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Most detailed Mid to Hi-Fi headphones?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I know that detail isn't the end-all for a headphone, but most likely because of that there seems to be a dearth of information on the comparative levels of detail between some of the nicer headphones. For an example, the HE-400 and HE-500 have both been praised for detail in a mid-fi headphone, but I don't see people who have heard both reporting back the difference in detail. I've been searching for information comparing headphones such as those, as well as others like the DT880's, Q701's, HD600/650, SR325i's, and up to the more hifi options.


So, for those of you who have heard a few mid to hi-fi headphones, could you please report how the detail varies between them? Not the overall balance, not the soundstage, and in particular not the illusion of detail due to forward treble. But what headphones have stood out as being able to resolve details you couldn't hear as well with others?

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

Even comparisons between just two headphones would be useful; we can compile everyone's experiences into something meaningful.

post #3 of 21

How would you define detail? I've owned all the headphones you've listed except the SR325i, and I find while they all have their own unique sound, detail isn't all that different between them. Anything that I "think" I'm hearing new on my HE-500, or my old DT880, HD600, or Q701; I double check with one of my $15 or $20 IEMs and I can still hear the exact same thing. Many will argue that more "detailed" phones make it easier and more effortless to hear, and I find that true to an extent. But generally speaking, I'm not sure you'll really be able to hear a marginal difference until you start dipping your toes in top-notch rigs. I'd put more focus into finding a signature that suits your preferences. Just my thoughts.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

I definitely agree with you about being able to hear details on cheaper headphones. But those are details I never would have noticed without having heard them on better headphones. Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect the human ear to detect the difference between resolving and not resolving small details. But if you could share what you felt you heard with regards to detail, I would very much appreciate it. I have HD650's right now as my main phones and I'm thinking of adding DT880's and/or HE400's to my collection, partly because I like to have different sound signatures available to suit different moods and music. But I'm wondering if there's a sidegrade with a noticeable improvement in detail to complement the laid back 650's or if I should just start saving now for something higher end.

post #5 of 21

You'll find that having a flat frequency response probably goes the longest when it comes to having an easier times and extracting detail and instrument separation in complex passages.  That has been my experience thus far.  I too also notice new things in songs with more hi-fi oriented headphones, but when I go back on cheaper pairs looking for those exact same details, I find them as well.

post #6 of 21

my guess would be the Shure SRH940

post #7 of 21
Originally Posted by TheReem View Post

Beats studio hands down, your not hearing all the music with other headphones with beats you hear what the artist hears.


I pray to all the known gods that you are joking. PLEASE tell me you are joking. 

post #8 of 21

All the headphones in question benefit from an amp. Do you have the funding for an amp, or are you just looking for headphones and nothing else? 

post #9 of 21
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

my guess would be the Shure SRH940




the fretworks on the guitar really catch my attention...all the little nuances..sszzzsss..

but bass quantity is a little lacking..or seriously lacking..lol.


post #10 of 21

Most detailed that I've owned are ATH-W5000 and Sony MDR-SA5000.

post #11 of 21

This is bound to spark a dispute over what "detailed" really means.


In particular, it tends to revolve around "fake detail" like exaggerated treble vs. "real detail" brought about by higher-resolution, faster headphones that won't smooth over details in the source when the drivers try to keep up and can't, instead making it sound "muddy" or whatever audiophile term people like to use.


But how can you be sure that a headphone is actually more detailed and resolving, or if it's just putting more frequency emphasis on a certain part of the spectrum that nuances in a music track tend to be found? That's what I want to know about...


The headphones I'm most interested in comparing, detail-wise, are my Stax SR-Lambda (Normal bias), Stax SR-202, and the HiFiMan HE-400, all of which I have ears-on experience with and all known for their revealing detail retrieval, probably a planar driver trait. The latter two sound kind of similar, even having this strange rough texture laid over the midrange on every source I've tried that just bugs me...something the original Lambda doesn't, and that headphone doesn't sound any less detailed to me if there are details to be revealed in the source. If anything, it just sounds clean and natural to me.


Is that rough texture I speak of a flaw in the source, a flaw in the headphones themselves, or what? Something doesn't add up here, and there are too many variables involved for me to say exactly what it is.

post #12 of 21

So far Sennheisers for me. Certainly not a HiFiMAN, they have very high distortion, quite low-fi. AKG's are just OK, nothing special. Have not tried a Beyer.

post #13 of 21


Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post

So far Sennheisers for me. Certainly not a HiFiMAN, they have very high distortion, quite low-fi. AKG's are just OK, nothing special. Have not tried a Beyer.

post #14 of 21

And if IEM is your thing, Ety ER-4S is very hard to beat, even for full size phones.

post #15 of 21
Originally Posted by soundstige View Post


All of them except the HE-5 and HE-6 Apparently. 



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