Just got my XB700s today. Been listening all night.
Let's go over OPs requirements:
(1) hip hop music
For hip hop music, almost all Sennheisers are immediately disqualified as inadequate. For someone who primarily listens to hip hop music, that person is likely immersed in the culture as well. And the culture mandates that you have some bass in your face. Avoid Sennheiser.
For the iPod, your source signal will be somewhere between neutral and skimpy on the bass. In addition, you will have very low power coming out of the headphone jack. This means that you will need headphones with:
1. non-neutral, bass heavy emphasis
2. efficient at driving without high voltage.
Bass heavy cans are going to be the Sony XB series mentioned and also Beyerdynamic DT series. I'm sure there are others, but these are popular.
I own the 32 ohm version of Beyer DT-770s. These are very hard to drive compared to other similar ohm ranged phones like my Senn HD-595. On my iPod touch 2g, I have to push the volume slider to 100% to get my "rock out" level on. That is unsatisfactory. A headphone amp is required. Fiio E5 will do the job, though it will add a slight noise floor. Bass will sound better due to adequate power and elimination of "clipping."
If you don't want to carry around a separate amp (who does?), get the XB-700. It is extremely efficient, no amp required.
1. more expensive IS NOT better quality. e.g., HD-595 vs. HD-555 foam removal. Profits based on economies of scale. A company can make one million headphones at $20 much better than one headphone for $2,000.
2. XB-700 will reach the full audio spectrum range as the Beyers with less sibilance.
3. XB-700 has memory foam type ear pads (mushy). Therefore, the earpads will "conform" to your ears and seal out the maximum possible outside noise without noise cancellation.
1. Long listening can be fatiguing. The best designs in this regard are Sennheiser. Open means less fatigue because your ear skin needs to be breathe.
2. Looks incredibly stupid on your head. Zero chance of impressing ladies, (or men) if you're gay.
3. Short cable. Stupid of Sony in this regard, but also cool in that it's a thin/flat type.
If you are willing to spend up to $200, I bet you were even thinking of getting the Beats by Dre, weren't you?
Here's what you should do:
1. Buy from Amazon and order THREE cans. The XB-700 and two others of your choice.
2. A/B them for 2 to 3 weeks.
3. Print a return label for the other two cans and return them back to Amazon.
Edited by sugarkang - 12/12/10 at 5:33am