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rjbs (4671)

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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Monday March 27, 2006
12:20 PM

in search of better headphones

[ #29117 ]

Sometimes, I plug my laptop into the little amplifier we use for the TV. It's nothing special, although I've got a nice pair of Bose bookshelf speakers connected to it. The sound quality is really great compared to my laptop's built in speakers, or even to the little panel speakers I have in my office. This should not be surprising to anyone. What is a little disappointing, if not quite surprising, is that I get nowhere near that quality out of my iPod headphones. The problem isn't the headphones' drivers, as far as I can tell, but their fit. When I accidentally (or intentionally) press the little earbuds into my ears, tighter and at a weirder angle, I get a really superior sound. It's like several accompanists just joined in.

Since I listen to my music most often on my headphones (and after that on my flat panel speakers), I'd really like to find some headphones that would always sound that good. I'm pretty open to in-the-ear or over-the-head or behind-the-head headphones. I'd even try clenched-between-the-teeth headphones, if they existed and worked well. Some friends have suggested noise cancelling headphones, which seems like a good investment, since I'm on the bus all the time. Mostly I wonder whether the noise cancelling headphones will also have superior audio quality. If they sound just the same, but remove background noise, that's nice, but it's not all that I want.

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  • I highly recommend the ER6 (or 6i) earbuds from Etymotic Research []. They sound fantastic, and as a bonus they do a great job of blocking out outside sounds. They actually work well as earplugs too, even without listening to music.

    I love to use them on my plane trips, because they block out the bulk of the airplane noise.
  • A couple of years ago, I got a set of Shure's E2c as a present. []

    Now, I only ever listen to classical music, which is a tough genre to listen to in public transport of any kind, but these little plugs manage to make me enjoy the music whereever I go.

  • I don't recommend anything else they make but I adore my Bose Triports. They are *not* noise cancelling but have 30db of inherent sound dampening. They're light and have excellent sound quality. I use them at work and when I travel. They're the best 150$ I've ever spent (apart from the night in amsterdam)
  • I'm going to have to agree with sungo here and recommend the Bose Triports.

    I'm on a bus around three hours per weekday, and while the $150 model I'm referring to doesn't inherently include the noise-reduction feature, it does indeed cancel out virtually all of the background noise just by merit of its design. Infact, I usually sit at the very back of the bus, virtually up-on the engine, and am not even remotely bothered by it.

    The noise-cancelling version is somewhere around $300, but in my mind are most app
  • About 5 years ago, I picked up a pair of Grado Headphones from a high end stereo shop around the corner from my apartment. They are literally the best headphones I have ever used.

    For daily use, I use the Shure e2c with the foam sleeves. They're OK, and they do a decent job of cutting out outside noise (but not completely). The Grado setup is big, bulky, over the ear, with an open back. The sound is amazing, and you can still hear what's going on around you (i.e., when you want to listen to music, don't