Sennheiser PX 100-IIi
There are plenty of headphones out there--noise-cancelling, in-ear, circumaural, etc...but if all you're looking for is an inexpensive, durable, all-around performer that won't isolate you from the outside world, we highly recommend the $89 Sennheiser PX 100-IIi headphones.
The original PX 100 headphone has been in Sennheiser's product stable for years now, and the first version was a user favorite for its simple build and high-quality sound, but the IIi builds on the classic design with a tougher headband and other features for the smartphone crowd, like a built-in remote on the 4-foot wire that doubles as a microphone for hands-free calling.
Alternatively, you can use the three buttons to play, pause, switch tracks, and adjust the volume on your phone. the remote works on all iPhones released after the 3GS, and we also had success using it on a HTC Evo 4G, but your mileage may vary depending on the phone and the music application.
The PX 100-IIis are all black, and the headband is now reinforced by a piece of steel underneath to distribute tension and relieve stress points that tend to break over time. The earpieces come with soft foam pads, and the swiveling design makes them one of the most comfortable on-ear headsets we've tested in a while. But you should also know that these have an open back, so a little sound may leak to your neighbors if you have the volume cranked up.
Sonically, Sennnheiser uses dynamic drivers and neodymium magnets to create a really warm overall sound profile in the PX 100 IIs. One small sidenote to mention: even after an initial burn in period, the profile sways toward the low end, which is a boon for hip-hop, R&B, and rock, but the extra bass push can drown out instrument separation in softer music like jazz and classical.
Regardless, it's hard to imagine a type of music listener who wouldn't be impressed with the way these headphones sound. Their simple, fold-up design makes for easy, safe transportation, and the new remote adds even more functionality to the already compelling offering, and a two-year manufacturer's warranty just makes Sennheiser PX 100-IIi headphones that much more compelling.