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[Comparing removeable/detachable cord heaphones For $150 or less (sometimes a bit more).] Finding the best match.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Please read: I've been on the lookout for my first pair of "high quality" headphones since my last less than $30 pair (pair #4 within a year) stopped working on one side as the ones before it have. I created this thread to have a point of reference to come back to where I can compare the brands and models that I'm considering. I decided to post this online in this section of the board, as opposed to some Word document on my computer, because I would really like if someone could chime in from time to time with advice and maybe suggestions as I go. It would also be great (read: awesome) if this could help someone else and make their purchasing decision a little easier. However, if this is indeed the wrong section to post this sort of thread, please let me know and I will gladly move it to its appropriate place. 

My Problem:
Tired of replacing headphones after only months of daily use. On all pairs owned, one side dies out before the other. Unsure if it is a problem with the cable, quality of the headphones or the audio port of my primary source (MacBook Pro late '09).


My Budget:

My Musical Tastes:

Everything, even country. (Please let me know if examples are needed.)


Sound Preferences (please forgive my terminology):

Spacious, tight and controlled bass, somewhat detailed, clear, somewhat balanced.


Sound Peeves (please forgive my terminology):

Overpowering and muddy bass, closed in soundstage (?), distortion at 75% volume, sound leakage.

My Needs:

Detachable cord, portable, plays well with glasses, comfortable, fine without an amp, durable.


My Dislikes:

Significant sound leakage, extreme bulk.


My Pluses:

-Folds into a smaller size.

-Comes with carrying case/bag.


My Uses:

Daily driver (movies, music, videos, etc.), occasional long-distance travel by car/commuting.


My Sources:

MacBook Pro late '09, iPod Touch 4G, iPhone 4, Hp Omni Pro HD desktop (occasionally, almost rarely).


My Average Volume:
| l l l l l l l l l | l l l l l l l l l |   (Med-High)

Low           Med.            High



Onkyo ES-FC300



(Image from CNET)


Price On Amazon (link to product):
$149.00 USD



On ear.


Heard in person:



Opinion of sound:


-Detachable/replaceable cord.





-(As far as I've found) It is hard to find replacement cords. I'm unable to find replacement cords in Onkyo's online shop. Only possible retailer that I have found is located in Hong Kong. 

-The top of my budget.

-If I were to purchase this headphone, it would be a "blind" purchase.

-These don't seem to be a particularly popular headphone, so there appears to be a much smaller, hard-to-find (nonexistent?) community to turn to for support or answers.


What I know/have read in reviews:

-I know very little for myself from experience (not available in stores near me), but, according to most of the reviews I could find, people think somewhat highly of the HF/FC300's sound signature. Some liken it to Audio Technica's M-50 model, some believe it's better. Unfortunately, I cannot give any original thoughts or opinions on these headphones.


-Many of the reviews mention how uncomfortable the ear pads can become with extended use, especially if the wearer uses glasses. It was also mentioned that getting a good seal can be a tricky task.


Helpful reviews/threads:







--Onkyo's FIRST Step into Portable Audio Bandwagon! Impresions/Comments/Thoughts Welcome!-Thread

--Onkyo ES-FC300 Reviews on Amazon


Questions about headphone:

-Is there sound leakage?

-Are there other brands of cords that will fit these?

-Are these headphones kept and used for years or are they only good as a placeholder for something better? (I've noticed that a lot of people end up selling their pair after a few days to a couple of months of use.)





V-Moda M-80




(Image from CNET)


Price on V-Moda.com (link to product):

$150.00 USD



On ear


Heard in person:



Opinion of sound:




-The cord is detachable and replacements are easy to find (on V-Moda's site).


-Opportunity to customize.

-Nice carrying case.

-Folds smaller.


-Wealth of reviews/user community.



-The price is as the very top of my budget. (My problem, not the headphone's.)

-Buying these would be a "blind" purchase.


What I know/have read in reviews:

Again, I know nothing from personal experience about these headphones. Most of my limited knowledge comes from reading dozens (hundreds probably) of reviews and attempting to find common ground.


-This is another headphone that seems to be compared to Audio Technica's M-50 headphone quite often, and sometimes considered "better" and in some cases considered "worse." Seems to be quite a subjective (and touchy) subject which makes me wish I could hear them for myself.


-I've read that there seems to be a bit of oomph to the bass while not overpowering, which is something that those who enjoy a lot of bass may enjoy--or so I've read. However, I have read some complaints about the bass and how "the bass is quite overpowered and muffles the treble and mids."


-One of my favorite musicians, Morgan Page, reportedly uses V-Moda. Not quite sure if he uses this model, however--probably not.


-It is said that these headphones are very comfortable for those who wear glasses. However, I feel that it depends on the type of eyeglass frame the listener is wearing; whether it's thick plastic, slim titanium or something in between.  Conversely, many half also stated that these are immensely uncomfortable.


-Something that I have noticed being mentioned often is its poor isolation.


Helpful Reviews/Threads:



Severian's V-Moda M-80/V-80 Amazon Review

V-Moda Crossfade M-80 Reviews on Head-Fi-Thread

V-Moda Crossfade M-80 Dedicated Review Page on Head-Fi

InnerFidelity's V-Moda Crossfade M-80 and V-80 Review


Questions about headphone:

-None that cannot be answered by a quick search.




Marshall Monitor



Price on Amazon.com (link to product):




Over ear


Heard in person:

Yes (!)


Opinion of Sound:

I thoroughly enjoyed trying out Marshall's Monitor at my local Best Buy. No matter what song or genre I chose from the short list of samples--Taylor Swift's "Trouble", Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Eminem's "Lose Yourself", Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana", etc.--I was not disappointed. According to my tastes and preferences, the bass was done nearly perfect neither overpowering nor hiding within the rest of the song. The vocals were clear and, if I can remember correctly, the soundstage was moderate; not necessarily huge but not closet-sized either. I've contemplated going back to Best Buy just to give them another listen--I enjoy them that much.


I wish I could describe my experience a bit more eloquently, but my knowledge of accurate terminology is fairly limited. Apologies.



-Removable cord.

-Great sound.

-Available locally (at Best Buy) and online.

-Replacement cords can be found on Marshall's website.

-Simple, sleek design.

-Even though it is an over ear headphone, it is very compact.

-Folds to a smaller size.

-Somehow addictive.

-Customizable sound (more on this below.)



-$49 USD above my budget.

-I missed the Black Friday sale where these were marked for $129 USD (My problem, not the headphone's)

-These seem to be another headphone with a relatively small user community.


What I know/have read in reviews:

-What I find very interesting about these particular headphones is that you can share your music with others simply by connecting another pair of headphones to the unused port of the Monitor.


-This headphones uses an F.T.F system which allows the listener to customize their listening experience.

  • I most likely tried them with the system (a felt piece of material that fits over the diaphragm) installed, which provides a more full sound compared to listening without them which allows the listener to hear more of the highs, I would assume.


-While wearing them for twenty or more minutes, I did not have any problems with my ears hurting from being pressed against my glasses' handle. The overall comfort level of this headphone is very high, in my opinion.


-The partially coiled cord includes a microphone and one-button remote.


Helpful reviews/threads:




Marshall Monitor Reviews on Amazon

Marshall Monitor Review on iFans

Marshall's New Cans, the Monitor Headphones-Thread


Questions about headphone:







Sennheiser HD 439


Price on Amazon.com:

$78.99 USD



Over ear


Heard in Person:



Opinion of Sound:




-Detachable cord

-Comes with cords of different lengths.

-Only takes about half of my budget.

-Somewhat large user community.



-Very bulky, not low-profile at all.

-Currently unable to find stores (online or physical) within the U.S that sell replacement cords[Edit: Must call distribution center for replacement parts. (Thanks wnmnkh)]


What I know/have read in reviews:

-These headphones come with 2 cables. One is 1.4 meters long and the other is 3 meters.


-From all of the images I have seen of this headphone, I believe that this may be a somewhat bulky pair of headphones. Maybe their best uses are at home. However, most don't seem to mind wearing these out and about.


-Most of the reviews I've read touch on how comfortable these headphone are. However, it is not commonly said whether this is with or without glasses. By default, I assume it is without.


- It is mentioned how well rounded and balanced this headphone is as long as the bass is not boosted using an EQ as it tends to become distorted. At any rate, people seem to generally enjoy these headphones.


-Many seem to be impressed by the soundstage and the separation of instruments and voices.


-From browsing around Head-Fi, I've found that some are performing modifications on their sets to enhance bass. (Modding HD 439's)


-A fear that is shared by many a review is the thin cord. Some are afraid that it is fragile and will break easily. The build quality also seems to bother some as well; however, for the price and the ability to change cords, many are willing to look past it.


Helpful reviews/threads:


(Not quite a review, but was still helpful)


Sennheiser Hd 439 Review-Thread

Seenheiser Hd 439 Reviews on Amazon



Questions about headphone:

-Where can I find replacement cords?

-Are there other cords that will fit these headphones?







Thank you for viewing/skimming. If you have any input, tips, headphones I should consider or suggestions please let me know. If this has helped you in some way, I'd like to know all the same. I may add more models and brands as I learn and research even more about detachable cord headphones appropriate for my uses and budget.


[If any errors (in spelling, grammar or information) are found please let me know so that I can correct them.]


Take care~!

Edited by InchoSnail - 12/6/13 at 5:32pm
post #2 of 3

First of all, finding good detail and good soundstage on closed headphone is.... hard because of the nature of closed headphones.


Consider Shure SRH440. It is still not that bulky, can be folded, very good neutral sound overall so it can play any genre without too much coloration.


With SRH840 pads and straight cable, it will cost about 140 bucks with SRH440 headphones + 840 pads + straight cable.



Notice, some replacement stuffs from Sennheiser, AKG, and Beyerdynamic headphones... you have to actually call their distribution center. For Sennheiser, it's Sennheiser USA and you can find the phone number at their site at customer service. Call them, ask for the replacement cable for HD439 and they will help you out.



To be honest, HD439 would be the best sounding one among the ones you are considering, because it is actually not really made for portable but for home use.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response and suggestion. I should start looking into open headphones more and I will definitely look into Shure. I appreciate you telling me about Sennheiser's cable and how to go about purchasing.

Thanks for stopping by.

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