So, I bought a Teac UD-H01 DAC from Richer Sounds on trial to compare with my current E-MU 1616M soundcard only to find that it was barely any better, so I decided to return it and exchange for a pair of headphones purely for home use.
For a good few years I've been solely using Koss Porta Pros out and about and at home. I think they're bloody brilliant for the money, airy treble, controlled bass. Surprising for a pair of headphones that cost £17.99, and they seemed to have marred me somewhat.
The guy in Richer let me try a few demo models of their headphones with my iPod. After reading the rave reviews I wanted to give the K451s and K450s a comparison, assuming it was going to be one of these, hands down.
The K451s first.
Muddy, rolled off treble and the word that kept coming out of my mouth to the sales guy was 'boxy'. So much for the rave reviews! He asked if I wanted to try the K450s and I said no, if the K451s were meant to be marginally better what was the point, they were awful!
Next up he brought up a pair of the discontinued closed-back Audio Technica ATH-WS55i.
OK, there's some upper range now. Reasonably nice mid-range detail. Bass plentiful.
Next, the open-backed Yamaha HTH-200.
Slightly muffled mid-range. Treble far better than the AKG K451.
I took the Audio Technica pair.
Sat in the coffee shop around the corner breaking the brand new pair in. I found myself praying the upper end would open up a bit as they broke in, and sure enough it did. Two hours later and I was found the treble on the verging on fine to shrilly. Four hours later and with a lot of material the treble is a bit teeth grating, verging on treble distortion! This has been confirmed by a friend who I just roped in to take a listen (I told them none of my views before they listened!)
It's a shame, they have nice soundstage, plenty of powerful bass (I'm not a bass head and I hate anything geared towards that market) but I don't think they're right for me, the overpowering, grating treble is ruining the sound.
Does anyone have any experience with any sub-£100 hi-fi headphones, purely for home use with no need for portability? How about these Yamaha HTH-200 headphones? I've read good things from users and barely any UK reviews, and the demo pair may well have not been well run in. Do I need go higher for neutrality and balance across the frequency range?
I've heard good things about the Soundmagic HP100, even in relation to the AKG K550, are these worth a punt?
Feel free to throw in your tuppence worth...