Let me premise this thread by stating that I have been researching headphones for a very long time (years.) In fact, I am constantly reading reviews so the research is effectively ongoing. I will also say that I thought that I had made up my mind on Grado SR325i headphones, but much to my displeasure, I read that their soundstage was very much "in your face." This is the thing that I *hate* the most about headphones -- the sound is too "in your face." There seems to be a lacking in the size of the soundstage and also a lacking in the "air" surrounding instruments. I listen to a lot of "atmospheric" music and my reference album when testing headphones (or speakers, or anything audio-related) is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I have a MSFL disc and I know the sound by heart (I also own a few vinyl versions as well.)
My budget is about $400 and I have a few CMOY amps around the house. I have an iPod Touch and a Sansa Fuze and I am mostly looking for portability. That makes things a lot tougher. I have been looking at the AKG K701 headphones and I like what I am reading, but these things are honking HUGE! I guess that is a common trait amongst 'phones with decent soundstage -- large size. I have a small head, so this compounds the problem. Sound is more important than aesthetics, but I'd really prefer NOT looking like a dork. IEMs are very uncomfortable for me as well. Maybe I am just too picky?
Right now I have Shure e2c (modified,) Koss Portapros (also modified,) and px100s. The Portapros are a huge disappointment to me. The bass is so bloated and unnatural that they're difficult to listen to. the Shure e2cs, I can't really comment on because they never fit into my ear properly. The PX100 were just OK, but sounded very thin and I want "better."
So to paraphrase what I am looking for:
- Decent air around instruments
- Less "in your face" sound. Maybe something more relaxed, a bit slower? Something that gives the music a bit of time before inundating your brain with a barrage of sound?
- I guess it's not as important, but size is a factor. K701s seems to be a bit big for my small head...
Maybe $400 is too low of a price? If you have something to recommend that is more expensive, do so! I also have practically NO way to listen to any of these 'phones so it will be a "blind buy." Or would that be "deaf buy"?