Help with over-ear headphones in £40-70 bracket

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by euan, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. euan

    euan New Member

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    Hello,

    I have been browsing your site and the forum, and while it's been very helpful I thought I'd register so that I could seek an answer to my specific quandary.

    I am in the market for some over-ear headphones in the above price bracket. I'm looking to use these for casual listening to indie rock/electronic music through an iPod/iPhone, and also for a wee bit of recording in Garageband/Protools, which I'll be using an Edirol UA-25 for. I don't consider myself an audiophile, so I'm really just looking for a decent set of headphones - considering I'm currently using an absolutely battered pair of standard iPod headphones I think anything will be an improvement!

    If I'm honest, the look of the headphones is probably as important as anything else, and I think I've narrowed my choice down to the following:

    Koss Pro 44A Koss Pro/4aa Retro Headphones - in terms of pure looks, these are my definite favourite. However, I appreciate that the high impedence would make an amp necessary, and that they may be difficult to come by (you don't have them in stock anymore?). If I could come by a pair, just how much worse would they sound - given my set up - compared to my other option?

    Eskuche 33 1/3s (silver) - eskuche 33 1/3S Closed-Back Headphones in Silver (33 1-3s) - also an excellent looking headphone. Would I get away without an amp with these?

    These are the two pairs that I'm currently considering, but if there are any others which you think I should have a look at then please let me know!

    Cheers in advance,

    Euan
     
  2. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    Hello :)
    Distressingly, I can't offer you any help. I signed up in order to ask exactly the same question - also looking for a new pair of solid, good-looking headphones for ~£50, having broken my second pair of portapros. :( And I was actually eyeing up the silver Eskuche ones; they look amazing, if slightly stethoscopish. (The curly cord on the Koss's is pretty rad though.)

    Fairly pointless post, sorry. Just seconding the first posters post!
     
  3. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Guys

    These are two slightly different queries but I will answer both in in separate posts-

    Euan first. The end results of your recording are entirely based on the quality of your ability to monitor the sound - even the best ears in the world will struggle to do a good mix with an inaccurate monitor set-up. I know you are not recording the BBC Symphony Orchestra but Garageband isn't far off the version of Cubase I used to use in a commercial studio about 12 years ago.
    You can do great things with simple software recording these days, why not save up a little and get the same headphones they use in a pro studio? These kind of cans last for 10 - 20 years and can be used for listening as well as monitoring. I know you like the look of the Koss but all headphones are not born with equal accuracy and accuracy will improve your mixes.

    Shure SRH440 Professional Closed-Back Headphones (SRH 440)
    £79.96 - Amazing quality at this price!

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Closed Monitor Headphones Coiled Cable
    £119.95 - Full broadcast quality monitoring headphone

    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO Closed Back Headphones 80Ω (DT 770)
    £129.96 - Hand made in Germany, favoured by most BBC radio stations

    It sounds like I am pushing you to spend more but I think if you get this right now not only will you have more fun and a better experience but it will cost less in the long run as you will not outgrow a Pro headphone no matter how great your recording skills get:)
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    SwampTurkeyJerkey, great name!

    So you are looking to step up from the Portapro to something a bit more sturdy. I think you can afford to concentrate on looks and sound a bit more than Euan who needs his new cans to be accurate.

    What music are you into and where will you use your new cans? Do you like the retro look too?
     
  6. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    Hello :)
    Yes, I'm pretty fond of the retro look. But I'm also quite generally shallow - I'll happily go for any handsome headphones, regardless of what era they belong to.

    Music wise I listen to mostly everything (never jazz :( ) so it's a bit tricky to narrow it down. The bulk of it is probably standard indie/alt/lo-fi stuff (think The Mountain Goats/Panda Bear/Navigator) and then more heavily-produced stuff in the same vein (John Vanderslice, who I stole my username from/Interpol). Also lots of stuff that lacks vocals; your usual electronic/drone/ambient/'modern classical' fare. And a tiny bit of thrash/hardcore punk.

    I mostly wear my headphones all day. I spend a total of four hours commuting each day (I'm on the tube for a large part of that, but I've not really had a problem hearing music before, even with the very leaky kosses, if I fiddle with the equaliser and turn the volume up a bit) and I wear them whenever I'm at my desk at work. (Actually, I'm starting to see how my old 'phones broke - they were usually on my head/around my neck, even if I wasn't listening to everything. I've got very flat ears.)
     
  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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  8. euan

    euan New Member

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    Thanks for the advice Robin. I appreciate that there probably isn't a headphone out there that is perfect for both the portable element that I need them for (I'm looking to wear them on my walk to work which I realise I didn't really say earlier) and for recording, with good retro looks thrown in.

    I can see that your recommendations are excellent, but to be honest I think my prospective headphones will get more use when I'm out and about than in a recording capacity, at least initially. I don't feel I can justify the expense of proper studio headphones (if I did I'd be going for the Beyerdynamics) with what is just an occasional hobby, especially as I'd be worried about ruining them by wearing them on the move. Therefore my needs are perhaps fairly similar to SwampTurkeyJerky.

    That is a blow with the Eskuches - reading those reviews you imagine that all the positive ones will soon turn to negative when they seem to inevitably break.

    Incidentally, it was listening to the new Panda Bear that made me realise that my buzzing iPod headphones were simply no longer tolerable!
     
  9. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    \o/ Recommendations (which I will now be awful about, I apologise)
    The Denons look a bit too big/plasticky/studio-y.
    The AiAiAis are cute, but they don't look hugely sturdy (not £43 worth of sturdy D:)
    The Pioneers are probably my favourite (they fold!) but still sort of plastic looking/not shiny enough. :S

    I'm sorry, I'm apparently a much trickier customer than I thought. :'(
    (Do you know if headphones with a cord cord (a cord made of cord, rather than a plastic-coated one) are less likely to break at the cord? Or does it not make a difference?)

    Thank you!
     
  10. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    Spooky, I was listening to Tomboy whilst typing my previous responses. It is not anywhere near as good as Person Pitch (is my premature judgement - I've only listened to it once, and fairly half-heartedly).
     
  11. euan

    euan New Member

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    I am quite fond of it so far - although my judgment may be clouded by the fact I've only listened to it while walking in the sun (which in Edinburgh is a notable experience). It certainly doesn't have the equivalent of a Bros or whatever on it.

    Now considering the Pioneers, but not quite sure they are exactly what I'm after.
     
  12. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    Edinburgh! I hope you're a Withered Hand fan.

    (I may end up buying a third pair of portapros. Aside from the fact that they break/aren't very solid, and that they are slowly becoming ubiquitous - I know, look at me wanting my ears to look fancy and special. I am an awful being. - they are pretty much perfect.)
     
  13. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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  14. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    SwampTurkeyJerky have a look at these - Art One - We have not got these in stock yet but I have a pair on my desk and they do sound a little bit better than the Porta Pro. Obviously they have ripped them off but they have made a few changes.
     
  15. euan

    euan New Member

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    Thanks again Robin. I'm getting frustrated by my inability to choose, especially when I wake up every morning and have to listen through my current pair. I'm considering the Shures as they may be the closest thing to an all-round option I can find - their looks are growing on me too! I also like the AiAiAi's, the PortaPros and both the AT options you've just provided, although I'd imagine the first two wouldn't be ideal were I to put them to use recording.

    A final question before I get out of your hair and spend some money - would the old school Koss Pro 4AAs be really hopeless for just listening through an iPod?

    I have a lot of time for Withered Hand, although having grown up in Glasgow the music scene in Edinburgh isn't quite the same.
     
  16. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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    Thanks Robin :)
    My decision making ability has always been rubbish, so I'm going to have to think about this for a while longer.
    I like the Audio-Technica ATH-RE70 Retro Street-Style Headphones in White, but they're a little pricey for me. :(
    Again, thanks for all your help. I'm also going to stop pestering you now. :)
     
  17. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Everybody is welcome to ask me anything they like!:D
     
  18. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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  19. euan

    euan New Member

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    Damnation - I was all set to go for the Shures and now the Zumreeds have caught my eye. I don't think they'll be quite as good headphones but they look great - and have different colours, which shouldn't matter but sadly does. Need to give this some thought.
     
  20. SwampTurkeyJerky

    SwampTurkeyJerky New Member

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