Full Size Headphone Recommendations - Headfonia Headphone Reviews

[adrotate banner=”48″]

 

 

Full Size Headphone Recommendations

Welcome to the world of full sized headphones. These are the cans to get when you are very serious about sound quality because with bigger drivers come bigger sound.

The list starts with relatively affordable headphones in the $100 price range, but as you scroll down, you will find some headphones that cost upwards of $1,000. The price may be impressive, but remember rule #2 and #3 from the Headphone Guide article. While it’s true that more expensive headphones are usually always better technically, what you need ultimately is a headphone that plays well with your music.

The most expensive headphones are usually designed to let you hear more things, to hear things clearer than ever before, to give you the pure unaltered reproduction of the recording. While those lines would make a pretty good marketing lines, remember that the majority of music out there have awful recording quality. Unless you are listening to strictly classical music or audiophile jazz, where they tend to come with above-average recording quality, you may want to rethink your decision to buy that $1,000 headphone. Again, rule #2 and #3 from the Headphone Guide article.

The list is sorted based on price, starting from the lowest to the most expensive. The categorizing is meant to be a rough guideline, for more detailed sound impressions please refer to the reviews.

  • HiFi: Warm sound signature with full midrange and bass.
  • Rockin’: Aggressive forward and lively sound with fast pace, good for Rock and similar music.
  • Monitoring: Precise sound lets you hear the recordings in an uncolored manner.
  • Basshead: Tuned for maximum bass quantity, punch and impact.
  • Open Sound: Very spacious and open presentation, almost speaker like. Tend to be weak in bass.

Sennheiser HD202 – HiFi

The entry level full size Sennheiser starts with a very low price of $19.91. Pretty amazing and probably is the best value you can get for your money. Dark and laid back sound with plenty of mid and bass body. The HD202 doesn’t wow people with treble details, but is actually very enjoyable with many different music genres. Moderate noise isolation and comfort, but the cable feels a little too long sometimes. Lower end variant: Sennheiser HD201.

$19.91 from Amazon.com | Sennheiser HD202 Review

Grado SR60i/SR80i – Rockin’

The Grado SR60i is an updated model of the SR60, a big headphone icon among headphone enthusiasts. The SR60i represents the entry level Grado sound with its uniquely forward, engaging, and open sound that makes Grado famous. It is one of the must-to-listen headphone and one that I’d recommend to everybody. It works very well for Rock, Indie, Acoustic, Blues, Country. Due to the fully open-back design, the Grado SR60 leaks sound big time, both in and out. But the same open-back design is also what’s responsible for creating such a special listening experience. The SR80i is a higher up model that offers better bass than the entry level SR60i, with the same magical Grado sound signature. Do give either one of these headphones a try.

$79.00 from Amazon.com (SR60i) | $99.00 from Amazon.com (SR80i)

Audio Technica M-50 – Monitoring

The M-50 is a relatively affordable, semi-premium studio monitoring headphone that happens to translate well to the music listening environment. This headphone is very popular among the enthusiasts. All rounder sound, medium pace, good comfort, decent noise isolation, good bass though not too punchy nor tight. Noise isolation is very good. Lower end variant: Audio Technica M-30.

$133.78 from Amazon.com | Closed Cans Shootout

Shure SRH-840 – Monitoring

The SRH-840 is another semi-premium studio monitoring headphone that also has a strong following among music listeners. At $144, it’s the M-50’s closest competitor, both with their own strengths and weaknesses. Please read the comparison article for the full details. Lower end variant: Shure SRH-440.

$144.40 from Amazon.com | Closed Cans Shootout

 

 

The headphones listed below this point require a headphone amplifier to sound best.

Audio Technica Pro700 Mk2 – Basshead

Seriously bass heavy headphone. Frequency balance heavily biased for bass and only bass. Great basshead headphone, awesome for dance and electronica.

$149.00 from Amazon.com | Bass To The Power Of Two: Pro700 Mk2

AIAIAI TMA-1 – Basshead

The TMA-1 is a specialty headphone. It is voiced for electronic and dance music, where I find it to be one of the most amazing headphone for Trance and House. It’s also pretty good with Jpop, especially the energetic Jpop Dance/Techno stuff. Works extremely well for the recordings it’s voiced for, but not so good with other mainstream recordings. Due to the loose fit, the TMA-1 leaks sound in and out.

$199.99 from Amazon.com | AIAIAI TMA-1

Audio Technica AD900 – Open Sound

This mid entry level open headphone from Audio Technica will impress you with its big, spacious sound. We did a group comparison on the full AD-line up headphones and found that the AD900 to be the most balanced model among the others. You can also try the slightly lower end AD700 and AD300 models as they offer the same sound signature for less money.

$216.95 from Amazon.com | Audio Technica AD Series Comparison 

Sennheiser HD558/HD598 – HiFi

These new mid-level headphones from Sennheiser offer a step up in sound quality from the previous HD555/595 models. Very good refinement level with a generally laid back and smooth sound signature, a typical Sennheiser sound signature. Although their sound quality tend to e overshadowed by the higher end HD600/HD650 models, the HD558/HD598 are more popular for people who’s not willing to make heavy investment on a headphone amplifier and a high quality source.

$179.95 from Amazon.com (HD558) |  $249.95 from Amazon.com (HD598) | HD558 and HD598

 

From this point down you are looking at the reference-class headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT880 – Monitoring

The DT880 is the most popular full size headphone from Beyerdynamic. Originally designed for professional monitoring purposes, the DT880 is even more resolving than the Shure SRH-840 and Audio Technica M-50. In fact, there is nothing more resolving than these DT880s on the south side of $300. Keep in mind that with super-resolving monitoring headphones such as these DT880s, you have to pay close attention to the quality of the recording material, otherwise it will sound pretty nasty. They come in several variants, PRO and Premium and in 32 Ohm, 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm versions. The PRO is more affordable while the Premium has a better build quality. Between the different impedance versions, the higher impedance version offers a more linear and smoother sound, though more demanding in amplification.

$237.99 (DT880 250 Ohm PRO) |  Old School Trio

Ultrasone Pro900 – HiFi

The Pro900 is one of the best models among Ultrasone’s line up. Equipped with the S-Logic technology, the Pro900 offers a wide spacious sound with clean details and an impactful bass. Great for Classical music and audiophile Jazz.

$328.17 at Amazon.com

Sennheiser HD600/650 – HiFi

These are great all rounder headphone with reference qualities. The HD580/600 have forward mids, good treble and midrange detail, good bass impact. Pace is moderately fast. If you like a more laid back sound with fuller lows, and listens to slower paced songs, go for the HD650. Keep in mind that the HD580 is discontinued, so you can only get the HD600 and HD650 brand new. $314.95 (HD600) | $494.00 (HD650) | Old School Trio

Sony Z1000 – HiFi

New flagship closed headphone from Sony is a great all rounder headphone that will give you a near high-end resolution and refinement in a closed design, easy to drive package. Fairly linear frequency balance, good mids and vocals, unoffensive and smooth treble, good detail extraction and soundstage. The only weak point is the bass impact which is just okay. Medium pace and PRaT.

$499.00 from Amazon.com | First Impression: Sony Z1000

Audio Technica W1000X – HiFi

The W1000X is one of the most popular wood cup headphone from Audio Technica. Sublime build quality paired with a smooth HiFi sound, this headphone is excellent for mellow, slower paced jazz and female vocals.

$573.65 from Amazon.com | Audio Technica W1000X Grandioso

Koss ESP-950 – Open Sound

The ESP-950 is an electrostatic headphone and it requires a special amplifier designed to drive those type of a headphone. Good thing that Koss sells the ESP-950 bundled together with the E/90 electrostatic amplifier so you don’t have to worry about sourcing the amplifier separately. The Electrostatics tend to be weak in bass, but the way it reproduces music is very special, something that you don’t find with ordinary headphones.

$599.45 from Amazon.com | Koss ESP-950

Grado RS1i – Rockin’

The RS1 is the classic Rock headphone. Grados have always been voiced to sound great with Rock, Blues, Country, among other things, and the RS1 model represents the best of the Grado sound. Grado have released more expensive headphones such as the GS1000 and the PS1000, but we still like the RS1 best. There is also a new model with a slightly different sound called the PS500, and though it’s also a good headphone, it’s still not quite like the RS1. You can also try the lower end SR325is, it’s a slightly downgraded sound from what you get with the RS1, but still a very good headphone and for half the cost of the RS1. (note: The RS1 has undergone several different versions, the latest version is called the RS1i).

$695.00 (RS1i) | $295.00 (SR325is) | Grado RS1 and Alessandro MS-Pro

 

From this point down you are looking at the flagships. The utmost best in sound quality.

Hifiman HE-500 – HiFi

Surprisingly the HE-500 takes over the HE-6 in the flagship spot. The HE-500 takes the HE-6 drivers and tweaks a few things to result in an easier to drive factor, very sweet and musical mids, and good clarity all around without being harsh. Midrange lovers will love this headphone. Recommended for Jazz, Blues, Vocals.

$699.00 from ALO Audio | HE-500 First Impression

Audez’e LCD-2 – HiFi

Perhaps most impressive for the bass section. The reigning bass champion among the flagship headphones. Dark sounding with a sweet planar tonality, this headphone has developed a very loyal following, though many owners feel the need to use silver cabling to bring out treble levels a little bit.

$945.00 from ALO Audio | Audez’e LCD-2 Impressions

Beyerdynamic T1 – Rockin’

The flagship Beyerdynamic is characterized by a brilliant, sparkly treble, fast and impactful bass passages, and relatively forward mids.

$1,295.00 from Amazon.com | German Flagship Battle: HD800 and T1

Beyerdynamic T5p – Rockin’

A closed-back variant of the flagship T1 model, the T5p is less demanding on the amplification while still offering a clear flagship-class reference sound, though slightly below the T1’s level.

$1,295.00 from ALO Audio

Sennheiser HD800 – HiFi

The flagship Sennheiser is the most resolving headphone out there today. In real life, that actually translates to something that’s not so easy to enjoy. Don’t expect to be playing Pop music tracks with these since it’s just going to show you how bad the average pop recordings are. With a good system and a good recordings, however, the HD800 is absolutely stunning. Budget an additional $2,000 to $3,000 for a good amplifier for the HD800.

$1,499.95 from Amazon.com | German Flagship Battle: HD800 and T1

 

Only list the most popular products are listed here. If you feel it to be too limited, feel free to browse the reviews on the Headphones Category:

 

 

'

366 Comments

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    So much more convenient to read.  🙂

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Mark Blackett

    Not sure you’ve noticed yet, but in the picture above, shouldn’t the t5p be there in place of the k1000 ?

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Mark Blackett

    sorry take that back after looking over the pictures higher up on the page.. scrolled down too quickly.

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Niko Adrianus Yuwono

    Very very nice list mike 😀

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    FrznCdn

    Hi Mike, 

    Just FYI – the link to the W1000x actually takes you to the 325i page on Amazon.

    Great article, though!  I agree with a lot of your conclusions – makes me feel good about the decisions I’ve made with purchases!

    Will you be doing the same thing with amplification and sources?

    • Reply January 20, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks for pointing that out, I will correct it.

      And yes with the Amplification and source, maybe in the next 1-2 weeks.

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. It’s fixed now. 

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Dan Alexandru Gheorghe

    Excelent article! Good job! In the grado section, you did not mention RS2i . 
    “You can also try the lower end SR325is, it’s a slightly downgraded sound from what you get with the RS1, but still a very good headphone and for half the cost of the RS1. ”
    Wouldn`t the rs2i be the next headphones down of rs1i?

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Yes Dan, but the RS2’s sound is not the same as the RS1’s forward sound. For some reason it’s more neutral, more Alessandro like. 

      • Reply January 21, 2012

        Dan Alexandru Gheorghe

        Thaks for straightening that out for me Mike. So you would give the Rs2i the Hifi grade, istead of the Rockin`?

        • Reply January 21, 2012

          Mike

          It’s not exactly warm and full bodied like the other Hifi grade, but not monitoring either. Perhaps still in the Rock category.

  • Reply January 22, 2012

    raz

    Hi Mike, great stuff.  Would love it if you also gave a mention to whether the phones are easy or hard to drive unamplified, or separate sections for easy and harder to drive cans. Other than that, great site:)

    • Reply January 23, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks, Raz.
      I’ve added some pointers in. Shouldn’t that be enough for the list’s purpose?

  • Reply January 22, 2012

    Ramesses

    Hi Mike,

    Interesting how you’ve included the T5ps here. I’ve been pondering over buying the T1s for a while and now you’ve sparked my interest in the 5Ps again! The 5Ps never seem to have really caught on. I do like to buy cans that are portable or at least sound isolating to a degree so the 5Ps would be ideal. Are the 5Ps really that good?
    I do appreaciate your opinion as I do feel in tune with your perceptions from what I have read from your reviews and my own experiences.
    Also, don’t the D5000 or D7000 rate for inclusion in your recommendations list? I have both and really like them.
    Thanks Ramesses.

    • Reply January 23, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Ramesses,
      I think the T5p is really good yes. Just a bit below the T1, but still clearly in flagship territory.
      The Denons are very popular but I haven’t had the chance to do a full review on them. Maybe when I do they can be included there.

  • Reply January 24, 2012

    Ramesses

    Hi Mike,

    Can you tell me how the T5ps compare against the Ultrasone Ed8s?
    The Ed 8s seem to have a bigger following and I suspect better isolation.
    Do you know how the sound signatures compare? Your opinions would be very welcome.
    Thanks Ramesses.

    • Reply January 24, 2012

      Mike

      Yes the isolation is better on the ED8, but the overall sound is bigger on the T5p. Basically the Ed8 has the typical Ultrasone sound, and a lot of people complains about the lack of midrange in Ultrasones. The T5p, I think is the better headphone though bass impact is better on the Ed8. 

      • Reply January 25, 2012

        Ramesses

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your advice. The T5ps have arrived and sounding good! First impressions…
        The mid range and vocals have great texture and presence. Isolation is noticably better than my Denons although comfort and appearance the Denons are much better to me. The t5ps are quite vice like on the head, which I suppose helps the isolation, as I wear glasses, the T5ps are quite awkward espacially as I often read while listening to music. I was surprised how light the T5s are. The Denons to me are warmer and more dynamic the T5ps have a smaller soundstage but I fallen for the mids and the vocals! The sound is sweetening and becoming more silky as they run in a bit so I am hoping for more improvement in a few days. Thanks Ramesses.

        • Reply January 26, 2012

          Mike

          Good impressions Ramesses.

          The mids and the vocals are really nice on the T5p. As for the grip, the one I listened to wasn’t that grippy. Perhaps they’ll loosen up.

  • Reply February 8, 2012

    Ricky Chan

    Hi Mike,
    I am trying to choose a new headphone between Sen. HD600, HD650, and Beyerdynamic DT990.  I am using Cmoybb as an amp and iphone as a source.  My music type is more like 10 classical, 30 Vocals, 30 Pop, 30 Jazz.  Which headphone will fit me the most?

    Ricky

  • Reply February 10, 2012

    Ricky Chan

    Hi Mike,

    I am thinking about buying the JDSlabs’ C421 headphone amp. Which type do you suggest?  AD8620, AD 8066 or OPA2227.  My gears are Westone 4, Shure Se-530, Iphone as the source, Fiio E3 LOD and CMOYBB ( I like it a lot).  And I am thinking of getting the headphone you suggested either Senneheiser HD600 or HD 650.  Thanks.

    Ricky

  • Reply February 14, 2012

    Tyler DeLisle

    Hi Mike, I’m lost in research-land, would love someone with experience to get me on track if you have the time!

    I’m still new to premium-headphone world, but I listen to music for 6-8 hours a day at work and I want to enjoy that time as much as possible.  I’ve had a pair of Denon 2000’s but I’ve recently come to the reality that the highs are too much for me.  They sound great at first, but after a few hours it’s just too much and I need to take them off.  I actually find myself wincing even at lower volumes.

    I listen to all kinds of music, but mostly I like fast-paced music with good, funky beats.  Examples being Red Hot Chili Peppers, RJD2, Franz Ferdinand, TV on the Radio, Devotchka, Jeff Beck, SMV, Ben Harper, Down to the bone.  I don’t think that qualifies me as a bass head, but I definitely enjoy the low end.  I care more for impact and depth to my bass than booming, I think.  Being able to hear every pluck, slap, pop from a bass guitar is exhilarating, and I want to be toe-tapping uncontrollably to the beats.  However, I don’t want to sacrifice my mids when I’m listening to Rock and Acoustic, I’m a hand percussionist myself.  After the Denons, I’m scared to get anything that is remotely described as sparkly or high treble, but maybe I’m over-reacting. (Would I classify as preferring “dark” sounds?)

    I believe what i’m looking for is something HiFi that focuses on the Low end? Comfort is a huge factor as well with my extended listening sessions.  I’m hoping to stay in the $300-$400 range.  $500 is my absolute ceiling, but the less I spend on Headphones the more I can look into Amps/DAC’s.  At the very least I was hoping to get an e17 to hold me off until next years budget.

    From what I’ve read on your site and other testimonies, I think the only headphones that meet those needs are the Pro-900’s, Z1000, HE-400, HD 600/650’s.  Do you have any suggestions between those based on the info I gave, or am I overlooking one?

    Thanks so much for all that you do, take care!

    • Reply February 15, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Tyler,
      Good to hear that you’ve done your reading.

      I think you should look at either the HE-400 and the Senn HD600. Don’t go with the Pro900 and the Z1000.

      • Reply February 16, 2012

        Tyler DeLisle

        Thanks Mike, I really appreciate you taking the time, I know you have lots of people in every thread asking you similar questions.

        I re-read your review on the HE-400 and it does sound about exactly what I’m looking for.  I think I prefer it over the open-design on the HD600.

        One last question though.  If I could get a pair of HE-5LE’s used, for just a little more, do you think that would be worth it? I’ve read both your reviews and you say in the HE-400 review that it doesn’t even compare technically to the 5LE’s, but the 5LE’s are described as having more treble and better suited for rock and jazz.  Do you think the HE-400 is a better match for my sound tastes, or should I jump at the chance to step up to a higher level?

        Thanks again!

        • Reply February 16, 2012

          Mike

          Well the HE5LE is more laid back and more spacious, where the HE-400 is more upfront, punchier and more aggressive.

          • Reply February 19, 2012

            Tyler DeLisle

            Sorry, I really didn’t want to harass you with questions as I know there are dozens of similar posts all over your site.  The HE-400 sound perfect for me, but I hadn’t realized initially that they were open-back.  I’ve actually never heard open-back phones, but I am mostly looking for cans while at work where there are generally people sitting 6 feet away from me.  I don’t know if the leakage is that much of an issue, but I’d generally prefer not to worry about it.

            Are there any closed-back headphones that you think are similarly aggressive with upfront, punchy sound, and a particularly detailed low end?

            You said not to go with the Pro900 previously, maybe the Senn 25-1’s? I’m not crazy about going back to supra-aurals with glasses, but I haven’t seen any complaints about comfort on the 25-1.  Can’t seem to find anything else that fits what I’m looking for in a closed-back.

            • Reply February 20, 2012

              Mike

              Well if you want circumaural pads, you can give something like the Denon a try. It’s not quite as upfront as the HE-400 and HD25-1, but the bass is pretty good.

  • Reply February 15, 2012

    Ricky Chan

    Hi Mike,I am thinking about buying the JDSlabs’ C421 headphone amp. Which type do you suggest?  AD8620, AD 8066 or OPA2227.  My gears are Westone 4, Shure Se-530, Iphone as the source, Fiio E3 LOD and CMOYBB ( I like it a lot).  And I am thinking of getting the headphone you suggested either Senneheiser HD600 or HD 650.  Thanks.Ricky

    • Reply February 15, 2012

      Mike

      I would suggest the OPA2227. I’ve never tried the AD8066 but the AD8620 version was not very nice.

  • Reply February 16, 2012

    Ricky Chan

    Hi Mike,

    are there any reference Closed Back headphones that they have the sound quality closer to Sen. HD600?  I want to get one to use in noisy environment such as coffee shop, on plane…etc.
    Budget will be $400 or less.  Thanks,

    Ricky 

    • Reply February 16, 2012

      Mike

      Not going to be the same, but I suggest you take a look at:

      Denon D2000/D5000, Beyer DT770-80 ohm, Sony Z1000 (perhaps closest to HD600 but ~$500).

    • Reply February 17, 2012

      Hep Dude

       Ricky – other sites would suggest the Denon AH-D2000 as the best Closed Back under $400.

  • Reply February 29, 2012

    John Hancock

    Gotta say there’s some AKG-hate on your site. Not liking the AKG K701 because compared to the others, it has less character of itself is fine – but to miss every AKG headphone from your recommendation list says a lot.

    • Reply February 29, 2012

      Mike

      What AKG do you think I should post in there John?

      • Reply May 5, 2012

        Gadi Russak

        I think people would like to know weather the Q701 and the K240 models fit in somewhere in there, as they are extremely popular.

  • Reply March 18, 2012

    arik100

    hey mike,
    I’m looking forward upgrading my gear as from last time.
    my first headphones were akg-k512 , then i jumped to audio technica ath-ad700 , i liked the last one but feels like a very small improvement.
    now I’m looking forward buying a headphone at about 200$
    i want a full size headphone which will be used for my computer , hearing mostly progressive rock – dream theater , porcupine tree etc.
    i thought about sennheiser hd555 or hd25-1 or m-50?
    what do you think? what is your recommendation? i open to all suggestions…

    btw i have no amp and the sound is coming from On board

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      Mike

      You should try either the Vmoda M-80 or the HD25-1 for your music.

  • Reply March 18, 2012

    Double Six

    Hi Mike!

    Amp recommendations for z1000?
    Amp recommendations for Shure SRH 1840?

    Thin bass in a closed Sony ?????(humm) …You sure ????

    Considering HP1 or a Black Cube….thoughts????

    Will be listening to pretty much everything!

    Thoughts chaps ?

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      Mike

      The Z1000 doesn’t really need serious amping, and honestly I didn’t try it with too many different amps. Only used it with the Grace m902, WooAudio6, and HeadAmp Pico Slim.

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      Mike

      As for the SRH1840, I have yet to listen to it.

      Bass closed??

      The HP1 or Black cube? What are they? Can you be more specific?

  • Reply March 18, 2012

    Kenny Chang

    Just like John said, it’s a great list (which I agree with 100%) but still think you should add the AKG Q701 for those who like “soundstage” even if exaggerated.

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks, Kenny. Let me think about it.

  • Reply March 25, 2012

    Rudolfs Verdins

    I wonder if you find Ultrasone Edition 8 recommendable. Those and T5P, which you did include, are somewhat special as they have the ambition to be one’s one and only set of headphones (by no means compact, still portable, generally not considered to have the ultimate sound quality, still so close that it is more a matter of preference, and they can be driven using a variety of portable setups).

  • Reply April 22, 2012

    Max von Hippel

    Beats/Dre? Seriously?  Please photoshop that picture 🙂

    • Reply April 23, 2012

      Mike

      Well it was there when we did the comparison. 😉

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    SoundEskimoo

    for basshead category under $100 we shall mention the popular AKG K518DJ or LE.
    Haven’t tried Shure 550DJ looks promising as I knew.

    • Reply April 26, 2012

      Mike

      Yes I missed the K518DJ/LE.

      • Reply April 27, 2012

        SoundEskimoo

        did you compare SRH550DJ with the popular K518? which one better (fun, musicality, technicality, and the else)?

        • Reply April 27, 2012

          Mike

          The 550DJ is not as all-out bass head as the K518. Plus and minuses between the two, but the K518 has a better PRaT. 

          • Reply April 28, 2012

            SoundEskimoo

            Shure have tendency to have flat frequency response for their lineups?
            It is their famous Sound sig?

            • Reply April 30, 2012

              Mike

              Actually the sound signatures are very different from the DJ headphones to the monitoring closed-back headphones, to the new open-back headphones, and finally the IEMs.

  • Reply June 6, 2012

    Chris Allen

    So what would be the better headphone for classical music?

    • Reply June 6, 2012

      Mike

      Personally I use the HD650 for classical

      • Reply June 6, 2012

        Chris Allen

        Interesting. I thought classical music was more mids than bass, not to say the HD650 is a basshead can, but I was thinking something like the Shure SRH-840 or the HD598 would be better.

        • Reply June 7, 2012

          Mike

          I think labeling the HD650 as a bass head can is inaccurate. This was the flagship reference class model from Sennheiser, do you really think a company such as Senn would make their flagship model a bass head headphone? 😉

          Anyway the thing with symphonies is that they do need bass, otherwise you get no impact on the loud passages.

          You can go with the 840 or the 598 if you listen to strings, chamber, winds, but once you go to pianos, concertos and symphonies, you’ll find the impact lacking.

          • Reply June 7, 2012

            Chris Allen

            LOL. I can see what you mean. And you are right that symphonies do need some really good bass impact. I don’t think I could listen to a Hans Zimmer or Akira Ifukube piece without there being some nice bass impact. 🙂

            I guess I should aim for an HD650 one day. Lol. Thanks, Mike! 🙂

            • Reply June 7, 2012

              Mike

              Anytime, Chris. 🙂

  • Reply July 1, 2012

    Spencer Chan

    Guys, can you give me a quick run down of k550 and m50? I have been using the m50s for awhile now and am very familar with them. I was hopeing the k550 would be a nice upgrade for a portable rig being powered by an ALO National. You know me, mid-vocals and in this case isolation for travel.

    • Reply July 3, 2012

      Mike

      Overall the K550 is the superior headphone. Similar sound style, but the K550 comes with a much better technicalities and is more comfortable too.

      Vocals, I’d go with the K550.
      The M-50 is better with bass, though both headphones are not bass greats.

      • Reply July 3, 2012

        Trent_D

        I don’t know. The M-50 does have a little more bass, but the K550 is tighter and much more detailed, it is just missing a little kick, ehh… slam. If these are the two headphones you are talking about, I wouldn’t let bass be the deciding factor.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    t1m_co

    Would you say the AKG K550 belongs on this list?

    • Reply July 3, 2012

      Mike

      Yes I think so. Just have to update the list.

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Aman Faisal

    Hello Mike, what would be a good closed headphone for classical (all kind of classical), symphony, ambient(and nature sound) and also female vocal? I listen to most kind of music but no rap/hiphop/metal.

    • Reply July 4, 2012

      Mike

      Closed, I would go with the K550 AKG. It’s also quite good with vocals, though not quite a vocal specialty.

      • Reply July 4, 2012

        Aman Faisal

        I read somewhere in head fi that some poster say it has some problem with treble peak and resoanance. Do you find any of these thing?

        • Reply July 4, 2012

          Trent_D

          I have never found that to be true. Maybe some slight reverb with the housing, but that is par for the course with a closed headphone, and it doesn’t bother me at all. The weakest part of the K550 is the bass, while detailed and tight, doesn’t kick that hard. However, Mike says the National will help quite a bit with that, so you should be good to go.

          • Reply July 5, 2012

            Aman Faisal

            I’m thinking of using it directly without an amp. Would it be a significant compromise?

            • Reply July 6, 2012

              Mike

              If you don’t care about bass, then it should be fine.

        • Reply December 18, 2013

          stan zorin

          AKG did some tweaking on K550 because of shrill treble complaints and released a modified version, K551 with a more quiet treble.
          Other and better choices, if you can afford them : Beyerdynamic T5p – can be bought new for around 1200 US dollars and more and used for around 800 – 900 dollars and more. Audio Technica W3000ANV, with a fabulous sound, can be bought new for around 1400 US dollars and more and for around 1200 – 1300 US dollars and more for used ones. Audio Technica ESW11LTD can be bought new for around 600 US dollars and used for 500 US dollars and more.

          • Reply December 18, 2013

            dalethorn

            I had the ESW11Ltd and it had a really weird midrange coloration, plus the treble was very recessed. I paid $740 direct from Japan.

            • Reply December 21, 2013

              stan zorin

              You overpaid a bit. The “weird midrange coloration” is the result of the resonances within the wooden shell. The mids are thickened a bit in a good way for a fuller tone. The recessed treble can be brought up by a simple mod [modification]. Link – http://www.head-fi.org/t/631719/new-audio-technica-ath-esw11ltd/555 / see post 569
              ESW11LTD are one of the best choices for portable headphones.

              • Reply December 21, 2013

                dalethorn

                The wood is supposed to do the opposite of what you describe and lessen resonances. I have had many wooden headphones and the ESW11ltd has the least fidelity of any of them.

  • Reply July 4, 2012

    Franco Tortolini

    Hi Mike, so what would be the better headphone for electronic music (Autechre, Plaid, Alva Noto, Byetone, Kangding Ray, Board of Canada, ecc.)?

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    chriss92

    Hi Mike. I’m interesting to buy a new headphone but I don’t wish one to buy I guess I want an open headphone.
    I have HD 600 now with the, ASUS Xonar Essence One as DAC/AMP combo and I like that combo.
    But I want to upgrade even thought i dont need to do that^^, budget maybe 500-700$ or should I save up to an expensive headphones like HD 800, T1 or LCD-2? I listen most to classical music and Hans Zimmer, Ludovicho Einaudi and I think its called epic music or trailer music like Two Steps From Hell, and Tori Amos, Moby and othters who is similar and The Doors sometimes. I cant test listen to:(

    • Reply July 12, 2012

      L.

      I would forget about all of those headphones if you’re sticking with the Asus. Having said that, a second hand LCD2 can be found for $650 nowadays. why not keep the HD600 and save up for an external amp/dac so you can get a top tier headphone later?

      • Reply July 12, 2012

        Mike

        Yes what L said.

      • Reply July 14, 2012

        dyonoctis

        Wow, I find it amazing that the asus is really too low end for these headphones …
        The model which he speaks is not a sound card, but a dac / amp externally(549 $) with an 8x oversampling symmetric (32 bit / 384 kHz), the usb asynchone, can drive headphones of 600 ohms, with a report signal noise of 120 dB, two xlr outputs, a dedicated power, and even the op-amp replaceable …(I know these headphone are really good,but I’m still very surprised)

        • Reply July 18, 2012

          Mike

          Numbers.

          • Reply July 18, 2012

            dyonoctis

            hummm … I found some test … it all say it is a good dac / amp, which is already competitive in its price range (400 Euro in Europe) can become even better.even one who has found it makes a good combo with hd 800 (the knob is only at half) They speak of a dynamic sound (with fine bass) detailed, and with a soundstage large enough .
            The only complaint they made ​​to him, are rather from errors of youth, good technically, but a little behind on the musical side (but they will soon release a version with a selection of six opamp, for personalized signature sound on its taste)
            Currently I have not seen any negative opinion (even on head-fi) of the person who could listen it, just a priori because Asus is not a purely audio brand.

  • Reply July 13, 2012

    SoundEskimoo

    Mike, How is the closed Creative Aurvana Live compete in your Full Size headphone recommendation list?

    • Reply July 13, 2012

      Mike

      It’s a good headphone, quite enjoyable, just a bit loose on the bass.

      I think it would be comparable to the M-50. The ATH having a cleaner sound, the CAL more musical.

      • Reply July 14, 2012

        SoundEskimoo

        I tried M50 before but not quite like it. The bass so slammy.
        Compared to HD202, what to expect?

        • Reply July 14, 2012

          Mike

          SoundEskimoo,
          Just a friendly notice, we enjoy having you here, but it does take time and brainpower to answer each questions that are posted here. I would appreciate it if you can ask less questions, since many of these questions are seemingly asked just to satisfy your curiosity.
          I mean it would be a different case if you were looking at to buy heapdhone A and want to ask for an opinion. But you’ve been asking all these different random questions with no clear sense of where you’re going with it.

          • Reply July 14, 2012

            SoundEskimoo

            Thank you friend. I had very meaningful time with you. But really I meant no harm for you =P Curiosity good in audiophile business. Because of this curiosity & long chit chat this & that, now I have many cans. More pair than a pair of my ears.

            I had dt1350 on my side for now after all chit chat and long questions about this and that. Already bought many cans based our interactions on this web. To some degree, your judgement affected my perception & decision a lot. If you disturbed by my passion, then I will ask less. I don’t understand about “no clear sense where im going to”, but I’ll take positive friendly notice, Mike.

  • Reply July 17, 2012

    kuba zborowski

    Mike, have you heard Ultrasone Signature Pro? If yes then how can you describe sound and what popular models are similiar? Any comparisions to Hifiman He500/400 also?
    Are you going to review it?
    Thanks

    • Reply July 18, 2012

      Mike

      The Signature Pro, I really wouldn’t recommend it.

      It was not any better than the Pro900 and it comes with a big and unnatural bass hump. I’d still take the Pro900 over it.
      Seriously a bunch of us listened to it on the local Jaben store, and even the Jaben guy didn’t like it either. I don’t know what Ultrasone is thinking. Almost like Pro900 + Beats by Dr. Dre.

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    kuba zborowski

    Ok what about HE500 to HE400 comparision? Is it very close in terms of sound? I got opinion that HE400 is something like Stax Omega 007 – darker with bigger but better controlled(?) bass? On the other hand I dont want V shaped sound of Denons which I found also somewhat wooly in bass region. I want very natural sound with great mids and smooth extended highs. Bass must be solid, well extended and with good texture. I prefer depth and good imaging, less width.
    My favourite sound would be something like AKG K1000 with a little bit more body and mids from HD650/600 with size of instruments and attack of Grado. hehe
    Which Hifimans do you prefer regarding such expectations?
    Thank you

  • Reply July 19, 2012

    kuba zborowski

    Mike you meant Pro900 or Pro2900? Pro900 better seems strange for me.
    Also any suggestions to my previous question regarding Hifimans? HE6 is way better than HE500 when properly amped?

    • Reply July 19, 2012

      Brian Werner

      The Pro 900 is better…. 2900 is “muddled” I guess…. I don’t think Ultrasone has figured out how to translate their offset S-Logic driver with an open back design very well. Both the HFI 2400 and the Pro 2900 fall short of their closed back cousins (HFI 780 and Pro 900). I fell in love with the Pro 900… It is a fun headphone… So I bought the 2900 thinking it would be same but better….I ended up returning it and getting HifiMan HE-400’s. Could not be happier now.

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    Psycho

    Mike, can you help me? I’m confuse to choose between ultrasone pro 900, hd650, sony z1000, w1000x (I can only tried hd 650, akg 550, dt880, m50 in my place, and I like the sound of hd 650 better than others)

    my previous headphone is hd 555 and ath ad700, and for next upgrade I prefer to get all rounder headphone

    the song that I’m listening >>> http://www.hifitao.com/tbi888/%E5%B0%8F%E9%9D%92%E8%9B%99/page-0002.jpg

    which headphone do you think work best for my music? thanks 🙂

    • Reply August 30, 2012

      Mike

      If you have tried the HD650 and liked it, I suggest you go with that. I looked at your list and I think the HD650 would be good for those. Add a good tube amp.
      The Z1000 is a second choice if you don’t want to spend too much money on the amp. It works well out of a portable amp.

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    Pinoi Sufi

    Mike,you said HE-500 is not the best synergy with Mk3-B? (based on your comment in Mk3-B review). Because currently im funding for HE-500 and go with portable DAC and portable amp. Do you have any suggestion mike? Thanks.

    • Reply August 30, 2012

      Mike

      I enjoyed the HE-500 with the Burson Soloist and the Graham Slee Solo. For portable options, I haven’t gotten one that really works.

      • Reply August 31, 2012

        Pinoi Sufi

        That is clear cut suggestion Mike. Many thanks and hope you will comment HE-500 with PanAm.

        • Reply August 31, 2012

          Mike

          Will test it with the HE-500 in the few days to come.

  • Reply August 30, 2012

    Gabriel Augusto

    Hey you had put the AKG K701 headphone on the reference-class photo but did not mentioned him, only the most popular beyer’s and senns. That’s headracism , just cuz akg fans are minorities…

  • Reply September 5, 2012

    Nana Brenu

    Hello Mike, I have owned a Sennheiser HD 25 I-II for a couple of years, Really love the sound and how they isolate. What would u consider a better upgrade? For me isolation is key since im always on a subway and in noisy environment, i want to hear everything presented clearly, nothing muddled. I do listen to hip hop rnb, jazz lounge music, bossa nova, rock, orchestra scores, dance, some classical and jazz. my budget is btn $200 and $600

    • Reply September 6, 2012

      Mike

      An IEM would be easier to recommend, since the selection for good closed headphones are quite limited. The Z1000 Sony for instance is very good but isolation is less than the HD25-1.

      • Reply September 7, 2012

        Nana Brenu

        Thanks Mike, I had the Shure SE530 before i moved on to the HD25-1, My issue with the IEM is i find them a bit tedious putting them in my ear and adjusting them from time to time to get a good seal

        • Reply September 7, 2012

          Mike

          Yes I figured you probably have tried an IEM before. Thing is the available selection for closed headphones are not as many. If you want give the Vmoda M80 a try. It’s fun and it’s good.

      • Reply September 7, 2012

        NubTAM94

        More like there isn’t really an upgrade from the HD25, maybe an updated HD25 with new drivers might be the answer, if Sennheiser ever releases that update, ever lol.

  • Reply September 5, 2012

    Remus

    Hi Mike, comparing the LCD2 (Rev. 1 or 2), HE500 and the T1, which do you think is the the best for my music :
    Mostly mainstream Pop, Rock (Linkin Park), Some Vocal (Adele, Norah Jones), Electronic (Trance), Instrumental ( Final Fantasy Soundtracks) and a little Classical and Jazz ( Jazz in the Pawnshop).
    I know the 3 would probably be better for particular genres, but which one would be the better all rounder or I’m better off with something like ( LCD 2 + DT880)?
    Lastly I would most probably be getting a PanAm which you said you heard it with the LCD 2 and He500 tommorow.

    • Reply September 6, 2012

      Mike

      Remus,
      I think the HE-500 and T1 are not that good for Linkin Park and Trance stuff. the LCD-2 would be the best all rounder in this case.
      The PanAm is excellent with the LCD-2. With the HE-500, not so. I feel the Hifiman a little under powered.

      • Reply September 6, 2012

        L.

        I can only agree, for LP you are best off with the LCD-2. Vocal and Jazz however I prefer on the HE-500.

        • Reply September 6, 2012

          Remus

          What would the T1s be good for?

          • Reply September 6, 2012

            L.

            Collecting dust. I kid I kid, have you read this: http://www.headfonia.com/hd800-t1/

            • Reply September 6, 2012

              Remus

              Yep, haha, I’ve read very contrasting things about it, Some say they prefer them over the HD800s and LCD2s and that they are the best all rounders but others say they aren’t technically as good as the other flagships. What do you think L? 😉

              • Reply September 6, 2012

                L.

                Depending on your musical preferences I would go for LCD-2 or HE-500

                • Reply September 6, 2012

                  Remus

                  What are the T1s good for?

                  • Reply December 18, 2013

                    stan zorin

                    Best all around headphones. Good for everything.

          • Reply September 6, 2012

            Mike

            T1 some Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock but depends on what sort of Rock and Pop.

  • Reply September 6, 2012

    Mike

    Last revision is very good with instruments and Adele.

    • Reply September 6, 2012

      Remus

      Thanks so much Mike, always enjoyed your reviews. Last question, So overall is the Rev 1 or 2 the better one for me?

      • Reply September 7, 2012

        Mike

        I think this last one, Rev 3 with the new style cable connector is the best tuned so far, though I like the darkest sounding Rev1 personally.

        • Reply September 7, 2012

          Remus

          Wait…there’s a rev 3??!!

          • Reply September 7, 2012

            Mike

            The last version with the new style cable connector, I call it a Rev 3.

            • Reply September 10, 2012

              Remus

              Oh, I saw that too. Say before I get the LCD 2s (which I definitely will) I get say a HD650 first, will the HD650 work with my same requirements well?

  • Reply September 10, 2012

    Mike

    Thanks, Darky!

    Tried only the HD280 but not the newer 380.

    • Reply September 18, 2012

      Darky

      You welcome, Mike !!!
      If you have the opportunity to test it, give us your impressions !! 😉 it’s seems to be underrated, may be i’m wrong but it’s a very good headphone under 150$ (amp not required it’s a bargain !!)
      Cya ! 🙂

      • Reply September 18, 2012

        Mike

        Darky,
        I definitely I owe it a review… it’s one of the most popular headphones around.

  • Reply October 7, 2012

    JCom

    Hey guys,
    I would appreciate some help here… I am a bit lost with all is.
    I am new into this and looking for a full size, I am looking for an “all arounder” I listen to some rock, metal, blues, electronica, … I am still not sure about the closed/open type, is it mostly to listen at home…
    I have spotted the Senns hd 558, and Beyers custom one pro since they have similar prices. I am not using any Amp.

    • Reply October 8, 2012

      Nick Tam

      Beyer COP, V-Moda M80/L80 or the new 100 or the old Sennheiser HD-25-II. Also consider Grados for rock. Senns may not have the attack and PRaT factor to make the music work.

    • Reply October 8, 2012

      Mike

      The HD558 is not a good all rounder.

      The Beyer COP or say the ATH M-50 is a better choice.

      • Reply October 8, 2012

        JCom

        Thanks for the answer.
        For what kind of music headphones like the hd 558 are good?

        • Reply October 9, 2012

          Mike

          The slower paced Pop, Jazz, Blues.

    • Reply October 9, 2012

      Ken Stuart

      Rock, metal, blues and electronica do not require an “all arounder” – that is pretty much variations of the same genre – loud and high impact, where the subtleties of instrumental timbre matter not at all.
      So, if you go up to the top of THIS PAGE, the “Rockin” category is what you are looking for.
      Do yourself a favor and re-read the page at the top.
      BTW,
      “Closed” means that no sound gets in and no sounds gets out. So, you
      do not hear phone ringing or doorbell, and person sitting in the room
      does not hear your music. “Open” is the opposite, and is only for
      people who have the room entirely to themselves (or have a need to hear
      the phone ring or the doorbell).

  • Reply October 14, 2012

    Hifihedgehog360

    Mike, I feel as if I am back to the drawing board when it comes to headphones. In the meantime, I have just gone through a bit of estrangement and disgust with a few pairs. Believe it or not, I am finding myself enjoying a cheap-o KSC75 more than a lot of headphones I have heard before. But I would like something with a crisper attack, wider and deeper soundstage and deeper bass boom and heft.

    In many ways, the KSC75 are more fun to me than any of the other headphones I have heard before. Honestly, I am after an eye-popping, jaw-dropping experience on this vein. Of course, the Koss seem to get me two-thirds to three-fourths of the way there–a longer distance than the Superlux which I ultimately found clinical, stiff and dry in compared to other headphones unlike I had thought originally. Even so, what headphone recommendation do have for me in this regard? Thanks!

    • Reply October 15, 2012

      Mike

      You should try the M-80. It has a:
      – crisper than the KSC75
      – better attack
      – better soundstage though still it’s a portable headphone
      – deeper bass boom

      But keep in mind that the Koss KSC is a very good all rounder. Headphones with better technicalities may not have the same genre bandwith.

      • Reply October 16, 2012

        Hifihedgehog360

        Thanks for the timely and trusty response, Mike! I am thinking that a Beyerdynamic DT990 would be more along the lines of what I am after because I would like a bit more soundstage and I don’t mind a severe V-curve if it gives a sense of more excitement. It seems to have enough positive responses from what I have read and it seems to be a popular recommendation among the Head-fi circles.

        Could you share any thoughts on it in comparison to the Koss KSC75 and, if I understand correctly, the V-MODA M-80?

        • Reply October 16, 2012

          Mike

          Well yeah I suppose the DT990 would work well if you don’t mind the V-curve.

          In comparison to the KSC-75 I think mainly you’ll notice the bigger soundstage and more v-shaped curve.

          To the V-Moda: the M-80 sounds cleaner and I like it better than the DT990 due to the better PRaT and more aggressive sound, but obviously can’t compare to the DT990’s much bigger soundstage.

          • Reply October 17, 2012

            Hifihedgehog360

            Thanks again! For now, I will keep doing a little more research and, in time hopefully, I will find a little more sound quality when it comes down to making a final buying decision.

            In actuality, I am thinking the Beyerdynamic DT990 sound is more of what I am after, considering my familiarity with the higher headphones, especially the teutonic triple commonly recommended on Head-Fi. If at all else, it would give me a different house sound with which to play around with the songs in my current music library, making for a nice change in pace and perspective which I would gladly welcome.

            • Reply October 18, 2012

              Hifihedgehog360

              Update: I just caught wind of Phillip’s new addition to the Fidelio line, the X1, after browsing here and there on Head-Fi. I will do more research on it, until now the comments looking highly positive, but if you have any impressions on this headphone, Mike, please update. Thanks.

              • Reply October 18, 2012

                Mike

                I am actually getting both the L1 and the X1 so I should be able to do a three way comparison with the M1.

  • Reply October 19, 2012

    Apogee

    Ive now decided i want to improve my entire headphone system. Ive been using the Q701 with a fiio e7 for about a year.
    Im now looking at either the schiit bifrost + lyr combo, the ALO panam or the new woo audio WA7 when it comes out. Im planning on getting the lcd2, hd650 or he500 aswell. So preferable the would pair well with the Q701 and the new headphone. Usin gthe q701 with the fiio e7 has made me miss having some nice bass. So i would like my new headphones to have good impact and let me actually feel the bass. Out of the hd650, lcd2 and he500 which has the strongest bass impact. And in general, with of the amp and headphones ive mentioned would you recomend to get as a pairing.

    • Reply October 19, 2012

      Vern

      Bass impact, I’d say HE-500 by a little over the LCD-2.
      Bass quality, and deepness, hands down LCD-2.

      The HD650’s bass doesn’t quite compete with the planar magnetics.

      Though it’s not directly related, the LCD-2 has the best PRaT.
      You’ll feel the bass in any of the 3 headphones you get, but it depends more on the style of presentation you prefer.

      HD650 is the most laid back, followed by the HE-500, followed by the LCD-2.
      The way I describe the three is generally like this: LCD-2 is the crowd pleaser, HE-500 is the classic reproduction of the typical ‘hi-fi’ sound, and HD650 is that ex-gf that you want to get back with on some days, but on others, you remember why you left her.

      Hope that helps!

    • Reply October 20, 2012

      Mike

      Bass impact, HD650 still does best. LCD-2 second.

      With the LCD-2, the PanAm pairing is best I’ve heard. With the HD650, the Bottlehead Crack.

  • Reply November 16, 2012

    Alvin Sii Hee Yong

    How about ATH A700X ?
    Thank you

    • Reply November 16, 2012

      Mike

      What is the question? What about the A700X?

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    Saree Ab

    Hello,
    Thanks a lot for the reviews !
    I need a personal recommendation, how can i contact you ?

    • Reply December 16, 2012

      L.

      Hi Saree, We don’t really do personal recommendations by mail. Just ask your questions here and we’ll be more than happy to answer them.

      • Reply December 16, 2012

        Saree Ab

        I love mostly to listen to : Offer nissim (house) & Yanni (music) + Adrian von ziegler and any great piece of art of music.

        youtube – Offer Nissim – Illusion…

        I also love to listen to Eminem , Ludacris , and good songs (black music with good music)… other songs like She Wolf and more…

        In short, normal listener who appreciates good music. I want headphones that is fun to listen with it to popular music and songs, and to make me hear music the way it intended to be. And i want to feel the bass, i mean, sometimes you need bass to feel the house music to its full.

        I am very confused about these pairs:

        Shure 750DJ – I was on the verge of buying these, they say it has superb sound that stands next to very expensive cans… I read in other place that it is the same as M50 but with more bass. A lot complain about its durability. I am not a harsh user but definitely i want a durable one that can stand more than a year with normal use (i am very subtle with electronic stuff)

        AKG Acoustics K-240 Semi Open Studio – I have read that it is excellent (according to amazon reviews it is superb) and very cheap :-S 70$… but needs an amp (i have no problem with that but i prefer not).

        AKG K167 – I am sure these are great ( i have a feeling that this is what i need, but a bit more expensive i think)

        Pioneer HDJ-2000 Reference Professional Dj Headphones – I am sure these are great also like the k167, but expensive …

        Technics RP-DH1200 DJ Headphones – I have seen some DJs in music videos wear it…

        Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Black – 5 stars at amazon…
        I head about Sennheiser HD 429, how is it ?

        I would have bought the M50
        but,
        ” What I do feel as missing from the M-50 is it hasn’t really got enough agressiveness for Rock, and that’s my only complaint for this otherwise great headphone.” This is from your review …

        I have to hear one more time the M50 to really be sure about not buying it.

        But please help, My budget is ~100-130$.

        Thanks a lot !

        • Reply December 17, 2012

          Saree Ab

          Please help guys ! i really need your advice

          • Reply December 18, 2013

            stan zorin

            ATH A900X

        • Reply December 17, 2012

          Gorboman

          What headphone are you using now?

          • Reply December 17, 2012

            Saree Ab

            Non 🙂 I use apple regular earphones

            • Reply December 17, 2012

              Gorboman

              I’ve always recommend starting from a more affordable choices, like Sennheiser HD202 or Audio-Technica TAD-300. But the M50 is also a good start to venture into the world of headphones and performs better than the previous two I’ve mentioned.

              • Reply December 17, 2012

                Saree Ab

                But i am planning to buy a good one, i have heard the sennheiser hd205, didn’t like it. I head the M50, liked it but i need a warmer one.

                • Reply December 17, 2012

                  Gorboman

                  so you’re saying you can stretch your budget more?

                  • Reply December 17, 2012

                    Saree Ab

                    I already noted that my budget is 100-130$ … i can more, i need good ones.

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Gorboman

                      there are plenty of good ones. just find one that’s within your budget. and as @Trent_D:disqus said, give it a good listen.

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Saree Ab

                      what do you think of the list i noted ?

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Gorboman

                      i’ve already answered that by giving my recommendation.

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Saree Ab

                      Ok, so you say i should start with a low budget one and see… Thanks a lot

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Find the sounds signature you like before you load in with a more expensive headphone.

                    • December 17, 2012

                      Saree Ab

                      Thanks a lot ! So for my music taste you say to start with Sennheiser ?

                    • December 18, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Well, I love the sennheiser sound, but you should look around and find the sound you like.

                    • December 18, 2012

                      Saree Ab

                      Ok thanks a lot ! The best option is to hear it before… And choose…

                • Reply December 17, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  I really like the sennheiser hd202. It is a very musical headphone for a great price. The only thing I might recommend is that you give it a good listen. It has a very different sound signature than the apple earbuds and that can take a little adjustment.

                  • Reply December 17, 2012

                    Saree Ab

                    Thanks for the advice, In this case i prefer buying better ones, i have no problem buying 100$ headphones… I just need a great choice of my budget, i am thinking of shure 750dj but they say it is not durable

            • Reply January 4, 2013

              dalethorn

              Get a Dirac player for your Apple earphones and then you’ll have a full-spectrum and flat sound.

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    Guest

    Hello Mike,
    Thanks for everything
    I need a personal recommendation, how can i contact you by a message ? I have a list 🙂

  • Reply January 3, 2013

    apomk2

    I’m currently looking for some decent, forward sounding Headphones for Rock/Indie/Alternative Metal for about $500-700. Unfortunately the Grados are somewhat out of the picture, since they’re offensively expensive here in Germany.

    I mostly narrowed it down to the Senn HD-25, the Philips X1, the HE-400 and probably the HD-600. The HD-25 are supposedly pretty great for Rock, but is this only relatively speaking, considering they’re closed portables? With the other headphones, I read that they’re *better* then many other phones with Rock, but I’m not entirely convinced whether that actually makes them *good*.

    Is there another headphone other than those 4 you would recommend? If not, would you recommend one out of those 4?

    Very much obliged

    • Reply January 4, 2013

      dalethorn

      For me, starting on the lower end, the ATH ESW9a and B&W P5 are good with rock and somewhat forgiving of harsh sounds. Moving up toward your price target the Senn Amperior and Momentum are very good, where the Amperior is more emphasized in the mid-upper bass. The HD25 as I understand it is the cheaper, unrefined Amperior. The HD600 is kinda hazy and bright – OK for classical and jazz I think. I had the Philips L1 which was good, with emphasized bass including deep bass, so the X1 should follow on that. But my very favorite for rock and metal is the v-moda M100, and to avoid some of the problems that you see in some of the reviews, I trim the bass when listening critically at home.

      • Reply January 14, 2013

        apomk2

        Thank you for your answer. Sorry for not saying anything earlier, but those suggestions gave me quite a bit to digest 🙂 I think I’m going to take a closer look at the Amperior and the M100, they seem promising.

        But quite frankly, seeing how “biased” the HiFi world seems to be towards certain genres, it’ll probably be easier to just change my taste in music :S

  • Reply January 30, 2013

    Amirhossein Mohammadi

    Wich one of these classes is Sennheiser Rs-220 taking part ?!

    • Reply January 30, 2013

      L.

      none. It’s the winner of the invisible wireless category 😉

      • Reply January 31, 2013

        Mike

        What L means is that we need to update this list to include some of the newer headphones.

        • Reply January 31, 2013

          L.

          Mike always explains it better. But my reply do was funnier 😉
          Anyway. RS220 seriously is the best wireless set for at home

  • Reply January 31, 2013

    Ahmad Parapat

    Based on your recommendation, I want to purchase Ultrasone Pro 900, but it seems to difficult to buy Pro 900 in Indonesia. I consider also you opinion that have two headphone is better than one headphone.
    Do you think that buying beyer DT770 and COP already cover ability of Pro 900 ????? (my budget around 400). o

    • Reply February 2, 2013

      Mike

      The Pro900 is not that common these days.

      I don’t think I can say that the DT770 covers everything that the Pro900 does. Every headphone has their own plus and minuses (though some more minuses than plus and vica versa). However as a whole I think the DT770 LE is a better headphone than the Pro900. In my opinion that is.

      • Reply February 3, 2013

        Ahmad Parapat

        OK Mike, thanks for your answer. I will go for DT700 LE.

        • Reply February 5, 2013

          Mike

          You’re welcome, Ahmad.

          • Reply July 13, 2013

            Ahmad Parapat

            I already get DT770 Pro LE, buy it for 300 from Dubai, sound really Great. what is the best dac/amp for this beyer Mike ? i usually listening music from my laptop. budget around 300 – 400

            • Reply July 14, 2013

              dalethorn

              You could get a mini-DAC like the Microstreamer or Dragonfly that runs off of the USB, or you could get a lower quality DAC and amp like the FiiO E07k or E17 that are USB DAC as well as standalone analog amps, their advantage that they have their own power so may be better on dynamics than the USB-powered mini-DACs. And they can play with portable players and cellphones without a computer.

              • Reply August 17, 2013

                Ahmad Parapat

                thanks a lot mike and dalethorn.
                i will try to make an audition with Matrix mini and fiio E17. once again thanks a lot.

                • Reply August 19, 2013

                  Mike

                  You’re welcome, Ahmad.

            • Reply July 15, 2013

              Mike

              Hi Ahmad,
              The Matrix Mini Portable is a good one.

  • Reply February 3, 2013

    Vanesa Serrano

    Hi i love this web. For original motion sounds like movie conan with powerfull bass, soundtracks from hanns zimmer or steve pablonsky, what headphone you recommends for me?, 200$ its my top ony, thank you.

    • Reply February 5, 2013

      Mike

      Try the ATH M-50.

      • Reply August 24, 2013

        donunus

        I second this. I hated my first m50 by the way but when I heard the M50LE (assuming it sounds like the newer m50s) I was very impressed by the smooth balanced sound!

  • Reply February 6, 2013

    Amirhossein Mohammadi

    Is it worth paying double amount of price to get RS-220 instead of RS-170 or RS-180 ?!
    I mean is sound quality that much better than RS-170 or RS-180 to pay double amount of money ?

    Thanks .

    • Reply February 6, 2013

      L.

      yes. check out our RS220 review, I discussed it in there 😉

    • Reply February 6, 2013

      Ken Stuart

      I use RS-180 almost every day. I have more expensive flagship headphones that I use less often. As Mike mentioned, the RS180 are very well balanced across the musical spectrum. The analog input allows you to use an asynchronous or reclocking DAC, and thus should sound better than a digital input. The RS180 is supposed to be less sensitive to interference or dropouts.
      If you have a significant or compelling use of the funds comprising the difference in price, then the RS180 may comprise a better value for you.
      Disclosure – I have not heard the RS220.

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Amirhossein Mohammadi

    Sorry for too much questions !
    Which one of RS-170 and RS-180 has better sound quality ?! just sound quality !

    • Reply August 24, 2013

      L.

      RS-220>180

  • Reply August 24, 2013

    donunus

    I hope you get to review the latest akg offerings sometime (AKGK712, and K612). I was looking more at the less expensive model for use with classical music (being that the old k601 measured flatter than the k701).

    • Reply August 24, 2013

      L.

      It’s not easy getting AKG models. We’ll see

      • Reply August 24, 2013

        donunus

        That would be great as these cans don’t have much said about them yet.

  • Reply August 25, 2013

    chuck77

    I just picked up my ESP-950 the other day. The sound is very special indeed (vocals especially), but I find the level of detail in the music lacking compared to the Beyer T90 I tried before. I didn’t enjoy the high frequency region of the T90, but I think it was the most detailed headphone I have heard so far.

    I have a chance to pick up a Bottlehead Crack + Beyer T1 off my friend. Will I enjoy that setup more than the Koss ESP-950? If so, the ESP-950 are going back.

    • Reply August 26, 2013

      Mike

      I can’t say if you will enjoy the T1 more than the ESP-950, but yes Electrostatics don’t have the micro detail level of dynamic drivers.

      • Reply September 2, 2013

        chuck77

        Thanks Mike. I got a great deal on the Bottlehead Crack + Beyer T1 combo, and am now comparing it directly to my ESP/950. The level of detail from the T1 is higher, there is no question about it. However, the soundstage on the T1 and ESP/950 are about the same, even though the ESP/950 feels more airy (perhaps even more so because it is so light on my head), but manages to retrieve less detail. Perhaps pairing the Bottlehead Crack with the T1 was not a good combo, because the treble is too hot and fatiguing after a while. In comparison, I enjoyed the T5p alot more because of the better vocals and rolled off treble- despite the narrower soundstage. Is my amp pairing poor, or is it simply a characteristic of these T1s?

        • Reply September 3, 2013

          Dave Ulrich

          The nice thing about the Crack is that you can try different tubes. Look for one the rolls the treble off some.

        • Reply September 3, 2013

          Mike

          Chuck,

          Your observations sound like what I would say about the ESP vs T1.

          I think the treble is simply the character of the T1. The T5p has a softer treble, but ultimately I still think it’s too much for me.

        • Reply December 18, 2013

          stan zorin

          What is the serial number of your T1 ? T1s from a certain number are tuned differently.

          • Reply December 18, 2013

            chuck77

            It was an earlier serial number, 15xx. I have since sold that and purchased a new one, serial number 135xx. Maybe it`s just me, but the new one has less harsh treble. Also… it now comes with 2 year warranty (like all other Beyer cans) instead of 5 years.

            • Reply December 18, 2013

              stan zorin

              Right on, you made a good decision, the T1s with the serial numbers of up to about 3950 had the harsh treble. Beyerdynamic retuned the driver/diaphragm and T1s from about that number sound better, with less energy at 9000 Hertz. Here are the frequency graphs of T1 before retuning the driver of T1 and after when the change was made.
              1 – An early production T1 with the sharp treble [see the peak at the frequency of 9000 Hertz, it is about 7-8 dB above the deciBel level of the middle frequencies] – http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/BeyerdynamicT1.pdf
              2 – T1 with the serial number 3964 [the energy of the problematic peak at 9000 Hertz have been reduced by 7 dB that were above the base level 0 of the middle frequencies.] – http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/BeyerdynamicT1SN3964.pdf

              That is why your second T1 with the serial number 135xx sounds better than your first one did.

  • Reply September 24, 2013

    Black3020

    Hi Mike,

    Can you recommend me some headphones (under 600$) and headphone amps (under 800$) suitable for alternative rock/grunge (Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Nirvana), post metal (Iris, Neurosis), death and black metal (Death, Deicide, Darkthrone, Emperor), but also good for big beat (Chemical Brothers, Prodigy)? Regarding headphones, something more versatile than the Grados. I don’t want Grados, because occasionally I listen to softer music genres (pop, folk and classical music in particular).
    I’m also interested in the opinions of other users.

    • Reply September 24, 2013

      L.

      First ones to come in mind are the HD650 and the HE-400 if it can be open. Crack for the Senn and the HE400 does pretty much go with everything

      • Reply September 24, 2013

        Black3020

        Thank you L. Yes, HE-400 are a good option, but HD650 aren’t too little aggressive and too “slow” for death metal and alternative rock? They’re usually recommended for classical music. I listen 40% alternative rock and post-metal, 40% metal and 20% other genres. Maybe Sennheiser Momentum, Sennheiser Amperior, Philips Fidelio L1/X1, Beyer DT770-LE, Beyer DT880/600ohm or Beyer DT990/600ohm can be better options to not to lose aggressiveness and at the same time maintaining versatility?

        • Reply October 30, 2013

          dalethorn

          Of everything I’ve used in recent months, the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear comes to mind. Background: The Beyer COP is a good middle ground, but lacks the aggressive factor. The M100 bass obscures the mids too much, but it’s a good house music headphone. The B&O H6 and B&W P7 are probably too bright, and H6 too lean in the bass. The DT770s have a treble peak that’s bothersome on metal etc., and the mids have too much hollow sound. The Senn MOE has the aggression and bass, clear and clean mids, and a soft treble that takes a boost when needed with no bad after-effects.

          • Reply October 31, 2013

            John123John

            Sorry a noob question but how does the on ear compare to the (slightly) over ear?

            • Reply October 31, 2013

              dalethorn

              The on-ear has a recessed treble that matches very well to the itunes treble boost EQ, making portable use with ipods a pleasure. The over-ear treble unfortunately takes a dive above 6 or 7 khz so it requires a more careful EQ for decent treble extension, and that ruins the portability for me, as I like to keep things simple. Users have complained about the on-ear bass being too aggressive (or something), and I suppose they’re correct when they’re suffering the treble recess. It sounds great when the response is evened out.

              • Reply October 31, 2013

                John123John

                thanks guys

            • Reply October 31, 2013

              Mike

              Momentum?

              On ear warmer more focused sound, more grainy.

              Over ear more spacious cleaner clearer sound.

              The on ear has an easier to enjoy tonality but it doesn’t feel like a premium headphone.. just a headphone that happens to be tuned warm and full. I expect to get a clearer and cleaner sound out of something with a Momentum brand name on it.

              • Reply October 31, 2013

                dalethorn

                Played flat that’s true, but the MOE treble is recessed and when boosted, becomes a very different animal, and very nice at that.

          • Reply October 31, 2013

            Mike

            M100 for me. 🙂

            • Reply October 31, 2013

              dalethorn

              I got the Shure 1540 today – awesome sound!

              • Reply October 31, 2013

                Mike

                It’s nice isn’t it?

                • Reply October 31, 2013

                  dalethorn

                  Jude’s video described a ‘relaxed’ treble, which had me worried. But not to worry, the 1540 has a little less output above 9 to 10 khz than the H6 or P7, but that’s all. The treble isn’t recessed – it’s sublime.

    • Reply September 26, 2013

      Mike

      Hi,
      Vmoda M100
      and
      RSA Intruder

      Toe tapping, head banging, hell of a set up.

  • Reply October 29, 2013

    EM

    NO stax on the flagships? U guys are mad?

    • Reply October 29, 2013

      L.

      We should redo this list (Mike? let’s do it). But there probably won’t be any STAX in there after the update

      • Reply October 30, 2013

        Mike

        Well maybe the 009 but its really segmented. I think more people realize they simply can’t get a good bass from stax.

        • Reply October 31, 2013

          John123John

          come on~ you gotta have a 009 + BHSE review 🙂

          • Reply October 31, 2013

            Mike

            It really is not that special, to be honest. Despite the legendary reputation of the BHSE. Regardless of difference tonality preference, the BHSE just lacked technicalities, which is a must for something that cost that much.
            On the other hand I think the WA5 + WEE set up is a much proper high end 009 set up.

            • Reply October 31, 2013

              John123John

              I always thought the WEE was awesome (haven’t heard it sonically but from a consumer standpoint) but never see any reviews or even mentions.

              yea that does sound like an awesome setup. #drool

              • Reply November 1, 2013

                Mike

                Yeah that’s the set up I recommend. Get high quality speaker tube amps and plug the WEE into them. Leben + WEE is also awesome for the 009.

        • Reply October 31, 2013

          EM

          The 009 are a standard benchmark for resolution. And i don’t think the bass are better on the t1.

          • Reply October 31, 2013

            EM

            Also, i’m starting to realize that this choice has something to do with the products of the shops controlled by you guys, but don’t take this as an offence

            • Reply November 1, 2013

              Mike

              What the hell is your problem, man?

              FitEar334 no review — I was the Indonesian sole distributor for FitEar. AK120 no review — best selling player on my store
              Heir Audio – I sell the whole line up – not a single review
              Sony – I sell a pretty complete line – not a review even when people are asking me for an MA900 review Sennheiser likewise
              Audio Technica likewise
              Westone – not a review, even when the Adventure is one of our best sellers RSA – still no Intruder review despite it being my best selling RSA amp
              Stuff we do reviews:
              ALO is a site sponsor, I need to review their stuff
              Fiio likewise
              Fostex TH900, when I reviewed it, I didn’t sell any Fostex, Jaben who’s technically our competitor is though. Beyerdynamic – I sell no beyerdynamic including the 770 LE which we loved very much in our site. Jaben, again, is the big Beyerdynamic store B&O – I sell none
              B&W – I sell none

              • Reply November 1, 2013

                George Lai

                Headfonia is an unbiased website where even the two main reviewers, Mike and Lieven, don’t always agree 100% with each other on some products. Whether they like a product or not is independent of whether they sell it or not. Long live Headfonia.

          • Reply November 1, 2013

            Mike

            Yeah whatever

  • Reply December 1, 2013

    Matt

    HD 558 is the best you can get right now in universal application for ~$150. Great for sound positioning in Dolby headphone and perfect bass response that doesn’t muddy out the high end.

    In BF4 with DH and the HD558’s I could easily pick out gun shots coming from the same direction as a tank that was in close proximity which with lesser sets like the Astro A40’s or the HD518’s the sound positioning is lost in the rumble of the tank.

    If you have more money to burn then I recommend the HD 598.

    • Reply December 18, 2013

      stan zorin

      Audio Technica A900X.

    • Reply December 21, 2013

      stan zorin

      HD558 are open headphones.

  • Reply December 23, 2013

    Guest

    Can another full size headphone really be all that it’s cracked up to be?

    I started with my ipad 3 and a phonak audeo 022 that i received as a gift and the difference with my earpod made me curious anout audio, so i bought a grado sr-60i based on the reviews and was bitterly disappointed with it and sold it at a painful 60 percent loss.

    Same with amps and dacs, read reviews, get very excited, demoed, and came home underwhelmed. I just can’t justify spending that much for such a small difference.

    The files may have something to do, i listen to 60s music, a.c. Jobim, piazzola, nina simone, cream, hendrix, 20s jazz (duke ellington, billie holiday) and local indie bands (sore, white shoes), which aren’t very well recorded nor mastered, the 60s recordings especially are very compressed. My ipad only contains mp3s and m4a since ripping to flac didn’t help most of the songs.

    So learning from my grado mistake i’m sticking with my phonak and actually quite content with it. It’s just this curiosity plus, i’ve come into some disposable extra money. I like the phonak’s signature, dry, quick, not muddy, enough bass, etc.

    So is there a not ridiculously priced headphone (say, less than 300$), that’s appreciably more enjoyable considering the source and file format? Thx a lot!

    • Reply December 24, 2013

      Dave Ulrich

      What gear have you tried?

      • Reply December 24, 2013

        Guest

        i’ve not tried that many, but among them, Daps like sansa clip, fiio, cowon, ibasso, amps from fiio, IEMs from Fischer DBA, Hifiman RE-0, etymotic,

        headphones from Beyer DT250, DT770, DT1350, DT880, DT 48 (ugh, really didn’t like that one), iGRado, various soundmagics and fischer audios, AKG K450, K701, sony MDR7560, Shure SRH series, AIAIAI tracks and TMA-1, audio technica ATH M50, AD700, Denon D2000, Senn HD25, PX100, etc.

        but of all, the only one i actually pulled the trigger for was the Grado SR60i. but i did very nearly bought an AKG, and the DT250.

        i haven’t tried the new generation stuff (from akg k550, beyer COP, philips fidelios) partly because i got a bit frustrated, hahaha.

        • Reply December 24, 2013

          dalethorn

          I really love the B&O H6, the B&W P7, the Beyer T51p, and the v-moda M80. For 60’s and low-res I’d pick the T51p first, H6 second, P7 third, and M80 fourth. But, the Beyer COP would probably be even better for 60’s low-res music.

          • Reply December 25, 2013

            Guest

            Thanks for the suggestions!

            well i’ll add the H6 and P7 for second priority reserve because of their price. Just read the COP review on headfonia and it got me intrigued.

            i think intuitively i should go for more forward, v-shape-ish signature to salvage any sliver of dynamic range left on poorly recorded / mastered songs.

            but if i try do a 180 and try something altogether mellower and mid-centric, what would your suggestions be?

            thank you, and Merry christmas & happy new year!

            • Reply December 25, 2013

              dalethorn

              The v-moda M80 is the most perfectly neutral headphone I know of that could be a second-best to the COP for low-res tracks, if you could accept the on-ear fit. But the reason I would go for the COP first for low-res is because any extra treble (as in v-shaped signatures) is painful with low-res tracks, and I have lots of those.

              • Reply December 25, 2013

                Guest

                really? while i’ll definitely try the COP, T51, and the M80, perhaps mids would be quite important because i think for old recordings excess treble is not their biggest problem.

                give or take youtube compression is similar to m4a, perhaps i could point to youtube for illustration.

                well, true that it would be painful if the track was like this

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_ArDnZrmi0

                sharp, yet flat dynamics. not to mention sharp treble would magnify tape hiss to annoying levels.

                but there are some tracks that were virtually made by dynamics (by the same artist, drums are prominent in this mix, and decent dynamics)

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nslHVcjRb4Q

                but most of the time, perhaps due to limitations in microphones, the track focus on the mids mostly, with dull treble, like:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC_XM4l1DHo

                or

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH9Ynkptg4s

                which is why i’m considering ditching dynamic range altogether and pursue sweet mids.

                if it helps, here’s another typical song i’m listening now, it favors dark mids and again, little “sparkle” in the mastering:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as_66Hq3qIY

                well anyway thank you very much for the suggestions. happy holidays!

                • Reply December 26, 2013

                  dalethorn

                  Midrange is everything actually, not just important. But when you have a full treble response in a high fidelity headphone that isn’t masked by a heavy bass, that treble can interact with resonances in the headphone plus resonances in the recording (i.e., resonances make sharp spikes in the higher frequencies), and those can drive you crazy, especially when they combine to make really huge peaks.
                  So here’s my analysis of the music in these videos and what you’re likely to experience with any really decent headphone: Irma Thomas – Time is On My Side: Somewhat distorted and peaky – this one will be trouble. — Irma Thomas – Straight From the Heart: Sounds beautiful – unlikely this would sound bad on any good headphone. — Billie Holliday – When You’re Smiling: Very flat low-fi sound, but no irritations. — Golden Gate Quartet: Slightly distorted when vocals hit a probable resonance at certain loud parts. — Morning Benders: Not bad – sounds OK. — Chantels – Maybe: Some vocal resonances – could be a problem with certain headphones – it is a bit irritating with the T51p. — Sore – Ports of Lima: Sounds pretty good – unlikely to be a problem with any decent headphone.

                  • Reply December 27, 2013

                    Guest

                    well it also reminds me of why i was so disappointed with the Grado playing these songs. the Grado’s strong points (PRaT) cannot come out due to the songs not being very punchy or dynamic in the first place, while OTOH its treble-tilted signature actually exacerbates any errant treble and distortion that’s already in the songs! so instead of making flat sounding tracks sound more lively, Grados only made them grating.

                    though flat, low-dynamics recordings (like the Billie Holiday track) cannot be helped, it’s also reassuring to know that not all old recordings would sound bad given decent headphone, as long as it doesn’t irritate. which means that i can cross any ultra-resolving cans off the list, which goes a long way towards narrowing it!

                    but from your observation of how the Chantels track sounds with the T51p (could it be the tesla drivers?) + reading the article above that puts caution on treble on Beyers and cans categorized as “rockin” (of which Grado is one), it makes me doubt the COP. especially because the new facor you reminded me
                    (resonance) is very case-specific.

                    But upon trying the COP the treble didn’t cause much concern. and for more modern tracks (daft punk, starslinger, even 80s stuff like steely dan) its SUPERB!
                    The M-80 was very good, but not for being perfectly neutral as
                    you said; actually i find it a bit dark & bassy, but perhaps
                    that’s just because of using the Phonak exclusively for years.
                    the fit also makes me hesitate. the M-100 was even better (and
                    more comfortable) but still not worth the price difference. The
                    K550 was surprisingly enjoyable, again perhaps due to being accustomed to the Phonak. i also tried Sony MDR-1r, surprisingly enjoyable with mid-focused tracks. i still haven’t tried the P7 nor H6.

                    at the moment torn between the COP and MDR-1r because of comfort and price. if only the M-100 was more comfortable. they also told me that MDR-1r mk2 is coming.

                    thank you very very much, and happy holidays!

  • Reply January 30, 2014

    Vaibhav Pisal

    Hello,
    I currently own a sennheiser hd518. drive it using audinst hud mini. i really enjoy its warm, smooth sound. i was planning to upgrade to something with a bit more treble. i zeroed on akg k550. will it be a good match with hud mini. I don’t want a system with too much treble energy. just a bit over hd518.

  • Reply February 7, 2014

    Tronco

    Hi,

    I have a Alo PanAm which I’ve been using with the DT770 Pro and I liked the combination. Now I got pair of slightly used HD650s for a very good price. I wasn’t planning on buying them and was more looking at the T1, but because Lieven doesn’t miss a chance to recommend the DH650s 😉 I thought I’ll try. And he is so right! They are amazing headphones and it is a major improvement. This should keep me happy for a while.

    The problem is, after buying gear is before buying gear.

    So I wonder where to head next. Can I get a significant improvement if I invest on a better amp? Should I rather save the money for a flagship? I liked the T1 but you did recommend the PanAm / LCD2 pairing.

    Any thoughts or recommendations?

  • Reply February 8, 2014

    kw4nk15

    Hey,

    I`m choosing right headphones for about 2 weeks. I read a lot of forums, a lot of opinions and still I can`t find the answer. I listen to various types of music but in every day listening mostly pop(female singers) and something like electronic and little classical. I`m choosing between HE 300/400 and HD 600/650. I don`t have money for very expensive amp so the price is kinda important to me but I can pay more for the SQ. What is your advice?

    • Reply February 8, 2014

      dalethorn

      The 600 or 650 would be best, but how can you ask for an amp when you don’t say what you are amping?

    • Reply February 8, 2014

      L.

      I wanted to say the exact same thing as Dale, with a preference for the 650. But what will your amp be?

    • Reply February 8, 2014

      kw4nk15

      Ohh sorry. I meant what headphones you suggest? why you suggest these headphones and what amp you suggest with that headphones? I can spend for about 200$ to amp. Or another way is to add those 200$ and buy HE-500 without amp but later I would add a amp.

      • Reply February 8, 2014

        L.

        HD650 with a second hand bottlehead Crack. finished.

        • Reply February 8, 2014

          kw4nk15

          Hmm maybe some other amps? because can`t find a normal price second hand and ordering a new one is not for me(price is OK. but I can`t construct it by myself) I live in Europe by the way and it`s not easy to transport big heavy items from America.

          • Reply February 9, 2014

            L.

            I am in Europe too, I imported my Crack from the USA via Indonesia 😉
            How about something like JDSLabs portable amp? I am having a hard time finding a good amp in this price class

            • Reply February 9, 2014

              Dave Ulrich

              It is too bad the C421 isn’t sold anymore. That was very nice with the HD650.

              • Reply February 9, 2014

                L.

                It was indeed. My first one got lost in the mail in Europe, but I managed to get a second one

        • Reply February 10, 2014

          kw4nk15

          And what is your opinion about the HE 400/500? I`m interested in them because 500 is discounted now and 500 are faster and has better sound stage with cheaper amps but HD 650 has better scaling and is better all rounder?

          • Reply February 10, 2014

            L.

            HE500 and HD650 are 2 of my fav headphones. HE500 needs a really good amp. HE400 is a good all rounder that’s very easy to amp

            • Reply February 10, 2014

              kw4nk15

              As I can see you prefer HD650 over HE500 🙂

              • Reply February 10, 2014

                L.

                yes, it’s more versatile. Great headphone

          • Reply February 10, 2014

            Dave Ulrich

            You also have to remember that Mike wrote the HE-500 review before there was the Bottlehead Crack. That amp completely upset the price/performance ratio with the HD650. Although, the HD650 creates a very musical sound with even a simple JDSlabs cMoy.

            • Reply February 10, 2014

              kw4nk15

              Thank you guys for the help you are very communicable and friendly 🙂

    • Reply February 10, 2014

      Nick Tam

      I think a price-slashed Hd700 might fit the bill if you could get it as low as HD650 prices
      (See Mike’s post on the 399Euro)

      It does electronic fine (in contrast to the slow HD600/650) and certainly classical isn’t much of an issue.

      Even if you can’t get it at the aforementioned price, the HD700 doesn’t quite need a good source/amp to be driven and pretty enjoyable on fairly (modest) audiophile gear or even just straight out of your phone. Consider it a long term investment in not getting an amp just yet.

      If the Sennheiser HD700 is out of the question, I guess the HE400 would be a good option. One thing to bear in mind is that the HE300 and HE400 uses a dynamic and the latter an ortho driver and so the sound signature is different. In Mike’s review of the HE300 it was made out to be a lesser HD650 without the amping requirements to push the 300Ohm impedance. Just bear in mind that with the Hifimans that there’s a limit to its SQ potential with amplifiers. The Sennheisers scale immensely with higher quality amps but the problem is that the synergy with electronic music is not that optimal.

      Cheers!
      Long live Sennheisers!

      • Reply April 1, 2014

        Hersagam

        nick..may i ask what amp do you use to drive the hd650? i also listen a lot of j-pop and j-rock songs but cant decide which amp is best for that kind of songs with hd650..i would really appreciate your help..thanks!

        • Reply April 1, 2014

          Dave Ulrich

          I do love that we still get the occasional question on what amp to use with the HD650. Hersagam, if you know how to solder, or think you might enjoy it, the Bottlehead Crack is definitely the amp you want for the HD650. The only catch is you have to build it yourself. http://www.headfonia.com/the-dark-sennheiser-hd650-all-for-the-music/

          • Reply April 1, 2014

            Nick Tam

            Actually, I was saying that J-Pop doesn’t quite have the synergy with the HD650, if you want to listen to J-Pop, the electrostatic Hifiman may be a better choice.

  • Reply March 30, 2014

    Alberto Martinez

    My birthday is just coming and it is time for full-size (over-ear), open back for listening at home through DAC (just new DragonFly v1.2 and an old FiiO E7) connected to PC and headphone directly to tablet/smartphone, some downloaded/ripped files and mostly a lot of Spotify (extreme 320kbps quality), 75% classic and progressive rock and 25% jazz (guitar on both of them).

    I own an v-Jays as portable, and a Senn PXC450 as noise cancelling for air/train traveliing. I love the size of Senn ear pads as full size.

    Which ones (2-3 options) do you recommend under $400?

    Thanks, thanks, thanks

    • Reply March 31, 2014

      dalethorn

      Good quality open-back headphones are much more rare nowdays, especially in the under $400 class. Certainly the Sennheiser HD650 and 600 would be on that list, but I don’t know of anything else under $400 that competes with the Senn’s, that’s also a comparable sound.

      • Reply March 31, 2014

        Alberto Martinez

        I have been said Philips Fidelio X1 is an alternative to HD650 but I don’t link Phillips to this class of headphones. What do you think about?

        If I rise the $400 limit, which model and price you suggest? Thanks

        • Reply March 31, 2014

          dalethorn

          The Philips X1 may be just as good, but there the sound is different from the Sennheisers. The Grado PS500 is a good open back headphone, but is not ‘mainstream’, i.e. you have to understand what you’re getting. I had a Shure 1840, but the design for the low bass has a problem that I read about and confirmed with my own 1840.

          Is there a special need for open back?

          • Reply March 31, 2014

            Alberto Martinez

            Well, I am trying to follow the headphone guidelines in this website, better 2-3 differents that one for all. My v-Jays are open-back but portables as I go for walking or gym, but they are on-ear and after 2-3 hours they are not confortable; my Senn PXC450 is full-size but close-back and noise-cancelling for travelling or noisy places (they are very confortable for long hours).

            So, then, for listening at home (quite environment), what to choose? After reading a lot, I understood open-back have better sound than close-back. That’s the reason.

            What do you suggest for home in full-size (size like PXC450)? Remind 75% rock and 25% jazz but with a lot of guitar.

            Thanks a lot for your follow-up.

            • Reply March 31, 2014

              dalethorn

              Ah, yes – those guidelines. Maybe they need some work (hehe). So my thought is get the best sound, like the MrSpeakers Mad Dog for $300-$400, since the planar drivers will get you closer to ultimate musicality. The Alpha Dog (reviewed here) may be even better, but mine has not arrived yet, so I can’t be sure.

              • Reply March 31, 2014

                Alberto Martinez

                Thanks a lot for this recommendation. I think I will come back to the 1st one of HD650/600 (after reading and reading). My DAC has an impedance output of less 1ohm, and HD600 is around 300ohm; any issue with this?

                Thanks in advance.

                • Reply April 1, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  As a general rule, if the headphone impedance is at least several times greater than the amp’s output impedance, it’s OK. There are exceptions, but not for the 600/650.

  • Reply April 9, 2014

    Michiel Kerckenaere

    Hi, thanks for such a great website and informative reviews.

    I’m looking for a full size headphone to use in the office. They should isolate me from my coworkers noise and also isolate the music to them (so no open-back design). Music will mostly be classical music and jazz, as I don’t concentrate well with lyrics.

    For starting I will use my computers built in audio-control, but do plan on investing in a affordable headphone amplifier later on.

    Budget, preferable <250€ but will go up to 300€ if necessary.

    What headphones would recommend I look at?
    Also suggestion for a good amp are also welcome.

    thanks!
    Michiel
    (Belgium)

    • Reply April 9, 2014

      dalethorn

      The Beyerdynamic DT-770 32 ohm should be perfect. It’s the new standard edition of the DT-770 Anniversary Limited Edition reviewed here. Isolation is very good, leakage is low, and the sound and soundstage would be excellent for classics and jazz. For use with a computer, I’d advise a small combination USB DAC that includes a headphone amp.

      • Reply April 11, 2014

        Michiel Kerckenaere

        Hi Guys,

        thanks so much for your feedback. I’ve never heard of that brand (which is probably a good thing). I’ve read some reviews and I think I will order it over the weekend.

        What would be a decent USB DAC + Headphone Amp? Something that matches the headphone (price point / quality).

        What is the difference betwene the 32ohm / 80ohm headphones? Is the 32 the best for my use?

        I will probably want to use it with a iPod sometimes as well, althoug 90% will be at work with the headphone amp.

        thanks!

        • Reply April 11, 2014

          dalethorn

          The 32 ohm is definitely best for portable devices like iPods, but the small USB DACs that are excellent for use with computers are usually powered by the USB, so their power is limited compared to self-powered DACs, so the 32 ohm headphone is a wise choice for those DACs as well. The FiiO E07k is a good starting point for a DAC with headphone amp and costs less than $100 USD. Going up from there,

    • Reply April 9, 2014

      L.

      Hey Michiel. Welkom!

      For a closed headphone the DT770 AE/32Ohm is very good. It doesn’t need amplification and has good isolation. you can’t go wrong with it.

      Hij kost 155€ bij Thomann http://www.thomann.de/nl/beyerdynamic_dt_770_pro_32_ohm.htm?sid=5560329d7f18909e3b37ad4778758d93

      But I’m sure you can find it even cheaper here in Belgium or Holland!

      If after a while you want to increase the level of the headphone, you can like Dale said, buy a mini dac/amp

      • Reply April 11, 2014

        Michiel Kerckenaere

        I’ve been reading a bit on amps last night, and came across the FiiO E10. But I can’t seem to find them in Europe. When I did find them, it sed they were discontinued.

        I don’t think I want a portable one.. for the few times when I might want to use these headphones with an iPod, I won’t want the hassle of dragging a long a portable amp.

        So Just a nice looking desktop amp will do fine.

        What set you would advice (dac+amp) ? And what verion of the DT770 should I get to match? 32/80/250ohm?

        thanks

        • Reply April 11, 2014

          L.

          The 32 ohm version, as it needs hardly any amplification and can be used straight from your pc or ipod. I was actually going to suggest the E10 to you. Check out audiogarden.fr (http://audiogarden.fr/dac/4-fiio-e10-olympus.html)

          • Reply April 11, 2014

            Michiel Kerckenaere

            Hi, I have, they don’t have any left to sell. Production stopped, it says on the detailed page.

            Any other resellers?

            • Reply April 11, 2014

              L.

              The E10 will be replaced with the E10K soon, Fiio just confirmed it to me. I’ll check other sources

              • Reply April 11, 2014

                Michiel Kerckenaere

                I’ve looked at some other options, but I really like the look of that E10. Other options are either portable (which I don’t like) or lack the professional look of the E10. The ones that do have the look are usually way more expensive.

                What did they change with the E10K? If they have kept the enclosure then I might just get the headphones now and wait for the new version.

                I did find the E10 new on ebay, but it’s being shipped from Japan, which will end up costing me extra on importing duties… not something I’m very fond off.

                • Reply April 11, 2014

                  Michiel Kerckenaere

                  I’ve just ordered the headphone with the optional ear pads from Thomann. And I’ve found an E10 from some dodge webshop somewhere in eastern europe. Now lets pray that it gets here.

                  Thanks for your help guys!

                  • Reply April 11, 2014

                    L.

                    Our pleasure, what are those optional ear pads?

                    • April 11, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      Looks like velour pads.

                    • April 11, 2014

                      L.

                      I have those on my DT770 as well, mmm velour

                    • April 11, 2014

                      Michiel Kerckenaere

                      Yup, those!

  • Reply May 28, 2014

    Billy Wu

    Any chance you will do a Beyerdynamic T5P review? You’ve covered a few high-end closed cans already, including the TH900/600 and the LCD-XC but the T5P hasn’t gotten much attention in the flagship category. I’m pretty sure the sound signature is different enough from the T1 to call for a separate review.

    Thanks!
    Billy

    • Reply May 28, 2014

      L.

      Yeah, good idea!

  • Reply July 7, 2014

    Budianto

    Hey , thank you for providing me with this great article.
    Im looking for an upgrade, currently im using the goldring dr100 headphone and hippo circri as the amp. do you have any recommendation (i prefer the full size open cans) ? my budget is around USD 500-700 or IDR 5.000.000-7.000.000

    Thanks

  • Reply July 7, 2014

    Marc

    If I may say so, I really think all moderators and writers of Headfonia (including prominent readers) should recreate the Recommendation Guide and maybe update it once a year

    • Reply July 7, 2014

      dalethorn

      I wanted to contribute to this, but I gave up, at least for the time being. Reading the descriptions, there are lots of exciting properties, but it’s nearly impossible to compare any two and get an idea of exactly how they sound compared to each other. For example, I can make a good comparison of a Beyer T1 and T90, but unless I have the HD800 in-house, I can’t really make an accurate comparison of the T1 to the HD800. I’ve also found that when I have an opinion on a headphone, someone may suggest trying an album or even a couple of tracks I haven’t heard before, and that could change my opinion some. So if someone has a model of how to make the recommendations more of a tool to get to a purchase decision, instead of just presenting the items on their own terms, that could help.

      • Reply July 7, 2014

        L.

        we will find some way to update it

    • Reply July 7, 2014

      L.

      Yes but that’s so hard to do

      • Reply July 8, 2014

        Marc

        True but once it’s updated you’d have sure references per sound sig per price range!! Maybe you could be like Innerfidelity in this aspect and have extended loans merely for the purpose of having reference sets to compare newcomers to.

        • Reply July 8, 2014

          dalethorn

          The problem is the number of comparisons – just 100 headphones is nearly 10 thousand comparisons, and that doesn’t include amps. Testing sites try to shortcut that with objective test results, but that’s not a full solution.

          • Reply July 8, 2014

            Marc

            And a feat it would surely be when Headfonia succeeds.

  • Reply July 7, 2014

    Brandon

    Hey, thanks for the article; it really is helpful! After some research I decided that I want either a refurbished Sennheiser 558 for $89 or a new pair of Grados SR80s for $100 to plug into my ASUS Xonar DG. I play a lot of FPS games and listen to all kinds of music. Personally, I like sparkly treble and a wide soundstage, but it looks like I won’t be getting both. Also, I’m trying to find a pair at $100 or less on Amazon. Thanks.

    • Reply July 7, 2014

      dalethorn

      Keep watching Amazon for a few weeks at least. I go in and search for headphone sale, then I restrict the results to headphones only (about 2500 results usually), then I sort by price to get where I want quickly.

      • Reply July 7, 2014

        Brandon

        What are some good prices on the mentioned headphones if I were to look for those? Also, do you know how the ATH-AD500X compares to the ATH-AD700X?

        • Reply July 8, 2014

          dalethorn

          When Amazon has a headphone for 1/2 MSRP, that’s a good price. I never heard those AT’s.

  • Reply November 16, 2014

    Gunshots ByComputer

    Nice list. Just about everything I am looking for is on. The only thing missing might be the A1000X variant and Alpha Mad/MadDogs but that’s understandable since they are modded cans. One thing I don’t understand at all is the absolute absence of the Beyer T70s from just about every headphone website out there. They don’t get good or bad reviews, they just get ZERO coverage. I am looking to add one more open back at home and one more closed back at work. the t70s are on my short list… and they are CHEAP in Japan… but the absolute lack of coverage worries me, while the t90s get mentioned more often… (Sorry for posting on so many old articles)

  • Reply February 10, 2015

    Atari

    This is a great list to tell me the best headphone for the type of sound I want. Unfortunately, sound quality is only part of the equation. If anyone is willing, I would love a recommendation to fit the following requirements for an over ear headphone.

    1. Large ear cups. Beats executives were nice and soft but not quite large enough. Vmoda LP2s were far too small.

    2. Plush headband. The Vmoda M80s start to hurt the top of my head afte prolonged use.

    3. Nearly 100% use with an ipod or phone and lossless audio files. Som use with a PC too. Oddly the Vmodas require the volumen to be set to about 7%. I cannot handle more volument than that.

    4. Noise isolating. No one wants to hear my music so it needs to be closed.

    5. Music prefernce is classic metal and hard rock. Some electromic thrown in.

    6. It would be nice to have ipod or iphone controls but not at the expense of the top for requirements.

    I would love to try more headphones on but we dont seem to have too many paces where I can test Sennheisers, Audio Technica, Beyers, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Reply February 11, 2015

      dalethorn

      When you say “over ear” and v-moda M80 in the same sentences, I wonder what you mean by “over ear”.

      • Reply February 11, 2015

        Atari

        Yes, I mean over ear like the Executive, LP2, HD380, HD598 and custom pro. I did not mention over ear and m80 in the same sentence. I gave an example, later, with the m80.

        • Reply February 11, 2015

          dalethorn

          I can’t think of anything that’s better for your requirements than the Beyer DT770 32 ohm. The weight is light for the size, sound is amazing, isolation is good for the type, and check out the review here – probably the most popular ever on Headfonia. I think you’ll find the volume perfect..

          • Reply February 13, 2015

            Atari

            dalethorn, your suggestion was a good one. I managed to find a place to try on a DT770 and it is everything you said it would be. Those are some huge ear cups! Perhaps too huge. I was not able to try a 32ohm model, however, as they only had an 80ohm model. Perhaps that is an issue because they also had an ath-m50x which I thought sounded just a touch better on my iPhone. The headband wasnt quite as nice as the Bayer, though. It is a tough call.

            Since my first post, I have read a bit more and I think I would like to use these while gaming too.

            Anyway, thanks for a great suggestion. I doubt I could go wrong either way.

            I am still wondering about the ohm rating, though.

            • Reply February 13, 2015

              dalethorn

              Get the 32 ohm – it’s different, and much better than the M50. You won’t be able to appreciate it in a store, but get them home and you’ll hear a big difference.

  • Reply February 11, 2015

    Isco Alarcon

    Hi, I’m thinking about buying a new headphone for classical music. My budget is around $500. I don’t know if I should try some orthos (Hifiman), or the Fidelio X2, or HD650.

    • Reply February 11, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      What is your amp and source?

      • Reply February 12, 2015

        Isco Alarcon

        I’m using the Audinst MX1 at the moment.

        • Reply February 12, 2015

          dalethorn

          If using the MX1 on USB power, it will severely limit your dynamics on a lot of music, especially classical. If you use the 15v adapter, it might work better that way, but you’d still be limited compared to a better amp. So if you intend to keep the MX1 as your headphone amp, choose an efficient headphone. Of the 3 choices you listed, the X2 would probably be the most efficient.

          • Reply February 12, 2015

            Isco Alarcon

            Thanks for your advise. I’m thinking of buying new amp as well. Maybe not right now but eventually I will upgrade both the source and the amp. I just want to hear your opinion about which headphone is really good for classical music (piano, symphony, opera.) Also what is your ideal setup below $1000?

            • Reply February 12, 2015

              dalethorn

              Best for classical music – Beyer T90 is great, but full MSRP is $700, yet you can find prices near $500 on outlets like Massdrop. Another choice for SQ for classical might be the Senn HD600, but might be too insensitive for your amp on some music. AKG K712 is excellent, same comment for sensitivity, but should be better than HD600. Beyer DT770-32 is a real possibility. FAD Pandora VI is very good, but heavy and a little power-hungry. The Shure 1840 is a personal favorite, but it’s open, needs power, and the bass tone at very low frequencies (~30 hz) is not good.

              • Reply February 12, 2015

                Isco Alarcon

                Thanks for the great suggestions. The Shure seems great. I have a small (stupid) question: usually I use the DAC+Amp combo for both my speakers and headphone, if I buy a separate amp, how can I use the DAC for two different outputs?

                • Reply February 12, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  The DAC would feed the amps through the Line Out, and while there are a number of technical ways to either split the line out, or some DACs have 2 sets of line outs (with different types of jacks), or some people use line outs to feed one amp and a different kind of output from the source to feed a power amp or powered speakers …. the possible connections are endless. All I can say is, keep your devices as separate as possible. If you have any device in or adjacent to the signal path that’s not needed for listening “right now”, disconnect it, since it can degrade the sound in your current (i.e. “right now”) signal path. If your DAC and headphone amp are separate items, connect them with the shortest and best interconnects you can get. Any device that can be run on battery power, isolated from the AC mains, should sound better that way.

  • Reply February 13, 2015

    Lars H

    Hi, I have to compliment you guys on answering people that make comments on your articles. I don’t assume many people bother doing that. Kudos!

    On that note, I hope you can help me find a good set of over-ear cans.

    1. I currently have the Sennheiser Momentum (over-ear), but after a lot of use, I am still not satisfied with their sound signature. It’s just too laid back for me. I want a little more energy in the sound. Additionally I feel like I am missing some clarity and sound separation, but I can’t tell whether this is from the songs, my source or the headphones, to be honest.

    2. Most important: I have somewhat big ears and these cans dig into my ears and start hurting after 30min/1hour. I would like them to be bigger and comfier. If there aren’t bigger replacements for these on the market somewhere, that is.

    3. I would prefer closed, but I am willing to cut that out if the cans are good.

    4. I mostly listen to hard rock, jazz rock, folk rock and other forms of rock. But I also listen to, blues, jazz and some pop fairly often. I should add that I cannot handle sibilance well at all.

    5. I will be using iPhone quite a bit, BUT I do have a Fiio E07K amp/dac and I am willing to upgrade this if you think a more power hungry set of cans are needed.

    6. I think my budget stops at $300, but if there is something really good just over that top I will definitely consider it.

    I saw your review of the Beyerdynamic DT770 Limited Edition and felt captivated by how you described the sound signature, and comfort. It just sounds exactly like I want it to be. Do you know if these cans are still up for sale somewhere? And are they big?

    • Reply February 13, 2015

      dalethorn

      The 770-32 sometimes gets discounted, Massdrop being one example. The earcups will cover everyone with room to spare.

      • Reply February 13, 2015

        Lars H

        I didn’t realize the anniversery version was the same as the usual 32 ohm. But that’s great. I am going to look further into these.

        Thanks for your quick response! 🙂

        • Reply February 13, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Dale is awesome yes. The DT770 32 is a great recommendation and a wonderful headphone. You’ll enjoy it

  • Reply February 25, 2015

    Audrey

    This guide is awesome! I’ve bought the last 4 headphones and amp based of this guide (and the amp one). Great recommendations!! You guys are the best

  • Reply July 12, 2015

    Marcus Colone

    No Fostex 900’s? Wow. Big miss.

    • Reply July 12, 2015

      dalethorn

      Massdrop has been selling the 900 for huge discounts. Hmmm …. someone’s not buying them.

    • Reply July 12, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      This really needs an update urgently but I won’t be putting up the 900 as the competition’s better

  • Reply July 30, 2015

    Shane Revis

    May I ask what happened to the original Headfonia poster? Just curious.

    I see that the Philips Fidelio X2 is not on this list. Is there any reason why?
    I was sort of wondering what category is falls under (e.g. HiFi, Monitoring, Rockin’, etc)

    • Reply July 30, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Mike left HFN to start his own headphone shops in Jakarta. This list needs updating.
      I myself wouldn’t put the X2 on it but it is a good alround headphone that is easy to drive. The X2 is in the easy to listen to, warm and fun category

      • Reply August 1, 2015

        Shane Revis

        OK, thanks! Hmm…
        The main reason I thought the X2 should be on this recommended list is because Tyll Hertsens of Inner Fidelity has it on his very short Wall of Fame “open full size” category of recommendation. You really don’t like it that well? I was thinking about buying it. Here is a paragraph I have posted on a few other sites, but I was hoping you might could answer some of it since you did review and listen to the X2: I own a Zune 120 and I use the Zune Pass music subscription with it. To my knowledge, there is no way to get a portable amp to work with this Zune. Because of that, I am limited to low impedance headphones. I am currently using the Grado SR-60i, which I consider to be about the best portable headphone (but definitely still just an “entry”headphone [as opposed to mid-fi or summit]). But I was recently introduced to the Philips Fidelio X2 headphone, and it seems to generally compete with the Sennheiser HD 600, which is recognized as about the best mid-fi ‘phone. The Philips Fidelio X2 is low impedance (30 ohm) and supposedly sounds decent un-amped with portable players.
        My questions are these.

        Is this the only low-impedance (un-amped, portable decent), mid-fi headphone in existence? If not, what are the names of the other headphones?

        My Zune 120 files are 196 kbps WMA quality. Is the Fidelio X2 too high quality to make files of this quality sound good?

        Is the Philips Fidelio X2 a HUGE upgrade in SQ (highly noticeable to the common hearing man) over my Grado SR-60i? After all, the Fidelio X2 ($300) does cost quite a bit more than my Grado headphones ($80).

        Thanks Headphonia_L!

        • Reply August 1, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          There probably are several others but the X2 is one of them. I am not saying the X2 is bad, it’s pretty darn good, especially unamped. My point is that a well amped HD600 or HD650 is still better.

          The X2 is pretty forgiving but I would suggest upgrading to 320 kbps files. Not sure it will be an upgrade, it’s more of a sideway/upgrade as it will be very different

          • Reply August 1, 2015

            Shane Revis

            Thanks!

        • Reply August 1, 2015

          dalethorn

          The AKG K553 is a huge upgrade over the SR60, and it’s even an upgrade over the SR325, although not as huge. I haven’t had a Philips since the L1, but since the K553 is very close to neutral, but not as bright as the Sennheiser HD600 and Grados, I’d take it straightaway.

          • Reply August 5, 2015

            Shane Revis

            Thank you!!

  • Reply August 6, 2015

    Revanth

    Hi, I was wondering if you could suggest some headphones for listening mainly to classic rock (Led Zep/ The who/ Beatles etc.) for under $350?
    I was considering the Hifiman HE-300’s/ DT 770 80ohms/ Fidelio L2.
    I currently have the PA2V2 amplifier. I am willing to upgrade to an amplifier as well, a little later down the road, so a recommendation for a good amp will also be highly appreciated.

    • Reply August 6, 2015

      dalethorn

      The DT770-80 could be good. I’ve had several Beyers, some with pleather pads and some with velour. If you get a 770-80 I’d recommend getting both pad types so if one is brighter or whatever you can switch to the other type.

      • Reply August 6, 2015

        Revanth

        Ok, I was considering the dt 770 very seriously, I think I may get them. My source for the most part will be my iPod classic video and my laptop (Lenovo y410p) What amp would work for these?

        Also, would you say that it would be better to up invest a little more and get the sennheiser hd 650?

        Edit: I already have the pa2v2 for portability, a desktop amp is what I need. 🙂

        • Reply August 6, 2015

          dalethorn

          If you can get the 650, then yes – get the 650. The Schiit amps are a good low-budget buy. Moving up from there, Lieven would know best for the 650. In fact, he has many comments on these reviews about amps for the 650.

          • Reply August 6, 2015

            Revanth

            Thanks much for your advice Dale!
            Awesome! I did check out the recommendations, but the only thing I noticed was that, he mentioned the 650 to be great for classical music/Jazz, what about rock? Because I am primarily a Rock music guy with a lil bit of Jazz.. 🙂

            • Reply August 6, 2015

              dalethorn

              The 650 is a lot better for rock than a HD600, that’s for sure. Can’t say if it’s perfect because that depends on you. Me personally, I’d keep a solid state and a tube amp handy – tubes when you need a more mellow sound. I think that’s a better plan than using two headphones, because the 2 amps address any possible harshness better than switching to a different headphone signature. There are a lot of lust-worthy amps featured here. Pick out a few that look interesting and somewhat affordable, then we can drill down to the details.

        • Reply August 7, 2015

          Tronco

          Maybe you don’t need to invest more. I would suggest you to consider buying a used HD 650, here in Switzerland they go for less than 200 $. Except for my first headphone I’ve bought all my headphones second hand and had no problems.

          • Reply August 7, 2015

            Headfonia_L.

            I bought my HD650 second hand but it was as good as new. Paid 170€!

            • Reply August 7, 2015

              Tronco

              Audiophiles take good care of their headphones. All I bought are as good as new.
              But I won’t sell my HD650. It’s a great headphone and value is unbeatable.

            • Reply August 7, 2015

              Yaroslav

              Oooh, Lieven, let me ask something. Is 650 still worth it (forget about the amps)?

              Would you switch to a planar magnetic if money was no question (like, if a good friend wants to buy you any ‘phone for your birthday and he can pull it off)? Or would you still prefer 650 to LCD and HiFiMans?

              Looks like you’ve tried or reviewed them all (in some sense), and we do share some taste in music, so I’m really wondering.

              • Reply August 7, 2015

                Headfonia_L.

                It is worse, I have them all… I have about 11 orthos 😉
                Some planars are certainly better than the HD650, yet the HD650 is still the headphone I have on my head most

                • Reply August 8, 2015

                  Revanth

                  Hi lieven,

                  Dale mentioned that you could help recommend some amps for the 650’s. I currently have the pa2v2, will that be sufficient in the short trm? Also, what would you recommend for a good amp, which has a pre-amp function inbuilt as well. (I am planning to get a turntable sometime this year or the next.)

                  Thanks,
                  Rev

                  • Reply August 8, 2015

                    Headfonia_L.

                    I can’t help you with TT advice at all. there are several good amps for the HD650. Woo Audio WA2/WA22, Lafigaro 339, Bottlehead Crack. Solid state amps like V200, V281, Meridian Prime, Hugo, … There are so many

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Revanth

                      Hi lieven,

                      I took the plunge and bought a Schiit Asgard 2 and a HD650..:)

                      Will receive them by end of this week! Super excited about it, but the only other question I have is, do I need a DAC?

                      Thanks
                      Rev

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Well that depends on what you will be using as a source. If it’s a laptop, I’d recommend a DAC yes.

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Revanth

                      Ok.

                      For the most part, it’s going to be my laptop or my iPod.

                      Would the base model of Schiit suffice? The modi2?

                      Thanks,
                      Rev

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      I don’t know, that’s for you to decide. me, I’m not a big fan of the brand 😉

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Revanth

                      Hahaha.. Ok, thanks a lot to both Dave and you for patiently answering all my questions! You guys are the best!

                      Rev

                    • August 11, 2015

                      Dave Ulrich

                      As much as I love taking credit for things, I think it was L and Dale who did the answering here!

                    • August 11, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      It would be good, since you decided on separates**, to test different DACs, even tiny DACs like the AQ Dragonfly. The Modi may be good or not.

                      **With separates, your separates have to be good enough to overcome the losses that occur with:
                      1) Output wiring from the DAC to its output jacks.
                      2) The DAC’s output jacks.
                      3) The interconnect cables.
                      4) The amp’s input jacks.
                      5) The amp’s input wiring from its jacks to its electronics.

                      I can hardly believe how little attention these things get, since at least items 2) to 4) corrode continuously from the moment you connect them. With different amps and DACs you’re looking at subtle differences in how much quality is lost with any particular component, but then the sum total of losses from items 1-5 above could kill the gains you get from a more expensive component.

          • Reply August 7, 2015

            Revanth

            Cool, i am looking at the used market as well, I am currently looking at ebay here in the US.. Is there any other forum that you guys would suggest?

  • Reply September 7, 2015

    Vaibhav Pisal

    hi,

    i am looking for full size hps with relaxing sound.

    any recommendations.

    similar to sennheiser hd650, but not hd650 as my main hp is hd700. i dont wanna get all hps from sennheiser. i am looking at oppo pm3 but they seem to have non user replacable earpads. i want hps that last a long time.

    thanks.

    • Reply September 7, 2015

      Vaibhav Pisal

      price range would be under $400.

    • Reply September 7, 2015

      dalethorn

      AKG K712, not as strong in the bass maybe, but pretty smooth, usually under $400.
      B&O H6 is relaxing, but not as smooth as the K712.
      Same for B&W P7.
      MrSpeakers Mad Dog is very good, and should be under $400.
      The Yamaha MT220 is a favorite of mine – good sound and very comfy.

      • Reply September 7, 2015

        Vaibhav Pisal

        thanks for recommendation.

        Yamaha sounds good. k712 seems more dynamic and engaging than relaxing. my last 2 hps were akg k550 and sennheiser hd700 which both are in that mould. thus i want a contrasting hp.

        what about shure 1840/1540? i tried srh1440 once, and it was very smooth though it had a bit extra treble.

        • Reply September 7, 2015

          dalethorn

          The 1440 is bright and sharp, yes. The 1540 would be very relaxing, but somewhat dark, and $500 usually. The 1840 is more hi-fi, but the low bass is distorted, at least below 40 hz, and also $500.

  • Reply November 5, 2015

    Jonathan Hwang

    Hello, so I currently have a HE-500 and I think it has channel imbalance so I am looking for a new headphone. I really really love the SQ of the HE-500 and I was wondering what open back headphone is comparable to the He-500 in SQ.

    • Reply November 5, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      That’s a tough one, I can’t think of any headphone that sounds like it on the top of my head. the HE-500 is getting old though

      • Reply November 5, 2015

        Jonathan Hwang

        That it is. I think that it is still a very strong contender as a headphone(minus the comfort). Since there appear to be very few headphones that are similar in sq, do you have any suggestions for headphones that would sound good coming from a he500? Like, something with a warmish signature.

        • Reply November 5, 2015

          dalethorn

          From the EL-8 (open-back) review here:
          “This version clearly is the better one of both to my ears. The EL-8O shows good transparency and especially its speed is remarkable. Next to that you get the lovely clarity most of the planar magnetic headphones are so famous for. In general I would say the tuning is more to the neutral side but with a good touch of warmth.”

  • Reply November 7, 2015

    Jheys0n

    what would you recommend for anyone who’s deep into vocal edm/dnb/dubstep and rnb? I am still a little confused with the designations you’ve used specifically as it relates to the vocals and electronic music – do I look at the basshead? and is there anything a little more premium than the TMA-1 if that’s the case.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Reply November 7, 2015

      dalethorn

      The TMA-1 is a very dark sound, not even hi-fi really. A much better (but dark) headphone would be the B&W P7, in my opinion. Another choice would be the Thinksound ON1. The Shure 1540 is a possibility. The v-moda M100 also, but the M100 has an emphasized bass….

  • Reply November 29, 2015

    Van Sank

    Greetings, I found this page after some searching!

    I own pairs of Sennheiser’s HD 280, HD 380, HD 598, HD8 DJ, and IE-60. I want to step out of Sennheiser and give some other companies a try. Most of the music I listen to is Trance, Techno, House or similar genres. I’m searching for “Dark” sounding head phones with lots of low end. (I guess I would define “dark” as quick drop off or not bright). My favorite by far are the HD8 DJs.

    Any suggestions? Would like noise canceling to help out with the “Dark” sound.

  • Reply February 12, 2016

    lysingur

    Hi, I’m new to the sound game and have been perusing your site. Love it. I’m thinking of getting the JDS Labs O2+ODAC Rev B for listening to classical music on my MacBook Pro Retina. Two questions hoping you can help me out with:
    1. Would AKG K701 be a good pair of cans for this setup? If not, which below $700 over-the-ear headphone(s) (comfort is also key as I’ve got a big sweaty head) would you recommend?
    2. Is the amp/DAC itself good for listening to music through laptops?
    Thanks!

    • Reply February 12, 2016

      dalethorn

      It’s a decent DAC/amp, but Lieven or Nathan would argue for better things for the price. If the K701 has velour earpads, they’re comfy, but they’ll absorb sweat readily and change texture, changing the sound, and possibly the comfort.

Leave a Reply

'