Carnac: Thank you for the advice. I know what I’m doing with earphones and I will be careful not to blow out my ears with loud noise.
(Getting my eardrums blown out with infection is bad enough.)
robardin: Another duo of 'phones to look at. Thank you. I do want sealed, however, even though this review says ‘open’ are best: I do like to listen to music in places like libraries, where others hearing the sweet sounds of Miles Davis wailing away would be disruptive. I also use music to block out external noise and aid in concentration, and sealed allow me to do that with fewer decibels (and less cumulative damage to my delicate middle and inner ears).
All that said, I think I’ve narrowed it down (again) to two (different) sets of cans:
[li]Sennheiser HD-212 Pro[/li][li]Koss UR-20[/li][/ul]The top pair are about $60 (a bit above my original target price but well within my budget) but got a better review, whereas the lower pair are $20 (well below my original target price and in fact amazingly cheap for ‘pretty good’ cans) but got a review that mainly described them as ‘inoffensive’.
I don’t listen to music that’s cheap and inoffensive, so I don’t see a good reason why I should buy headphones described that way. Unless my finances undergo a shock, I don’t see myself buying the Koss cans.
I will continue to look and read this thread. Thank you all for your help and advice.