Be careful with boosting levels in software. At best it reduces the dynamic range, at worst it causes compression artefacts and clipping. If you can't get the music to an enjoyable volume, the only good solution is a headphone amp or and amp/dac combo.
Thank you so much for your advice! I don't know much about headphone amps or amp/dac combos so I was wondering whether you had any advice in terms of what to look for or even some articles/videos you would recommend checking out? Seems like my Dell XPS 13 9360 doesn't recognise my V-Moda BoomPro Microphone but my Dell WD19TB docking station does (but then the audio quality is much worse off when using the dock compared to the laptop). I'm sure I'll be blown away once I have the right set-up haha.
Get this: https://www.apple.com/au/shop/product/MU7E2FE/A/usb-c-to-35-...
Note you specifically want the Apple one, and you specifically want the USB-C to 3.5mm dongle (i.e. not Lightning). It's a weirdly overengineered DAC/Amp for a dongle, and will easily drive the headphones. Also had a similar issue with the V-Moda mic not working in my 3.5mm jack (I think it has something to do with 4 poles vs 3 poles??), but works fine with the dongle.
Highly recommend. Probably can get it slightly cheaper somehow since they sell them everywhere.
Reference specific to the Fidelio's: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/kqhm08/psa_buy_...
@smmoove: Cheers mate, really appreciate the advice! I'll grab the dongle within the next few days and report back on how I go. OzBargain really is a treasure trove of information, thanks again for the write-up, your time and the specific recommendations :D
@Zenyth: Bought the Apple USB-C to 3.5-mm Headphone Jack Adapter earlier this morning and confirm that it works great! I've plugged the X2HR/00 headphone jack into the adapter which I've then plugged into the USB-C port on my Dell WD19TB and now, my V-Moda mic is recognised and the sound quality is fantastic. Can't thank you enough!
@smmoove: Thanks for that recommendation, been looking for a cheapish DAC/Amp for a while! Grabbed one and it indeed improves the sound pretty noticably. Still not sure it has enough power for 250ohm DT770 but better than on board any day.
Best of luck to all entrants in the upcoming audiophile debate. May the best opinion win.
I've owned a pair of these for a few years. They are fantastic and at this price they're a no-brainer. You'll need an amp to do them justice. Some pics: https://imgur.com/a/AatR9mY
You'll need an amp to do them justice
You'll need an amp to do them justice
What's your audio source? One of the main reasons these get recommended over other similar sounding headphones is because they're easy to drive.
Definitely need an amp to drive them. I pair mine with a cheap Yamaha HTR 2067 https://imgur.com/a/0RHhX53
Man just bought it from amazon few days ago for $220, anyway i can get the difference back from amazon gang?
Return it without having opened it, but there are better headphone deals right now.
Oh did start the return but says i have to handle the shipment, to Amazon UK lol, which is $68 as far as i can see. And auto reimbursement for shipping is $17.
What better headphone deals are out there right now? (I am addicted to this now :( )
Ah, didn't realise you were dealing with stock from outside the country. That'll be an issue.
What are you after, and what's your budget?
@jasswolf: Yeah all fidelios ship from UK :( Also a FYI for everyone coming here i guess.
Headphones absolutely fantastic tho, easy buy even at $200 for me. I EQ’ed it just a little on the high end and oh my god, this is something else just as a reference i have quite a bit of headphones from shure se215 to hd280pro, koss portapro, sony xm3, Bose qc25, AirPods Pro to KZ ZS10 pro. So yeah overs quite a bit of ground.
Well i also have hd600 far far away back home so couldn’t resist and ordered HD6XX on the way here.
So honestly anything with a distinct sound signature and a side grade to and upgrade to HD6XX and X2HRs. (I can’t clearly remember how my HD600s sounded but demoed HD660s recently at A2A and i can comfortably say for me X2HRs are as good if not better with that 16K+ EQ lift.)
Shoot away :)
@Larsson: Ahhh I remember our previous conversation. You'll soon realise that a lot of what you're hearing is faked detail, due to a bright sound signature that borders on piercing.
The 6XX is great for music listening but so-so for gaming. The 660S is technically proficient, but its tonality is also kinda awful.
Some more interesting options sub-$500 would be the Audio Technica ATH-R70X, the AKG K612 Pro, Sennheiser HD599 & HD 560S, the HIFIMAN x Drop 5XX and HE-X4, and the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth (2021). Almost all of those are at or close to record lows right now, save for the HD 560S.
@jasswolf: Oh man, I am about to pull the trigger, just need to know if I go for he-4xx or he-x4s lol
@Larsson: The HE-X4, the K612 Pro ($205) or the HE-400SE ($219).
The 4XX is old tech, and it shows.
@jasswolf: Yeah took a risk and bought the HE-X4s last night haha.
Honestly it’s a gamble but current ‘reviews’ say 4xx and X4 is very close and they call X4 ‘mini sundara’ which pretty sure a line fed to them by mass drop and they are all paid or incentivised reviews.
But seems like Hifiman has a habit of releasing 4 series with lower and lower price with better and better performance so I thought I’d give it a go.
Here is to hoping it’s good!
@jasswolf: Just gonna jump in here and ask. What prices would be 'must buy' for the options listed here? Cheers
@debitbankcharges: For what uses? What do you have already? etc.
@jasswolf: Hey mate, I own the ad700x was into FPS at the time, now I do a little bit of everything, I play league of legends, minecraft, rust & assasins creed. I love how light the ad700x is on my head and it's great for classical music. I listen to lots of r&b and also love soft vocals in a song if that makes sense something like this: https://youtu.be/m3lF2qEA2cw
Or like when there's that soft (usually) female voice in a song such as in the song All the stars by kendrick and SZA.
I currently own a soundblaster g3, and don't mind upgrading this for better headphones, ideally would want something that would work better with an amp
Would the philips X2HR or the senn 599 on sale be better for this? Or is there a better option, or maybe the ad700x is already good for this, appreciate any advice, thanks
@Mujy: Audio Technica house sound is solid for female vocals and imagine but not much else. I would invest in a larger upgrade than what you have in mind: something that compliments what the ADX series does: wide soundstage, but completely de-emphasised from 1.5kHz-4kHz, which may give the impression of heavy bass, but no thump due to roll-off. You're also in the territory where you'll want to start looking at an amp.
If you really want that sub-bass or low-bass kick for modern EDM-infused tracks, that's where speakers or closed backs can be the better choice for delivering thump without compromising overall resolution and detail. The AKG K371 is an easy recommend @ $165 (Amazon), as is the Audeze Penrose @ $400 (Addicted to Audio, wireless & bluetooth), and finally the Drop x Beyerdynamic DT 177X Go at just over $500 (Drop) finally cleans up the Beyer house sound so that it's not so shrill and thin.
The 6XX, 612 Pro, ATH-R70X and the DT177X will all scale well with gear, with the 6XX being the standout, and the 612 Pro will probably respond the most favourably to EQ if you want to dial a little more into the bass. The Penrose has a built in DAC and amp, so it will also sound very clean out of the box.
If it were me, I'd be going with the 6XX or the 612 Pro (you can even demo the 612 Pro against the 650 in a lot of headphone shops), and then maybe the K371. Those are the only ones I'd recommend buying without demo based on your existing setup and preferences.
If you crave soundstage and imaging, competitive gaming and music and to just have something you'll buy and try to use for 10+ years, there is the option of the Drop x Sennheiser HD8XX, but it's a ways from shipping, though it gives you enough Drop credits to buy a suitable amp for it too. $1500 outlay, but that's generally the place you'd want to land if you reach that far. It's not going to be identical to the HD 800S, but you'll want to demo that with your typical game audio or tracks before committing the funds. If that ever drops sub-$1000, it's an insta-buy if you're looking to move into the high end, at least until something radically changes with headphone technology.
@jasswolf: So what's in your opinion an open back upgrade for these Phillips for EDM listening?
@AncientWisdom: That's such an open-ended (pardon the pun) question. Open back inherently creates bass roll-off by virtue of the enclosure being open on back of the driver… it's just the nature of it.
To EQ or build up your driver to get past that, the rest of the sound signature heavily suffers in some combination of levels and detail. What should be of concern to you is where it rolls off, which on decent open back headphones of the time is only significant below 40-50Hz.
What you need to figure out is if your playlist relies heavily on that last audible 30-40Hz (and the sub-bass rumble below that), and how important that is to you. For the vast majority of people it's not important, but the isolation of a closed back might be.
What you will never hear out of current open back designs is the modern Harman closed back reference curve of climbing to a huge bass shelf below 60Hz, similar to ported subwoofers in a home theatre. Planar bass comes close aside from the rumble, but below $1000 it will have timbral compromises, and I would suggest actually trying a pair (HIFIMAN HE-400SE 2021, Audeze LCD-1, HIFIMAN Sundara 2020) before buying.
@jasswolf: Yep that's pretty much what I expected you to say (in a nutshell). Thanks!
@AncientWisdom: No problem! You might have some success EQ'ing an AKG K612 or one of the 700 series (not the 7XX from Drop), or alternatively you might be happy with an EQ'd HIFIMAN Sundara.
The other budget option alongside the 612 and something like the 702 would be the Takstar HF580 on discount (which is rarer these days) but you'd also want to get Sendy Aiva v2 pads and then also put some memory foam inside the enclosure to dampen the resonance that tends to occur. The pad change alone will do a lot though, but the mod is cheap and easy to do.
Personally I'd just go with the K612 Pro or the K702 and give it a bass shelf, but the K702 sound horrible to me without EQ for most music. Both are around $205-$210 on Amazon, and you'd get $20 cashback for the next 50 minutes.
@jasswolf: I should have been clear, my budget will be more flexible when it comes to upgrading from the Phillips X1 as I know it's going to take some decent cash now to get more…
@AncientWisdom: I mean these are all still the sub-$1000 options worth considering, save from maybe the Drop x Koss ESP/95X, but that's not going to deliver thumping bass.
I've listed like a dozen headphones here, so if that's not to your liking, go demo an EQ'd HD 800S and then maybe grab the Drop HD8XX and use the Drop credits to get a new amp, but again… I mentioned that.
If you want to go further than $1000 and aren't interested in the 8XXX, you need to go demo stuff because you're mostly looking at $2000+ for consistently popular picks. The HIFIMAN Ananda, Arya, Susvara, and the HEDDPhone, maybe the original Focal Clear on clearance?
At that kind of money, you're typically going to get more value out of some nice monitor speakers, like the BMR monitor from Philharmonic Audio, and then picking between having them assembled before shipping, or building it yourself.
Good luck on figuring out your break point!
@jasswolf: What about the Focal Elear and the Audeze LCD-2?
Again I'm looking for something that is an upgrade to the Philips Fidelio X1 (which I consider very good cans!!), usually listen to a type of EDM which requires good + deep bass response as well as good response across the rest of the curve (the HD800 out of the box would not fit that description well).
I would rather not have to EQ the headphones if I don't have to i.e. would be great if they had the right response out of the box which then maybe could be tweaked a little if wanted.
Edit: also came across the Argon MK3 as a possible option
Amazing reply, I really really appreciate that, seems like its between the 6xx or the 612 pros, I dont really like messing with anymore things than I need to so no EQ for me, in saying that, the 612s look more appealing as they're cheaper, from amazon, and will arrive quicker, also seem to be more similar comfort wise to the ad700x than the Sennheiser's. However I still need help in identifying which would be better for my "taste", I think I like it when bass isnt too "visible", I do like a wide sound stage, probably as wide as possible, and has no problem dealing with EDM as I do like a mix of EDM with vocals. So, in your opinion, 6xx or 612 for me? And do I need to upgrade from the soundblaster G3 for any of these? What are good options for upgrades (if needed) I was looking at the soundblaster x3, thankyou SO much for your help!
@Mujy: K612 if you want better staging and imaging, but you can happily own both over time because they present music differently. At $185 with the active cashback, it's defiintely worth grabbing a pair of the AKGs. It should be timbre improvement either way, but the 650/6XX is another step up in that regard, and it's something that people go back to over and over.
G3 should be fine for now, but you should look to upgrade over time, just don't expect the headphones to get super loud. Schiit Magni 3+ (buy from Schiit US) and Khadas Tone Board (from Khadas' store on AliE) are my standard recs to keep costs down, but the Tone Board may need a case. You'll also need an RCA cable to connect the DAC to the amp.
@jasswolf: You're an absolute legend for dishing out all this advice mate!
Considered continuing this through PM, but thought the masses might benefit from your comments.
Current set up: khadas tone board (VIMS version as the generic version was sold out on AliE) and Magni 3+ on the way
Current headphones/IEM: ATH-M50, Blon BL-03
What I'm listening to: Very eclectic taste and not married to any particular genre. I work a lot from home, so mostly non-vocal music during the day ranging from lofi, lounge to classical. I switch to EDM, hip-hop, rnb, and rap for when I want something energetic - loving Anderson .Paak right now
Other factors: I wear glasses and put a premium on comfort
Headphone budget: <$300 but can flex if needed! Not after an IEM upgrade yet, but the Moondrop Arias are very tempting!
@debitbankcharges: Honestly, I'd look at the 6XX, the AKG K371, the AKG K612 Pro and the Audio Technica ATH-R70X.
You want a flat or relaxed listen for most of your day, you don't want elevated bass for the most part, and you want comfort. The K371 probably falls away a little in terms of the seal, and I assume you're not after a closed back given the original M50, so here's a comparison of the rest:
Bass: R70X > 6XX > K612
Mids: 6XX > R70X = K612
Treble: 6XX = R70X > K612 (the 6XX and R70X trade blows, but the 6XX is sweeter)
Vocals: 6XX > R70X > K612
Soundstage: K612 > R70X > 6XX
Imaging: R70X > K612 > 6XX
Neutrality: K612 > R70X > 6XX (this is minor)
Natural sound: 6XX >> R70X > K612
Least pressure/weight: R70X > K612 > 6XX
Least glasses issues: 6XX > R70X > K612 (but this is minor)
All are more than comfortable though. Hope that helps!
@jasswolf: Amazing, thanks for the considered response!
It's a shame Drop didn't have a EOFY deal for the HD 6XX (still $220 USD) like they did for the HD 58X (down from $170 USD to $160 USD).
I find myself flip-flopping between the HD 6XX and R70X. I've an unused $10 USD referral bonus for Drop and so can get it for $225 USD (~$300 AUD) delivered. The R70X will most likely run me between $350-389 AUD. The head says HD 6XX, and heart says R70X…but what does the jasswolf say?
@debitbankcharges: Given you've already got some of the AT house sound when you need it, the Senny seems like the play.
The 6XX is a headphone you can just own, and use as a gold standard for what you want to buy next.
@jasswolf: Great advice mate, will be making a Drop order very soon!
Did you have any thoughts on the HIfiman Sundaras? I'm keen to add another pair of headphones to the rotation once I put some hours into the 6XX and the Sundaras tend to review well with the caveat that QC isn't the best - although the 2020 revision was meant to be an improvement.
@debitbankcharges: I have the 2020 version, and I'd recommend you demo planar headphones and the HD 800S before going in for them.
The Sundara's do a lot of things well, but the timbral issues on a lot of modern planars (read: lighter weight drivers) may not to be your musical tastes. Bass decay can be too quick at times, hearing some notes end before the artist (poorly) producing/mastering them intended, and resonance in the mids is a regular thing, creating a haze or grain. The sub-$1500 ones that dodge the timbral issues still have haze in the mids, and their resolution and detail suffers for the choice.
This grain is due to the driver firing audio in both directions until the manufacturer dampens the back side firing apprporiately, and as you get cheaper and cheaper, this gets more complex to do affordably across the full frequency response, so there are caveats with the typical methods to doing so.
What the Sundaras do well, especially in the 2020 version, is that they offer a bright and airy, almost sweet treble, and a balanced frequency response with great bass extension. They have pretty good imaging and soundstage without being spectactular, and what they do better than just about any headphone below $1000-$1500 is detail retrieval and resolution. You will hear things in them that you wouldn't otherwise without reaching into four figures, but it's not a relaxed sound signature that you can just leave on all day.
But again, I would strongly advise demoing them, as well as the HIFIMAN Ananda, the Arya, the Susvara and the Sennheiser HD 800S so that you understand where planar technology is headed and what the Sundara's replacement may push towards, as well as what the HD 8XX from Drop might do for you in terms of detail retrieval and resolution. The 800S/8XX is the ultimate headphone in terms of detail retrieval, and while the treble presentation isn't for everyone, and the bass roll-off is fairly substantial (though EQ can geuinely help with this), it's an incredible headphone for detail, resolution, soundstage and imaging.
That's about as much as I can help you out here in terms of the general recommendations and price points, you really have to go into a store and try stuff out.
How are these compared to the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X, bought them today for $158, wondering if I should change to these?
Some other options that you'll probably prefer to both are the Sennheiser HD599 ($150) and the AKG K612 Pro ($205).
Their sound stage will seem a little less wide than the Audio Technica, but they they will sound a hell of a lot better for general use, particularly in the mids.
Depends on what you're after, sounds like both are good but the AD700X is light on bass while the X2 is fairly bass focused (without being too over the top)
Where'd you get them for that price?
Got them on Amazon, there was a further discount when adding to cart to bring it down to $158
I've had these since last November. They are fantastic. Would definitely recommend.
Super tempted, but I've read on Amazon that they are quite fragile?
They certainly are not haha. Not sure why someone would say that. They are built like a tank.
you probably haven't used yours for long enough. my mark 1 is turning 6 soon and it's beginning to rust and the headband is flaying.
still usable but cosmetically not that great.
Ah I see, yes definitely haven’t owned mine as long.
Same as mine. Approximately 5 years old now, but the headband is a mess.
still using the mark 1 from 2015. superb build quality.
sadly it's rusting and self-adjustable band is flaying.
Nice price. Just a heads up if you have sensitive skin you might not like the fabric they use for the ear cushions.