I really enjoyed the M50, but you shouldn't even consider it if your main genres include classical/instrumental since its soundstage isn't stellar. Call J&R and ask for the latest price on the HD558. The HD598 fetches $170 if you call J&R, so I'd imagine the HD558 is cheaper and fits your budget. The HD598 is a great all-rounder and is right at home with classical/orchestral/instrumental music, and its sibling, the HD558, has a similar sound signature.
P.S. The HD555 is still a solid choice. Just do the foam mod and you'll have an HD595 for the price of an HD555.
I have been reading head-fi reviews and forums for quite some time now. I am planning on buying full sized headphone around the $100-150 mark.
Here's what I mostly listen to - www.last.fm/user/adityashevade
Apart from what is there - I also listen to classical (both western and Indian) a lot. Indian classical I listen to is mostly vocal with little or no instruments involved. In general - I don't listen to tap, hip-hop. I don't want boom boom bass. I would mostly be listening to classic rock, classical and instrumental.
My source would be mostly a clip+, unamped (though I am also considering getting an amp with the headphones if necessary). I also listen to music on my laptop and android phone (HD2). Mostly it's the clip+.
I have one problem - I have never used full size headphones before now. I have used quite a few IEMs. Almost always the cable near the headphone jack breaks. That is my major concern while buying the full sized phones - I want something that would last, preferably with a detachable cord.
After searching on the forum most people seem to be suggesting the Sennheiser HD-555 for classical. However - I am not sure how would these fair against the other music I listen to. Also - they do not have detachable cord. I also read the 84 portable headphones review and the ATH-M50 seems to be a popular choice around here but again - how is the build quality, is there any way to get them fixed if the cable breaks? The other options I am considering are the AKG 240S and Shure 440. Any comments about these? Both have detachable cable so I am slightly inclined towards one of the 2.
If the M50s can take some jerks and are built strong then I am almost sure of going for them but in case there are any other better phones for my needs - please suggest me a few.
Also, if you know, where can I get these in sunnyvale area? I would like to listen to them first, if possible, and not just order from Amazon.