My girlfriend is looking for a first set of cans, but wants to keep the size relatively small. I ran her through my Sennheiser collection (px100, 280, 595, and 650) and her favorite was by far the 595 because of how clear and soft they sounded. She did not, however, like that they bleed sound and thinks they are way too big. She also tried my ADDIEMS and really liked them (she also found the mic for iphone calls to be a major plus). Here is the kicker though- she saw my roommate's white Monster Dre Beats (the $199 pair, their model names are stupid and confusing) and thought, aesthetically, that they were perfect and *really* liked how comfortable they were.
So I ask everyone for some help as my searching has turned up nothing. Looking for a mix of 595/ADDIEM (they sound similar in terms of tonal quality, but sound stage is a whole other beast) sound with style and comfort in line with the white Monster Beats. Let me add something else difficult: Price ceiling of 150. Any thoughts other than "you're screwed"?
**Addition: She thought the PX-100's were too small. So the size of the Monster Beats is adequate. I think the fact that she noticed the 595's were remarkably better in sound quality means I might have a fledgling ear for premium sound on my hands. I am wondering if I should avoid cultivating it so that she can avoid the massive money dump paying attention to these things can become.
Going on a limb here, but I don't think the HD595 is "remarkably better in sound quality" compared to the Beats. You're talking about open vs closed headphones. They're different animals, and the reason Beats are so bad is b/c of price. Lowering it to somewhere around an HD595 price (like 150) would mean they're closer in sound quality than you'd think. I'm not saying HD595 aren't better; I'm just saying they're not gonna be "remarkably" better.
I'm not sure the sound quality will live up to the 595, but the Sony ZX-700 is closed, similarly sized to the beats, is reported to be very comfortable and looks very sleek (IMHO). You might take a look at some reviews of it.