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Best Closed Ear Headphones (for my music taste) - Money not a concern.

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

I'm a long-time onlooker, first-time posting on head-fi, and after searching assiduously for the 'perfect pair' of headphones, it would seem that I still can't make up my mind. It's absolutely imperative that any pair of headphones I buy is closed-ear, as I don't want others hearing what I'm hearing, portable-ish...as I want to listen on the way to work and back, and ideally quite comfortable. Additionally, they should have remarkable sound quality, especially for my preferences: female vocals, classical music, ambient...Enya is a great example.

 

SO in sum:

 

- Closed-ear

- Portable-ish

- Ideally comfy

- great for classical music and ambient music

 

Here's where it gets tricky: I love post-rock music. Bands like GYBE, 65daysofstatic, Mogwai, The Album Leaf, etc.

 

 

So I need a great headphone that allows me to immerse myself in the depth/explosions of the post-rock, while also possessing the glistening, clear qualities of the classical.

 

On my list so far:

 

- Ultrasone Edition 8

- Fostex TH-900

- T1 Beyerdynamic....T5P may be better?

 

Any other suggestions? Recommendations? My apologies if questions similar to this have been posted before, and also for my lack of audiophile vocabulary, as it's still developing. 

post #2 of 43

Sennheiser Momentum.

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Why the Sennheiser Momentum? How does it compare to the HD800? I know the HD800 is open-ear, so it's off my portable list. But that aside, does the Momentum stack up at all with the HD800?

post #4 of 43
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 

Mani, after looking at the ATH-W3000, I have to admit, that looks impressive. Would you recommend it specifically for my music taste? Or rather do you just prefer it to the other headphones that I mentioned? Or both?

post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Sennheiser Momentum.

I've heard them described as warm sounding?  I don't think it's a good fit for post-rock.

 

 

I like my beyer T70 for that kind of music.  A bit bass-light with stock pads.  Be prepared to play around with some pads to find a good seal and possibly a portable amplifier with a bass boost depending on how much you like, but the treble is great for this kind of music IMHO.  Great separation between instruments that really makes the somewhat congested nature of post-rock shine for me.

 

I haven't heard the T5p so I don't know if it's also good for this, but I would imagine it's good from my experience with beyer.  The T1 is great, but not closed.

post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I would consider buying a portable amp; is that pretty much necessary for all of the aforementioned headphones? And the t70's look solid, but I must admit I'm more impressed by the ATH-W3000's right now. They just have such a great look, in my opinion. The only thing is the very top; it makes it seem sort of hefty and less portable, realistically. Overall though, they look excellent, and the t70's probably the best combo of price and quality.

post #8 of 43

Ultrasone edition 8 have great soundstage and positioning for a closed headphone, powerful and very well-controlled bass and clear, detailed treble.  So they should fit the bill.biggrin.gif  They easily beat all other closed headphones I've owned (D7000, D5000, SRH840, SRH940, K271, DT250, DT770) and are the coda to my long search for the perfect closed headphone.   Sorry, I haven't heard the other 2 headphones on your list so can't tell you how they compare to those.

post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 

Eucariote, great to hear! Those were pretty high on my list, but my concern is about the comfort. Is it relatively easy to modify so that it becomes comfier than it normally is? I like that you compared them to 8 other great headphones, and these came out on top, that's reassuring. And for my music taste, would you say the Edition 8's would fare well?

post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilsinclair9 View Post

Why the Sennheiser Momentum? How does it compare to the HD800? I know the HD800 is open-ear, so it's off my portable list. But that aside, does the Momentum stack up at all with the HD800?


Meets your requirements of :

 

- Closed-ear

- Portable-ish

- Ideally comfy

- great for classical music and ambient music

post #11 of 43

My 2c:

 

Strike the T1 off the list, they're not closed, and although they're very nice sounding they aren't going to fit for your use-case scenario.

 

I've gone through quite a few of the high-end closed cans - W3000ANV, Ed8, Sig Pro, T5p, Jaben-modded T5p... Of all of those I still have the T5p, Jaben-modded T5p, and W3000ANV.

 

The W3000ANV is a very special can, no doubt. It isn't quite so well suited for portable use IMO, since you'll want to baby those gorgeous woodied cans, and they tend to fit fairly loosely which isn't quite ideal on the go (you can work with that to an extent, some people use rubber bands to increase the clamping force, or bend the band at the top for example). They also don't isolate quite as well as others, which may not be entirely to your liking given your specific needs. I don't tend to think of them as a 'rocking can' either, but YMMV.

 

I really like the T5p for rock, which I listen to a lot, although they are a bit bass-light (opinion varies widely on how satisfying the bass is, but the consensus opinion is that they are a bit bass light nonetheless). For myself I'm happy enough with their bass. Vocals aren't particularly forward in the T5p generally, so they may not do female vocals as well as you might like (I listen to female vocals, but not really for portable listening sessions, so I can't be more definite than that for now, will try some out later and see). They are great for classical and all the other needs you have though.

 

The Edition 8 is also nice, I had no trouble with comfort there, although the inner dimensions of the cups will be too small for those with larger ears. Their sound signature is quite nicely suited to rock, but for me I wouldn't particularly rate classical as one of their strengths with the U-shaped frequency response. You might want to also consider the Signature Pro from Ultrasone, bit more suited for portable use than the Ed8 with a removable cable, cans that fold flat and a portable carry-case included, and probably better suited overall to your needs sound-wise.

 

No experience with the Fostex TH-900, but my brief perusals of the thread for them in the high-end forum suggests they could be good for your needs - my impression reading there was that they are very detailed, but still have some fun slam to them. Might be worth your while to read that thread a bit and ask for feedback there, lots of the people posting in there will have experience with multiple headphones amongst the ones you're asking about.

 

Similarly no experience with the Momentum, so can't advise there.

 

I'd get an amp for all of these, although some like the T5p and Ed8 can be driven quite satisfyingly from portable sources like iPhones (what portable source are you planning to use?).


Edited by NZtechfreak - 1/29/13 at 10:35pm
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 

Wow, quite the reply. Thank you for such a detailed and comprehensive response. I think from everything you mentioned, the Signature Pros would be my best bet. It sounds like they'd be more practical than the Edition 8's considering the portability. As for the T5P's, those seem like they'd really hit home for post-rock, but if the vocals are not quite there, the Sig Pros would probably be preferable for me. 

 

As for the ATH W-3000's, I imagine they're probably glorious...out of curiosity, how does the ATH W-3000 compare to the Stax SR 009's? Sorry to veer, just wondering. And are the Signature Pros close to the brilliance of the ATH W-3000's or is it not even close (relative to my favorite genres)?

 

Overall, I really appreciate your input, and it's helped me to narrow down the list. I'm sort of simultaneously looking for the best closed-ear portable and the best open-ear (home use). But for now, the commute to work is a more pressing need than listening at home. 

post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilsinclair9 View Post

Wow, quite the reply. Thank you for such a detailed and comprehensive response. I think from everything you mentioned, the Signature Pros would be my best bet. It sounds like they'd be more practical than the Edition 8's considering the portability. As for the T5P's, those seem like they'd really hit home for post-rock, but if the vocals are not quite there, the Sig Pros would probably be preferable for me. 

 

As for the ATH W-3000's, I imagine they're probably glorious...out of curiosity, how does the ATH W-3000 compare to the Stax SR 009's? Sorry to veer, just wondering. And are the Signature Pros close to the brilliance of the ATH W-3000's or is it not even close (relative to my favorite genres)?

 

Overall, I really appreciate your input, and it's helped me to narrow down the list. I'm sort of simultaneously looking for the best closed-ear portable and the best open-ear (home use). But for now, the commute to work is a more pressing need than listening at home. 

 

Sorry, never had the privilege to hear the SR009...

 

Regarding vocals on the T5p - they're not at all bad, don't get me wrong, they are just very slightly recessed on some tracks. I think they do classical and rock really well though, so well that I think they probably do more than enough to compensate in those areas, given your listening preferences.

 

I agree that the Signature Pro should probably be fairly high up your list, if for no other reason than their characteristics from the practical point of view of portable use are so good.

 

Will you have a chance to audition any of these?

post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thank you again, I will really look into the T5P's. As for auditiotining them, perhaps, but as of now I have no specific plans to audition them. Although, I doubt I could really go wrong with either option. Maybe I'll start with the T5P's, as a lot of reviews have mentioned that rock sounds excellent on them. 

 

So it seems that considering the portability constraint, the Sig Pros, the T5P, and possibly the Fostex TH-900's are the best bets. As of now, although I've read a good amount on the Fostex, it seems like it may be more about its elegant look than it is about sound. I've read mixed reviews. Overall the sentiments were positive, but not overwhelmingly so as I've encountered for the Edition 8's/Sig Pro and the T5P in reading other threads. 

post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilsinclair9 View Post

Thank you again, I will really look into the T5P's. As for auditiotining them, perhaps, but as of now I have no specific plans to audition them. Although, I doubt I could really go wrong with either option. Maybe I'll start with the T5P's, as a lot of reviews have mentioned that rock sounds excellent on them. 

 

So it seems that considering the portability constraint, the Sig Pros, the T5P, and possibly the Fostex TH-900's are the best bets. As of now, although I've read a good amount on the Fostex, it seems like it may be more about its elegant look than it is about sound. I've read mixed reviews. Overall the sentiments were positive, but not overwhelmingly so as I've encountered for the Edition 8's/Sig Pro and the T5P in reading other threads. 

 

The T5p has a pretty varied feedback record too, and like the Fostex I think it hasn't actually been heard by a lot of people, so convergence on a reasonable consensus view isn't really there yet. Check the TH-900 thread though, there are some very experienced ears from the likes of MacedonianHero with plenty of good things to say about them.

 

If you have the chance to audition them definitely take it, these are all fairly substantial purchases and having had the assurance of an ears-on comparison goes a long way I think. Where I live there is basically zero opportunity to audition these headphones, so I've purchased them all and found what I like from what I've heard. I'd much rather have had the chance to spend an afternoon in a store listening to them all first!

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