So, I have to credit my buddy Joe at work with putting me squarely onto the slippery slope of the audiophile life a few weeks ago by introducing me to his Shure SE535 in-ear headphones. It took my about a millisecond to fall prey, knowing in my soul I immediately needed better phones than my CVS-special white in ear mini tin cans. I set about researching the under $50 class, and it wasn't long before I settled upon either the Koss PortaPro or poorly named Monoprice over ear unit, as they seemed to pop up everywhere and were reviewed by credible folks who could string words and logic together convincingly. The phones weren't that expensive, and I need headphones for work and home, so I actually got both. I have to say, they are both exceptional and it's pretty amazing what kind of fidelity you can get for under $50 these days. And I will say that sound is in the ear of the beholder. But man, was I ever blown away by the Koss PortaPro. They look funky in a mid-Eighties future vibe-y way (well, have a look...)
But visuals aside these headphones are inspiring me to listen to every single album I've ever loved all over again, and the experience is like hearing them for the first time. The sound is perfectly balanced, with deep bass and crisp details across the sonic spectrum. I'm sure there's better out there, but to my ears they are close to perfection. And they are light as air and completely non-fatiguing. I even think they look cool, but I also like the look of old Renaults.
If you're looking for new headphones and don't want to spend an arm and leg, I highly recommend a pair.