I travel quite a bit and wanted some over-the-ear headphones with good background noise attenuation and sound quality and under $100. That ruled out the noise-canceling kind. So I did some research and ordered a pair of Sennheiser HD 205-II headphones.
They are comfortable, for me—with my woman's head (small enough I can wear youth-sized ball caps)—but if you're a guy with a big head (hat size, not ego ) you might find them a bit tight. Soft leather padding, both on the earpieces and under the headband. Cord only on left side (DJ feature).
Sound quality is great considering the price ($49.99 at HeadRoom). Good, smooth (not tinny) highs and deep (not thick) lows, excellent detail. I'm right now listening to an Iron Maiden live album \m/ (Up the Irons!) and I can hear all the live-performance nuances—mutilayered variation in crowd singing voices, feedback & echos, extra half-riffs here and there. Vocals sound true to life.
I will have to hear more of my audio library, which varies from classical Spanish guitar, jazz, Armenian doudouk, techno/ambient and classic 70s album rock. Different musical styles have different auditory characteristics & may not sound as great with a given headset. But, so far, so good.
Downsides observed so far:
- No noise-cancellation (duh), only noise attenuation
- No case
- Somewhat tight fit around ears (which means it forms a good seal—there's no free lunch in the world of audio gear)
- Swiveling earpieces do not fold back for easy stowage
All that said, these are in my view definitely worth the $50, and will come in handy both at home and while traveling.