I did a little searching, and didn't see any terribly recent threads on this topic... I'm looking for some headphones to wear on the train on my daily commute. My priorities are, ordered by most-important first: Hearing safety Zero/minimal cable noise Noise isolation Portability Sound quality I suspect at least some of these are inter-related. To give a little more detail: in terms of hearing safety, I did some searching of this forum, but didn't see any specific conclusion. Common sense says the lower the decibels, the better for long-term hearing safety. So I'm guessing that better isolation means I can get away with a lower volume. I'd rather err on the side of caution and have things too quiet than risk hearing loss for "total immersion" in the music. For noise isolation: I'd prefer passive, although if you can convince me active noise cancellation is the way to go, I'll consider it. But I just don't see how active noise cancellation can work that well, particularly with "dynamic" or unpredictable noises. Typical noise on the train is mechanical/structural noise from the train itself (varies widely depending on day of the week, which car I sit in, and where I sit on the car); also, no shortage of people talking (from groups of people laughing and carrying on, to the one guy who is compelled to yell into his phone). Hopefully it's not blasphemy on this forum to put sound quality as the last priority. But I'm coming from this perspective: what good is top-notch sound quality if it's constantly drowned-out by background noise? or if I have to crank the volume and risk hearing damage? Also, at least for now, my source is MP3s on my phone, so there's already a sound-quality ceiling (though a nicer DAP isn't out of the question in the future). Currently I'm using a set of Etymotic Research ER6 IEMs. The biggest problem with these is the cable noise. For example: I had these on while lying still in bed and the gentle movement of my chest from breathing induced enough cable noise to make quiet passages nearly un-listenable. If I haven't shaved and move my head at all I might as well be listening to recordings of paper being crumpled. They seem to do a decent job of filtering out background noise, but not great. I've had them for a long time, so maybe new ear pieces would improve that situation? But even then, the see my complaints on cable noise. Also for reference, at work I use JVC HA-RX700. These were suggested to me a very long time ago as cheap but high value for the money phones. Good enough for work, but too big/clumsy for commuter cans. I guess the first question then, is what's the best type of headphone for me? Can smaller over-the-ear cans (e.g. Beyerdynamic DT-1350) compete with (C)IEMs in terms of passive noise isolation? As for music types I listen to: a bit of everything, minus hip-hop. I'm now on a big classical kick. In fact, I'm making a concerted effort to better learn and appreciate classical music, and this is largely what is driving this request for recommendations. I'm listening to a lot of symphonies right now that have very quiet passages. If I turn the music up enough to hear the quiet passages over the background noise, it's painfully loud when things get un-quiet. And I'm exploring new music, so don't yet know when to anticipate the loud parts and turn down the volume---and even if I did already know the loud parts, I don't want to be constantly playing volume jockey. (Not that I support it, but I can kinda see where the loudness wars/low dynamic range trend is coming from.) I'm sure someone will ask about budget, but I don't like the idea of getting stuck into certain models by price range. Basically I'm looking for the "value sweet spot". I feel most products have a somewhat linear price/performance ratio, but only up to a point, where you start spending a lot more to get only a tiny improvement. I want to get in on the most efficient part of that curve. That said, if someone puts a gun to my head and says "Give me a number!" I'll say that I can't justify going over $500, and even then that's really more than I'd like to spend. $200 or less is quite comfortable. Thanks!