While generally my iems are great, there are times I am just not feeling them or they are bothering my ears. I wanted a pair of over the ear headphones (possibly on ear if they are the right kind). I began my journey wanting Beats by Dre. I listened to these several times at Best Buy. Originally I thought they sounded great, I generally like a lot of bass. The steep price tag, stopped me from a quick trigger pull. My buddy has the Bose Quiet Comfort 15s, so I borrowed his and tried them out. They sounded very good , were very comfortable, and the noise cancellation was great. They lacked bass but he has Fiio E7 and the bass boost is a nice addition. Once again these are very expensive. I also wasn't sold I need noise canceling headphones. I don't fly that much, and would rather have something that sounds really good.
I headed back to Best Buy and tried out some more of the demo units. I immediately tried on the Klipsch Image One. Give my love for the brand, these seemed like a no brainer. I really liked the sound, but I had trouble getting the headphones situated on my ears, the left one specially. This could just me by issues, other cans do this as well. Once I got them set, I noticed almost immediately how uncomfortable they were. Time to do some research and see what is out there that Best Buy didn't have.
After doing some research, I quickly found out there are two main types of headphones: Open and Closed. Open headphones have grills that are well, open.
These don't isolate at all. You can hear noises around you and others can hear your music. This wasn't ideal for me since I want to use them at work.
As you probably guessed, closed headphones have closed cups. This is what most people probably think of when someone says headphones.
A lot of people may not realize that the headphone world is kinda of crazy. Many of the headphones when you start looking for something that sounds good, no those ipod earbuds are not in this class, require some serious juice. More juice than your smartphone or even computer can deliver. That's where headphone amps come into play. This intrigued me a lot, but for my initial purpose I wanted headphones that don't need an amp. At the same time, I wanted to try and find something that could benefit from them. Headphones that don't need an amp usually have an impedance of 32-80 Ω.
The other main thing I was worried about was getting headphones that would not jive with my music. My taste has a semi-wide variety to it. Artist that get a lot of play include: White/Rob Zombie, Metallica, Eminem, Them Crooked Vultures, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Muse, The Black Keys, The White Stripes.
With all of this in mind, I ended up with two buying guides that have helped me the most.
After reading these I was interested in:
- Audio-Technica M-50
- Beyerdynamic Dt770
- Sennheiser HD25-1 II
- V-Moda M-80
I have not been able to find Beyerdynamics of any model where I can buy them, so they dropped off. The HD 25s look great and the reviews are nothing but great for a long time, but they are on ear. Not sure if that would bother me or not.
Tonight I am borrowing the M-50s. So far they sound great. These maybe the ones I end up with.
Long term I think I will also get some open headphones for when I am at home, the Sennheiser 598s are high on the list.
I am also more than likely going to pickup a headphone amp. I am strongly leaning towards Objective2 amp sold by http://www.jdslabs.com/item.php?fetchitem=O2Full. For more info on the open source Objective2, check out the designer's blog, http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/ Warning, he gets very technical and writes a ton, but there is a treasure trove of info.
Keep tuned in here to find out what I buy and what I decide to do about an amp.