When I started in the radio business, I knew very little about the technical side of the equipment I used. I knew what sounded good to me, and I knew what I could afford. So when I bought my first set of headphones in 1993, I tried a couple different ones, read some reviews, and bought a pair of Sony MDR-7506‘s. They cost me about a hundred bucks, they sounded great, and they were pretty durable. Today, I still don’t know about impedance, frequency response, magnets or drivers. But I’ve picked up roughly a half-dozen pairs of those Sony’s over the years since that initial purchase, and they still sound awesome to me.
Pros: They’re affordable. $130 on the Sony website, but I’ve never paid that much for ‘em. You’ll find a pair at B&H Photo and Video for $79.
They’re “over-the-ear” as opposed to “on-ear” or “in-ear.” They do a great job of eliminating outside noise, and prohibiting “headphone bleed” while your mic is on.
They comfortable, they’re light, and they’re durable. The pair I use today (and that I use every day) I got back in 2004. When I was working in radio day-to-day, my headphones got a LOT of use. Between air shift and production studio, I probably took them on and off about fifty times a day. Yeah, they wore out, but this was beyond normal wear-and-tear. And the sound never faltered. It was usually the foam around the earpieces that wore out. I compare it to the thin spots your favorite jeans get around the knees over time.
Most importantly, they sound terrific. Basses are bass-y (but not overly so), and sound reproduction is as accurate as my ears can discern. DJ’s, audio engineers, videographers, even amateur audiophiles will get hundreds of hours out of these headphones with great results.
Cons: Honestly, I don’t have any. I’ve been a satisfied customer for years.
There are a lot of really expensive headphones available, some upwards of $2700 (which also gets you Ethiopian sheepskin leather earpads), but c’mon. Really? For functionality, durability, sound and price, the Sony MDR-7506′s beat the pants off of Ethiopian sheepskin anytime.