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  #1  
Old 08-17-2011, 02:21 AM
looming looming is offline
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Default IEM/Headphones with PMP

Hey guys, I've managed to lose my S9, and at the time I was also looking for a new pair of headphones or IEMs; I was originally looking at a $300 limit for the headphones, but now I'm looking at a $300 limit for both.

Just a few things,
  1. Headphones must be closed cans
  2. Almost my entire library is FLAC, and I would prefer to keep it that way, looking for FLAC support on the PMP
  3. I will be using it in noisy environments, so a good amount of sound cancellation/immersion would be nice
  4. I prefer sound quality over aesthetics, but looking good is a plus

If anyone could give me some help I'd really appreciate it
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2011, 03:37 AM
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jupitreas jupitreas is offline
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I think you should look at the Sansa Clip+ as a possible PMP. If you rockbox it, it will be one of the best players around in terms of features and it already has a great little amp built in and is known for great SQ. Since you can expand its memory with a microSD card, you can amass a lot of music in FLAC on it.

Since the Clip+ will cost you around 50 USD, you now have a nice 250 USD to spend on headphones and with this kind of a budget, you have quite a few great choices. You could go for the high-end Ultrasone HFI 780, which is recognized as a great closed can and has been reviewed here. Another option is the immortal Beyerdynamic DT770 - you can get the PRO version of this can for around 250 USD. Finally, a very commonly suggested closed can is the Audio Technica ATH-M50. It is cheaper than the Ultrasone and the Beyerdynamic and is known for a fairly flat frequency response with just a smidge of bass emphasis. Truth be told, there are loads of other options with your budget though, you should do some more research and definitely try to audition some cans in this price range before you make a decision. You did not mention what kind of sound signature you are interested in, so it is difficult to recommend specific cans for you.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:14 AM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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I had a J3 but had to sell it so I can speak to your position reasonably well. if video isnta concern, I am an official convert to Sansa. The clip+ or a fuze are great choices for the mp3 player. lots of codec support, decent build quality, good power to drive your cans. decent battery life compared to anything but cowon. By only spending $40-70 on your mp3 player you can dump a couple hundred on the cans and get great results. the ATHM50 is a fan favorite right now. I have my eyes on the ATHws55 as well. the AIAIAI cans are well loved too. ultrasone 680 I think. these are just a few possibilities, you really have tons of choices in the $200 range.

If you need video I dont know a better option that the J3. cuts into your can budget though. You could get a 16gb for like $200 I think and then pick up a pair of AKG 181, sennheiser hd428, or maybe still the athm50 if you can find a deal.

if you want soemthign inbetween those...no real video support but bigger form factor, I like any of the sony offerings. they don't have a memory slot, so I cant pull the trigger on one persnally, but they are well regarded. check the deals thread tooo, there wa a refurb deal. also some of the philips players are decent and there is a coupon that may still be active for 40% off.

to come full circle on my little textually vomit...I suggest a sansa and spend more money on the headphones. having used a cowon and a sansa I will say that a clean source is important but the headphones are where most of the impact is made in your listening experience. go low on the player, high on the cans. plus cans have a longer life span that electronics. treat them right and they will last forever. my ath-m40fs are like 10 years old and still strong.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:37 AM
looming looming is offline
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thank both of you for your help, gives me some nice food for thought - if anyone else wants to contribute, I'd also appreciate it; with something as subjective as SQ you can't ever be too careful
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2011, 09:37 AM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
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Second what the other guys said, get the Sansa Clip+ or Fuze (not the Fuze+) and spend the rest on a headphone or IEM. Giving some idea of the sound you like (basshead?) might get you better recommendations.
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2011, 09:57 AM
looming looming is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
Second what the other guys said, get the Sansa Clip+ or Fuze (not the Fuze+) and spend the rest on a headphone or IEM. Giving some idea of the sound you like (basshead?) might get you better recommendations.
I spent about 10 minutes typing out what I was looking for, and realized I listed just about every genre of music besides polka... I will admit I lean more towards indie rock/folk though. I'd LOVE a set of closed cans that could play my music and work as gaming headphones(I play FPS semi-competitively), but I bare no delusions of this happening realistically.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:16 AM
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a good set can work for gaming but you would have to have a different alternative for the mic. I use a desktop mic. zalman sells a clip on mic as well.

as for sound signature...its not jsut about what you listen to, its how you listen to it. do you need a significant bass presence? do you like a more balanced bass? are you sensitive to highs? a lot of this has to do with your hearing too. for instance, I have trouble with upper ranges so a set that others call harsh I my love because I can actually hear it. I am pick about bass distortion too or overly boomy sounds. I do treat my cans like horsepower though...I would rather drive a camaro at low throttle than a kia at full. I like t get a more bass oriented can so I can bump it when I want or eq it down when I dont. there is a lot of preference that goes into cans. do you have any stores near you that you can go hear some stuff at? Oh, I enjoyed the klipsch one set as well. the price has pretty much dropped to $130 everywhere which makes it a reasonable value in my book.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:23 AM
looming looming is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDvsEGO View Post
a good set can work for gaming but you would have to have a different alternative for the mic. I use a desktop mic. zalman sells a clip on mic as well.

as for sound signature...its not jsut about what you listen to, its how you listen to it. do you need a significant bass presence? do you like a more balanced bass? are you sensitive to highs? a lot of this has to do with your hearing too. for instance, I have trouble with upper ranges so a set that others call harsh I my love because I can actually hear it. I am pick about bass distortion too or overly boomy sounds. I do treat my cans like horsepower though...I would rather drive a camaro at low throttle than a kia at full. I like t get a more bass oriented can so I can bump it when I want or eq it down when I dont. there is a lot of preference that goes into cans. do you have any stores near you that you can go hear some stuff at? Oh, I enjoyed the klipsch one set as well. the price has pretty much dropped to $130 everywhere which makes it a reasonable value in my book.
I need a crisp bass, any distortion drives me up the wall, I want distinct highs and a really deep mid range; If this isn't descriptive enough I apologize, I have a tough time wording what I'm trying to say. I don't really have any stores with high quality headphones, and none that I know of which allow for listening pre-purchase. I don't feel like I emphasized the environment in which I'm going to be using them enough in the OP, they need to be extremely isolating, as I plan to use them in mass-transit and possibly LAN events.

Thanks again for all of your help
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2011, 11:30 AM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looming View Post
I need a crisp bass, any distortion drives me up the wall, I want distinct highs and a really deep mid range; If this isn't descriptive enough I apologize, I have a tough time wording what I'm trying to say. I don't really have any stores with high quality headphones, and none that I know of which allow for listening pre-purchase. I don't feel like I emphasized the environment in which I'm going to be using them enough in the OP, they need to be extremely isolating, as I plan to use them in mass-transit and possibly LAN events.

Thanks again for all of your help
The M50 actually sounds like pretty good fit. Isolation is decent IMO. If you need the best isolation though you might need to consider IEM's.
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  #10  
Old 08-17-2011, 11:34 AM
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steinburger1109 steinburger1109 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
The M50 actually sounds like pretty good fit. Isolation is decent IMO. If you need the best isolation though you might need to consider IEM's.
Isolation definitely isn't as good as with IEMs, but it's good enough. I use mine on the airplane and it blocks out almost all of the noise without me jacking it up to abnormal levels compared to what I normally use.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2011, 01:32 PM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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yeah, M50 is a good all arounder
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