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recommended headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by seanyd, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. seanyd

    seanyd
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    Ive just bought a creative zen touch 20gb player and i was wondering which headphones anybody would recommend to use with this . Nothing too expensive though. Thanks
     
  2. extremelydodgy

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    The Touch has enough power, authority and quality to be at home with virtually anything that's halfway portable. (European firmware may limit power though, luckily reflashing is not a problem)


    Depends on what you mean by 'not too expensive', but <£80 will buy you some nice phones. For portable use with no complications at ~£30, I like the Sennheiser PX200. It's compact and folds, it's reasonably durable, comes with a solid 2-year warranty, keeps out a bit of outside noise, doesn't leak and doesn't sound too bad. The £35ish AKG K26P is also getting some good reviews... I don't know about this one as I haven't used it yet.


    If you don't mind about keeping outside noise out and vice versa, then the benchmark for good affordable phones is Grado, and their SR60 (£70ish) and SR80 (£90ish) are rightly well regarded. Just a pity that the range starts to run out of steam after these two stellar performers but that won't affect you. The Grados do come with thick long headphone cables though, and as remarked before are completely open so in anywhere but deathly quiet areas you will struggle to hear your music without really cranking things up.


    A 'junior Grado' in terms of sound quality and price is the Beyerdynamic DT231 Galactic which sells for about £40. Surprisingly capable sonically, but regretaably utterly naff looking.


    Another decent Beyerdynamic is the DT 250 / WK250.30/07 80 (DT250-80 for short) which can be found at Turnkey.co.uk for £75. This is closed, very comfy, sounds refined and capable for the most part and is fairly lightweight. It's fairly low profile but not that small and doesn't fold... it may work for you, it may not. A few nits I can pick about it compared to my favourite portable full size phones, but I can't say anything bad about the 250-80 for £75 as opposed to the typically £130 price of my favourite, the Sennheiser HD25-1.


    For the most part, avoid anything by Sony with the exception of the ~£35 MDR-EX71SL in-earphones which for what they do are not too bad. Their MDR-V DJ phones are generally execrable for the money and the even the range-topper which can be found for £80 (the MDR-V700DJ) is fairly poor value for money and somewhat uncomfortable to boot.


    There are other Japan-only phones you can get from sites like www.bluetin.com and www.audiocubes.com which will make you stand out a bit since the phones will be unavailable in the UK. However the prices aren't cheap and while you might get something that looks very good for under £80, soundwise it probably won't stack up to the ones mentioned above.


    That's a basic list. If you're more specific then I can narrow down recommendations. www.head-fi.org is also definitely worth a visit, the place for headphone listening enthusiasts on the net.
     
  3. shadowritten

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    Sorry, but can I just stick in a good word or two for Sony phones? Having owned the Zen Touch, I can seriously vouch for the following four choices:

    MDR-J20 - around £15

    MDR-J10/L - around £10

    MDR-W24V - around £10

    MDR-W08L - around £8


    Now, these are all inexpensive, and all really excellent for getting some compelling sound out of the Touch. The £15 pair are remarkably bass responsive, yet with pin-sharp upper mid and treble. The bottom two on my list are slightly less bass heavy, but give good all-round performance if you 'tune' them to your taste using the Touch's custom EQ settings. And all pairs - though of the 'in-the-ear' type - are not the annoying sort that sit at 90 degrees from your ear chanel. These babies all have speakers facing DIRECTLY into your ear hole; so more sound, less need to waste battery power hoiking up the volume, and less sound leakage to irritate others!

    Oh, and I'd give the MDR-EX71SL phones a complete miss. Absolutely the WORST phones I've ever used (especially with the Touch), zero bass response, tinny, quiet and awkwardly uncomfortable.
     
  4. seanyd

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    thanks for the info , i think i might go for the sennheiser px200.
     
  5. shadowritten

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    Oh yes, the sennheiser px200s. Had a pair and returned them within 24-hrs. I'd expected something amazing for the £80 I paid, yet found my £8 Sony's delivered far superior sound (minus a punchier bass line, which I'll concede to the px200s).
     
  6. seanyd

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    just checked out the sonymdrj20 phones very impressed , any idea how well they cancel out outside noise?
     
  7. shadowritten

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    Let's put it this way: with modern rock or pop playing through them at about 18 or 19 on the volume (that's about two thirds of the way up), you can't hear anything unless you happen to be walking along a busy city street at, say, rush hour. In quieter conditions, that much volume through the MDR-J20s would be WAY too much!

    None of them are perfect for noise cancelling - but then, I've also tried noise-cancelling phones and found them a) bulky and b) not as effective as claimed. The ones on my list are at least very comfortable for prolonged wearing, and because they fit right in the ear, cut out quite a bit of external noise even at moderate volumes.
     
  8. extremelydodgy

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    £80 for PX200? Man were you ripped off. That's double the RRP.


    The EX71's are not that great as I said, but no bass? You've got to be kidding me. They isolate noise quite well, and are very portable. I happen to think they're OK for comfort.


    The H.ears are mediocre at best. The Sennheiser PX100 (if you don't need isolation) is a heck of a lot better.
     
  9. RB05

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    £130 for a pair of headphones? Are ye mad? Can I just ask... what is wrong with the pair Creative give.. Just wondering
     
  10. extremelydodgy

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    I don't see it being that mad. After all, the headphones are the primary point of presentation of the music. And hopefully we all know what difference really good speakers make even when plugged into a fair amp.


    The pair Creative supply is no worse and no better than most of the freebie phones supplied with any other player. They're fine but you can do better. As far as the audiophiley bits are concerned, some portable players these days (and I don't include the HD5) approach mid-fi decks in terms of the ultimate quality that you can wring out of them. Better headphones do make a difference if quality is your game.
     
  11. RB05

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    Fair enough - I know you need a good pair and the ones supplied usually are just basic, but surely you can get a good pair for less than £25? I just see £130 as wasting money.
     
  12. extremelydodgy

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    You pretty much get what you pay for, at least up to the £400 or so mark in my experience.
     
  13. kevH

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    £130 wasting money?? !!

    Just taken delivery of my Shure E3's for use with my MP3 player and without any doubt it hasnt been a waste of money its basically made the player a "different" player !!

    The sound is far clearer crisper and just sonically in a different league to the supplied with Sennheiser 300's.

    I suppose its,once again, what suits the individual but a waste of money ? No Way.
     
  14. shadowritten

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    My apologies, meant the other pair (250cx?) - the ones with the Noise Gard thing that frankly was about as much use to me as a tatooed lung. Couldn't be doing with lugging around that noise-cancelling in-line component - too heavy, too much cable. And without it switched on (and faintly buzzing in the background), there was no oomph to the music.

    As for the EX71s, I truly found them terrible. Like listening to an anaemic and slightly distressed wasp trapped in a can of cola. And seriously, I could detect no bass whatsoever - which surprises me, as I've always sworn by Sony's headphones in the past. In fact, the £8 pair on my list has now lasted me for ... get this ... 14 YEARS!!! And still going strong.
     
  15. extremelydodgy

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    Not sure what you were using it with, but 300 ohm impedance and a mediocre effective efficiency does make the PXC250 a harder phone to power. I found the 8~10mw class devices to be at the borderline level even with the NC on. With an anaemic Sony device, no dice. Should have been pretty effective on your Zen Touch though with the NC on.


    The EX71 does have bass... in fact too much of it, a somewhat muddy morass of "consumer-grade sound 'quality' enhancement". You probably didn't have them fitted properly.


    Apart from the studio-only MDR-7506, the discontinued MDR-CD1700, MDR-CD3000 and the previous flagship the MDR-R10, and rare surprises like the MDR-D66SL and the MDR-XDxxx series, I've more often than not sworn at Sony headphones. My current main Sony (the Qualia 010) has on balance more than it's fair share of peccadilloes.
     
  16. shadowritten

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    Yeah, gotta admit I was pretty bummed to find the EX71s didn't deliver for me even with the Zen ('cos, as we all know, Creative make DAPs with legendarily good sound quality - if a little 'warm' at times). And yes, maybe they weren't fitted right - although I tried every which way and still got zilch bass. Faulty pair, perhaps?
     
  17. GlynG60

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  18. KoThreads

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    I bought a couple of pairs last year when they dropped to £20.00 Great Headphones, and they fold into a little Senni box as well.
     
  19. extremelydodgy

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    That is a stonking deal. Even if you decide you want isolation later, for that price you've got to pic up a pair.
     
  20. KoThreads

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    They have now put them back to £30 :(
     
  21. cabster21

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    I would vote for the Sony’s. Though most mentioned here are pretty good, I just prefer the more earbud types. As I don't like walking around with things strapped to my head. Not too mention if you are running or anything, some tend to fall off easy. And you can still get good bass from a pair below 30 quid.
     

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