I’ve been more or less cruising along with inexpensive headphones for a long, long time. My mix of over-the-ear, on-ear and Apple earbuds has been pretty casual.
A few years ago, I acquired a pair of Sony MDRZX110-ZX on-ear headphones, with an inline mic, for about US$20. They’re minimally decent in my book, but made me realize that I really prefer over-the-ear headphones, especially for podcasting.
Last year, when I acquired a Samson microphone kit for testing, it included an inexpensive pair of HP20s that I started using for my podcasting. Those HP20s are also in the $20-class by themselves, and when they started to come apart, my search started for something a cut above.
Finally, I’m not a professional audiophile, and so I don’t approach headphones the same way other reviewers might with rigorous frequency charts and A-B testing. My intention, as an experienced reviewer, is to simply introduce you to a pair of pretty good $150 headphones.
First, I wanted wired headphones. It’s not a good idea, when podcasting, to depend on the audio gods to maintain a wireless connection when the chips are down.
Second, TMO’s Bryan Chaffin counseled me to avoid noise cancellation headphones for podcasting. Instead, noise isolation headphones don’t use any electronics to muck around with the incoming audio. In this way, one gets a pure, wired, immediate audio signal with minimal latency.
Third, I wanted a really comfortable pair. The Samsons would overheat my ears after 30 minutes and became uncomfortable. Not good.
Fourth, a plus for me would be headphones that have a 3.5 mm jack on the earpiece itself. That way, I’d have the option to provide an audio cable of my own choosing down the road.
Finally, I had a budget of $150. I’m reasonably serious about my audio, but my budget didn’t allow for really exotic headphones in the $300+ price range. See, for example, these higher end V-Modas reviewed by Bryan Chaffin: “V-Moda Crossfade M-100 Headphones Look Great & Sound Amazing.” His review describes many of the similar mechanical aspects.
The V-Moda Crossfade LP2
Bryan recommend these Crossfade LP2s based on his extensive experience with headphones. They met all my requirements, and I can say now that I’ve been very pleased with them. Here’s a list of some casual specs and features.
- MSRP $150. I paid $139.50 at Amazon in December.
- Style: All black metal and plastic with aluminum trim.
- Frequency response: 5 to 30,000 Hz.
- Weight: 260 grams listed. My scale reported 276 grams. (9.7 oz.)
- Headphone jack on left ear piece.
- Two audio cables included. 1) 3.5 to 3.5 mm audio cord with mic (1.3 m/4.5 ft.) and one-button control, 2) 3.5 to 3.5 mm audio cord without mic (2.0 m/6.5 ft.).
- 1/4-inch (6.3 mm) audio plug adapter.
- Hard plastic zippered case with internal elastic straps to hold cables. Carabiner and cleaning cloth included.
- Replaceable 3-D printed (earpiece) shields. Gunmetal color shields, screwdriver and extra screws included.
- Padded and adjustable headband. A steel frame.
- Dropped tested to exceed MIL-STD 810G standard.
- Two year warranty.
Next page: my observations and a final note.