I guess I should say that I've been lurking around here for a little while now, all thanks to an audiophile friend of mine who uses Ultrasone HFI-580s on the go and Grotto 325is in his little awesome setup. Before that I had no concept of really good sound (yep, I was one of those guys once using $40 Skullcandy Titans and thought they were great). I did something a tad better for myself and got myself one of them Philips O'Neil "The Stretch" for about $35 off of Newegg. Then one day, he wanted me to understand what good sound really was. He sat me down, put the Grottos over my head, and had me listen to some dramatic classical music from one of the really high bit rate FLAC files he had. Instantly... blown... away.
Flash forward a year or so, and here I am, finally ready and wanting something better. Currently I'm running a set of Bose IE2s (Not the $140 ones where the only thing you're paying for is that iPod mic stuff), and to be honest they're a fantastic set of in-ears. Lacking a little on the bass, fantastic for mids and highs. But I still am looking for something that will remind me of those Grottos and those Ultrasones. Now, I don't have a lot (looking at about $150ish), but so far I've done some research and found some potentials that I may like:
Audio Technica ATH-M50s: Let me just say, everyone and their mother talks about these. I've barely read anything here and in other reviews that seriously talk negative about these cans. That being said, for the things I did find, people complain about the narrow sound stage and the muddy bass. If not for that, then the rest of the sound levels are pretty much balanced. I'm afraid to buy these because I personally enjoy a dynamic/wider sound stage as compared to sound that seems "in my face" or flat.
Beyerdynamic DT-770 (250 and 80 ohm): Out of all my research, I think this is seriously the one I want to get. However, the 250 Ohm one is cheaper on Amazon as compared to the 80 Ohm. Now, that seems appealing, except for the fact that I hear from my friend and others that in order to really bring out the 250 Ohm cans I'll need a proper amplifier. It makes it a little worse, then, since I want to walk around with these, and so I'm told that the portable amps that I'm looking at are an extra $50 or more after I buy the cans themselves. *Sigh* my budget. The 80 Ohms are apparently the perfect bliss, considering that they are bass monsters but at the same time have a nice soundstage that produces just a little recessed mids and highs. Downside to the 80 ohms is, again, budget. Apparently a lot of people like these too, which drives up the price. Who would've known? :P
Denon AH-1100: From what I found, people very much enjoy these sets of cans, sans the plastic look, feel, etc. I was looking these up along with the Beyer-Ds, and it sounds like even though these are good, the preference still goes to the DT-770s.
... and I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that I remember off the top of my head (and there's a lot of text already). The thing I'm having trouble with, in the end, is price. For the past couple of days, I've been looking at ebay, craigslist, here on Head-Fi, Amazon, Newegg, and a couple other places, and it seems like everything I like is just uber-expensive and way off budget. I figured maybe I'm not looking in the right place. There's gotta be some other places where I can find those awesome Beyerdyanamic DT 770 80Ohm cans at about $150.
So, I apologize for explaining my life story, but this is my first post, so I thought I'd make it... informative, to say the least. Anyways, where can I find a great set of cans for about $150? Are there any in particular you would suggest (of course, if you could add why that would be great), and am I approaching this at all in the right way? I can maybe even stretch it to $200, so by all means let me know what your suggestions are. In case you are wondering, I'm looking for something that has a fantastic sound stage, has bass that can rumble and sound good when playing rap/hip-hop/electronica and dubstep but at the same time has treble that can play high piano notes with very minimal to no distortion.
Thanks for reading all of this, you trooper! haha.