I currently have a pair of Denon AD-1001 and they suit me just fine. However, I'm both getting the urge to upgrade and noticing that they're taking quite a beating. More exactly, the hinges on the ear cups are a bit uneven from wear and tear in my bag. I've done a bit of research on a few portable headphones to move on to, but is it worth it to upgrade?
I want a closed headphone that's still portable that sounds good unamped (I won't be using an amp). I'm also concerned about durability (being a college student and having the ability to stow it into my bag) and comfort, although sound quality is still primary. I generally listen to mostly indie rock (The National, Arcade Fire, The Shins, etc.) with a bit of hip-hop every now and then. I would say I like a bassier headphone (the Denon is about right, although I would prefer a tighter and quicker and maybe lighter bass).
I've narrowed down my choices to four so far: I'm currently looking at the Sennheiser HD-25-II, Phiaton MS-400, Audio-Technica ESW-9, and the AIAIAI TMA-1, they're all around the same price.All of them have been lauded to various degrees here, so I'm still trying to decide between them. I have a few concerns about each:
HD-25-II: How much of a concern is the comfort of the headphone? I got the AD-1001 partially because I knew that they were very comfortable and they haven't disappointed. I'm also concerned about the forwardness of the sound - I like the Denon sound (even if the bass could be a bit less and tighter) and I'm not sure if the HD-25 will fatigue or not.
MS-400: These actually seem to be the best fit, but I'm not sure about durability. The sound seems to be somewhat similar to the headphones that I have now, which seems like a good fit.
ESW-9: These are gorgeous headphones, but I've heard complaints about the durability. I'll be carrying the headphones in my backpack a lot, so they have a take a bit of stress. I'm also not sure if the sound might be too warm and laid back for my tastes (apparently they're best for jazz and R&B and not really "rock" headphones). Some have said they are similar to the Denon sound signature though.
TMA-1: These seem to be FOTM and a bit dark, but I have heard good reviews. I probably won't be EQing the headphones though, so these probably won't work.
Sorry if this is a bit long, but I want to be thorough with my review. I guess I can summarize it into 3 points:
1. How much would this upgrade in sound have from what I have now?
2. If worth an upgrade, I would prefer a closed, portable headphone around $200 that sounds good unamped, but can be scaled up nicely if I decide to get an amp. Better if durable and comfortable, but less important.
3. I mainly listen to indie rock and prefer a darker sound, although the bass shouldn't be too strong.
Thanks and if there are other recommendations other than these 4, that would be helpful!