Aug 14 2007
Listening to music and podcasts in the street every day, I have been looking for years for great headphones. I have been looking for the following characteristics:
- Good sound quality
Many times, I thought that I had found the last pair of headphones that I would buy. But something happens, and I need to buy a new pair. So I try to buy headphones moderately priced (less than $50), as this little game can get expensive. Here’s the ones that almost made it for me:
The Sony MDR-G73LP are pretty cool. They’re over-the-ear headphones that go behind your head. However, the speakers are held by a “springy wire”, which means that you can wear a hat without any problem. They are held firmly on your ears, so you can hear the music well. The sound quality is great.
However, over time, the wire becomes loose, which forces you to buy another pair. This was fine as it took about a couple of years to get there. However, what’s more annoying is that constantly having this wire above your ear ends up irritating the skin.
That prompted me to look for another design after my second pair.
I tried the Koss Plug for a short while. As their name suggests, they’re a cross between ear plugs and headphones. So you get good insulation from the real world and you can concentrate on whatever is playing. There is one drawback though: the sound quality isn’t great. The bass is too accentuated. Another drawback is that you’re really cut from the world, it’s a weird feeling walking in the street with them.
They’re interesting in airplaines though. They’re essentially a cheap version of Shure headphones, but not very suitable for day to day use.
The Sony MDR-EX51LP were what I thought my last pair of headphones. They have an excellent sound, they have good insulation from the outside world, but not so much that that you have the feeling that you are another planet. They’re great.
However, they’re not very durable: the plastic over the wire is very soft and a couple of pair quickly showed the naked wire – I found a number of other buyers with the same complaint. The other problem that I encountered is that the plastic earbuds end up falling. They are by design removable in order to have different sizes, and also place new ones when they’re getting used. The downside is that after a while they have a tendency to fall off.
But I liked them enough to buy new pairs and new earbuds for them as needed, until I discovered that you’re not supposed to stick stuff in you ear canals all the time.
So I had to start my quest for new headphones again, but look for over-the-ear ones. And this is when I found my dream headphones.
After doing some research, I ended up buying the Koss PortaPro. I was intrigued by them. I had seen a number of people with them over the years, and their 80′s look was funny.
It turns out that they get their 80′s look from being designed back then and introduced in 1984. And there’s actually a reason why 23 years later, Koss is still selling this model. Although they look big, they can be folded so that they actually fit in your hand. They have great sound quality, and they’re extremely comfortable: you can keep them on for hours everyday without any problem.
Unfortunately, recently, I started getting a connection problem in one of the cables. This is where those headphones are cooler than any other that I’ve owned: they came with a no-questing-asked lifetime warranty. So, last week, I dropped my headphones with a little note and a $6 check in a box and sent them to Koss. 5 business days later, I received a little package with a brand new pair in it:
So it looks like I found the perfect headphones: great sound, very comfortable, durable (raises from its ashes like the phoenix). If you’re looking for headphones, try them.