Sources, equipment, formats, listening habits etc. Somewhat prompted by the discussion in another thread re: listening to albums straight through v using shuffle; occurs to me that people might have quite different experiences despite listening to similar music.
I use portable equipment pretty much exclusively even when at home, partly out of convenience but mostly due to living arrangements and economics (a good set of speakers is much more expensive than a good pair of headphones). Would love to have a full-sized setup though.
Rarely listen to CDs anymore, mostly use ~256kbps VBR mp3s, partly to save space but also because there's no practical difference between 256k and lossless. Conservatively average about three or four hours a day listening to music, enough to justify (to myself, anyway) spending a reasonable amount on headphones and the like.
Pix (stock photos ftr):
Clockwise from left: AIAIAI TMA-1; Grado SR 60i; Shure SE530; Cowon J3; Sansa Clip+; Head-Direct RE0.
Got a few more but these are the ones I use currently. Mostly use IEMs when I'm not at home for portability and sound isolation, though I take the TMA-1s out for a spin occasionally. The Shures are great, amazing mid-range and pretty much block out all outside noise. RE0s aren't quite as enjoyable to listen to but they're incredibly detailed considering they're much cheaper.
Love the Grados; I'd be surprised if there are better headphones in its price range (~$100). Nice clarity and soundstage and well-balanced for most of the music I listen to. They're open so they let out nearly as much sound as they let in by design, meaning I don't really use them in public. The TMA-1s have a 'darker' sound signature which suits some of the music I listen to a bit better and they don't sound claustrophobic like most closed headphones. Plus, I think the matte black and minimalist design looks ****ing cool.
My only real considerations as far as players go are sound quality (including customisable EQ etc) and battery life, and the J3 and Clip+ are the best for the former. The J3 battery lasts forever; Clip+ not so much but makes up for it by being tiny and Rockboxable.