Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Comfortable Durable Headphone Recommendation Request
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Comfortable Durable Headphone Recommendation Request

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Good evening,


This is my first post, which I decided to start because I am at a crossroads with the election of a new headphone.


I guess the best way to describe my dilemma would be beginning with the expectations, requirements, types of use, and what I have used before.


Expectations / Requirements:

Price: The cheaper, the better, but I realize that some monetary investment may be required to get the features. I would not go beyond the $300 mark.

Very Comfortable: One the musts is extreme comfort, so that the headset pads will not rest over my ears, not touching them, but go around them (circumaural, I think it is called). The pads would probably be best made of foamy material to avoid extra heat. Low pressure would be desired too, so that they do not press my glasses hard against my face. In summary, they should serve for long hours without getting uncomfortable.

I do not mind the cable, actually I kind of prefer it if it is not too long or heavy, so that we do not have to deal with charging stations, battery replacements, and such.

Durability: The other must is certain "lifetime" guarantee that the headset is not going to crack, snap, or break. Basically, if you invest money in something, you would like the investment to last you worth-while, right?

Decent Sound: I am not an audiophile, and my hearing is probably not the best. However, that does not mean that I would not appreciate a decent sound quality. I do not need top of the line, I just would like it sound good enough (true to the origin, I guess would be fair).

On this area, an additional requirement would be for them to be closed full-sized, so that sound does not leak outside (others do not hear what you are listening to) and, if possible, you cannot hear others when using the headset. 


Types of Use:

Mostly, I would envision these to be for home use with a PC as the source, via the "standard" audio jack 3,5mm. My PC has Realtek HD audio integrated in an Asus motherboard. From what I have read around here, that is probably good enough, and you would not need an additional dedicated PCI-E audio card.

The types of sound would be movies, shows, varied non-competitive gaming (single player, just to have fun, no pretensions for MMO "pro"), trance music, and potentially some gothic-metal with female vocals.


The story so far:

What I have been using is the Plantronics GameCom 367 Closed-Ear Gaming Headset, which are extremely comfortable, with foamy pads, around the ear, full-size and closed. They do not press hard on your face, people cannot hear what you are listening to, although you can still hear some noise from the outside. I am not an expert, but the sound quality seems "okay". These would be close to "perfection" (to my needs), if they had not cracked on me while putting them on/off.


Now that we have defined a little bit what the idea is, I have read your reviews and analysis on several recommended models. However, every person has different tastes, and what works for someone, may not work for somebody else. In any case, I was considering different options:

Sennheiser HD 558: at $162 they seemed like a good option with nice reviews across the board. The issue is that they have been criticized for low durability and the same issue that I had with my GameCom ("the crack of death").

Sennheiser HD 598: just beyond the $200 mark, they have even better reviews if you want fidelity to the source, different design, but they also have the cracking flaw.

Both of these also are said to be comfortable, but also they leak sound outside, making those surrounding you too much of a participants of your music.


I recently got a pair of Koss ProDJ100 for $44, which is supposed to be a great deal. The only issue that I have with them is the lack of lasting comfort because the pads touch my ears (which are not big at all) making longer sessions annoying. I have read that you can get pads from other headphones for $20 to make them more comfortable, but I really do not want to "tune" my headset, I just want it to work without taking risks of jeopardizing warranties, or risking affecting the sound quality, or worse, breaking something in the pad replacement process.


Other candidates were:

Philips L1/28 Fidelio: is now on sale for $200, but it is advertized as over-the-ear, so it does not meet one of the prerequisites for long-term comfort.

Sony MDR-XB700 Extra Bass 50mm: for $200 they seemed like a viable option, but there seem to have been complaints about its durability and sound distortion.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40FS: on sale now for a little bit more than $50, they would be okay, but I have reservations about the comfort as they seem to be more over-the-ear than around-the-ear.

Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil: For around $70 on sale, they could be a nice option, but they seem to break too.
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro: These apparently are good but they are not as adjustable as desired, and may have a complicated fit to your face due to the way they are built.


There are for sure others that I have read about, and probably may that I have forgotten, but I think these probably provide an overview on candidates.


I think the problem is that, even though there are many options and possibilities, the fact that you can spend a lot of money and still break your headphones leaves you wondering whether it is worth taking the step of getting something decent, or just get something less appealing or with better sound quality, if they are going to break on you anyways...


Would please be so kind of sharing your recommendations, and experience based on my needs and thoughts?


Thank you very much in advance, and best regards.

Edited by destyreal - 6/8/13 at 10:02pm
post #2 of 4

I've had the Sennheiser HD-598s for a while and lug them around in a storage bag with no damage.  They sound great, but do leak a lot of sound, so you'll hear quite a lot around you and others can hear your music/games.  Strictly for the PC, I use a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M30 which are a "decent" sounding pair of pretty cheap headphones.  They are closed, so they do isolate better than the open Senns.  For me, both the Sennheiser and ATH-M30s sit around my ears and are quite comfortable. 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply, and suggestions zemonn, and sorry for my late response. Summer is a very busy season with holidays, being outdoors, and such.

It has been a while since I got the Koss ProDJ100, and I just wanted to express my impressions about the headphones now that I have been using them for some time.

These headphones are probably the best audio purchase I have ever made. At first you could notice how their sound quality improved with each hearing session. They are not improving anymore, but I can really tell the difference now with my old Plantronics GameCom 367 Closed-Ear Gaming Headset. There is no comparison. Now the Koss fit feels much better even with the factory pads, and there is a very significant improvement in sound quality compared to the Plantronics.

The Koss are more portable for traveling with your tablet in a plane, especially paired with an affordable decent little amp, like the Fiio E6 (which, to me has been a very noticeable enhancement). 

Now that I have experienced this revelation, I am thrilled about what the sound quality would be like with some higher-end headphones.

I keep looking, with no hurries, for a good opportunity to get a better headphones and hear what I have been and probably am missing.

Thank you, and best regards.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

So I keep advancing in my quest to try to discover the sound that was there and did not know about. :)


A while back I decided to give the Senheisser HD 428 a chance as they were new on sale for $29.99, and I had heard good things about them. My personal experience with them has been quite satisfactory, especially considering the price. They are very comfortable (probably more than the Koss ProDJ100), even during long sessions, and I would say the sound quality very good in general (clear, neutral, balanced sound). I have been using them daily for music, shows, and movies, and I am pleased so far. The only con that I can think of is the cable for a couple of reasons (it is not detachable, and it is too thin which, in combination with the first, kind of gives you a constant uneasy feeling about the chances of potentially breaking the cable accidentally. For the discounted price though, not a really a big deal).


The last addition to my collection has been the Senheisser 518, which I just received today. I had considered the 5x8 series before but I was not sure about them due to the fact that they are open, and I prefer closed headphones to avoid incoming noise, and sound leaking. However, I finally chose them, as they were new on sale for $79.99, and I read that they were pretty decent for the price, as they were quite good due to the main base components being the same as the pricier 558, and 598 models.

I have been using them this evening, and they sound impressively well (very harmonic, defined sound, with an interesting bass, even at very low volume). The cable is detachable, which is good because the stock cable is too long for my needs (3 meters), which tends to get in the way, and the jack is 6.3 mm. It comes with a bulky adapter to 3.5 mm that does not quite work for me. To avoid the adapter and to get a shorter cable, I opted to order a compatible 1.2 meters cable from eBay that I read was quite recommended for the Senheisser 5x8 family. I will share my thoughts on the cable when I receive it.

The HD518s are quite comfortable, but they might be a little bit tight right now (they might just need some time to stretch a little bit).


There is most likely a lot to discover up in the pricier headphone range. Hopefully, we will slowly get there but, it is the journey that counts the most, not the destination, right?


The evolution in sound quality is becoming more obvious to me, as I experience better headphones. To me this is being a total revelation, and I have to thank this site, which is just mind-blowing.


Thank you for reading, and best regards.

Edited by destyreal - 10/30/13 at 9:30pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Comfortable Durable Headphone Recommendation Request