Question: Headphone vs Apple EarPods Quality

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I realized this is a vague question, but I have only ever used Apple's budged EarPods and old earphones. I listen to a lot of orchestral music (Many Kingdom Hearts and Legend of Zelda albums and spin offs).

Anyway, I am considering getting a pair of over-the-head headphones for myself for Christmas. I don't mind spending up to $200. I've been browsing this forum for a while looking at the hardware other people were using. What has caught my eye has been several Sennheiser and some Audio-Technica models as they appear to be reasonably priced with great reviews.

My question is this
: will there be a noticeable increase in sound quality moving from Apple's EarPods to a pair of $100-$200 headphones assuming the same listening habits (iTunes on a Mac, iPhone, and iPod)? I've seen several forums members say that you need to get an external amp and other hardware to really tell a difference. I just want to know if a nice pair of headphones would improve the listening experience even if I'm just using iTunes.

--------
Also, though this is just a secondary question, some of the models I've been considering are:
  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
  • Sennheiser HD 598
  • Sennheiser Momentum
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Does anyone have any suggestion on these or another brand.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2011
2,026
875
Hell yeah it's gonna be better than the Apple earbuds. My budget headphones are the Audio Technical ATH-A900X. They are closed back, and can benefit from an amp, but are quite neutral, for the price.

598s would be nice too.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
816
273
Colorado
Yes, any decent traditional headphones will give you a better listening experience and better comfort. I suggest adding the Sony MDR-7506 to your list. They are probably only about $80 on Amazon, extremely comfortable, and great sound.
 

tibas92013

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2013
467
83
Costa Rica
I realized this is a vague question, but I have only ever used Apple's budged EarPods and old earphones. I listen to a lot of orchestral music (Many Kingdom Hearts and Legend of Zelda albums and spin offs).

Anyway, I am considering getting a pair of over-the-head headphones for myself for Christmas. I don't mind spending up to $200. I've been browsing this forum for a while looking at the hardware other people were using. What has caught my eye has been several Sennheiser and some Audio-Technica models as they appear to be reasonably priced with great reviews.

My question is this
: will there be a noticeable increase in sound quality moving from Apple's EarPods to a pair of $100-$200 headphones assuming the same listening habits (iTunes on a Mac, iPhone, and iPod)? I've seen several forums members say that you need to get an external amp and other hardware to really tell a difference. I just want to know if a nice pair of headphones would improve the listening experience even if I'm just using iTunes.

--------
Also, though this is just a secondary question, some of the models I've been considering are:
  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
  • Sennheiser HD 598
  • Sennheiser Momentum
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Does anyone have any suggestion on these or another brand.
Last "Black Friday" I bought the Sennheiser HD 598 which are a great pair of headphones in terms of Comfort and sound reception for $99!

Also, bought the Audio-Tech ATH-M50x in which the sound is great but very UNCOMFORTABLE for my sized head.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
6,868
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Here
Last "Black Friday" I bought the Sennheiser HD 598 which are a great pair of headphones in terms of Comfort and sound reception for $99!

Also, bought the Audio-Tech ATH-M50x in which the sound is great but very UNCOMFORTABLE for my sized head.
Thanks!
 

jerwin

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2015
2,776
4,607
Open ear headphones (such as the Sennheiser HD5xx) can be amazing, but they aren't great for blocking out the outside world. I have a Grado SR80 (leaks sound, not very comfortable, but astounding detail) and Sennheiser HD558 (less detailed, the velour feels as if it's not an outdoorsy pair).

Haven't owned any of the others-- though the Momentum sounded pretty coloured in the store-- more suited for Hiphop and EDM, maybe?
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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Haven't owned any of the others-- though the Momentum sounded pretty coloured in the store-- more suited for Hiphop and EDM, maybe?
Thank you for this.

I'm leaning towards the Senn. because they seem like a good all around price for the money. I don't need to block out other sound, I was just wondering if the sound quality of these headphones would be noticeably better than that of Apple's EarPods.
 

mobutt

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2010
441
48
I have QC25's which audiophiles probably wouldn't like too much but I don't think anything can beat the noise cancellation.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I am now torn between the ATH-M50X and the Sennheiser HD 598.

Anyone have any input?
 

jerwin

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2015
2,776
4,607
Many Kingdom Hearts and Legend of Zelda albums and spin offs
If by that, you mean this sort of thing


a wide soundstage would be beneficial.

Generally open back headphones (HD598) are better at this than closed back headphones (ATH-M50X).
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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If by that, you mean this sort of thing



a wide soundstage would be beneficial.

Generally open back headphones (HD598) are better at this than closed back headphones (ATH-M50X).
That, but also some of this:


And a lot of music with deep sound like this: (Skip to 2:30)


Why would open back be better?
 

jerwin

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2015
2,776
4,607
yeah-- those sound great with myHD558, even using my imac's headphone jack.. I don't know where my various apple earbuds are, so I can't make any comparisons. Pretty sure that they would fare rather poorly.
 

Erdbeertorte

Suspended
May 20, 2015
1,180
500
Beyerdynamic is a very good German brand with a long tradition. I think they are even better and the company exists longer than Sennheiser. I used them for several years but only at home, because they were not very stylish at that time and I also got a model which was not loud enough for my purposes on mobile devices like my first iPhone (5).

http://north-america.beyerdynamic.com

But Sennheiser is of course always a good choice. I had Sony in ears that were cheaper and better, but I never tested any other "real" Sennheiser model. The product range of Sennheiser was always too much for me to decide.

I would recommend to compare the ratings on Amazon in the same price segment.

If you like it more stylish V-Moda (http://v-moda.com) is also a good choice and they are always getting good ratings too. But the material quality is not so good I think. Same for Bowers & Wilkins, good sound but they don't last very long. I bought both V-Moda over ear and B&W on ear headphones last year. They are still working very good, but got some damages. My old Beyerdynamics (I think I bought them about 10 years ago) are as good as new.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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yeah-- those sound great with myHD558, even using my imac's headphone jack.. I don't know where my various apple earbuds are, so I can't make any comparisons. Pretty sure that they would fare rather poorly.
And you think they'd sound better than the M50X?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Most any decent set of headphones are going to sound better than budget ear buds. That being said, for the $29 price point, the EarPods sound pretty good! You get what you pay for when it comes to audio.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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Most any decent set of headphones are going to sound better than budget ear buds. That being said, for the $29 price point, the EarPods sound pretty good! You get what you pay for when it comes to audio.
I like the EarPods, they fit me perfectly, but all I've every used are Apple's earbuds or free headsets that come with CD players. I wanted to upgrade my at-home listening experience and just use the EarPods for exercise and on-the-go use.
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
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Elkton, Maryland
I like the EarPods, they fit me perfectly, but all I've every used are Apple's earbuds or free headsets that come with CD players. I wanted to upgrade my at-home listening experience and just use the EarPods for exercise and on-the-go use.
For true audio enjoyment, I recommend that you listen to the recommendations posted above and stay away from knockoffs of those models.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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For true audio enjoyment, I recommend that you listen to the recommendations posted above and stay away from knockoffs of those models.
I know it will be either the Sennhieser or the ATH M50X. They have great reviews and are highly spoke of on the "Post Your Headphones" thread. I think I'm going with the 50X. They are closed, but the little things I like: they're foldable, removable cord, and I like cleanable material more than the foam material used on the Senn. ones.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I know it will be either the Sennhieser or the ATH M50X. They have great reviews and are highly spoke of on the "Post Your Headphones" thread. I think I'm going with the 50X. They are closed, but the little things I like: they're foldable, removable cord, and I like cleanable material more than the foam material used on the Senn. ones.
I have heard that they are good!
 
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