Buying new headphone, suggestions?

Hi Guys

I'm planning on upgrading my PC with a soundcard, probably a X-Fi Xtreme Gamer. My 1st question is whether or not the card works with Vista SP1. I heard that before they had some driver issues but I'm hoping they've been solved.

Back to my question. I'm planning on spending up to 100 dollars in upgrading. I've had a Sennheiser HD 202 for about a year now and while I liked the performance, I started to lose audio in the left and right 'heads' (no audio, but by moving the cable around sometimes I could fix it)

Checking amazon I found a bunch of interesting options:

Razer Barracuda HP-1

At 90 bucks its a bit pricey though I'm willing to give in. The microphone functionality could be nice, but I'm realling looking for audio quality and long life of the components. ( dont want to have to buy another new set 1 year from now)

Sennheiser HD-280

At the 80 dollar price point these are looking like a competitve deal. I've seen some great reviews on them and Game Informer recommended them in their headphone review. Also they seem to based off the HD 202s which I liked. I guess the only thing thats holding me back is that there are newer headphones from Sennheiser.

Sennheiser HD 555

At 98 bucks these are a bit more expensive than the 280s. However, they look more durable and seem to have better sound quality than the 280s...

Sennheriser HD 515s

At 79 bucks these are also direct competitors with the 280s. I guess this is like comparing a 7600GT with a 6800 Ultra.

Sennheiser HD 212

At 50 bucks these are obviously not super-high end stuff. Still, they are 1 level above the 202s and they are much cheaper. If there isnt a big difference in sound and build quality it may make more sense to get these.

Finally there are the Skullcandy Heshs. These are about 45 bucks and while some have complained about the sound quality there is an over-abundance of people giving it high reviews. Still, a good amount of people who give it low reviews seem to know what they're talking about makes me worried these are over-rated.

Well there we are, thanks for going through this huge post. If any of you have suggestions of which to buy ( or a one not listed, as long as its under 100 bucks) would be greatly appreciated.


6 answers Last reply
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  1. First, I would avoid Skullcandy.

    Between the Senns, the 555 are definitely the best choice, though the 280s are quite good as well. The 212 wouldn't be much above the 202, but are still definitely decent headphones.

    As for the Razer, it's hard to say - I've never heard one, but I tend not to trust non-audio companies to make good audio products.

    Overall, I would say that the best option depends on how picky you are, but it will definitely be a Sennheiser. The 555 is a noticeable improvement over the 212 and 202, however it is not a massive one.

    Another set of headphones you might look at is the Grado SR60 or SR80. They are somewhat more delicate than the sennheisers, less comfortable, and have a shorter cord, but they are some of the best actual sound quality you can get in that price range if you're willing to live with those downsides.
  2. X-Fi is all good with Vista now. Consider getting the Titanium card - it is PCIe seems to be a replacement for the Gamer card that you think of.
    There is a budget version with no extras:
  3. not much experience but listening to my senn 595's at the moment and they are good. so good in fact that you get used to the sound and take for granted how good they are. Maybe i should borrow my brothers ipod earbuds once in a while to remind myself lol.
  4. strangestranger said:
    not much experience but listening to my senn 595's at the moment and they are good. so good in fact that you get used to the sound and take for granted how good they are. Maybe i should borrow my brothers ipod earbuds once in a while to remind myself lol.

    I know what you mean - I have a pair of Grado SR225s, and it really isn't so much that you notice how good they are. Instead, you just suddenly notice how good most other headphones aren't.
  5. Hmm thanks for the input guys. I checked amazon and the gardo 60s are 70 bucks and the 80s are about 100.

    It seems the final round is between the555s and Sr80s. For 20 bucks I might as well bite the bullet and go for the best right?

    If I understood correctly, the SR80s have better sound and the 555s have better build quality. Just how much of a differance are we talking about?

    A: With the X-Fi will I notice which headphones I'd be using?
    B: How much worse are the Gardos? While I'll mainly be using the headphones for PC work ( and maybe the occasional trip) I cant say I'm the most careful with them. Again, the main reason I'm even buying these are because my 202s are getting messed up now... I dont want to relive that with a 100 dollar pair of headphones.

    EDIT: I forgot to add that I since I live in Turkey, some hardware is hard to come by. I checked around for the titanium,and couldnt find anything. They had some cards from companies I'd never heard of (Quake?) and 3 Creatives.

    They had a Soundblaster Audigy, the X-Fi Gamer, some 7.1 Laptop card(around 109) and a 219 dollar Fatal1ty card. Given the choices I think the Gamer is the best option to go with...
  6. If you aren't really careful, I'd go for the Senns. The Grados are amazing, but the Senns are amazing as well, and I think they fit your needs slightly better.
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