Did my first real world test, after a fair amount of online research, for my first pair of decent over ear headphones. I took my iPhone 4 loaded with a test track in Apple Lossless very familiar to me. It's a classical piece with huge dynamic range (loud to quiet and bass to treble). For those interested it's the George Solti, Chicago Symphony Orcehstra 1999 version of Pictures At An Exhibition - 10. The Hut On Fowls' Legs.
I went to a department store in London (Selfridges) where (a) there is a huge amount of background noise from competing sound equipment and (b) the headphones must be running through an unseen amp.
I went round almost every pair of over ear headphone they had and automatically dismissed virtually all of them on two initial grounds: either (a) over prominent mid frequencies, almost barking into my ears or (b) soggy bass which might be fine for the thud thud of pop music, but rubbish for classical.
I was left with 4 headphones that had reasonably balanced sound, good detail and some decent stereo spacing. In order of preference:
1) Sennheiser Momentum Over ears
Joint 2) Monster N-Pulse Black and Bose AE2i
3) Sony MDR-XB800
Given that the Sony's can be had on Amazon for £92 they do extremely well on the Value for Money front.
However, the Momentum's just got everything right too too well. The sound staging was excellent with orchestra feeling right there. There is a section in the piece which is quiet and the sound engineers left in all the breathing and page turning of the musicians. All these headphones could pick that up, but the Momentums did it best by a long way. They also coped best with the shrill mid tones of the brass (loud if you know this piece) and the thunderous timpani and double bass, which the others over did a touch (probably playing to the dubstep bass head audience).
So my issue is this. Are there any headphones that will please me in the same way as the Momentums without spending £230?
Suggestions welcome, but I also need to be able to audition them in London.