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JustinV

I'm looking for some really nice quality over ear headphones for travelling or even just watching movies on my laptop occasionally.

I most likely won't use them much when out and about due to size, but it's possible that I might. I was looking at the three above with my preference being the Beats (I'm an apple guy, so the white color and clean look appeals to me), however they seem quite overpriced. Could anyone suggest some nice headphones, or select from the ones above based on their experiences with them?

Thanks!

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4 answers
mac

I really enjoy the QC15s and use them for both music and movies. The noise cancellation really works well on long flights or when I'm trying to study in a crowded area. They have a detachable cable and fold up nicely into a case which also helps with traveling. I don't know too much about the other ones, but I would definitely recommend the QC15.

I think Best Buy usually has the Bose and Beats ones out on display in the store, so I would go check them out there if you can. That way you make the compare the sound for yourself and make sure they will fit comfortably before you buy.
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ArmpitOfDeath

It depends on what you want. If you need a lot of broad-spectrum noise attenuation (i.e. not limited to aircraft droning, etc) I think there's only one choice, and it's on-ear: The Sennheiser HD25. It's one reason why the broadcast versions are so popular. Personally I find them very uncomfortable.

For droning noises, yeah - noise cancellation is a good choice, and Bose's QC15 are as good as any (probably better). I think if you're an Apple guy - i.e. you're affected more by how things look and by marketing than the real merits of the device, and you will pay for the privilege of being marketed to - then the Beats are perfectly decent, and they *do* look good on the head, and the Bose - being a similar sort of company - will be a good second choice (and a better choice from a performance point of view).

In both cases, while the cancelling gives you a sort of 'out-of-environment', slightly 'floating above the noise' experience in terms of more broad-spectrum noise it's not as affective in actually keeping noise out as highly isolating closed phones, or in-ear phones, once you get beyond airplane noises, air-con / fans, etc.

However if the noise level won't be extreme, and you aren't too worried about how things look on the head, you have other options.

If you're looking for something primarily home / stationary but general-purpose, I'm quite partial to the Shure SRH840 (www.amazon.com­/Shure­-SRH840­-Professional­-Monitorin... ). They're reasonably priced, sound excellent and provide a high level of isolation for a closed around-ear phone. Be aware however that they do look faintly ridiculous on the head (IMO, and this is someone who does like the way Beats look on-head) in a similar manner to the Sennheiser HD280's.

If sound quality is key in a closed phone and you're after reasonable - if not amazing - isolation, then you can get what I'd been walking around with until a month ago - versions of the Ultrasone Edition 8 (www.headphone.com­/headphones­/ultrasone­-edition­-8­-p... ), which is basically a more tasteful equivalent of the Beats for those who laugh at people going "Holy crap, $300 headphones are so overpriced".

Personally, I've decided I'm an in-ear guy so I've returned to these as my primaries, and have a Bose AE2 on standby for colder weather.
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anomalyconcept

HD-25's are pretty comfortable once you break them in. I can wear mine comfortably for a few hours now, but when I first got them they hurt so much that I went so far as to go to a store to try out some replacements.

The HD-280's also need some break-in. I got to listen to my pair a few months after I had given them away and boy, they sounded tons better. The bass really opens up and becomes punchier after prolonged use. The only downside is that people report that the headband cracks near the 'arms', but I never adjusted mine much. They did look a bit goofy on my head, with the headband near the sides sticking out pretty far almost like a C-clamp. I've since gotten a pair of Audio Technica ATH-m50's which I think sound just as good and are more comfortable to wear.

Beats aren't very durable- they break along the arms near the earcups. If you don't believe me, go check out the demo pairs in store. Every pair I've come across has had at least one earcup broken off. They do sound acceptable from the in-store demos, but I would want to at least test them with a wider range of material. Personally, I wouldn't buy them since I have better headphones already, and I think they are overpriced due to the branding/marketing.

Ultrasone Editions are proooobably a bit overkill for what you need ;-)

Most other closed over-the-ear headphones I'm familiar with are used for DJing.

Ultrasone DJ-1 Pro: very comfortable, slightly large. Terminates in 1/4" plug which is non-standard for laptops and portable devices. Sounds phenomenal. Would be my top recommendation for usage. Similar to a HFI-model. Appearances might be strange, though.

Technics RPDH-1200: very comfortable, earpads may rest on your ears. Slightly heavier than the rest, built like a tank. Earpads were very comfortable from my short test with them.

Sony MDR-v7506: favorite for studio monitoring for quite a long time. Probably would not appeal to your inner Apple guy.

Sony MDR-v700: Stereotypical DJ headphones. Muddy bass, fragile around earcup swivel. Avoid.

Pioneer HDJ-1000: Has decent looks, mediocre sound quality. Infamous for breaking near the swivel joint. Nice and lightweight, but durability and SQ make this not worthwhile.

Pioneer HDJ-2000: Much improved on 1000's, key structural parts built from magnesium alloy (lightweight & strong). Sound quality reported to be pretty good, no firsthand experience.

Honestly, you can't go wrong with Ultrasone or Sennheiser for great sound.
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alexroper

I've used my Sennheiser HD-280's for plane travel and they're excellent. They can get hot and kind of tight on your head after wearing them for awhile. But they're definitely more comfortable than invasive ear-plug style audiophile headphones. And they sound far better than noise-canceling headphones. The sound is very detailed, almost to a fault. You can actually hear slight imperfections in poorly recorded music. The only downside to traveling with them is they are big. But they do fold up pretty nicely.
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