I’m an introvert who is also a fan of classic music, jazz, and house music. The type of house music I listen to has a lot of range and layers and less bass, so I need the best head phones. I need my head phones to block out background noise, sound fantastic, and provide value for the cost.
Just so you know my biases: I only listen to music heavy on bass when at the gym, and I have a pair of workout headphones for that function. The head phones I use and recommend may not be the best head phones for rap or hip-hop.
(“Wicked Games” by Parra for Cuva featuring Anna Naklab is the type of song I use my head phones to listen to.)
I put the call out to D&P readers and did my own research.
I went to CNET, read the reviews on Amazon, went to Best Buy, and otherwise beat a dead horse.
There are thousands of headphones reviews online, so I am not going to write about range, amps, or other specific factors. My experience suggests that head phone reviews get way too complicated, especially for users like myself. If you disagree, post your comment telling me why. I’m far from an expert.
After trying out several different pairs of head phones, I narrowed the contenders down to these three:
I’ve owned the Sennheiser HD280 head sets for five years. I love this pair of head phones. You get great treble without too much bass. You can hear the layers in classical music and house music.
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is a favorite of DJs worldwide. They look amazing and have an engravable plate on the side. (Aesthetics were unimportant to me and don’t factor into this review.)
My friend Nic G is a music lover who prefers his V-MODAS to any other head phones he has owned. Indeed, I used his head phones for this review.
Price didn’t mean much to me. I’ve had the Sennheiser HD280 for around 5 years. I don’t lose head phones. When they travel with me, they are put in the same place each time.
That said, my research revealed that the marginal benefit of headphones decreases once the price exceeds $300. Unless you’re listening to music on a high technology home stereo system, anything over $300 is overkill.
(I do like some bass. “Pushing On” by Jimi Jules is fantastic.)
Which head phones cost the most?
- Sennheiser HD280 – $89.95.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Headphones – $169.
- V-MODA Crossfade M-100 – $299.
Which head phones are the best at isolation/noise canceling?
There’s a certain paradox to being an introvert. Although social situations wear us introverts out, we are still social creatures. Show of hands: How many of you introverts prefer working out of a coffee shop? [Mike’s hand raises.]
We don’t hate people. We just hate the jibber jabber and verbal nonsense of extroverts. We like to be out in public but we don’t necessarily want to engage.
Like I said, it’s weird.
The Sennheiser HD280 win by a landslide. They cancel out outside noise so well that taking them off is like coming out of a matinee into the sun.
(The airport is silent when wearing a pair of Sennheiser HD280s.)
Neither the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x or V-MODA had much of noise canceling effect.
To put things into perspective: When my Sennheiser HD280s are plugged into my MacBook, the music dial is set on 2. The AudioTech and V-MODA have to turned up to 3 or 4.
Granted, AudioTech and V-MODA don’t market themselves as noise canceling head phones, so some might say that it’s unfair for me to point out that they don’t something they don’t advertise themselves to do. Whatever. It’s my review and I can weigh the head phones based on whatever factors I want to.
Which head phones are the most comfortable?
One complaint you’ll see in reviews is that the Sennheiser HD280 are too tight on the head. My melon is a 7 5/8 hat size, and the HD280s don’t feel constricting. Snug, yes, but snug is good.
After a while, I forget they are even on my head.
When I take them out and then hear the noise of the world.
The V-MODA and Audio-Technica ATH-M50x rest comfortably on the ear. That’s a tradeoff. It’s not a snug fit, but more noise seeps through.
The V-MODAs are the most comfortable head phones, with the ATH-M50x a close second. The Sennheiser HD280 fits snugly, although that’s a feature rather than a bug.
(“Ode to Joy” is a great track to listen to when testing head phones.)
Which headphones are the best for an introvert?
Sennheiser HD280 is the clear winner. Sound quality is fantastic. They are the least expensive head set. They cancel out noise the best.
I kept my Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, as I missed the 30 day period to send them back. I wanted to fully break them in before doing a review.
The sound quality is slightly better, but they don’t cancel out the outside world as much as I and other introverts prefer.
V-MODAs look cool, but in my view are inferior in all other regards to the ATH-M50x and Sennheiser HD280.
Best head phones ranked in order:
(“Hey Now,” which headphones do you prefer?)