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Old 11-18-2010, 07:28 PM
oomingmak oomingmak is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 5
Default Selecting Headphones

Hi, I'd like to ask a question about how you all go about selecting headphones.

I purchased a Sansa Fuze about 6 months ago (my first ever MP3 player) and I was immediately dissatisfied with the sound quality of the headphones that come with it as standard. They sounded very "boxy" with no real bass extension (just lower mid 'thump') and quite muddy mid range.

When looking for replacement headphones, I was intending to put a bit of effort into researching which headphones would suit me best given my particular criteria (which is exactly what I did before deciding which MP3 player to buy).

After reading countless reviews and various forum threads, I decided (based on what I had read) that the Sennheiser IE6 seemed to meet my requirements at my price point.

I ordered an IE6 from an online retailer only to find that it was the most hideous sounding thing that I had ever heard. It sounded like a 3 way loudspeaker where the mid range and bass drivers had been disconnected. The sound was quite literally nothing but treble. I could barely hear the vocals because they seemed to be cut off. Needless to say, my first thoughts were to check that the headphones were inserted correctly, but no matter how much I jammed them into my ears the sound did not change. Examining the packaging I realised that there was no carry case, no cable clip and no cleaning tool (all of which are meant to come as standard). The headphones also made an incredibly loud crackling noise whenever you touched the cable or jack plug.

Now, I have no idea if I was sold a dud / fake (I paid the full going rate - these were not bargain basement discounts) but it got me thinking that surely the only way you can know if headphones are suitable is to listen to them first. It's all well and good reading other people's opinions and reviews of what they think constitutes "tight bass", or "mid range clarity" etc., but until you hear it for yourself you won't know whether you like it or not.

All that being said, do people on here buy headphones blind? (i.e. without ever having heard them).

I am assuming that most, if not all, retailers would not take back a set of headphones that have been listened to (especially if they were IEMs). This means that I could end up going through 5 or 6 different purchases (or more) before finding something that I like. I just can't afford to waste money like that.

I'm not sure how UK distance selling regs applies to headphone purchases, but I'm wondering if there is any way to actually hear headphones before buying them (or to return them if you are not happy with the sound?).

Do I just have to "guess" what I might like based on a combination of other people's opinion and manufacturer advertising hype?
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