Wanted: Headphones and RAM

Published 19 years, 2 months past

Have I been busy?  Oh so very much yes.

A couple of questions for the crowd.

  1. In order to get to Japan, I’m flying to Newark, New Jersey and then direct from there to Tokyo, Japan.  That second leg is a 13.5 hour flight.  Whee!  The good news is that I scored a seat with a power outlet, so I can compute my way across the Pacific.  I’d like to take along some DVDs and listen to my music library, but that’s the trick: I need good, comfortable, middle-to-high quality headphones that will be nicely audible even on an airliner.  Any suggestions?  They don’t have to be noise-cancellers, although I’m not opposed to such devices.  I’m just wary of their price tags.
  2. My desktop machine is a G4/500, circa 2000, and it runs OS X fine so long as I don’t try to run too many concurrent applications.  I should probably know this, but I don’t, so help me out: what kind of RAM chips does it take, and where do I get said RAM for a good price?


Comments (53)

  1. Eric,

    I don’t know what type of RAM your system uses but I do know a great site that I have used many of times. NewEgg. They have a Mac section. They are really reasonable in pricing and have GREAT shipping.


  2. check the memory picker over at crucial. I’ve been buying from them for some time, but even if you buy elsewhere its a great place to get the inf on what model takes what

  3. Eric-

    The RAM your machine needs is 512MB — CT223765 SDRAM, PC133 CL=3 Non-parity.

    Crucial.com has it for about $96, and Newegg has it here.

    As for headphones, I’ve got the Sony noise cancellation earbuds, and they’re pretty good.

    The one caveat about the Sony earbuds…the noise cancellation is only for lower frequency sounds…good on jets for the thrum of the engines…


  4. I have a pair of Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones, they’re the best pair of headphones I’ve ever worn. The only stipulation is that your ears have to get used to them, you’ll feel a slight pressure in the first hours of using them (but your ears quickly adapt) and you’ll never experience this problem again (or at least this was my experience). They’re extremely light and comfortable. And the audio fidelity, is of course, stunning. They’re $300.00 USD, but if you’re going to be on a airplane, the noise cancellation makes the whole experience better.

  5. Re: Headphones

    I bought some headphones last week. They lasted only 4 days, but they had a nice mechanism for isolating noise. Many headphones these days penetrate the ears, but research has shown that it is damaging to the ear. When I searched for a replacement 3 days ago I saw some really odd in-ear headphones which penetrate about 1 inch inside your ear. Scary stuff, trust me. I ended up getting standard arc headphones with a thick single wire that connects to the left side only (this minimises wear).

    The bottom line: unless you foresee yourself an old chap at a party, unable to listen to the people at the table, mind less about the noise reduction.

  6. Jeremy Zawodny likes the Sony MDR-NC20 noise cancelling headphones and swears by the Sony MDR-V6 headphones. They both retail for less than $100.

  7. In the last two years I’ve worn two sets of ($50-$80) so-called noise-cancelling headphones, mostly in the NYC subway, and been unimpressed: heavy, uncomfortable, stupid-looking, and not particularly good at either the playing of music or the cancelling of noise.

    Lately, though, I’ve been wearing a pair of cheap Sony earbuds, and I’m loving them. They’re very comfortable and very good at blocking subway sounds, which as you may know are a combination of rumbles, hums, rattles, screeches, and Bob Marley songs. I’m not a serious audiophile, but they sound good to me. And finally I’m able to listen to something more calming than punk rock during my morning commute.

    I’ll be trying these earbuds on a plane for the first time next week; I’ll try to remember to let you know how it goes.

  8. I have Sony’s MDR-EX51LP Fontopia Headphones They’re pretty cheap and have good sound quality. They fit ears great, and even in the most crauded places with a huge traffic I can hear the music without problems. So for airplane, I think, they’ll be great.

  9. If you don’t like in-ear phones (like I do), getting a pair of old-fashioned ear-covering closed headphones will work also. Closed phones dampen outside sound by their design; they are often used in studio or concert environments.

    You can probably find a few brands at a local hifi shop. The downside of closed systems is that they give you warm ears.

  10. The nice thing about the Sony EX51 is you can get them in different variations of white too. Fits your iPod perfectly. :-)

  11. Since others already pretty much answered the RAM question: based on recommendations, I ordered Sennheiser HD 497 last fall from Amazon and must say I’m very satisfied. Look decent, feel very comfy even for my rather large ears, and the sound is good as well, including bass.

  12. i get all my ram from welovemacs.com; you should be able to select your model from here: http://www.welovemacs.com/apple-memory-powermac-g4.html

  13. Check out the Shure E series earbuds. Designed for use as in-ear monitors for musicians. I’ve got a pair of the old E1s, which are now discontinued. The current models include the E2Cs ($80-100 – in J&R!) and the E3s (probably $150-200 – I’m guessing based on UK prices).
    I’ve used mine on the plane from UK to US many times and they’re great!!

  14. I own the Phillips SBC HN100 Noise Cancelling headphones and absolutely love them. They retail for less than $100, and as other people have said, you will greatly appreciate the noice cancellation. If you are going to be flying a lot (I suppose 12+ hours counts as a lot) I would spring for the Bose, they really are amazing.

  15. Also in the Shure E series is the E5 which is around $500.

    However, on a budget, I’ve been blown away by the Sony MDR-J10s that I picked up for $10 at Best Buy. Comfortable enough to wear for hours and decent sound. Haven’t used them in a situation to block out noise though — I always have to be interruptable. :-/

  16. I’ve bought from Crucial before, but they seem to have become kinda expensive lately, on my last RAM purchase they were asking double the price I ended up paying elsewhere. If you want to compare a bunch of places, RamSeeker is nice. You’re looking for PowerMac (PC 100) RAM. I know, the page layout sucks, and you have to scroll past the sponsored prices to get to the real ones, but it does have good prices consistently.

  17. I have found these headphones to work very well. I’m on my second pair now. They have clear audio, good frequency responce (this coming from a sound guy), and what I like is that they are comfortable (not like most earbud type, or headband type). They do let you hear ambient noise so you can be sure not to miss those yummy snacks on the flight. You think Koss would realize they are worth more than $10.

  18. Hey Eric,

    I have a pair of noise cancelling headphones (non-earbuds) you can borrow for the trip if you like, just let me know. I also have a large pair of studio quality headphones (the big earmuff style) that I use when we record that I can lend you as well… give me a call.


  19. I’ve used these for a few years, and love them:


    Infinitely adjustable, and great sound. I bought mine for around $90 on eBay, not sure what their retail is.


  20. Trans International has always had reasonable prices for Mac RAM. Further, I’ve never received the wrong item or had the memory not work. It’s easy to look up the RAM you need on their site.

  21. The Bose headphones are nice, but WAY overpriced. If they were $150, I’d wait for a sale.

  22. I’ve seen some good recommendations and have had experience with a ton of headphones recently so thought I’d throw in my two cents…If you enjoy the in-ear phones, Etymotic and Shure make some great products. The Etymotic ER-4 have some great reviews as some of the best headphones ever. Plus, the noise cancellation is unmatched (noise cancellation technology can’t come close). I personally own the ER-6 and love them. The Sony ear buds aren’t bad, they’re just not nearly up to the quality of Shure or Etymotic.

    As for over the head models, the Sony MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 (same phone, diff model numbers) are some of the most accurate headphones ever made. Also comfortable and block a decent amount of noise. The Bose headphones are overpriced considering their lack of build quality and poor sound quality. I’ve personally compared the $300 Bose to the MDR-V6 and the MDR-V6 easily wins out at 1/3 the price. Bose has the reputation they do because people listen and love. If they’d listen and compare, that love part would never come into play.

    The recommendation for the Sennheiser HD-497 is a good one (I used to own them and still own Sennheisers) except that they’re open backed which means a lot of noise can leak in and a lot of music will leak out; obviously not optimal for a plain.

    Bottom line: highest recommendations for the Etymotics, high marks for the Sony MDR-V6 and 7506, high marks but no recommendation for open phones such as the Sennheisers, and the Bose should be no where on the list.

    See http://www.headphone.com and http://www.headfi.com for more information.

  23. I got a pair of Sennheiser noise canceling headphones about ten years ago for the same reason and have been using them nearly every day since I love them. I never realised how damn loud a plane was till I turned them off. They certainly make twelve hour flights a lot less tiring and they are kinda plain so you don’t look like a big geek with builders muffs and a laptop.

  24. Sony MDR-EX71SL for your headphone needs. They are quite inexpensive, cancel outside noise very well, and have an amazing sound quality and range for that price. They are incredibly comfortable (3 different size plugs) and you would be able to fall asleep with them in (that’s what I end up doing on planes).

  25. If you want headphones that are reasonably priced I would check out the Panasonic
    . They retail for about $40, and their noice cancelling really helps if you’re doing alot of traveling in planes or cars. I’m no audiophile, but the sound is good, and they fold up very compactly for transportation.

  26. Eric:

    Check out this site for can reviews. http://www.headphone.com/layout.php

    I bought a pair of these Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones and they work great and sound pretty good. The battery pack is a bit odd, but it comes with a very nice compact zippered bag.
    Review: http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020080021

    Reliable Free shipping source: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000089GN2/qid=1113683536/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-3100507-7867334?v=glance&n=507846

    Cheaper, but…: http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=704918/blsrt=1

  27. Eric, I would highly recommend you check out the Sennheiser PXC 250 closed headphones. I have had a pair for a couple of years now, and their noise cancelling ability is just amazing. They are designed for air travel: they fold-up, weigh little and even have an aircraft-compatible audio adapter. They are only a little larger than your ears, so you don’t get the “warms ears” problem. :-)

    They are also fairly inexpensive: about $170 US list.


    They are also what I’d consider to be hi-fi. An extra benefit of the Noise Guard feature is that it boosts the bass and drops the noise floor, even in a quiet room. I use them for general music listening, and when I do I always enable the Noise Guard.

    BTW: I have done the 13-hour flight to Tokyo: direct Toronto to Narita. Yeah, it’s a doozy. ;-) I went over about 3 weeks after 9-11; for some reason I couldn’t sleep for the entire trip–both ways. Bleah.

    Best wishes!

  28. [Sorry for double-posting!]

    One quick extra URL: here’s an informative review of the PXC 250 from MacMerc.com …


  29. The PlaneQuiet Solitude don’t seem as well known, but seem to be acknowledged as Bose’s equal for 2/3 the price. They’re on my shopping list for my next overseas flight.

  30. Kingston Technology Memory Upgrades Homepage has a RAM finder also — quality RAM, just make sure you do a price comparison agains the others mentioned already.

    I have heard good things about the Bose noise canceling headphones.

    For non-noise canceling, the AKG Acoustics – K 240 Studio (available from Musician’s Friend) are the absolute most comfortable headphones. Their low-impedance is great for iPods or Laptops.

  31. I have the Bose noise suppressing headphones. They cost about $300 when I got them 2 years ago as a christmas present from my employer and I use them daily at work for listening to my CD player. They worked great for simple noise reduction on my flight to/from Australia over the new year. For listening to music they are adequate but not to be selected if you are really doing hard core audiophile listening, since like most Bose products the highs and lows are not quite as good as they should be.

    Some caveats – they take a single AAA battery, which usually lasts about 25 to 35 hours. This does mean that you do not need to plug them into anything if you just want to use the noise suppressing capabilities, which is a plus on the plane. Also, after about 8 months of daily usage some of the plastic cracked along one piece and the switch that you use to turn them on and off is getting quite sticky. A coworker who also got them as a present at the same has encountered the same problems, so it might be endemic to the model.

  32. I second the Etymotic Research recommendation, and emphatically recommend AGAINST Bose noise-cancelling headphones (compared to other similar headphones, they are overpriced and underperforming). The best performance (as well as price/performance) you’ll get in you-noise environments are from cans the BLOCK noise, rather than cancelling it. THe best way to do this is aith a canalphone like the Etymotic Research ER-6, ER-6i, ER-4P, ER-4S, or like some of the Shures or Ultimate Ears. Nothing else will get rid of outside noise as effectively. These have the added bonus of not requiring a battery or other power source like noise cancelling headphones do.

    My recommendation would be to stop by Earsonic and pick up some ER-6is. At about $120, these are some of the best bang-for-the-buck cans you can get.

    The one caveat with canalphones is that they take some time for your ears to adjust to them, and you have to be careful to get a good seal (i.e. put them well down into your ear canal, not just place them in your ear like earbuds). When I first got my 4Ps, they felt downright painful to use; after a couple of times wearing them, and after discovering the wonders of getting my fingers wet before rolling the foam tips and putting them into my ear, I no longer have a problem wearing them for several hours.

    If you absolutely can’t stand canalphones, a well-isolating closed headphone might serve you in good stead. I highly reommend checking out the buying guides on Headroom for more advice.

  33. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Sennheisers.
    I have the HD500’s and they are superb.

  34. I’ll put another vote in for Sony products. I like the Sony MDR-V600 headphones. They are not noise canceling, but with the closed design they do a great job blocking ambient noise. I like the size of the earcups – they do not press on my ears. I wear a pair for 6+ hours a day, and they are still comfortable. I also like the single wire connection – that makes for much easier “cable management,” especially on an airplane. The headphones fold, and come with a carrying pouch. The dynamic range and power handling is really impressive for the sub $100 price tag.

  35. I’ve been using Shure’s E2Cs for a while now. They’re essentially earplugs, with a little pipe allowing the music through.

    Obviously, the disadvantage is that you’re jamming earplugs into your ear, which some may find uncomfortable and/or unpleasant. The E2Cs come with both foam and plastic ear pluggy bits, 3 sizes each, so you should get a good fit, but I can understand that ear plugs aren’t for everyone.

    I personally really like them, as they provide a similar quality listening experience to big Sennheiser monitoring headphones (although I don’t have a particularly sensitive ear for this sort of thing) at an equivalent price, but are small earphones and thus light and unobstrusive. Plus, I figure anything used by musicians on stage can’t be too bad for the ears :)


  36. I will also recommend Sennheisers. I love my PX 100s. They fold up, they’re cheap, and they sound good.

  37. For your specific RAM needs, look no further than transintl.com (see comment #20)

    Never had any trouble with HDs and/or RAM I purchased from them (delivered overseas via Fedex)

  38. Eric.

    By far, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro‘s are amazing headphones for the price. I work at a professional dj site (webmaster) and I can get them for you for real cheap. Pretty much any nice headphones mentioned I can get you. Unfortunately, I am forbidden to say for how much by manufacturer agreement. You’ll have to email me or call.

    The Sennheisser 280 PRO’s I wear all day. The are awesome for isolation and comfort. They are not small however. If you need closed cell but small headphones, try the HD25s from Sennheiser. Beautiful.

    If you want prices, let me know. dave at agiprodj dot com. Or call 866-pro-mixx. That goes for any one here.

    The Shure products are a good choice if you have the money, but they seem WAY expensive to me for ear buds. I hate the Bose options. Not enough mids for me. The Sennheiser’s pretty much all the headphones above the 202 series are very full sounding.

    The Sennheiser site is acting weird so I am not going to send a link.

    Lemme know what you think.

  39. I upgraded my (1999) Sawtooth G4/450 to 2 GB of ram and it was quite happy for a while. Recently, I also picked up a G4/1.4gHz processor upgrade and a FW 800 card. While it’s not as swank as a brand new G5, it did make the 3d stuff I do go a lot faster.

    The RAM is the biggest thing. That will make a world of difference.

    And I second the reccomendation for apple in ear headphones. I use them all day at work. Far more comfortable than the earbuds and not as clunky as a huge pair of headphones.

  40. I always go to http://www.dealram.com for RAM purchases. Select your computer and it tells you what type of RAM you need and lists the various places that sell it and their latest price.

    I have some Sony noise-cancelling headphones which are about $125. Very, very good. With multiple adapters for various airline audio ports.

  41. I have been happy with my Behringer HPS3000 headphones. It is a CHEAP so called “studio” pair of headphones. http://www.behringer.com/HPS3000/index.cfm?lang=ENG
    I bought mine on ebay and payed like $25 for them. Not a bad pair of headhopnes for $25.

  42. While it looks like you have your current system covered, you can easily use System Profiler to determine what kind of RAM is required for any Mac running OS X. Select “(Apple Menu) > About This Mac > More Info…” to get started. System Profiler can even tell you the contents of each RAM slot without opening the case.

  43. Crucial.com! They have a mac section and a nice selector to help you find RAM. and they Guarantee it! I’ve NEVER had any problems with them and it’s GREAT quality RAM.

  44. I don’t know if youcan get them on in the US, but once you get to Japan, pick up some Sony MDR-22. They’re very cheap at about ¥5000 and extremely good; sound quality is fine, they don’t leak and won’t annoy your neighbours, and they block out the rest of the world very effectively. If you don’t like them, give them to a friend who has to commute on a train; I did this for 2 years in Tokyo and they ‘phones were a lifesaver.

  45. I have little personal experience of noise cancelling earphones myself. However at a party recently I discussed the Bose units which I’d recently been offered (incredible price … was it £250?) – and was told that they are excellent – but of course v.pricey. An interesting alternative suggestion was made to check out which headsets pilots use. Apparently there are some which are around £50 which pilots like – though you might have to have one with a microphone attached as well! This advice came from a vibration engineer.

    The noise cancelling feature in some earphone sets really does work too, apparently. This is a significant improvement over simply using earphones which block out external noise, though they would be better than open or small units.

    If there’s still time I might be able to get details.

  46. In regards to which headphones you should purchase, I’d suggest any sony headphone. I’m a DJ, and I swear by my Sony MVR-600 headphones.. even though they’re a little outdated now, they’ve lasted forever!

    I should also mention that the new line of sony headphones rock the hizzy.

  47. I’ve just got hold of Griffin EarJams – in ear adaptors for my iPod’s horrible buds. It is like hearing my music for the first time! the bass is fabulous – they block out room noise – and they are so comfortable, I could wear them all day whereas without them the buds used to hurt after a couple of hours… and did I mention… cheap!!

  48. For pure sound quality I’d go with Grado headphones. I own a pair of Grado SR80s and they sound amazing. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to them on your computer, ipod, or an expensive amp…they always sound good. They were about $180 Canadian, but I’m not sure what they’d retail for in the US.

  49. Dont spend over $30 on headphones. Grab a pair of Plantronics Audio 90 headphones. They are about $20 on newegg, and they sound great, I use them for gaming all the time. My roommate spend $150 on some Sennheiser headphones, and you can hardly tell any difference. Also, if you have a standard onboard sound(with which a laptop will be the case), spending more than $30 will be pointless, the audio will only sound as good as the soundcard can output.

  50. As I skimmed through the comments, there seemed to be an even split between noise-cancelling and in-ear suggestions. Since I own both, I thought I’d add my $.02 to the mix.

    I have Sennheiser PXC 250 noise-cancelling headphones, which function amazingly well. I experienced a little pressure getting used to them, but that went away. The inline circuitry module can get in the way, though, and I wish they had full earcups. The (much more) expensive Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones resolve both of these issues by integrating the electronics into the earcups, but unfortunately they won’t work without battery power. The Senns will.

    I also have a pair of Sony MDR-EX71SL/WK headphones and their in-ear design blocks out almost all surrounding noise, which can be both good and bad. You’ll have to pull them out to hear the flight attendant when she comes around, but you also won’t hear the guy next to you snoring. The Fontopia line has a variety of designs as well, so you can pick the right pair for you. I may upgrade to the MDR-EX81LP/B, which offer over-the-ear support for more comfortable long-term wear.

    Both of these headphones have great sound quality, but I generally use my Sony headphones because they are cheaper, don’t need batteries, and are much more portable. If you decide to go with noise-cancelling headphones, though, take a look at Sony’s new MDR-NC50. They’re similar to the QuietComfort headphones, but they’re cheaper ($200 vs. $300) and seem to have many of the same great characteristics (integrated electronics, disconnecting wire, full earcups).

    Hope that helps get you through the long flight! If it’s any consolation, I once had the most ridiculous flight back from Japan. It was six legs long (Okinawa-Tokyo-Guam-Honolulu-Los Angeles-Detroit-Boston) and lasted about 36 hours. Be very glad your flight is only 13 hours! :-)

  51. I second the Grado suggestion, and the SR60s are just fine. Made in Brooklyn and darn comfy.

  52. Check out some Koss stereophones – specifically the UR-29. They cost around $25 at Best Buy, and I’ve had my pair for over a year of daily use (6 hours a day, usually). They sound great, are comfortable, and drown out all sorts of background noise. I bought a more expensive pair, but frankly, the slight increase in sound quality isn’t worth the extra cost.

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