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Best headphones that don't leak sound, price no object

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I work in a shared office.  I need full-sized cans that isolate well enough to not annoy my officemates.  My JH13 is too annoying to keep inserting and removing throughout the day.  My brand-new Denon D5000 leaks too much.


I like transparency, high resolution, and full-range reproduction.  I don't care about fashion.  As a reference point, I really like the JH13 except that the bass is unnaturally weak.  (I got them before the JH16 existed.)  I listen to all genres of music, but I've always found classical to be the best genre for separating truly excellent audio gear from the merely good.  I've come across headphones that are brilliant at trance music and wither when I put Guerre-Lieder through them.  Assume I have a good enough amp.


I've been doing some research, and it seems like the only real contenders are the Beyerdynamic T5p, the Ultrasone Signature Pro, and the Ultrasone Edition 8.  Yet there seem to be significant concerns about all three of those -- enough to make me not even want to bother.


Does there exist a truly excellent non-IEM headphone that doesn't leak sound?

What would be the head-fi consensus for the best all-around choice that will stand up to full-scale orchestral/choral works?

Among the T5p, Sig Pro, and Ed 8, is there one (or two, or three) that I should not even bother trying?



post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well, after reading just about everything there is to read about the T5p, Ed8, and Sig Pro, it's pretty clear that:

  • These are the only decent options for non-IEM isolating phones.
  • I'm just going to have to try them for myself.


I just placed an order for the T5p.  If they're not to my liking, I'll move on to the Sig Pro.  The Ed8 scares me.

post #3 of 14

Guess I'm a day late here, but what "significant concerns" have you heard about the SigPros?  Mine are certainly the best closed I've heard.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi there.


I've read a number of opinions that Ultrasones are significantly colored.  Even if the Sig Pro is the best of the lot, there seem to be a number of folks out there who dislike the Ultrasone tonality.  Don't shoot the messenger; I'm just relaying what I've read.  I've never tried an Ultrasone product myself, so I make no statements of my own.


Obviously, for any product on the market, there's going to be a bunch of folks who think it's rubbish.  But what I've found is that none of these high-end closed cans have the volume of praise to outweigh the criticism.  People just aren't dropping this kind of cash on isolating headphones nearly as much as the HD800, LCD2, T1, etc.


I'll try the T5p.  If I like it enough, I'll stop.  If I don't, I'll buy the Sig Pro and sell the one I like less.  There don't seem to be any other options.

post #5 of 14

I haven't heard the HD800, LCD2, T1, etc. but I hated the Ultrasone Pro 900 due to their coloration/destruction of the music.  I prefer the SigPros over the Denon D7000's I had.  People that have both the SigPro and the LCD2 are commenting that they tend to go with the SigPro more often, sometimes to the exclusion of their LCD2.  Not trying to be a rabid fanboy, just adding a vote of confidence for these headphones.  But like they say, everyone's ears are different.  Best of luck to you.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yes, based on what I've read I'm tempted to try them regardless of what I think of the T5p, but not sure I can justify that kind of wild purchasing, especially after just picking up the D5000.  I also really like their low-key appearance.  Thanks for your thoughts.

post #7 of 14
Originally Posted by ephemere View Post

Yes, based on what I've read I'm tempted to try them regardless of what I think of the T5p, but not sure I can justify that kind of wild purchasing, especially after just picking up the D5000.  I also really like their low-key appearance.  Thanks for your thoughts.

I haven't heard the T5p, but I did listen to the Signature Pros last week and they are truly spectactular; not colored like other Ultrasones.  For example, I also auditioned the Pro 900 and the high end was so harsh and tinny, I found them unlistenable.  The Signature Pros are much more neutral with very slight brightness on the high end and bass with incredible power and punch, but only when called for in the music.  The detail and clarity in vocals is the best I have ever heard.  Since they are closed cans with fairly cushy cups that have a decent seal, they may be good for the leakage issue as well.  I am actually waiting for the V-Moda M-100 before buying the Sig Pros to see if I can save $1,000 and have a similar listening experience.

post #8 of 14

My ATH-W3000ANV don't leak sound, and it sounds really good even without a decent amp/dac combo.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Today was my first full day with the T5p, and from initial impressions I find them to be fantastic.  I did a quick comparison with the D5000 (a very recent acquisition), and the T5p is in a different league.  It will be interesting to compare them with the JH13 (and my other phones).  They also isolate very well.  I had them cranked up with a lot of treble energy, and my officemates couldn't hear anything.

post #10 of 14

I've been reading that the Ultrasone Signature Pro is more neutral as opposed to colored. I'm a bit surprised that you read otherwise. How is the sound signature of the T5p compared to the D5000?

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've only had the D5000 for a few weeks and the T5p for a few days, so I don't know either one that well yet.  Consequently, you should take all this with a grain of salt.  I admit to picking up the D5000 primarily because it was discontinued, but it leaks too much sound for the office, so I'll be keeping it at home.  I did a very very quick comparison at home before taking the T5p into the office.  In a nutshell, the D5000 is like listening to a recording, and the T5p is like listening to a live concert with its presence and resolution and dynamics.  I tried Holly Cole's live album It Happened One Night, a disc I've listened to on a number of high-end systems (mostly speakers) over the last 15 years.  On the D5000 it was pretty much the familiar nightclub chestnuts -- nothing offensive or bad about it.  On the T5p it was rather breathtaking and took me by surprise.  I heard much more depth of feeling in the signer's voice, and the disc felt new again.  It was not a subtle "audiophile" difference, and it had a real emotional impact on me.  I'm mainly a classical listener, and the first thing I put on the T5p when I pulled it out of its box is Riccardo Chailly's recording of Schoenberg's Guerre-Lieder -- another recording I've heard countless times.  Right off the bat, I discovered the dynamics of the T5p when a crescendo came on much stronger than I was expecting.  The D5000 again is pleasant but can't compete on this kind of recording.  My apologies for not being more specific, but in my experience orchestral music is extremely challenging for audio systems.  I was listening today to Stan Getz's live album People Time (his last recording).  I think I listened to "First Song" three times, I was so blown away by how it sounded through the T5p -- a window into the soul of a great saxophonist.  (I didn't try this on the D5000.)  I remember one post here on head-fi comparing the Sig Pros with the T5p on a saxophone recording.  The post came down on the side of the Sig Pro, saying the T5p was "hot hot hot".  Now that I've heard the T5p I know what he meant, but for me a saxophone is hot, and if the presence of it isn't ripping into you then you're not experiencing it properly.  I listened to the T5p all day today, often at a frightening volume level (which I will not continue), and not once did it seem strident or headache-inducing.  Now, the bass would be an interesting comparison between the D5000 and the T5p.  One of the first things I noticed about the D5000 is how irresistible it is with trance music, like being in a club.  I couldn't stop listening.  I'll have to do a comparison here sometime, but the bass is certainly very different between the D5000 and T5p.  The D5000 is comparatively wooly.  The #1 complaint about the T5p seems to be that it's bass-light, but so far I haven't found it so.  I haven't yet felt the need to EQ it up.  It seems deep and tight, and certainly not obviously deficient the way the K501 and ER4P are (both of which I own). But possibly some would find it less "fun" for non-acoustic music.

post #12 of 14
Great impressions!! Did you ever wind up getting the SigPros to compare? Tonality is very important to me as well.
post #13 of 14
I owned the T5p and have tried most of the flagships (except for the AT and Ultrasones) and the T5p definitely falls far behind in sound quality.
post #14 of 14

If you just want close phone full size, is none portable ones works for you? They need at least an amp or something like HM-902 or DX100 to drive.

You can try Denon AH-D7100, Fostex TH900, or ATH W5000.


For me, I never like the sound of close full sized. You can try some very lower profile universal IEMs.

The comming up Shure 846 seems to be very good.

My Sony EX1000 is also very very comfortable to ware. The Sony barely inserted into your ear which makes it very easy to take off and get on. For IEMs, they hardly leaking sounds.


CIEM is kind of too deep for none-continuous usage~~~

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