Budding audiophile

I’ve noted before that Apple headsets don’t work so well with the Galaxy S3. Happily this lead my to search for alternatives—with excellent results.

I should note that I did my shopping at Headphonic, and the headphones I chose were based on their excellent advice. They have great prices, policies and free shipping too! In fact, the second pair of headphones I ordered arrived in less than 24 hours! That’s Perth to Brisbane folks, pretty incredible! (The first headphones took longer as they weren’t in stock at the time I placed my order, which I did know in advance.)

Audio Technica ATH-AD700

These arrived in October. They are big, purple and copper coloured, open headphones. Gamers rave about them and for good reasons. They are super comfortable. Even though they are huge, they are very light and soft on the ears. They sound great, nice and clear. They do leak sound (people around you will easily hear what you are listening too) but likewise you can hear people talking to you without taking them off (unless what you are listening to is loud at the time!)

I have heard complaints that they do not have enough bass—I do not personally find this to be a problem. If you go someplace quiet and listen to music, these headphones deliver astounding clarity. The bass won’t overwhelm the rest of the music—which is how bass should be heard!—but you will hear it.

They may be a little impractical for a LAN, due to their size and open design. However, they score points for the social aspect—being able to hold conversations is a bonus! Depends on your preference and the type of LAN 🙂

Audio Technica ATH-AD700. Tell your friends.

Gaming accessories

The AD700s aren’t a “surround” headset but you can use dolby surround if your soundcard supports it. I added a soundcard to my PC with a headphone amp (Xonar DGX) and it’s all lovely now!

Lastly, for gaming you need a mic. Despite comments that it would be easy to find a clip on mic to use with these headphones, it was anything but. Everywhere seemed to be out of stock. I tried a desk mic from Dick Smith but my mates couldn’t hear me speak so that was no good (maybe I didn’t configure it right). I finally settled on the excellent ModMic. It’s simple to use and super effective, and I can use it with any headphones now or in the future!

Crossfade M-80 White Pearl

While that sorted me for gaming, I still needed something for day to day use. I figured out that I can use the S3 volume buttons to skip forward and back in my playlists, so using play/pause on the headset controls would get me by. I wanted something that sounded better while commuting, especially something that would let me hear the bass better against the backdrop of traffic and trains. The M-80s caught my eye. Well, look at them: Crossfade M-80 White Pearl (On-Ear). They are full of awesomeness!

As reported by others, these do get tight on the ears. [Update 10 April 2013: they’re not so tight when you extend the bands for a better fit!] At the end of my commute (about 1 hour 30 minutes) I can feel pains in the creases around my ear from having the m80s clamped down. This has been getting better as they wear in. This isn’t the comfort of the AD700s, but the sound is awesome! They isolate outside noise very well, you can still hear but it is muffled. And they boost bass in a lovely way, while keeping the rest of the music clear. Love it! They also come with a fantastic case and 2 headset cables: one for Apple devices (3 button remote) and one for others (single button). Both cables include a mic. Nice eh?

A very cool feature is that you can design your own shields to place on the sides. Celebrate your own brand—shiny!

My custom shields for M-80 headphones
I designed up this lion-dragon/port-starboard combo 🙂

Very happy with my headphones! Thanks again Headphonic, Audio Technica and V-Moda (oh, and ModMic!)

FYI, my criteria for headphones was this:

  1. not canalphones (the ones you poke inside your ears like earplugs)
  2. open enough to hear things when needed, but quiet enough they won’t disturb others
  3. listening to music on the train and at work
  4. play/pause controls
  5. microphone optional
  6. for computer gaming (my old USB headset required me to restart games when switching from speakers to headset)
  7. surround for computer gaming would be a bonus
  8. can plug into my amp for bass practice
  9. comfortable for long gaming/bass sessions

So, a pretty good result!