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Headphone sampling at Guitar Center

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  • Headphone sampling at Guitar Center

    Hey all,

    I wanted to find a nice pair of Over Ear headphones for a mobile device for a long overseas flight. Please note that these headphones may want amplification, but that's not what I was looking for.

    My origination point was a Sennheiser 202 HD. $25 on Amazon, it wasn't quite over the ear, but the sound signature was nice enought to be an upgrade over iphone earbuds.

    I spent a lot of time reviewing and found very conflicting information.

    So maybe someone will see this that's looking for some advice and find it helpful.

    My ears like bass and whatever coincides with the frequencies of rock/metal. I have a hard time with high notes, and my ears are sensitive enough to hear flourescent lights making noises.

    Based on what I found online, Sennheiser HD 380 Pro or the Audio Technica MD 50 were the leading headphones for what I wanted.
    I went to Guitar center and tried a few pairs out. Here's what I heard from the units out of the box.

    Sample Audio files:
    Ensemble Galilei - borroque style set
    Metallica - Kill 'Em All
    Tool - 10,000 days
    and a few hip hop songs for contrast

    Sennheiser HD 380 Pro: VERY detailed, nice sound stage, can be driven by my iPhone 4S at about 3/4 max volume. Mid highs and highs were a bit harsh but may tone down with burn in.
    These played Metallica OLD school the best, but the screech of the guitar about pulled my eyes out through my ears.
    the over the ear size was great; cavernous enough to hold my dumbo sized ears.

    Audio Technica MD 50: Nice pleasant sound, but not very good on highs or lows. Seemed to want the same amount of volume out of the iPhone as the Senn's. These headphones while similarly priced, to me, offered very good
    'mono' sound. They were not fatiguing at all, though the cup size was not as big as I'd like. There didn't seem to be any deep bass when powered by an iPhone.

    Shure SRH840: I wasn't impressed with these. Same sound signature as the AT MD 50 but just less quality sound overall. Bass? What bass? Meh.

    Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro: Wow. Smoooooth headphones, both in comfort and in sound. I had 3 hangups with this pair: 1. Impedence: these headphones required a LOT of power to drive for a mobile device. With the tests I ran, not all headphones followed the rules for sounding good per the impedence per volume of the iphone. These headphones needed 100% power from the iphone. 2. Collapsibility: these headphones won't collapse for those on the go. They're meant to be in a recording studio. It's not a bad thing, just not what I needed.
    3. Heat. While they were comfortable, their domes were a little warm for my ears. I could see myself sweating a bit after a few hours of listening.
    The BIG BIG positive was: These headphones had none of the fatiguing factors of the sennheisers, but had all the clarity.

    I listened to a few more headphones but felt very underwhelmed compared to the Sennheisers.

    In the end, it boiled down to the Sennheiser 380s vs the Beyerdynamics. Honestly, you couldn't go wrong with either one. Both sets are very accurate to the recording. Beyerdynamic just doesn't work as well with mobile needs, so I went with the Senns. Hopefully the harshness will mellow out over burn in.

    FYI, Guitar Center price matches with Amazon. Please don't showcase. If you listen to them there, be a human and buy them there.

  • #2
    I have been using a pair of Sony MDR7506 studio moniter headphones since 1995. Never had any volume issues with them on anything they have been plugged into.

    Grado also makes great headphones for the money.

    If you are really looking for excellent sounding headphones with sound isolation check out the Shure in-ear models. They literally cut off all sound from the outside.
    I shaved my balls for this :salute:

    Denon DVD1920, NAD C352, Hafler XL280 & XL600, B&W 602s3, MiniDSP, CHT 18.T(the duo), Acoustic Research PR1212
    Tama drums, Zildjian cymbals, Jackson & Epiphone guitars, Marshall amps


    • #3
      I have a pair of the DT770 pro's that I bought for studio and live sound use. I'm a big fan, at least for the money. I'd never travel with them, though. Just way too bulky. I use relatively cheap IEM's for airplane travel, since they're mostly earplugs in that scenario. The music is bonus.
      Angel City Audio
      East Street Audio

      ACA, Melody, Onix, NuForce, KR Audio


      • #4
        Originally posted by Wendigo
        If you are really looking for excellent sounding headphones with sound isolation check out the Shure in-ear models. They literally cut off all sound from the outside.
        I have a pair of Shure in-ears. I forget which model, but they weren't cheap by my account.

        I tried just about every ear piece, including the foam ones and just couldn't get it comfortable. I loved the sound, though it lacked some bass.

        I have to admit that I had an accident at work that damaged my right ear a bit, so earbuds tend to fall out. That's why I opted for over-ear headphones. I think you get better sound for the $$$ and I don't have to deal with them slowly sliding out of position.
        Plus, I have waxy ears. Even though I clean them somewhat regularly, my in-ear gym pair can get kinda gross.