Headphone Advice for a College Engineering Student!
May 1, 2015 at 8:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

diamonddamage3

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Hi, I'm Dan!
I'm buying new headphones for college as an engineering student, and any help is hugely appreciated!
I might blabber some, so if you just want the basics of what I need, I highlighted them for you. I don't want to waste your time. :)
 
I've done a lot of research regarding headphones, but in the end, I still need expert advice.
My current headphones are the Pioneer SE-A1000, which have wonderful sound, but are open-air and would bother my roommate if I used them. As a result of having these headphones, now I can't stand extremely low quality cans. But while these were a relatively easy find, as many different sources cited it as one of the best headphones for $50, I'm having a harder time with my current search.
 
My priority is getting the best headphones for the amount I am paying.
 
I would prefer to keep under $200, so around the $150 range or lower would be amazing.
Going lower than my budget is fine, such as sub-$100, if all my requirements are met.
 
Because I don't want to bother my roommate while using these, the headphones must be closed. No sound leak.
I would prefer over ear, or circumaural, because they tend to be more comfortable, but if there are extremely amazing on ear headphones that are comfortable and just too good to pass, I'm always open to suggestions.
On that note, comfort is important.
 
But just in case my roommate is noisy, I might want noise cancelling headphones, but if I am sacrificing too much for the noise canceling feature, or if good noise canceling headphones are too expensive, this feature isn't a must.
Now, I know that there are also noise isolation headphones which are often more effective and cheaper, but noise cancelling has the added benefit of being able to be turned off, so I still communicate with my roommate while listening to music if I want.
On that note, suggestions for headphones without isolation or noise canceling are fine, even preferred.
My interested in ANC is the ability to turn it off when I need it to. Noise isolation headphone suggestions are still appreciated though, but no need to suggest exclusively headphones that isolate or remove noise.
 
Good sound quality is a must. I probably do not have the ears that many of you do, and my opinion of "good sound quality" might not be the same as yours, but relatively good sound would be nice.
My music taste is varying, so there is no need to recommend headphones with specific strengths (clear highs, powerful bass, etc.). A well balanced headphone sound range is good enough.
 
Portability is preferred, but not needed. I might want to take these around, but if I sacrifice portability for quality, then I'll do it.
Also, please corded headphones only. Bluetooth tends to sound bad, and only few wireless headphones have adequate quality, but totally sacrifice portability as a result. Having a removeable cord is nice, but not needed. Same for coiled cords and clothed cords. I love these types of cords, and prefer them over regular ones, but if I need to sacrifice convenience for quality, then I will.
 
Some headphones I've currently looked at are:
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint
NoiseHush I7-12174
Reloop RHP-10
SoundMAGIC HP150
 
But even after lots of research, I'm still quite lost.
Some headphones may have been amazing in the past, but are now outdated and not so good. Yet, newer headphones tend to have few reviews. Others may be good, but not worth the price they are sold at.
Most of the reviews are inexperienced, have little detail, and are not from audiophiles and represent varying musical preferences (I've seen reviews complaining about not enough bass, when the true issue is that the user's previous headphones artificially enhanced bass).
 
So, I thank everybody who helps me out, and truly appreciate all the time you might put into helping me!
 
May 1, 2015 at 9:08 PM Post #2 of 10

cel4145

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ANC headphones usually do come at a reduced sonic quality reduction compared to the best non ANC headphones for the same price.

Massdrop has the AKG K553, a minor update to the AKG K551, for $119. That's a great deal for those headphones (research the K551). I have the HP150, and I do perfer them a bit to my K551s (not everyone would, though). But I think the K553 are a way better value at that price.
 
May 1, 2015 at 10:42 PM Post #3 of 10

diamonddamage3

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Thanks for the reply cel4145!
 
I always had assumed ANC headphones would be more expensive or have lower quality, but I wasn't sure by how much.
If the quality drop is really so bad for the price that it's just not worth a purchase, then I guess that is too bad for me.
 
I first experienced ANC headphones with Bose, which have the best ANC I have ever seen. I was blown away by how much sound was blocked, and it's just too bad Bose is so darn expensive. Then, a friend of mine showed me the ANC on their Sony, which I thought was cool.
But buying cheaper ANC headphones seems to mean either worse ANC quality, or worse general sound quality, which is why I am so uncertain about ANC headphones. I just don't have enough experience, and I can't try out these headphones myself while researching them online. If anyone has a good ANC suggestion, I'm not giving up on ANC just yet..
 
 
I checked out the AKG K553 and they seem awesome! It looks great, the padding is huge, the reviews are all positive, and the price is perfect. Why do you say that you prefer the HP150, but not everyone would though?
Once again, thanks for the response and suggestion!
 
May 2, 2015 at 12:32 AM Post #7 of 10

diamonddamage3

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Can't wait until there is an ideal noise canceling headphone that has both great sound quality and incredible nc capablitly.

Yeah. My application is pretty specific, because for most people, if noise isolation is both more effective and cheap, then it is innately better.
ANC just has the benefit of being able to be turned off in case I need it to be. It would be awkward to turn around, see my roommate passed out drunk on the floor but not have realized because my headphones have too good noise isolation. I typically use sound to track the positions of people, so when I'm listening to music, it's like I'm blind, but at the same time, college dorms can get noisy.
 
 
  For isolation, IEMs do beat out any ANC tech in the industry. Are you open to using IEMs?

I typically avoid IEMs, because they tend to be less comfortable and have less sound quality (at least the ones I've seen).
Part of it may be personal stigma, because I automatically associate good sound systems, with full out headphones, which may not be true.
 
If there are really good IEMs, that don't have the comfort and quality issues I worry about, I am of course open to suggestions.
 
On that note, you suggested IEMs because they are better at noise isolating.
I probably wasn't clear about that. I'm actually not overly concerned with noise removal, because in many instances, being able to hear people through my headphones might be useful (as long as there isn't sound leak). The interest in ANC, was because of the fact that it can be turned on and off, giving me the option of having the noise cancel if I wanted to have it, but allowing me also to have no noise canceling. I edited my original post to clarify that. Sorry.
Headphones with noise isolation are still welcome as suggestions though.
 
May 2, 2015 at 12:43 AM Post #8 of 10

thatBeatsguy

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Quote:
  For isolation, IEMs do beat out any ANC tech in the industry. Are you open to using IEMs?

  • I typically avoid IEMs, because they tend to be less comfortable and have less sound quality (at least the ones I've seen).
    Part of it may be personal stigma, because I automatically associate good sound systems, with full out headphones, which may not be true.

    If there are really good IEMs, that don't have the comfort and quality issues I worry about, I am of course open to suggestions.
  • On that note, you suggested IEMs because they are better at noise isolating.

1. So headphones over IEMs, then. I haven't delved deep into the headphone area (having lots of headphones takes up lots of space), so I guess I can't really help you much further.  I don't have the headphones you currently use, so I can't really recommend IEMs based on that particular sound signature. That, and since you have comfort issues with IEMs, I feel it best to not recommend them anymore. Comfort issues vary from person to person, so what may be comfortable to most people might not be comfortable to you.
 
2. Not all IEMs are innately better at noise isolation, actually. Just thought I'd get that out there.
 
Have a nice day.
 
May 2, 2015 at 2:34 PM Post #10 of 10

cel4145

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Here's an incredible deal for you, but better jump on it today if you want because it will sell out FAST. Woot has the Onkyo ES-CTI300 for $60 + $5 shipping. Here's a review of the non-iphone control version (same headphone, different cable): http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/delightful-onkyo-es-fc300-and-es-hf300. I like these as much as the Audio-Technica M50 series and would describe them as having somewhat similiar bass emphasis, but with a bit less treble emphasis. Note that while they are classified as on ear, they are really more of an over ear (see that review).
 

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