Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to listen to my friend's Grado SR80 (non-i) headphones. I was blown away by the sound quality compared to every other headphone that I've ever listened to. No worries, you won't have to be sorry for my wallet. This one is all on him. I'd been relatively set on purchasing the Grado SR80i headphones after finals week as a little present to myself, but knowing the Grado's reputation for being uncomfortable I'd been lurking on this forum for alternatives. I do need to keep this purchase to ~$100 as a poor college student with little income, this is already a splurge for me.
I've narrowed it down to the Grado SR80i and the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 which seem to be available for a bit under $100 on Amazon. I do already know that I love the Grado sound, but I also prefer circumaural headphones and unlike the Grados, the ATH-AD700s seem to have a reputation for being absurdly comfortable. I would just be concerned that I would be sacrificing a significant amount of sound quality for the added comfort, and am slightly nervous about purchasing headphones that I have not had a chance to listen to before. These are by no means the only headphones that I would consider, just the two that seemed the best choice given my price range and usage and any alternative suggestions would be welcomed.
I will be using these headphones primarily at home or in a quiet dorm on an unamped Creative Zen Vision W. All of my music is already in lossless .wav format. I listen primarily to classic rock, folk, progressive rock, and blues. Quite a bit of Grateful Dead.
Edit: Since the new i version of the SR80s comes with the comfy pads, I would also be purchasing a set of the bowl pads which I do prefer. If I were purchasing the AD700s, I could use that extra money to get one of the cheap FiiO amps if that would improve sound quality in any way.
Edited by Spelaeus - 5/12/10 at 5:12pm