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Suggestions for headphones for Grad Student ~$100-150 with low sound leakage

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey all, I'm looking for suggestions for a pair of new headphones that I can use for studying. Since I'm a grad student, money's kinda tight, but I've set a budget of ~$100-150 (I've set aside some extra funds, but definitely no higher than $200 total,  including all shipping/taxes). 

Some major considerations/limitations: 
-I need something that's fairly portable, so nothing that needs an amp and most "full size" headphones are out (as a point of reference, Audio Technica ATH-m50s & Beats Studios are too big for me)

-I actually like the look, size and feel of the Beats Solos, so something similar in appearance/fit would be nice

-Since I'll mainly be using these while I'm around campus, and especially in the library for hours on end (which is why I'd prefer not to get ear buds or IEMs, though that's not an absolute restriction if the suggestion is just that good/comfortable), I need some comfortable headphones that have good noise isolation and wont leak much sound (I usually listen to music on my iPhone at about 25-75%)

-Speaking of music, my preferences span a wide range: rock, hip hop, pop, country, classical, etc. At the very least, I do like my bass, though I've been listening to a lot of instrumentals lately.

Thanks for reading, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Edited by elyte - 7/20/12 at 7:07am
post #2 of 20

I bought the Vmoda M80 for portability and college use. 

post #3 of 20

sennheiser hd25-II will fit in your budget. do NOT go for any products made by beats by dre.

post #4 of 20

I've grown quite fond of carrying 2 sets of IEMs with me around campus. Brainwavz M4s with Comply tips for on-the-go and Klipsch X10s (without the mic/controller) for longer stationary periods. Honestly, the Brainwavz are good enough, especially if you are going to be listening on your iPhone.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxhaxx View Post

I bought the Vmoda M80 for portability and college use. 

Those look pretty good, but do you know if there are any brick 'n mortar retailers that carry them? I'd like to be able to test run them or at least see some size/fit comparisons if possible before I plunk down all my cash. Also, how strong is the attachment between the headband to the actual ear cups [I don't want to have to baby them all the time]? It looks kinda thin, but I assume they're attached by metal? I kinda wish they were collapsible b/c it seems like it would be a pain to try to fit those into a backpack.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowshoe View Post

I've grown quite fond of carrying 2 sets of IEMs with me around campus. Brainwavz M4s with Comply tips for on-the-go and Klipsch X10s (without the mic/controller) for longer stationary periods. Honestly, the Brainwavz are good enough, especially if you are going to be listening on your iPhone.

I'd be upgrading from my old pair of Sony MDR-EX51 in-ears I got like 4-5 years ago, so I assume just about any newer pair would be better at this point? I mean, to me, my old Sonys sound kinda muddled, but I dont know if that's mostly due to their age and wear [I use them when I work out, so I'm kinda rough with them), the technology just being old, or the music files themselves [a lot of my music I ripped from CDs years ago and are like 128kbps].

 

I'll definitely look into those Brainwavz, but I'm sorta leaning more towards actual headphones b/c those Sonys tend to irritate my ears after about 1-2 hours on continuous listening. Granted, given the amount of wear they've been through [all with the original small-sized tips they came with], I guess I shouldn't be surprised. 


Edited by elyte - 7/20/12 at 9:07pm
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by elyte View Post

Those look pretty good, but do you know if there are any brick 'n mortar retailers that carry them? I'd like to be able to test run them or at least see some size/fit comparisons if possible before I plunk down all my cash. Also, how strong is the attachment between the headband to the actual ear cups ? It looks kinda thin, but I assume they're attached by metal? I kinda wish they were collapsible b/c it seems like it would be a pain to try to fit those into a backpack.

I'd be upgrading from my old pair of Sony MDR-EX51 in-ears I got like 4-5 years ago, so I assume just about any newer pair would be better at this point? I mean, to me, my old Sonys sound kinda muddled, but I dont know if that's mostly due to their age and wear [I use them when I work out, so I'm kinda rough with them), the technology just being old, or the music files themselves [a lot of my music I ripped from CDs years ago and are like 128kbps].

I'll definitely look into those Brainwavz, but I'm sorta leaning more towards actual headphones b/c those Sonys tend to irritate my ears after about 1-2 hours on continuous listening. Granted, given the amount of wear they've been through [all with the original small-size pads they came with], I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

I have the M80 and I didn't regret buying it at all! Sound is much better than beats studio and it's strong as a chunk of metal! You can try it at the Microsoft store depending on where you live around.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIghthawkC5 View Post


I have the M80 and I didn't regret buying it at all! Sound is much better than beats studio and it's strong as a chunk of metal! You can try it at the Microsoft store depending on where you live around.

Good to hear bout the durability. Do they leak a lot of sound? With the way my school's library is set up, there are blocks of study carrels, so there are always lotta people around in close proximity and I dont want to bother them or draw attention to myself..

 

Also, how big are they? I've tried googling images of the M80, but there are very few depicting them actually on someone's head or in relation to anther pair. I mentioned that Beats Studios are too big for me; I hope these are close in size to the Beats Solos though.

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by elyte View Post

Good to hear bout the durability. Do they leak a lot of sound? With the way my school's library is set up, there are blocks of study carrels, so there are always lotta people around in close proximity and I dont want to bother them or draw attention to myself..

Also, how big are they? I've tried googling images of the M80, but there are very few depicting them actually on someone's head or in relation to anther pair. I mentioned that Beats Studios are too big for me; I hope these are close in size to the Beats Solos though.

They are around the same size as the solos and they rest on the ear rather than around. The headband can flex 180 degrees with no problem unlike the solos. Also, they don't leak sound under 80% iPod volume and isolate very well. You'd have to be right next to the headphone
Cup to hear any leakage.
post #9 of 20
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIghthawkC5 View Post

They are around the same size as the solos and they rest on the ear rather than around. The headband can flex 180 degrees with no problem unlike the solos. Also, they don't leak sound under 80% iPod volume and isolate very well. You'd have to be right next to the headphone
Cup to hear any leakage.
Awesome. Good to hear. Where'd you get your pair? I called around the retail stores in my area (Best Buy, Guitar Center, etc) and no one had them. I'll probably start checking online later though to look for good deals)
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ok so I was browsing Amazon and came across the Vmoda True Blood V80 and I was wondering if these were the same as the M80? They look the exact same except for the additional red on the interior of the V80's headband (speaking of which, do the M80's have the v-moda logo on the outside of the headband?), except it's actually cheaper than the M80s. Are the differences really just cosmetic?

Also, just how is the noise isolation? I've been reading some more reviews and that's like the one thing everyone is complaining about. Hypothetically (well actually this scenario is playing out right next to me and it's driving me crazy), If I had my music at like 10-20% volume, would I be able to hear a person typing loudly (like banging every single key) on a keyboard right next to me?
Edited by elyte - 7/20/12 at 12:08pm
post #12 of 20

I got my pair of V-Moda M80s at the Microsoft Store and to be honest the M80s are hard to find in stores. Amazon is a good place to go for them if they aren't any Microsoft Stores around. Also, The V80 is just a True Blood cosmetic edition of the M80 for those vampire fans :P In addition, the isolation isn't perfect because there are three little vents that make the soundstage wider (how far apart the instruments sound) but it doesn't leak much sound. But, in a quiet library, the M80 should isolate very well.

post #13 of 20

BEFORE YOU BUY: If you don't mind a $230 price tag, order from the V-moda website: http://v-moda.com/on-ear/ to get a few free accessories! I only figured out the deal AFTER I bought it from the Microsoft store but it was too late to return them :/  oh well.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIghthawkC5 View Post

I got my pair of V-Moda M80s at the Microsoft Store and to be honest the M80s are hard to find in stores. Amazon is a good place to go for them if they aren't any Microsoft Stores around. Also, The V80 is just a True Blood cosmetic edition of the M80 for those vampire fans :P In addition, the isolation isn't perfect because there are three little vents that make the soundstage wider (how far apart the instruments sound) but it doesn't leak much sound. But, in a quiet library, the M80 should isolate very well.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NIghthawkC5 View Post

BEFORE YOU BUY: If you don't mind a $230 price tag, order from the V-moda website: http://v-moda.com/on-ear/ to get a few free accessories! I only figured out the deal AFTER I bought it from the Microsoft store but it was too late to return them :/  oh well.

Awesome, thanks for all the help. I actually found a store nearby [well, like a 25min one-way drive] that sells them. I was looking for something else on their website and it just so happened to pop up in one of those random "suggested items" lists. So, if I have time tomorrow, I'm gonna go down and see if they have any on display I could try out. I'm hoping these do turn out to be the answer, but knowing how fickle I tend to be with high-priced electronics, I'm already starting to look at backup options.

 

And despite my previous apprehension, I would actually look into getting another pair of IEMs, now that I'm aware they have those foam-type ear tips (I admit when I first read the post by snowshoe, I didn't know what they meant by "Comply tips" and kind of brushed it off, but now that I see they're foam tips, I'm intrigued). The biggest problem with my current, but pretty old, Sony IEMs is the fit of the ear tips. I'm not sure what size the tips are [I've long since lost the other tips they came with], but they tend to chafe against my ear canal, leaving small bumps I can feel when I go clear out my ears. Anyway, I use foam ear plugs on occasion with little problem and I'm hoping I can find a pair of IEM's with compatible foam tips that'll work for me. That being said, I'd definitely like to hear any suggestions for IEMs too if anyone has any.


Edited by elyte - 7/20/12 at 9:04pm
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by elyte View Post

Awesome, thanks for all the help. I actually found a store nearby [well, like a 25min one-way drive] that sells them. I was looking for something else on their website and it just so happened to pop up in one of those random "suggested items" lists. So, if I have time tomorrow, I'm gonna go down and see if they have any on display I could try out. I'm hoping these do turn out to be the answer, but knowing how fickle I tend to be with high-priced electronics, I'm already starting to look at backup options.

And despite my previous apprehension, I would actually look into getting another pair of IEMs, now that I'm aware they have those foam-type ear tips (I admit when I first read the post by snowshoe, I didn't know what they meant by "Comply tips" and kind of brushed it off, but now that I see they're foam tips, I'm intrigued). The biggest problem with my current, but pretty old, Sony IEMs is the fit of the ear tips. I'm not sure what size the tips are [I've long since lost the other tips they came with], but they tend to chafe against my ear canal, leaving small bumps I can feel when I go clear out my ears. Anyway, I use foam ear plugs on occasion with little problem and I'm hoping I can find a pair of IEM's with compatible foam tips that'll work for me. That being said, I'd definitely like to hear any suggestions for IEMs too if anyone has any.

No problem; I certainly do hope the M80s can suit your needs but if you're looking for IEMs under 200, some I recommend that are easier to find would include Klipsch S4s, or Klipsch X10s that sell for under 200 on occasion on Amazon, Bowers & Wilkins C5s, Audio Technica CKM-77 (Asia or on Amazon), and any Shure IEM which all include foam tips. Hope that helps!
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