Best work headphones?
Aug 12, 2002 at 3:19 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Alan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
3
Likes
0
Hi, everybody - I've been lurking for a while doing some headphones research, but I finally wanted to post this question to the head-fi enthusiasts.

I'm a lucky person who gets to listen to music all day at my job. I'm looking for closed headphones (open ones would be heard by co-workers) that are extremely comfortable (since I would be wearing them a good 5-7 hours at a time) and preferably around the $100-200 range. In addition, I'd be running them off the sound card in my computer, so no amp.

I've tried the Senn 280-pros, and although I was hoping they would meet all my requirements, they're just not comfortable enough. I've narrowed the problem down to the top headband - there is a small contact area with the top of the head that presses down and gives me a headache after a couple hours.

So I'm interested in some alternatives. I was thinking of trying either the Beyer 250-80, or, somewhat above my price range cap, the Etymonic ER-4P. Also, I've read good things about the Audio Technica sets (ATH W100).

My first priority is comfort. And while I know that it varies from person to person, there are headphones that are generally agreed upon to be more comfortable than others.

Thanks in advance!
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 6:38 PM Post #2 of 12

MacDEF

Headphone Hussy (will wear anything if it sounds good)
Joined
Jun 26, 2001
Posts
6,761
Likes
12
Etys are clearly the best sounding, but comfort is a bigger issue. If you find them comfortable, you'll be pretty darned happy
wink.gif
The other issue is that if you get interrupted often at work, Etys may not be the best way to go -- they're not the best headphones for someone who has to remove them frequently to talk to people.

Sounds to me like the Beyer DT250-80 are perfect for you.
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 7:10 PM Post #3 of 12

Gus B

Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Posts
73
Likes
10
If you like the sound of the 280s & haven't gotten rid of them yet, before you shell out more $ you might want to search here for a post by Magicthyse on a modification to the 280--he apparently had the same comfort problem you do & found a way to fix it.
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 7:44 PM Post #5 of 12

Magicthyse

Better to look good than to sound good!
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
Posts
890
Likes
10
Yup.

If you have the phone (personally I'd say get rid of'em fast, but that's just me)...

All you have to do is to increase the contact area to distribute the load. Having said that, it's still not over-comfortable. But here's what you can try.

It's not just that only a small area of the top headband contacts your head - it's that an even smaller portion of that area is pressing down on the head. This is because there are two 'ridges's that run on the outside of the headband - what you're feeling pressing down on you is actually these two ridges through the very soft (and therefore not very cushioning) headband pad.

What you'll need is a piece of fairly stiff rubber/plastic sheeting about 8cm long, 3.2cm wide (important!) and about 1mm thick. Take off the headband pad, place this rubber sheet under the headband where your head will contact the phone, and re-attach the headband pad. If you find the pad will no longer wrap around the band due the the added thickness of the rubber sheet, why duct tape it!

What this'll do is to distribute the weight concentrated on the 'ridges' of the headband more evenly. As I said however, it's still not the comfiest phone out there. This is due to the 'broad-shouldered' design, which I 've figured out is probably to up the leverage so as to make the ear cups clamp better.

Hope that helps.

The Sony's definitely, the Beyers probably, and possibly even the Evolution series from Sennheiser may be a lot more comfortable.

Oh yes, one more phone to consider:

Although these are more 'listening' phones as opposed to 'monitoring' phones, I can now, after break-in, recommend the ATH-A9X quite highly ($189 @ audiocubes.com). Definitely a Grado-ish, open-ish characteristic to the quality of the sound. Comfort? I think so. (Not gonna do a long review this time cuz I haven't really got anything bad to say apart from the looks about these yet)

Demerits? "You're my only hope, Obi-Wan"...
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 8:15 PM Post #6 of 12

hokiefritz

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 7, 2002
Posts
146
Likes
10
The Beyer DT250-80 would be my first choice with your requirements. They are very comfortable, sound good and have good isolation.

For me the isolation of a closed phone is a problem at work since I can't hear the phone ring or other's talking to me over my high cube walls. I used to have closed phones but I have switched to open with good results. If I take my Grados off I can't hear them at all above the office noise from arms length, so they're not bothering anyone. I don't play them too loud since the ambient noise is moderate and I am very careful not to damage my hearing.

I would love to be able to wear something like the Beyers or especially Etymotics, but I have frequent interruptions during the day and I need to be aware of what's going on around me. If you are interrupted more than a few times a day at work, I don't think you'll be happy with the Etys. It's too much of a pain to constantly put them in and take them out as everyone else has said.
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 8:42 PM Post #7 of 12

Alan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
3
Likes
0
Thanks for the responses! Hm, I'm seeing a lot of support for the Beyers. Is Headroom the best place to get them?

Magicthyse, I see exactly what you mean about the two hard plastic ridges on the headband. I could mod the headphones as you suggest, but even then there would be the uneven distribution of weight on my head.

I'm inclined to try the Beyers - the _amount_ of isolation isn't as important as there being isolation at all. And the Etymotics are right out - while I won't need to hear things around me most of the time (lucky for me nobody calls at work, and if anyone needs my attention they can throw small office supplies at me) I will need to take the phones on/off. Plus they're really out of my price range.

If there are any other closed phones that haven't been mentioned that are known to be very comfortable, I would love to hear about them.

Also - can the Beyers get enough power from a sound card?
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 8:51 PM Post #8 of 12

hokiefritz

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 7, 2002
Posts
146
Likes
10
Quote:

can the Beyers get enough power from a sound card?


Yep. The limitation is the quality of sound that you'll get out of the sound card. An amp would likely make a noticeable improvement though.

Other closed phones that are comfortable: One is the Beyer 770 is supposed to be comfortable, except for those with large heads.

For a place to purchase the Beyers: Meier Audio or HeadRoom are good retailers to buy from.
 
Aug 12, 2002 at 9:07 PM Post #9 of 12

Gus B

Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Posts
73
Likes
10
Alan--If you get the 250-80, I would appreciate it if you would report back on comfort/sound vs. the 280s. I was going to get the 250-80, but was scared off by its description as being both medium sized (as opposed to the 280s which are full sized) and circumaural. Someone here said that the 250-80 actually wont fully surround your ears unless you have "hobbit sized ears" & I thought it would be annoying to feel the ear cups rest partially on the ears--I like the fact that the 280s fully surround even large ears and for me they are very comfortable. However, enough people seem to think that the 250-80 sounds better to keep me interested. Love to get your feedback.
 
Aug 13, 2002 at 2:00 AM Post #10 of 12

kwkarth

Electronics guys... we have our plusses and minuses. With advent of digital everything, we're being phased out
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Posts
10,307
Likes
98
Quote:

Originally posted by Gus B
Alan--If you get the 250-80, I would appreciate it if you would report back on comfort/sound vs. the 280s. I was going to get the 250-80, but was scared off by its description as being both medium sized (as opposed to the 280s which are full sized) and circumaural. Someone here said that the 250-80 actually wont fully surround your ears unless you have "hobbit sized ears" & I thought it would be annoying to feel the ear cups rest partially on the ears--I like the fact that the 280s fully surround even large ears and for me they are very comfortable. However, enough people seem to think that the 250-80 sounds better to keep me interested. Love to get your feedback.


Alan,
As we say around here, "Welcome to Head-Fi...Sorry about your wallet!"

Gus,
I own the Beyer DT250/80s and did have a chance to compare them to the Senn 280s. I did not feel that the Beyers were appreciably smaller than the Senns. In fact, the circumfrence of the earpad is about the same on both cans but the Beyers are made out of comfy velour rather than the sticky plastique of the Beyers. The Senns earpads are slightly deeper than the Beyers but essentially the same circumfrence. Both of you will, in all liklihood, love the sound of the Beyers.

Happy Listening!!
 
Aug 30, 2002 at 7:22 PM Post #11 of 12

Alan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
3
Likes
0
UPDATE -

Thanks for the advice, everyone! My Beyer 250-80s arrived from Headroom recently, and I've had a few days to try them out (I returned my Senn 280s). Here are my impressions:

Comfort
Since long-term comfort was my primary issue, I have the most to say about it. Overall, the Beyers feel significantly more comfortable. The top headband is shaped and constructed differently so that it distributes the weight well and has no pressure issues. It is completely padded (the Senn 280 is padded in the middle) and has a more natural head-shape (the Senn 280 headband is more horizontal).

Gus B was concerned about the ear circumference being smaller on the Beyers than the 280s, and I do believe the concern is justified. However, the external earpad size is pretty much the same on both - if the Beyer is smaller, it's very slightly smaller. So calling one full-sized and one medium-sized is pretty arbitrary. The real difference is the padding type and how much internal space there is.

I had found that the Senns gave more internal ear room than I needed - I could shift them around before my ear touched the padding. The Beyer has a lot of soft velour padding that does leave less room for the ear itself. But, the space seems to be just enough for me, because my ears feel pretty snug with the velour around them (and I have pretty normal-sized ears). Also, since the velour is so soft, any overlap with it and my ears is barely noticable - the trick is just to get the padding oriented right with my ears. It doesn't actually feel like the pads ever rest _on_ my ears.

Lastly, the Beyers clamp down on the sides of my head a lot less than the Senns. Another plus for me. It can be loosened even more by stretching.

Sound
While I'm no audiophile, even I could tell some sound difference. Most striking was the bass, which was very good in the Beyers right out of the box. I didn't have the Senn 280s long enough to burn them in properly, but its bass felt much weaker in comparison. Also, I believe the Senn has an impedence of 64 ohms, while the Beyers are 80 ohms. In my computer's sound card, this difference was noticable - I had to adjust the volume to compensate.

Isolation
The Senn 280s have higher isolation specs, but they both seem pretty comparable. I don't play music loud enough to push the levels of isolation. Like I said before, I think the Beyers clamp on the ears less, and that probably reflects in the specs.

Other
The Beyers have a detachable cord, while the Senn 280 does not. Also, while they both have coiled cords, the Beyer cord is really tight and short and needs stretching.

Clearly, I really like the Beyer 250-80s. They're definitely keepers for me - great work headphones! Here's a little summary:

Beyer 250-80s
+ Comfortable head-shaped headband
+ Soft velour earpads
+ Good isolation without excessive clamping
+ Good sound, incl. bass, right of the box
+ Detachable cord

- $169.00
- Inside earpad is snug, though still comfortable. Might be hard for larger ears.
- Coiled cord is kinda short
- Higher impedence (80 ohms)
- Availability is tricky (I was backordered at Headroom)


Sennheister 280-pros
+ ~$75.00
+ Strong isolation
+ Large, roomy earpads
+ Lower impedence (64 ohms)
+ Common availability

- Headband puts pressure on top of head
- Pleather-ish padding instead of velour
- Tight side clamping (though this can be helped by stretching)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top