My home-open-headphone quest has ended: I decided to splurge for the Beyerdynamic DT 880. (buy and support Dan’s Data)
My previous home headphones, the Grado SR 60, are the best-sounding, best-value, least-comfortable headphones I’ve ever used. They sound great and I felt great having only spent $60 on them (it’s really the best-sounding pair of headphones for the price, ever), but I can only listen with them for about 20 minutes before my ears ache (from pressure, not volume).
Dan loves his comfortable Sennheiser HD 590, but:
- They aren’t available anymore.
- They’ve been replaced by the HD 595, which costs more but doesn’t sound quite as good as these Beyerdynamics.
- The HD 595 terminates in a 1/4” plug (the fat kind that you’ve probably only seen on old stereos), requiring an annoyingly large adapter or a second little cable to fit in a 1/8” socket (the kind that everything has).
Overall, he seems to rate the Beyerdynamic as best sounding and second-most comfortable. Since the most-comfortable pair isn’t available and has an annoying huge plug, I can deal with second-best, especially since I’m coming from the worst.
The only other drawback to the Beyerdynamic is a high impedance, making it difficult for portable audio players to give them enough power to get very high volume. This isn’t a drawback for me since I’ll use these almost exclusively from my AC-powered Mac Pro at medium volume.
My last home headphones lasted me 6 years. Here’s hoping for the best with the new set.
NOTE: Before buying “open” headphones, learn what that means to make sure it’s what you really want. The backs of each driver are an open-air grille, not sealed plastic. Outside sound will get in, and inside sound will get out — people around you will not appreciate hearing your music, so only use open headphones in places where you’re likely to be alone or with people who unconditionally love you. Open headphones, therefore, are not appropriate for most workplaces. In return for this inconvenience, they’re lighter, more comfortable, and most importantly, they sound much better than closed headphones.