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Headphones buying guide

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:45 AM

Post your comments for Headphones buying guide here
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#2 User is offline   PeppWaves03 

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  Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:22 AM

More and more, I find myself using my Iphone with Itunes Match instead of my ipod. With that in mind, are there recommendations for headphones that allow you to use them to talk as well? I was surprised there was not a category dedicated to multi function headphones as that's where I see the market moving.
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#3 User is offline   Dan Frakes 

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:33 AM

View PostPeppWaves03, on 06 December 2012 - 09:22 AM, said:

More and more, I find myself using my Iphone with Itunes Match instead of my ipod. With that in mind, are there recommendations for headphones that allow you to use them to talk as well? I was surprised there was not a category dedicated to multi function headphones as that's where I see the market moving.


I explained in the article (in "Headset functionality and inline control modules") that many headphones include an inline module, on the headphone cable, with a microphone and remote button(s). In the recommendations lists, I've noted which models include such a module, and whether it has one button or three.
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld

#4 User is offline   nathanimal 

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  Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:13 PM

No mention of JH Audio IE monitors? You mentioned going for the big bucks, but didn't mention any names. This is a name worth mentioning. At $1200 for their top model (JH16 Pro), it doesn't get much better than this. The audiophiles seem to think they may be the best headphones ever created. Depends on whether or not you like the "in the head sound," but some serious guys I take seriously say they are serious pieces of audio engineering excellence. I'm saving up for the bundle with the custom amp.
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#5 User is offline   Dan Frakes 

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

View Postnathanimal, on 06 December 2012 - 08:13 PM, said:

No mention of JH Audio IE monitors? You mentioned going for the big bucks, but didn't mention any names. This is a name worth mentioning. At $1200 for their top model (JH16 Pro), it doesn't get much better than this. The audiophiles seem to think they may be the best headphones ever created. Depends on whether or not you like the "in the head sound," but some serious guys I take seriously say they are serious pieces of audio engineering excellence. I'm saving up for the bundle with the custom amp.


As noted in the article, we focused on headphones that sound great directly from the weak headphone jack of a computer, iPod, phone, or tablet. Many of the "best" headphones require a dedicated headphone amp to show what they're capable of—and even the ones that are efficient enough are often overkill for listening from a laptop, iPad, or iPhone.
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld

#6 User is offline   mattwardfh 

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  Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:21 PM

Quote

No mention of JH Audio IE monitors? You mentioned going for the big bucks, but didn't mention any names. This is a name worth mentioning. At $1200 for their top model (JH16 Pro), it doesn't get much better than this. The audiophiles seem to think they may be the best headphones ever created. Depends on whether or not you like the "in the head sound," but some serious guys I take seriously say they are serious pieces of audio engineering excellence. I'm saving up for the bundle with the custom amp.


The JH13 and JH16 are both very well-regarded. I've been looking at them seriously for a while.

One reason for the lack of specific recommendations concerning custom in-ears—in addition to what Dan said—is that we wanted to avoid recommending models we that we haven't had the chance to test for ourselves. I'm curious about the JH models, but I'm not going to recommend that our readers spend over $1k on them if I can't vouch for them personally.
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#7 User is offline   Swift2 

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  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

There's one problem with the Bluetooth headsets you don't seem to discuss: resistance to sweat while exercising. I tried the Plantronics, a Sony set you didn't mention here -- and you're right -- and two or three others, one at a time. Each set lasted about two weeks before it went all wonky. If the speakers aren't sealed, they will get wet, short-circuit and die. I finally found one pair that have been working for a year now, though I wouldn't have chosen them for sound or comfort: the Motorola S10-HD. The Plantronics sounded wonderful, and were very comfortable, until they died after two weeks.
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#8 User is offline   Dan Frakes 

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

View PostSwift2, on 07 December 2012 - 11:54 AM, said:

There's one problem with the Bluetooth headsets you don't seem to discuss: resistance to sweat while exercising. I tried the Plantronics, a Sony set you didn't mention here -- and you're right -- and two or three others, one at a time. Each set lasted about two weeks before it went all wonky. If the speakers aren't sealed, they will get wet, short-circuit and die. I finally found one pair that have been working for a year now, though I wouldn't have chosen them for sound or comfort: the Motorola S10-HD. The Plantronics sounded wonderful, and were very comfortable, until they died after two weeks.


FWIW, I've personally tested the Plantronics 603 and the Jabra Sport while running—and sweating a lot—and they're both going strong after more than a year. (Both are designed to be sweat resistant.) I've tried the Plantronics Go a few times while exercising and so far, so good. Did you contact the vendors about getting them replaced? They should definitely last longer than that.

I tested the S10-HD and, like you, found them to be uncomfortable with mediocre sound quality.
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld

#9 User is offline   franckhertzkzh5 

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  Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:51 AM

I have both the Sennheiser 202s and the Sonics. Alas over-the-ear headphones I just can't wear long without discomfort but I will say I vastly prefer the sound of the Sennheiser's to Sonics. Plus they're way less.

The sonics have an iPhone-compatible inline volume and mic though. That's nice. Especially since Macs (at least some Macs) will use that inline microphone when connected.

I think I might try those monoprice in-earbuds to backup my Apple "earpods" (by far what I use the most.)
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#10 User is offline   mattwardfh 

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  Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

Quote

I have both the Sennheiser 202s and the Sonics. Alas over-the-ear headphones I just can't wear long without discomfort but I will say I vastly prefer the sound of the Sennheiser's to Sonics. Plus they're way less. The sonics have an iPhone-compatible inline volume and mic though. That's nice. Especially since Macs (at least some Macs) will use that inline microphone when connected. I think I might try those monoprice in-earbuds to backup my Apple "earpods" (by far what I use the most.)


What's the source of your discomfort with over-ear headphones?

The Monoprice 8320 is unbelievably good at that price, but only includes one size of ear tips (medium). If they fit or if you're willing to track down an extra set that do fit, I think you'll be quite happy.

The Monoprice 9396 do include three sizes of tips and should work for anyone. They're not unbelievable like the 8320, but they are still quite good for the price, and hold up well against $30 models.
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#11 User is offline   RoyWagner 

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  Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:40 AM

I recently tried the Sennheiser Amperior headphones. The sound was excellent but the ON EAR feature was very uncomfortable. For me, it required frequent adjustment to get that perfect sound. Their over the ear model solved that problem.
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#12 User is offline   spinoza2 

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  Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:48 AM

At the moment I'm trying the Jaybird Freedom Sprints, and so far I'm liking them a lot. I'm using them both with my iPhone 5 and with my new iPod nano. With the latter the combination is impressive, considering how small the package is and the quality of the music experience.

I've tried several Bluetooth headphones, and I still haven't found one that I liked; perhaps the Jaybirds will do the trick. As with the others, however, I find the controls on the Jaybird less than optimal. I don't know why the manufacturers make it so difficult to turn the headphones on and off. Is it a part of the Bluetooth standard? They typically are these tiny little buttons that one has to hold in for several seconds to turn on; likewise for turning off. You often can't even tell whether they're on or off. Apple needs to design and put out Bluetooth headphones, that would raise the standards a bit.
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#13 User is offline   Dan Frakes 

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

View Postspinoza2, on 10 December 2012 - 05:48 AM, said:

I don't know why the manufacturers make it so difficult to turn the headphones on and off. Is it a part of the Bluetooth standard? They typically are these tiny little buttons that one has to hold in for several seconds to turn on; likewise for turning off. You often can't even tell whether they're on or off.


The challenge is that most Bluetooth headphones are so small that there isn't room for a separate power button. Instead, the "action" button performs a slew of functions—including, as you noted, acting as a power button if you hold it for several seconds. Most also avoid a power indicator because of space constraints and to conserve battery power. (I agree with you here: One of my biggest beefs with Bluetooth products in general is figuring out whether they're on or off.)
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld

#14 User is offline   Chris76 

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  Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:51 PM

Does anybody have a review of the new Apple Earbud/headphones?
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