Help deciding on $50ish, isolating, portable/foldable headphones

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by ddan49, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    Hello,

    So... I've tried doing some research. I don't want IEMs because I have ear problems with them. Here's what I basically need:

    Portable. These headphones need to be portable enough to put inside a backpack filled with textbooks. Another key here is durability, so they won't break while I'm carrying them around. They won't be under the books, but they'll be between the top of the books and the zipper of the backpack.
    Isolating. I'm going to be on a loud school bus a lot while listening to them, as well as on a plane sometimes. I don't like my music loud (I'm prone to hearing loss), so I really want them to isolate well so I don't have to turn my music up that loud.

    Now, comfort. Comfort isn't as much of an issue... I'll never listen to them upwards of an hour. However, if the comfort issue can't be fixed by bending the metal strip at the top upwards repeatedly (to lessen clamping force), it starts to be more of an issue. I think my head is fairly average, maybe on the larger side. This shouldn't be much of an issue.

    Aesthetics. This will play a TINY part, but it should be considered a LITTLE. Basically, between two very similar headphones, the one that looks better will probably win. I don't really like the look of headphones that have the brand and version of headphones and other stuff on the headphones (like the SONY V-6), but that does NOT play a significant part in my headphone selection (if the SONY V-6 was the best by far, I'd get it).

    Sound. This is, of course, important. I am NOT an audiophile by any means. I have no amp. My portable music player is a Philips GoGear Aria 8GB(Philips - GoGEAR MP3 video player Aria 8GB* - SA1ARA08K/17 - MP4 players - Portable multimedia - Sound and vision) (for which I can't find the output for headphones in ohms... I'll assume 32) or possibly (if I can find it) an iPod Nano (5th generation with the large screen and clickwheel right before they made them crappy touchscreens). Because of this, tiny differences (which aren't that tiny to you guys probably) won't make much of a difference. I'm "youth" (as you could probably tell) so I do, of course, like some more bass in my music. Here is the music I listen to:

    -Electronic (more drum & bass)
    -Club/Dance
    -Hip Hop
    -Rap
    -Pop (Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, that kind of thing)
    -Rock (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones... y'know... the good stuff. The sound quality for this isn't as important because the music I have for these is in a lower format, so headphones won't make much of a difference)
    -European "groove" (not sure what it is really called, but I like it. Kinda chill music... maybe downtempo? Here's an example of the type of music in English for you guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtSzpKiARrI

    So I've done some research. I've come up with some possible contenders:

    SONY V-6 (these are almost TOO expensive) (Amazon.com: Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil: Electronics)

    AKG K 518 LE (same as K81DJ)(Amazon.com: AKG K 518 LE Limited Edition Folding Headphones - Yellow: Electronics)

    Philips O'Neill "The Stretch"... cheapest of the bunch (Amazon.com: Philips O'Neill SHO9560/28 Over-Ear Headphones - Black Bordeaux: Electronics)

    I now have one more thing to add to the lineup. This is quite a bit more pricey, and I'd only think about these if they had GREAT isolation, but... the ATH-WS55 BASS (Amazon.com: Portable Headphones - Red: Electronics)

    I'm REALLY leaning towards the ATH-WS55s ($80 on Best Buy)

    Hopefully this wasn't too long! Thanks!
     
  2. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    Does anyone have anything?
     
  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The ATH WS55 looks fine when looking at the bass portion of the curve, but the treble is so recessed you would likely have to increase volume quite a lot to hear details, which accelerates hearing damage. Not saying this is necessarily a bad choice, just something to investigate further.
     
  4. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    Would an EQ setting be enough to bring it out?

    EDIT: Also, do you have any other recommendations?
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    EQ will not help the WS55 enough to have decent fidelity - I think you really have to know what that's about, and then you could decide from that knowledge whether you could accomodate its shortcomings.

    But here is something you should consider. This Fostex is highly regarded around here, and the people at headfonia that I know and trust who reviewed this say it's a great performer.

    Fostex TH-7 Dynamic Closed Studio Headphones in Black (TH-7B)
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I may have recommended the Fostex without finding out if it's portable enough, i.e. foldable and all that. So far it seems not. This Shure 440 is another good one, but a little more expensive.

    Shure SRH440 Professional Closed Back Studio Headphones (SRH 440)

    Now this one I really like - it doesn't fold up completely but the cups go flat, the carrycase is stiff and protective and compact, and slightly more expensive. This is far better than the Philips Stretch (I've had both myself).

    Klipsch Image ONE Closed-Back Headphones with Mic & Remote in Black
     
  7. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    One slight problem - I'm in the US. All of those look very good, but are definitely on the pricey side. How bad is the treble on the WS55? I'm no audiophile, so how noticeable will it be?

    EDIT: Since you had the Stretch, how was it? My standards are fairly low... I'm a high school kid that listens to music on the bus (which I'm on a lot... different teams) and on planes (same reasons), but I don't need "perfect" sound.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I'm also in the U.S. and I've bought several things here, since the price is different for orders from the U.S. (the VAT is less I think). But no matter where you buy - the thing is to get the sound you want. I have at least one headphone in my hand that has the same measured treble as the WS55, and even with treble boost EQ the highs are still muted. Not good. But as I said, if you know what you're doing you can decide for yourself - I can only give you advice about the possible downsides of a treble that's extremely recessed.

    The Philips Stretch was bassy and had strong treble at the same time. Very strong. So it's the opposite of the WS55. The Klipsch is bassy and has near perfect treble, i.e. in between those extremes. As far as perfect sound goes, I have some Sennheiser PX200ii's I got new from J&R via Amazon for $50 USD, and with ipod-equivalent 'Rock' EQ they sound like a $250 headphone. So again, you may not find the headphone that meets all of your requirements, but there are some that are inexpensive that sound mighty good. And those that do not sound good in my opinion - I'm not going to advise people to buy them - that wouldn't be honest.
     
  9. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    So the total order is actually LESS to ship to the US?

    Hm... this is interesting, because I have seen quite a few really mixed reviews about the highs. Some say they're great, some say they're terrible. I'm leaning towards not-so-great (graphs show it), but from what I know, there's some subjectivity in it. This will definitely be considered.

    Could you possibly link me to the curves for some of these headphones? I couldn't find one for the WS55. Also, what if I went with the Philips Stretch? The Klipsch looks AMAZING from reviews, but the one problem is mediocre isolation. It is quite a bit over my budget ($80 new on ebay from an...okay... seller which is the same as the WS55), and isolation is almost a priority for me. Thanks for helping, by the way!
     
  10. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The curves are in the AllGraphs PDF on the September update page at innerfidelity. Google it. The Philips Stretch is a good buy at the discount to ~$40 in the U.S. It's not a particularly good headphone though. The Sennheiser PX200ii is only $50 and sounds a thousand times better. The WS55 may be OK for you. Plan in advance to use EQ so that you're not disappointed.
     
  11. ddan49

    ddan49 New Member

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    The problem with the Sennheiser is that they won't isolate very well. I think I might go with the WS55. Or the AKG 518 LE... anything to add there?
     
  12. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Sounds like you have it figured out.
     
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