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Off topic: Any headphones to recommend for listening to music?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:54
English to French
+ ...
Jan 13, 2008

I am looking for audiophile headphones. I would like to use them to listen to music while I work or while I am using the computer.

The point in this is that I don't hear what is going on around me and nobody hears my music, so the headphones need to be circumaural and pretty good at filtering ambient noise (and also comfortable, might I add). Also, I don't want wireless - too much interference in the city, so that would be nothing short of useless. I prefer leather for the earcups and I also prefer a metal headband (covered with leather, of course) because I don't like light headphones - I am always afraid of somehow losing them! In short, I want something classic, out of the seventies.

I want to go for quality headphones, but I don't want the $2000 professional one either. I am thinking a budget between $200 and $500 can get me something decent without ruining my finances.

Any suggestions?


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2003)
Polish to German
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In-ear with noise reduction Jan 13, 2008

Such like this here: Shure SE 530, for example found on Amazon.
I've read a lot good opinions on Shure earphones.
If you prefer some bigger models, take Sennheiser into consideration, they are also outraging. But I would not buy any without having heard them previously.
It depends srongly on what you prefer - a deep bass, better in the mid-range or something for hearing clasical music?
As from my personal experience (I prefer deep bass), a quite cheep Koss in-ear phones (bought for 36 Euros at the airport) are just perfect while travelling. When I use other earphones they continue dropping out of my ear and I have a lot of problems to get them placed so, that I'm satisfied with their bass range. This problems do not occur with the Koss in-ear
At home I sometimes use a Philips set of headphones, old fashioned but quite good with good bass performance but not very outstanding TBH. If you are willing to give so much money just for headphones, you will certainly find something. But as said previously, I wouldn't buy something for 200 US $ without having tested it.

Personally I do prefer listening to music via loudspeaker, the more bass the better

Best
Jerzy


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:54
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Agree that they need to be tested first Jan 13, 2008

I agree that it is best to test them before shelling out big bucks for them. But in my price range, there are so many brands and models - it wouldn't make any sense going to a large store and trying thirty different models. That would be like smelling thirty different perfumes one after the other and then trying to figure out which one you like best. That is why, before going out in the field and listening, I'd like to get an idea of what most people use for the same purpose. I would probably end up buying something similar but not the same, but it would help to reduce the number of headphones I try on.

I like deep bass, especially since most of the music I listen to uses a lot of bass patterns. Precisely for that reason, I am afraid in-ear headphones are out of the question. My hearing is already going, probably because of all the intense and loud music I listened to through in-ear headphones. I don't want to damage my hearing any further - that would make no sense, because then I really wouldn't be able to enjoy music.

I also noticed that Sennheiser seems to be making the kind of stuff I am looking for - but after visiting their website, I found out so little about their merchandise that I would instead have to find Sennheiser users to tell me how they like the stuff. Also, I didn't like their product description translations into French and the fact that there is so much crucial information missing, like what material the earcups are covered with. This makes me cautious - it seems that they just want to get rid of their merchandise by telling you how great it is but failing to tell you why it is great.

Jerzy Czopik wrote:

At home I sometimes use a Philips set of headphones, old fashioned but quite good with good bass performance but not very outstanding TBH.


Sounds like my dad's headphones from the seventies. If such headphones still existed, I would buy them immediately. Those were nice - their wire was curly like a phone wire, which was smart, and I don't know why they don't use such wires for headphones anymore. You could also independently handle the volume on each earcup using the big, shiny stainless sliders that looked weird and awesome at the same time. I think my dad's headphones were Philips headphones. If I could only make those materialize from the past...

Jerzy Czopik wrote:
Personally I do prefer listening to music via loudspeaker, the more bass the better



Me too - but my boyfriend doesn't agree. And besides, I find that headphones let you hear sound you can't really hear through speakers - they let you hear the music a bit more like it was intended. What I am listening to right now (the three latest Radiohead albums) sounds soooo much better through headphones!

Thanks for the pointers, Jerzy! I will check out the Philips headphones, see if they still have some more classic stuff.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Don't underestimate the power... Jan 13, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
snip...
I like deep bass, especially since most of the music I listen to uses a lot of bass patterns. Precisely for that reason, I am afraid in-ear headphones are out of the question. My hearing is already going, probably because of all the intense and loud music I listened to through in-ear headphones. I don't want to damage my hearing any further - that would make no sense, because then I really wouldn't be able to enjoy music.
snap...


Those Shure mentioned have a vers special construction, including 3 (THREE) mini-loudspeaker to produce marvellous sound (at least this is what people say/write, as I had not enough hard will to test earphones for so much money TBH). Two of them are woofers and one tweeter. The principle sound very promising and as already stated, user are greatly very satisfied with them.
The Koss I bought t the airport are out of question for any hearing at home. The sound is too flat, even if they produce quite nice bass. Because of their in-ear principle they are just perfect for travelling (in an airplane with iPod).
My Philips headphones are from the late nineties and have the model code SBC HP910. I found some information about them on a German page - look here. Compared to what I paid (99 German Mark, a long time ago, about 50 Euro - cheap) the delivered quality is very good. Unfortunately you cannot buy them anymore. But I found a newer model looking similar - SBC HP 1000/00. Using Google I could only locate them in a Philips online-store in the UK.
Please contact me privately, should you want to purchase them - I could send 'em to Canada, if you wish.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 02:54
Partial member
Spanish
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Head-Fi Jan 13, 2008

You might want to check or even post a question over www.head-fi.org. It's a forum for audiophiles; there are very knowledgeable people over there.

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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:54
Polish to English
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Are you going to listen to music from your computer? Jan 13, 2008

If so, try not to buy too good headphones. In such case, you may hear interference from computer components. Yet, this is an issue of your ear sensitivity, headphones quality, sound level, and audio card parameters. No ready indication what you should or shouldn't select but I'd say that USD 100 will buy you a good unit. You should visit a big (and noisy!) store and test headphones by yourself.

Regards

AM


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:54
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Headphones for computer (mainly) Jan 14, 2008

I would use the headphones on my computer about 80% of the time. Other than that, I would probably use them a bit on my TV so my boyfriend can sleep while I'm watching TV - I very seldom do, so I don't think I will look for any features there. Then, I will also probably take a walk with an MP3 player once in a while, but again, I don't think I'll use it for that much.

I am aware that there can be problems with the computer interfering - but I also found out that there are some pretty high quality headphones that are arranged to minimize the noise from computers. It's just that these are not really sold by big consumer shops. For example, pro DJ headphones are pretty much all fixed so that the computer can't mess up the sound much. Nevertheless, it may be a good idea to bring my laptop along for testing... The problem with the big noisy stores is that they all have crap, basically. For one thing, they don't have many headphones that play flat sound - most of their stuff sweetens the sound of the music, and I don't like that. They are also all very much into wireless - yuck!

I found this very interesting store on the Web - it is teaching me a lot on headphones. It seems there are many more types than meets the ear (ha!). This is a place for professionals, but I find the prices are the same as for the consumer stuff. I also just realized there are more brands than I thought - they are just not household names because they concentrate on professionals and not on audiophiles.

Check it out, you may feel like buying a new set of headphones: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/headphones Lots of feedback from professionals using the merchandise in various settings and situations, which helps a lot!

Thanks for that link, Claudia! That will be useful.

[Edited at 2008-01-14 01:23]


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Owen Davies
Japan
Local time: 16:54
Member (2007)
Japanese to English
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Skull Candy Jan 14, 2008

My sister gave me a pair of these for my birthday last year and I have no complaints!
http://www.skullcandy.com/shop/headphones-c-42.html
Don't be put off by their logo


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
German to English
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Outside noise Jan 14, 2008

Hi Viktoria,

This company is famous for pioneering work in extraneous noise filtering. http://www.bose.com/controller?event=view_product_page_event&product=qc2_headphones_index

Cheers
Chris


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 08:54
German
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Bose and Sennheiser Jan 14, 2008

The top companies in the field would be Bose and Sennheiser (and they really ARE good, judging by all the tests that I have read over the years). I recommend getting headphones that completely enclose the ear to keep out any outside noise.

Regarding music listening on the computer: Sure there are configurations where you'll get interference or just sub-par sound quality, especially with older on-board sound cards. But I've got a SoundBlaster X-Fi card in my PC right now and the quality is outstanding. The interference you want to be aware of is electrical and can not be compensated by using better speakers or headphones, like e.g. chirping sounds any time the hard disk is accessed. I've had that with older computers before.

If you're really into quality, another thing you'll want to pay attention to when copying music to your PC is that you should either use a lossless audio codec (such as FLAC or APE) or use a good MP3 encoder such as LAME with a high bitrate (192 kbit/sec minimum). When I copy my CDs to the PC, I use LAME with a VBR (variable bitrate) between 192 and 320 kbit/sec. I can't tell the difference between that and a lossless copy or the original CD, and my hearing is pretty good, plus I've got quite decent 3-way speakers attached to my PC.

Regards,
Benjamin


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
German to English
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Value for money Jan 14, 2008

Ah!

I remember doing some press stuff for Beverdynamic. They are professional recording industry standard and the press seem to regularly give them top marks in terms of value for money. You even get the the old curly cord.

BTW: note that you can also get professional cans with an added mike, in case you want to use things like Dragon, Skype etc. or even a bit of outside broadcasting.

http://www.beyerdynamic.co.uk/beyerpages/proheadsets.html

A fun read and pix at http://www.dansdata.com/dt880.htm "...Among music lovers blessed with more sense than money, though, it is generally accepted that the DT 880s are serious contenders for World's Best Headphones..."

They ship for 299 bucks...

Chris


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:54
English to German
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plantronics Jan 14, 2008

Try this variant, it is reliable and multifunctional, certainly not cheap. You can also sing into your comp. noise reduction. The company advertises is as a professional system for pilots. Brandis

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:54
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all the replies Jan 16, 2008

Thanks a bunch for all your help. It really did help in narrowing down my search!

I think as far as brands are concerned, I will explore Beyer and Bose - they seem to offer mid-range products, that is, their stuff seems to go farther than just getting a decent audio signal but it is still not too technical for the most part. I looked into monitoring headphones (the kind people in studios use to listen to what they recorded and figure out what they need to change about the sound of what they record) - I like the idea, but that is a bit too technical for me, since it is not meant for enjoying music but rather for detecting subtle sounds to correct a recording, and the sound there may actually be a bit too clear for me. I would like something in between basic consumer stuff and monitoring headphones because I really want to hear a pure sound without sweetening, a need that Beyer and Bose seem to cater to quite well. I also discovered a brand called Audio Technica, which I will also look into.

This doesn't exclude that I may end up buying something else still, but I think I will base my final choice on the technical specifications of some of the models of these two brands. For example, I am starting to have an idea of the decibel output (at least 100) - I want something loud, because some of my music was poorly recorded (indie music from way back when I used to volunteer for a community radio station) and is reeeeeally not loud, even on speakers. So, I also may end up buying something else that one of you recommended, as long as the specs are right.

In any case, after all the kind help you all gave me, I will post here to let you know what my final choice is, and I will also provide a brief review here, in the hopes that it will be useful to the next ProZ user looking to buy headphones.

Thanks again for your help!



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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2003)
Polish to German
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Audio Technica Jan 16, 2008

I know this brand, but did not know they offer headphones. They are well known for their cartridges and needles for gramophones. This company is famous for its "Shibata" shape of a turntable pickup needle.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:54
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Ahhh! Good old turntable needles! Jan 16, 2008

Jerzy Czopik wrote:

I know this brand, but did not know they offer headphones.


That's probably because their headphones are also geared at professionals rather than consumers at large. You will not see any Audio Technica headphones at your local electronics outlet...

I guess this is one of those companies who was around back when we all listened to vinyl - the good old days! I remember my dad taught me to slide a soft paintbrush over the entire disc before putting the needle on it, mostly to keep his cherished diamond needle in top shape.

Back in those days, pretty much all consumer electronics goods were of professional quality. Then, along came the audio tape and then walkmans and when things became more and more available to consumers and listening to music wasn't a luxury anymore, I guess manufacturers had to make up their mind whether to stay on the serious side or whether they would lower their quality and price to please the consumer. Maybe Audio Technica decided back then they wanted to stay with the serious stuff... Whatever happened to Aiwa? It would seem they got gulped down by Sony... This article ( http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NTN/is_41/ai_108837932 ) says there recently was a general opinion about Aiwa being a "cheap" brand - that used to not be the case in the days of vinyl...

Maybe that's why I keep looking for curly headphone wires and can't seem to find any...

[Edited at 2008-01-17 15:03]


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