First of all, I feel I should state that I'm not an audiophile (unless that simply means that I love music, in which case, I am!), and so I don't really have ears finely tuned enough to accurately compare different headphones or audio setups. Secondly, I should say that before now I have only owned a few different ultraportable headphones, portapros, PX100 and PX100-II and some super-cheap Sony ones (I forget which, but they were only a tenner). Anyway, my PX100-II, while sounding great, were not isolating enough for the london underground, so I decided to get a closed headset. After a bit of research I was left with the ATH-ES55 and the ATH-FC700, both by Audio-Technica. I decided to go with the FC700, since they were £20 cheaper, and also they had a folding mechanism for portability (which is good, since these are the only headphones I have, and as such will be used for commuting, walking about and so on). The headset arrived a week ago, and I have been listening to them all week. My main impression was something like "wow!". Every record I listened to, even ones I have been familiar with for years, sounded fresh and exciting, and it's more or less reinvigorated my whole music collection. The clarity is great, the sound signature completely appropriate to everything that I like, they are comfortable and light, and the soundstage is great, I am appreciating the stereo in records I didn't even realise made full use of stereo! This is, of course, all relative to my previous headphones and my lack of audiophile "palate". However there is one thing I have enjoyed about these headphones even more than how good (I think) they sound (although this is probably an extension of SQ). Songs I have been trying to learn to play on the guitar for a while, for example a few Lee Hazlewood songs, some John Fahey, Davy Graham and so on, I have been able to learn! Previosuly I had identified the chords, the key etc., but the picking patterns had been a problem. SInce getting these headphones and listening to these songs I have worked out the picking patterns, and learned to play them. I have also been able to work out which open tunings are used in non-standard tuned songs. I assume this is due to the clarity of the sound, but either way I have been SO impressed with these headphones, my music collection sounds new and exciting again, AND I have learned songs I have been struggling with for over 6 months! Good work AUdio-Technica. Again, I am not an audiophile, and as such I'm not putting this forward as an objective review. Subjectively though, these are totally sweet. I just can't imagine what the next set of headphones I am able to save up for will do for my music and my guitar playing! I'm thinking some nice big cans for home use... Anyway, thanks to info I found on this site, I bought these cans, and thanks to these cans, I'm enjoying music I got bored with years ago, and my guitar playing has improved dramatically as well. So thanks head-fi!