HeadPhones: Fashion of the Future and Forever

I must have raved about headphones quite a few times. Readers who hadn’t discovered this place when these articles were written should look through them and learn why headphones are superior to all forms of accessories.

Sasa (who’s a real girl and hence must have good fashion sense), Asakura Yoh and I all agree on this. It is also no coincidence that every major character in the ultra-fashionable anime Eureka seveN, especially those on the Gekkogou, have their own personalised pair of cans. Paradise Kiss is a rotten failure of a show because it claims to be about fashion yet doesn’t have much headphone spotlight. The haute couture of otaku fashion, Murata Range’s PSE range of products and designs, also incorporate these devices heavily.

Today, we shall talk less about the aesthetics and more of the technicalities. Because I bought a new pair.

This is the Sennheiser HD 415, which I was using until a week ago.

This is the Sennheiser PX200, which I loaned from LianYL the troll for a week.

This is the Stanton DJ Pro 2000, which I just purchased today.

I also had an Audiotechnica one (broken), a PX100 (broken) and a few others. I bought a new pair because the HD415 broke on me yet again. Headphones in general don’t really break down, it’s just the cable and connection that get damaged but it’s a pain in the ass to send these for repairs.

So I went down to SLS to seek out a new pair today. With the initial aim of getting a wireless pair (since wires are the weakest link), I browsed through the various stores only to be chided for not taking care of my cables properly. This is true, for I hang my phones around my neck which sometimes causes the able to snag onto stuff. Since I have a burning anger against Sennheiser, (three damaged cables in a year!!), I chose to skip all their models. With wireless ones out of the question (due to rumoured low sound quality and high price), I sought the nearest alternative – detachable cables. In the end, I found only one model that had all the functions I wanted at an affordable price. The storekeeper also highly recommended it (I bet he was lying anyway) so I got it.

Strangely, in the store the phones looked quite good but now I think it’s ugly. But not as ugly as the HD415.

I tested it out on my wretched Ipod Mini (formerly owned by Tsubaki) and voila, the sound was fucking good. The bass was deep and clear, yet not headache-inducing. The mids and trebles were very sharp, crisp and strong, not drowned out by the powerful bass. This pair has probably the best sound of all my phones so far. The HD 415 had a weak treble which forced me to have to use the equaliser on mp3 players, in "acoustic" mode to raise the volume of the mids and treble.

Price-wise, the Stanton was S$140, 40 dollars more than the HD415. The PX200 is 100 as well, but that’s completely shit and not worth using.

The Stanton comes with a detachable cable, which is thick and coiled up with a perpendicular jack rather than a straight one. This is great as this fits an mp3 player better, with less risk of damage. A bad point: the default jack is the fat one, so I have to use an adaptor. Both the HD415 and PX200 do not have detachable cables and this gets troublesome when you aren’t using it. Especially the HD415, with its 1.5 metre long cable. What do I do with a 1.5 metre long cable that I use only 20 cm of?

In terms of comfort, the HD415 wins hands-down. The whole point of that range was to provide comfort and those headphones were godly at it, being the open type and heavily cushioned. You could use them as pillows, such was the thickness of the cushioning. The Stanton is a Sealed type of phone, which means your ears are fully cupped. But the relatively shallowness of each can still gives it the feeling of a semi-sealed, since your ears are still pressed down. There is less padding for the ears and head too.

The HD415 can be hung very comfortably around the neck with lots of space left but the Stanton, like most other headphones, will choke you unless you turn over the cans but this makes it ugly.  Sadly, this is one of the most important aspects of a headphone and why the HD415 pwned.

The HD415 leaks a lot more sound out than the Stanton, due to its open design. Now, I don’t have to feel embarrassed listening to the Galaxy Angels theme song in the lift with strangers. Both models block off exterior sound to about the same degree.

Now, the DJ Pro 2000 is meant for DJs naturally and hence has a few other functions which the HD415 lacks. The first is its foldability. It has 4 points of articulation on each can compared to the HD 415′s 2 (and only a tiny degree of movability). The former thus can be used in a lot more ways and packed into a smaller space than the latter. But the length adjusters of the HD415 have clicks and this is superior to the Stanton’s smooth sliding ones. DJ Pro also packs a Stereo/Mono feature, which allows you to use only one side and still get all the sound.

The PX200 is the lightest in terms of weight, but who likes a small penis? The two heavy weights are similar in mass, but the Stanton’s cable is removable and that’s where most of the weight comes from.

Both headphones come with a few accessories. HD415 had a cable winder (totally utterly useless piece of crap), an adapter. Stanton DJ Pro 2000 has a earpad option, which can be stuck onto the right side. I think it’s meant for DJs who have to press their headphones onto their right shoulder. It also has an adapter for down-sizing the jack.

In terms of aesthetics, I can’t decide. Both seem pretty ugly on me but look good in the box. Bah. In truth, only Audiotechnica headphones look good and that’s because they are Japanese and we all know Japanese are fashionable. Oh well, after I get the HD415 and my old PX100 fixed, I’ll have a choice of what to wear when I go out. Maybe I can start matching my headphones with my clothes…

And finally, more examples of why headphones pwn.



39 Responses to “HeadPhones: Fashion of the Future and Forever”

  • GAY! If you wanted aesthetics you should’ve gotten AKG Acoustics. The cans rule in design and uniqueness. But AKG’s audio resembles Senns, which I am against. Grados FTW.

  • I prefer in-ears …

    Bought my Westone UM1 for $150 I think

  • Wow cool pics, girlsa do look sexy with headphones … I know they’re all secret listening to thrash metal though *dies*. I still wear little headphones though as I can’t afford to pay more than £30 quid for bigger ‘cooler’ ones, with better sound quality *cries* maybe next chrsitmas when i (hopefully) have a job .

  • Alafista >> I have something against IEMs. I don’t believe the bass is what I want and is scary to stuff your ears with plastic. It’s unhealthy stuff. My next goal is to get the Grados SR325. wo0t wo0t.

  • I was actually considering saving up for a pair of headphones…

    Until you start talking about pieces that cost over $100…bother…

  • To tj_han,

    I hear you.


  • Girls with headphones = Fucking hot.

    But your headphone’s too blocky lah. It screams OTAKU more than COOL. You should have gotten those retro AKG ones.

  • anyway does it enhance the sound ???

  • In-ears are sooo unhygenic, gay and painful.

    Chicken: You fucking bet. Once you’ve used one of these, you’re never ever touching those stock earphones again.

    Tsubaki: I decided on function over form, like a true sciencer.

    rdrake: You can get very good ones at less than 100.

    Hazel: You need headphones since you’re a girl. Set up an online “Help Hazel Buy Headphones Fund”.

    Lian: Isn’t AKG the one that shane bought?

  • @Tj_han: anyway when people see you with that ? don’t you find it weird ?

  • Headphones look great on anime girls. On real girls, not so much since they usually wear those tiny ear buds that I find gross in terms of sound. But, when I see a girl with a serious headset, then it’s an attractive look.

  • rats: Because girls are all really stupid and can’t appreciate sound. So they use stock earphones that come free with their mp3 players. But yeah, there are those who come armed with proper headphones and these rock.

    Chicken: No. Everyone wears these nowadays.

  • I’m also a avid headphone user, and one of the best cheapy with good audio ones I have is the Philips SBC HP840. Other than a couple of rather high-end Bose and Sennheiser models, I haven’t found anything that quite matches the audio quality.

    Frequency Range: 8-29,000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 105 dB
    Impedance: 40 Ohm
    Cable: 4.0 m LC-OFC
    Maximum power input: 1500 mW
    Weight: 296 g

    Almost equivalent if not superior to those Stanton’s, thick and sturdy detachable cable, very comfortable and it was only about 30 USD. Only problem is that they’re BIG. Definitely home-use only. Excellent reviews as well, and I’d recommend these to anyone looking for a pair of good headphones. Only problem is buying the thing, since they seem to be discontinued now.

    I also recently got a pair of Creative HN700 Noise cancellers (~70 USD, but I got them for 20 :) ). Great noise cancelling, all background droning just disappears, but the treble is kinda crappy. Probably not as good for home-use, but the great noise cancelling would probably make me choose these for travel.

  • my audio technica’s so uncomfortable…. but i think it has to do with my big head too.

    sooo.. headphones my head = oversized top. the area above my neck looks gargantuan.

  • Damn. And I was just gonna write a post on headphone fetish…
    My weapon of choice: Sony MDR-V700

    Well worth the $230 I spent 3 years ago. For outdoor use, I just use the Audio Technica headphones that almost everyone seems to be wearing these days. *Sigh* Time to change to another pair I guess…

  • A further gap between to beauty of anime girls and real girls with their crass and thoughtless lifestyles!! I love my headphones. I have some Sony MDR-XD100s for my portable needs (I was broke when I got them) and for my apartment I have some Sennheiser RS140s. I need to get some new portable full can phones, but I don’t have enough money. :’(

  • tj_han: What earphones under $100 in singapore can you recommend?

  • I seem to be the poorest person to recommend for earphones. I have not used earphones (ok, in-ears) since forever.

    Unfortunately, most stores do not allow testing. There’s a store, Chun Li (or something) electronics on the first floor of Sim Lim Square that does have a wide range of Sennheisers for testing. That store has a lot of other headphones as well, you could try that one.

    Most people don’t actually have the ability to tell good sound from great so personally I would suggest using price, aesthetics and comfort as your main deciding factors. Plus since most people use mp3 players that play like 192 or 320 kbps mp3s.

    It’s just me but the cables on headphones do tend to spoil easily.. so I recommend the Sennheiser HD 425 or something, the one with the removable cable and volume control.

  • For good stores .. I would recommend going to Stereo Electronics in Causeway point …

    They have a wide range of headphones and earphones from the cheapo $30 kind to the $300 ones …

    Furthermore they allow you to test everyone single one until ur ears bleed … so they are gewd

  • I got myself a Sony MDR-XD200

  • I’d only want those headphones to walk around and look really obnoxious because they’re so huge. I guess I’d listen to music, too.

  • tjhan >> Yes AKG is the one he bought. But his is considered the lesser aesthetic kind. You should see those huge cans they carry. totally pwn.

  • quendidil >> Earphones or headphones? If you are referring to earphones, I recommend the $35 Senn MX500. But some guy on http://www.sgheadphones.net told me the $60-$70 Sony E888 is much better (duh, price difference). Never tried the latter so you’ve got to try it out yourself. But if you’re referring to headphones, I recommend stretching your budget for a further $20 to get Grados SR60.

  • i bought my AKG K141STUDIO for the bass…$175 and it delivers such heart-pounding (fine head-pounding since the heart is a bit far away) music…only complaint i have is the 3m long cable :P

  • How do in-ears look on real girls?: http://www.gametrailers.com/umwatcher.php?id=1303 (I’m sure you all have seen this one)

    I personally have an MX500, which are great although they lack bass. For in-ear fans who are money-sensible , I can recommend the Creative EP-630 or Sharp MD33 (which I also have). They are cheap ($20-30), wideranged (6-23khz), powerful and balanced. The construction and package are also decent, with a goldplated connector and 3 pairs of plugs to fit any ear. The EP630/MD33 is widely considered to be the best bang for the buck, rivaling the lower end Shure (E2c, $100) in sound quality.

    On the headphone front I have a Philips SBC195, which I use as a set of earmuffs, it only cost me $5. The music is comparable to a decent set of supplied earphones (which is, poor, but audible).

    Headphones will always own in-ears in terms of sound quality due to the simple fact that the driver is larger. In terms of practicality, in-ears are smaller, easier to stow away and it works with a suit.

    A word of advice: don’t use personal audio systems (in-ears in particular) for too long stretches of time and/or at high volumes. We’re seeing more and more youth with hearing levels similar to 60 year olds in hospital, and it’s a fu****g tragedy. Sorry for the lecture.

  • (Girls with headphones are ftw. As am I. XD)

    My black Sony MDR-V150′s blend in with my hair and it bothers me. They’re headphones (I hate in-ears.) and I like them and all, but I think I’m ready to move on to something better, lol. My brother bought these for me though, so I don’t have a clue about head-phones.

  • My Stantons have a 50mm driver… and I was wrong when I said it was the same weight as my HD415. I suspect even without the cable, it weighs a good 300-400g.

    Zee: we need headphone girl pictures. Maybe then we can create a Zee Headphone fund.

  • oh sorry, i meant headphones lol

  • I’m a bit late off the mark but anyway…

    There must be something up with Senn’s build quality at the moment. I bought a set of the 415′s around the same time and they lasted all of 9 months before the cable went. PXC250s before that went the same way (though took a little longer about it, around 2 years, when I caught my knee in the cable and riped it out). However I’ve had a set of HD595s for the same length of time and they haven’t put a foot wrong.

    Replaced the 415s with Equation Audio RP-21s, only been going for a week but so far are fantastic. Good bass impact without being over-bearing. Mid-range was a bit iffy new, but seems to have come out more since burn-in. Not 100% sure about the aesthetic, looked retro-orange in the pics but it’s a metallic copper in real life…

  • Hey not in relation at all but, the headphones10musume is from what anime?

  • I personally love retro anything including retro fashion. Thanks for the post.

  • Hey, found your site by accident doing a search on Google but I’ll definitely be coming back. As for your post… I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but wouldn’t it be just as easy to let it go? I mean why screw with your quality of life if you don’t have to?

  • have already been reading ur website around 3 days. really enjoy what you posted. btw i’m conducting a research relating to this area. do you happen to know any good sites or perhaps online forums that I can get more information? many thanks.

  • Nah ik vind dit echt niet kunnen, verschrikkelijk toch? Waarom zou je een chinees nemen als je ook een belg kunt nemen, snap die logica gewoon niet kees?

  • You actually spoke about quite a few engaging points in this posting. I found it by using Yahoo and I have to admit that I am currently subscribed to your blog site, it is extremely decent (;

  • Nice article! I’ve been looking for high sq headphones for jrock, anime soundtracks, anime, even a bit of jpop(usually just an anime opening :P ) When i found this audiophile site http://www.head-fi.org . Definately worth checking out.

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