Pesco's favorite headphones

Over at our sponsor Intel's LifeScoop site, I wrote about three of my favorite headphones. My go-to pair these days are the Bowers & Wilkins P3s, pictured here. From my post:

NewImageIn 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman and changed our relationship to music. The obvious magic of the Walkman — and later MP3 players like the iPod — is that it made it easy to carry your music with you, providing a portable soundtrack for your life. But I think there was another, less obvious, transformation in music-listening spurred by the Walkman and its digital descendants: Suddenly, we all spent a lot more time listening to music through headphones. Sure, most people had a set of those big 70s corded cans sitting by the family stereo. And my dad had an earphone (singular) for his transistor radio to listen to the ballgame. But portable music players — tape, CD, or MP3 — are designed to be used with stereo headphones. And as a result, the listening experience is more immersive, more active, and almost universally delivers newfound appreciation for what you are hearing.

"Listening In: Three Headphones"


  1. Here’s what Tyll Hertsens of has to say about it: (Go to 1:00 for quick summary) Or read his blog post:

    “I’ve heard one-note bass before, but on the Solo I had a hard time making out any particular notes at all.

    The bass doesn’t appear to be the only problem in the measured data. The mid-range is a roller coaster of coloration, and the highs have all but gone missing to my ears. The Solo is roughly 10dB down relative to the other cans above 6kHz.”

  2. What is it about headphones that makes them cost so much? $200, $300, and $2000? I have a pair of $100 wireless headphones that sound pretty good to my ears, but some moron decided to make the height-adjusting arm out of thin plastic so they broke after a few months. I ended up using a hot glue gun on the side that broke and then on the other side when it broke a couple weeks later. The hot glue has held up longer than the original plastic.

  3. I still use Grado SR80s, though I’ve been searching for a replacement. The Grados, because of their design, tend to let ambient noise from outside in, making them useless for outside use in built-up areas or, for that matter, windy areas.. Blasted cars! Why can’t they leave me alone? They also require a lot of power, which the ipad can’t deliver.

  4. I cannot take seriously any headphone review that likes the awful Dr. Dre cans.

    Unless the pair I listened to in a store had been seriously damaged, there was just no high end at all and the bass was muddy.  It sounded like neighbors were playing music way too loudly and I was squeezing a pillow over my head trying to shut it out.

  5. @jerwin – Grado SR80s are great but you’re right not so good with blocking ambient noise.  Sorry @Pescovitz:disqus  but you’re wrong about Beatz. They’re facking horrible, and the price is an insult.  

    I much prefer the sounds of the mid-range Sennheisers like the HD555, which are uniquely comfortable and sound great.  For travel, you can’t beat the Sennheiser HD202 — they’re cheap ($20-$30) and they sound good enough for extended listening on the go.  I originally bought two sets of HD202 because I wanted a spare if the first pair breaks, but I haven’t managed to break them.

    1. The Sennheiser HD201 is also great for the price: sturdy, comfortable with no wailing and gnashing of teeth over cut/broken cords of expensive headphones.

      1. Thank you both! I’ve got some Grados right now, and while I like the sound, they’re strictly “at home headphones”due to the open air design. I’ve been looking for something that can leave the house with me and doesn’t cost a mint.

  6. I have a pair of cheap but very comfortable Philips SHP 805s that I bought years ago, I use them at work plugged into a NuForce uDAC playing FLAC I ripped myself from CDs I bought.

    The uDAC is maybe not the finest quality USB headphone DAC/amp around, but it’s a massive, massive improvement over the horrible little headphone amps in a laptop, primarily because it removes the amplification circuits from the vicinity of the rest of the hardware. Bass also goes a lot deeper without necessarily being louder or overblown.

    Not impressed with Beats products at all.

  7. I would have expected to see Pesco in something more retro, like the Koss Porta-Pro.  (Though the P3s do have a bit of a mid-century modern look to them.  They also sound pretty good, and are ideal for people with small square ears.)

Comments are closed.