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Music Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Best Headphones, Earbuds, Earphones? 448

Posted by Soulskill
from the boombox-and-duct-tape-no-longer-cut-it dept.
alexbgreat writes "What do you think is the best set of head-mounted loudspeakers for the money, with a cost of less than $50? Here are some featuresthat would be stupendous to have (in descending order of importance): noise isolation (not cancellation), flat/near flat response (I need to be able to hear bass, but I don't need my eardrums blown out), long-term comfort (earbuds usually hurt for me), and durability. Over-ear is preferred to anything on- or in-ear. Boom mics are permissible, as I may well use it as a broadcast intercom headset." If you have experience using headphones from different price ranges, feel free to share that as well.
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Ask Slashdot: Best Headphones, Earbuds, Earphones?

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  • Sennheiser PX100 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:15PM (#40304119)

    Downside: almost transparent to sound. People can hear what you're listening to and the isolation you get is next to none. Still, audio quality is great for the price, they're light and very comfortable.

    • Re:Sennheiser PX100 (Score:5, Informative)

      by gstrickler (920733) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:48PM (#40304435)

      I'll second that recommendation. I've had several sets of Sennheiser headphones over the years, and they've all had excellent sound quality. They've always been excellent build quality too.

    • Re:Sennheiser PX100 (Score:4, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <<slashdot> <at> <worf.net>> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:06AM (#40305425)

      There are two headphones I'd recommend.

      For around $140 or less, the Grado SR80i's are pretty damn hard to beat. No isolation also (you can't really have good sound with closed headphones - the best ones with flattest response tend to be open). Spending anymore money on headphones is silly. It's strange, as Grado is "audiophile" but $140 makes it amongst the cheapest available. Hell, they're cheaper than the crap called Beats. The only downside is they can be hard to get (only sold at very high end audio stores - and probably the cheapest thing those stores sell).

      Of course, for less money... Koss Porta Pros (not Sporta). Darned thing can be had for under $50 and for a "cheap" brand, surprisingly good. In fact, they've re-released them with slight modifications. Not sure if they're still as good, but I think you can find the old version new still. 80's looks, open design again, but for a set of headphones that are cheap, stunning.

    • The PX-100's are excellent, but their strain relief at the plug end sucks sucks SUCKS. I'm on my 5th? 6th? pair of them now and after a year or two of admittedly heavy use I lose one channel.

      But I've tried other on-ear headphones (can't stand earbuds for long periods of time) and none come close to the PX-100s for comfort and sound.

      It stinks having to buy a new pair every 18 months or so, but having phones on and music playing is the only thing that gets me through my work day.

  • Monoprice! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:16PM (#40304125)

    I bought two pairs of Monoprice 8323's [monoprice.com] and I think they are fantastic. I keep one at home and the other at work.

    I've never been disappointed with anything I've bought from Monoprice.

    These same headphones are available from other people (Kicker and others) for significantly more money.

    • You'd better be right. I just bought 3 pairs of different headphones. Great prices. I am hoping the fabric covered wires indicates that they aren't the cheapest crap ever made. I bought some headphones on ebay a while back and it was listening to everything through a wet sock.
    • I absolutely love Monoprice's earbuds. I often lose or break mine, so I like cheap ones I can easily replace. I'm used to pretty crappy quality, but when I realized Monoprice sold some, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice they were. (Though, they're still $5 earbuds, don't go expecting some crazy sound quality.)
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:18PM (#40304141) Journal
    And they are "Studio standards" - AKG-240M. Big, comfy and accurate. Not as good as $200 Bose or Sennheisers, but a fuckton better than most of the other crap out there.
    • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:18PM (#40304147) Journal
      oh, and 10 shitloads = 1 fuckton, just so's ya know.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Danzigism (881294)
      I'm very happy with my AKG K240 studio headphones. They are also close to $99 retail. But worth every penny. The audio cable is detachable as well so if years down the road you get a short, you can easily replace the cable for about $15. If I'm just at home, nothing beats a pair of big ass headphones.
    • by macraig (621737)

      The 240Ms looks a lot like the Realistic-branded cans that I bought in the early 90s, with a single active and six passive diaphragms. I loved those cans and still do, but I can't wear them now for any length of time because of physical pain to my ears.

    • by catmistake (814204) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:59AM (#40305677) Journal

      Not as good as $200 Bose

      Just something to consider... I know what you're saying, but "good" of course has different meaning for different applications. I've never heard Bose headphones, but I have heard other Bose audio, and while it sounds very nice, for what is popular today in what people want to hear, in my experience, Bose can almost never actually be considered having fidelity, that is, faithful to the actual audio that is being amplified... because I have discovered they are always incredibly bass heavy. In a studio, this might be fine for cans for a drummer... if an expensive option. For purely enjoying music, they are pleasant I have little doubt, Bose does some pretty incredible things. But you're hearing more than the artists intended, FWIW. I'm no Bose expert, haven't listened to any of their headphones, but I would expect if you tried to mix music with them, all your music would end up sounding weak in the low end... because you're mixing with a heavy bass handycap. If the music you listen to is traditionally bass heavy anyway, I wouldn't expect Bose to be considered good for that application, unless you just really love low end and don't mind that you're hearing more of the headphones and less of the music.

      Again, I am no expect, but I would consider the best headphones those that faithfully reproduce music flatly, in all its gory sonic imperfection, and not try to boost any frequencies because the sound of it happens to be popular right now.

      I like Bose radios for their compactness... big sound, small box... but I have no delusion as to whether the audio coming out of it is actually really what I am listening to... if that makes any sense (how much is the artist, how much is Bose?). Most people would hate the way studio monitors sound, but if Bose made such a thing in a compact box that didn't boost frequencies and faithfully reproduced the signal no matter what it was, I'd be all over it.

      ...just my uninformed $.02... YMMV

      • by careysb (566113) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:04AM (#40307269)
        I know what you mean about the exaggerated bass, that's is exactly what I experienced with their speakers in their show room. However, I purchased their original noise cancelling head phones ($300) when they first came out because my cubical was immediately below the heating and air conditioning system. The head phones DID NOT exhibit the same bass boost that their speakers did and the noise cancelling ability was outstanding. I've tried other noise cancelling head phones just as a point of comparison and none did as good a job. The tonal range seemed to be evenly distributed and the ability to reproduce sounds accurately was good as near as I can tell. Also, Bose will (or at least did) give you a $100 credit if you brought in an old pair for replacement. Seems like an absolute necessity if you work in a cubical environment.
  • They're about 12 bucks on Amazon (more if you want the iPhone model), but they're cheap, comfortable and pretty durable. Sound is fine, but I'm no audiophile so I can't really tell the difference between earbud sound quality when I'm listening to MP3s.
  • I know they get a lot of greif around here, but their earbuds have interchangeable tips to size them for your ear canal (S/M/L included) and they are $100. I use mine at work and for earbuds they are amazing (fidelity wise), and comfort is very good. I have a set of the $300 over ear QC15 (to replace my old QC1's) and I like them fine, but they are not nearly as good a bang for the buck as the earbuds.
    When I am doing actual audio/video work I have an ancient set of JBLs that I wear for the detail work and

  • Monoprice (Score:4, Informative)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:21PM (#40304171)

    Monoprice's $23 headphones have gotten some pretty good reviews:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57337747-47/how-good-can-$21.59-headphones-be/?tag=mncol;txt [cnet.com])
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/608453/monoprice-dj-headphones-8323-review [head-fi.org]

    They sound good to me, but I'm not a serious audiophile, I just use them to cover up background office noise. I think the sound is comparable to the $80 Sennheiser's I use at home. (which, a friend tells me are completely unbearable compared to his $500 Sennheiser HD650's, so I refuse to listen to music through his headphones, 'lest some of his "golden ears" rub off and I find myself needing more expensive gear)

    • Re:Monoprice (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:57AM (#40305355) Journal

      so I refuse to listen to music through his headphones, 'lest some of his "golden ears" rub off and I find myself needing more expensive gear)

      I made the mistake of shelling out a hundred bucks for a new pair of Shure headphones recently and now half my music is unlistenable.
      And I've also discovered that my laptop's headphone jack produces a steady hiss when it's powered on.

      Good headphones are a blessing and a curse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:21PM (#40304173)

    or Head-Fi. They aren't audiophile dumbasses but also they aren't the broke neckbeard losers that inhabit slashdot listening to their $5 Jensen headphones.

  • You should be able to get a pair of sennheisers [sennheiserusa.com] that fit around your ear.
    It's could be worth paying extra at that price range and what ever is on special that closed and around the ear would work.
    I have the 280s and they are pretty good for isolation.

    • by naroom (1560139)
      Wearing a pair of Sennheiser 280's right now. I've had them for a few years, best money I've ever spent. They're durable and block out a fair bit of office noise. They sound great, too, they're a nice upgrade from the crappy $20 pairs you can find everywhere else. Perfect office headphone, also use them as monitors for my synthesizer.
    • by Prune (557140) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:00PM (#40304543)
      I used primarily the HD-580 for about seven years, until I switched to Stax electrostatic headphones (Omega 3, that cost about $5000). The 580 were around $250 when I bought them new on eBay and one could probably find them now for $200. Over this time period I auditioned several dozen headphones (I don't have speakers as I move frequently) and in the under $250 range there's nothing that compares. It's a sort of a sweet spot. Anything above that price point is an incremental improvement; most things below are a significant degradation. Even the $5K Stax are not that greatly better (but hey, felt good to buy myself a little present, and it was an excuse to build a high voltage hybrid solid state/tube headphone amp instead of plunking another $5K after one... http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/bluehawaii_moda1.png [northwestern.edu] )
  • but check headphone solutions or earphone solutions dot com

    they have a $60 dollar section, and a 15% coupon right now for Father's Day. code = DAD15 until 6/17.

    I don't think many audiophile sites will even review pairs in that price range, so I'm afraid you're going to end up with Sony, Sennheiser, etc.. (mass market brands)

    buy a couple different pairs from amazon and just see which sound best to you. return the rest (read the small print for canal buds or in ear type - returns might not be allowed because

  • HeadRoom (Score:5, Informative)

    by juventasone (517959) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:28PM (#40304227)

    HeadRoom [headphone.com] tests more headphones than probably anyone. They're unbiased enough to say when a $40 pair is better than $100 pair that they sell.

    • Re:HeadRoom (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheInternetGuy (2006682) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:38PM (#40304317)

      They're unbiased enough to say when a $40 pair is better than $100 pair that they sell.

      I have no experience from HeadRoom ( I am sure they are good if you recommend them).
      But I did use to work in an electronics store as a teenager, and I just want to say that it is quite possible for the reseller to have better margins on a $40 pair than the $100. Especially when the cheaper product isn't all that well known and the more expensive one is. So that is not really a foolproof sign that they are unbiased.

      • by Prune (557140)

        I have multiple experience with them and back up GP's post.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't even know what the hell we're talking about, but I know all three of you guys are wrong. Except the second guy, who makes all kinds of sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:28PM (#40304235)

    If you want comfort and ultimate noise blocking you can do a DIY version. I made a pair and they were fantastic and comfortable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmk-y_9exJ8&feature=player_embedded

    Just pick up a set of decent earbuds, I used skullcandy ones when I did mine, and a radians custom earplug kit ($11).

    http://www.amazon.com/Radians-Custom-Molded-Earplugs-Red/dp/B002XULPSQ

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      Funny, along the same path, I ripped a pair sennheisers apart and installed them in a headpiece to practice shooting firearms or operating heavy and and noisy machinery. They are basically the same. Perfect noise isolation. I use them to record drums so I can't hear the drums directly, only the feedback from the headphones...

      Sorry, no video available.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:29PM (#40304241)
    • Please mod parent up +5 !

      Why? Because you can sort by -user- reviews, you know people who actually _have_ the cans you are interested in. :)

      It is not an accident that Sennheiser is consistently ranked best overall compared to other brands. Great German design.

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        I thought the common thread on head-fi is that sennheiser isn't all that amazing. That there are a lot of other options that are cheaper AND sound better.

        Wasn't there an article a few months ago reccomending their favs, and sennheiser only had 1 out of like 10 in that list, and they weren't even that enthralled with it?

        I'm not an audiophile, but I've spent a year testing just about every config you can think of and a ton of headphones. It seems that, no offense, the groupthink on the net is to choose sennhe

        • by Prune (557140) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:22PM (#40304733)
          I know Jude personally (the guy that runs the site), and I can tell you that threads get deleted if they criticize any of the products of companies sponsoring the site. And there's quite a few of those. It's a very biased site as a result of persistent and biased moderation (not the users themselves). The old headwize used to be much better; at this point, one is best to refer to diyaudio.com (no commercial conflict of interest) and also the measurements and recommendations at headphone.com (commercial, but have managed to be very objective from what I can tell; plus I tend to look at the measurements more anyway).
          • by MogNuts (97512)

            Ouch that sucks. Guess I won't be going by their reccomendations then. Forget that Grado SR60. Though that JVC Harx 9000 or whatever it's called I see a lot of people love and it's $30. But anyway, thanks for the heads up.

            I guess it gives even more credence to my advice of simply actually trying on a pair to see if it's comfy and produces the sound you like. Too bad I can't seem to find a lot of places like that. Shame also that there is no equivalent of like an Anandtech which really reviews headsets and a

            • by Prune (557140)
              Unfortunately, high end audio stores tend to be mostly in big cities. The other downside is that you end up trying a pair of $5000 Stax Omega 3's and then you feel inadequate in anything you actually do purchase lol. PS. Grados are colored as their frequency response is anything but flat. I've heard many Grado headphones, and they all have that signature sound. Some like it, but I prefer minimized distortion. If the source audio is bad, so be it, but I sure don't want the headphones to try to compensate for
              • by Prune (557140)
                I can also recommend earbuds for portable use. Etymotic ER-4s. On the lower price point, their ER-6, which I used to have until psycho ex ran them over with the car. I compared them to some Shure and Westone stuff and the latter have more bass and more distortion...
        • by Prune (557140)
          Etymotic ER-4S remain the best earbuds. I've tried the similarly priced ($300+) Shure and Weston stuff and they just add more bass and give up low distortion.
      • by Prune (557140) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:23PM (#40304743)
        Unless you poorly review the product of one of the site's many sponsors, and then when a critical mass of this has accrued, posts, entire threads, and/or users are "disappeared", which Jude (site owner) freely admitted in the sponsors-only forum.
  • by MogNuts (97512) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:36PM (#40304299)

    You actually are in luck. I spent like a year playing around and tinkering with all sorts of configs. What I found is that there is not a lot of information or data on this. So here is what I did find, and I welcome any different perspectives because quite frankly I can't find anything else:

    Ignore gaming headsets or anything with a mic integrated. They are universally terrible. I've tested the Creative $60 one (only good for bass--mids and highs are distorted and sound very fuzzy), the Cooler Master Storm Sirus (sounded weak, volume was waaaaay too low even at highest settings & then at the highest the sound gets distorted, and only good bass comes from the left ear but not both), the supposed well-reccomended Corsair one (which was absolutely pathetic--no bass and all sounds sounded flat and no vibrancy). So the solution is to get a good pair of true stereo headphones, which are cheap $40-80, and if you must have surround sound, pair it with a sound card that does 3D upmixing. I have an old an old Creative X-Fi (ExtremeMusic I think--drivers don't recognize it properly--I think I have a XtremeGamer but it will only install extrememusic). It's pretty bad that I use a $35 pair of Sennheiser earbuds and overall it sounds better than any of those $100+ headsets. Yes, with earbuds it lacks significant bass and it's clear but not crisp clear, but I bet you a good set of stereo cans with a dedi sound card will be phenomenal. Those earbuds I mentioned are pretty damn good for earbuds, and pretty cheap. 300% better than earbuds thrown in electronics. But then again you don't want earbuds and I agree with you. I freaking hate them. It's just that I havent' gotten around to trying the JVC Harx something or the Grado SR60. I can't think of their exact names, but supposedly they deliver clear at all levels and hearty bass. But then again that's what I read. And astroturfing is so prevalent.

    Best advice though is go to a place where you can TRY IT ON and listen to it. Seriously. Even if something is settled on, try it on before you buy it! An uncomfy headset is the absolute worst. I couldn't bare wearing that damn Creative headset because the small tight leather cups drove me mad. And an uncomfy headset will.

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      Forgot to mention that I also say use a dedi sound card because it seems that USB just can't handle the load, at least for games and 3D upmixing. But apparently creative makes upmixing software for $20. Check it out. I don't know the quality, and it still may sound like shit, but it might be better than investing $180 in a Creative Titanium X-Fi or whatever it's called, when it sounds good enough with integrated audio.

      Also, get a dedicated USB mic. Gaming headsets are ALWAYS the worst pieces of shit ever. Y

  • by juventasone (517959) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:40PM (#40304343)

    Koss Porta Pro [koss.com] don't just look retro, they're the real deal. They've been mostly unchanged since 1984, and Amazon has sold them since 1990 (up to 1,200 reviews now). It's nice to see a company stand behind a product instead of cycling them every 6 months.

  • From an audiophile with stupidly expensive headphones, DACs, and amps to power them, and no $50 cables:

    The Superlux HD668b [amazon.com] have the most impressive bang for your buck I've ever seen. At $50 ($30-40 if you look around), they easily match other cans $200-300 in quality. They are super analytical monitors—you won't get that V-shaped response that most people find pleasing. If it happens you like that type of response (many people requesting a flat response don't actually realize how accustomed they've be

    • by Prune (557140)
      For that price point ($40), the Koss Porta Pro remain the kings, as another poster pointed out. I'm saying this as someone that's auditioned everything from the shittiest do-it-yourself headphones I made to $5K electrostatic headphones.
  • If it's audio quality you want, grab the HD650's. But they are open-back, so no isolation whatsoever. If you want/need isolation, go for the HD280 Pros. They're comfortable enough to wear all day and have massive amounts of noise cancelling without any electronics whatsoever.
    • by Prune (557140)
      Yes, Sennheiser are the best in the mid-price range (sub-$1K), but the OP was asking about $50 headphones, not $500.
  • I'm streaming from Magnatune [magnatune.com] to my Bose QC 15 right now.

  • I bought a nice pair of AKG earbuds a couple years ago. AKG has a reputation for quality, and many years before I'd bought a Realistic-branded set of AKG circumaural headphones that were awesome. Alas I couldn't enjoy them any more because they caused me physical pain, from pressure and bruising of cartilage, because my ears had grown too large (ears keep growing)... or something. I'd bought several other circumaural brands, thinking I could find one that didn't hurt, but they ALL caused pain after perha

    • by Change (101897)
      I have a pair of Koss headphones that are just like you describe, I'm a big fan of them. They are quite comfortable and sound pretty good too. http://www.headphone.com/headphones/koss-ksc-75.php [headphone.com]
      • by macraig (621737)

        Those Koss are actually quite different: diaphragm size. The Philips ones - okay, looking for a model number finally - model SHS3200 [amazon.com] have a much smaller earbud-class diaphragm. I might find a larger "earhook" style like yours comfortable, but I'm very wary they'd hurt as much as regular cans.

  • I have several... many... sets of Skullcandy earbuds. Though I've experienced uncomfortable earbuds before, that isn't the case at all for me with these. The only contact with your ear is a very soft, squishy "mushroom" of silicone/rubber. I can't imagine any over-ear headphones that would be more comfortable, personally.

    And, the bass and noise isolation is excellent. Their "base models" are cheap, with little discernable quality compromise from their higher-end. At the price, I'd suggest trying one--

  • While the Sennheiser HD 280 PROs are about double the asked for price range, I think they're worth every penny. They're good for about 30 db of noise cancellation, have an excellent and balanced response across the audio spectrum, and stellar audio reproduction. I've had mine nearly three years now, and I use them about 20 hours per week (about 3000 hours of usage so far). I still absolutely love them, and if I ever needed to replace them, I would get the same model in a heartbeat.

    Considering my cost per ho

  • I went to target, 20$, it is great for playing video games with friends and chatting on Team Speak.

    My previous headset was the overly hardware laden Microsoft Sidewinder from late 90s or early 2000s, and I had it to play Warcraft3 with friends. Voice chat is invaluable for RTS. Our team was the best in the world at the time 200wins 1loss(from my teammates screwing around).
  • The earbuds that came with the Zune HD were and still are the best padded earbuds I've ever owned. The second best were the earbuds that came with XM MyFi portable satellite radio.

    Despite searching for years I have never found the OEM for these two models of earbuds. I recently found a few new/old stock Zune HD earbuds to replace my old pair and to keep me going until I find something comparable.

    I don't prefer the sound isolation "ear canal" headphones because it messes with the pressure in my ears and th

  • http://tinyurl.com/6ujmge3 [tinyurl.com]

    I have one of these which I bought about 10 years ago. Back then I think I paid $150, but anyway, they are comfortable, do a very good job of cutting out external sound, and the frequency response is wonderful. Deep but not overpowering bass, all the way up to clear, crisp highs.

    I bought them as I was the sound technician for my large church's praise band. Even worshipping in a large, acoustically horrible gym, with these headphones on it was wonderful to hear just the band (or

  • by Nugoo (1794744)
    I don't actually know much about headphones, but Koss has a fairly wide variety of them at different price points, and, most importantly, all of them have a lifetime warranty.
  • Engadget... (Score:2, Informative)

    by xded (1046894)

    Seriously? Is this the kind of deeply technical questions that the diversified and experienced /. community is supposed to answer? Is this becoming Yahoo Answers?

    And to the poster (because the first paragraph was to the editors), just take some time to type something [google.com] into google and head over to:

    • ilounge [ilounge.com]
    • engadget:
      http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/26/ask-engadget-best-over-the-ear-headphones/
      http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/04/ask-engadget-best-passive-noise-cancelling-headphones/
      http://www.engadget.com/2011/0
  • Under 60, Sennheiser px100-ii.
  • if its not listed move on, cause its crap

    generally I like it when its low end is below 20Hz and its high end is above 20Khz, I have a pair of sony's that my wife bought me, maybe 20 bucks thats 18Hz and 21Hz and they still sound a bit muddy (yes I am a bit of a snob), but they are well balanced over the frequency range and for 20 dollar or so headphones are quite adequate for my snotty taste, probably sounding pretty good to your average person.

    The above opinion has also been echoed by quite a few studio mu

    • by Prune (557140)
      Frequency response is a graph, not a pair of numbers. The numbers tell you absolutely nothing about how flat or distorted it is, and that's critical. A good retailer of headphones such as headphone.com will have both frequency response graphs and harmonic distortion graphs, which you can use to directly compare different brands/models. Summary statistics are not useful given that the ear is highly nonlinear and masks some distortions while it is much more sensitive to others.
  • Whats the driver?
    If its your PC/Laptop. over the ear "HEADPHONES" will do.
    Sennhieser RS110 or similar(HD series) all have excellent quality. Truly amazing.

    However, if its your tiny mp3 player, in ear is the only way to go
    I use a Soundmagic PL-21 which cost 20$, and are excellent. With your budget, you can get sennhieser or Klipsch image S4 etc.,
    Again, I have listened, and they sound better than the soundmagic.

    That said, my budget was $25(for creative nano), and PL-21 came out to be the best

  • In general, I've never really found that expensive headphones are worth it due to their tendency to break. Myself I'm using a cheap pair of Phillips in-ear headphones, I don't think they cost more than $15, fit pretty comfortable for long terms and have decent enough sound quality, at least for me. Of course, I'm not much of an audiophile and mostly use my headphones for listening to music in bed, throwing them in my pocket and using them with my laptop/phone while in a car (passenger of course), listening
    • by Prune (557140)
      I used and abused a pair of Sennheiser HD-580 for seven or eight years before I upgraded to electrostatics and they were $250 when new. They were certainly more sturdy than most of the previous sub-$100 headphones I had.
  • These are out of your price range (~$100), but these are the most comfortable headphones. No torture of the ears, no sweating, and awesome sound.

    Oh, and they are purple.

  • Etymotic HF series (Score:4, Interesting)

    by futuresheep (531366) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:14PM (#40304671) Journal

    Get Ety HF series that work with phone OS you use. I bought a set of the HF2's for my Droid and love them. They're crisp and clear, without the artificial overpowering bass that most earbuds on the market have. The sound seperation is excellent as well. I have a set of Audio Technica NC cans, which are nice headphones, but I highly prefer the sound of the Ety's over those.

    On top of that, the sound isolation is excellent and I find them to be some of the most comfortable in canal phones I've used. Plus, for and additional $100.00 you can get fitted for custom buds that are molded for your ear canal.

    Amazon carries them for $120.00 or so. Well worth it.

    • by Prune (557140)
      The HF are OK, but their original quality earbuds, the ER-4s, remain their best product with the lowest distortion. I think Etymotic just wanted to add new products for the sake of adding new products while riding the expanding mobile audio bandwagon.
  • http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-202-Professional-Headphones/dp/B003LPTAYI/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1339557323&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]

    These are the ones I bought a while back because I heard good things about the company itself (and my hearing is so shot, I don't think a pair of $500 headphones will do me much good.) Someone also gave me some Skullcandy G.I. over the ear headphones (they look horrid, but they are comfortable and sound great, with the "one cord", it doesn't tangle quite as much...

  • Ear buds never stay in my ears. These are hooks, so they stay put. They stay comfortable in my ears even after extended listening. They isolate noise well, and they have a great sound. For the price, they can't be beat!

    http://www.usa.philips.com/c/headphones/shs8100_28/prd/ [philips.com]

  • by utkonos (2104836) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:12AM (#40305045)
    Being a DJ and a gear head, I've spent lots of time and thought on what to buy and I've made quite a few trials. In my experience you need to look at exactly what you are going to be doing with the headphones (or speakers for that matter). If you are going to be doing recording, you want to get a very good set, and by very good, I mean very unforgiving. They need to reproduce the sound as accurately as possible. The problem with these is that they are too good to listen to most MP3 recordings. They are so good that they expose lower quality recordings to the point that they sound bad. Those same MP3s will sound much better on cheaper, more forgiving speakers and headphones. Since you mentioned $50 as your budget, you won't have a problem.
  • Koss Porta-Pro (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chirs (87576) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:30AM (#40305187)

    In that price range you'd be hard pressed to beat the Koss Porta Pro. Very old-school styling, on-ear, and no isolation, but the sound is really good for the price.

    My upscale headphones are AKG 501s, driven with a homemade PPA amplifier with a custom bass-boost filter designed to compensate for the bass rolloff in the headphones themselves.

    If you want isolation, you're either looking at DJ-style headphones or else isolating earbuds. I can't help you there.

  • by k31bang (672440) <amontoya&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:20AM (#40305791) Homepage

    Koss PortaPro. Good since 1980's, and still good. Of course probably not what you need( not noise canceling). My favorite Koss product.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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