I've done various things as a musician over the last 15 years, and the cans you see EVERYWHERE are the Sony MDR-7506. Period.
If it is good enough to mix and master, if it is good enough to monitor professional vocalists in the studio, it is good enough for you! These cans represent the music as it was intended to be heard. (And, subjectively, they sound fantastic.)
There seem to sometime be arguments about "reference" vs. enjoyment, and things being "too neutral" in studio cans, but I dunno. The cynical side of it seems (to me) to be a sort of hobby-justification for spending more than $99 on a pair of headphones.
Granted, taste matters and comfort matters. But arguments appealing to some kind of vague "quality"--I just don't buy it. The studio spent $50,000 on their mixing board. If they needed to spent $500 (vs. $100) on their cans, they'd do it. But they often don't.
For years, we used the Beyerdynamic DT-100s, which sounded absolutely awful but suited a professional environment well. They were ultra-rugged, provided good isolation from outside noise, were completely rebuildable with 100% parts availability, had a modular cable and provided a good reference in the mid-range frequencies which are most critical for broadcast. You'd never mix a record using them, but they were excellent for musicians or cameramen to monitor with. Similar logic applies to speakers like the Yamaha NS-10 or the Auratone 5C - horrible to listen to, but they provided a useful reference for specific tasks.
The MDR-7506/7509 headphones are very popular for similar reasons to the DT-100s, although they sound much better. Here in the UK they're not especially popular in music, though they are used extensively in broadcast. Open-backed headphones like the AKG K701 or the Sennheiser HD650 sound very much better, but they're bulky, fragile, don't block out noise and leak sound out, which is a critical failure if you're sat in front of an open microphone.
The Sennheiser DT-25s are another example - probably >50% of DJs use them, but they'd be a terrible choice for most users. They sound good, are very rugged and provide superlative isolation from noise, but they're miserably uncomfortable. DJs are quite happy to trade comfort for isolation as they only use their headphones intermittently, but for users who aren't trying to monitor in a noisy nightclub it's a bad call.
There's little point in spending more than a few hundred dollars on headphones, but they're very specialised tools and you should select carefully based on your personal requirements.
My biggest complaint with the Sony's/Sens', aside from lack of detail, is that they have a lot of sibilance, which becomes fatiguing after an hour or two. I wear my Grados whenever I can (but can't when other people are around due to sound leakage).
That said, after using both for months and months, I can tell you that I prefer the Senn.'s. The MDR's are good, and in good per dollar they certainly win. But, I find the Senn.'s more comfortable over long periods, and less fatiguing to my ears.
This is, I believe, because the open 'phones let my ears breath, and because the sound on the Senn.'s is clearer/crisper. I wind up turning the volume up more with the MDR's, subconsciously seeking the clarity of the Senn.'s, which is more fatiguing for my eardrums.
But as others have pointed out, you're optimizing for a different variable in the studio. First of all, you'd never mix or master on headphones unless you're testing to see how your mix sounds on headphones. So at that point, you probably want cans that translate well to "average" headphones, and it may well be that the Sonys do. Think about NS-10's, or even Auratones - they're not great speakers, they're just a common reference point that everyone knows.
And for tracking, you really don't want flat response; you want cans that'll reinforce the musician's ability to hear themselves, the headphone equivalent of a presence peak. Isolation is critical - no headphone bleeding. But the most important quality for tracking headphones is ruggedness; they are going to get abused, and they need to be easily repairable but rarely need repairing.
All of which is to say: being universal doesn't imply being the best-sounding or the most-comfortable; it implies being optimal for the needs of a recording studio.
Wikipedia on the MDR-V6, MDR-V600, MDR-7506, MDR-7509HD, and MDR-CD900ST: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_MDR-V6
From what I understand, the V600 is not in the same league, but you should check that at Head-Fi.
Since I didn't find a product number to give you, here's an amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-Velour-Earcushions-MDR750... that lists them currently unavailable though, but just to give you easier time finding them from some other retailer.
bayerdynamic DT-770 is another popular choice in pro-use (just anecdotal evidence). My experience is that they are slightly more bass-heavy than Sony MDR-7506, but the sound is very equal otherwise. Also their round shape did not fit my head as well and caused pain on long sessions. Overall I see that some might prefer them over MDR-7506.
I've tried previous iterations of the Bose QC line but I was disappointed by a) the battery requirement, b) the sound quality (poor and muddled by active noise cancellation) and c) the build quality---my pair died after a year and those things never did anything but sit at my desk.
I'm going on five years with my HD280s and I don't have a single complaint.
edit: I should add that I do end up using my iPod earbuds a lot. I should really buy another set of HD280s for work.
1) They're heavy, so they cause cranial irritation.
2) The padding at the top has come loose, though that's easily fixable with some glue or tape.
3) They're not wireless. This is the biggest thing for me. After getting some LG Bluetooth headphones to use with my Android phone for listening to music on the go, wired headphones are really starting to bug me. However, wireless isn't practical for the hours-on-end of music listening that goes on while working, since the battery would probably run out (not sure about that though - the LG's are supposed to last 10 hours).
When I'm on the move, I pack in-ear buds. Skullcandy makes the best: inexpensive and really great bass. My favorite are the Titans (http://www.amazon.com/Skullcandy-Titan-S2TTCB-047-Black-Chro...) but even the entry level Ink'd are a huge step above any other buds at that price point.
And people actually use the white Apple buds? I can't even keep those in my ears as they just fall out constantly.
a) Block out everything around me.
b) Play music that helps me concentrate.
I find that bass is counterproductive WRT #2.
As for the Apple earbuds, they fit me and I can wear them for about an hour before my ears start to hurt. I keep them around when I need to be on-the-move. Personally I've never been a big fan of Skullcandy.
I do have a pair of Etymotic ER-6i canalphones. I don't use them unless I'll be using them for a while at a time since taking them in/out is a bit of a process but the sound quality is superb and they do a terrific job of blocking out my environment. They're magic on a plane.
The only caveat is that buds, especially when thrown into jackets and pant pockets, only last 6 months to a year, but are completely worth the 40$.
I used to have Shures, then Etymotics, but the Etys broke. Now those made a plane sound like a quiet car ride.
I've been using 280s at work for a few weeks now and I'm not really digging them. At home I have Shure SRH-440s, but replaced the stock pads with pads from the 840s (about $20 off amazon). They're monitor headphones so the response is meant to be flatter; the net result is notably quieter bass that sounds more "present" than pounding your ears. At first I disliked it but once you start listening for a bit you grow to appreciate it.
That said, they've lasted 3+ years extraordinarily well, far better then the Sony MDR-7506's I've seen die in that time frame.
What I like most about them is that they don't touch my ears at all, so for me as well there's no long term discomfort whatsoever.
Very good reviews online but a bit hard to get in shops (UK), most places seem to order them in.
I was able to reinforce them and they are better than ever.
I've moved considerably upmarket over the years and won't talk about the rest of my setup, but my main cans now are Ultrasone Editions 8s. They're very pricey (retail $1500 for the basic model, but you can get them used under $1k if you spend enough time on the Head-fi classifieds). They're considered by many to be the best sounding _closed_ cans out there, and they actually isolate almost as well as good iems. Plus they're very light and comfortable at 260 grams.
So yeah, that's quite a bit of money and I am certainly an audiophile. OTOH, I use them an average of 4 hours a day and bought them used, so when the time comes I can sell them at little to no loss. I get a great deal of enjoyment out of my rig and it helps me to do my work, so I consider it a good investment. Same with my Knoll Life Chair. YMMV. I actually made a profit on limited edition headphones in the past, purchased a used pair of Audio-Technica L3000s for $1500 in 2005, sold them for $2000 in 2007. Today they tend to go in the $2500 range.
They're closed, but not super-isolating, a good tradeoff between not leaking sound, and being able to hear my phone ring.
They're very comfortable, more so than other phones I own (At home I have a couple different pairs of Grados, Beyers, and AKG 301s).
They also drive well of a standard headphone output, when many audiophile grade phones (the AKGs and most higher-end Sennheisers, for intance), don't.
Other than that (and the headband cracking) those are one of the best headphones I've ever had.
BUT, they were poorly tested. Both sides have broken where they slide out of the headpiece to extend.
Spent $5 at home depot and with a bit of drilling they are now reinforced and back together.
For monitor use, and by that term I'm talking about actual pro-audio where isolation is a plus, really the high end custom IEM (IEM = in ear monitor) is where it's at.
But as with most things, be careful what you wish for. A true reference can be boring unless you're using well mastered source material. Most pop/rock/electronica doesn't fall into that category, and with that notion it's best to listen to a bunch of cans and let your ears be your guide.
The components in my chain cater to my preferences. It's not the most uber-accurate, but for my purposes emotional engagement is key - it let's me tune out from my environment and focus on my work.
Next: frying and sauce pans for hackers. Hack your eggs.
PS: The only music I listen to while working is the beat of my fingers on the keyboard.
I have the HF3s and while of course they sound better with an amp (I use a FiiO E7 at home), it's not necessary. I use them without one at work and while walking around and they're still great.
i just use cheap throwaway earbuds in girly colors on commute and FM radio for music into solid Advent loudspeakers that have been going strong since the 70s
Edit: Oh and they are comfortable. Which for long listening is essential to me.
I've been using the Sennheiser MX series earbuds for years. They're waterproof, durable, inexpensive, and have good sound quality for the price. Regular earbuds fall out of my ears and these are the only ones that stay in.
That said, I've been using the MX680i's for 4+ months and I'm disappointed compared to the MX85's I had before. The insert that holds them in your ears isn't nearly as good as the old style. I often have to adjust these and they fall out at times. The MX85 never fell out.
The mic and controls are good though. I use them for calls daily. The volume buttons don't work on Android devices but the play button does.
Audiophiles care about sound quality more than anything, and spend time researching what kind of cans fit their personal listening preferences as well as listening environment. They spend money on headphones because music and audio quality is their passion/hobby.
Hackers, for the most part, have more money to spend than the average "consumer", but music and audio quality isn't necessarily their hobby. If those Bose ads are everywhere and the mini-stores are in airports, or if everyone and their mother has "Beats" labeled headphones/earphones, then they're more likely to just spend whatever their budget is on Bose or Beats, because since it's not their passion, they are less likely to research.
So we end up with hackers paying more for worse listening experiences than audiophiles. I bet car enthusiasts get a better deal on buying used cars than audiophiles. And chefs pick out better produce than car enthusiasts.
Is this really interesting?
Keep in mind, I say this as someone who is apparently quite atypical. I have converted to neckphones -- headphones which wrap around your neck while wearing them -- as things which occupy my permanent ensemble. It's partly because I wanted to be able to quickly drop and resume music listening while cycling, but to be honest the padded headphones feeling around my neck died in high school for me, and hasn't been resurrected. They were too sweaty and you couldn't really wear them around your neck comfortably and sleekly while you were in a situation where you wanted to pay attention. Thinner traditional headphones are good for that, earbuds are horrible for that.
I feel like the story is missing the details, though. I could write a blog I suppose about all the neckphones I've used and their relative advantages, but honestly it seems like my basic problem is "I expect to accidentally sit on my headphones once or twice per year and they must be cheap, so that I think of them as expendable." That's not really in this article. ^_^;; I've used Sennheisers, I have a pair of Sonys now, but I must remark that at least for neckphones, after several frustrating experiences with other brands my brand loyalty today belongs with Philips. So I am even more atypical; they don't make the graph at all here. ^_^;;
I feel some extra pride because it's a Dutch company, but still: the last Philips neckband headphones I bought, the SHS5200s, lasted me almost an entire year for (if I'm remembering this correctly) 15 euro, with beautiful sound that, unlike my present Sony's, didn't leak sound to my office mates. They ultimately wore down because they had a straight headphone jack, not an L-shaped one. (The headphone ports on both my old and newer laptop were/are on the front, and therefore fatigue the cord when I'm reclining with my laptop on evenings and weekends.)
The only reason I'm ranting about them, and I promise I'll stop, is that the SHS5200s actually solved the problem of cord-extension breaks. And it's retrospectively such a simple engineering fix: just don't make the audio wire load-bearing. Use a piece of elastic to "bunch up" a little bit of wire, when you accidentally hyperextend your cord, the elastic is what responds. It's a brilliant little thing.
The reason I'm saying all of this is just that, in my role as hacker, these are the little things which I value most. The sound quality needs to be pretty beautiful, yes, but there are other practical problems like being able to comfortably keep them around my neck when I'm walking around town.
Samson SR850 (very similar to/rebadge of Superlux HD668B): widely available for $50 - $60
(Superlux equivalent worth look at too: http://www.head-fi.org/t/546556/superlux-express-train)
Sony MDR-V6: $70 - $80
JVC HA RX700: $37 at Amazon
If you want to spend more, the ATH M50's are widely considered great "bang for the buck" at approximately $160.
(all prices US$)
The cord is really long (so, not hard to route around equipment), the build quality is great, they have good isolation, and the frequency response (especially towards the lower end--important for the electronic stuff I listen to to sound right) is superb. I can wear them--comfortably--for six-eight hours at a stretch.
I finally settled on using the Sennheiser PX-200 II headphones: http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-PX-200-II-Headphones/dp/B00...
They have good sound isolation, are extremely light, and very comfortable to wear for long periods. The volume dial on the cord is a nice added bonus as well.
This is what open cans are for ;)
You can also sit very still and will your pulse lower. With practice you can lower your core temperature at will.
If you want a little less isolation, the AKG K240 MKii are a good choice, but your coworkers might complain that sound leaks out (semi-open design). Their padding is fake-leather (but you can get fuzzy replacement pads) that tends to get sweaty after longer use. Sound quality is also very good.
I've used a pair of them since 2005 for office work and for serious front-of-house mixing. They sound great and hold up great.
Don't buy Bose headphones. They are not worth the money.
Generally speaking, I won't recommend Bose equipment because of the poor cost/quality ratio, but their sound cancelling headphones actually work really well for their intended purpose. I've not used a set that works better, although I think they do some kind of funky sound enhnacement, because some music just sounds strange when using them. Regardless, I consider their primary function drowning out background noise (like on a plane), and in that regard, they're unbeatable.
For $18 + headphone speakers, can't beat the price. Worked so well I made two to keep at different locations and also carry one when flying. There's an instructable too http://www.instructables.com/id/Jackhammer-Headphones/
The difference to mine is that I drilled a hole to pass the wires and used hot glue to make sure there's no way sound can come through there.
They're less comfortable to wear since they squeeze your head harder than headphones (maybe I could adjust mine by stretching the metal headband with two vice's or something), and they have a bit more weight. But for $20 instead of $300, and hack factor, you win hands down! :)
I have a pair of their older on-ear model (replaced by the OE1). At the time, they were the most readily available pair of head phones where the main cable separated from the head phones. Most of my headphone failures over the years were from the stress at the device end of the cable. I have fixed this a few times but it's easier to get a replacement cable. So for the 199 I spent on the Bose, these are the best value for money head phones I have so far.
Also they are more portable than most head phones, pretty comfortable, and they use a single cable rather than a y-cable.
Right now I have a small array of headphones:
While mixing for bands I use AKG K171's
While walking around town, I use my AKG Q460's
At the gym I use Bose Triport In Ears (forget the model #)
At work (in the office) I use my Q460's, but plan to upgrade eventually to Audeze or Ultrasones.
At work (at home) I use my AKG Q701's.
There is a lot of variation in the sound, but my philosophy is this: 1) general listening, use any over-ear, closed-back phones that sound good with an iPod. 2) Mixing, you need something with great isolation, but never buy "noise-cancelling". 3) If you're alone and don't want to bother neighbors, a good pair of open-back cans will give you amazing sound and a ridiculous sound stage. 4) Gym, just something comfortable and decent sounding. 5) At the office, good sound, closed back for minimal bleed.
Keep in mind for many of the higher end cans you'll need a good amp and DAC to get the most out of them.
They're quite a bit different. In ear noise isolating. Surprisingly comfortable.
They are bluetooth headphones. 12 hours talk time. Doubles as a headset and FM radio.
I pair my laptop to them and listen music. When a phone call comes in the MW600 automatically switched to the phone for me to answer. When I get off the phone, sound is back to the computer and I can work again.
It. just. seems. to. work.
I can wear the headphones all day and walk around without having to unplug when I get up or leave.
The best part is the small things
1) one less cord to dangle to the computer and get in the way when I'm typing. One less cord to plug in my ear for a headset.
2) Don't like the headphones? no big deal, unplug the sony headphones from the dongle and plug in any ones you like and enjoy the bluetooth audioness of it all. Works fine with both my iPhone and Android.
I would not swap them for anything.
They run rings around headphones which are 5-10x the cost. Rumor has it they piss on 1KGBP headphones. They sound much better than HD280s as well (I've had some as well). The frequency response is pretty much 100% linear. They are very comfortable. They block out pretty much everything. Most importantly you just cannot hear any static/noise on them at all.
They are godlike.
Unfortunately they change hands for a hell of a lot of money now otherwise I'd grab another pair :(
Not sure that they beat high-end phones though. I have some HD650s at home, and trust me, they are nicer to listen to (but being open, would annoy the hell out of my co-workers.)
I think anyone looking to use headphones for extended periods at their desk should be looking for something extremely comfortable.
When at the Picplum office: Sennheiser HD-650's ( http://paulstamatiou.com/sennheiser-hd-650-headphones ) hooked up to a FiiO E10 USB DAC. My cofounder has HD-555's hooked up to a (much more expensive) Peachtree Audio Nova amp. These HD's are open air so you can definitely hear what we're both listening to. We might have to switch to closed once we start growing the team so we dont annoy others.
As for when I'm on the go, I have Etymotic hf3 earbuds with comply P-series foam tips. These sit very deep in the ear for maximum isolation though they can be uncomfortable to those not used to this style of earbud. You must also change the foam out every 3 months for a good fit.
I use Etymotics ER4S at the gym or when shooting (or on helicopters), and Ultimate Ears 10vi for portable, airplane, etc. use. I think the etymotics seal better in the ear, plus they are lower profile, so I can wear them underneath either a passive earmuff hearing protector, a set of Pro-Ears Pro Tacs, or an aviation headset (usually just in one ear, so I can listen to the vehicle audio too).
Heroku should have a badge in their footer 'powered by Beyerdynamic'
I have the Pioneer SE-MJ71 steel wheel series headphones. I've used Pioneer headphones for a long time as a DJ, they have excellent response and range and for daily wear work perfectly. One thing I have noticed is that when I am wearing them while working that you need to pump very little volume into them (slide the volume slider all the way down) to get large and expressive sound. I've thought about getting an external volume control in line with the 3.5mm to be able to control it even better.
At home I also have an older Sennheiser headset that I don't use nearly as much anymore because the foam has deteriorated so bad that the plastic casing is pressing into my head when I have them on (which frankly is uncomfortable). I've wanted to get a replacement for a while. The one thing I absolutely love about the Sennheiser cans is that they came with a REALLY long headphone wire, and can be unplugged from the headphones and from the computer (So when I've accidentally stepped on the cord or spin around in my chair I don't send stuff flying!). They have gone through years of use, I've had them since I was 12... I am now 25. If I could get new foam pads for it I would do so in a heartbeat.
That shouldn't be too hard, unless you have a very rare model:
It may just be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new pair of headphones. It is not like they haven't given me my moneys worth and then some!
An ebay listing:
There may be others.
While the sound quality was phenomenal, they were really loud outside the headphones, meaning I wouldn't be able to wear them at a quiet workspace. Does anyone know if other audiophile headphones have that issue?
a) leak sound to the room
b) let sound in from the room
The author should try reading Peopleware. Here's an excerpt from Chapter "Bring Back the Door":
"In response to worker's gripes about noise, you can either treat the symptom or treat the cause. Treating the cause mean choosing isolation in the form of noise barriers -- walls and doors -- and these cost money. Treating the symptom is much cheaper. When you install Muzak or some other form of pink noise, the disruptive noise is drowned out at small expense. You can save even more money by ignoring the problem altogether so that people have to resort to tape recorders and earphones to protect themselves from the noise. If you take either of these approaches, you should expect to incur an invisible penalty in one aspect of worker's performance: They will be less creative."
"Your workers will have to find their own solutions(necessitating creativity) therefore they will be less creative"... hrm
If you remember back to their post about phone price deprecation (http://priceonomics.com/phones/#cell-phone-depreciation), you might recall their statement that, "... we firmly believe that resale value is the best objective indicator of product quality." In this current article, they state that "... the popular Bose QuietComfort 15 stood out as having the best resale value."
There you have it: incontrovertible proof that the Bose QuietComfort 15 is the highest quality headphones in the sample set.
The pro Bose stuff (used in venues) is great -- it's well engineered, durable, and sounds good for pro gear. All pro speakers basically suck for audio quality compared to good home equipment -- that's not what they optimize for. They also do a great job of audio simulation of venues (which is what I worked on; it's like raytracing for sound, so you can audition different speaker designs in a potentially-unbuilt building), and they do a great job of vehicle audio engineering. Their aviation headsets are also really popular with pilots (I prefer David Clark just because they're classic, but the Bose are quite popular).
It's just the consumer/retail equipment which is boosted-midbass, and high priced. Everyone I knew in the Pro side of bose had Sennheiser, AKG, or Grado headphones and some other kinds of audio equipment at home (NHT being particularly popular). For what Bose is, Cambridge SoundWorks is half the price or less.
With the headphones, I hear music, but I can still hear some of the conversations, but none of the other noise.
Since the conversation doesn't fit in with the music, and I'm missing the other office noises that at least make me subconsciously think of the conversation as background office noise, it ends up forcing itself to my attention more than when I'm not wearing the headphones.
Anyone know if active noise canceling headphones would help much? I've read that they don't do that well on canceling conversation.
I just discovered this entirely by accident, because I grew tired of killing sox every time I played another audio source (and restarting it afterward).
Also, turning off the white noise is very uncomfortable once you've become accustomed to hearing it all the time.
Do many hackers (in startups or elsewhere) not need a mic? My use case is usually gaming but use cases like remote collaboration, calling people with a VOIP solution, recording voice for use as sound assets all seem like they would be common enough use cases.
Do most of us prefer separate solutions like a webcam integrated or desktop mic?
If not, what headsets are good? I've been getting by on relatively cheap headsets but the cords almost always fray and need replaced inside of year. I'm reluctant to spend more than $100 on a 'high quality' set like the 'Sennheiser PC 360' without experiencing them directly, but the reviews help. What are the good options out there?
A set of apple in ear buds that I leave at work.
The QP805 is a closed-back design, and despite the 300Ω rating, plays just fine off a laptop or iPod. It's reasonably comfortable, with good isolation.
They show up on eBay from time to time (I see a couple there now). If you want amazing sound for less than $100, I don't know anything better.
I do recommend at least trying to physically examine a pair of over-ear headphones before buying them. A music shop will probably have monitor headphones and they should be okay with you taking them out of the box. I was also considering Shure SRH840 but they were so heavy I just went with the ATH M50s. Great headphones are worth owning if you have high quality music and an effective delivery system.
So get a set of proper ear muffs, they are not expensive. I use HL Leightning's (http://www.howardleight.com/ear-muffs/leightning) in combination with ear buds on low volume. The world could end and you wouldn't notice it.
I spent some serious time researching this topic last year and for the money this set was by far the best option. For the money, they are the best.
Wireless with built-in mic wins FTW. They aren't a set for audiophiles but the sound quality is excellent.
The pull-out mic is by far my favorite feature.
I need something pocket-sized for hacking on the go.
Any suggestions for high-end buds with an in-cord mic a la iPhone buds?
Main reason I bought them though was comfort. It seems that there are very few pairs of headphones that don't make my ears ache after a few minutes. The AE2s are the only headphones I've ever used that feel perfect on my ears. (Granted, I haven't tried on many $100+ pair...)
Used to have Bose noise canceling. Worked well but was too bulky. Plus flight attendants wised up.
I have since switched to an Etymotic Research ER6i. Lightweight, in ear and works pretty well at muffling outside noise. Now if having something in your ear bothers you, these won't work. Else definitely give them a spin.
tl;dr Bose before. ER 6i now. Like them. Recommended.
I've never found this to be true. In fact, I find it less annoying if I don't bother wearing them and deal with the interruptions rather than put mine on and have someone come up to my desk every 10 minutes.
That being said, the article is spot on. The only way to get into flow in an open office situation is to minimize ambient noise.
These phones worked surprisingly well for blocking human voices, which is something that they weren't designed for and are not known for.
Add a little low-level music and I was in my own little world.
Only disadvantage is that people don't realize you are wearing headphones and you don't hear them yelling at you.
I greatly prefer Etymotics.
Plenty of bass (compared to Apple earbuds at the very least) and shut out all exterior noise to the point of being dangerously approached from behind while working.
Both of them are DJ headphones so they aren't likely to win any prizes for fidelity. However, I think DJ headphones are a decent choice for coding since they are optimized for high isolation. You just need to find a pair that's comfortable to wear for long periods of time... and that's different for everyone's head and ears.
i'm currently using the denon ah-d2000's while programming. if comfort is a high priority for you, i highly recommend you check them out.
however, even though these denons have the perfect balance of comfort, noise isolation, and sound clarity for ME, make sure you choose a pair that is right for YOU.
The one and only!
More details on the modification process can be found here: http://mikebeauchamp.com/misc/sennheiser-hd-555-to-hd-595-mo...
I love the Beyerdynamic DT-770 personally. Closed ear, comfy, great sound.
* Shure SRH-640. Amazing sound, but a bit heavy and annoyingly prone to creak every time I move my head a millimeter. I keep these at home for light use.
* Beyerdynamic DT-235. By far the tinniest sound of the three, light and comfortable for short period, but boy do they make my ears feel hot after a while. I might start taking them on planes; otherwise I don't use them.
* KRK KNS-8400. A noticeable step below the Shures in quality, but still better e.g. than the HD-280 which I've also tried. No creaking and comfortable even for long-term wear. These are my every-day phones at work, even though the extra-wide headband does look kind of goofy.
I'm no audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, but even I can tell that some of the popular brands are absolute crap. It's too bad more people haven't heard of brands like Beyerdynamic and KRK, because they actually do make much better-sounding 'phones at prices that any geek should consider quite reasonable.
For a real geeky good time, go to http://www.headphone.com (no relationship except that I bought the Beyerdynamic and KRK from them) to check out the frequency response curves and such.
I'm running a Behringer USB DAC (because it's the cheapest thing that has optical out) via TOSLINK into a Behringer Ultracurve DEQ2496 (using that as my DAC) running balanced XLR into a Henry Engineering Matchbox HD (found used on ebay for $30 mis-listed as "usb headphone amp" lololol -- they're ~$200 new) running unbalanced RCA into a SOHA tube amp that I built. All the stuff that requires mains power is on a OneAC isolater that is built to reduce hum on telecom gear.
And that's my work desk :)
I love the sound of over the ear headphones. Also, I get way too hot. (I also swap shoes for sandals, Mr Rogers style, once I get to work. Can't program with hot feet.)
I alternate between Sony and Shure SE 215 earbuds when I need to work heads down. The Shure's are really effective.