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Best Headphones or IEMs for Daily Commute?

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  1. BRSxIgnition
    Hello there everyone,

    I've recently gotten a new job downtown and I'm looking to both treat myself and make my new commute more comfortable with a new pair of closed/sealed over-ear headphones.

    I take the bus and train now, so my priorities are the following:
    • Comfort (Can't leave sore spots or have too many cables. Wireless > 1 cable > 'Y' cable. Also includes clamping pressure and fit.)
    • Sound Quality (I prefer a neutral-or-warm sound signature that remains clear throughout with crisp highs, forward mids, and controlled, punchy bass.)
    • Sound Leakage/Blocking (I don't want to hear others too much, or have them hear me, either through ANC or Passive Isolation.)
    • Build Quality (A headphone has got to last, so metal or leather materials would be nice if possible. Otherwise, solid build quality serves as a passable backup.)
    • Looks (Prefer Modern & Sleek vs. Loud or Gaudy.)
    • Price (My absolute max is $510 CDN after tax.)
    These are loosely ordered from most to least important... but in the end, it's all important. :sweat_smile:

    I've also created a spreadsheet for recommendations - feel free to add headphones or contribute your own information as to how those already on the list sound/feel/etc. (Based on the 0, 1, 2 Rating scale at the top of the document)

    I'm also open to ordering from the states and picking it up across the border in the US if that gets me a better deal, too. (The premiums that Canadian retailers are asking for on some things are ridiculous.)

    If anyone has any recommendations to share, they would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  2. serman005
    You might also look into a Meze 99 Classics. Maybe read about it and check out some pics--it is quite beautiful, but not sure if you would consider it gaudy. In any event, it sounds terrific and ticks many of your boxes. It could work for you.
  3. BRSxIgnition
    This is one of the headphones I've looked at. I like their looks even though they stand out a bit more than I'd like, but I can't help but wish they had either a wireless or single-cable version... I already dislike the Y-connector on my apple earpods.

    Would you have any other noteworthy recommendations?
  4. serman005
    Check out a B&W PX Wireless. They are gorgeous and sound excellent. Not sure about north-of-the-border pricing, sorry.
  5. Cruelhand Luke
    Master and Dynamic MH40?
    cardeli22 likes this.
  6. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Audio Technica ATH-WS99 headphones, buy used off eBay (<$150).
  7. BRSxIgnition
    They look nice, but I've heard there are issues with comfort for these and they're $527 after tax up here in Canada - not to mention they review less favorably when compared to the SONY WH1000XM2s. (Which I could get for $404 all in)

    I've taken a look at these a few years back and wasn't impressed, thank you for the recommendation though.
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  8. pbui44
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  9. JamesCanada
    You might get good deals on Oppo’s PM3
    They are closing down , so if that is not an issue for you they are a great set that check all those boxes
  10. BRSxIgnition
    Surely there are better headphones closer to my price limit? I don't mind spending a bit more to get something that incorporates a better build or wireless - in fact I'd welcome it as long as it stays below my limits.

    Oh wow that's a shame - I hadn't heard they were closing down. From doing a quick search though it seems that their closing has made the OPPO PM3 a collector's item, these prices are crazy.
  11. pbui44
  12. BRSxIgnition
  13. pbui44
    Gawsh-Damnit...now I am really determined, eh? :floatsmile:

    If you love stringed instruments, B&O H6 1st gen:


    If you want wooden-warmth in the morning, Denon MM400:


    “I got up and screamed ‘**** tha world’!”, Sennheiser PXC 550


    “I got up and said ‘top of the mornin’ to ye’!”, Sony MDR-1AM2:


    “I got up and said ‘I am a DAC-head’!” - Sony MDR-1ADAC:

  14. BRSxIgnition
    I've gone ahead and updated the opening post to hopefully clarify some things a bit more, but if I were to sum up the headphone I'm looking for in a single statement, however, it would be the following:

    "I am looking for a sleek, modern, and well-built over-ear closed headphone that costs under $500 CDN after tax, that doesn't leak or let in sound, to use during my commute on the bus and train. It should be solidly built, comfortable to wear for at least an hour or more, and have a mostly neutral sound signature with controlled, punchy bass."

    Wireless would be appreciated if there's a good option that uses it, otherwise a single-cable setup is fine.

    Wow! First off, thank you very much for taking the time to make all of these recommendations! I'll go through what I've found after looking at them below:
    • B&O H6 - Does this not do well with other genres? I listen to plenty of funk, alternative, edm, orchestral, jazz, etc, so something better suited to multiple genres would be better. Also, how are the B&O PLAY H4's? (They have a higher rating on Amazon and added wireless functionality)
    • Denon MM400 - These certainly look high quality, but they're also quite a bit more silver/wood than I'd like, and would stand out too much.
    • Sennheiser PXC 550 - These look nice, but after watching a few videos, it seems like the SONY WH1000XM2's are recommended more highly over these due to better wireless (LDAC) sound quality and a more balanced sound signature?
    • Sony MDR-1AM2 - Do these fix the issues with isolation that the original MDR-1As had? (And didn't those have creaking issues too?) I watched some video reviews and the originals also had bloated bass?
    • Sony MDR-1ADAC - See above.
    Thanks again for the recommendations!

    UPDATE: Are these B&O H9s a good deal?
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  15. BRSxIgnition
    I've also created a spreadsheet for recommendations - feel free to add headphones or contribute your own information as to how those already on the list sound/feel/etc. (Based on the 0, 1, 2 Rating scale at the top of the document)

    Any help is appreciated!
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
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