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Old July 3rd, 2019, 05:35 PM   #1
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Budget headphones?

For many years we've been using Sennheiser HD-202 headphones in a more or less educational environment. They sound surprisingly good, especially considering the price. At least one dealer has sold them in packs of five for $100 total. Alas, it appears that Sennheiser has discontinued this model.

Can anybody suggest another headphone that sells in this same price range (roughly $20 to $25), that sounds good enough for monitoring mostly voice content. They aren't used for anything terribly critical (mixing, music recording, etc.)

TIA
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: Budget headphones?

Sony MDR V150 are good budget headphones or even better the MDR V170 if you can find them.

I have six pairs of each for general use on video shoots etc.
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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Re: Budget headphones?

$25 is a low budget the 150 fit it but I prefer the Sony MDR 7506. They are over your budget but I never considered them as high end. I think the 150 go on top of the ear I just think itís a must to use over the ear both from a comfort and isolation stand point (7506)
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 10:37 PM   #4
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Re: Budget headphones?

I have 7506 and V700 too and agree the V150 can lose their top end but that is why I also have the V170 as they are better.

I hand out headphones according to who needs the quality and who just needs to hear what is being said and most of the time they are used in the latter mode so cheap V150 / V170 is what they get.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 06:38 AM   #5
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Re: Budget headphones?

Agreed. Based on the situation something $25 headphones are all that is needed. I’ve bought a lot of equipment over the years and I’ve never regretted getting quality headphones. I’ll qualify that there for me, I use them for almost every job I do.

Heck I’ve got to buy $100 wind screen just incase I need to film outdoors for an upcoming gig. It will most likely sit in my closet 99% of the time but there are so many accessories that you need to own because they can break or make a job.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 10:53 AM   #6
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Re: Budget headphones?

.https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909857-REG/polsen_hpc_a30_closedback_circumaural_headphone.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

In any case, headphones are a personal preference in both fit and sound. i would audition as many pairs as possible in your price range.
I have been using the Sony 7506 (or V6) since the early1990s, so anything else feels and sounds foreign. For comfort (cool in summer - warm in winter), I use the Garfield Softie ear covers on the Sonys... though you give up a dB or so of isolation.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 04:50 PM   #7
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Re: Budget headphones?

Must admit that I have gone off the 7506 and V6 that I have used since the late 80's and now gone to sennheiser 380 or MD25 for my critical monitoring.

Those Polsen look like a clone of the MDR V700 that I have.
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Old July 6th, 2019, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Budget headphones?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I would love to audition some phones, but we're out in the hinterlands, with nobody except Best Buy selling headphones near here. (We're 4+ hours from NYC.)

Personally I love the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro for my own monitoring [much better bottom end than my old Brush crystal phones ca. 1965 ;-) ]. But the 280s are overkill (and out of budget) for this particular multi-user situation.

The Sony V150 looks interesting, although my own personal experience is that on-ear phones become uncomfortable quickly. The discontinued Sennies are circumnaural, and hopefully I can find something else of this same design.

I honestly can't find the V170, either via a Google search, or anywhere on eBay. I'm very curious about what that is. (Maybe, like the Sennies, it has been discontinued.)

The Polsen phones look interesting, although I've never heard that brand name before. I may order a pair just to see how they sound. I actually prefer the heavier single-sided cord, compared to the HD-202s which have very flimsy two-sided cordage (usually the first thing to fail on them, in fact).

Anyway, I haven't ruled out the V150. And I'll keep looking for a while. So I'd welcome any other suggestions, if anyone else wants to chime in. Again, TIA.
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Old July 6th, 2019, 03:43 AM   #9
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Re: Budget headphones?

I guess sadly the V170 is no longer available too which is a shame as they have the stronger magnets and sound far superior to the V150.

As for on ear they are so light that it is far more comfortable than the sennheiser HD25 etc and you barely know you are wearing them.

Over here in the Uk we have studiospares and they do budget lines that are close to know brands and also do bulk buy specials for studios etc and the behringer ones listed may be of interest to you: https://www.studiospares.com/Headpho...nes-Studio.htm
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Old July 6th, 2019, 12:23 PM   #10
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Re: Budget headphones?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
...The Polsen phones look interesting, although I've never heard that brand name before. I may order a pair just to see how they sound...
I believe Polsen is a B&H house brand, one of the Gradus Group companies.
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Old July 6th, 2019, 02:11 PM   #11
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Re: Budget headphones?

FWIW, About two years ago, I bought 25 pairs of open-back (Walkman type) Panasonic RP-HT21 for my Comtek IFB receivers. They sound decent and clients like them.. a little too much, they seem to disappear faster than tmy former OEM Comtek HPs or Sony122 I had at the time. But @ $6 each, it's no big deal and production usually does not complain when I file a L&D claim.
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Old July 15th, 2019, 01:51 PM   #12
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Re: Budget headphones?

I just ordered a pair of the Polsens. I couldn't contain my curiosity about a new brand. I hope to have them in hand before the end of the week.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
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Old August 1st, 2019, 10:26 PM   #13
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Re: Budget headphones?

My Poulsen headphones arrived, and I gave them a listen. I was rather disappointed. It wouldn't be fair comparing them to the HD-280 Pro. I did compare them to the $25.00 HD-202. By comparison the Poulsens have much less clarity and much less top end. To my ear, the HF rolloff starts perhaps as low as 1 kHz. (Or the LF boost & resonance starts as high as 1 kHz if that's what it is. To my ear it's relative lack of HF and low-mid boost and muddiness.) I do not hear *low* bass boost ... they do not sound "thumpy." Rather, they sound muddy. I wasn't expecting miracles for $30.00, but I was used to the $25.00 HD-202, and the Poulsen are not nearly as good. (Of course $30 is peanuts, so I'm not complaining ... just commenting.)

OK, that was a $30 trial. And it made me curious. So I read some other columns and forums, and found a few folks recommending the Tascam TH-02. I found them on Amazon for $18.00 so I ordered a pair. When I tried them, I was shocked. They sounded very much like the Poulsens. Muddy, no highs, no clarity.

I decided to A/B compare the two to see what was what. Then came the surprise ... which should have been obvious. When I got the two phones side by side, they look exactly identical, except for the badging. They are exactly the same headphone. The only difference is the price. So if you want a set of Poulsen HPC-A30, go to Amazon and get the Tascam TH-02. Instead of $30, they will cost only $18 ... and they'll have a known brand name.

I opened one side of the Tascams, and found a bare-bones open-back driver in a plastic shell with no acoustical treatment whatsoever inside. (I wonder whether good, closed headphones use open or sealed drivers inside the shells.)

I'm going to try modifying the Tascams by adding some sort of absorption between the back of the driver and the inside of the plastic shell. Perhaps this will cut down on the resonance that I hear. (OTOH it might attenuate the HF more than the LF, in which case it will make them worse.) Of course it's not really worth spending any time on an $18 pair of headphones. But I'm mostly retired, I'm curious, and I've always enjoyed tinkering. Not at all in the realm of professional audio, but I can call it an experiment.
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