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Help Me Choose Headphones?

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cmaracz
(@cmaracz)
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I am looking for get my hands on a pair of headphones. It'll be a present from my dad. Anyways, I listen to a lot of music, as in, anywhere from 2-5+ hours a day, on a regular day. Most of this is at my computer-desk through my sound-card. I will also be getting the M Audio Fast Track, so I have a lot of home application with it. I also, however, have an iPod shuffle which I listen to.

I'm looking to spend around a $100 USD for a versatile pair of headphones. Anyone have any ideas?

Here are my priorities, ranking is relevent:

1) Comfort and Safety. I listen to many hours of music daily and prefer that my ears don't bleed after an hour or that I go death by 30.

2) Quality. I like a good signal. :D

3) Convenience. As in, I'd like something that's not going to be constantly slipping down my face like some regular headphones can. Ideally, something that can be a) can at times be worn on the neck, and/or b) not full-sized like those gigantic DJ headphones. But that's a go-this-way-go-that-way dependent on the other priorities.

Any suggestions, whether specific mdoels, or lines, or even jsut rbands I should look at, would be nice.


   
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Mike
 Mike
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I just bought the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro Closed-Back Headphones and they seem to fit your criteria.

I've had them for almost 2 weeks now and they are VERY comfortable!

I haven't done enough mixing with them to give you a review for that, but I have done quite a bit of recording and they sound awesome! They seem to handle all the frequencies I've been throwing at them. CD's sound great too!

Edit-

They handle "outside" noise very well too.


   
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jglover
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Sennheisers would be my recommendation. The HD-497 are a terrific pair and can be found relativley cheaply on eBay. they retail new for about $70 or so. The PX100s are newer and a bit smller, but sound just as good as the 497s. Grado SR60s are very good as well but really ugly.....think high school language lab headphones. Check here:

http://www.headphone.com/products/headphones/all-headphones/ #

for a good summary of all available headphones.


   
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cmaracz
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Topic starter  

Well Sennheisers seem good. However, none of their models (at least that I recall pondering) really hit me as something that gives me that "wow" feeling. Maybe I should try them and see the quality difference; but just from pictures and features there's also a quirk or two about the features of the Sennheisers that I've seen. Either they appear really big and clunky, or they've got a cord that splits up (as opposed to one chord on one side,) or they have extra bass response (which appears good for lsitening but bad for recording,) or some other little ditty.

On that review website actually, a lot of the sennhesiers have fairly bad reviews. Is that because those guys are audiophiles or because it's a "love it or hate it" type of product? (preferably the first, haha.)

Do you guys have any experience with AKG headphones?

--

I saw a pair of Sony DJ headphones which in terms of form factor looked exceptional. Yet I don't know how much I trust the quality of a pair of Sony headphones.


   
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gnease
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Well Sennheisers seem good. However, none of their models (at least that I recall pondering) really hit me as something that gives me that "wow" feeling. Maybe I should try them and see the quality difference; but just from pictures and features there's also a quirk or two about the features of the Sennheisers that I've seen. Either they appear really big and clunky, or they've got a cord that splits up (as opposed to one chord on one side,) or they have extra bass response (which appears good for lsitening but bad for recording,) or some other little ditty.

On that review website actually, a lot of the sennhesiers have fairly bad reviews. Is that because those guys are audiophiles or because it's a "love it or hate it" type of product? (preferably the first, haha.)

Do you guys have any experience with AKG headphones?

--

I saw a pair of Sony DJ headphones which in terms of form factor looked exceptional. Yet I don't know how much I trust the quality of a pair of Sony headphones.

Audiophiles are only going to like the higher end Sennheizers, such as the venerated HD-600, as these are the flattest and provide a very high level of detail. They also happen to be extremely comfortable and out of your budget. The 'phones Mike recommends are a good value at $100, plus are isolating and not too bad for comfort. However, you should listen to whatever you intend to buy. In the $100 range, Sennheizer, Sony, Grado, AKG, AT and others all sound different, plus most of these manufacturers offer more than one model near that price. Why? They target different listeners and applications (isolating vs. not, light weight, on- vs. in- vs. over-the-ear, sports, bass boost, definition tailored for MP3, noise cancelation ...).

Sonys are good headphones. Durable, reasonably detailed, not too bassy and used pretty extensively in professional studio monitoring applications. You can save some money on Sony's if you realize that about 3 of their models use the same drivers but have different levels of mechanical construction. IIRC, the DJ style a bit more mechanically durable, and are made so one can flip an earpiece around backwards and hold it to only one ear (just as DJ's do to cue CDs/records). For a little less money, you may be able to get a similar model without that feature.

BTW, one advantage of Sennheizers is customer support. There is a website where one can buy just about any replacement part for even discontinued models. I've rehab'ed my 15-year-old on-ear model for about $20, and they still work great.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Nick Torres
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I love Grados

http://www.goodcans.com

As gnease says not so pretty, but they are sturdy and the sound will knock you over.

Grado SR80


   
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gnease
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I love Grados

http://www.goodcans.com

As gnease says not so pretty, but they are sturdy and the sound will knock you over.

Grado SR80

Actually it was jglover who said they are ugly -- but I agree. Also agree they are definitely worth the consideration.

-=tension & release=-


   
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TimeZone
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Either they appear really big and clunky, or they've got a cord that splits up (as opposed to one chord on one side,) or they have extra bass response (which appears good for lsitening but bad for recording,) or some other little ditty.

The HD-280s have a single cord on one side (though it's coiled, which I don't like), and also don't have the "bass boosted" frequency response of most consumer headphones; they are after all, labelled as "monitor headphones". I use my 280s for a couple hours every day, and they are comfortable for long periods of time, and have excellent isolation (so you don't have to turn the volume up as far). My officemate has a (much cheaper) pair of Senn fold-up things, that are more like common headphones. He thinks my 280s don't have enough bass; I think his are too boomy. You really ought to try them yourself (preferably before purchasing) but overall, I'd say they're probably about what you're looking for, though maybe a little bigger / clunkier than you want.

TZ


   
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slothrob
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As a musician, you really do want a headphone with a flat response. Especially if you are recording. Arguably, if you are a serious listener, as well. Heck, you can always use the tone controls or the EQ on your iPod to boost the bass if you use them for amusement.
If the HD 280's have a problem, it's that they do actually attenuate the bass and treble very slightly, so I guess I can see the argument. In this price range, though, if you want sealed headphones, it is very difficult to find one that doesn't exagerate bass to dance hall levels. If you really want a bass strong closed headphone for casual listening, I'd save some money and buy the Sennheiser HD 202's, which sound great for $25. Or the AKG K26P's for about $45, which seem to have been designed to deliver a nice solid thump.
Why spend extra money for fidelity if you don't actually want fidelity?


   
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cmaracz
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I think I'll try to see if I can try out some Sennehiser's to see if the benefits outwiegh some of the cons on them.

I'll also look into AKG.

About the Sonys, I think that the DJ series seems to be really good in terms of form factor. But for some reason, depsite how it's been mentioned that they're used in studios (although perhaps those are the upper-end models) I just don't associate Sony with pro-audio and recording equipment :(

For instance, they have a pair labelled as "studio monitor headphones" and yet they advertise that they have extra bass on them or someit.

This is a pair that I'm looking at right now. Any ideas:

http://www.sonystyle.ca/commerce/servlet/ProductDetailDisplay?storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10001&productId=128031&navigationPath=n32120n32260n100128n45542n100139 ?


   
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Nick Torres
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cough, GRADO, cough


   
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gnease
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About the Sonys, I think that the DJ series seems to be really good in terms of form factor. But for some reason, depsite how it's been mentioned that they're used in studios (although perhaps those are the upper-end models) I just don't associate Sony with pro-audio and recording equipment :(

I'm not really a big fan of Sony electronics, but what I've said is no BS. I know several industry experts in psychoacoustics that choose Sonys for subjective testing because they provide results on par with many stereo speakers. And I have seen the same $100 to $150 Sonys on many a console in broadcast studios -- so they definitely are used in audio industry applications. That does not mean they are as balanced and detailed as HD-600s or cough-Grados-cough , or the even more esoteric Staxx, which many of those same pros are likely to use for high fidelity home listening. Different applications demand different tools.

-=tension & release=-


   
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RollnROCK89
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cough, GRADO, cough
^amen, love my SR-80's, they sound wonderful.

The first time I heard a Beatles song was "Let It Be." Some little kid was singing along with it: "Let it pee, let it pee" and pretending he was taking a leak. Hey, that's what happened, OK?-some guy


   
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jglover
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I love Grados

http://www.goodcans.com

As gnease says not so pretty, but they are sturdy and the sound will knock you over.

Grado SR80

Actually it was jglover who said they are ugly -- but I agree. Also agree they are definitely worth the consideration.

Yes, they are ugly, but I do love my SR80s.!

John


   
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