I'm mostly an in-ear guy, and when I do travel with full-size phones, my go-to is the German Maestro GMP 8.35D which offer a blend of excellent sound, very good isolation, and extreme durability... However now I'm building a dedicated home setup, so I'm looking for a pair of headphones aimed at achieving just the absolute best sound for the money, in this case, that money being $500 or less. New or used works.
The sound I like is warm, transparent and detailed with nice (but not insane) bass. The goal here is to find something with the above qualities and a soundstage that gives you that "the band is right in front of you, not clamped to your ears" quality. Not a fan of anything dark or claustrophobic.
So far, I've been looking into the Hifiman HE-500, the Mr. Speakers Alpha Dog and a few others... Always wanted to check out a pair of planar magnetic phones, but really am open to anything... I'm more interested in achieving the sound I like, not in how that sound is delivered. Open or closed, makes no difference to me, although I'm assuming most suggestions will be for open cans.
Long story short, suggestions needed!
By the way, these will be pushed by a Rotel RA-05SE, so any and all power requirements will be handily covered.
Edited by Earbones - 4/16/14 at 2:48pm