Headphones for music lover, traveling, with a $300 budget
Jul 22, 2009 at 4:49 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


New Head-Fier
Jul 22, 2009
Here's my situation: I love music, pretty much all types (classical, jazz, rock, electronic, etc.) with a focus on the Indie Rock scene. I also am a semi-audiophile, in the sense that though I am not educated enough in speaker systems, headphones, amps, and other music devices, I can easily detect flaws in every system, constantly seeking the "perfect" sound, and know the kind of sound I am looking for, which is a warm, enveloping sound that sounds like I'm listening to an outdoor concert and lots of space in the instruments. I want to be able to detect every instrument, where it's coming from, etc. Some of the music I listen to has dozens of instruments, and I want to be able to pick out each one individually, and clearly. For comparison, the best concert sound I've ever heard was at Jones Beach (where R.E.M. played, using incredible equiptment that made the guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals all sound amazing) where the openness of the theater produces insane sound, and the best audio system was actually a premium audio system in a Jaguar, made by Alpine.

Here's also my situation: I am leaving the country (USA) for a year to go to Europe. I will not have access to a computer during this whole trip, and am going to rely on three iPods - a 60 GB iPod for the best of my music collection, a 4 GB Nano for hikes and stuff, and a 120 GB iPod for high quality lossless music. I currently have Bose TriPorts that are kind of beat up, but I can very easily find tons of flaws with the sound, which basically sucks. All the music sounds too muffled and pushed together, with even the highest quality lossless files sounding compressed.

I have $300 to spend on one pair of new headphones. My criteria:
- Closed-style: I will be traveling with a group and open would be too noisy, and on the same token I can't have sound leak because then the group would hear my music, which is no good.
- Over-ear: the most comfortable in my opinion.
- Great Build Quality
- AMAZING Sound Quality
- Noise cancelling would be great, but noise isolating is fine.
- Can't be huge: I ordered the Sennheiser HD280 but they were too big (not neccesarily for traveling, they were the right size, but on my head they stuck out too much and looked really awkward).

Please help me out! And keep in mind these headphones will be the only things I use to hear music from for a whole year. So they need to be incredible.
Jul 22, 2009 at 4:59 AM Post #2 of 3
I know you specified circumaural, but you should read up on some of the customs or IEM options, especially if they are mostly for travel. My customs are more comfortable than any other headphone I have ever worn, circumarual or otherwise. They offer unparalleled isolation and great sound quality in a very portable package.
Jul 22, 2009 at 5:23 AM Post #3 of 3
I only got a brief listen to the new Shure full-sized headphones at CanJam, but I really liked them. I'd recommend picking over the threads on them and giving them some thought. I've seen them as low as $160, so they're in your budget.

The reason I haven't bought the Shures is because I'm quite happy with the Sony MDR-7509HD I picked up earlier this year. I've traveled with them a bit this year and have really enjoyed them. They're rugged, fold up nicely and I love the sound. These are studio headphones, with a flat, neutral response. They're not necessarily warm or lush, however, I think the accuracy holds up well over many genres of music. I don't know if they're precisely what you're looking for, but I'd be happy enough if they were the only headphones I had for a year.

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