I travel by plane about 4-5 times a year and so recently bought some noise canceling headphones--Sony--to use when I travel. They were 50% off and I had some gift cards, so I figured why not? I plugged them in to my MP3 player--also Sony--and was shocked at how bassy they sounded. My MP3 player has a little equalizer built into it, so I got rid of the bass and they actually sound really good. Certainly much better than the earbuds I usually wear.
So, two questions: Are all consumer headphones bassy today because that's what people want? I still have a pair of Realistic cans (made by Koss) that I got over 30 years ago. They add nothing that I can tell, no extra bass or anything. Of course they weigh about 25 pounds (just a slight exaggeration).
Second question: What headphones do you recommend that do not add to the sound of what you are listening to? I'm wary of headphones claiming to be "studio grade" because I believe (rightly or wrongly) that "studio grade" is often just a sales term.
As Mr. Toline said, popular consumer headphones (and earbuds) are designed to "sound good", not to be accurate. That is often the opposite of what you really need to hear when recording in the field.
Furthermore, noise-cancelling headphones are to be avoided if you are doing serious audio work. If there is ambient noise where you are recording then you WANT to hear it in your headphones so you will know what you are recording. You do NOT want to headphones to give you an artificially "rosy" view of what you are recording. You will be sorry when you get back home and listen to that noise that the headphones only removed from your ears.
I have a question about the noise cancellation. From one experience I had, because I was hearing too much ambient noise from my headphones, I couldn't hear a "thumping noise" that the mic was picking up, apparently from the mic wire moving around. So I was thinking, if I had headphones that cancelled the ambient noise around me, I could hear better what the mic was picking up. Also, with noise cancellation, with the ambient sound removed via the headphones, wouldn't you still hear the ambient sound that the mic is picking up? Does that make sense? I'd rather hear the ambient sound through the mic rather than from outside of the headphones. Do I have this noise cancellation concept wrong?
BTW, I just purchased the ATH-ANC9 headphones before I read this post. Hopefully it won't be a waste. Thanks.
I also own/use the Audio Technica ATH-M50's & Sony MDR 7506 and highly recommend them. The Sony's I've had for a dozen years and are great for dialog editing. The AT's are great for checking mixes and have a better overall balance IMHO. YMMV.