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JoshCohenMorgan's picture
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Portable over ear headphones
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Hey, I've recently finished GCSEs and am about to move to A levels, and I want a nice pair of portable headphones for when I'm at school studying. I'm looking for a pair of closed backs that are relativly small, but they don't have to be tiny, just not too big. I'm using an iPod classic 120gb connected to a fiio e7 via a dock connector to 3.5mm jack lead. All my music is in WAV and I listen to a lot of late 90s- early 2000s hip hop, and I do enjoy reggae as well, such as Damian Marley or Ini Kamoze. I do like a bit of colouration to the bass but I'm willing to listen and try more flat headphones as well! Just to summarise, want something relativly light with a good, clear sound. I'm looking for a wired connection and I'm not too bothered about microphone and controls. My budget is around £150-250.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

I bought a B&W P3 several weeks ago and I liked it so much I bought a second one. Now I have the black and the white versions. Excellent bass - great detail, especially when using a good amp. It's soft on the top, so I use the ipod treble boost. But even with treble boost the sound does not become as bright as the average "hi-fi" headphone, nor is there any harshness or sibilants. Just really nice sound. You can read my review here also.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

Welcome to the forum. :cheers:

 

Places to audition headphones, such as the B&W are Apple Stores and for other brands try HMV and Currys/PC World.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

hmmm, the B&W P3s do look really tempting. They look great and from the official review they sound the part to. However, I did notice that the review mentioned that they are not the tightest grip, is that suggesting they move around all the time because I don't want to be constantly re-adjusting them. Also, how do they they compare to their predecssors, the P5, and how to they compare to others such as the beyerdynamic T50p or the sennheiser HD 25 Adidas edition?

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:
hmmm, the B&W P3s do look really tempting. They look great and from the official review they sound the part to. However, I did notice that the review mentioned that they are not the tightest grip, is that suggesting they move around all the time because I don't want to be constantly re-adjusting them. Also, how do they they compare to their predecssors, the P5, and how to they compare to others such as the beyerdynamic T50p or the sennheiser HD 25 Adidas edition?

The P3 and P5 work well if you don't tilt your head, otherwise they move off your ears very easily. The P3 sounds better from the deep bass to the high treble if a treble boost is applied, but played flat, they are dull and the P5 would win on that count. OTOH, the P3 does respond very well to the i-device treble boost, whereas I haven't found a ipod/iphone EQ setting that improves the P5. I haven't had a T50p, but I had two Beyer DT1350's, which I gave up on after some time. The fit is critical to get proper bass, and even with a good fit the midrange around 400-500 hz is very boosted giving a substantial hollow sound. That sound is also very well addressed by i-device EQ, but in the end I gave up anyway. The 1350 (and I think the T50p also) work well for only a few people because of the need for a tight fit to get decent bass, and the tight fit is very headache-inducing.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

+ 1 on HMV. I tried some funky (there are subtler tones available) House of Marley 'Positive Vibrations' headphones in HMV. Thinking they would be a gimmick, how wrong I was. I've ordered some tonight from Amazon ('Sun' version, subtle) for £42.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

Take a look over on the innerfidelity website and listen/read a couple of his reviews on the P3's, Marley Exodus etc. It should give you a good idea on which to try for yourself, Tyll's reviews are usually pretty spot on unlike What Hi-Fi's, I think they have cloth in their ears when it comes to headphone reviews.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

Hmmm, the P3s are looking like a winner, but I still have a few questions about them. Has anyone tried them through a headphone amp such as the fiio e7, and also other devices like laptops? Also, the review on innerfidelity mentioned they don't have good noise isolation, that isn't a problem as such, but does that mean they are going to leak sound as well? To tell you the truth I'm not interested interested in any House of Marley 'phones, I'm sure they don't sound bad for the price but I want to spend upwards of £150 on a nice set. Also, a question that will probably make any audiophiles here cringe, would the P3s end up making my current pair of Beats By Dre Pro edition (I can't help it, I like them and they sound good for Hip Hop) obsolete due to better sound? Also, I've decided I will spend more than my original budget of £250 if the 'phones I purchase are good enough for me to sell my Beats By Dre Pros!

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:
Hmmm, the P3s are looking like a winner, but I still have a few questions about them. Has anyone tried them through a headphone amp such as the fiio e7, and also other devices like laptops? Also, the review on innerfidelity mentioned they don't have good noise isolation, that isn't a problem as such, but does that mean they are going to leak sound as well? To tell you the truth I'm not interested interested in any House of Marley 'phones, I'm sure they don't sound bad for the price but I want to spend upwards of £150 on a nice set. Also, a question that will probably make any audiophiles here cringe, would the P3s end up making my current pair of Beats By Dre Pro edition (I can't help it, I like them and they sound good for Hip Hop) obsolete due to better sound? Also, I've decided I will spend more than my original budget of £250 if the 'phones I purchase are good enough for me to sell my Beats By Dre Pros!

You have to remember that Tyll at Innerfidelity will not apply EQ to a headphone for a review, and so he downgraded the P3 accordingly. I can't argue against that based on the testing standards he goes by, but since he doesn't use EQ in reviews, it gives me the opportunity to add some consumer value that he doesn't provide.

The P3's isolation is just what you would expect from a small on-ear closed headphone of its type - it dulls the highs. If there are crickets chirping outside of your window, it would reduce that sound considerably. But if someone is banging pots and pans and dishes in the kitchen 20 feet away from where you are, it would not lessen that sound much at all. Compared to the typical closed around-ear headphone like the ATH M50, there is much less isolation. There is also a small leakage with the P3. If I'm in bed listening next to a person who is trying to sleep, I have to keep the volume at a moderate level, maybe 10 db less than how I listen normally. But if I'm in an office cubicle and playing at normal volume, there is probably not enough leakage to disturb the person in the next cube, unless the office background noise level is extremely quiet. I played a song fairly loud for a test and clamped the P3 to my leg so the earcups were against my leg the same as they would be on my ears. That leakage could be heard in a next-cubicle, but it would be faint. Playing at slightly reduced volume, maybe 5 db below normal, would probably be OK even in a very quiet office.

I've played the P3 with a desktop PC, a laptop PC and Macbook Air, with ipod and iphone, with HRT iStreamer and Headstreamer, with the Objective2 headphone amp, with the Audioengine D1, Dragonfly, and FiiO E17 DAC plus headphone amps - all of these give the same general sound quality, except the iStreamer or FiiO E17 are better than the laptops and desktops' headphone jacks, and the Audioengine D1, Dragonfly, and Headstreamer are the best, especially when playing hirez 96k music tracks.

I've heard only the Beats $200 USD on-ear and $300 USD around-ear headphones at the Apple store, and the P3 with treble boost is far better than those no matter how you would EQ those Beats models. But the Beats Pro models I don't know. I can tell you that in a direct comparison, the ATH M50 headphone is cheaper and sounds bigger than the P3. I don't want to say it sounds better, since that's hard to judge. For example, the P3 sounds better than the Harman/Kardon CL, better than the 2 Beats I mentioned, better than the B&W P5, etc. But when I compared it to the M50, the M50 overwhelms it - makes the P3 sound small.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

I've heard the M50 as my uncle has a pair, running through a cyrus DAC X+ and a graham slee novo, and they sound really good. However, the P3 seems to be a lot more portable as although the M50 folds, they are still a little bulky. However, I haven't heard the M50 through an iPod or a portable headphone amp, and I have a suspicion that the P3 will be easier to drive.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:
I've heard the M50 as my uncle has a pair, running through a cyrus DAC X+ and a graham slee novo, and they sound really good. However, the P3 seems to be a lot more portable as although the M50 folds, they are still a little bulky. However, I haven't heard the M50 through an iPod or a portable headphone amp, and I have a suspicion that the P3 will be easier to drive.

Normally I'd say the P3 is not easier to drive since the M50 is efficient. But given the tone control issue and the fact that it reduces the P3's efficiency slightly, it makes things much more even.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

hmmm, it seems to be a tough decision to make, in my position would you go for the P3 or M50?

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

I think for home use the P3 has a slight edge in overall clarity and neutrality, but the M50 sounds bigger and more dramatic. If you just ignore that, then the P3's sound on its own is quite good. But the more important issue for me with the P3 is that I can not only have excellent sound with a home system, I can take that quality or very near that quality wherever I go because the P3 is small. The limitation of quality with portable use is the amplifier - when I use an amp in portable mode it's a FiiO E17. The M50 is large and bulky so not suitable for portable use. 

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

hmmm, the P3 looks like it may be a winner then, thanks for all your help. But also, would you say that I should change my fiio e7 for an e17, is the e17 any better or does it just have more connectivity?

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:
hmmm, the P3 looks like it may be a winner then, thanks for all your help. But also, would you say that I should change my fiio e7 for an e17, is the e17 any better or does it just have more connectivity?

I don't see the E17 as a big upgrade. You would need to compare them side by side to see if there is more output available from the E17, in case that would help with dynamics. Other than that they seem about the same.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Portable over ear headphones

OK then, that's about it then I guess, thanks very much for your help, I will probably purchase the P3 around christmas time and try grab an e17 when ever, once again thanks a lot!

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