If you are like me you spend a lot of time with headphones on – brainwave entrainment, hypnosis sessions, audiobooks, or just some nice music to brighten your day…
For quite some time I managed to get along with the crappy ear plugs that Apple dares to sell with their (otherwise incredible) iPods (I have the iPod classic, just perfect for my several gigabytes of brainwave stuff… ;-) ). But it was not the real thing. So gradually I started to try and explore and test other headphones.
- comfortable. Need to be friendly to my ears and head even after hours of extended wearing.
- clear, unspoiled sound. Many headphones (even rather costly ones) tend to “leak” sound (meaning if there should be sound only on the right channel you still get some faint volume on the left as well – which is no good for binaural beats), many over do the bass frequencies, and many sound alltogether crappy…
- medium price range. I am willing to chip in some bucks for a decent sound experience, but I am not willing to pay the price of a used car for a pair of platinum-plated custom made ear plugs… ;-)
I have tested a lot, and came up with three favorites. Here you go:
Ultrasone HFI 780
If you buy only ONE headphone in your life – let it be this latest flagship of the Ultrasone HFI series!
Developed by some audiophile maniacs in Germany these high-end headphones give you an incredible experience, – without the price knocking off your pants.
Very comfortable to wear. Absolutely transparent sound, clearly positioned, nothing gets distorted.
Bonus: the speakers are positioned in a way so that the sound hits your ears in a more natural way – slightly from the front. So you have less of that “they are IN MY HEAD – Hjaaaaalp!” – feeling.
Along with their patented S-Logic sound positioning technology this provides you with the most natural “3D” experience I have heard so far. Depends on the recording, of course, but e.g. with Hemi-Sync’s “Heart of the Shaman” I was unable to decide if the ravens where in the headphones or passing above me “in real” (I listen to this kind of stuff under the old oak in the garden whenever possible, and occasionally there are real ravens in the air there…)
I won’t bother you with technical mumbo-jumbo (all the specs are on the product page) – just so much: the HFI 780 is second to none. Very high frequency range (which is good for lower carrier frequencies). And a good sound isolation so the outside world won’t disturb your inner travels too much.
Just click the image above for all the details and a current price quote (yes, it is not “cheap” – but the best buy you can get!).
For those who hate “closed” headphones there is an alternative: the HFI 2200 is an “open” headphone, so you are less separated from the world. It is a bit more expensive, but gives the same great sound experience AND lets the noise of the world in on your troubled ears… ;-) (errr, ok, obviously I prefer the closed ones…)
A click on the image will provide you with the technical details:
Koss Porta Pro
Low on budget? The price tag of the Ultrasone made you shiver and sweat? Check out the Koss!
This light, foldable wired headphone is very affordable, but the sound is absolutely stunning for this price tag!
Good for all occasions where you do not want to risk your more expensive headphones, or where in-ears are too risky.
Great for brainwave entrainment while you are doing some excercise (e.g. running – they fit well and won’t jump off your head easily)
Click the image for more info and ordering –>
One word of warning: there is a Sporta Pro as well – which I do NOT recommend. Don’t mix them up.
Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 pro
In-ears are a matter of “religion”. You love them or hate them. If you love them, you will definitely love the super.fi 5 pro
They have a two-way sound system (yep, TWO speakers in these tiny plugs…) which is normally unheard of until you double the price, and they deliver one of the best sound experiences I ever had. Very balanced and clear (I listen to classical music a lot and hate those headphones that only know BASSSSSSS), no hissing, no nothing. No complaints.
In my opinion they are way better than ANYthing in-ear you can buy at a similar price. I would compare them to the Shure E420 – which cost about 100 bucks more. BTW – even if you could afford it, I would not go for the TripleFi or other more expensive models from Ultimate Ears. You have to be a VERY picky audiophile to notice any difference – the super.fi 5 pro will do perfectly for the rest of us!
The set includes different ear pieces to fit even the most weird elven ear ;-) and a metallic travel case.
Oh, before I forget it: the sound isolation is incredible. You feel like inside a Samadhi floating tank… ;-)
Check out the details and prices (around 190 bucks) by clicking on the image with your favorite color – they come in black:
So that’s my “arsenal”. How about you? Experiences, alternatives and recommendations welcome! Every ear is different… *lol* – just add your comments below.