I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan, and the pair of Sennheiser HD280s that have served me well the last few years broke. I liked the 280s, though I thought they were somewhat lacking in bass, and I'd like to upgrade to something similar but better. I'm looking for something with the best possible SQ that meets the following criteria:
- They should be reasonably durable, as I travel often and to austere places. The ear pads on my 280s ripped, and the cord has a short in it, though they lasted me 3 years so I won't complain too much
- They should have closed cans, I don't want people around me to have to hear what I'm listening to, and some noise attenuation from aircraft engines is nice
- $200 or less (I can go slightly higher if there is a very good reason to)
- I need them to watch movies, play games (no FPSs, so emphasis on surround imaging isn't critical), and listen to music (mostly rock/hard rock, though I have a very small amount of classical, mostly piano and violin) on my laptop (IDT 93HD73C1 audio chip), and listen to my DAP (8GB 2nd gen Zune)
- They should be reasonably accurate and balanced (though slightly better in bass than the 280s)
- They have to be available online, as I can't exactly go to the nearest audio store
- They should be comfortable enough to wear for 4 hours straight on occasion (2 hours at a time would average). I thought the 280s a little tight, they got better as they were broken in, but still became uncomfortable around the 4 hour mark.
- I'd prefer something with around the ear cans, but this isn't a strict requirement as long as they meet the sound isolation and comfort criteria
- I'm not looking for small headphones, though they should be at least portable enough to be stuffed into a carry-on 15" laptop backpack and usable on a long, somewhat cramped, economy seat flight.
- They shouldn't need an external amp, but if one is recommended, then the headphones + amp should be under $250
So far, I'm considering the Sennheiser HD 380, Audio Technica ATH-M50, and Ultrasone HFI-580 or 780, and possibly the FiiO E7 if needed, though don't let this limit your recommendations.
Thanks for any comments/recommendations.