Matt asked me about headphones and here is my answer:
I use several different types of headphones…
I have an indestructible pair of Sony MDR-V600. They are a little bass-heavy, but are used by many musicians and road engineers. Canton has a pair he loves and used onstage in 2003. They last forever. About $75.
On the high end I use a pair of Stax Ear Speakers in the studio – they have a frequency range of 7-41,000Hz (yes, Seven to Fortyonethousand!)… But they are pricey at around two grand as you need a Stax Pre-amp as well. Here is a link to the US dealer. These Ear Speakers have unbelievably definition and clarity.
For Travel I use the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones. They get rid of some of the noise on a bus or plane. These cans are also bass-heavy, but you need the extra bass in a noisy environment – just don’t mix an album on these.
For performing I use FutureSonics Ear monitors – these don’t actually sound very hi-fi, but are great onstage. Something about the EQ curve of these phones allows the ears not to get tired. I have been using these for ten years, since we recorded Viva!, but the drivers were updated 4 years ago. About $900 plus your ear molds from an Audiologist for around $50.
I would like to try a pair of these Ultimate Ears, but I am not sure they would work as well onstage as the FutureSonic – although they might be better for iPod listening.
By the way, I often listen to my iPod on the regular buds that come with them. I feel that I need to know what the music sounds like for the average person, somebody who doesn’t care to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. For that reason I also check my music mixes on a couple of cheap stereos I bought for just that purpose.