HeadRoom. Besides the great name, this is a terrific Christmas present for the geek that travels too much. I just lost my ER-6P on an airplane. Darn it.
Here are the recommendations:
* Etymotic "ER-6P":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020100100. These are $99 street and are amazing. Best investment and value for the money. They make white ones to match your iPod, but these cost $30 more (!!!)
* Etymotic ER-4P. These are the higher end version of the ER-6P. Cost $220.
The only problem with this of course is that if you are using 128Kpbs MP3, you might actually hear how bad they are 🙂
Then if you want to move up the next step is a headphone amplifier. Quite useful because the output of laptops and iPods is pretty low, so you tend to overdrive the headphones. It adds another 4 oz to your kit, so you can get a "packaged":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=30&productID=0000000048 system that includes for $339, saving a nominal $18:
* Etymotic ER-6. See above. ($99)
* HeadRoom BitHead. This amp can plug into a computer or into an iPod. ($199)
* Gigabag. Put it all in one place ($59)
It includes a "deluxe":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=30&productID=0000000047 kit if you really want to go all out. This is an eyepopping $565 so don't lose them!
* Etymotic ER-4P. Probably the best headphones in a compact form in the world. They have low impedance and are designed to work without an amplifier. "onhifi.com":http://www.onhifi.com/product/etymoticresearch_er4p.htm loves them.
* Etymotic ER-4P to 4S Adapter. This changes the bass response to perfectly flat, so 4P stands for portable and 4S standard for standard flat.
* GigaBag. Something to put your iPod, amp and headphones in
* HeadRoom Total BitHead. This is a amplifier for your iPod or for your laptop DVD. It has 4AA batteries but is also a USB sound card. Supposed to be amazing.