Headphone recommendations

Dear Lazyweb,

With the new phone, I find myself in need of new headphones. My last three phones, two Treos and a Centro, used 2.5mm 4-band jacks. The Pre uses a far more sensible 3.5mm 4-band jack, but that means my headphones no longer fit. I don't want to use an adapter because they are bulky and, in my experience, make it more likely that you'll break the headphone jack.

My previous headphones were "Shure e2c", and I loved them. The sound quality was great, they fit well, and they blocked out outside noise better than any other headphone of the size that I've ever used. The cables tended to fray, though. I had the 2.5mm 4-band version, but they also used to make them in a 3.5mm 4-band version. However, apparently the whole e2c line has since been discontinued.

Shure's new product line baffles me. I can't tell what corresponding new product is, if there even is one. It kind of looks like they have decided to only make headphones with 3-band jacks, and if you want to use it as a headset on a cell phone, you have to use an adapter. That sounds bulky and irritating (and also would put the mic quite far away from your face, I assume.)

Before the e2c, I tried "Etymotic ER-6", but I hated them. I gave them away after two days. They had no bass response at all, and were not nearly as sound-isolating as the e2c were. And I they had the wrong sized jack, too.

So, because Shure's site confused me, I took someone's recommendation and picked up the "V-Moda Vibe Duo" headphones (3.5mm, 4-band). I've been using them for a week, and I kind of hate them. They block out basically no outside sound. They sound muddy. The midrange is weird. And about a quarter of the time when I take them out of my ears, the rubber ear-bud tips stay behind in my ear canal and I have to go digging, even using the smallest size.

My requirements are:

  1. 3.5mm 4-band, so I can talk on the phone with it too (though the primary use is music).
  2. In-ear-canal. Not those iPhone-like buds that just sit on the surface. Not over-the-ear cans. Don't bother telling me about those, no matter how much you love them.

  3. Extremely sound-isolating. With the e2c, wearing the headphones without anything playing sounded like wearing earplugs. I loved that.

  4. Good sound quality. I'm no audiophile, but I can tell when it's crap. Bass is better than "perfectly flat", but bass to the exclusion of all else is bad.

So what should I get?

Update: I picked up the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 4vi. Conveniently, the Apple store stocks these. (Not any more. Bastards.) I've only used them for a few minutes so far, but they seem pretty good. Nice isolation, and sound quality is very similar to (possibly better than) the e2c. So I'm hopeful.

One nice thing about the Modas was that the cable was cloth, so they didn't tangle as easily. More manufacturers should do that.

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Current Music: SSQ -- Walkman On ♬