Now that I have spent over $900 on a couple decent full size cans that are mostly open back (thanks to you headfi guys), and around $400 on earbuds (buying headphones = drug usage), I'm lacking a portable can (not earbud) that will work when traveling, which is mostly work on an airplane and during bus transit.
It must be isolating and comfortable, maybe even this "noise canceling" stuff. But ANC headphones tend to be expensive and the best ANC headphones have horrible sound (Bose QC15s, can't endure the muddy low range and strange high range texture). Passive isolating will probably be my best bet. My HD25-IIs fit the bill nicely, but they tend to be uncomfortable and on some songs in my iPod (you can't really fit good high bit rate stuff on a tiny iPod drive and expect a large library. And if you do, you do not expect it to work without an amp of some sort), it is impossible to endure piercing high-range. Note that this is for an iPod only setup, so I won't have an amp like I would at my home, thus requiring somewhat easy-to-drive low impedance headphones.
For this budget $200 can, I want a relaxing sound. Relaxing, as in warm or slightly "dark" sounding.
Non-fatiguing highs. Some of my favorite cans have good high extension but can tend to be a little harsh, especially when listening to long periods of time. I love a good high extension but I don't need that sort of extension or sparkle for this portable can. Just something good enough and I can listen to for 4 hrs+ on the airplane without fatigue.
Good middle range (nothing empty or hollow). I love full mids. I think the most important part of headphones are the middle range, which is responsible for a large part of the headphone's color and "smoothness". Maybe a little more pronounced?
Above-average bass quantity with decent detail, does not need the extension of my HD600s. Basically, I'm looking for a darker or warming sounding can that will keep me comfortable for long airplane rides and commute and stuff.
Comfort. Again, I will be using it for more than 4 hours for some trips. Somewhat lightweight with below-average clamping force.
I have been looking at the B&W P5 but they are a little too expensive. I have tried them in store and I enjoy the sound signature, but the high range is a little too "background" or behind everything. Not sure how to describe it. I cannot afford these $300 cans. If they are $300 excellent, I am willing to sacrifice my next plane trip and save up a little more spending money for the P5.
I have also been looking at the Beats by Dr Dre Studio (GOD FORBID). Oh god, the sound!!! It took 3 exclamation marks to describe such the horrible crime in forcing teenage boys to spend $300 of their parents' money in buying a headphone only for style, as if the noise cancellation would ever be used on an airplane trip. They do look sexy but they are built like a cheap Sanyo speaker and sound like a broken Koss PortaPro (no offense to the amazing PortaPros for its quality and fun sound for such a low price).
In summary, I'm looking for a under $200 can to hit the road with. A warm, dark sound, isolation for airplanes, and comfort. It can be consumer-styled sound, just not offensive sounding like the "Beats (your eardrums til they hurt)", or Bose QC stuff.
Edited by Bossatiger - 12/26/11 at 7:29pm