I visited this website and signed up for the mailings about two years ago after some experience in a studio and looking for cans on a budget. Not a frequent user of the forums. Figured I'd give a quick summary of some varied experiences that might help tie together some elements for the new user.
I started with an over-the-ear set and I went with Sennheiser HD 428. Great introductory cans, *terrible* spaghetti noodle for a headphone jack.
I've owned and thusly given away two pairs of these when the noodle caught on something, literally just ripping the jack right off the strap. They are also not worth getting repaired in the slightest, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
At some point I ended up replacing them with Walmart Sony Studio Monitors until I decided to pick up a different set.
During the year or so I spent with the two 428s and the Sony's, my ear grew to be able to "distinguish subtleties".
I began to learn the difference between MP3 file format and FLAC file formats, as well as file sizing in general due to (I'm assuming) frequency information contained in the sound file.
I also came to understand that I might want to pick up an amp down the line.
I realized that a comfortable blend of aesthetics was overall the most important factor for me when deciding on "outdoor" cans, so, though I understood I was having a rocky start with Sennheiser as a brand, I decided to hit the budget tray again and pick up the PX 100 IIs. The absolute bottom line reason being their aesthetic appeal. They were on-ear, not over-the-ear, and they were minimal in sight distraction when wearing them.
They sound great. They are great headphones. The only thing I missed about an over-the-ear vs. on-the-ear was the lack of ambient "outside" noises distracting from the overall sound quality of the music files I was using.
The PX 100 IIs do a great job about this, however.
They are open leaning earpads meaning they can be heard to people nearby, making them lean into being "streetwalking" headphones.
Downside? Spaghetti strap noodle for a headphone jack. I will be receiving my third pair through the manufacturer warranty.
A classic phone like this should have afforded durability in the headphone jack, not a fly-by-night impression on cost vs. design for profitability. I'm not really looking forward to my third pair, these will be back up phones, much like the Sony Studio Monitors from Walmart were. Glad I kept them.
After so much time with Sennheiser, the Sony's do indeed sound terrible, however they did have me understand how "close" the sound stage is for the Sennheiser PX 100 IIs themselves. The soundstage seemed to have more "depth" on the Sennheiser HD 428s, but that is from memory.
The Porta Pro's come recommended as well as inexpensively, will be picking up a pair of these, and will be on the hunt to break the triple digits in the way of a good set of cans.
Sennheiser was a great introductory lesson for things done right and things done wrong (in my viewpoint). I owned about 5 total, maybe, in the last two years. Luckily the sound quality of the cans kept it going.