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My search for closed back, deep earcup, comfortable, audiophile sound...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Is it too much to ask to want your cake and to eat it too? I have a Benchmark DAC-1 with a great headphone section. And I've spent a fair amount on headphones, but I can't seem to find any with a closed back that both sound good and I can wear for more than a few hours. Here's what I've tried:

Sennheiser HD 590 - I love the sound and comfort but they're open back and I need cans that both keep more in and more out. But I'm otherwise very happy with the 590's. I can wear them all day. I have no idea why these were discontinued as I vastly prefer them over the 600's.

Sennheiser HD 280 pro - These are well loved, so they were my first attempt at a good closed back phone. But unless mine are counterfits I honestly don't know why they're liked? They have a very colored midrange, the deepest bass is missing, the highs are kind of nasal, and the coiled cord is annoying. The 590's make them sound like $10 headphones.

Denon AH-D2000 - These are also well loved, so I bought them as an (expensive) upgrade to the 280's. And they're better on most counts, but the cord *really* sucks--it's about as flexible as a cold garden hose and the rough surface transmits noise into the earcups with every thing it moves against. They're also on the heavy side. And the sound is still rather colored compared to the 590's. I know closed back phones are at a disadvantage in the sound department but others do better (keep reading).

Sony MDR-V6 - I think even these are more accurate than the Denon's for a fraction of the price. But they have shallow ear cushions/cups so your ear rests against the relatively hard grill over the driver and that's a comfort killer over the long term. They also have rather lousy isolation.

Shure SRH840 - I tried these on, and I think they sound *much* better than the Denon's. And they're lighter and have a better detachable cord (including a straight one). But they suffer the same shallow earcup problem as the V6's. Oh so close Shure!

Audio Technical ATH-M50 - These are also well liked. So I tried a pair and loved the sound (during a brief audition at least) and deep earcups. But the headband is a comfort killer. And, somehow, they both clamp too hard *and* want to slide off every time you look down. Too much weight? But, again, they prove closed back phones can sound better than the closed Denon's and vastly better than the Sennheisers.

Beyer DT770 - A lot like the M50's (nice earcups, big, and kinda heavy) but not nearly as accurate sounding.

Beyer DT150 - I also tried these. They clamp too hard and seemed like they're designed for fighter pilots rather than audiophiles (the fit not the sound).

I've tried some Ultrasone's at trade shows but there's always too much background noise to judge the sound. Some models at least seemed comfortable. I know people are rather divided over their sound.

So I know it probably seems like I'm being picky, but I've spent a few thousand dollars and still don't have anything I can listen to comfortably for several hours with good sound and decent isolation. I listen to a wide variety of music from classical to pop. I also have several in-ear phones which are fine for a few hours now and then, but I can't wear them for extended periods day after day. Thanks in advance for further suggestions?!

post #2 of 3

You might try the Fischer FA-003s.  I had their open brother, the FA-002s, and the earcups were ridiculously deep.  There was a bit of clamp, but they weren't really uncomfortable.  Here's the link to a long review/thread:


post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks @Marximus! The Fischer's were not on my radar and, from what I've read so far (that's a loooong thread), appealing. They sound neutral, light, isolating and comfortable.

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