For the past couple of months, I've been considering buying myself a new pair of headphones, and I'm glad to have finally found a vibrant community to ask for advice in. Here we go. :)
About two years ago, I purchased a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P5s at Apple - they sounded great at the store, and I still think they sound pretty darn good. I guess I'm not a true audiophile in terms of lingo (I can't tell you what 'tinny' music sounds like, or what 'sparkly' treble is), but I do try my best to only buy high bitrate music (FLAC if possible), and I really do enjoy listening to nuances in my music in high definition - it's a wonderful experience! The P5s are very nice, but lately, I've been getting the feeling that I could be listening to my music with higher quality headphones that cost less, and look even cooler (okay, that's not really a metric, but still).
So, I began hunting for a new pair, with the little jargon I do know. To start off, it's important for me to find a closed pair of headphones (crucial for listening on public transportation or in an office), and a pair that doesn't require an amp (I do most of my listening on my iPhone - while on walks, or again, on the bus - and I don't want to have to carry and care for additional devices). I'd be glad if I could find a pair that folds mostly compactly (I've got a large bag, so it's not a big deal, but every bit helps).
Most importantly, though, is that I'm looking for over-ear headphones. The P5s are on-ear, and that's not amazingly comfortable for me. I've got large, warm ears that get uncomfortable after a lot of listening. I understand that because of their design, closed over-ear headphones do get quite warm, but that's less important to me. Comfort is the number one issue (besides audio quality). Also, explicit noise canceling is necessary - closed headphones block a lot of noise on their own anyway.
I listen to a wide range of music - lots of rock (ranging from Linkin Park occasionally and 30 Seconds to Mars, to slightly quieter things like The Flobots, Cake, U2), and some electronic and drums n' bass (Pendulum, mainly). A lot of other stuff doesn't fit into neat genres and categories, but I enjoy a lot of different types of music. I guess bass and midrange would be important for the music I listen to, less so treble and the upper range of the spectrum.
So far, I've been recommended two pairs of headphones - the ATH M50s, and the Sennheiser HD380s, both great headphones if I'm to believe the reviews. Really, I'm trying to gauge whether I can find a great pair of headphones (really, preferably under $250, though I am willing to save up for a while and go all-out if it's that recommended) that outdo the P5s at a lower price point. Maybe there are better pairs of headphones that I missed? The M50s and HD380s are both under $200 on Amazon, so they're pretty great in terms of price - are they worth it in terms of audio quality and comfort (also, they look cool!)?
Or, maybe it's not even worth it to replace the P5s. Perhaps they're of high enough quality to be worth keeping, and not replacing until they break? Maybe they're good enough? Help would be greatly appreciated - I know there are a ton of reviews here for all sorts of headphones, but it's easy to get lost in all the brands and the types and the individual reviews.
Edited by itaiferber - 2/29/12 at 8:13pm