For the past week or so I've been on Head-fi trying to get recommendations for various different headphones for under 300.
The users of Head-Fi were nice enough to give me several suggestions, and today I was able to get myself down to Bay and Bloor Radio in Toronto to test out a few of the recommendations.
And my god, I would never drop a dime on those things.
I had high hopes for the Sennheiser HD 558's, 449's and 429's, along with the Audio Technica ATH-M50 http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/0edf909675b1be4d/index.html and the A700x http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/e447e8b9e20fd636/index.html
But when I tried on the Senn's, i found them to be absolute garbage. Yes, many people on Head-fi say that the 558's are great bang for the buck and deliver great sound, but that sound quality is useless when you can hear the outside world over your music. The obvious response to that is "Use them inside in your house!" But I know for a fact that I will hear the sound of my computer fans over my headphones and through the music. Couple that with the fact that the phones feel like they're made out of 0.5mm plastic, and there's no chance im going to buy them.
That 0.5mm-feeling construction quality is what turned out to be a huge problem for every headphone I tested there. The 558's, 429's, 449's, and even the Denon AHD2000's were complete junk. The sound quality was good in all of them, but they were made out of the cheapest, weakest materials i've ever seen.
Now one thing I have to say is that I did NOT get the chance to try out any AKG or Audio Technica headphones, as the company doesn't carry them, but I feel like they'll be the same quality in terms of construction.
This has lead me to re-write my forum topic here, with a change of priorities:
- I'm looking for headphones that, first and foremost, are built well. Weight is not much of an issue to me - im comfortable with the weight of the Monster Beats Pro. Also, I read through the Newbie headphone buying guide that compared 100 headphones, and while the author of the article gave some phones like the 558's a build quality of 8/10, i'd give it at MAX a 4 or a 5. I want my headphones to be made of as much metal and as little plastic as possible.
- Secondly, I need headphones that isolate sound well, but are not active sound cancelling. This means that they will be closed, I know. I need sound isolation at least as good as the Solo HD Beats.
- Thirdly, and I know it's weird that i've put this as the third characteristic, I obviously need sound quality. I listen to all genres of music, and would prefer headphones that are as true-to-real-life as possible in sound. Also, I have a Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatality Champion series sound card in my computer.
- And lastly, I need headphones that are not massive in size, but still around the ear. The Denon AHD2000's were as big as I would ever go, but I would prefer smaller cans.
Thank you to everyone who has helped, I appreciate it.
Edited by TyTB - 6/28/12 at 3:32pm