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Looking for a pair of closed over-ear headphones (below $250).

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

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
post #2 of 13

I used to have the P5 headphones, and for me, they were really uncomfortable (I find that all on-ears that I have tried are) and plus they were not stable (AT ALL). They would NOT stay on my head and I had to walk at the pace of a snail. I had to remember to say yes or no instead of shaking my head as they would fall off. But if you like them then more power to you I suppose.

post #3 of 13

You can get the DT250 for $150 new now and it sounds much better than M50 or HD380.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
After much deliberation, I ended up putting in a preorder for the HM5s and an E11 - hopefully to ship in around a week. All the positive reviews swayed me, as did the neutrality and quality of the headphones. Hopefully they'll arrive soon, so I can enjoy them.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by itaiferber View Post

After much deliberation, I ended up putting in a preorder for the HM5s and an E11 - hopefully to ship in around a week. All the positive reviews swayed me, as did the neutrality and quality of the headphones. Hopefully they'll arrive soon, so I can enjoy them.


Wise choice.

 

It's a wonderfully neutral headphone with good extension, imaging, detail and isolation. It's a touch on the bright side, but not overly so. It's bass is neutral, but it can really thicken up with the E11's EQ setting on 2. I much prefer the velour pads myself. Same great sound, a lot more comfort. The clamp can be a touch too much at first, but you'll loosen her up. It's not a very forgiving headphone, so make sure and feed her lossless well-mastered material.

 

And here's what she'll look like when you get her up and running with an E11:

 

FA003_FiioE11_SansaFuze.jpg

 

Very best,

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comment! Getting my hyped up already. smily_headphones1.gif
About the velour pads - I've seen them mentioned several times before (in every context, it seems that people preferred them to the leather ones) - where can I get them? I know the headphones come with an extra pair of pads, but those aren't velour, right?
post #7 of 13

It's a wonderfully neutral headphone with good extension, imaging, detail and isolation.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenber View Post

It's a wonderfully neutral headphone with good extension, imaging, detail and isolation.


 

Umm, were you just copying what MalVeauX said? Cause that is almost exactly what he said . . . you might as well had just copied and pasted his comment.


Edited by KingOfTheWild - 3/8/12 at 10:11pm
post #9 of 13

I have a set of P5s and I love them. they are quite comfortable once you have them on for a while. I think the memory foam works a bit better after it warms up. They also are good to travel with as they block quite a bit of sound.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Detex View Post

I have a set of P5s and I love them. they are quite comfortable once you have them on for a while. I think the memory foam works a bit better after it warms up. They also are good to travel with as they block quite a bit of sound.



That definitely is true I'm not gonna lie. The last sentence that is.

post #11 of 13

Wow, we listen to very similar genres and artists. I just got the AKG Q701's today for $299 and they are completely worth it!! You should totally get these. They are completely balanced and I am literally saying, wow I have never heard that in this song!! I would recommend these with a pretty good amp to really power these things to it's true potential.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
@Detex Yeah, they're really comfortable if you're not going to wear them for hours at at time. I don't know if it's just me and my warm-bloodedness, but after an hour or so, I just have to take them off for a while because I can't even concentrate on anything else. But you're right, they're fantastically portable, and great for taking in a bag. One of their biggest faults, though, are that you have to be practically stationary with them while they're on - like kingalekay mentioned, they're far too easy to knock off your head. (I carry a throwaway pair of Sony MDR-J10s for using while walking around the city.)

@CoolioLoco Awesome! I already ordered the HM5s, but I'll keep that in mind. When I get them, I'll be happy to tell you how they sound, too. biggrin.gif
Edited by itaiferber - 3/6/12 at 3:03pm
post #13 of 13

Malveaux! we have the same portable rig! Awesome! ^^ Sansa Fuze+Fiio L6+E11 For the win! 

Sadly, i dont have FA-003s... One day, one day...

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