I have become a headphone snob. The funny part is – I don’t have the budget to get into the ridiculous headphone realm. My nitch market is affordable (subjective, I know), good sounding headphones for particular listening situations.
My first recommendation is a classic set of headphones. The Audio-Technica M-50S is a great studio monitor. They are closed-backed headphones meaning that they isolate sound around your ears and eliminate a lot of sound bleeding. They are good for listening to tunes on an airplane, but because they have larger drivers, be careful about how loud you listen to them – at certain levels, the sound will bleed out. I really like the straight cable option with this model which is 10 ft long. There is a newer version out (M-50X) that have detachable cables, but it is the same exact headphone driver, so there isn’t any sound improvement.
Included in this M-50S package there is a carrying case and a 1/4 inch adaptor. The headphones do fold up nicely and fit neatly in the provided case.
The only downside I have about these headphones is that they tend to feel a little heavy on my head over long periods of time AND they tend to make the top of my head sore, again, after a long period of listening. They can also get a little warm too – especially if you use them for gaming – but with that being said – they are great for gaming. I use them for Shadow of Mordor and I can hear a TON of stuff.
My second recommendation is another set of Audio-Technica headphones called the ATH-AD700X’s. The greatest features about these headphones is that they are lightweight, easy to wear and open backed. The first two features are self-explanatory, but the last I want to explain.
Open backed headphones are used to create large soundstages in listening environments because the sound is able to leave the headphones in all directions. This is particularly helpful when you are listening to Binaural Audio (audio that is recorded how our ears naturally hear sound). For most listeners, you might not care about this feature, but in live audio recording sessions, running sound behind a sound board OR wanting true audio stages – Open backed headphones are the way to go. I really like these headphones and have used them almost every day for over 6 months.
Now, the headphone world is one of those places where you can spend as much money as you want to have the latest and greatest. There are even a current set out there for over $30K. Again – you can spend whatever you want – so balance your needs, wants and budget carefully. There are hundreds of options.