I’ve been looking for headphones to use with my new MacBook Pro but am beginning to wonder if, with age, my ears no longer have what it takes to enjoy good headphones. While I’m no audiophile (we raised two kids so I couldn’t afford to aspire to that) I do appreciate the sound of quality audio systems. I have always liked the Bang & Olufsen sound but know that simply mentioning B&O equipment can cause others to fire up. I state this because I am still running my (pre-kids) 1977 B&O system. I found a sound I liked and have stayed with it. The headphones I used during the years of a kid-noisey home were B&O U70s. I recently dug them out to use with the laptop only to discover one side is dead, thus my quest for new headphones. I have an iPod shuffle I use for books and the earbuds that came with it are fine for that. I also have a 5th generation iPod I use for music, again it’s earbuds seem to me to be OK for what I’m doing when I use it. I’m usually on the go with either iPod so am not in a position where I am devoting my attention to the audio. I’m amazed by those concerned with audiophile sound while running or working out. With the laptop, while it’s certainly portable, I’m not walking, running, biking, driving, etc. so do want quality headphones. I’ve done my research and ‘test driven’ what I could. I’m not overly thrilled with earbuds (though Apple’s are comfortable enough.) I’ve tried my brother-in-law’s Etymotic Research ER-6is but don’t think I’d be comfortable with something wedged that far into my ear canals. I also want something that’s easy to put on and take off, so I’ve been leaning toward more traditional style headphones (though they certainly aren’t as portable in terms of tossing them in the laptop bag.) I narrowed my choices down to the B&O Form 2s and the Grado SR-80s. I tried the Bose headphones but felt like I was listening to music inside a sealed bubble. Also, I felt they lacked clarity. While I spent lots of time with the B&Os and the Grados I wasn’t able to A/B them directly as they were at two different dealers. I liked the cables on both - thick/protected, not wimpy wires as on most of the others I’ve looked at. Both were comfortable, with the nod going toward the Grados. I liked the openness of the Grados, but was a bit disappointed in how much sound leaked out. I’m not sure I have my lingo correct, but they didn’t seem to be as efficient as the Apple earbuds. I had to turn the volume up higher with them. In terms of music I listen to lots of styles (except for what my 20-something age kids listen to,) but primarily jazz. Ok, I’ll wrap this up and present my dilemma. While the Grados and the B&Os sounded very nice, I’m not sure they were $100.00 nice over the Apple earbuds. I wasn’t bowled over with either. Granted I’m not looking at the upper end in terms of headphones, but I was expecting more from both of these headphones when compared to my earbuds. Is the problem with tired old ears, with the source I used while testing (mp3s on my iPod,) am I expecting too much? Keep in mind these will only be used on the computer. With the kids out on their own, I finally have a room in the basement dedicated to my audio system so headphones are not needed when I’m listening in the ‘man cave.’ Do I get the Grados, knowing that they’ll improve over time or call it good and use the Apple earbuds? Thanks for 'listening.'
post #1 of 13
9/6/07 at 8:49pm