looking @ earbuds/ECH ~$50...
Nov 19, 2008 at 12:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

pianoplayer88key

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Hi guys. I'm looking to upgrade from the cheap headphones that came with my portable player (and a couple other cheapies I've had). Several have bit the dust all within the past year, and another one (the one that came with my Creative ZEN, which btw has a broken LCD and I want to replace it with a player that's more durable (considering the Cowon O2 for example) but that's a subject for a different topic) is about to eat it.

I'd mainly like to go either with earbuds or ECHs. I also like full-sized headphones, but my ears often sweat after a while, especially working outside when it's hot (I'm in southern California, so we don't get the cold snaps that you guys in MN, MA or AK, for example, might get in winter), and it's hard to wear them and a bicycle helmet at the same time. (Also the Sennheiser HD-280 I've tried a couple times really weren't quite what I expected for the price - I was hoping for better isolation, for one thing. (I turned the music on the headphones off in Guitar Center, and I could still hear the ambient sound clearly enough to tell what it was. Am I expecting too much?)

As far as a few models I'm considering, they include:
Sennheiser MX 560
Sennheiser CX-300
Sennheiser CX500 (if I can find it <$50)
Denon AH-C351K
Denon AH-C551K (if I can find it <$50)

Things I'm looking for:
decent sound quality for the price, without boosted mid-lows or mid-highs. (I don't mind if highs >12kHz are boosted, or lows <40Hz are boosted, though)
good build quality. I would like these to last a while. Typically my cheap earbuds, and even my $30 Panasonic RP-HT355s, which I've gone through like 5-7 pair in the last 3 years PLUS repairing each one a few times, don't last nearly as long as I would like. (Note though that I'm looking at the under $50 price point, so I'm not going to expect it to last 25 years with lots of abuse like I would expect something in the $150-200 range to. Hopefully they'll still be working fine in a year or two though when (hopefully) I can upgrade to a better pair.) (I'm often breaking the wires in my cheapies... maybe not quite as violently as you hear the wire snap in this U-2b video but I'd like ones that can withstand that tension.)
(for ECHs (doesn't matter for earbuds)) good isolation. I don't like to have to crank up my music high enough to damage my ears to have a >60dB SNR in a noisy environment, and I'm wary of "noise-canceling phones".

Where multiple colors are available, my preferences (in descending order) are black, silver/titanium/grey, white. Preferably no pink/orange/etc headphones, although dark blue/green might be ok IF they are really good quality at a reasonably low price.

I'd be willing to consider other models, too.

A couple that are a bit out of my price range right now, but I otherwise would consider, are the j-JAYS, Etymotic ER-6i, and I thought I saw a Shure or two under $85, but I can't seem to find it... maybe it was on CNET and not headphone.com... oh well.

Actually later today (considering that the last one I have is about to bite the dust) I'll probably be buying some cheap ($10-20) pair at a local store, just to tide me over. If I can get a reasonable brand (Sennheiser, Denon, Shure, etc) at that price point I probably will go for it. (I've seen cheaper Sennheisers & Denons than the above mentioned ones, for example Sennheiser MX-400 and Denon AH-C252). I just want something that's better than what I had.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 8:19 PM Post #2 of 5

pianoplayer88key

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So should I get the CX-300 or the AH-C351K? Or is there some place I can get the CX-500 or AH-C551K under $50? Or any other models I should look at?

Or are theree any good deals for the Etymotic ER-6i or any SHURE ECHs?

I'd like to get something ASAP, like today or tomorrow (although if I HAVE to jump that soon I may "tide myself over" with a cheap ($15-25) pair of earbuds). I'm surprised the cheapies I have now haven't already bit the dust. I've already been using them for a couple months. (I hope at the $25-50 price point I can get something that's better in every way than the $0.009 cheapies that came with my player, and even with extensive abuse (yanking on the cord (unintentionally of course - more like tripping over it, or dropping the player while the 'phones are still in my ears, for example) tighter than a piano string for example) will last a few years.

Ok I was just at a Skullcandy Kiosk here at a shopping center... and the guy there said they have a warranty/whatever where if it breaks for pretty much any reason (even operator error) bring it back to them and they'll replace them.
4 ear-type models they have (in ascending order of price) are the smokin' buds ($25 - he said they're comparable to ipod headphones - just come in different colors, which doesn't matter to me), titan ($50), full metal jacket ($80 - he spoke highly of these - good lows & highs and well designed (for durability) cord) and holua ($100 - emphasises the mids more). If I get one of those, I'm basically looking for something like the FMJ at the Titan price.
Are there any other places that provide accidental breakage guarantees, or is that a good enough reason considering how rough I am with electronics to go with the Skullcandy?
 
Jan 29, 2009 at 1:06 AM Post #3 of 5

swilly

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I don't have any of the buds you are considering, but i know from a friend that the etymotic er-6i do sound very good but wearing them feels like "your ears are getting raped". Also, if you are going to be in an outdoor environment (while biking), you probably don't want the crazy sound isolation because it's dangerous.

Hopefully that helped? Maybe you've already made you decision...(2-month late reply on my part).

I guess i just narrowed your list down.
 
Mar 1, 2009 at 7:07 AM Post #4 of 5

pianoplayer88key

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What do you mean - wearing them feels like "your ears are getting raped"?

Also the cheap $25 Koss pair I got around the time I posted this just gave up the ghost today, so it's time to replace them. I'll be posting another topic for looking for their (more expensive) replacement.
 
Mar 1, 2009 at 8:28 AM Post #5 of 5

Daeregaol

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Haha...

Try the OVC TC20's I think some peeps are selling them ~your price on the for sale forums... not sure though
smily_headphones1.gif
 

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