I’m far away from being a professional reviewer, but I just feel I should share with you my experiences with headphones. I’m a freak and I love headphones – there I said it out loud. My love for headphones started about a decade ago, when friends gave me a voucher as a birthday present. That was the first time I bought headphones from a serious brand. I remember that first impression like it was yesterday… I was amazed that headphones could be so enjoyable, I head no idea that I could listen to music and REALLY enjoy it with headphones. That first set was a Sennheiser PX 200 (I believe it was the first edition that is no longer available).
At that point I started to research a bit and found a whole new world, that was previously unknown to me – Audiophilia. I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, discovering so many new things, so many technical details and discussions. Most of the discussions I found in forums used words I never considered relevant to describe sound or music. How can music be cold or warm? How can there be a wide or deep sound stage in headphones?
On my journey through the endless amount of reviews and guides, comparison charts and expert articles, I quickly realized that there is no such thing as the ultimate set of headphones, or the best one. Everybody had different opinions and technical explanation on why this one set is overpriced, under powered or not warm enough.
I would like to give you a simple guide on which headphones I love and appreciate. This is only my personal preference – others might disagree…
The Koss PortaPro might look a bit weird, but they are extremely comfortable. The sound these little gems generate is unbelievable – especially with “regular” music files i.e. mp3. With these you don’t NEED to use only high quality lossless file formats – almost anything will sound great with the Koss PortaPro’s. I just love to use these when I’m “on-the-go”. They are very light and can be folded to fit into almost any bag. To give them an extra boos, I listen to them through my lovely FiiO E07K – pure music bliss.
The best part about these is that they go for a price that is very low for such great quality. They go for less than 50 USd, which is an amazing price for the amazing sound they are producing.
The Grado SR125i are the first grado headphones I have ever tried and I absolutely love them. They are light on the head – you could say that you barely feel them on your head. The only downside I could find with these are that the trebles require a bit of a burn in. When I took these right out of the box and played a Linkin Park CD, the treble was somewhat annoying. This isn’t something you can’t take care of by adjusting the equalizer a bit, but once they are properly “burn in” – the treble sounds great. I suggest letting them play for night or at least a few hours on a medium volume level. Just plug them into a media player and let them go randomly through the music on it. This will make the sound much much better.
The part I like the most about these is that you can put them on your head and forget they are even there… I’ve spent literally hours with these on my head while working.
Because of their size and huge cable, they are not easy to care around, I leave mine connected to the PC in the office.
Just like the koss porta pros, they sound even better with the FiiO E07K.
Grado Prestige Series SR125i
AKG 518 LE
The AKG 518 LE are different than all the other headphones mentioned in this post. They are not easy on the head. Not at all. But they have great bass, and are great at what they are built for – for DJs or when you really want to blast music into your head. They sound best with electronic music, Rap and disco, just whatever a DJ would listen to while DJing. I like to use them when i want to mix some electronic music and the bass levels are important to me. I can’t see myself using these to some relaxing music listening. I highly recommend trying them out in a store before buying them. Even though they are not expensive, but still…. they go for about 70 USD at Amazon.
AKG K 518 LE Limited Edition Folding Headphones – Red
Sennheiser HD 595 / HD 598
These are currently my absolute favorite headphones. I have the Sennheiser HD 595 and I just love the sound they are producing. Sennheiser have a very distinct sound signature in their higher level headphones, there is something to the sound that makes it more than just great – but awesome!
These were my first “high level” headphones and I am very glad that I went for these when most of the online reviews suggested them as first step in the audiophile world. That doesn’t mean that I’m not eager to move on to the next step… But even now, after owning these for over a year, I still get goose bumps when I listen to them. I love to listen to live performance of artists, and the when I listen through these cans – it feels almost like I’m sitting right there next to the artist….
When listening to music with headphones like these it is very important to use a good audio source and quality music files / video files. It would be a waste listening with these to low bitrate mp3s or crappy online streams.
Sennheiser decided to discontinue this line and create the HD 598 instead. They are basically renewed upgraded HD 595, having the same great audio quality.
These are the HD 595
and that’s how the newer HD 598 look like.
I highly recommend getting a pair of these if you like to listen to music!
Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents)
That’s it for now. Next I hope to get my hands on the AKG Q701, the Sennheiser HD 650, the Sennheiser HD 800 and hopefully I’ll be able to afford them soon ;)
Contact me if you have any questions!