Grado SR325is with a Firestone Audio Fubar IV.
Sennheiser CX300s for iPod, though have just got an iPhone so am looking for a set with inbuilt mic, and am considering Etymotic.
The Etymotics sound great and are very portable. Aside from needing an amp to drive them properly (the ER4s at least) the only negatives are finickyness - even maintaining scrupulous ear cleanliness, you'll have to replace the filters every so often - and sensitivity to everything that touches the connector lead. To help control this they give you a clip to attach it to your shirt, but they're still not the ideal headphone to wear when you're exercising. I haven't tried other in-ear phones, but I suspect these downsides are common to all.
I'm not wild about headphones, but my wife insisted on less noise at late hours. She bought me Sennheiser HD 280 pro. Pros: Pretty accurate, solid construction, close out the world. Cons: A little heavy and hot after a while.
I use the Panasonic RP-HT227 stereo headphones. The bass is fabulous and the sound highly realistic yet rich (of course using a Panasonic CD player or a Technics/Panasonic stereo system will add to the overall listening experience).
But that's just a preference of mine. :-)
David A. Hollingsworth
R.I.P. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser.
I have had three sets of Stax electrostatic headphones since 1975. My current model is the valve driven Lambda Pro. They cost me £996 nearly ten years ago but are truly wonderful.
Never bought a perfect pair of classical headphones yet, so my Audio Technica ESW9s will have to do for now. Good for chamber music and voices in particular, with a warm mid-range boosted sound.
I have but the simplest taste - I am always satisfied with the best (Oscar Wilde)
AKG K 701
Bright and light :)
I've been using the Phonak headphones reviewed in the magazine. They are very light, fit comportably in-ear, and sound very fine indeed. However, I have a pair of Shures that don't fit as well, but compete very well with the Phonaks when it comes to sound reproduction. One does have to test the various plastic and foam buds that come bundled with the headphones to get the right fit and the right sound.
A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere.
I agree wholeheartedly (for what it's worth) about the potential damage to hearing, but the idea that headphone listening gives you the ability to detect musical details strikes me as spurious - surely every composer who ever wrote a note intended his/her music to be heard 'out in the open', the various sounds - and reverberations - entering the ears at comfortable distances. Think of Byrd or Lassus, for example - should music conceived for performance in the huge spaces of churches and cathedrals really be replayed in tiny strap-on containers? The extra 'detail' available is irrelevant, I'd say - I find listening through headphones of whatever quality an unnatural musical experience.
Recently purchased Goldring NS1000 noise cancelling headphones.They feature an impressive frequency response, large comfortable ear-pads and Goldring ANR (Active Noise Reduction) technology, which processes the audio to counteract exterior noise. Great isolation and performance - and a terrific bargain from Superfi at £59.95 (RRP £149.95).
Don't bother looking at the view - I have already composed it.
Sennheiser HD600 at home and Sennheiser IE8 for iPod use. Both are excellent with classical music.
I used to have the HD595 but cellos in particular sounded weird, and the lack of bass was a drawback with organ music.
I've just bought a pair of Grado SR80i headphones and am a complete convert. I love the transparent, balanced, natural rendition across the spectrum. Even MP3s straight out of the computer headphone jack sound marvellous. String music in particular is incredibly pleasing.
Agreed. I have 325s at work and 80s at home, and whilst the 325s have the edge, the 80s are probably the best value in the Grado range.
As mentioned before, I generally use AKG K 271 mkII but they are quite bulky when travelling - it's not so bad on a train, but they're a bit much on a plane, and they take up quite a lot of space in hand luggage (I dragged them round Australia for 3 weeks this summer, and I know whereof I speak :-)
So I recently got some Ultimate Ears Super.fi 4 'Canalphones' -- what are sometimes called 'in-ear monitors' -- for use when full-size headphones are inconvenient.
The variously sized silicon 'tips' they come with allow relatively fine-tuning to individual ear size, and the "Comply" noise-attenuating memory-foam tips are excellent. Plus they actually do fit my ears, which no standard 'ear-buds' ever have.
I have to say they're pretty good. They don't equal over-the-ears headphones for a sense of 'space' or 'openness' (even closed-back ones), as the music seems very much inside your head -- but the sound they produce is far, far better than any of the ear-buds that come bundled with mp3 players. Plus they really do block environmental noise (esp. the "Comply" tips). They are pretty neutral in tone -- they're not 'tuned' to accentuate bass -- which is good for classical music.
So, whilst I wouldn't want to use them exclusively (I'm always slightly conscious of them, for one thing), as a 'secondary' pair of phones -- and highly portable ones, at that -- they're excellent.
The model I bought is now discontinued, but you can still find some New-In-Box stock at various online retailers (although sadly closer to the ~£70 list price than the £18 (inc. p&p) I paid!).
"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"
- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.
I'm not a great headphone fan at home as I find them slightly claustrophobic, but when the occasion demands I use a pair of Sony MDR-CD1700. These aren't available any more but on comfort / sound-quality grounds I'd be happy to buy or recommend Sony's high-end 'phones again. I also bought a Musical Fidelity X-Can headphone amp although have since disconnected it from my system as I hardly ever used it and didn't find the uplift in sound quality worth the extra clutter and cabling in my living room. I have thought about putting it to use in a headphone-only system in my study though...
For out and about I recently bought a pair of Klipisch Image X1 in-ear phones from Amazon, and once run-in, they're comfortable and decent sounding - for the price, a bargain.