I found a few extra funds and want to get the "best-sounding" headphones possible, subject to the following constraints:
- Open over-the-ear;
- No amplifier needed if driven by iPod/iPhone;
- Cord compatible with iPhone use (i.e. 3.5mm plug, less than 4 foot length, as bonus could have volume/transport control in cord).
I already have the Sennheiser HD 598 and have replaced its 10 foot 1/4" jack cord with the 3.5 ft 3.5mm jack one that Sennheiser introduced about a year ago for their HD 5x8 series.
I find I'm very fond of the open sound of the HD 598s, and in auditioning some HiFiMan H 400HEs, I found that they were even more enjoyable in that way. I suspect that they require an amplifier. If the step up to the HE 500s is even better, I'm willing to spend the funds for them (but not if they require a big amp).
Cost is not particularly an object, but convenience is... I want something I can listen to music while doing other things (modest household chores, not strenuous exercise). Hence I do not want something requiring an amp (unless the postage-stamp-sized Fiio E06 is adequate) or even have to contend with a 10 foot cord and adapter from a 1/4 plug. I am NOT looking for something where I dress up, sit in a chair, and Listen To Music through a corded ensemble of headphones, amps, and the like.
Is there anything better in this direction of openness than the Sennheiser HD 598s I already have? Sennheiser HD 600s and HD 650s sounded attractive until I read that to really benefit from iPod input, I should add an amplifier (besides, I suspect that iPod cord that I have only goes on the HD 5x8 series... even has that designation in its part number). The head-fi.org "Portable Headphone" reviews of 111 such headphones place Beyerdynamic DT 1350, the Audio Technica ATH ES-10, the V-MODA Crossfade M/80 / V-80, and the Sennheiser HD-25 1.II at the top of the sound quality list. However, inspection shows that at least some of these are closed not open, and none cost more than $400 (no, not looking to spend more if I don't have to, but I am willing to if it helps).
Thanks for any advice you can give.
P.S. I enjoy ALL types of music, from last week's new hip-hop to brittle classical from the time of Adam and Eve played on dusty original instruments .