Howdy all - I just bought a pair of the m50's on amazon for a closed set, and looking for another set for more critical listening. Well... I guess I should background that one... I'm a recovering audiophile. From back in the day (ie, BEFORE CHILDREN) I had time to geek out with my analogue gear and enjoy sitting around for extended periods listening to fine vinyl. With a 5,4, and 1 year old, those days are gone for the forseable future... :-) Anyways, what I can do is sneak a listen periodically on some headphones. I probably won't get into buying an amp/dac for now (recovering gear head), and prefer simplicity. I would like to find an open sounding hp with tight bass, non-searing highs, and I don't mind a warm tilt. Preference is for jazz / funk / acid jazz.I figure there must be a point of diminishing returns for non-amp driven gear (flac files from my phone or even some decent quality aac files) where additional resolution is going to not help, or worse, reveal too many flaws... :-)
Some cans that don't need an amp are quite good. Am I correct that you are looking for open/semi-open cans? What is your budget?
All that said--even 45 to 50 years ago it was garbage in = garbage out when played a decent "going to college" component stereo system. So that hasn't changed much, except with regard to the details.