The under $500 world


Have you listened to the older HD598’s? They appear to be available at $100 less than the 600’s. For every day listening, I wonder how they compare.


The open back HD598s are great. I would say the HD600/650/6XX are basically an improvement in every factor except the 598 has a wider soundstage. However, considering the used prices you can find the latter headphones at, it is usually worth the small price increase. I know HD600/6XX can often be found under $200 used. Also, there’s the older HD580, which many people prefer over HD600/650, and those can be found closer to $100 these days.


I bought a Magni 3 for the pure experiment of it, after reading another site’s recommendation to run not walk to this $100 amp. In fairness, I’m feeding it from a very expensive pre-amp and digital front-end, but I’m shocked at how good this sounded with my HE1000s and LCD2s. I would suspect this could be a serious contender in a “budget” set up as requested by the OP.

For the member who had a bad experience, I also suspect your unit had something wrong with it, but who knows. I own 3 other Schiit products, and I had quality issues with one of them, 2 times actually. However, as a brand, they are capable of producing quality sound that to me hits way above their price points.


I like the hifiman 400i over both the hd650 and hd600.


This might be why your Magni3 was bad:

Someone mentioned that Its something that DSM3 doesn’t acknowledge as a problem with his impressions or something to the effect that he’s not a technically proficient tester, can’t find the post since its been a few weeks


Agreed. The HD598 were my first good headphone. The soundstage had a real wow factor and they were super comfortable. After moving up to stuff like the HD600 though, I realized that their bass was quite loose and that they sounded kind of veiled.


I have a Magni 3 and it’s got plenty of power. In fact, I often end up reducing levels in the digital domain before even hitting the Magni so that I can stay above 10 o’clock to avoid the channel imbalance at lower positions on the pot.


The symptoms for all three of us appear to be similar (so the explanation is likely on target), but in my course of testing I included weak sources (i.e., iPod Touch and Android tablet) with their output levels set between 10% and 30%. I then questioned why I had the amp in the chain at all…perhaps it was a little louder but with or without it I could reach normal listening levels…so it added no noticeable value…

I don’t doubt that Schiit has good reasons for their attenuation system, but I now question its value/consistency in application. When I first got into audio I’d probably have been happy with the Magni 3’s tone, but not now.

I’ve owned many other amps that don’t display this behavior. It is not pleasant and adds another required work-around. So, I now plan to buy non-Schiit (!) in the future.

Thanks for the link.


While I’m not a “fan boy” of Schiit gear they are quite good for the price and I’ve never had issues that a few seem to have with the Magni3. I thing Schiit did the attenuation thing with the Magni3 since its a entry level amp and they figured that it would be used by the widest range of source devices where the higher up amps would be pretty much just used with a separate DAC that most output 1.5-2.0v which is more like an industry standard IIRC.
I’ve only used the Magni3 a few times since a friend got one to hold her over until the CTH and LCX from MassDrop got shipped and for the few times that I tried the Magni3 its a pretty good amp for the price but I still prefer my Asgard2 over it since its a bit smoother and soundstage is a bit better to me.


Yes, the Magni 3 probably was designed to safely deal with user errors and bad decisions. In contrast, the entry-level Bravo Audio V2 was certainly not designed for safety (I had plenty of issues with it when I was starting out with headphone amps…).

I got rid of the Magni 3 because (1) it made a lot of songs sound worse than even my Bluetooth headphones, and (2) the sound profile is close to a cheap guitar amplifier. Guitar amps also attenuate when the input signal is too high, whereby loud passages become soft and muddy. I used to own one of those too, but also sold it in favor of a better (tube) amp.


I’m surprised to see little love for the Meze 99 Neo’s or Classics. No need for an amp, sound great out of any phone, and an exceptionally pleasant sound. The HD-650 and 6XX deserve a lot of attention, but the Meze are exceptional.

Oh, and closed, with pretty good isolation…


I’ve been wanting a pair for awhile now, just have too many other headphones on the way that cover this area of need for me though…but I will eventually get a pair. I tried them at Headphone bar, and they felt great and look great.


I’d like to try the Classics out, they look great.


My suggestion for a sub $500 system is:

The headphones sound way better than a pair of inexpensive closed-back cans have any right to…they are not perfect, but I now listen to them much more than my Sennheiser HD600/650 and Grado RS2e’s. They are really a joy once they have broken in.

The little iFi DAC/Amp is detailed yet warm and has plenty of power. Can even be used in balanced mode if you can find a TRRS cable with a 3.5mm plug.

Audirvana is the best sounding stand-alone media player I’ve found. Mac only, but I understand that Windows is on the way. Good integration with TIDAL as well.


I have a pair of the original pads ones and they are amazing despite the slightly uncomfortable nature of them. I am actually selling them in hopes to upgrade soon so hmu if anyone wants them lol


Hi guys, so i am new to headphones and iems in general and wish to seek your help. so i have watched a lot of reviews, and there are so many options available out there, that i dont know what to buy, so i thought i would come on here and ask for your guys opinion. i have seen a few headphones such as the 1more quad driver, brainwavz b400 ,fiio fh1 etc and i am just not sure what to buy. I have hear great things about the quad, however the weight of it and the fact it hasn’t got a detachable cable it putting me off it. Is there any alternatives to the 1more quads with a similar if not better sound quality with crisp vocals and a bit of bass, that would feature a detachable cable? I have heard that the campfire comets are good but apprently they sound muffled but have an amazing build quality. And recently thr fiio fh5 have released ehoch are supposed to be great but have never heard them and dont know their build quality.I would like the best sound under 300 dollars witha a detatchable cable that is realtivly quality and wont break in a few months.i would mainly listen yo music with these. I tend to listen to pop house and electric i just need something really clear and crisp with a bit of bass not too overpowering . if you could let me know their thoughts that would be awesome Thanks, looking forward to your opinions.


I really like the Comet ( it took awhile for me to like it though). I wear them upside down with the cable going over the ear I found that to be the best fit for me and it allowed for the IEMs to get a good seal without slowly falling out. I also use the MEE BTX1 bluetooth cable that I use with them in the gym. For $200 they are a really good value for build quality. I think you can probably find IEMs that will do things better than these for the price, but I can’t speak on that due to lack of experience with IEMs… I have beatsx, cheap skullcandy bluetooth gym buds, and in the past I’ve exclusively used the Bose sports (still the most comfortable buds/IEMs I’ve used). I also recently was lucky enough to get a good deal on the Campfire Audio Andromedas, and I still use the Comets even though I have the Andromedas ( I do use the Andromedas more, they are similar to my favorite headphones HD800/HD700, but you can change the sound signature with cables and tips, due to it being such a sensitive IEM).

TLDR: Comets are a great buy, give them time (I think either I got used to them or they burned in because I like them way more now then when I first started listening to them).


HiFiMAN He-400’s which has been discontinued for $300. In many ways they are superior. The newer 400’s don’t sound as good and HiFiMAN changed the input jack from their “old” connection to the 3.5mm jack which are notorious for coming lose over time. I should know as my amp has the same setup and I’ve had to send both amp and DAC in for replacement jacks every 2 years. Not good if you plan for the new 400’s to last for years. Knowing this I’d seriously audition the Sennheier HD-650’S.



We are going to have agree to disagree.


I’m curious about the CB-1. Has anyone else tried these?