seeking high-quality headphones for work
February 16, 2005 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Relatively high-quality headphones for work ... [MI]

I enjoy listening to a good mix of styles and genres of music while working (excluding classical, just doesn't suit my work environment). I've got a pair of AKG K-240M headphones at home that I like very-very much, but bringing them to and from the office in an ice chest on a daily basis didn't prove practical (plus I don't have a headphone amp at the office to power through the impedance of that model).

I'm looking to get a good pair of cans for my desk that I can leave here (large desk cubby can be locked), that have decent-to-good sound reproduction, don't leak a whole lot (some is OK - large air handlers will mask most of it, but I don't need noise cancellation), aren't terribly heavy and are comfortable for long periods (both reasons why my old MDR-V600s are still in the bag in a closet ... somewhere), and don't run over $150. I'm not moving around a bunch, so size does not matter (I don't want another pair of earbuds, yearggh).

I really don't necessarily need SUPER HIFI or reference or whatever since most everything I'm listening to comes off of 192 vbr mp3s out of the builtin sound of the Optiplex GX260, but I would certainly like to be able to appreciate some of the nuances of a well-mixed and -produced album while on the job. Suggestions?
posted by kuperman to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind the form-factor, in-ear phones, such as the Shure e3's may give you the most bang for your buck. If you are willing to spend about $100 more, the Westone um2's are excellent.

The best place I have found for opinions on all things headphones is Head-Fi. Check them out.
posted by rtimmel at 8:12 AM on February 16, 2005

I just bought KOSS Porta-Pro headphones to go with my Creative NOMAD. Great bass, clear treble. They do however leak sound which may annoy those around you. $39 at Circuit City. I am very happy with them.

A side note, I recommend replacing any headphones that come packaged with portable players. They usually suck.
posted by punkfloyd at 8:15 AM on February 16, 2005

My work headphone of choice is the Sony MDR-V6 (not to be confused with the inferior MDR-V600). I wear them for hours, every day, and they've been amazing. They sound excellent plugged into nearly anything, and leak very little. I can have things turned up pretty loud and you can't hear them when they're sealed more than a couple feet away. They're extremely durable, and have put up with years of being folded up, put in their bag, then tossed into my backpack. Search for "V6" on the Head-Fi or Headwize forums and you'll see dozens of people praising them. A popular mod for them to increase comfort is to replace the pleather ear pads with a pair of velour Beyerdynamic ones.
posted by zsazsa at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2005

corrected headwize link
posted by zsazsa at 8:20 AM on February 16, 2005

I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD477 about a year ago now for £25 ($150 :P ) and they have served me well. At my last job I used to wear them almost all day everyday with only a little discomfort when leaving work. Current job involves more phone calls so I use Sony in-ear headphones that I can rip out when someone rings - no where near the same quality or comfort but they get me through the day.
posted by gi_wrighty at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2005

Grado SR60 - ~$70, excellent quality. I use them at work pretty much all day every day.
posted by Sibrax at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2005

I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pros from HeadRoom and love 'em. Much more comfortable on my ears than the MDR-V700 DJs I used to use.
posted by GeekAnimator at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2005

I use the Sennheiser PX 100 headphones at work. They have an incredible response curve, best headphones under $50 according to several sites. Being open in design, if you crank the volume others may hear it. But I said "screw 'em" and got these things anyway. I am consistently impressed with them and even noticed details in music I've never heard before (and on CDs I've owned for years). Can be found for about $40 on NewEgg and Amazon.
posted by knave at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2005

Second the KOSS Porta-Pro headphones, though IANAaudiophile.
posted by callmejay at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2005

Further to Sibrax comment, Grado 80 - $95 are also excellent.
posted by lola at 11:51 AM on February 16, 2005

Another vote for Sennheiser -- I have the 515's. I write a lot at work, so I wear my pair probably three-fourths of the day. I don't mind the honkin' size of the cans because they're so (!) incredibly (!) comfortable. I also found the price to be right--they're good quality but not likely to be stolen, or cause heartbreak if they are.
posted by clever sheep at 12:00 PM on February 16, 2005

I'll second the Sennheiser HD280 Pros - I have a pair and they're great.
posted by swank6 at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2005

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