Headphones

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kitkat
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Headphones

#1 Post by kitkat » Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:16 am

Lightweight (i.e. not the padded sound-blocking kinds...but more the kind you use with a discman)

I don't want to spend hundreds...but how much is it going to cost me to get a step or two above the sound quality of the ones that come with your average discman?

I got the chance to listen to some on Olivier's (Brother Swing) CD player this summer. Now that I'm thinking about finally breaking down and buying a discman of my own (I know, I know, why didn't I get one in elementary school when they came out like all the other trendy kids? And can you believe I've travelled on 7-10+ hour trips every summer w/o one?)--but after hearing what decent, separately-purchased headphones can do, I don't want to settle for the default.

What models would you recommend?

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Soupbone
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Re: Headphones

#2 Post by Soupbone » Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:34 am

kitkat wrote:I know, I know, why didn't I get one in elementary school when they came out like all the other trendy kids?
Hey... I resent that. Discmans (discmen? ha ha) didn't come out until I was out of high school!!!! Oh well.. no real desire to be a trendy kid anyway! :lol:

No help for you on the headphones part, though. Sorry.
Gary

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JesseMiner
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#3 Post by JesseMiner » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:16 am

I either use the earbuds that came with my RioVolt SP250 mp3-CD player or my big padded Sony MDR-V600 headphones (the ones you say you're not looking for) that I use for DJing, but I know Frank from Rochester was speaking very highly of the Shure Earphones. They are pricy (the cheap ones start at $99), but they sound great, and I would definitely like to look into getting a pair for myself.

The problem with most light-weight headphones is that they are uncomfortable and/or don't block out a lot of background noise, which you get a lot of on airplanes when traveling, and thus you tend to crank the volume, which is definitely not good for your ears. These Shure Earphones use noise-cancelling technology to give you great quality without having to crank the volume.

I recommend you spend the extra money to get good-quality headphones for the reasons listed above. Cheap ones can be uncomfortable and harsh on the ears.

Jesse

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kitkat
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#4 Post by kitkat » Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:24 pm

Hmmmm...okay. Olivier's that I tried, though, were the kind that sit outside your ear. Which is nice because I don't really like in-ear headphones, and it's sanitary to let someone else listen to what you're playing. But I'll take suggestions on both styles.

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#5 Post by mark0tz » Wed Oct 01, 2003 1:22 pm

I know it's not the kind you're looking for, but I love my Sony MDR-V600 headphones. As for the kind you're looking for, I'd advise going cheaper. Only spend a decent amount of change on studio type headphones.
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Re: Headphones

#6 Post by KevinSchaper » Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:14 pm

kitkat wrote:Lightweight (i.e. not the padded sound-blocking kinds...but more the kind you use with a discman)
Sennheiser makes good stuff, and it looks like they even make sort of upscale mini-headphones..

http://www.sennheiserusa.com/

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kitkat
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#7 Post by kitkat » Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:37 pm

Yeah...this part of the Sennheiser site seems to be what I'm looking at. Wonder if I can find some free consumer reports online or something to get at which one's the best.

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Lawrence
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#8 Post by Lawrence » Thu Oct 02, 2003 12:43 am

This is a great question. There are three considerations. First, sound quality. Second, whether you want them for listening or DJing. Third (which you raised), whether you can tolerate in-ear headphones.

As for Sound quality, and especially for lightweight headphones, focus on the frequency range listed in the specifications. Most headphones that come with portable CD players have a very limited frequency range and suck as a result. The high-highs and deep-lows are cut off. Make sure you have a frequency response of 10 to 23,000 Hz or broader (lower than 10 and higher than 23,000). Most stock mini headphones come with a range like 20 to 20,000 Hz or (worse yet) 18 to 18,000, which cuts off the high-highs and low-lows, which, in turn over-emphasizes the midrange and makes the music sound a bit muffled.

Cost unfortunately is not always an indicator. In my shopping, I have found headphones for $20 with 10-23,000 range, whereas some of the $30-$60 headphones were of the 18-18,000 variety. I have only Sony lightweight headphones, and the better ones have GREAT sound quality for the money ($20 or less). One of the models with good frequency range is the MDR-A34, but there are so many others that you should just look for the frequency range on the ones at your local stores.

Second, I know you mentioned that you only want to consider lightweight headphones, but if you plan to use them for DJing, you absolutely should get the large, ugly, sound-canceling headphones that cover the ear with vinyl pads. At the very least, it will be MUCH easier to preview the next song without background noise. You will also hear subtleties better. The good news is that you do not need top-notch sound quality, so you can go cheap. You can get a good pair with acceptable sound quality for under $20.

I tried using my stereophile-quality Sennheiser home headphones for DJing. Because they did not cancel the exterior noise, they were difficult to use. The cheap, $15, cover-the-ear headphones worked much better, and spared my stereophile headphones from the wear and tear of DJing.

Third, I find that in-ear headphones work better for pure listening to portable audio. The speakers in any mini headphones are so small that placing them in your ear enhances sound quality: you miss less. Even though they are not as good as stereophile headphones, the law of diminishing returns kicks in (not worht the added expense), and I don't think you want to walk around with headphones that are bigger than your discman. But if in-the-ear headphones creep you out, then that is another matter.
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SpuzBal
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#9 Post by SpuzBal » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:26 pm

kitkat wrote:Wonder if I can find some free consumer reports online or something to get at which one's the best.
Shopper.com often has reviews on electronics, although I seem to remember them not having much in the way of headphone reviews. It's worth a shot though, I suppose.
"In my opinion, out of the ten great guitarists in the world, Django is five of them!" - Rex Stewart

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#10 Post by JeremyLewis » Tue Nov 04, 2003 5:32 am

I have a winner as far as headphones go, if you can still find them. Koss R/80's are I think the best deal for the money. They were $40 at Dell.com the last time I looked (which was a while ago), but they're a steal at that price. Scratch that, $32 from amazon.com. My favorite feature is that the headphone cord can be unplugged from the headphones via a phone-jack style plug. Anyways, I recommend checking them out.

Jeremy

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funkyfreak
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#11 Post by funkyfreak » Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:09 pm

That is an awesome idea, thanks for the heads up on where to find those!

-FF

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Lawrence
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#12 Post by Lawrence » Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:12 pm

JeremyLewis wrote:I have a winner as far as headphones go, if you can still find them. Koss R/80's are I think the best deal for the money. They were $40 at Dell.com the last time I looked (which was a while ago), but they're a steal at that price. Scratch that, $32 from amazon.com. My favorite feature is that the headphone cord can be unplugged from the headphones via a phone-jack style plug. Anyways, I recommend checking them out.

Jeremy
The phone plug does seem like a neat idea, but it also seems destined to break with regular use. How long have you had them and how often do you use them?

Also, as I confirmed during the Austin Exchange when somebody thought it was a good idea to transport a set of headphones from venue to venue by dragging them on the highway ("They don't need to be IN the van, do they?" Why didn't you TELL me to put them IN the van?"), you can get good, over-the-ear headphones (san the phone plug detatchment) for under $20.
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main_stem
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#13 Post by main_stem » Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:46 pm

Personally I only use one side of the headphones when DJing, one ear covered the other listening to what's going on on the floor. It's too dangerouse to cut yourself out on what's going on with the floor.

As for headphones, I've mostly use my Sony MDR-V150. They work well. Latley I've been goofing around with my ear bud headhonbes that came with my iPod. The only problem is that they hurt after extended use.
"We called it music."
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Lawrence
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#14 Post by Lawrence » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:52 pm

main_stem wrote:Personally I only use one side of the headphones when DJing, one ear covered the other listening to what's going on on the floor. It's too dangerouse to cut yourself out on what's going on with the floor.
I agree about not tuning out the room as you prepare the next song, but using only one side of the headphones requires you to blast the headphones so you can hear the headphone ear over the room music. Most professional DJ mixing boards (even the cheap ones) have a cross-fader on the headphones so you can check what is being played against what you are cueing up while you are cueing it up. (It applies just to the headphones; seperate from the cross-fader that goes to the amplifier). They are used mostly by beat-matching techno DJs, and thus are on almost all mixing boards.
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#15 Post by JeremyLewis » Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:13 pm

Lawrence wrote:
The phone plug does seem like a neat idea, but it also seems destined to break with regular use. How long have you had them and how often do you use them?

I've never once had a problem with it breaking, owned two pairs in the past 5 years (one was broken not by me, but in someone else's trunk). The beauty is even if it were to break you could replace the cord, unlike normal headphones where if the jack goes bad (most common problem I've had), the headphones are done. With these if the jack ever goes bad you just get a new cord.

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