CLOSED headphones you would use when for example micing a voice.
I recommend the Beyerdynamic DT770 pro 80 ohms, they are a safe bet.
Check out the Sound on Sound article for further information.
DT770 Pro is an excellent piece of gear, you can't really go wrong with it. Bass is perhaps a bit too much, at least for accurate monitoring, but I guess you'll learn to correct it once you get used to them.
Buy the 80 ohm version, it can easily be driven by an iPod or the headphone output of a Macbook.
For the talent who's being mic'd or the engineer who is doing the micing?
If you want a pair of closed headphones with very little bleed to use for the vocal talent, I would most definitely go with the Sennheiser HD280 PRO. They're only $99, they have excellent isolation, for minimal bleed, and they sound fairly decent. They take a bit of getting used to - some vocal artists think they isolate too much, so that it sounds a bit unnatural to the talent.
If you're talking about phones for an engineer, I'd go with the Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO for $199 (I'm sure you could find them somewhere for $175 or $180). They sound amazing. The only problem is that they are high impedance, so you need a lot of power to drive them.
Also, check out the January issue of Sound on Sound for a comparison of many studio headphones, both open and closed models.
(Digital version of the article here, you have to have a subscription or buy the article for $1,49: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan10/articles/studioheadphones.htm?print=yes)
Just bought the Beyerdynamic DT 770 last week. Was going to replace a lost pair of Sony's 7506 ($99), which are a staple for location sound mixers, but I was convinced to try these since they were more for studio monitoring (specifically listening to voice over recordings) and not only location sound recording. The 7506 have a slightly boosted mid range (most location sound mixers are focusing on recording dialogue out in the field, and battling other exterior sounds, so this makes sense).
The DT 770 ($179) are supposedly flatter, more even. I see that my info is the opposite of what other posts have said, so I guess I need to look at a frequency response chart.
I have to say, the feel so good on your head and ears. They're like sinking down into a bed full of fluffy down pillows. I could listen to Ravel all day with these headphones.
Interestingly, I didn't find the Sound on Sound article that helpful. It felt quite subjective and the details almost too application-specific, which I know is unavoidable, but rendered it un-useful for me personally. Still probably worth a read if you're shopping around.
I think the DT770 PRO's are ok however I own a pair of DT770 M's. The M's tended to crush my skull a little bit but they got softer with the time. I play the drums, which is why I decided to go with these rather than the 770 PRO's.
I recently used my M's for dialogue recording on a short (Loneliness Lies in Twos, I posted about it earlier today) and I could still sometimes be bothered by background noise despite the pretty good isolation (35 dBA) of the headphones. I then tried the 770 PRO's and found they isolate a lot less (18 dBA) than the M's, therefore if I had the choice between DT770 Pro's or DT770 M's for field recording, I would go for the M's for the better isolation.
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II on B&H for $199.95
- lightweight and comfortable
- high attenuation of background noise
- extremely robust construction