What Headphones Are You Using?

MICHAELSD

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Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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Let me preface this by stating that the difference between a proper pair of headphones and a pair of say Apple's EarPods is unbelievable. I will likely use this analogy many times in the future but the difference is like seeing the world with glasses for the first time: music becomes that much clearer. Some songs sound completely different with proper headphones and a good audio source. Simply, you want to listen to music for the simple joy of it... even songs that would normally be skipped on the radio suddenly sound so much better that skipping them would be a crime.

I honestly feel like over 90% of people have never heard true music. That $200-$300 can get somebody a truly high-end pair of headphones that can last a lifetime if needed is staggering. The public should question why they pay $20/year for an awful pair that breaks yearly.

That being said, I am using V-Moda's M-100 after a painstaking search for headphones with no real budget set... I was searching for the best value and best sound without having to make a "hmm, these headphones are 75% as good and half the price" compromise; I wanted the best without spending a ridiculous amount. To be fair, I found the brand and design initially off-putting but have since become a huge fan of the brand and it seems I find a new aspect of the headphone or brand to appreciate daily. When I bought these I was not expecting them to sound significantly better than my $150 Audio Technica ATH-700 pair but in retrospect they do sound like they're worth twice the price, very surprisingly. I was initially just looking for more of a bass presence after trying a pair of Beats Solo2 in-store. Of course even at a similar price the Beats do not hold a candle to either headphone: the sound is very closed-off and mids as well as treble suffers. However, on the M-100 that is simply not true. The entirety of the song can be heard and felt with a painstaking clarity. These are the type of headphones where lossless music can shine. These are the type of headphones where you pause life and listen to music for hours for the sole reason that you cannot take them off. Perhaps the single con these have are the comfort factor: the material itself is comfy and premium, but prolonged sessions can cause my ears physical pain. This is a rare experience for these headphones, but the company has already fixed the issue by releasing XL earpads that apparently improve the sound even further.

Now, I'm not stating V-Moda is the only brand that can provide such a quality sound for $200-$300. www.innerfidelity.com could be your friend in that. Just do not go into a retail store assuming that spending a couple hundred dollars will get you the best audio presentation available: there are significantly better brands than Beats, Bose, etc. What I am stating is that everyone should experience a true audio experience. As low as ~ $100 could get you world-class audio with the Audio Technica M50 although I do recommend the V-Moda M-100 for its detail reproduction and superior, very detailed bass. Instrument separation is also excellent.

If you like music, you owe it to yourself to listen to it as intended. The first time somebody upgrades to a genuinely good pair of $100+ headphones, they are blown away by the amount of detail they had been missing.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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Over the years, I had bought quite a number of different headphones, some from Sennhesier, and I think there was a fairly decent one from Sony. Bose, as well.

However, for the past number of years, I have used Bowers & Wilkins. I started with their ultra portable (and award winning) P3s, which look great, are incredibly portable, and offer very good audio but could have been more comfortable.

Subsequently, I migrated to the B&W P5s, and will say that these are the very best head-phones I have ever had. I love them. Extremely portable, (which is great because I travel a lot), superb build quality (steel and leather), exceptionally comfortable (that leather again), offer an excellent audio experience, I travel everywhere with them.

Now, more recently still, I bought the 'flagship' B&W product - the P7s, which are a superb headphone, but one that is used for listening to music at home; they are a bit too large for stashing away in a briefcase.

Last year, in an airport, I spotted a pair of Marshall headphones (the same company that made speakers for the Beatles) and found them very good when I tried them out.
 
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D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
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Vilano Beach, FL
Yeah, there's such a major difference between so-so and good phones and the latter doesn't have to be a major expense. There are so many good choices with outstanding SQ, plus a wide range of more subjective qualities. I personally prefer open, over ear - I love the soundstage and natural dynamics, the comfort, plus they're great for not totally isolating you (if that's a positive in your particular environment).

Then there are factors like the need for an amp, portability, cost, design, my previously mentioned isolation, just lots of things that make a set of phones perfect for the user.

My current "go to" phones I use the most, i.e., at my desk/work for music (mostly alt/rock), podcasts and VOIP (Skype/FT) are Sennheiser HD558s. A _steal_ at their typical street price.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
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In the office either Klipsch S4a IEMs or Sony DR-ZX701ip cans with Shure 840 earpads, on the go Harmon Kardon CLs, and at home Koss ProDJ 100 fed by a FIIO E07K DAC/Amp.
I have read very good reports of the Harmon Kardon CLs, and they look to be very well built also; how do you find them? Are they comfortable as well as offering very good audio?

For TV set - Panasonic wireless. For music - Beyerdynamic.
How do you find the Beyerdynamics?
 

Fthree

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2014
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powerbeats wireless 2. I like to workout and run and they do an amazing job of providing quality sound and staying in my ears.
 

Ulenspiegel

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Nov 8, 2014
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Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
I have read very good reports of the Harmon Kardon CLs, and they look to be very well built also; how do you find them? Are they comfortable as well as offering very good audio?



How do you find the Beyerdynamics?
As you, I have tried tons of headphones. I almost gave up when my older son approached me and asked to buy him headphones instead of earphones for his iPod. So, I decided to ask for some advice from my friends in the field. They gave me a Beyerdynamic. I was amazed. I am quite picky when it comes to sound quality listening to classical music. It is full, pretty detailed, minimal leakage, no artificial nuances in highs or lows. Comfortable. Worth trying. I used to be a Sennheiser fan in good ole days, but the quality is not the same nowdays. At least for me.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,608
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The Far Horizon
As you, I have tried tons of headphones. I almost gave up when my older son approached me and asked to buy him headphones instead of earphones for his iPod. So, I decided to ask for some advice from my friends in the field. They gave me a Beyerdynamic. I was amazed. I am quite picky when it comes to sound quality listening to classical music. It is full, pretty detailed, minimal leakage, no artificial nuances in highs or lows. Comfortable. Worth trying. I used to be a Sennheiser fan in good ole days, but the quality is not the same nowdays. At least for me.
Thanks for your swift reply.

Yes, I used to be a Sennheiser fan in the old days, too, and they were the 'Standard' that used to be recommended by staff in audio stores.

You are not the first person who has recommended the Beyerdynamic, so it is always good to hear another recommendation.
 

Melrose

Suspended
Dec 12, 2007
7,807
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AKG K-240 Studio.
I use K240 MKII. Absolutely the best sound I've ever heard. Crystal clear, with superb response.

Apple's Earpods... I know I'm the pariah of this thread. :(
I use my EarPods when I workout. No sense having a $200 pair only to get torn or sweated up. If I'm working out I don't need prime sound anyway, and the EarPods are perfect. :)

The AKGs are for laying back, turning on non-compressed music on my iPhone or my Discman (yep, still use it for my 100+ CDs - used to be way over 200), and simply enjoying my music.
 
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furbzv1

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2014
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depends on where I'm going and for how long.
I usually listen to hip-hop so i go between powerbeats2 wireless and beats mixr
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
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CT
I use K240 MKII. Absolutely the best sound I've ever heard. Crystal clear, with superb response.



I use my EarPods when I workout. No sense having a $200 pair only to get torn or sweated up. If I'm working out I don't need prime sound anyway, and the EarPods are perfect. :)

The AKGs are for laying back, turning on non-compressed music on my iPhone or my Discman (yep, still use it for my 100+ CDs - used to be way over 200), and simply enjoying my music.
The best thing about them is they are comfortable. Great clean sound without distorted bass.
 
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MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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AKG K-240 Studio.
The AKG lineup seems like a fantastic value. I quickly learned that I prefer a slightly "V-shaped" sound that emphasizes bass and treble but ideally without the expense of the mids. Most audiophile brands, such as most of what AKG offers, are a bit too neutral for my taste yet I enjoy an unequalized sound. Those are studio monitors anyway though so they are as neutral as they come. Personally I believe in having a high-quality studio monitor as well as a more "fun"-sounding hi-fi pair for regular listening.
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
3,693
1,055
NJ
Over the years, I had bought quite a number of different headphones, some from Sennhesier, and I think there was a fairly decent one from Sony. Bose, as well.

However, for the past number of years, I have used Bowers & Wilkins. I started with their ultra portable (and award winning) P3s, which look great, are incredibly portable, and offer very good audio but could have been more comfortable.

Subsequently, I migrated to the B&W P5s, and will say that these are the very best head-phones I have ever had. I love them. Extremely portable, (which is great because I travel a lot), superb build quality (steel and leather), exceptionally comfortable (that leather again), offer an excellent audio experience, I travel everywhere with them.

Now, more recently still, I bought the 'flagship' B&W product - the P7s, which are a superb headphone, but one that is used for listening to music at home; they are a bit too large for stashing away in a briefcase.

Last year, in an airport, I spotted a pair of Marshall headphones (the same company that made speakers for the Beatles) and found them very good when I tried them out.
The P7s seem like a great product. Would be interested in trying them but they are very few stores that carry more than typical retail brands (Sony, Bose, Beats) to demo.
 

Melrose

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Dec 12, 2007
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The best thing about them is they are comfortable. Great clean sound without distorted bass.
The MKII came with two sets of ear covers, one fuzzy and one slick. Apparently one offers better bass response based on how well it encapsulates your earballs.. I haven't tried the second set yet though. I love the comfort factor as well; no more creased earlobes after a half hour!
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,608
30,792
The Far Horizon
The P7s seem like a great product. Would be interested in trying them but they are very few stores that carry more than typical retail brands (Sony, Bose, Beats) to demo.
The P7s are a great product (the audio is superb), and they are superbly well made, but for comfort and portability, - and a pair of headphones which still give me an excellent audio experience - I prefer the P5s.

However, I use the P7s when I am at home, sitting on the sofa, listening to music.