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Seeking Recommendation of Flat, High-Isolation Cans

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#1
My main headphones are AKG K702s and Etymotic ER4s. I'm very happy with them (at the cost of the Etymotics I had better be!), but I just started an office job and the short version of the story is that I need to look at some comfy cans that will isolate me from conversations and other people from my music. Since I don't really trust any headphone reviewers and most manufacturers can't be bothered to post real specifications, I don't know how to proceed. I was wondering if anybody could suggest something to look at with the following qualities:

Noise isolating (not noise cancelling)
Well-built
Reasonably flat and clear
Very comfortable
Don't look obnoxious
(bonus) Detachable cable

I don't want to go crazy with price, but I am prepared to do so if that is what it takes so lets say upper limit of 500 Canadian pesos, and if I can get something for 100 then I would be very pleased. I have a Fiio K5 that I am going to use, so impedance and sensitivity are unlikely to be an issue.

Thanks!
 

andreasmaaan

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#2
I don't have any specific recommendations, but FYI if you look at Innerfidelity's published measurements they always include an isolation measurement, which was very helpful when I was buying my last pair of headphones.
 
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#4
Thanks guys! Of course rting's top measured headphones for isolation are...the new etymotic ER4s :p

Innerfidelity has always seemed to be in this weird halfway spot for me where half the time he seems to know whats up and the other half he is spouting nonsense. I guess his measurements are probably aight, just...suspect...
 

andreasmaaan

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#5
Thanks guys! Of course rting's top measured headphones for isolation are...the new etymotic ER4s :p

Innerfidelity has always seemed to be in this weird halfway spot for me where half the time he seems to know whats up and the other half he is spouting nonsense. I guess his measurements are probably aight, just...suspect...
The FR and distortion measurements are always a bit odd but that's par for the course with headphones given the lack of any universal standard.

Find it hard to see how the isolation measurement could be far off though (unless the headphones don't fit the dummy, but at least you can be confident the measurements are a worst-case scenario).
 
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#6
The FR and distortion measurements are always a bit odd but that's par for the course with headphones given the lack of any universal standard.

Find it hard to see how the isolation measurement could be far off though (unless the headphones don't fit the dummy, but at least you can be confident the measurements are a worst-case scenario).
Yeah, that is a fair point.
 

andreasmaaan

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#7
Perhaps IEMs mightn't be a terrible idea in your circumstances? I've never found closed headphones to isolate anywhere near as well. I have a modest pair of IEMs that I made a custom mould for and they now isolate extremely well, especially at vocal frequencies. Also much more comfortable compared to the stock ear bits. Can't say I love IEMs, but they are pretty practical when you're in a noisy environment and moving about a bit.
 

amirm

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#8
I am in the market just the same. The Audio Precision fan can be quite loud! I currently use AKG K92 which provides decent isolation and decent sound just the same. Sure beats my open-back headphones with regards to blocking outside sound. For $39, it was hard to go wrong. :) At first I found it a bit uncomfortable but it seemed to break in quickly and now feels a lot better. Still, I like to know what the next level up is in closed back headphones. Navigating innerfidelity, etc. can be so time consuming. :)
 
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#9
Perhaps IEMs mightn't be a terrible idea in your circumstances? I've never found closed headphones to isolate anywhere near as well. I have a modest pair of IEMs that I made a custom mould for and they now isolate extremely well, especially at vocal frequencies. Also much more comfortable compared to the stock ear bits. Can't say I love IEMs, but they are pretty practical when you're in a noisy environment and moving about a bit.
The ER4s are extremely effective, no doubt. Unfortunately I have always found that after 3 hours they start to irritate my ears. They are also very cumbersome to put in and take out, particularly using comply tips which I find pretty much essential. That could be solved by using plastic/rubber/whateverthatmaterialis tips, but then they lose a lot of their isolating properties. Oh, the cost of replacement earwax filters in Canada is also a thing...

Basically, my experience has been that I don't get along will with long periods of wearing earbuds that extend far enough into the ear canal to provide really good reduction of external sound. When I am working at home and need to wear headphones for whatever reason, I will always use cans.

I'm jealous of the custom moulds by the way, it's something I've sort of been eyeing for years. That is an option I am now going to consider as well.
 
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#10
I am in the market just the same. The Audio Precision fan can be quite loud! I currently use AKG K92 which provides decent isolation and decent sound just the same. Sure beats my open-back headphones with regards to blocking outside sound. For $39, it was hard to go wrong. :) At first I found it a bit uncomfortable but it seemed to break in quickly and now feels a lot better. Still, I like to know what the next level up is in closed back headphones. Navigating innerfidelity, etc. can be so time consuming. :)
Heh, you know at that price I might just grab a set of K92s until I get a few paychecks under my belt.

There are really not as many options as one would think. There seems to be this assumption that if you want isolation that you want active noise cancellation. That may be true if you need to carry something around, but if it is going to stay in one place (in a cubicle, by a test bench) then it can be a bit bulkier and heavier.
 
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#11
Just to provide an almost completely useless reference point, I've written down the words "AKG K550" and "Beyerdynamic DT 150" on a piece of paper.

EDIT: Also Sony 7520. Definitely the high-cost option.
 
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andreasmaaan

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#12
I'm jealous of the custom moulds by the way, it's something I've sort of been eyeing for years. That is an option I am now going to consider as well.
FWIW, I did it myself with these and it was surprisingly not a disaster :) Definitely proceed with caution though...
 
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#13
FWIW, I did it myself with these and it was surprisingly not a disaster :) Definitely proceed with caution though...
Those are available cheaply enough that they could just about work as a fun "may or may not work" thing. I'm a little bit paranoid about sticking something I made myself way down into my ear canal, but there is this whole using my brain thing which I am sometimes ok at.
 

Blumlein 88

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#14
Just to provide an almost completely useless reference point, I've written down the words "AKG K550" and "Beyerdynamic DT 150" on a piece of paper.

EDIT: Also Sony 7520. Definitely the high-cost option.
The Sony 7510 phones isolate pretty well for closed cans. Not equal to IEMs, but might do for the OP's purpose. They are something like $130. Sound nice to me as I have some and use them. They are like the lower priced version of the 7520 phones.
 

labdoc

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#15
This may be too expensive for the OP, but my experience with AKG may be helpful. I wear an AKG HSC271 all day at work for noise isolation and not to disturb others with my music. I find it very comfortable and effective. The connecting cable is a separate purchase. I have the miniplug version that works with USB sound cards or computer ports. I use a Speechmatic USB for the mic input and a Meridian Explorer for the DAC and headphone. The condenser mic is should have a mic preamp, but is OK with the Speechmatic input, which booststhe signal for speech recognition use. The headphones are quite sensitive; no amp is needed. BTW, my other headphones for the gym are the Etymotic ER4s.
 

SchwarzeWolke

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#16
Dunno if the DT770 Pro from Beyerdynamic are "flat" to your ears. Otherwise, I would suggest ATH MSR7 but those might be too tight and not comfortable enough. The Beyers are for me the most comfortable headphones!
 

solderdude

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#17
My main headphones are AKG K702s and Etymotic ER4s. I'm very happy with them (at the cost of the Etymotics I had better be!), but I just started an office job and the short version of the story is that I need to look at some comfy cans that will isolate me from conversations and other people from my music. Since I don't really trust any headphone reviewers and most manufacturers can't be bothered to post real specifications, I don't know how to proceed. I was wondering if anybody could suggest something to look at with the following qualities:

Noise isolating (not noise cancelling)
Well-built
Reasonably flat and clear
Very comfortable
Don't look obnoxious
(bonus) Detachable cable

I don't want to go crazy with price, but I am prepared to do so if that is what it takes so lets say upper limit of 500 Canadian pesos, and if I can get something for 100 then I would be very pleased. I have a Fiio K5 that I am going to use, so impedance and sensitivity are unlikely to be an issue.

Thanks!
Consider MrSpeakers AEON flow closed but these are already over the budget.
I have an Master&Dynamics MH40 which also isolates pretty well but is darker than neutral.
HD598CS has about the same isolation as DT770.
When you want isolation below 1kHz only IEM's and NC does the trick.
You could use headphones for drummers to get more isolation but these aren't very hifi.

Here you can compare isolation from a lot of headphones:
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-2/graph#409/2090/440
 
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maxxevv

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#18
Since we are talking about "flat" closed back headphones, maybe you can check out some of AKG's studio models. Other than the TOTL one, most are not that pricey either.

Being studio oriented, they should be tuned to be fairly 'flat'. See what the available reviews out there say for ones such as the K553 MkII perhaps?
I have no experience with them, just that they exist. :p
 

Headphonaholic

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#19
Consider MrSpeakers AEON flow closed but these are already over the budget.
I second this, I've not found anything quite like them at a lower price point yet.

I haven't experienced these myself but they are probably worth some research. Keep in mind there are 3 versions each with a different kind of wood. The ebony version is supposed to be the flattest of the bunch.
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-fostex-tr-x00-ebony-headphones

Dunno if the DT770 Pro from Beyerdynamic are "flat" to your ears. Otherwise, I would suggest ATH MSR7 but those might be too tight and not comfortable enough. The Beyers are for me the most comfortable headphones!
The Dt770 pros are v shaped imo. Regardless of the overall demeanor of the headphones there is a spike in the treble range treble that makes some songs hard to listen to. If you were to mod them to reduce the treble you would probably have the cheapest candidate for what you're looking for.

I've heard that the msr7's are a bright headphone as well but I haven't heard these myself.
 
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