Hey guys. First and foremost I apologize if I'm posting in the wrong section, I have a bunch of questions but I thought the headphones forum would be a good place to start.
In the coming months I'll be preparing for college and I'm really looking to get some nice audio gear to make the most out of my time there. I'm looking for a full-size pair of headphones for my dorm (CLOSED for isolation and comfort), an amp/soundcard/USB DAC recommendation, a nice pair of IEM's for either the library or walking/running, and computer speakers. I don't have a problem spending a lot but I have a fantastic employee discount at Best Buy (cost for store + 5% on all products) so if at all possible I'd like to stick to products and brands I'm able to purchase directly from there. Even though everyone on here has a pretty negative opinion of Bose sets because of their quality to price ratio, I actually get fantastic discounts (I'm talking $80 instead of $300) on these kinds of items due to their mark-ups. So let's not rule anything out because of its "reputation." With that said, I'm not anticipating astronomical savings on all brands so any single item more than maybe $500 is definitely out.
My first priority is comfort. I'm anticipating long nights where I need to free myself from distractions to get work done, and it's not going to be a fun time if they're uncomfortable. I have a pair of Hifiman RE-262's and Sennheiser HD280's at the moment, and although I find them both very acceptable, for longer listening periods I find the 280s to be very uncomfortable. I think the headband is way too tight and don't think the ear pads are anything special either. I'd like to be able to comfortably lay down on a couch or bed without them digging into my head (bad past experiences with the 280s).
Next priority is sound quality. Over the past few years, I've found that I tend to prefer a slightly warmer sound rather than an analytical sound. For both the 262s and 280s, I usually find myself using an EQ when listening to music and boosting the highs and lows a bit. (With that said, I HATE the "colored" sound of something like the Klipsch Image S4 or any of the Beats by Dre series to give you an idea.) I'd like something that's slightly warmer than what I have now but doesn't ruin the music for me.
Next priority is sound isolation. My dad has a pair of Bose QC15s, and although I don't personally enjoy the sound quality, they have fantastic isolation in my opinion. I'm not sure if active noise cancellation is something I should definitely be considering for a noisy dorm or bus ride home, but if not the sound isolation needs to be good. Also, noise bleed is something I'd like to minimize so I don't annoy my roommate or anything like that.
I'll be listening from a variety of sources, so an amp is possibly an option for my desktop computer but if I'm using my laptop or phone I'd like the full-size cans to still sound good if I'm not able to carry around a portable amp all the time. I'm not sure if it would make more sense to invest in a nice soundcard for my desktop or an external USB DAC, what do you guys think? As far as computer speakers go, I don't want to invest in anything more than maybe a 2.1 setup at max. I definitely want powered speakers also. Big bookshelves and a receiver aren't an option because I simply won't have the room. I'd like them to sound really good and be able to crank them up for football games and things like that without worrying about distortion. I've heard really good things about the Klipsch ProMedia system, not sure what your opinions are on that or if there's something better without getting too crazy.
I know this is a pretty big list and apologize for the length of the post, I just wanted to be as specific as possible to minimize any confusion.
Thanks guys, really appreciate the help :)
Edited by snoshreddax21 - 11/23/12 at 8:41am