At work, I’ve been using a set of Sony noise cancelling headphones that I got about 10 years ago. The ear pads deteriorated a while ago, and after finding out that Sony was happy to send me a replacement set of ear pads for $20 each, I decided that I’d go for a whole new set of headphones. I spent some time reading reviews from various online sources – both headphonereviews.com and goodcans.com were quite useful.
The chief competitors are Sennheiser, AKG, and Grado. Back when I was younger Sennheiser was the headphone to have, but though I own a set of Sennheisers to use at the gym, I’ve only been moderately impressed.
The reviews on the Grados suggest that they are the best choice if you listen to rock, and since that’s my music of choice, I decided to go with the Grado SR225i, which my wife was nice enough to pick up for me as a present.
I spent a bit of time last night listening to some of the music that I know well and that is well mastered, and the verdict is clear. I’ve never heard these songs sound so good.
â€œWish you were hereâ€ has a nice and simple guitar line. What I’ve never noticed before was that there is a slight amount of vibrato on the notes at an end. Little details like that kept showing up – I guess I’d describe it as â€œdepthâ€. And the bass is also very nice.
On the downside, the phones have a vintage look to them, and are really designed for controlled adult use – I wouldn’t be carrying these around much. They also come with the traditional 1/4â€ plug rather than a 1/8″ one, so you need an adapter for many uses. They’re more than a bit pricey, at $200. And they make your other headphones sound really poor.