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Best Headphone for Driving Directly from iDefices - ca. $300


davidbeinct
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I'm probably going to be doing more travel for work this year and am interested in picking up something I can take with me besides my ear buds. I think even though I'm intrigued by magnetic planar and open back designs I should probably be looking at dynamic and closed, given that I will likely want to use them in public situations.

 

I don't really want to take a bunch of peripherals with me, just my iPad and the phones. What are some of your experienced guys suggestions?

 

Devices, can't believe I made that typo in my un-editable title!

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If you are open to IEMs, I have always liked my Etymotic ER-4P a lot. About the most portable phones you can have.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-MicroPro-Noise-Isolating-Earphones/dp/B004CXBJ6A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459528896&sr=8-1&keywords=etymotic+er-4p

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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If you are open to IEMs, I have always liked my Etymotic ER-4P a lot. About the most portable phones you can have.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-MicroPro-Noise-Isolating-Earphones/dp/B004CXBJ6A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459528896&sr=8-1&keywords=etymotic+er-4p

 

Ety makes great IEMs. I've owned four or five pairs. If you decide to go this direction, I recommend checking out the Shure SE215 or SE315 as well. I like the fact that they have detachable cables.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I have some Etymotic Research IEMs right now. They weren't quite that expensive and have the inline mic. My problem with IEMs is I have never had a pair where the cabling didn't eventually get crackly. Maybe because I wear them in the gym, biking, skiing etc. I swore I'd never spend big bucks for a pair again.

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I have some Etymotic Research IEMs right now. They weren't quite that expensive and have the inline mic. My problem with IEMs is I have never had a pair where the cabling didn't eventually get crackly. Maybe because I wear them in the gym, biking, skiing etc. I swore I'd never spend big bucks for a pair again.

 

Whoops! OK then....

 

I wear mine mowing the lawn and on airplanes. I have an inexpensive pair of Sennheisers (not IEM) for the gym and sports (not biking, I need to hear for that).

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I have some Etymotic Research IEMs right now. They weren't quite that expensive and have the inline mic. My problem with IEMs is I have never had a pair where the cabling didn't eventually get crackly. Maybe because I wear them in the gym, biking, skiing etc. I swore I'd never spend big bucks for a pair again.

 

Either the cable or the connection between the earpiece and the cable has failed on every pair of Etys that I've owned. Usually it was own fault (rough treatment) though.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Either the cable or the connection between the earpiece and the cable has failed on every pair of Etys that I've owned. Usually it was own fault (rough treatment) though.

Probably mine too. From now on for me it's cheap IEMs. I would like to get a good pair of phones that don't need anything but my iPad.

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I'm probably going to be doing more travel for work this year and am interested in picking up something I can take with me besides my ear buds.

 

I run everything from iPhone 6 and MacBook Pro when i travel (3-9 months a year).

 

Sennheiser Amperior is my work horse (alu upgrade of HD 25-1 II)

Great sound, easy to drive, lot's of punch and great passive noise-isolation, hard wearing.

Easy access to spare parts, as most are shared with HD 25-1 II.

 

Etymotic ER4PT as compact yet excellent backup, with same traits.

 

 

Sennheiser HD 25 Aluminium would probably be my choise today if Amperior could't be found.

Higher impedance but still OK to drive with iDevices

 

 

HD_25_Aluminium_1.jpg

 

 

Todays office is in the south Caribbean:

 

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Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub

iPhone SE 2 -> Philips Fidelio X2 or Sennheiser PXC 550 on BT
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

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I run everything from iPhone 6 and MacBook Pro when i travel (3-9 months a year). Sennheiser Amperior is my work horse (alu upgrade of HD 25-1 II) Great sound, easy to drive, lot's of punch and great passive noise-isolation, hard wearing. Easy access to spare parts, as most are shared with HD 25-1 II. Etymotic ER4PT as compact yet excellent backup, with same traits. Sennheiser HD 25 Aluminium would probably be my choise today if Amperior could't be found.

Higher impedance but still OK to drive with iDevices

 

I'd certainly vote for the HD25 Aluminum, which should be tuned ideally for portable use.

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Consider sennheiser momentum 2.0 usually $350 but $250 right now at musicdirect. Or some ath-m50x, currently $99 on Groupon. Both are closed, the m50x has renown isolation. The senns are more sensitive and have 18ohm impedance, great for battery life, but the M50x with better isolation probably means you need less volume, thus equalling that out. Read the reviews, I have some M50x's in the post right now.

Neil

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What type of sound signature do you like? "balanced sound", bassy, v shape. A lot of good recommendations for 300.

+1 on Momentum 2 and M50x both nice balanced sig with little extra bass.

- If noise isolation is really important when traveling consider getting Bose QC-25- best noise isolation you can get and they have decent sound quality. I am sure there are a lot of Bose haters here but they have come a long way and those QC-25 are very good.

Ethys have a balanced sound and outstanding isolation but can be somewhat intrusive and uncomfoortable.

I like the RHA MA750 And T10 iem - with the T-10 you can customize the sound for bass, balance and trebel freq.

Also Shure 425 are amazing good clarity decent bass and smooth sounding and great noise isolation.

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Not to sound like a fanboy, but ...

 

For $300 consider the Meze 99. (Review on inner fidelity The Meze 99 Classics, Very Fun, Very Tasty | InnerFidelity) I got a chance to listen to it a few weeks ago at a head-fi meet and it really floored me. It sounded amazingly good from my Samsung Galaxy phone. It is very nicely made, so nice you just want pet it. The craftsmanship is amazing at the pricepoint. It comes with a nice case. Not that it should matter, but they look good too, almost stylish even. I mean look at those wooden earcups, they have a sliver hardware option too, and a maple/silver combo. Sound signature is lively and fun, nicely detailed but never harsh and a little warm. Comfort was very good.

 

 

meze99WalknutGold.jpg

 

I really like the Sennheiser headphones and the momentum would be the one that suits your needs now. It sounds good but not super-exciting to my ears. I have an Amperior which I got for $100 on a closeout site and they sound nice. Comfort is only mediocre with the Amperiors though because they are on-ear and have a pretty high clamping pressure. I compared my Amperiors side by side with the Meze, and the Meze was in a completely different league. Meze is a new-ish brand and I think they should could be priced much higher than they are.

Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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If planars still intrigue you, you might check out a pair of Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs. Not as pretty as the Meze 99s, but they sound good from an iPhone and even better with a portable amp! More comfortable than you may think from looking at them.

Family Room: Panny TCP65S2, Panny BDP-55, DTV HR-24, SB Touch, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Yamaha RX-V3900, Emotiva XPA-3, Rocket NM 550's, Rocket 150's, X-CS, UFW-10, Harmony 700.

 

Computer Room: Dell laptop, Uptone Regen Amber, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Decware SE84C+, Zu Omen, ALO National, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog headphones

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For travel I love the combination of iPhone/iPad with Bose Bluetooth AE2W headphones... while the headphone drivers themselves aren't necessarily that great, the Bluetooth enabled amplifier sound is more enjoyable to me than using a USB connected portable headphone amp like iFi Nano/Micro with separate headphones like Grado SR225 or Hifiman HE400. Being cordless + usable as a phone headset further enhances usability/enjoyment. The current model will set you back a list price of $279

 

SoundLink® around-ear wireless headphones II

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I'm probably going to be doing more travel for work this year and am interested in picking up something I can take with me besides my ear buds. I think even though I'm intrigued by magnetic planar and open back designs I should probably be looking at dynamic and closed, given that I will likely want to use them in public situations.

 

I don't really want to take a bunch of peripherals with me, just my iPad and the phones. What are some of your experienced guys suggestions?

 

Devices, can't believe I made that typo in my un-editable title!

 

Another to consider is B&W P5 series 2. I recently received a pair as an award from work, and they sound really great!

John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi wireless > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > iFi Audio xDSD + iFi Audio xCAN > Focal Elegia

Home Theater - Mac Mini running Roon Server > Blue Jeans Cable HDMI > Pioneer Elite SC-81 > MartinLogan Motion series home theater speakers + M&K subwoofer

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It may not fit your $300.00 criteria, but the $399.00 Oppo PM-3 is a very efficient, closed back planar magnetic design that an iPhone can drive easily.

 

I am going to chip in here with another vote for the Oppo PM-3s. They sound great hooked to a DragonFly, a MacBook Pro, or an iPhone. They also come with an iPhone cable that lets you use them for phone calls, just like the Apple Earbuds.

 

I can listen to them for hours and hours without an issue.

 

They are closed back, so the soundstage is a little limited compared to open back headphones like the HiFiman 400i, but also mean you don't get as much environmental interference. Or wake up your SO if you decide to listen a bit before you go to sleep. ;)

 

They are very light, very comfortable, and sound good enough that I sometimes forget I have them on. Actually, I often forget I have them on.

 

Definitely recommended.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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