Wow, it's hard to believe it's been almost 2 1/2 years since I first posted this roundup! I haven't been around much since then, work and family commitments have made it hard to put in the time and effort to do these reviews. I thought it might be useful to give you some of my impressions on all of these headphones (including those I intended to review) after having them for a few years. I still commute daily so all of these have had major "field testing".
So, from my original roundup, here are some thoughts on a few of them...
Sennheiser PX-100 II
Interestingly, while these have held up beautifully I'm not as enamored with them as I once was. I still like them but these days I find them a bit dull. They have almost become too warm with hundreds of hours of use. A few months after my reviews I got a pair of Sennheiser HD-239 these are now among my favorites...vastly different sounding than the PX-100 II. More on those below.
Still sounding really good and have held up well. I'll never be a fan of the weird design as they never feel quite right on the head but the SQ is good, if a little bass heavy.
Even though I gave them significant burn in time, they still sounded a bit too harsh. Maybe I just had a bad pair. I've since given them away to a friend who likes them.
Still working great. I enjoy using them on warm days when I don't mind the lack of isolation or the heavy bass.
Fisher Audio Old Skool 70's
These have shown the biggest change since my review. They seemed to take ages to to burn in properly. I really enjoy them now. Bass response has improved and they're much fuller sounding. If you like the Grado type sound these are very close for an ultra-portable "walkman" type headphone. Of course they are out of production and really hard to find.
Sadly, these broke a while ago. Many reviewers had complained about the poor design of the earcups attaching to the headband and mine finally cracked. Impossible to repair. Too bad, they sounded really nice. Since that time, Incase have stopped making headphones. Amazingly, ALL THREE models I had (Pivot, Reflex, and Sonic) have broken. Which is really a shame in the case of the Sonic (full size over-the-ear) as they were quite incredible sounding and really comfortable. The Reflex had the same problem as the Pivot. The Sonic had a cable issue (lost signal on one side) which has proven really difficult to repair. The Sonic can still be found on eBay for about $70.00 and if you're really careful with them it's a worthwhile risk. They are fantastic.
OTHER HEADPHONES I HAD HOPED TO REVIEW
I had planned to review a whole slew of mid-sized headphones and simply could not find the time. But there are a few that really stand out that I wanted to share some impressions...
Really impressive. They are very full and balanced sounding, extremely comfortable, and very forgiving of whatever your source is. My only gripe with them is the woefully thin and slightly too long cable. It seems so likely to fail but I have used them extensively for two years with no problem yet, so who knows?
Perhaps a little overpriced for what they are, but these have become my favorite "lounging around the house" headphone.They're ridiculously comfortable and the sound quality is very "hi-fi". They now come with a shorter cable so they're better with portable devices but they offer almost no isolation from outside noise so they're not good for commuting or outdoor use. Great little headphone.
German Maestro GMP 160
A truly oddball headphone with impressive sound. These too feel almost non-existent when wearing. They weigh almost nothing. The sound quality is quite stunning in terms of detail. I hear things with these that I never heard before in many recordings. They are not without their shortcomings though. The fit is a bit too loose and the molded plastic headband cannot really be bent or adjusted. They are a little thin in terms of bass response. The cable is a little thin and too long for many uses. But the SQ is very close to audiophile. The drivers are just amazing and I would love to try some of German Maestro (formerly MB Quart) more substantial headphones.
Marketed as DJ headphones but not really. As with most Superlux products the drivers are top notch (they OEM for many brands). These either fit you properly or they don't as there is almost no adjustment capability in the design. Of all the bass-heavy headphones I've heard these have the most impressive mids and really great highs. Just a fantastic sounding headphone that is surely off most people's radar. They're very affordable if you can find them on Amazon or eBay.
Beyerdynamic DTX 501p
Maybe my all-time favorite commuter headphone. Great sound quality (they have the Beyerdynamic sound signature for sure), extremely comfortable, and really impressive isolation for such a small headphone. But they are a little bit fragile and i would recommend using the included hard case when traveling with them. Mine have seen a lot of use and the outside of the earcups are very prone to scratch and also a small piece of the headband (not structurally essential) has popped of of both sides. But these are killer and worth the price.
House of Marley Positive Vibration
I tried out all of the first generation HOM headphones and this was the only model I liked. The others were all bland and dull sounding. But this model has good highs, decent balance, good comfort and good build quality. I use mine a lot. A really good sounding and affordable headphone, although a bit silly looking.
These have come way down in price since they launched some newer models. If you can live with the fact that the design is a BLATANT Beats rip, then you have a great headphone. They look almost exactly like Beats Solo and many people will comment or even tell you that you bought a "fake" Beats! SQ is extremely good though. They're a bit hyped but really great sounding and comfortable. If all you care about is the sound quality these are a steal at approx. $50. They are really solid too and will take a lot of abuse, but you may want to or need to replace the detachable "flat" cable. Highly recommended. Amazingly, the newer models from this company (Zoro II and Hammo) also look a LOT like Beats. Too bad...
There are many others that for various reasons did not impress me. These would include:
SOL Republic Tracks HD
California Headphone Company Laredo
NOCS NS-700 Phaser
JVC HA-M750 and HA-S600
RHA CA-200 and SA950i
Some of these are quite decent but just did not stand out for any reason, especially vs. their competition. If anyone has specific questions about anything I mentioned in this post, please reply and I'll be happy to elaborate.
Edited by postrock - 11/25/14 at 1:49pm