Fostex T50RP - Update: I recently modded these and so have moved them to the top of the list even though I originally purchased them a few years ago. The sound once modded is incredible and I use these now at work 99% of the time. The FiiO X3 is able to power them quite well in my experience. I usually don't use any EQ, but on occasion will add one or two db's of bass and treble just for a change of pace. I had $500.00 set aside for new closed headphones for work but these are so good I called off that search. :)
Original Fostex notes: Great ortho sound qualities; vocals sound lifelike, as do real world sounds such as when watching movies. I bought a pair of Dennon D5000's at the same time and sent them back but kept these. The Dennon's made my ear's ring and that was at low volumes, where as these Fostex have never made my ears ring. So definitely recommended for anyone to try who suffers from Tinnitus after listening to other headphones.
KOSS Tony Bennett Signature Edition Headphones. Purchased for work. What a deal at $49.95 through a local bargain store! These have re-awoken my enjoyment of drums! Art rock and Jazz Fusion bands of the 70's sound great. Very dynamic with great impact and detail. These are a complete anti-thesis to all of the smooth dark Sennheiser headphones listed below. Great open sound stage for a closed headphone. These are a little bright and light on bass. If you have ever heard titanium tweeters compared to Silk Dome tweeters on speakers, then these clearly have that titanium sound. Not super comfortable, but definitely better for me than those headphones that sit on the ears and I am able to wear them for longer periods of time. The headband doesn't appear to have any metal and so won't keep a better shape after bending attempts - and so it puts pressure on the very top, center of the head. Update: After daily bending of the headband these suddenly became very comfortable - no more pressure on the top of the head.
Sennheiser HD202 - Purchased for work as an alternative to the PX100-ii. The PX100's get a bit uncomfortable on my ears after about an hour. Compared to the PX100's, the HD202's while much better padded, still manage to bother my ears after a while. I guess I just don't like headphones touching my ears. Oh, as for the sound, these HD202's are definitely mid-bass over-achievers. Had to turn down the bass on the Sansa Clip zip, and the treble a little as well. Then, however they aren't bad at all. Smooth sounding and well worth the $26.95 they go for on Amazon. I noticed they seem to be especially good for classical.
Sennheiser PX100-II - Having been so impressed by the HD650's I decided to try a pair of these for work and I am glad I did. They definitely sound like the little brother of the HD650's. I prefer the open sound of these compared to the closed-in sounding Yamaha RH-5Ma's. They also edge out the KOSS KTX PRO 1's in over-all sound quality with somewhat less fluffy bass. I do have one complaint though and that is the cord. It is very flimsy and ultra-thin, plus I find that for some reason with the one-sided connection I am frequently snagging it (update: no longer an issue now that I have the Sansa Clip Zip and so the cord isn't running across to a computer).
Sennheiser HD650 - Was using these straight out of an E-MU 0404usb and thought they sounded surprisingly good. That is until on a whim I ran the E-MU into the back of a 30 year old Panasonic portable stereo I had sitting around. Wow, what a difference the Panasonic amp has made to the HD650s! I have no idea what it's power spec's are, but the music now has much more impact and fullness than the built-in E-MU headphone amp could ever hope to supply. It also adds a touch of smoothness, or eliminates a touch of digital harshness - depending on how you want to view it. I mention this not because the ol' Panasonic is such a great amp, but because it is still a noticeable improvement from the built-in E-MU amp so that it definitely brought home the point for me that amps do make a difference. Update: They sound much better from the FiiO X3. Seems to have plenty of power for these from what I can tell. Still waiting to hear the 650's through a good tube amp though.
KOSS KTX PRO 1 - Good sounds if your budget is less than 20 bucks. Same driver as famous KSC-35. Just slightly uncomfortable after a while due to the ear cups only pivoting on one axis. Has built in volume control.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 - I have to EQ the heck out of these to tame the highs and boost the bass (E-MU 0404usb being bright and detailed and with a 20 Ohm output impedance compounds problem I'm sure). There is a certain metallic sound to the highs that gets annoying even when eq'd.
Had but didn't keep:
Yamaha RH-5Ma - (I gave these to a friend in need of headphones, not because I didn't like them) Very nice solid and tight sounding if not ultra deep bass, extended treble, comfortable, great price. Just lacking in sound stage and the mids are a bit recessed for my tastes. Considering their relatively low price I am surprised they aren't more popular as portable bass-head phones. They isolate well once the music is playing and leak little or no sound.
Dennon AD5000 - Made my ears ring, and the bass was over-all very boomy sounding at times (using them directly out of the 20 Ohm E-MU 0404usb headphone jack - so not a good match). Occasionaly though at lower volumes I would hear really deep satisifying bass notes so they do reach deep. Also they did have good over-all sound 'texture'. I could have probably lived with the boomy bass and/or done the mod to them, but the fact that they were causing my ears to ring even at low volumes caused me to send them back.
Audio-Technica ATH-A500 - Have a plastic resonance sound that I didn't like.
Headphone Amp Inventory:
Fii0 X3 DAP. Amazing player for sound quality as well as having the power for both the HD650s and the T50RPs.
Computer out to E-MU 0404 USB. It was a revelation compared to built-in motherboard sound. I had no idea that computer sound chips were generally so under whelming compared to dedicated gear. The E-MU 0404 USB made a huge improvement in all aspects of the sound quality.
Sansa Clip Zip (not using anymore due to upgrading to FIIO X3).
- The Sansa pairs up extremely well with the Sennheiser PX100-II headphones and other small easy to drive headphones I have tried. Absolutely no need of an additional amp, but with the larger KOSS Tony Bennett headphones, it is a bit lacking in power. The Clip Zip is amazing that it is so tiny, yet holds 36GB of music. Definitely recommended.
Cables? We don't need no stinkin' cables.
CyberPower 1000PFCLCD UPS.
Other Audio Equipment:
JBL LSR2328P Studio Monitors.
An abundance of DIY Room treatment panels made with Rock Wool Insulation (Fireproof variety) and covered with cloth.
HSU VTF1-MK2 Subwoofer - just ordered 12/31/13
The way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.