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Comfortable Headphones around $100?

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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Jeremy_Watson


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Posted February 10 2005 - 04:14 PM

Hello HTFers, I will be taking a trip soon involving much air and train travel with my iPod as sole companion (unless something pleasantly surprising happens). However, the earbuds that came with it are unbearable to wear for even short durations, so I need something to wear for longer periods of time. I obviously want decent sound quality, but I will be listening to mp3's afterall, so they don't have to be perfect. I'd be willing to spend around $100, but don't want to go much over that. Not sure if I need noise-cancelling, cups, whatever, so any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks, Jeremy

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 10 2005 - 04:19 PM

The Sennheiser HD 497 are comfy and sound great! Some don't like the pleather ear cups because of the sweat factor though. Not an issue for me.


#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Ray Tsui

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Posted February 11 2005 - 12:56 AM

I have the HD497 and with my big head, they do get a bit uncomfy after a while(about a hour). If I were to recommend now, I'd look at the Grado SR-60. They are also open type and leak sound (let in sound), so they are less suitable in a noisy environment.

Ideally you should get closed headphones to help keep out the sound.

The most comfy headphones I've owned are the Sony D66 eggo type. Good sound, and man I could wear those all day. You can get these at audiocubes.com (good place). http://www.audiocube....eadphones.html Again they are the open type, not ideal for travelling.

Lastly, the most comfy earplugs I've ever had are the Sony 71SL, they come with different size inserts to fit different ears. The newer 81SL sounds better, but again you have to order from audiocubes.com http://www.audiocube....Earphones.html

Forget most of the noise cancelling type, the only ones worth buying are the Sennheiser PXC250 (over $100), and the Bose (big ripoff as with most Bose products, at $300)

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Dustin B

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Posted February 11 2005 - 01:52 AM

There are supra-aural headphones where the ear piece rests on the ear itself. This will represent the majority of headphones in the ~$100 price bracket. Personally I can't wear these for any extended periods of time. After an hour with my Grado SR-60 headphones my ears are screaming for me to take them off. Circumaural has a cup that rests on the head around the ear, so nothing touches the ear. I have Senheisser HD600 that are these type (and the HD515 is this type and in your price range). These I can wear all day. The problem is there are few circumaural headphones in your price range, and the ones that are, are open designs. The same applies for the best supra-aural headphones in your price range. Open headphones suck in a car little lone an air plane. You need to keep the volume level too high for comfort to drown out external sounds. Which isn't good for you hearing little lone comfort. Earbuds are useless, not aware of a single good pair. I think your best bet is a set of in ear canal phones. Either the Shure E2C or the Etymotic ER-6i. These produce great good sound and provide over 20dB of noise isolation. I have no first hand experience with the Shure's. But I found the foam tips on the ER-6i to produce and excellent seal and I found them quite comfortable. Only problem is they are a pain to insert. The rubber tips take some practice to get a good fit, and some people find them uncomfortable.
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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Ray Tsui

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Posted February 11 2005 - 02:34 AM

I like my Shure E3C's a lot and they are *great* when travelling, but I'm always aware of them when they are inserted in my ear. I got used to the feeling, but not everybody may feel the same. For the original poster, I take back my recommendations for the D66, SR60 *if* you are travelling. In retrospect, those open aire headphones are not that great in a noisy environment. They let in too much sound. So if you do want to take the chance I do recommend the Sony 71SL earbuds. They certainly aren't the best sounding but still a vast improvement over the stock ipod earbuds in terms of sound, and should be more comfortable too. Buy from a place that allows returns and try them out yourself.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   ClintS


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Posted February 11 2005 - 08:01 AM

I recommend the Etymotic ER-6i for less than $149. They are a perfect match for the IPOD. I have the ER-6 and use them on travel all the time amazing sound quality great sound blocking and very small and lightweight. The also work great w/ my portable DVD player, MP3 player, and Laptop. They fit snugly in your ear canal much like an ear plug. I find them very comfortable.

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   JohnSmith


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Posted February 11 2005 - 09:10 AM

I've just bought some Beyerdynamic DT 241's..quite nice sound, good low end. Not great isolation but obviously better than open. Pretty cheap too.


#8 of 13 OFFLINE   matthewRaz


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Posted February 11 2005 - 04:11 PM

check out "headroom" website for great advice on specific needs and good deals to buy. i took their recommendation for great sounding inexpensive easily driveable (ipod essential) comfortable closed phones and bought the sennheiser hd 280 pros. bit big and bulky for travel but they fold up a bit - i love them.

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Raj_asaurus


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Posted February 12 2005 - 06:25 AM

Shure E3Cs are wonderful, and they are very compact! HOWEVER if you have the money I really really like the Bose Noise-Cancelling Cans...they are very comfortable for long rides...hell even the triports are great.

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted February 12 2005 - 01:13 PM

Having been able to try the Bose for free on a couple trans-atlantic flights, I was pretty amazed at how well they worked, so much so, that I too bought a pair. While I am not a Bose basher, I would agree that they are overpriced by about $100, but the thing is, they work, and are the most comfortable cans I have tried. I have actually never tried them in a non-noisy environment, but on a commercial jet, they work wonders. I was in a discussion over at Steve Hoffman Forums regarding portable sound for Audiophiles, and was kind of surprised that a few regular posters also reported favorably on the Bose phones, with the caveat that they are overpriced. Any sort of in-ear phone is out of the question for me, so I need a conventional noise canceler; these fit the bill perfectly. FWIW, I have a set of Senn 250's on the way for my wife....it will be interesting to compare them to the Bose, since they are 1/3 the price. BGL

#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted February 13 2005 - 12:52 AM

I am currently using Sony EX71SL headphones with my iPod. As Ray stated, they are very comfortable and are a big sound improvement over the earbuds that Apple provides with the iPod. They do a good job of sound isolation, too, and are a decent bargain at less than $50. I am considering upgrading to either the Shure E3c or Etymotic ER-6i's, though. My wife needs new earbuds, and I planned on using this as an opportunity to upgrade mine and hand down the Sony's to her. I do not care for foam inserts (too itchy, and they wear out). I've read that the Shure's clear plastic buds do not provide much sound isolation and the black hard rubber plastic inserts can be uncomfortable. Can any Shure E3c owners offer insight into this?

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted February 13 2005 - 05:09 AM

there are some senns at about 125 that are pretty comfortable, forget the model # though.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   matthewRaz


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Posted February 13 2005 - 06:16 AM

cheapest way to upgrade stock phones is, of course, the koss portapro - $30 amer. great walkin around phones - i'll gladly leave the grado sr80s at home for a quick jaunt w/ the portapros

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