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