"Stupendous sound, cumbersome for portable use, break-in needed"4.0 starson by biggbrother
Pros: SOUND! retro style
Cons: Uncomfy at first, v. awkward for commuting
Summary: I researched this purchase extensively and (over)paid about $200 Canadian for these things. I've owned these for about two months now. I have used them an average of perhaps two hours per day during this period, the two main sources being a laptop and a portable mp3 player. Some thoughts on sound, comfort, style, and overall awkwardness:
1. SOUND: The biggest benefit by far. I am biased; my reference point is cheap blister-pack headphones. That said, the sound on these things appears to be as great as everyone writes. Absolutely fabulous, esp. on the bass and treble response. I compared these with the SR60 in a store demo and strongly advise against the SR60 if you're a fan of the bass and treble. I use the SR80s on both on my laptop and mp3 player, and have been rediscovering my music. The phones reveal things I've never heard before, even on compressed, un-remastered Beatles releases.
2. COMFORT: The prevailing opinion is that these phones are uncomfortable. This is quite true--they are very oppressive at first; a lot of undue pressure on the outer ears. It will actually make that tender flesh sore with prolonged use. However, there is a caveat: my experience has been that this is no longer a problem after about ten days of steady use. (Presumably this is the headphones adjusting to my head rather than vice versa). The comfort issue was serious, almost shocking at first, now it is no longer a problem.
3. STYLE: I know this is trite, but the simple, heavy-duty, retro looks of these things are just great. A nice departure from the space-cadet look of a lot of other headphones kids are wearing these days (and forgive me, but the white iPod earbuds, quite apart from flagging the attention of thieves, not only sound terrible but scream pretension).
4. COMMUTING A LOT? Then you might not want to buy these. I would hesitate to recommend these for portable use.
A. The cord, well, you'll have to find a way of tying it back to restrain it--it's just too long (and very heavy--you won't want it dangling from your body). The cord is the biggest drawback. Also, the reinforcements surrounding the jack make the plug itself almost bigger than a lot of today's mp3 players.
B. The second-biggest reason why I wouldn't recommend these for the road is the sound intrusion. The open-air design apparently creates a great sound, but remotely loud environmental noise will totally counteract that.
C. Sound leakage is significant at comfortably loud-ish listening levels; not ideal for subways, buses, etc.
D. No folding design--it's rather difficult to stow these things away unless you have a lot of free space available in a bag.
In short, I love these phones for the sound, but I had underestimated how problematic they'd be for commuting. In retrospect, I'd probably sacrifice a bit of the sound quality for a more convenient and appropriate design.