And so we get down to it. The first review in this thread, as promised to some, this will be an examination of some headphones that I own.
I've had a set of Koss Porta Pro headphones for some time, but recently had them lose sound in the left earpiece. Koss has an excellent lifetime warranty for their headphones however, so I sent them back in to be repaired. Koss didn't actually repair them...they sent me a new set. But in the interval between sending and getting them back, I decided to explore a bit and see if I could find some reasonably priced headphones with a slightly different sound.
Here are the Koss headphones:
Funky, and no one's idea of sleek cool looks, the Porta Pro's are actually pretty good headphones in their price range ($30). Fairly prominent bass, decent mid range and the higher end...well it falls off, but this means you can listen to them without much fatigue to your ears. They are also extremely light and comfortable.
Here's what I got to go with them: These are the Grado SR 60i headphones. They are also archaic looking, and wouldn't look out of place in a 1940's movie, but the sound is unique. Grado's don't pretend to be neutral headphones. They have a definite coloration to their sound, with an emphasis on the mids and high tones. For rock, electric guitar and female vocals, these things really shine. The Grado's are not without flaws however. They are so bright in sound that they can wear you out after a couple of hours of listening. They are also purposely in-your-face with their presentation, meaning you feel like you are on the front row of the rock concert. Grado's aren't the best easy listening headphones available.
The other flaw...comfort. The pads that come with the SR60i's are called Comfies. Right. Only if you like scrubbing pads on your ears. I tried several different types of pads, even made my own at one point, but it finally came down to just getting inured to the on ear feeling of pads. I use the Sennheiser 414 pads now, in a reverse quarter mod. This is what they look like:
Both the Grado's and Porta Pro's lack soundstage, which is a feeling of width, depth and height in the sounds coming at you. This can be an issue if you use headphones to play games or watch movies. So, I became interested in a set of Panasonic headphones that were getting rave reviews at some of the headphone sites online. They are the Panasonic RP HTF-600S, shown here:
These are semi-open cans, unlike the first two which are completely open. They cost $30 shipped. The Panasonics feel cramped in comparison, boxed in, which I didn't really expect. The sound was also a disappointment, with excessive bass that overwhelms the lower mids, and muffled mid tones above that. The best comparison I can make is that listening to music with them is rather like looking at scenery through a very dirty window. They aren't a complete loss however, as they do work for gaming quite well, and I've set up my spare computer for my nephew to play games when he comes over. So, he's enjoying them, and the bass will reverberate your ears when you get into combat situations in first person shooters.
So that's it. If you have any comments, or questions, feel free to jump in.