Best headphones in the $250-$350 price category??

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi all,

So I'm in the market for one of the headphones that Apple sells in its stores. I looked at several today, including the new "Beats by Dr. Dre" (the black ones), "Bowers & Wilkins P5", "V-MODA Crossfade", "Bose QuietComfort 15", and "Beats by Dr. Dre HD" (the new red ones that recently came out).

I couldn't really make up my mind so I haven't bought anything yet. I did some research and read reviews, but I would really love to hear from some of you who actually own them or know about this stuff, because I do not. At all!

I want something that's high in quality in the $300 price range and the headset should be comfortable, of course. It would be nice if they kept noise out, as there are (very) noisy kids visiting for a while. I am not going to jog with them or anything like that. I will mostly use them watching movies on my iMac (most of them are Bluray's with HD audio and Dolby surround sound) as well as listening to my iTunes collection.

Thanks very much!


  • Reply 1 of 9
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    I'm curious too

    I had some Bose Quiet Comfort and they were comfortable but I thought they were too heavy in the midrange sound. They also break fairly easily using weak glue and cheap plastic. I loved the noise canceling feature tho. I found that I could wear them for 2 hours straight before my ears started getting uncomfortable. They use the memory foam and I'd definitely look at some headphones with that.

    But now that my Bose headphones are broken I'm in the market for some new ones
  • Reply 2 of 9
    For $300, there are far better headphones than what is available in Apple stores.

    AKG 701

    Grado 325

    The above headphones aren't just good, they are god-like.

    You live in LA so both should be readily available in Hifi and music equipment stores.

    If noise cancellation is important, Etymotic Research ER4P will cancel noise passively far better than any gimmicky active noise cancellation. They are basically ear plugs with speakers in them. But I find the bass response a bit lacking.

    I'd go with the 701's, myself. The comfort and sound are outstanding.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    I currently have a pair of Etymotic ER4P and think they lack bass, are not as comfortable to wear, and Bose's noise canceling is definitely better
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Beats Studio no doubt. Bose has SLIGHTLY better bass, but that's it. Beats have better high, mids, and lows. Check out an Apple store to compare them directly. They should have some models on show to try out.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    Actually the Apple Store does sell the AKG k701s. FYI, these are widely regarded to be the best headphones in the world, and the comfort is second to none.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    crunchcrunch Posts: 180member
    It's down to the AKG 701, Sennheiser IE 8 and the B&W P55's, the latter of which I cannot seem to find on Apple's online store but they do have them in my local Apple store and a friend of mine swears by them.

    That said, music fans probably all "swear by" their brand and I'm sure the above are all great headphones. Out of these three, however, which one do I get? The AKG 701's is the only one to get five out of five from every single reviewer, which is rare! A friend of mine is a music pro, and the P55's is his favorite "device"...

    Thank you to all who have replied so far! I'm "going in" to get one of these babies on Tuesday. Hopefully I will have gotten some more replies pertaining to the above three.

    Now it's a matter of choosing amongst $400-$550 headphones lol...
  • Reply 7 of 9
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    The Sennheisers that compete with the 701s would be the HD650, HD800 and they cost several times more.

    When I worked at <well known video game company>, the audio guys (who used Mac Pros, BTW) had Sennheiser HD650s. One day a friend of mine was all jumping with glee... their AKG 701s had arrived to replace the 650s. Are the 701s better, I asked, astonished. Waaay better, was the reply. They even took them home to listen to music.

    Music is subjective. One person's best headphone is another's terrible one. That said, if you get the 701s and are disappointed, I will gladly buy them off you. I'm in India at the moment and high end audio gear is unavailable. My Etymotics were stolen. I'm making do with some mid-fi Sennheisers I bought at crazy mark up.

    My first post has the AKGs available for $235.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Sennheisers and AKG's don't look very travel friendly tho? I'm still inclined to go back to the Bose because they sound good enough, thin and foldable so they're so easy to travel with, rechargeable battery, and there's an iPhone adapter kit all for $400
  • Reply 9 of 9
    The big audiophile headphones are not travel friendly. That said, Bose construction quality/strength leaves much to be desired.
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