Important Update: 21/07/11 - They've finally conked it! Well, the left one has, but stereo is the only way to fly so i think its fair to say my cans have officially died :-( Please read on as i stand by everything i said in my review, these babies have been used more or less every day for nearly 2 years and i'm just off to order another pair.
Well, it is if you're passionate about music and want to listen to it as nature intended. Some people (like my parents) can listen to Dionne Warwick through dodgy headphones with no defintion or clarity and be completely happy. I want to hear everything, i want to be in the studio with the Artist(s) when the song's being recorded!
These 'Cans' are the closest i've got so far. I bought a pair of Sennheiser's last year (can't remember the type) and wasn't all that impressed with the sound. Plus, after 6 months, the left one went completely dead. As you can imagine, when i stumped up 50 of the queen's finest in HMV (That's how much they cost in the real world folks!) for the CX 400 II's, it was was with a feeling of rising trepidation.
I needn't have worried. The leakage out of these is minimal, so not only will you be popular on public transport but practically everything goes straight to your brain! That means extra bass. Now i'm not a teenager and i don't solely listen to cheesey dance music but i still like a strong bass resonance in my music. With these, I get it. Plus the clarity of all your other frequencies is equally as clear. I guess this is the closest i've got to having my ears sealed by a pair of headphones, that truly helps cut down the background noise. Take nothing away from the quality though, the sound on it's own is truly impressive.
Minor gripes. These go pretty loud (110db i think, most go to 104db) and when you do attempt to 'Go to 11' the clarity does disappear. No distortion, but high hats and cymbals don't come through quite as well. That said, unless you fancy wearing a hearing-aid for thr remainder of your life i doubt you'll want to take them up that high anyway. Also, the lead has a rubber coating (i think it's rubber, rubberish anyway) which may provide protection (haven't had them long enough to testify to that yet) but does mean they get tangled quite easily.
Comes with Volume control on the lead, plus 3 or 4 different size pairs of ear piece fittings for custom ear canal tightness. One of the major advantages of these is the noise isolation so this is an important aspect.
I have scoured the pages of Amazon looking for headphones in the past. It is a minefield out there, but i stake my reputation on these. As far as sound quality goes, they are quite simply the best pair of headphones i've ever had!
Update: 04/12/09 - No problems with headphones deteriorating, they are as good as when first purchased!