Headphone Recommendations - Headfonia Reviews

On this page you’ll find our Headphone recommendations of this moment. This is an ever-evolving list.


Hifiman HE400se

Hifiman HE400se [Added 15/05.2021]

The Hifiman He400se and 400i 2020 are both musical and very easy headphones to listen to. If you like body, fulness, and warmth with more extension, go for the I version. If you prefer a more clean and neutral sound with more energy and excellent clarity, then the HE400se will rock your boat.

You don’t have to know a lot about personal audio and technology to love these headphones. And for the very accessible price the Hifiman HE400se is going for, they’re the ideal recommendation to a whole lot of people. As a result, I am adding the HE-400se to our list of best headphones to buy.  The HE400i 2020 was already on the list, and as the se-version plays at the same level but sounds differently, it also deserves its spot there as an excellent entry-level headphone.

$149 from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he400se-review/

Beyerdynamic DT770

This Beyerdynamic was loved right from the beginning here on Headfonia. Mike and I did a double review and we ended up recommending a lot of these DT770’s to our readers. The headphone turned out to be so successful that Beyerdynamic continued making them under the 32Ohm label and it’s still selling strong. For little money, you get an excellent closed headphone (I recommend the velour pads) with a more V-Shaped sound signature. You get excellent detail and lovely bass, and when hooking it up to a tube amp, the DT700 transforms into a very addictive headphone. While no amplifiers are needed to drive this headphone, you will notice how remarkably better it sounds when amped. If you’re in need of something good and closed, this should be on your list.

$179 from Beyerdynamic

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/the-beyerdynamic-we-love-dt770-anniversary-edition/




Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro x [Added 24/04/2022]

The Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X is a masterpiece: for €249 you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better, or as accurate.

It’s built like a tank, amazingly comfy, magically linear, sounds like a 4 digit headphones, and will completely cut you from the outside world. In fact, for this price, it’s basically a steal and if I could write long, convoluted sentences about how magical it is, I’ll just ask you to get off your desk and go listen to it at your closest audio shop. Now!

A must-have!

€249 from Beyerdynamic

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/beyerdynamic-dt-700-pro-x-review/


Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro x [Added 01/05/2022]

The Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X is a work of art, and a true bargain: for €249 you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better, or as accurate. Like the DT 700 Pro X, it ticks all the right boxes and redefines my vision of sub €300 headphones. The only flaw I can find with it is its main quality: open-back design. But otherwise, it’s superb!

It’s built like a tank, amazingly comfy, magically linear, sounds like a 4-digit headphones, and cut sounds like a champ. In fact, for this price, it’s basically a steal and if I could write long, convoluted sentences about how magical it is, I’ll just ask you to get off your desk and go listen to it at your closest audio shop. Now!

A must-have, once more! To the Recommended Buy list it goes!

€249 from Beyerdynamic

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/beyerdynamic-dt-900-pro-x-review/

Moondrop Para [Added 08/01/2024]

In summary, the Moondrop PARA is an excellent addition to the planar magnetic headphone market, particularly at its $299 price point. It offers a balanced and neutral sound profile that impresses with its natural and easy-to-listen nature. The PARA’s build quality, comfort, and aesthetic appeal further enhance its value, making it a strong contender against more expensive models.

For audiophiles seeking a high-quality planar magnetic headphone that won’t break the bank, the Moondrop PARA appears as a compelling choice, offering a well-rounded package. We believe it’s well-deserved to grant our Headfonia recommendation to the PARA, placing it among esteemed peers!

$299 from Moondrop

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/moondrop-para-review/


Meze 99 Classics

Meze 99 Classics

When Nathan starts calling headphones brilliant you can pretty sure they’re extremely good sounding. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him like a headphone this much. The Meze 99 Classics ticks off most, if not all the boxes. It’s not cheap and it’s not expensive. Its accessories, cables, and general construction are nice, if not luxurious. With the right pads, it is a damn hard headphone not to hype. And that goes for sound: punchy, but even-handed, this headphone’s neutral, contrasty signature is there for the long haul. The 99 Classics look even better in real but if you don’t like them you can now buy the Meze 99 NEO in a black stealth edition.

$309 from MEZE

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/meze-99-classics-on-the-cups-of-brilliance/

Sivga Luan [Added 07/09/2023]

I’m thoroughly impressed with the overall quality and performance of the new Sivga Luan. The new model has a sleek and premium design, while also being very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. In terms of sound, the balance and naturalness truly stand out to me. The technical performance is also impressive. What’s even better is that it’s budget-friendly, making it an excellent option for those looking for high-quality audio without spending too much.

ISivga has taken a suitable approach that meets the market’s demands for design, build quality, and sound performance. They are rapidly improving themselves, and their recent creation of dynamic headphones, including the SV023 and this one, are highly capable and competitive units. I’m sure they can showcase similar progress with their planar-magnetic models under the Sendy Audio brand. Looking forward to it.

$359 from Sivga

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/sivga-luan-review/

Sivga SV023 [Added 03/07/2022]

The SV023 has a very well-balanced, open and spacious sound, which made me say; “This is more like it”. This is a very nice, high-performing “audiophile” headphone with a realistic and revealing signature, with great technicalities.

I like open-back dynamic headphones and it’s no secret, but that doesn’t mean that I liked the Sivga SV023 just because of my preferences. It proves that Sivga is improving and they’re determined to make very good cans for the audiophile crowd. As much as successful tuning, the design, comfort and build quality are also top-notch.

Hence, I recommend the new Sivga SV023 for people looking for nice open-back headphones without breaking the bank.

$449 from Sivga

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/sivga-sv023-review/

Sennheiser HD600/650

These are both great all-rounder headphones with reference qualities. They have been around for decades already but they’re still highly popular because of their sublime sound. The HD600 has a leaner sound with forward mids, good treble and midrange detail, good bass impact. The pace is moderately fast. If you like a more laid-back sound with fuller lows while retaining the overall detail level, more emotion, and listen to slower-paced songs, go for the HD650. An amplifier is recommended for both headphones and they will sound their very best in combination with a tube amplifier like the Bottlehead Crack or a solid-state amp like the Beyerdynamic A20 which has a warmer and smoother character. These headphones are here to stay and we’ve been calling them “classics” for a while already. You owe it to yourself to have once owned either of these masterpieces from Sennheiser.

Between $399 (HD600) and $549 (HD650) from Sennheiser

Review HD600: https://www.headfonia.com/the-sennheiser-trio-hd580-hd600-hd650/

Review HD650: https://www.headfonia.com/the-dark-sennheiser-hd650-all-for-the-music/

Hifiman Edition XS [Added 29/05/2022]

To be honest with you, I think Hifiman Edition XS might be the best headphone in the $400-500 mark. It has a truthful and neutral presentation with great decay and transparency. It’s not too hard to drive, and it certainly has what it takes in terms of being a reference headphone for the price.

Sure, there’s always a superior headphone out there and there always will be, but if you’re not willing to spend huge amounts of cash for an open back headphone for your desktop, it would be difficult for you to find a better option than the Edition XS.

$499 from Hifiman Store

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-edition-xs-review/

Sennheiser HD 660S2

Sennheiser HD 660S2 [Added 09/05/2023]

In very short we can say the HD 660S2 is a great headphone with an excellent price/quality ratio.

Where the Sennheiser HD 660S was good, it to me never was the headphone that could make me completely forget about the HD 600 and HD 650. That’s exactly what’s different with this new S2 update. This time I do feel that people in 10 years’ time will still be talking about the HD 660S2, just like they did with the HD 650 and HD 600. The original HD 660S did not get our recommended buy award, but I feel the sound quality has improved in every possible way here. As such it is getting our Recommended Buy Award this time, and the HD 660S2 now is featured on our Best Headphone list.

$599 from Sennheiser

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/sennheiser-hd-660s2-review/

Hifiman Ananda Nano

Hifiman Ananda Nano [Added 30/07/2023]

Wrapping up, the Hifiman Ananda Nano stands as a testament to Hifiman’s devotion to innovation and quality. This headphone, priced at $599, delivers an exceptional audio experience that is hard to match in its price range. Its neutral sound signature, coupled with a fast, impactful bass and a vivid, natural midrange, offers a listening experience that is both immersive and satisfying. The treble extends beautifully, adding to the overall coherence of the sound.

The Ananda Nano’s technical performance is remarkable, with its snappy PRaT, great accuracy, and uncolored timbre. The wide and deep soundstage, along with excellent imaging, further enhances the listening experience. The Ananda Nano is a testament to what can be achieved when innovative technology, like the Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm, is applied with a deep understanding of what makes sound reproduction satisfying to the human ear. This headphone is a worthy investment for any audiophile looking for a high-quality, reliable, and impressive performer. 

The Ananda Nano is a recommended buy!

$599 from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-ananda-nano-review/


iBasso SR3

iBasso Audio SR3 [Added 07/05/2023]

The iBasso SR3 is an exceptional headphone that comes with a high-quality build, offers excellent comfort, and most importantly, excellent sound quality. With its impactful lows, clean midrange, and smooth highs, the SR3 caters to a wide range of musical preferences, making it an excellent choice for music aficionados. If you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, you should definitely check the SR3 out. We believe it’s well-deserved to grant our Headfonia recommendation to the SR3, placing it among esteemed peers!

$599 from iBasso

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/ibasso-sr3-review/

Meze Audio 109 Pro [Added 22/09/2022]

Meze Audio 109 Pro is one of the best headphones under-1000$ mark, and it might even be the best out there. I’ve heard that they in fact share an opinion among the team, about this being the best headphone they’ve ever made. I disagree, but they might be right when you consider the price bracket.

Everything about the new Meze headphone screams quality. From the design, materials and sound quality, it’s very hard to find a weakness in the overall performance of this open-back dynamic. I only can bring up the very slight aggressiveness in the lower treble, but that’s it.

I think it has a very good value and it’s in my opinion one of the best headphones you can get at this time.

$799 from Meze Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/meze-audio-109-pro-review/

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire [Added 16/02/2021]

Options are a beautiful thing, and Dan Clark Audio has given us a difficult one by adding another visual and sonic take on the runaway success that is their Aeon series. The Noire builds on their already winning design formula by providing a subtler, more ‘grown-up’ aesthetic choice in the new all-black colourway, and the perforated pad choice gives users looking for a more versatile, genre-friendly tuning a welcome choice when it comes to a sound-signature that’s more reminiscent of a classic ‘audiophile’ tuning, leaning away from the distinctly neutral voicing of the original Aeon Flow. All in all, the Aeon 2 Noire is simply a terrific pair of closed-back headphones – they’re technically adept and don’t seem restrained by any of the traditional hang-ups of closed-back designs, seemingly defying physics with their spacious, airy, and exciting sound. Those of you looking for a single set of cans to do just about ‘everything’ need look no further – just add plenty of power, and you’re in for a treat.

$899 from DCA

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/dan-clark-audio-aeon-2-noire-review/


Sennheiser HD800

The flagship from Sennheiser is a very picky headphone. It is often recommended with amplifiers priced above $1,000 and with similarly priced sources. The recording quality is also very essential. Don’t expect to be playing Top40, Pop, Jpop music with these cans and get satisfaction. But if you already have a good high-end source and amplifier and high-resolution source files, then the HD800 will deliver music at an unsurpassed refinement level. The voicing is sublime for Classical, Jazz, and Vocals. It won’t work with Rock and RnB and other mainstream music. Most impressive about this gorgeous-looking headphone are its sound stage width and depth, its spaciousness, accuracy & speed, and finally the level of detail. While the HD800 for a lot of people is an end-game headphone, others can stand how analytical it sounds. With a great amplifier however, this headphone will produce the sound of a level you didn’t know was possible. I’ll take the original HD800 over the bass heavier HD800S on any day.

$1399 from Sennheiser

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hd800-t1/https://www.headfonia.com/picture-sunday-sennheiser-hd800/

Hifiman HE1000 Stealth

Hifiman HE1000 Stealth [Added 20/06/2020]

At the actual price the Hifiman HE1000 Stealth is selling for, it is a no-brainer. Great comfort and excellent sound quality, what more do you want?

The only downside I can see here is that you need a good amplifier and/or source to really make the HE1000 Stealth sound its very best. As such I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting point, unless you have the funds to invest in the rest of your chain.

For me personally, the new Stealth is my favorite of the HE1000 series, which now counts 4 models. The SE would be my second choice, followed by the V1 and then the V2.

The Hifiman HE1000 Stealth gets our Recommended Buy Award and it now is featured on our Best Headphone list where it is in very good company.

$1399 from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he1000-stealth-review/

Hifiman Arya Stealth

Hifiman Arya Stealth [Added 10/05/2022]

How good is the Arya Stealth?! Waw! It isn’t cheap or available to everyone but the performance for the price is highly remarkable.

The Arya Stealth’s tuning is very good. It’s pleasing, yet technically strong as well as musical and exciting. The Arya Stealth always has good body, presence, impact and depth. It’s very easy to understand why this headphone is getting so many recommendations. It’s an absolute award winner and in this price category, the Arya Stealth is hard to beat.

With a good desktop amp, the Arya stealth scales up nicely, but even without special amplification, it sounds remarkable even if there still is room for improvement (compared to the HE-1000SE and Susvara). The Hifiman Arya Stealth is an end game headphone for many, I am sure. It’s a definite recommendation from my end. To our Recommended Buy list it goes, a well-deserved award!

$1,599 from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-arya-stealth-review/



Audeze LCD XC

Audeze LCD-XC

In the +$1K class, the Audeze LCD-XC still is my favorite headphone. Yes, it’s rather heavy but the quality in sound simply is impressive. Though obviously not as open or spacious sounding as the open-back models, the XC has its own way of projecting a more three-dimensional sound stage image within its closed-back boundaries. Whereas the LCDs have always been good with sound stage image, the XC takes it to a whole new level, giving you a much sharper image and focus of the sound stage and the instrument placements. Three-dimensional depth is also on a whole new level. This paragraph alone gives enough reason to why the XC should always be considered when you’re planning on getting a high-end closed headphone. The LCD-XC is fairly easy to drive but a really good amplifier will make it scale up nicely. Amplifier recommended

$1799 from Audeze

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/time-go-closed-back-audeze-lcd-xc/

Hifiman HE6SE

With the right (powerful) solid-state or tube headphone amplifier, the Hifiman HE6SE absolutely impresses. It’s a neutral reference at its very best and if you like technicalities, you’ll be in heaven for sure. And it gets even better, if you already own a good speaker amp, you can just hook it up to the speaker taps and enjoy it like that. The fact is though that you need to properly amp your HE6SE and even more, you have to make sure the synergy between the amp and headphone sits right. But do that and it will wow you. The original HE6 is an icon and the new HE6SE extends that certificate for another 10 years. If a linear, balanced and neutral tuning with a musical presentation is your thing, then you owe it to yourself to listen to the HE6SE, it will surprise you in a good way for sure. The HE6SE has left me with a big smile on my face every single time I listened to it. It’s precise, a technical marvel and it does all that with a musical and engaging touch. How can you not love it?

$1800 from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he6se-review/

DCA Dan Clark Audio E3

Dan Clark Audio DCA E3 [Added 07/05/2024]

The DCA E3 at this time is one of the best tuned closed-back headphones on the market. DCA puts it in the Mid-Fi area, but it in reality is a high-end performer. The E3 not only performs and delivers with great, open and refined sound. It also provides you with all the advantages of a closed-back headphone. The E3 is a pleasure to the eye with a beautiful design and eye-catching blue highlights. Finally we can state that the E3 is compact, portable and super comfortable all at the same time. As such it is an easy recommendation and the DCA E3 is our newest Recommended Buy Award winning headphone. It goes to our Best Buy list where it is in very good company.

$1,999 USD from DCA

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/dan-clark-dca-e3-review/


HEDD Audio HEDDphone TWO

HEDD Audio HEDDphone TWO [Added 12/02/2024]

With the HEDDphone 2, HEDD Audio has again delivered an interesting take on modern headphone design. While it isn’t a headphone that will win a beauty contest or win everyone over on a tuning point of view, it scores heavily on technical performance amd mid timbre. With its more neutral and precise & resolving, clear tuning, the HEDDphone TWO connects more to HEDD’s core business and professional studio use.

The HEDDphone TWO is a headphone which is very differently tuned than its older sibling, but it’s also a tuning which more and more headphone enthusiasts are longing for. This clearly shows as the first 3 batched have sold out already. While the TWO doesn’t come cheap, it is much more affordable than most of the popular high-end headphones on the market and we have to applaud HEDD Audio for this price setting.

If you’re looking for a balanced and linear headphone with a more neutral tuning, mid focus and technical excellence, combined with a musical delivery, the HEDDphone TWO can be the one for you. As both of HEDD’s headphones are so different, I am hoping to see a 3rd unit in the near future combining the strengths of both headphones. That would be an absolute killer headphone. The original HEDDphone made it to our Recommended Buy list. As said the HEDDphone TWO is a very different headphone and I at this stage am putting it on our wall of fame because of its more studio like tuning. The TWO isn’t the all-round perfect headphone for everyone, but it does perfectly so what it was intended to do. As such we can recommend it and it is replacing the original HEDDphone on our Recommended Buy list.

€1999 from HEDD Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/heddphone-two-review/

Austrian Audio The Composer

Austrian Audio The Composer [Added 23/04/2024]

This time it is very simple, the Austrian Audio The Composer is an excellent all-round high-end headphone. It not only offers a nice design and great comfort, but its performance is up there with the very best, even if it isn’t perfect. It’s the kind if headphone that is easy to like and easy to listen to, even for non audiophiles. The Composer will impress you even more when you use it with the better desktop amplification, resulting in a precise, clean, technically strong, engaging and musical sound. What more can you ask for? If you’re looking for a top-performing headphone with a musical delivery, look no further. The Composer is our newest Recommended Buy Award winner, and it now goes on our Recommended Buy list where it is in excellent company.

€2.499 from Austrian Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/austrian-audio-the-composer-review/

ZMF Atrium Closed

ZMF Atrium Closed [Added 30/01/2024]

The ZMF Atrium Closed isn’t new, but it has quickly become one of my favorite closed-back headphones. The Atrium Closed doesn’t come cheap but you definitely get good value in return.

The Atrium Closed is technically strong and musical at the same time and it’s just a pure pleasure to use all day long. For a closed-back headphone, the Atrium Closed sounds very open, spacious and realistic. It’s a headphone than can bring a smile on your face but it also pleases the audiophile with high technical requirements. A beautiful design, excellent sound and a musical experience all-in-one. That can only mean we are giving the ZMF Atrium Closed our Recommended Buy Award. It simply is another really good and beautiful headphone.

$2,499 from ZMF Headphones

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/zmf-atrium-closed-review/

Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 [Added 03/03/2020]

The RAD-O is a high-end headphone for the music-lover and so far we love every bit of it. I do recommend to “use” it with a good amplifier as you’ll be rewarded by getting it right. It really impresses in that case, delivering a great mix of technicalities and musicality. If you’re in the market for a high-end orthodynamic headphone then the Rosson Audio RAD-0 certainly is one to put on your shortlist.

$2600 from Rosson Audio Design

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/rosson-audio-design-rad-0-review/


Abyss DIANA MR [Added 26/11/2024]

The DIANA MR is a high-end headphone that not only looks great and offers good comfort, it also is a headphone that is easy to drive. The DIANA MR plays at a high technical level but it at the same time is easy to listen to. The MR is very musical, forgiving and very engaging. You just want to play more and more of your favorite tracks and I on many occasions have found myself listening to my favourite albums till very late at night.

While the DIANA TC still is the resolution king, I think a lot of people might prefer the MR’s more engaging, full and softer/warmer tuning. It’s good that Abyss has different DIANA tunings, so you don’t have to choose just one. All of Abyss’ headphones are complementary, with the AB1266 PHI at the top of the tree. It is very easy for me to give the Abyss DIANA MR our Recommended Buy Award, at it is now listed in our Headphone Buyer’s Guide where it is in very good company. The DIANA TC stays on the list as well as it’s a very different headphone. The DIANA MR is also a strong contender for our Headphone of the Year Award later in December. Stay tuned! 

$2,995 from Abyss Headphones

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/abyss-diana-mr-review/

Meze Audio Empyrean 2

Meze Audio Empyrean 2 [Added 08/11/2023]

With the Empyrean 2, Meze Audio is walking into a new direction. In this new tuning, neutrality, clarity, speed and spaciousness are keywords. Gone are characteristics such as warmth, body and lushness. The Empyrean 2 is very different from the original as well as their ELITE headphone. Some will welcome this, others will still prefer the old style original tuning. Or you can just like all 3 of them. In terms of build quality, comfort and design, Meze still fully delivers and you get what you expect at this price point, a top-level headphone in all possible ways.

Before the Empyrean 2 was announced, the ELITE was a Recommended Buy Award winner and it still is 0n our Recommended Headphone Buy list. The new Empyrean 2 will not replace the ELITE on that list, but it is joining it. The new Empyrean 2 headphone is so different that they both can coexist and deserve a spot on our Best Headphone list. The Meze Audio Empyrean 2 is a new recommended buy. Again, if you are after the original Empyrean sound and you don’t have one yet in your collection, now is the time to get it, before they all are gone.

$2,999 from Meze Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/meze-audio-empyrean-2-review/

ZMF Caldera

ZMF Audio Caldera [Added 20/11/2023]

The ZMF Caldera isn’t new, but it was Zach’s first proprietary planar driver and it still is a relevant flagship headphone. The Caldera doesn’t come cheap but you definitely get good value in return.

The Caldera is technically strong and musical at the same time and it’s just a pure pleasure to use all day long. I have a lot of excellent new full-sized headphones to review over the next coming weeks, and even with that in mind it is very easy for me to give the ZMF Caldera our Recommended Buy Award. It simply is a really good and beautiful headphone from an excellent company. Period.

$3,499 from ZMF Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/zmf-caldera-review/

Raal Requisite SR-1b

Raal Requisite SR-1b [Added 04/07/2023]

It’s true that you need to have the interface or a specific type of amplifier (so a higher budget) to use the SR-1b, but it’s just something to take into account upfront if you’re interested in this headphone. As synergy is very important here, I recommend trying it out on as much as amplifiers as possible before ordering just anything to drive the SR-1b.

The experience and typical sound the SR-1b produces is unique, it’s not just another type of headphone sound. Raal and Requisite have really managed to produce a type of headphone sound that wasn’t available before. Not only is it unique. The technical performance is out of this world and the musical character is always present. The Raal SR-1b with the right amp (I recommend the Envy and OOR), delivers your favorite music in an effortless way. It’s so pleasing to the ear and easy to listen to that it’s hard going back to a regular type of headphone. As such this is a very easy recommendation for me, and the Raal Requisite SR-1b gets our Recommended Buy Award. It is now featured on our Best Headphone list which you can find here.

$3,500 from Raal Requisite

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/raal-requisite-sr-1b-review/

Meze Audio Empyrean ELITE

Meze Audio ELITE [Added 01/09/2021]

When the original Empyrean was released back in 2018, we were thrilled just like many headphone enthusiasts out there. The Empyrean even won our 2018 Best Headphone award in the Price no object category. Now 3 years later Meze is back with a new flagship headphone. Meze together with Rinaro built new drivers from the ground up, and that resulted in a more balanced, faster, more precise and cleaner sounding headphone. The clarity of the ELITE is really nice and it does complex and fast passages in a better way. The Empyrean is still good, but the ELITE is a technically stronger headphone. At the same time you can rest assured that there still is plenty of body, bass and fun in general. While it actually is a new headphone, I can see why it would be a higher end or dare I say improved Empyrean for many out there.

As said, I’m lucky to have both headphones here with me and I’ve been switching between both a lot. If I have to decide now which one suits my tastes best, it would be the ELITE. But that of course could be different for you. Does this new ELITE mean that you have to upgrade from your Empyrean right away? No, it does not. If you like the way the Empyrean presents your favorite tunes, then stick to it. If you feel your Empyrean could be even better in a technical way as described in this review, then yes, try it!

The ELITE, also for us, still is very new. I will be spending a lot more time with the ELITE over the next few weeks and months. If I feel the need to tell more about it or if I feel my opinion on something has changed, I will for sure add that to this article or do a follow-up article on the ELITE. For now this is it. Let us know in the comments section what you’re still dying to find out about the new ELITE, and we’ll try to help you out.

$3999 from Meze Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/review-meze-audio-empyrean-elite/


DCA EXPANSE [Added 06/12/2022]

I am very impressed with what Dan Clark and DCA have achieved with this headphone. The DCA EXPANSE is one of the sexiest headphones on the market, it is it super comfy and it has top notch build quality.

On top of that, the EXPANSE also produces sublime, addictive sound. The EXPANSE is not only very musical but it’s energetic and technically strong at the same time. With that combination, the EXPANSE is easy to like and listen to. For me it is a very easy decision to grant the DCA EXPANSE our Recommended Buy Award, and it is now featured on our Best Headphone list. A strong contender for the end of year award, you say? Yes, indeed.

$3,999.99 from DCA

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/dca-expanse-review/

DCA Corina

DCA Corina [Added 04/12/2023]

To me the DCA Corina is one of the most musical, engaging and natural sounding electrostatic headphones I have had the pleasure to listen to. I absolute love the weight and fullness it shows from top to bottom and the musical and softer presentation really make this headphone work for all types of music.  

The Corina is close to the Harman target curve, except for the sub bass range where it is a bit lighter in presence. It also from the 5k region up rolls off more in a peaky way compared to the Harman curve, but it doesn’t sound weird or unnatural to me. I have been really enjoying the Corina, especially with the Hifiman Shangri-La Jr. headphone amplifier and it is a setup I easily recommend for audiophiles who want to get into the world of electrostatic headphones but without having to give up the pure musical enjoyment and natural, more weighty presentation.

The DCA Corina doesn’t come cheap but pure from a performance and tuning perspective, it is very easy for me to give it our Recommended Buy Award. 

$4,499.99 from DCA

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/dca-corina-review/

Abyss Headphones Diana TC

Abyss Diana TC [Added 02/08/2022]

The Diana TC is an excellent high-end headphone. If you like excellent PRaT, precision, a high resolution and an airy, spacious presentation, then the TC will be the perfect headphone for you. The TC is also small in size, which makes it one of the most portable high-end headphones on the market and for on the go. The downside here is that it needs good amplification, and not just power.

After spending multiple months with the Diana TC it is very easy for me to grant it our Recommended Buy Award. It is replacing the Diana Phi from our Best Buy Headphone list, where it is in good company.

4,500$ from Abyss

Review:  https://www.headfonia.com/abyss-headphones-diana-tc-review/

Audeze LCD-5

Audeze LCD-5 [Added 31/10/2021]

The LCD-5 is the type of headphone that grows on you and once it has gotten to you, it’s impossible not to like its precision, clarity, transparency and energy.

It for sure is one of Audeze’s most neutral and precisely tuned headphones, but they have managed to do it in the most exciting and musical way. What I also like about the new Audeze LCD-5, is that it isn’t just for studios and professionals, but it is musically strong enough and very engaging to please the most discerning audiophile at home. The Audeze LCD-5 is one of the more expensive flagship planar headphones on the market, but you for that money get a great looking, well-built and impressive sounding headphone in return. I’m a fan!

$4500 from Audeze

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/audeze-lcd-5-review/

Hifiman HE-R10P

Hifiman HE-R10P [Added 25/05/2021]

The Hifiman HE-R10P is a high end headphone with a corresponding price tag but the sound quality you get in return is exceptional for a closed back headphone.

The Audeze LCD-XC has been my favorite closed back headphone for a long time, but the number one spot has now been taken by the HE-R10P.

If you need the comfort of a closed back headphone and you want it to sound as close as possible to an open back type one, then the Hifiman HE-R10P is the 1st headphone you should look at. An excellent technical performance, a high level of musicality and a lovely design. What’s not to like?

$5,499 USD from Hifiman

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/Hifiman-he-R10P-review

Hifiman SHANGRI-LA jr Award

Hifiman SHANGRI-LA Jr [Added 14/03/2023]

For most mortals – me included – the super high-end electrostat systems from Hifiman and Sennheiser are unobtanium. This high-end SHANGRI-LA jr setup basically is the next best thing, offering a top level electrostat sound with an acceptable and accessible price tag.

Not only is the SHANGRI-LA jr perfectly designed, but the build quality is also astonishing. The SHANGRI-LA jr delivers the typical electrostat sound signature, with a high level of technicalities. What I love about the SHANGRI-LA jr is that it does it all effortlessly and the 6SN7 tubes provide just enough smoothness and warmth in this combo to make the whole experience musical and engaging.

It’s the first time on Headfonia that we’re giving an electrostat system our Recommended Buy award, but in this case it’s fully deserved. The SHANGR-LA jr is now featured on our Best Headphone list, where it is in good company.

$8,000 USD from Hifiman

Review: https:/www.headfonia.com/hifiman-shangri-la-jr-review/



  • Reply January 13, 2012


    mike..looking forward to your hd700 and amperior reviews, LOL.. now you have to approach a sennheisser rep quick.. :p

    • Reply January 14, 2012


      Not a problem Joe, will do.

      • Reply January 1, 2023

        Steven Hearnden

        Sennheiser, hifiman, but no Grado?
        Utterly clueless, I’m afraid. Headfonia, really?

        • Reply January 2, 2023


          For the moment, based on the reviews done, there’s no spot for Grado in this list. Sorry.

    • Reply November 19, 2017


      What about Shure 1540? How they compare to Hifiman HE-560?

  • Reply January 17, 2012


    Any recommendations for something in the price rangge of the CX300-II?  Amazon says it is “currently unavailable”.

  • Reply July 21, 2017


    The headphones are listed here in order of increasing price.
    Can you list them in order of increasing performance?

    • Reply July 21, 2017

      dale thorn

      I looked at the list, and if it were rearranged by increased performance, it would still be about the same.

  • Reply November 25, 2017


    Mike, any recommendations for headphones that have better sounding to Sennheiser HD-650 that have similar warmth and lushness with a bit of treble?


    • Reply November 25, 2017


      Mike, any recommendations for headphones that have better sounding to Sennheiser HD-650 that have similar warmth and lushness with a bit of treble and cleaner sound?


      • Reply October 31, 2019


        Beyerdynamics DT 990 Pro

  • Reply January 3, 2018


    I’m looking for an amplifier to use with my HD650, and I was thinking of the A20, this statement is still valid: “600/650 will sound your best”?

    “An amplifier is recommended for both headphones and they will sound their very best in combination with a tube amplifier like the Bottlehead Crack or a solid state amp like the Beyerdynamic A20 which has a warmer and smoother character”

  • Reply March 5, 2018


    How would you define the signature of a tube amplifier, like BH crack, with a non-tube amplifier like the A20 or the V100?

    I’m not asking what would be better for the money, but rather, for wanting to know more the difference of the tube for the solid

    • Reply March 6, 2018


      ss is usually faster, tighter and more neutral in sound. Some wold say it sounds more dry compared to the lushness of the tubes.
      The A20 is a warm sounding ss though, the V100 is the most neutral of the Violectric series. The BH crack can be both depending on the tubes used, but I’d go for some good liquid sounding ones

      • Reply March 7, 2018


        And comparing tubes and solid with warm signature, tubes with a warm signature still have better bass and treble softer compared to a solid amplifier with warm sound?

        Does the BH crack inical (299) with the factory tubes come with this hot signature?

  • Reply November 4, 2018

    Teoman Taner

    So I like fantasizing about theoretical ultimates even if there’s a 0.00000002% I’ll ever have the income to get them. In a fashion that’s beyond our class, can the Sennheiser HE1 still be considered the absolute pinnacle of headphone sets, budget non withstanding?

    • Reply November 24, 2018


      Well not really. The Hifiman Shagari La is right behind the He-1

  • Reply December 19, 2019


    I’m surprise that there is no B&O in your list

    • Reply December 19, 2019


      We can only put on the list what we’ve heard extensively. If it’s not on the list, it either doesn’t deserve to be, or none of us has had the pleasure of reviewing it (yet).

  • Reply May 3, 2020

    Sagar Arakh

    Great information. I would say Meze 99 has best performance as it’s audio output is very balanced.

  • Reply June 16, 2020


    I agree completely with your description of the Sennheiser hd800.

  • Reply March 16, 2021


    I am a big Sennheiser fan and 560s is my 2nd pair of Sennheiser. Excellent audio quality. Really flat and clear sound. As with most Sennheiser headphones this produces a tight but somewhat light bass sound.

  • Reply April 10, 2021

    Blair Doyle

    Just wondering if the Fostex TH900mk2 falls into the category of one you haven’t reviewed yet, or one that doesn’t deserve to be on the list? Thanks!

    • Reply April 14, 2021


      The not reviewed category. It’s quite nice!

  • Reply August 4, 2021


    So the only audeze in this line up is the XC and the Mobious? Somehow LCD 2, or 4 or 4z are not on par with something like Rad-O? How bad are those LCD 4 or 4z?

    • Reply August 4, 2021


      4 and 4z were not reviewed by the team, so we can’t put them in there. IMO the 2 doesn’t belong in the list at this time.

  • Reply September 25, 2021

    Jordan Jacobs

    Has anyone heard the Monoprice M1570’s, they get good reviews, wondering how they compare to headphones on this list?

  • Reply October 21, 2021


    Hey there headfonia-Team,

    Any words on DENON Headphones?

    Thinking ’bout buying the AH-D7200 Headphones and wished you could help me in classifying it against those other models on your list.

    Would e.g. a Meze 99 Classics give a better performance than the DENON for less $$$?

    Thank you!

    Regards, Frank

    • Reply October 26, 2021


      Hi Frank, no the DENON would be best. It’s a great headphone, a bit dark if I remember well.
      It’s impossible to get for review, that’s why it isn’t mentioned here

  • Reply October 6, 2022


    The headphones are listed here in order of increasing price.
    Can you list them in order of increasing performance?

    • Reply October 6, 2022



      No we won’t, we rank all categories this way

  • Reply October 7, 2022

    Malcolm ginnis

    anybody heard of electrostatic head phones and amps? they do exist you know

    • Reply October 7, 2022


      Sure, but they haven’t made it to the list yet. Maybe soon, who knows

      • Reply June 9, 2024


        Hi, just wondering why you haven’t considered the audio technica adx5000? I thought it is quite a classic strong performer within dynamic headphones.

        • Reply June 10, 2024


          It unfortunately is impossible to get for review

  • Reply January 11, 2023

    Markus Li

    I have a pair of Arya Stealth Magnet and am very happy with it! It can handle any kind of my daily useage.
    In the other hand, I will never forgot LCD5 performance after my first try. I want it so bad but my wallet tell me not to.

  • Reply January 11, 2023


    Wow!!! Such a long list without Susvara???))) I have owned lots of this list items, but ended up with Susvara. So it’s strange not to see Hifiman totl headphone in this list..

    • Reply January 12, 2023


      The Susvara should be in there. The problem is we haven’t reviewed it.

  • Reply July 19, 2023

    Steven Sylvester

    Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X?

    Please can I ask? is the above headphones,best for general music listening?or is it mainly aimed at studio folk?

    thanking you in advance

    • Reply July 20, 2023


      They’re aimed for Studio Use, but you can use them for casual listening as well. I wouldn’t say this or any other headphone is the “best”

  • Reply July 20, 2023

    Steven Sylvester

    Many thanks for your reply,I think I need a good pair of Balanced headphones,I had not noticed that the BEYERDYNAMICS were not BALANCED HEADPHONE’S

    • Reply July 22, 2023


      Correct, but they can be modified to balanced

  • Reply July 29, 2023

    Steven Sylvester

    Hi Lieven
    Good to hear further from you.is it an easy job,to make the modifications to the Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X to make them 4.4mm balanced?

    • Reply July 29, 2023


      You need to do the rewiring directly to each speaker and switch the cable plug

  • Reply July 29, 2023

    Steven Sylvester

    Many thanks
    all the best Steve

  • Reply August 16, 2023

    james g

    recommend you try the focal utopia and hifiman susvara, their absence makes it difficult to take this list seriously.

    • Reply August 16, 2023


      The Susvara is absolutely recommended. If you have read my reviews you would know I love it. The reason it isn’t in this list is because we haven’t officially reviewed it yet.
      The Utopia is one of the very few headphones I have sold as I did not like it, so that one won’t make it to the list, sorry.

  • Reply August 23, 2023


    The Susvara on Kallyste Amethyste amp is an experience you should live.

  • Reply March 21, 2024

    Athanasio Theodorou

    Among others i own the Senheiser 800S, the Ananda and the Abyss Diana V2. The Senheiser does not sound very natural to my ears. The Ananda is the most easy listening and well balanced but does not have the clarity and detail desired. The Diana sounds better and more natural than all but sometimes depending on the recording there are some “thorns” in the upper mid quite annoying. Does the Moondrop Para deserves a place n my collection? I do not intent to pay money just to add a new pair of headphones in my collection

  • Reply March 28, 2024

    Hannu Mikkola

    Thank you for you recommendations list. Based on the headphones I own and have owned, you have not been wrong ever. I’ve agreed with your list 100% and will continue to do so.

  • Reply March 29, 2024


    Nice reviews, but Imo a huge lack from Focal (stellia / utopia 2022) that are in top 10 or even 5 (for utopia) easy

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