Look for a used pair of Sennheiser 600 headphones. They are listed sometimes here on Audiogon for around $200, and they are a great pair of headphones at that price.
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Given these few key points regarding what he is looking for: Transparent top end, good bass, and no interest in an amp.. the answer is a no brainer: Grado 225. Much easier to drive than Sennheiser (per no amp- less affected my lesser headphone outs on receivers,cd players etc.), more transparent on top (some say too bright), and very good in the bass.
I am not familiar with Media Slayer. I will tell you that it takes a lot of "juice" to drive the Senn's. If you're talking about an output of 500-750 mVolt...forget about it! It will take about a 2 volt output [DAC] into a headphone amp to really appreciate the Senn's...otherwise, WAY too low volume.
Your friend might want to try a pair of Grado 125's, if he's going to go with a low voltage output. They'll play MUCH louder than the Senn's.
I believe that Grados will spill sound out into the workplace. If that is an issue, I recommend Sennheiser HD-280 Pro. Closed-back, as opposed to Senn. 580/600/650 and Grados, and with amazing isolation both ways no one else hears your music, you don't hear anything else. Sound great, under $100 new, and you don't need a headphone amp to drive them. I use them on my commuter train with a portable CD player; have pricier cans and dedicated headphone amp at home.
Also, much more info available at head-fi.com. Good luck.
I have Sennheiser 580s and LOVE 'em. However, for your friend's application, I would recommend the AKG K240 *Studio* headphones. Be sure to get the Studio version, they have 55 ohm impedance instead of the 600 ohm impedance of the standard versions. These phones play LOUD, have excellent bass, and are extrememly comfortable for long periods of time.
There's a pair on FleaBay right now for $75 Buy It Now with $10 shipping:
thanks for all the suggestions guys. As i read your posts there are a few i think he will like. Grados wont work due to their shape and open air design so they are out, as well as the nicer Sennheisers. I know he will want a design that covers the ear and blocks out his music and blocks out the ambient noise of an office situation. Im thinking the Senn. HD280s might be the ticket. Since he will be listening most of the day im guessing a laid back top end would be appreciated. Do these deliver good highs but not fatiguing? and are they robust?
Fatparrot-My friend and myself have a joke going on about Windows Media Player and how it basically butchers the music so we coined it Media Slayer.
Rlwainwright-i will do some research on the AKGs, thanks
thanks again everybody
Yes, the senns will deliver relaxed, non fatigueing hi's, but they are not the most robust. If that's important I'd guess the beyerdynamic dt250 or the sony 7506 i mentioned earlier. Both are tough as boots, have closed back designs and are very common in recording studios and radio stations etc.
Best of luck
His requirements are:
a) closed cans
b) no amp = low impedence <100ohms
c) high resolution, good bass
There are only a few that qualify. Good ones would be the Beyer DT 770 (32ohm), Audio Technica ATH-A900 (32 ohm) and AKG K271 Studio (55ohm).
Each can has its own distinctive sonic signature, so its best that he try each out before deciding.
The standard version of the DT770 is 250ohms, but you can order a 32ohm version.
Click on MANUFAKTUR.
I've also seen the DT770 non-MANUFAKTUR 32ohm version. Maybe it was a special batch order? I don't know, but it is available.