There are over-the-ear (supraural) headphones, earbuds and IEMs. You’ll get the best spaciousness and separation with headphones, and there are a lot of choices in the $100-$200 range, but Grados are pretty great. SR125, about $120 or less if you look around, work great with my Fuze. But they’re for home listening–way too big, plus a heavy cord, to be portable.
You’ll get the best isolation with IEMs, inner-ear monitors, that go inside your ears like earplugs–a tighter fit than earbuds. Shures are very sturdy and they sound excellent. I have an old model, the Shure E4, that’s fantastic. They were replaced by the Shure SE 310, but you can still find E4s on Ebay for under $200.
Other people like Westones, Qjays and some people rave about the Etymotic, though I think the Etymotic cord (a spiral twisted pair, thin wires, not one thicker cord like the Shure) is awful: fragile and noisy in one combination.
With IEMs you have to try every variety of plugs that come with them: foam, hard rubber, soft rubber, various sizes. At least seven came with my E4, and only one sounds good. But that one sounds incredible.
The isolation is serious–better than noise-cancelling headphones (more decibels). If you have your music cranked up and you’re jaywalking in a big city, you won’t hear the horn of the bus that’s about to hit you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 12-06-2008 06:50 PM