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Rank all your Headphones - Mini Review Thread

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Just as the thread title says. 


I got this idea after seeing quite a few pictures of people's collections and set ups. I realized that there was no way everyone will put out a review on every single one they own, but if it's small like this, it could give others good ideas on what they might want when looking for headphones of their own.


Just rank all headphones you own (or have owned), and give a small review on each. It can be as small as listing the pros and cons of each, or even a paragraph talking about your experience about them and comparing them to the others on your list.




*Use pictures if you can.

post #2 of 26


Koss ESP-9 : Wide range, smooth, heavy on head, electrostatic.
Stax SRX MK3/SRD7 : Similar to Koss, except better detail, somewhat brighter, more comfortable.
Koss Pro4AA : Mid-1970's : Bass heavy, but one of the better 'phones of that period.
Beyer DT-48 : A unique 'phone - very little bass or highs, but very clear midrange. Very few people would use these for music. One of my all-time favorites nonetheless.
Beyer DT-480 : An industrial 'phone sold for monitoring, mostly plastic, lots of colorations.
Sennheiser HD-414 : Original "open air" type? Adequate for radio work, not the best for hifi, peaky in lower highs, came with printed response curve that was very accurate as to the sound of the phone, in my opinion.
Sennheiser HD-424 : Improved over the 414 with more comfort, peaky in upper bass, had suckout in lower highs, still not bad for the time period and "open air" type 'phones.
Grado SR325 : circa late 90's - similar in sound to Senn 580 or 600, but more forward.
Sennheiser 565 (I think) : Similar to Grado 325.
Sennheiser 580/600/650 : Similar 'phones, with slightly greater clarity as you move up the numbers. All of these sound slightly muffled compared to the HD-800's, but still they are very neutral and easy to listen with over long periods.
Yamaha HP1 : Awful is all I remember. Dull, dull, dull.
Bose QC2 : Broke 3 times in one year, used only in the house, no abuse. But the sound was amazing in the midrange, OK in the highs, and a bit bass-heavy. I listened to these a lot. I asked several Bose stores for another pair with an extended warranty I could pay for, and they all refused.
Sennheiser PX-100 : Best really portable 'phones you can have around your neck or on your ears all day long with no bother. Decent sound, goes deep, soft highs.
Sennheiser PX-100-II : A little bass-heavy, not to my taste, smaller stiffer earpads than the PX-100, so not as comfortable.
Sennheiser HD-800 : Great sound, best comfort imaginable. I've never heard a jazz or classical recording on these that didn't sound superb. But some of my rock music MP3's or CD's sound a bit harsh in the highs.
Philips Stretch (from Apple store) : Good sound, warm, good detail, bargain for the price.
Klipsch Image One : Similar to Philips Stretch, but significant midrange coloration IMO.
B&W P5 : Almost as good as Grado 325 or Sennheiser 565.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Wow, a big collection for a poster with 18 posts (I don't know how long you've been into headphones though, so don't mind that)


Try bolding the headphones names so they're easy to see. I also plan to show mine when I'm able to.

post #4 of 26

HD600 - hasnt came yet but I expect it to be better

AD700s - for the limited time with them, the soundstage was incredible and the lack of bass was unnoticed as i was too busy having fun listening to them

M50s- Not to comfortable. Good mids and lows 

post #5 of 26


Yikes, it's when I write in a thread like this that I realize how many pairs of headphones I've owned in the past year and a half.  Good thing they don't lose too much of their value when you're trading for used...
AIAIAI TMA-1: a fairly controversial pair of headphones, I find these quite dark but nicely musical and rich.  Definitely not a typical pair of DJ headphones.  Lots of bass and a sweet midrange for vocals.  They don't sound good with everything.
AKG K240M: Nice studio cans, but require monstrous amping and the rest of the frequency range doesn't live up to the mids.
AKG K340: A fascinating and unique pair of headphones, hampered by a strange duality and a whole lot of weight.  Monster amp not optional.  Not good with all music.
Alessandro MS-1i: There's something special about Grados, but as the SR125i below, I find their usefulness to be pretty narrow.  Other brands simply do everything better.
Beyer DT990 Pro/250: nice all-around open cans, especially for the money, but the highs were a bit sharp for my tastes.
Beyer DT990/600: Same, but solves any issues with the Pros.  These are my best-sounding headphones.  Phenomenal bass, good extension on both ends, nice soundstage. Really do need a tube amp to live up to their full expectations.
Beyer DT48E: Stunningly clear midrange, but lacked the required bass to be used to enjoy most music for me. I'll miss them sometimes, but not enough to buy them again.
Beyer DT480: I feel quite differently from dalethorn on these.  I hear no real coloration on the DT480, they are almost as clear as the DT48, but have better bass and treble extension.
Beyer DT150: I really liked these until I had them next to the DT480.  They have phenomenal bass, but that bass sometimes gets in the way of the clarity in the midrange, as well as its ability to handle complex passages.
Beyer DT250: The perfect midpoint between the DT48 and DT150.  It has less bass, but still goes nice and deep, and is balanced and clear throughout the spectrum.  Truly great headphones.
DBI Pro 700: Very bright and bassy, these are nonetheless exciting, detailed, forward, and exciting.  These sell used for absurdly cheap for the quality.
Fostex T40v1: Once modded, these are absolutely beautiful, with a stunning midrange and decent bass extension.
Fostex T50RP: Stock, these sound good, but require some help to reach their full potential.  Once that potential is reached, though, they are everything a good pair of headphones should be: Warm and detailed, Bassy yet balanced... a truly spectacular pair of cans for any price.
German Maestro GMP 450: Beautiful, balanced and airy, which I can't complain about except that they are also quite bass-light--too much for the music I listen to.
Grado SR125i: Perfect for a few tracks, tinny and harsh for everything else.
Magnavox 1A9217: I really liked these.  Flawless midrange, nice amount of bass, and so very, very fast.  Ultimately, it was the 30 minute warmup time that prevented me from using these often enough.  I don't know if I'll ever try stats again.
Pioneer SE-7: Super-rare, these are really only notable for having stunningly rich and extensive bass.  Comfortable for supra-aurals
Pioneer Monitor 10: stunningly balanced and accurate for their age, and they're well-built too.  These are a surprisingly good piece of headphone history.
PMB-80: Huge ortho drivers, but these just don't seem to want to sound right.  Still working on getting the best sound out of them.
QNN Open-air: For $20, these are a surprisingly good pair of open cans.  The only case where I can say a recable really does make a world of difference.
Sennheiser PX-100: My first serious headphones, and still my go-to ones for when I'm working outside.  Decent for the price, good bass, and doesn't block outside noise.
Shure SRH-840: Lovely sounding headphones, but a bland sound signature kill all of the excitement in most music.  I found I alternated between loving and hating these.
Ultrasone Pro 750: So bright stock that I literally couldn't listen to them for long periods of time.  With the Kees mod, they were quite magical, but still lacked any warmth, and something just sounded off.  With the 780s on the way, I'll give the Ultrasone sound another shot.
Yamaha HP-2: Some pretty sweet orthos, but are limited by their supraaural nature.  Still, a good place to start with orthos if you have a strong enough amp. 
post #6 of 26
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

Wow, a big collection for a poster with 18 posts (I don't know how long you've been into headphones though, so don't mind that)


Try bolding the headphones names so they're easy to see. I also plan to show mine when I'm able to.


I don't remember when I bought my first hifi headphones. Probably around 1970. But I've been a fan of portable equipment since I was 11 when I got a pocket radio for xmas. When I got the Advent 201 tape deck in 1971 I needed a good 'phone then - probably the Beyer DT-48s.

I get a lot of grief from people in the software corp. where I work, since I keep everything possible in plaintext, and they prefer Word, Excel, etc. The thing is, I have complete records of everything related to our projects and they don't. I've typed about 10,000 words so far today, which makes it difficult to go back and redo anything.
post #7 of 26

HD650 - Oh so very natural, smooth, intimate. They're never fatiguing and super comfortable. A relaxed sound that doesn't try too hard, it just gets the job done artfully. I can focus very intently on listening without becoming bored, the details are layered very well.


K701 - SOUNDSTAGE!!! It is so very intoxicating. Unfortunately, the sound does not stand up to close examination, all the details are thrown on a circular wall about 50 feet away from you, so while the staging is wide, there is no depth or intricacy. Great for idle listening, not for critical, IMO, just doesn't sound real.


TF10 - I use 'em on the go, what is there to say? Got them remolded at Fisher, it was a good experience, they sound fine.


ALO-780 - Used them, liked them for a while. If you listen to electronic music, these are pretty incredible. The sound is mid-heavy and bass-heavy with smooth treble. Uncomfortable to wear, especially with glasses (the pads squeak with glasses). They were fine, just not very 'hi-fi' (read: neutral/natural). Very engaging and exciting.



Portapros - !!! I use 'em on the go when I don't need isolation. I don't like dealing with the fit of IEMs in general, so if it's not that loud, I whip out these bad boiz. (I can't make this text unbold...)

post #8 of 26

Ultrasone Pro 750: Love these things, everything is just so clear. It's got warmth to the bass, presence to the mids, and remembers to grant the highs what they need. They're super comfortable, I have worn them for 5 1/2 hours and I didn't take them off once lol. Also they come with a nice hard case, extra pads and cable selection, which is a great bonus!


Shure SRH750DJ: Fun and powerful sound, would love to have kept them but their headband is so darn uncomfortable :(.


MeElec R1+: Before my "real" headsets - the ones above lol - I would rank these the best. They are a little on the muddy side, but for the $7 I paid for them they were super enjoyable. I would say that the sound is nice - but nothing outstanding.


MeElec M6P+: Good sound, and super cheap. The ear piece design makes me only wear them for running, but if you like it then you may be able to use them for more.


Panasonic NC22: Decent sound, but a noticeable hiss with the noise canceling on.


MeElec M11+: Honestly they're just worse than the M6P sound wise but can be worn more comfortably.


Sony MDR-NC6: Not very good sound, seems almost unbalanced and harsh. Audible hiss with the noise canceling on.


MeElec M9P: Really not a fan - glad it only cost me $7 lol.



I'll add my opinion on the ATH-M50s when I get 'em.

post #9 of 26

AKG K500: GREAT GREAT MIDS, nice sparkly highs bordering on sharp pretty much an absence of all bass.


Ultrasone HFI-580: BA BA BA BASS, very well rounded with the highs and bass taking just a bit more president over the mid range, the highs can be fatiguing at times and a bit sharp.


Grado sr80i: great for rock and metal, super in your face thrashing sound.




I really cant say one is better than another, I would never listen to trance on my Grados, but at the same time I would never listen to Joan Baize on Ultrasones, and never mettalica on the k500's. It's all really a trade off.


nah brah, go with the HFI-580's IMO the 580>780, they just have this like super super sonic peak in the highs that just bite your ears. the 580 are a lot more tame, they are a bit more musical IMO as well as they are well rounded bass cannons but have the energy to get your bassy music going.

Originally Posted by joelpearce View Post

Ultrasone Pro 750: So bright stock that I literally couldn't listen to them for long periods of time.  With the Kees mod, they were quite magical, but still lacked any warmth, and something just sounded off.  With the 780s on the way, I'll give the Ultrasone sound another shot.
post #10 of 26

Apple Dual Driver IEM: These were my first headphone worth noting. I remember listening to these on the way back from the Apple store and me being completely blown away with how clear they were compared to everything I'd owned before. To this day I still consider them a very good value. 100% worth the $60 they can be had for on Amazon. I actually prefer these to my RE0.


Grado Sr80i: After my Apple endeavor I decided to do some research for my home IEMs and wound up with these. I had a love/hate relationship with these and the "Grado sound." I wound up selling them to buy my Ad700s, which I'd wanted in the first place but the Ad700 were sold out. They were uncomfortable and caused ear fatigue, but holy heck they sounded amazing for certain styles.


Audio Technica Ad700: I bought these after selling my Sr80i here. I absolutely loved them. The comfort was a huge improvement over the Grado and I don't think any headphone under $100 can match their soundstage and clarity. The only thing I didn't like was the lacking of the bass. I wound up giving these to my friend, whom bought me my Ad900.


Head Direct RE0: I don't think I'll ever like these compared to the praise they get. They sound great, very clear, actually similar to my Ad700. I just couldn't get into them though, they never gave me a feeling of engagement in my music.


Audio Technica Ad900: I received these about 4 months ago and fall in love with these more and more every day. They are everything the Ad700 are and more. I can not recommend these more, especially if you have a FiiO E7 (or other amp) to bring the bass up a little. The only thing the Ad700 have up on these are slightly better comfort, other than that they do everything the Ad700 do, but better.


Grado Sr225i: I just purchased these and have to say the bowl pad fixed any comfort concern I had with the Sr80i, but they took away a lot of the factors I loved about the Sr80i. They don't seem as aggressive, which is what I loved, and hated, about the Grado sound. I'm still testing them out with appropriate albums, but I am strictly reserving these for rock oriented albums. I will use my Ad900 for everything else. I do intend to try some new pads to see how I like them though, I won't try any other mods though at fear of ruining them.

post #11 of 26

All the decent headphones I've owned:


Sony MDR-XB700 - Loads of crazy bass, with sparkly highs. I didn't feel the mids were too terribly recessed either. Though I found without boosting the bass, they were fairly well rounded, they just lacked bass punch!


Sony MDR-V6 - Great isolation and build quality. Fairly well rounded sound, but the upper mids and highs were a little harsh. EQ these babies down and they have some pretty nice mids!


Koss KSC75 - What can I say about them that people don't already know? A pretty well-balanced headphone with a warm flavor. Probably the best mids you'll find under $50.


Koss Pro DJ100 - This, to me, has nearly perfect tonality. Very mid-centric, but they have clean highs, and very punchy low end. They don't extend very low, but not a problem when there's so much slam! To me their overall presentation was kind of weak though. The soundstage was pretty small, and they had rather poor instrument separation (or poor compared to the V6's and K271's.)


AKG K271 - Another mid-centric phone, though these are considerably more rolled off in the bass department than the Koss's. Still, overall they hold together a bit better, but that might be because I'm used to a little more analytical sound. Good soundstage, good isolation, great mids, pleasant highs, what's not to love?


AKG K601 - Haven't had a chance to listen to my pair yet (frown.gif) but I have heard them before. From what I remember, huge soundstage, great mids, great everything really! Oh, and comfortable! Very, very comfortable!

post #12 of 26

I downsized and have two.


DT880/600 - They're good al around

TripleFi 10 - They sound decent, good enough for travel


Done :)

post #13 of 26

DT231 - First pair of cans I owned. Although it is cheaply build and don't isolate noise well, it is a great can at the entry level, with great bass and tonal balance. Tend to be a bit bright, but I also like bright stuff. :D More importantly, it was a can that proved to be quite versatile, working well off portal devices and from onboard soundcard, good for movies, music and games. Fell out of favour once I started having tubes and after I found velour. 


DT770/250 - One of the best soundstage I'd ever heard off a closed-can. While initially being impressed with the bass, I was rather disappointed with the bloated sound that killed lots of details from most songs. Coming in as a bassist who is used to studio monitoring, this headphone soon fell out of favour and use. 


DT880/250 - Some call it analytical. Some may even call it neutral. I call it paradise. DT880 was the first pair of can I owned that I have no complaint from the form-factor, to comfort, to soundstage, to frequency. It brings details to even the worse recorded albums and make new/unfamiliar songs easily accessible. Didn't pair well with the tubes, which was the reason why I gotten another pair of DT880...


DT880/600 - Packing with the same strength as the 250Ohm variant, the 600Ohm variant give noticeable improvement of the treble and able to make bassline punchy while retaining the details. If 250Ohm make new/unfamiliar songs accessible for listeners, the 600Ohm give those songs the soul that the 250 could never provide. My main can that have gotten the most listening time from me. 


ATH-ES7 - The mirror finish is what got me interested in this can. While it can't match up with the beyer in terms of brightness, the lows and mids worked pretty well straight from the can. That worked well, since those strength make my commuting music interesting while travelling to and from work. Not the most comfortable can in the world though.


Darth Beyer VXD 3 (Black leather, cherry wood cup) and Darth Beyer v1 (Paduak) - Work of art that are beyond description.

post #14 of 26

semi-ranked list, of headphones I own / have owned (and that I remember enough of to comment on):


Sennheiser HD650 - Comfortable, skilled, alive. Solid bass but not loose or boomy. Lush mids that wrap around you and sooth. articulate highs that don't strain. Good soundstage. relatively pleasing with bad recordings. It does almost everything well, but nothing exceptionally. It's an "8/10" on just about everything. You'll rarely say "oh I've got to hear this song on the 650s!!" but neither will you ever regret putting them on. They're like the most comfortable and well made pair of old sneakers you own, suitable for any activity.


Beyerdynamic DT880 / 600ohm - Articulate, detailed, boisterous (but not to the point of lunacy). Very detailed bass with decent but not exceptional presence. Crystal clear mids reproduced accurately and with great skill, but perhaps without a bit of soul and energy (like a german automobile). Highs must be heard to be believed. They rip right into you, but on the good side of the pleasure/pain fence. Incredibly resolving headphone, will show you your music like you've never heard it before. It will lay everything out in front of (and beside) you like a candy store. It has an incredible ability to liven up muddy recordings without sounding artifical. 


Sennheiser HD580 - Comfortable, entirely competent, boring. These are great cans if you're stepping up from consumer gear, but they're a step below the above two. They have almost all of the skill of the 650s but without the life and soul. If you've never heard the 650s, these cans have all of the same pros and cons, but something was apparently gained by the 650s in two model revisions above the 580s... and that something is the lushness and livelyness. note that they do still rank #3 on my list. They are GOOD, they're just not good enough after you've heard your options.


Sennheiser HD590 - Edgy, lacking refinement, exuberant. Where the 580s is like a student who spent 4 years in college with book learning, the 590s are the guy who spent 4 years after high school in his garage experimenting. They do not have refinement, they do not have the detail, the soundstage, or the seperation that the 580s have, but they've got the soul it's lacking. If all I owned were the 590s and 580s, I'd probably be using the 590s more often.


Alessandro MS1 - Exciting, fun, great for portable use but lack a bit on the desktop (comparatively speaking). The MS1s are driven perfectly well out of a portable, and pick up little from an amp except perhaps a bit more strength and tightness in the bass region. They are not at home with all music, but they will always try their best to give you a good show. Their detail retrevial is very uneven. if it's in the midrange, they'll have it right up front and ready to love, but if it's in the lows or upper highs, it's way in the back of the sound spectrum. The MS1s are alive though, perhaps more than any other pair of headphones I own. They the drugged up party kid in the club... in the real world tackling random tasks they leave a lot to be desired, but put them in their element and they are kings, full of life and love and they want to share it with you.


Koss KSC50 - good mids, good highs, so-so bass, uncomfortable as all hell. Koss used their famous KSC35 drivers in this. It sounds great for the price, almost on par soundwise with the MS1s, but the bass is horribly inconsistent, depending on how good a "seal" you've got to your ears with these things, and the tigher the seal the worse these things feel on your head. The good part is that if you lose them or crush them, you'll only be out a few bucks and won't feel as bad as if you killed something like the MS1s.

post #15 of 26


I forgot to mention the Koss "High Velocity" headphones of the mid-1970's, which may be the HV-1 model? In any case, I went through at least 6 sets from different stores, and all of them got to buzzing or rattling on one side or another, and got worse after more playing. My ESP-9's also had a defect in the internal cabling, which I fixed by splicing the wire. The experience with the HV's and other experiences with Koss has made me avoid that brand ever since. Too bad, because Koss had better than average sound.
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