Hi everyone, before I start, I'd like to mention that I ramble. A lot. If you can't tell already. Also, I have a ton of questions... so this might be a lot of reading.
So, after a few days/weeks of researching for a good pair of headphones under $200, I found the ATH M50s. I've pretty much settled on them, and you can talk about your Denons, Ultrasones, Shures, or Grados, but I'm still buying the ATH M50 headphones (... I might still look at your headphones though).
First of all, I noticed that a lot of M50s are priced around $159. In fact, almost all M50s are priced at $159, as of August 2011. However, I found a pair at the Sound Professionals for $109 and about 10 bucks shipping. I know that they're an authorized dealer, and I know that there's one source saying that they offer good service - however, does anyone here actually have any experience buying from them?
Second, I've heard that the M50s aren't all that great out of the box (and take a good amount of burning in). I'm not an audiophile, however, and I'm transitioning from years upon years of using in-ear earbuds - pretty much everything was under $25, and they were from Koss, Skullcandy (Ink'd), Sony (cheap ones), and a few other small companies that I haven't really seen on these forums. My current pair of earbuds are Phillips/O'Niell Specked earbuds, which have treated me pretty well since I got them, other than the fact that the microphonics are so bad that it feels like the wire is a microphone, and the bass is a teensy little bit lacking (I'm not a basshead though). So, I'm entirely new to the idea of burning in headphones - I'm planning on just using them regularly and listening to the changes as they happen, but roughly how long does it take to burn in the M50s?
Also, I've tried my friend's Bose AE2 for a few minutes, and I must admit that they weren't all that impressive. However, I'm coming from in-ear buds which deliver music straight to my ears, so headphones sound pretty different to me. What exactly should I expect of the M50s, compared to the AE2s?
Third, I know that care and how you treat headphones affect how long they last, and I also know that earbuds don't last nearly as long as headphones. However, the last few pairs that I've used have all broken because of the cord. I treat my earbuds well (if I say so myself) and recently I've been able to get my Ink'd to last for almost a year, maybe a little more. I'm getting the straight cable version of the M50 headphones, but I plan on winding most of the cable up and keeping a rubber band on it (I'm not a big fan of the coiled version). As for usage, I'll probably be using it at my computer, relatively stationary, for somewhere between 1-5 hours a day. I've heard that people have made their headphones last for years, even decades, but how long should I expect these to last me? Also, how long will they last until I need to repair any part, like the ear cup padding, and how much would it cost to get the whole thing repaired without warranty?
Fourth, I've heard a lot of mixed opinions about the M50s being amped. I'm primarily going to be using these headphones with my laptop with no other sound equipment, but I also know that I will be using them with my iPod touch 4g on the road now and then. To a non-audiophile, completely new to full size headphones, is the amp necessary? If anything, I might build a CMoy amp, but that's still iffy.
Finally, thanks to everyone who responds to this post for putting up with my questions - I've done a ton of research (primarily on this site) and I THINK I know the answers to my questions, but I just wanted confirmation for my specific case.