Some of these opinions are long overdue. Since my last review, I have come into delightful contact with many varied areas of consumer culture. The following presents my take, which, of course, you should use as only a part of your research if you are spending your hard-earned and heavily-taxed money.
Sennheiser HD580 headphones
I’ve had a set of these for a few years now and have been nothing but impressed. Music is perfectly clear and full, and has a rich tone that can’t be explained if you’ve only used crappy earbuds or cheapo headphones. There’s a true soundstage – close your eyes and you can position every element of the performance as if you were there. I couldn’t class myself as an audiophile yet, but my HD580’s produce some of the best sound I’ve ever heard. Don’t expect them to block any outside noise, though.
The HD580 is the baby brother to Sennheiser’s HD600 and, more recently, the HD650. That’s a pretty good family to be in, I’d say. All three have a 300 ohm impedance. If you don’t know an ohm from an amp, impedance measures the resistance to your music that the headphones provide. The higher the impedance, the more power your music player needs to put out. For comparison, most earbuds have around a 16 ohm impedance. If you’re going to use real headphones like the HD580’s with a tiny portable mp3 player, you’ll need a headphone amp. (Some mp3 players have a decent output and can put out enough power themselves, but don’t count on it unless you’ve checked.)
That said, the retail price on these bad boys is $200 – $250, though you can get them at most stores for $150. If you’re serious about your music and have a decent source, I’d say it’s worth every penny.