Let me lay things out a bit clearer...
Environment: I will be using the headphones at work, the university library, on walk to campus, and at home.
Use: I will be using the headphones for music, computer games, and an occasional movie. The ratio for music to games usage is nearly 50/50, but my main concern is with music. I care more about my audio experience with music than with computer games, but do not want to suffer terribly in my gaming experience.
Purpose: To provide the most detailed audio without sacrificing a natural/accurate sound. I am very OCD when it comes to certain areas. I appreciate a balanced sound. I want to hear the most accurate reproduction of the recording. I am a very analytical and intellectual listener. I listen to tracks multiple times through to follow different instruments, rhythms, harmonies, and pick up on unique features. I sing, play guitar, play mandolin, and write music, and I like to hear the details behind what is occurring so that that I can grasp what the artist is doing. If theses descriptions make for a boring headphone, I could look for something a bit more fun, but I cannot stray far from these characteristics.
Music: I listen to Punch Brothers, Iron and Wine,The Civil Wars, Glenn Hansard, The Frames, Nickel Creek, and anything Chris Thile, firstly. Secondly, I will on occasion listen to many genres consisting of The Raconteurs, Incubus, Matchbox Twenty, Jason Mraz, Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, Radiohead, and The White Stripes.
Gaming: Games I play consist of Elders' Scrolls: Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Starcraft II, Diablo, Guild Wars, Bioshock. I mostly don't play first person shooters. I love RPGs, and it just so happens that almost all the games I have mentioned have very unique and intricate soundtracks.
Summary: I may not know the best thing for me, but what I have concluded thus far is that I need a portable, isolating headphone for my use. Feel free to argue with me. I also believe I need a well balanced, versatile, accurate headphone. This would mean it does not lack significantly in anything. For game use, is bass important?
Models considered thus far:
-Sennheiser HD 25-1 II - The talk of balanced sound, build quality, and isolating ability has excited me. I have not and will not be able to test them. I hear the bass is nice; this helps video games and some genres of music. I hear they are accurate; this fill my OCD craving. I hear they are detailed; this is the most important factor as I am VERY interested in hearing the minute details.
-B&W P5 - I know very little about these. I like the look. I've read they aren't very detailed, but that they have nice mids? This did not have substantial support.
-Shure SE535 - I know very little about these, as well.
-Audio Technica ATH-ESW9A - I'm hoping that if the HD 25-1 II are not for me, that these will be. The pricing I display in a moment will explain this.. They are pretty attractive. I've read a few nice reviews, but they were few and very subjective. Advice here would be nice.
-Klipsch Image X10i - Someone recommended them before... that is all I know.
-Etymotic ER23-HF3-C - These were recommended and through research I read that they are very accurate IEM. I am not sure if this is a "very accurate for the price" statement, or if it is overall.
-AKG Q701 - Clearly not a portable or isolating headphone, but it is of interest. If it can support much better audio than the portables, then maybe sacrificing my portability and isolations may be worth it. I'll take a fantastic experience on regular occasion, rather than a pretty good one all the time. I've read the AKQ Q701 are pretty raved about for value, detail, balance, and bass. Any thoughts?
-Sennheiser HD650 or HD598 - I know little of the differences, but my thoughts in this direction are near exact as the AKG Q701 thoughts.
Final Vital tid bit: I work at Best Buy. I get employee discounts. They can be substantial. I also get the discount on replacement plans, and I can get 18 months no interest financing. Therefor, I am wanting to choose from the selection at Best Buy.
Edited by crzycuyler - 4/30/12 at 1:56pm