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$300 Gift Certificate

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just got $300 to spend at the Apple store.  I think I want headphones, and they sell what have been my Holy Grail, the B&W P5.  But I'm going to open this up to anything the Apple store sells in the same price range.  Audio source is an iPhone 4, and I have no interest in keeping an amp clipped to my belt when I'm on the go.  These have to sound good straight out of a source; I don't have the luxury of owning anything resembling a good stereo - my best stereo component is a vintage SonicImpact T-Amp and THX-certified PC speakers (but their internal headphone amp is noisy!)  I'm leaning toward mostly semi-mobile use; they should be comfortable enough to wear for hours, and both small and durable enough to throw in a backpack with a laptop (cases help durability, but hinder portability!).  They may be used connected to a desktop PC with or without a USB sound card.

 

Another relevant point - I prefer an L-shaped plug to a straight one; the Beats low-profile plug is about ideal.  I may eventually buy a Beats cable to use on whatever headphone I end up selecting, if that's feasible.

 

 

Here is my shortlist to prime the discussion:

 

 

Beats Executive - splitting from Monster seems to be one of the best things to happen to both Monster and Beats, but I'm not sure I want to use noise-cancelling headphones as my go-to headphone.  They're very comfortable, however, and fail back to passive when their battery dies:  http://store.apple.com/us/product/H9482VC/A/beats-executive-over-ear-headphones?fnode=3d&p=1
 
Bose QuietComfort 15:  Mentioned for completeness, but I already have the ability to borrow the QC3 whenever I need them.  The smaller siblings are exceedingly comfortable, but they need an inline mic.  I haven't bothered picking up the cable yet.  I won't consider these at this price point without a good argument; I don't like the idea of having to keep my headphones charged, they have no passive fallback mode, and there's other good headphones at this price point that probably sound better.
 
B&W P5 - I think they're dead sexy, really comfortable (though I haven't had an opportunity to wear a pair for hours at a stretch yet), and I think they sound really damn good straight out of an iPhone.  They're also durable, fold flat, and nicely adjustable.  These are likely to be my first choice:  http://store.apple.com/us/product/TX584ZM/C/bowers-wilkins-p5-mobile-headphones?fnode=3d&p=1
 
Focal Spirit One - I saw these here in an ad, fell in love with the design, and promptly forgot who made them or what to search for.  The Apple store may not have a pair to audition, sadly, but here they are:  http://store.apple.com/us/product/H8223ZM/A/focal-spirit-one-portable-noise-isolating-headphones-with-remote-and-mic?fnode=3d&p=3
 
Harmon Kardon series - I'm not too enthused about the sound quality of bluetooth audio, but they come in passive ($200), noise-cancelling, and bluetooth - not sure if I want 'em, not sure which version I should think about, but I remember hearing about them here on HeadFi:  http://store.apple.com/us/product/H8306ZM/A/harman-kardon-bluetooth-wireless-over-ear-headphones?fnode=3d&p=2
 
Parrot Zik:  I like what they're doing and respect their ambition.  I have no idea how they sound or feel, and they're $100 too expensive, but they deserve an honorable mention for engineering merit; the NFC pairing is a breath of fresh air, the Jawbone-made, dual-transducer and dual mic transmit side is … I expect very good things from it, and the logic of "If a call comes in and you take off your headphones, send the call to the phone" seems blatantly obvious only in hindsight.  I'd get these if I could afford to throw an extra hundred into the pot:  http://store.apple.com/us/product/H9557ZM/A/parrot-zik-wireless-headphones-by-starck?fnode=3d&p=2
 
Incase Sonic:  I own one.  This is my baseline, my "reference" can - I like them a little better than the HD 280 Pro, mostly because I can wear these for a few hours without pain.  When I listened to a lot of Iron Maiden in short sittings, the 280s were perfect however, but the Sonic sounds better with more kinds of music.  They don't fold, but they have a Red Dot design award, they're light, comfortable, light, and adjust in all the same ways as the 280 with a much smaller mechanism.  They're also less hot than the Sennheisers ever were.
 
V-Moda Crossfade:  If the Apple store sold these, I'd probably not have posted here today.  I find the clamping pressure a little low, but I can't criticize the sound in any way, shape, or form.  A friend of mine scored a pair for $50, and I'm still pea-green with envy.
post #2 of 11
Hi!

Focal Spirit One? NO! Don't get them! Horrible headphone! Incase Sonic has a very very comfortable design as for sound, it sound "airy" to me. Why not at a few more bucks & go for Sennheiser Momentums? Try them in stores, the earpads are very soft & should be comfortable for long listening section.

As for the jacks, you can bend it yourself to the angle that fits you: 180 degree, 90 degree & even 45 degree. Best of both world

Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 11
Sounds like u won't hv peace until u hv the P5 saddled over your head in style. wink.gif
post #4 of 11

Others I would consider are the UE6000: Has Active noise-cancelling, also got some great reviews

http://store.apple.com/us/product/H9881VC/A/logitech-ue-6000-over-ear-headphones?fnode=3d&p=4

 

The Philips L1: which in my opinion looks just as good as the P5 and i also think it sounds better. The cable is is straight but is removable so you can use any 3.5mm cable you like.

http://store.apple.com/us/product/H8123ZM/A/philips-fidelio-l1-over-ear-headphones-with-remotemic?fnode=3d&p=4

 

For $50 more you can get the Sennheiser Amperior which has one of the best sounds of any portable:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/H8613ZM/A/sennheiser-amperior-headphones?fnode=3d&p=3

 

Also $50 more are the Sennheiser Momentum which are very, very well regarded here on head-fi, though i haven't had a chance to hear them yet it seems to be even better than the amperior

http://store.apple.com/us/product/H9720ZM/A/sennheiser-momentum-headphones?fnode=3d&p=2


Edited by Kimx2310 - 1/24/13 at 9:43am
post #5 of 11

Please, do not get any of your options: The Sennheiser momentum are awesome, 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

The *tax* on $300 is stretching my budget to the breaking point,</deadpan> so unless I can talk someone into floating me a few extra bucks, the Sennheisers are, sadly, going to have to wait. The Momentum looks nice - really nice; I dig the retro vibe - and durable, but they don't look terribly convenient to pack around.

 

If I was going to get the B&W, I'd much rather be paying $150 for a used (pre-burned-in) pair, but this just dropped into my lap. I'm also slightly uncomfortable with the cord design, as it locks me into B&W as my only supplier of spares, while discouraging me from taking the cable off to protect it.

 

I liked the Fidelio L1 (I think it was that can) upon casual inspection, but put them down when the earcup fell off with only its cable to catch it. I'm not terribly comfortable with a pair of headphones that could be destroyed by putting them in my backpack.

 

Billson, can you tell me what's bad about the Focal? I've yet to find anyone else so enthusiastic about not recommending those. Also, they have something going for them: great customer service.


Edited by Chrontius - 1/24/13 at 1:22pm
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrontius View Post

The *tax* on $300 is stretching my budget to the breaking point, so unless I can talk someone into floating me a few extra bucks, the Sennheisers are, sadly, going to have to wait. The Momentum looks nice - really nice; I dig the retro vibe - and durable, but they don't look terribly convenient to pack around.

If I was going to get the B&W, I'd much rather be paying $150 for a used (pre-burned-in) pair, but this just dropped into my lap. I'm also slightly uncomfortable with the cord design, as it locks me into B&W as my only supplier of spares, while discouraging me from taking the cable off to protect it.

I liked the Fidelio L1 (I think it was that can) upon casual inspection, but put them down when the earcup fell off with only its cable to catch it. I'm not terribly comfortable with a pair of headphones that could be destroyed by putting them in my backpack.

Billson, can you tell me what's bad about the Focal? I've yet to find anyone else so enthusiastic about not recommending those. Also, they have something going for them: great customer service.

Very unclean sounding, the entire frequency sound weird to me mad.gif

Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Distressingly, I got to audition only the B&W P3, Harmon & Kardon, Beats, and Ultimate Ears.  Everything else had dead batteries, damaged extension cables, or was just broken.  Or just not there.  

 

I like how deep the UE went, but sometimes it felt like my ears were getting sloppy seconds when the active circuit was on.  And sometimes the circuit made the bass so loud that a comfortable volume stopped being comfortable when I turned the active stuff on.  :/

 

However, I discovered a new bassline on one of my favorite tracks that I hadn't known was there until now, so the impression isn't entirely negative.  :D

 

So yeah, with no Sennheisers or Phillips sets to try, I'm going with the B&W P5 by default.  I think I'm going to enjoy them; I've auditioned them for a couple of hours so far, even if I didn't play with a set tonight.  However, it's amusing to point out the B&W P3 was the only pair of headphones (that weren't cheap Beats) that was entirely functional after having abuse heaped upon them by kids at the Apple store - durability is certainly one of my criteria!

 

(PS:  it was the Harmon-Kardon headphones I accidentally persuaded to fall apart last time.)


Edited by Chrontius - 1/28/13 at 9:35pm
post #9 of 11

If you can get that money on a gift card to the Apple store, I would do that, then sell the gift card on e-bay, then I would use the cash to buy some better headphones than those offered at the Apple Store!

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

If I could do that Joe, I'd think about it.  But I've also been lusting for the P5 for the last 5 years or so.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I ordered the P5.  I'm desperately hoping I don't regret it; it's been years since I auditioned them, and the UE 6000 was awful good. 

 

Fingers crossed.

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