Is Anyone Here Interested in Headphone Comparisons and Reviews?

Recently I have seen people here growing interests of buying headphones. I happened to have several of them from $100 to 1000. Technically there are so many reviews and comments online to search for, however most of them only do some simple comparison instead of a general and accurate ones. Mostly I would recommend you to try them by yourself but it's at such a special situation this time and i've seen some of them are not available in a current area (eg. HD58X from sennheiser is not available in any Sydney store). Here are some of my past and current collections you might be interested in: AKG K702, Beyerdynamic DT 880, DT1770, Sennheiser HD58X, 650, ATH Pro7X, M50x, AD900x, Ultrasone Signature Studio, DXP, Edition 11. I am more than glad to help and provide suggestions here. Also free try if you live near Rockdale Sydney NSW or you would like to come.


  • Hi Johangules

    I have been an audiophile for many years now and have gone through a few setups. Due to space constraints, I don't have them anymore. I was thinking of getting a pair of headphones but don't know where to start. My budget around $100-$500. I listen to jazz, vocals, piano, cello and violin music. I am looking for a headphone which is easy on the ear and not tiring to listen to. I don't like heavy base or tizzy highs. I prefer an airy sounding overhead type and not those that stick into my ear canal. Would definitely prefer a smoother sounding profile with slight emphasis on clear mids. If you could point me in the right direction with your top 3 recommendations, appreciate your time and input. Cheers.

    • Have you got any special request on sound isolation or leakage? For those instruments such as strings I might prefer Fostex TR90 if you don't really want to spend too much on other supporting devices like DAC/AMP though this might not be widely accknowledged by most audiophiles. A safer and trusting choice might be beyerdynamic DT 880 (normal ver./Pro/edition are mostly the same in sound) or AKG K702 as they are pretty much at the same level. They don't isolate outside sound and noise as they are semi/fully openback. TR90 is slightly better in sound leakage to the outside.

      • Many thanks for your input and recommendations. Highly appreciated. Will check them out. Have a good week!

    • Hi Johangles,

      I currently have HD6xx and looking for upgrade. I don’t mind the sound of hd6xx, the mids are nice, however I dislike the soundstage. It’s too much constrained.
      Looking at trying planar upto $1k. I have listened to Audeze lcd2 previously, very nice but way out of budget for now prices skyrocketed. Planar candidates I might try to have a listen to include 400i 2020, sundara, Ananda, lcd2c, lcd1. For passiveS, I might also try dt1990.
      I have dragonfly red and jds atom for dac/amp. I like to listen mostly to jazz, vocals, guitar and easy listening pop.

      Do you have any headphones you would recommend?

      Thanks in advance.

  • I am sure people would value a beginners guide of that price range of headphones, go for it.


    • I don't deny that Head-fi is a good place to go but they still lack something. They still lack some current model or general comparison. Just go checking if you can find any review of ATH's Pro7x there, how different it is between TR90 80 ohm and 250 ohm of fostex, or any comparison among fostex tr80, ATH M50X and Shure SRH1440. Also different marketing strategies among different companies in different areas are different, such as stocking and pricing. An example is that Focal Elex is not available from any australia seller. Also AKG K702 is $140 in China but $200 (was $300) in Australia, same to Hifiman's Sundara $350 overseas but $600 inside Australia. You might see some reviews about a specific headphone is recommended for its performance and cost-effectiveness, and you find that it's not that cheap/worthy here in australia or it isn't even available.

  • 95% of people just want 'headphones'
    The other 5% do their own research

    • do their own research

      Usually means reading delusional people who haven't worked out how confirmation bias works.

      Or if they have worked it out they are still are too silly to work out that they aren't the world's first special case who isn't affected by confirmation bias.

  • Is it true that the K702 are the best headphones for gaming? How does it compare to the 58X?

    • Depends on what kinds of games you would like but generally these two are for music listening instead of playing games so I might recommend some professional gaming headsets.For fps and moba 58X performs better than K702 as it has more response in low frequency. K702 is considered as a studio monitor while HD58X is for Hifi. However if price is into consideration, a $180 K702 is the best headphone for multi-uses including gaming while HD58X was $188 but now back to $300. Both of them should be with DAC/AMP to have better and balanced performances. You mighty have noticed that most of the headphones for gaming are closeback as closeback ones always performs better in low frequency as some of the sound like footsteps and gasping are at low frequency

  • How is the AD900X because I’m choosing between the AD900X and the HD600 (or 6XX)

    • Depends on what kind of music you like and if you're going to spend a bit more in DAC/AMP as they are so different in sound signature and impedance. hd6 series might have a general suitability in more kinds of music if you have an approriate DAC/AMP. AD series performs better in specific areas such as female vocals in pop music like K-pop and Japanese ACG. I might recommend ATH R70X as they are all around $400 and R70X is much better than AD900X in both suitability and sound quality if you want to give a try to ATH. HD6XX(650) was $288 but now they are back to $400, you have so many other choices around this price range, such as focal elear which seems an improvement of HD650, heavier on head though

      • I see I see thanks, I’ll probably keep an eye out for the R70X. I do have a sound blaster X3, not so much a professional DAC but should be able to handle more headphones as it is able to drive up to 600 ohms. Yeah HD6XX is not an option at the moment given the price.

  • You should leverage your expertise and create some youtube reviews and comparisons :)

    • I would love to but I'm not used to speaking in front of camera and I've got a very strange accent. It might be fine just for this online communication but it would be a nightmare in recording unless someone would help voiceover

  • Hi johangules,

    I have been listing to lots of music for the last 6 years, averaging 2 hours a day (according to The first 4 years using crappy system and the last 2 years on LG V20 and Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over The Ear. Bought the HD 6XX last month and a Chord Mojo from eBay (the Mojo still to arrive).

    Recently gave a friend my Bluetooth receiver and thinking about buying a Topping DX3 Pro (DAC + amp) to replace the Bluetooth functionality. That will feed into a Denon D-08 which is a 25 years old Hi Fi. I am into affordable high fidelity so nothing over the top except the hours spent listening to music.

    Live in Blakehurst and are you happy for a meet up next week possibly a weekday? (My time is flexible but want to audition the new gears before coming) Happy to listen your tips and share what I know on music (light jazz, pop + acoustic)

    • More than happy to see you next week. The good news is that I'm having Topping DX3 pro and DX 7 pro with me right now. I don;t have any knowledge or favour in jazz unfortunately, other than that t would be fine such as strings and electronica.

      • Hahaha what a coincidence you have the Topping gears right now that put a smile on me!

        Let me have fun this week and ttyl~~

  • Hi johangules,

    I would like a recommendation for a Closed HP suitable for portable MP3 (ruizu a50, sony a20) with an enjoyable sound for diverse type of music (classical, jazz, pop, rock).

    I did consider Sony 1am2 hp based on reviews, but they have been out of stock locally for over 6 month.

    my budget is $250, but can go higher if necessary.

    Thank you in advance.


    • Hi there
      At this current situation HD25 Light Ver2 at $140 might be the safest choice if you don't mind how rough and "ugly" the design is, also it isn't the most "analytical" or "neutral" one at this price range, they just sound good in feeling and are comfortable to wear since they are light in weight. If you don't mind waiting a little bit more, ATH-pro7x is the best one you can expect. Storedj was selling them at $139 normally (lowest $91) but it is out of stock now, though you can still get them from ebay USA sellers. M50x might be good if it's under $180, it's pretty much the same thing as Pro7x apart from being a bit bigger and heavier. Ultrasone Signature DXP/Studio would go down to $269 when they've discount, they are way more better than any other closeback headphones under $300 though they are not widely acknowledged so far, DXP is a safer choice than studio. Fostex TR80 is the cheapest one available now, $120 RRP and $108 after 10% off discount, it looks large in size but very light in weight. I might recommend TR90 more compared to TR80 but I'm not so sure if you only care about sound leakage to the outside or isolating the outside noise as well since TR90 is sem-open and it only controls sound leaking to outside.

  • Great, Thank you johangules for your reply. I will definitely check out your recommendations.
    Much appreciated.

  • This is awesome - thanks for opening this thread!
    Do you have any recommendations of a sub 200 dac/amp for the Ultrasone Signature DXPs?
    This will be my first serious headphone purchase and I wanted them to be closed + v-shaped. I was hoping that this purchase would satisfy my need to buy something else for at least 6 months. Does the DXP fit this bill? :)

  • Usually for someone's first headphone i might recommend an openback one as it's much safer than closeback ones. $200 for a dac/amp is such a tight budget.
    I thought topping NX4 was under $200 but now it's a bit over, compatible up to PCM32bit/768khz and DSD512.
    Someone else above favoured Creative sound blaster X3 at $179. It seems that X3 can drive up to 500ohm and compatible up to 32bit/192khz, some tests showed it would be 300ohm which is still amazing.
    For portable dac/amp adapter I'm using Meizu Pro DAC at $82, which can be used on desk/laptop as well if there is a type-c socket. It's compatible up to PCM32bit/384khz and DSD128. iBasso DC02 is similar to Meizu Pro DAC in general function.

    • I'm leaning more towards closed because I plan to use them at work and my commutes.
      I'm actually tossing up between the ifi zen and the sound blaster x3 (though the topping nx4 could be a good option too)
      What do you think of the ifi zen for my first amp/dac combo?

      • Yeah someone was suggesting me to try dac/amp from ifi, like zen and nano. it seems that ifi's got more functions than others at these price range. There might be a 10% off on Father's Day

        • My only concern for the ifi zen is that I heard that it doesn't have a good amp in it. From your experience, how is the drivability of the Ultrasone Signature DXPs?

      • It is 32 Ohm/115 dB, not that hard to drive. It works fine on my Meizu Pro Dac. I've got something to remind you that DXP might sound a bit 'smothering' than Studio and EDT11 as it enhanced the bass response and is fully openback. Still slays any other headphones under $300 anyway

        • That's great to hear. Thank you very much for helping out a noobie like me. I was attracted to the DXP due to the S-logic tech (having a decent soundstage despite being closed). I'm so excited!

          Just ordered the ifi zen + dxp from A2A. Thank you thank you thank you.

          • @Monstro: sorry it was "fully closeback"…

          • @Monstro: Hey there, have you received? Keen to hear another opinion. I have heard the Ultrasound sound can be polarising, but I can't try before I buy right now (in Vic).

            • @jsheroes: Hey jsheroes. I've been using my zen dac + ultrasone dxp for a good week now. I have read reviews that say that it's a hit and miss for individuals as your preference may differ. For myself and my girlfriend, we love the sound-stage that s-logic brings. It's hard to believe that all that comes from a closed back headphone. I haven't dialed-in my EQ but it's definitely (the dxp at least) a U shaped headphone. It doesn't have a flat sound profile but I love them for movies and gaming. By order of frequency, I listen to a lot of electronic, edm, classical, and jazz - they're more suited for the earlier 2 but the latter is still very much enjoyable.

              Do take my advice with a grain of salt. These are my first serious headphones so I could just be dazzled with my introduction to high-end audio equipment.

            • @jsheroes: DXP/Studio are the best you can expect under $300. Even the $600 DT 1770pro can't be better than them. Of course they don't sound "balance". They can be polarising, smothering at low frequence and harsh at high frequence. they are $300 not $3000 ones and almost every headphone has its drawbacks so don't expect them to be that nice. Increase your budget to $1000 and try Ultrasone's edition 11. That would be the balance sound you are looking for

              • @johangules: General thoughts on ED11 compared to open backs in its price range? Best bang for buck dac/amp it would thrive on?

                • @alterego: it.s under 50ohm which means it.s not hard to drive at all. i thought elex is selling around $1000now and it might suit more in general listening. Ultrasone would always sound more serious/not that relaxing than any other headphones. it can provide a satisfying sound quality which suits its price of course. but now that your budget is high enough, you have much more choices. personally i prefer Hd800 more this time

  • Hi team,

    I have a close friend who makes customised open-back headphones. He loves doing it and goes out of his way to find components that suit the person he is making them for. He's got a birthday coming up in a few months and I figured a nice present would be to get him a set of cans that have a very balanced sound that he could then use as a tool for doing comparisons with and tweaking his various bits of audio equipment - kinda like a sonic metronome.

    I have a budget of up to $200 so I'm looking for something in the same reputation-to-value range as the Sony MDR-7506 but with an open-backed design.

    Thank you friendly audiophiles!

    • I'll reply to this thread too to make sure you see it.

      I'm a bit of a headphone person and have a decent setup (Behringer / JDS / Khadas). However, be sure that's what he wants before you head down that route. I'm a person who hates surprise presents for a reason, I'm very particular about what I want. Sometimes getting the wrong thing is more frustrating than getting nothing at all. A person who makes custom headphones sounds like a very 'particular' person too.

      It's a very kind thought and you clearly care a lot about your friend, as you're planning their present several months in advance. I think some more scouting may be needed, is all.

    • My suggestion is that you shouldn't buy MDR 7506, if you really insist on that I have a unused one for $140 and you can try it by yourself. The producing techniques of 7506 has never changed for 30 years without any upgrades. Imagine how a 1980s headphone can beat a 2010s/20s one. It is the worst I have ever heard and even my roommate, a fan of sony, tried and admitted that MDR 7506 is worse than any else of my headphones. M50x/60x is way more better than it. So 7506 shouldn't be the standard or “criteria” of a $200 headphone. I saw here that M50X was $140 and might be discounted to $179 on Father's day. ATH-pro7x was $139 at storedj and is $120 on ebay now. AKG K702 is around $190 and will be $197 plus amazon prime, this is the worthy one you can expect. Also Beyerdynamic DT 990 $192 but since you said that he had some experience on headphones I doubt if he had tried or even had it. I feel interested in how to customise open-back headphones since i really wants to turn some closeback ones into open back, for eg Ultrasone DXP

  • So here goes. I have an aging but very much loved pair of Sony MDR-CD550s. They're about 30 years old, give or take, and I love them. But they are getting old, and what to replace them with? I was thinking of the Sony MDR-1A, if I can find a pair - wired with a closed back and over the ear. I care about music much more than gaming but I use them for both. Any advice welcome.

    • if MDR-1A is $200 in Australia which is the price in Japan, I might say it is fine. But now that it's $400 here, which means that it has no cost effectiveness, you know what i mean then haha. If you insist on Sony's headphone around $400 i might recommend MDR 7510/7520. Their drivers have the newest technologies of sony and should sound better than CD550s. For other recommendations of other brands you can refer to my previous reply above

      • Thanks very much Johan - I'll look into the others you mention. I have a pair of MDR 1000X and they're also great.

  • Hi Johangles,

    I currently have HD6xx and looking for upgrade. I don’t mind the sound of hd6xx, the mids are nice, however I dislike the soundstage. It’s too much constrained.
    Looking at trying planar upto $1k. I have listened to Audeze lcd2 previously, very nice but way out of budget for now prices skyrocketed. Planar candidates I might try to have a listen to include 400i 2020, sundara, Ananda, lcd2c, lcd1. For passiveS, I might also try dt1990.
    I have dragonfly red and jds atom for dac/amp. I like to listen mostly to jazz, vocals, guitar and easy listening pop.

    Do you have any headphones you would recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Sorry for late reply. Personally I dont recommend HD6XX though it was $269. Even Focal Elear at $499 beats HD6XX totally. LCD2C might be nice but according to some reviews its sound can be very warm which means it can be slower in transient response than other planar headphones like Ananda(LCD2C and Ananda are around the same price range now. If you prefer a planar headphone I believe that Hifiman is cheaper and safer than audeze (also in quality control). I had a DT 1770 now and had tried 1990. they are studio monitors. I thought you are going to enjoy the music instead of critcal listening or professional mixing. Beyer's headphones (apart from Amiron) can sound extremely accurate, thin and cold, representing some kind of "digital" feeling sound. Amiron has a similar sound signature as 6xx and you might like that. For my own taste and point of view, I strongly recommend ultrasone edition 11 among any other open back headphones though it is $900. Ultrasone is very cheap and cost effective in Australia. ED11 has a very similar mid frequency response to focal clear, very fast kinda thick and extremely relaxing. That is the kind of sound i would enjoy

  • Hi Johangles,

    (Read a few comments, so you may have already answered a similar question - and also thanks for sharing your knowledge!)

    I've had my eye on the HD58x (although to your point, no stock in Sydney), the open back set up would be great for still being aware of my surroundings at home.

    Daily gamer (1-2hrs) playing shooters (to your point, hearing footsteps does help - but not a deal breaker) - I use a USB mic for voice, so looking for headphones vs headset.
    Music and Movies/TV too (5hrs+ daily) - Music pertains to country/pop (but I'm no audiophile)

    Thanks in advance :)

  • What is your opinion about Audio Technica ATHLS50IS. I so casually bought it, but then it became my favorite. I find myself grabbing it instead of many many other headphones that I own. If you had tried it I would like to know any other IEMs that have similar sound signature? I would like to get.

    • It might be worth the price but there are so many other choices at this price range. Ath is not good at IEM though

      • Can you please suggest in the same price range. I for some reason thought it is sensational. The sound quality is a bit aggresive. not for easy listening. everything is amplified in that IEM.