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Comparisons: 14 of the Top Closed/Portable Headphones Around

post #1 of 2034
Thread Starter 

So with my main dynamic and stat rigs about "set", I decided to look for a great portable headphone. My requirements for this would be the ability to isolate out background noise (like my kids, or an airplane) and a great sounding headphone, so last year I started on a journey that now after a year I think I've found what I need.

 

I started off with the Bose QC15s for flying. Nothing, bar nothing isolates outside music better than them and on noisy flights with noisy kids (mostly my kids wink.gif), they really fit the bill. But sound quality wise, they were the weakest of the bunch and always left me wanting more. So I picked up a pair of DT1350s (based on Tyll's measurements, they looked very good indeed). Sonically I was very impressed, but as I wear glasses, the three-point bends they put my ears into made them effective medieval torture devices. So out they went.

 

Then I read the excellent review of the Ultimate Ears UE9000s on innerfidelity.com. They too measured very well, so on a trip to the Apple Store I picked up a pair. To my chagrin, they would barely stretch down over my ears. Now I don't have the largest melon out there, but come on...and with no padding on the top side, made them quite uncomfortable. Throw in their sense of just too much of a dark nature and noise cancelling that is sub-par, out they went.

 

Next up a pair of Sennheiser Momentums (got a black pair) and holy moly, sonically these were the best my ears had heard to date! Comfort is outstanding! Many have complained that the earpads make them somewhat more of an on-ear headphone than over-ear, but they clamp very lightly and have such luxurious earpads that they were the most comfortable of the bunch after the Bose QC15s. They isolate very well, look great and most importantly sound great!

 

Then in came a pair of the Sony MDR-1Rs. I was at the Sony Store buying a pair of headphones for my brother's birthday and they had them on sale $100 off. So I picked them up. Sonically they are very good headphones, I have a bit of issues with the "upper mids" being a bit grainy and their construction was a bit too plasticky. Comfort was among the very best and I can really see why so many like them. That said, my pair had the "clicking" issue on the right earpad frown.gif and the carrying case was only a bag. Though nice, I never felt entirely comfortable traveling with them as the carrying bag didn't feel very robust. Sonically they were great, just not on par with the Momemtums. So after a few weeks, I returned them to the Sony Store for a refund. I wanted to really like them (and for many parts I did), but they had some issues like the clicking earcup and lack of robustness for travel I didn't keep them.

 

Finally on a flight to Milwaukee to visit a customer a few weeks back (a prop plane) I decided that I needed better isolation. As over the years, my ears have worked less and less with IEMs (just sold my pair of fantastic Westone 4s for that reason), I was now looking for a pair of NC headphones that had great isolation, sound and could play without the NC being on. I came across the PSB M4U 2 thread and two of my good friends (Skylab and beagle) were big fans of them. So I picked up a pair....and WOW. They isolate much better than the UE9000s (though NOTHING is as good as the QC15s) and actually sound like a fantastic pair of audiophile headphones. They sound really good (better) with the NC off, so they work around the house or when my listening session isn't in a too noisy environment. But if I'm flying, then turn on the NC and you get actually very competent noise cancellation and the sound quality doesn't suffer that much either. Great to have the option.

 

So here I am with no real IEMs (given my others to my daughter) and a pair of Sennheiser Momentums and Bose QC15 headphones. I think I'm pretty happy to stand pat with these two. I've tossed around the ideal of keeping just one pair, but they both sound so good I can't really let one go. The Momentums (though isolate very well), aren't as good as the QC15s on a plane.

 

EDIT: So my buddy lent me his Beats Executive headphones that his wife bought him for Christmas and wow, I was surprised. These aren't your kids Beats with over bloated bass, totally sucked out mids and noise cancellation that isn't worth 50 cents and all made of a cheap feeling plastic. They are beautiful headphones indeed. They are extremely portably and fold up in a very small package. Great for travelling for sure. Surprisingly the noise cancellation worked very well...like PSB M4U 2 well; except for the constant HORRIBLE HISS that in the end ruined them for me. Sonically they're not bad. The bass has been toned down and the mids aren't so sucked out and the treble isn't bright in any way...though much more extended than the Beats Studios. The hiss from the noise cancellation is a downside as its constantly on, but beyond that, not bad...so I'm kinda shocked. They do not run with the top headphones here sonically, but a step in the right direction IMO.

 

 

UPDATE 1: BEATS EXECUTIVE:

 

After a full weekend with the Beats Executive (on loan), I've revised my scoring a bit. After a few days, the constant "hiss" from the NC circuitry and somewhat flabby bass made me revise them and score them down. For Beats headphones, these are the best I've heard and guess what? They're not horrible. Actually I find them quite descent sounding...and looks/construction wise they are amongst the very best. So if you just have to own a pair of Beats headphones, these are the ones I'd recommend. Otherwise, if you're looking for top notch noise cancelling, ultra comfort and pretty good sound, my vote would be the QC15s (for the traveller). For pure sound quality and overall beauty, the Momentums are my top choice.

 

 

UPDATE 2: KEF M500 & BEATS 2013 STUDIOS:

 

So I've added the KEF M500s and new Beats Studio 2013s. In summary, the KEF M500s are the most neutral "high end" sounding headphones of the bunch. They are very well constructed and it I can't believe KEF has just started making headphones! I mean wow...they really know good sound. They are very small on the head, but the carrying case makes them about "average" for portability. Unfortunately you have to remove the headphone cable to put them in their storage case. Only the Bose QC15s and Momentums had their designs such that this wasn't necessary. I hope moving forward, more manufacturers fix this!  They image a soundstage that is the biggest of the bunch...very impressive for the only on-ear headphones listed! The only downside of the M500s is that if you're looking for isolation, look elsewhere as they don't do much of that.

 

The new Beats Studios 2013 editions keep up with many of the headphones here. I bought a pair to add to this review from the Apple Store with the intention of returning them after 1 week. As luck would have it my 5 year old kinda used the box for his superhero action figures...so they're now mine. Luckily I don't mind. If you're into how headphones look, these (along with the Momentums are the best IMO). They isolate pretty darn good and are pretty darn portable. They sound quite good. They're closer voiced to the warmer/bassier Momentums (though not as tactile), but that said, I'm quite happy to see Beats talking good sound seriously. They image very well are light and comfortable too. Who'd a thunk it?

 

 

UPDATE 3: SKULLCANDY AVIATORS:

 

As mentioned, I picked up a pair of Skullcandy Aviators for a heck of a deal. So after a few days with them, I agree with Jude's initial assessment. They are great headphones too. Now this is a big surprise too like the new 2013 Beats Studios. They are very stylish, though may be a bit too flashy for some. Not sure if this 41 year old Canadian conservative would go outside with them. tongue.gif Comfort wise they are very good too with my big head. That said, they are on their max setting for me.

 

The cable seems a bit thin, but serviceable. The little iDevice volume/song switcher is well built and unlike the KEF M500s has buttons that are easy to hit without too much fiddling. The carrying case is a nice (p)leather pouch that reminds me of my pencil case when I was a kid in terms of size....a very good thing IMO. No hard shell though to protect them like the other headphones (except for the MDR-1Rs).

 

Now onto the sound... The bass doesn't flood into the mids like every other Skullcandy headphone I've heard. Imagine that? Actually it's a little rolled off at the deepest octaves to my ears. Though not Grado rolled off. And like Grados, there is somewhat of a mid-bass hump there but it's not distracting. The treble extends very well and the imaging is very good. I would describe them as a very good mid-centric headphone with good bass (though a bit rolled) and good treble overall. Hard to nitpick anything else.

 

Bang for your buck these win. I picked them up for under $100. At their original price of $149 US (or $199 in Canada), they're even worth that IMO. Great sub $100 headphones that I'm happy to recommend. smile.gif

 

 

UPDATE 4: BOWERS & WILKINS P7

 

Well, the P7s arrived a week and a half ago and yes, they rocketed up the charts. I absolutely love them. As portable headphones go, they hit pretty much on all cylinders. First off, they sound great. The bass is deep, present and very well controlled/defined. The mids are balanced and quite nicely put into the spectrum. I find on the M500s, the mids are more pronounced/forward, so if that's more to your liking, then, I'd recommend the KEF headphones. But the mids seem a bit too forward and liquid (a very slight colouration IMO). While the P7s definitely balance out the mids a bit more "realistic" sounding to my ears. The treble thankfully has been greatly improved over the rolled-off P5s. It's extended, lively and never harsh.

 

The soundstaging is the best on these headphones of all the ones on this list. Actually only my much more expensive TH-900s image better for a closed headphone. But, I'd hardly consider the Fostex cans "portable headphones". ;) Simply put, along with the M500s and Momentums, the P7s are in the top three I've heard yet...and just barely come out on top for me.

 

Construction wise, what can I say? They're freakin' beautiful! Talk about some handsome looking headphones that are just as much art as they are functional. Kudos to Bowers and Wilkins for making such a stand out headphone. They isolate the best of the bunch (that is to say of the headphones WITHOUT noise cancelling circuitry). While the clamp is firm, I found it never uncomfortable with my big melon and the isolation was as good as any of the noise cancelling headphones save the QC15s.

 

Portability wise, the great looking leather case offers good (but not great) protection for them. This is one of my gripes. I would have liked a bit more mechanical support for these headphones as I stuff them in my travel bag. But while they are "full sized over ear headphones", they do fold up quite nicely and the carrying pouch is smaller than the Momentums' carrying case. The second gripe is that the headphone plug is at a straight angle. I much prefer the 90 degree plugs that we've come accustomed to. Or even better and adjustable one like on the Sennheiser Momentums.

 

I am really glad that B&W came out with these headphones. They work with every genre I threw at them (think every type of music EXCEPT for country/western....I'm not a fan :p). If I could had to pair down my collection to only 1 portable headphone, it would be the P7s I suppose. But that said, I'm still keeping my M500s and Momentums for a very long time.

 

 

UPDATE #4: MONSTER OVER-EAR DNA PRO

 

Well, I was lucky enough to be included in a test group for these newly released headphones from Monster. Just for clarification, these are not the currently released on-ear DNAs (which I do happen tolike), but instead their larger over ear sibling. First off, they are very stylish looking headphones. I really like the matte black colour they came in. And unlike the shiny new Beats 2013 Studios, finger prints don't show up all over them.

 

Their construction is pretty darn good. They look quite sleek, but they (like the Beats 2013 Studios) incorporate a lot of plastic. So unlike the most excellent P7s or B6s, don't expect high-end materials here. I found the comfort about average (or slightly under). The Beats Studios were actually more comfortable. The biggest issues I had were two fold:

 

1.) The earpads don't rotate so that they are parallel to ones head. Instead, they pinch towards the bottom of one's ears and over time this can be a point of pressure and discomfort.

2.) The headband is a bit small and I have to pull the earpads down to their maximum setting to get them to fully sit on my head. Not a real biggie as well they still fit with my head. But those with larger melons may have more serious issues.

 

Upon my first listening session with them I was shocked actually. I was used to a Monster Beats presentation from years gone by and what I was hearing was a remarkably well balanced headphone. The bass is actually more in-line with the most neutral pair of headphones here (B&O H6s). That is to say, deep, taught, well defined and not boomy or loose. For those who want a more basshead headphone, I'd recommend you look elsewhere. But if you're after a fairly balanced presentation, these headphones may be for you.

 

The mids are very well presented and thankfully unlike older headphones in this space, the bass blends in perfectly with them. I did however have some issues with the upper mids/lower treble. There was an emphasis in this area that with certain recordings made the DNA Pros sound "off pudding". I would liken this to the Sabre-shout that many higher end DACs that use the Sabre chipset suffer from. In the end, female vocals seemed a bit too nasal-like for my tastes and as a side effect, sibilances in recordings were emphasized more than I'd want to hear.

 

The treble is quite good and rarely harsh. It has good sparkle, definition and extension to the upper registers. Quite good. But as mentioned, the lower treble/upper mids has some issues that kept these headphones from really excelling. The imaging is about par for the course with closed/portable headphones. They don't offer the expansive sound staging of the very open sounding B&O H6s, but they do offer a realistic presentation that is quite acceptable.

 

With regards to portability, they're not bad. They fold up like the Beats Studios and don't take up much room. But unlike the Beats Studios, they only come with a carrying bag. The Beats Studios come with a hard-shell case that is much better for protecting these headphones when you're on the go. The carrying pouch that comes with the DNA Pro's is made of a thick fabric (and quite a bit better than the plain fabric bag that comes with the B&O H6s), but it does lag behind the competition in this regard.

 

Like with the new 2013 Beats Studios, I am very impressed to see Monster go the route of a more balanced/neutral presentation. Gone are any remnants of the horrible bloated, overly bassy and muddy Monster Beats headphones from years ago. Overall a very good option for audio enthusiasts.

 

 

UPDATE #5: BANG & OLUFSEN H6

 

So I was able to snag a pair locally for a killer deal that was too hard to pass up. I’ve got to say that I was really glad that I did. I have to say that these are the most "dead neutral" headphones I've tried on this thread. Their tonal balance is very close to the HD800s. Think deep/taught bass, linear mids, extended treble (while never bright/strident) and the best sound staging of the 11 headphones here.

 

First off their construction is fantastic. Beautifully built with soft and plush leather pads, the headband is made of more rigid leather and looks great. They are incredibly light and are definitely the most comfortable pair of headphones here. Just a joy to have on and listen to. I do have one major gripe though...the carrying fabric bag Really? Just a thin fabric bag to hold onto my $439Cdn MSRP headphones? At least the carrying bag on the Monster DNA Pros is made of a thicker fabric that would offer some cushioning in my carry-on luggage. But this one, I wouldn't even try. So I had to order a third party hard shell case of ebay for them. But for the price I paid, I would definitely expect better! Yes, the H6s fold up pretty well (and compact) and are extremely light, but this is a bit of a letdown for me.

 

Now on to the way they sound...

 

Thankfully what they gave up on the carrying bag, they more than make up for it in the sound. Seriously, I can't believe what I'm hearing. These are closed headphones that are very clean, neutral, transparent and open sounding…imagine that? As I prefaced earlier, these are definitely the most neutral headphones in my listing (to date). Which is surprising that a closed headphone can be made this way. Typically they are "thicker" and bassier...likely due to all the internal reflections inherent to closed headphones vs. open headphones. But B&O has been able to avoid this and offer an very open sounding product with outstanding instrumental separation and clarity.

 

While some may critique the bass as "bass-lite"; I would never. Certainly next to the Sennheiser Momentums or Beats Studios, the bass is lighter. But I would not classify the Momentum/Beats bass as "neutral". What you get instead is deep, quick and taught bass that doesn't over stay its welcome (like it could with the Sennheisers). Very nimble indeed. The mids are upfront in the soundstage and crystal clear and the treble isn't rolled off like say on the Momentums (which in the end is why I sold them). Actually I find the treble very satisfying and the shimmer of cymbals is unequaled by the other headphones here. It never comes off as bright either (unless of course the recording is bright/strident).

 

The sound-staging is impeccable as is the instrumental separation. Due to their light/quick nature, you don't feel closed in like some of the headphones in this thread (like the Momentums, Beats, M500s). Instead you get a very vast and open sound that sometimes has you thinking you're hearing things from outside, but instead it's these headphone's excellent ability to throw sounds at you from all over.

 

What can I say? These are definitely in the top 3 of my list here and if you're thinking of picking up a pair, I'd say go for it! But, if you're a bass head and like the hippity hoppity music, I might look elsewhere. In the end, these are definitely staying with me for the long term.

 

 

UPDATE #6: NAD HP50s

     

These are the latest headphones I've added to this listing and boy am I happy I did. Overall they are just outstanding headphones (regardless of being closed and portable). I was lucky enough to get a review pair from NAD (just down the highway a bit from me here in Toronto). I liked them so much, I bought them...there was no way I was going to send them back.

 

Construction wise they are very well built. The headband is covered in soft leather with a metal frame. They feel very sturdy as a result. Are they as snazzy looking as say the P7s or H6s? Nothing really is, but they do cost between $100-$139 less here in Canada. But I'll say this; they are certainly in the upper tier of headphones I've tried. They are not excessively plastic like the Beats or DNA Pros (though those headphones do appear to be very rugged regardless) and for the price range, I feel that they meet what I would expect (and then some).

 

Comfort wise, they are very good. I would put them just under the B&O H6s. I can keep them on my head for hours at a time without any discomfort. As well, they isolate very well. This is one thing that has hurt some of the headphones on this thread (like the KEF M500s). I feel this is one very important factor to have truly portable headphones. If I'm in a noisy environment, I don't want to have to crank up the sound to un-safe levels just to continue to hear the music. And thankfully NAD has not forgotten this very important factor.

 

The headphones do fold flat and the carrying pouch is a nice thick leather (or leather-like) material and offers good structural support for the headphones. Unlike the AWOL support offered for the B&O H6s or the massively large hard bodied case for the Momentums, the NAD carrying case manages to meet the requirements of both support and portability.

 

And how do they sound?

 

In one word: "natural". After watching the innerfidelity.com review of Paul Barton by Tyll, I can verify that the "Room Response" goal has been realized. These headphones sound like a good pair of bookshelf speakers. Very natural and real with a hint of warmth to mimic my home speaker setup. Overall, I would classify them as natural / neutral sounding headphones, but with a slight warmth to them (something that is lacking with the B&O H6s).

 

The bass presentation is outstanding. These headphones go down to the depths of my audible range. Measurements back this up with a flat response down to 20Hz with no roll-off. As well, there is no mid-bass hump that can cloud mids and obscure the presentation. The distortion measurements are also outstanding and compete with many $1k+ headphones. The presentation of the bass is true-to-life to my ears, deep, low and controlled with excellent definition.

 

The mids (like the bass) are equally outstanding. I don't feel that instruments in the sound stage are out of place like I did with some other headphones. At times, say with the Sennheiser Momentums, I would feel that the singer or some of the instruments were placed way at the back of the stage due to the quick roll off of the upper mids. The HP50s instead offer very linear mids that put everything in its proper place with a smooth liquidity that is very appealing. Just very well presented overall.

 

The treble offers great detail and a clean presentation. Strident, these headphones are not, piercing treble is nothing to be concerned with. I found this problematic with the Monster DNA Pros (and even at times with the B&O H6s, depending on the recording), but the NAD presentation seems to straddle between this one extreme and the Sennheiser Momentum extreme of treble that is rolled off too much and can get in the way of the overall presentation. I'm so impressed on the overall tonal presentation of the HP50s that I would definitely say they are my favourite in this regard...period.

 

The sound-staging is very much on-par with the B&W P7s and just behind the spacious sounding H6s. But that still puts them in the top 2 or 3 here and I have no qualms with their ability to render what I'm hearing spatially. From left to right and front to back, they are able to keep me more than satisfied.

 

Overall I am going to put these on top of my list. When the construction, portability, isolation and especially sound quality were all taken into account, these headphones fire on all cylinders. Just an outstanding job by NAD!

 

 

UPDATE #7: MARTIN LOGAN MIKROS 90S

     

Well, my good friend Dave (Beagle) very graciously sent me a pair of these wonderful little headphones. I'd like to thank him again for this great opportunity. So I've had them for several weeks and put them through their paces. All I can say is for the sub $100 offering, they will be my "go to" recommendation for headphones (open or closed). Talk about packing in a lot of headphone into such a small pair and low price! I understand that Martin Logan priced these substantially higher when they were first released, and even at that price, based on the performance that they offer, I think a good argument can be made to justify their purchase...but at $85 ish, it's really a no brainer.

 

Construction is very solid! They are very well put together and again, at this price, I'm amazed at the high levels of materials that went into these headphones. Just beautiful. The carrying case is also perfect considering that they are portable headphones for on the go. I guess if I have to nitpick, one has to remove the headphone cable to get them to comfortably fit into the case, but that's a small point for me. It's a big step up from the AWOL case for the B&O H6s. 

 

Comfort was one area that wasn't ideal with my large noggin. I found the clamping force a bit much and the earcups wanted to swivel forward towards the front of my face when on my ears. I also found some pressure with extended listening when I wore glasses. I found that the cartilage in my ears would be put into a 3 point bend and I needed to remove them for a bit of a break after 30 minutes or so. Without glasses, they're quite a bit more comfortable. Being on-ears, I'm surprised just how good they isolate outside noise. If the KEF M500s worked this well, I'd likely still have them.

 

Now let's move on to how they sound. In a word, clean. Bass goes deep (with a slight roll-off in the lowest registers) but is still very satisfying. The mids is where these headphones really shine. Very clean and upfront...crystal clear and they kind of remind me of my Shure SE535s in the mids. The treble is very well extended and not sharp (like say the SRH940s). Very well presentation indeed. Tonally, they are closer to the B&O H6s over the NAD HP50s. The imaging is surprisingly good; especially considering they're on-ear headphones. I didn't find them lacking at all in this regard. Overall, for the very low price tag, these headphones are a no-brainer...talk about outstanding value!

 

Here is a quick scoring summary of all of the portable headphones I've tried over the past 14 months:

5 = Excellent

4 = Very good

3 = Adequate

2 = Not adequate

1 = Poor


Headphones

Portability

Construction Quality

Styling

Noise Isolation

NC Ability

Comfort

Bass

Mids

Treble

Imaging

Value

B&W P7

3.5

5

5

3.5

n/a

3.5

4.5

4

4

4.5

4

B&O H6

3

4.5

5

3.5

n/a

5

4

4

4

5

4

Momentum

2.5

4

5

3.5

n/a

4.5

4

4

2.5

3

4.5

MDR-1R

2.5

3.5

4.5

3.5

n/a

4.5

4

4

3.5

4.5

4

DT-1350

3.5

3.5

3.5

3

n/a

2

4

4

3

2

3

NAD HP50

3.5

4

3

4

n/a

4

4.5

4.5

4

4.5

4.5

Beats Studio

2013 Ed.

3.5

4

5

4

3.5

4

4

3.5

4

2.5

3.5

Beats Executive

5

4.5

4.5

3.5

1

3.5

4

3.5

3.5

2.5

2.5

KEF M500

3.5

4.5

4

2.5

n/a

4.5

4

4

5

4

4

Aviators

4

4

4

2.5

n/a

4

3

4

3

4

5

UE9000

2

4

3

3

2

3

4

4

4

3.5

3

Mikros 90 5 4 3.5 4 n/a 2 3.5 4 3.5 3.5 5

DNA Pro

3

3.5

4

3.5

n/a

3

4

3

2.5

3.5

3

PSB M4U 2

3.5

4

2

4

3.5

4

4

4.5

4

4

4

 

Rankings:

 

Headphones:

Sound Quality Ranking

Overall Ranking

NAD Viso HP50

1

1

B&W P7

1a

1a

B&O H6

2

2

KEF M500

4

3

PSB M4U 2

3

4

Momentum

5

5

MDR-1R

6

6

DNA Pro

7

7

Mikros 90               8*  8

DT-1350

8*

9

UE9000

10

10

Beats 2013 Studio

11

11

Aviators

12

12

Beats Executive

13

13

* = tie


The top three:

 

 

 


Edited by MacedonianHero - 3/22/14 at 8:08am
post #2 of 2034
This is extremely helpful. Especially for someone in the same situation, thank you!

I've always wondered this though ; are the QC15s the best sounding headphones, on an airplane?
Edited by lukEM22 - 7/17/13 at 9:33am
post #3 of 2034
Thread Starter 

The QC15s isolation outside noise like no other on an airplane. They're better than IEMs even in that regard. So if its peace and quiet your after, they would fit the bill. But sound quality wise, they are only adequate (though not bad sounding by any means).

 

UPDATE: The Bose QC20s are the best earphones for a plane that I've heard so far. They best the QC15s in both noise cancellation and sound quality. And unlike traditional IEMs, don't go deep in your ears....they're more like ear buds that way.


Edited by MacedonianHero - 2/2/14 at 8:55am
post #4 of 2034
Looks like what I want, unless I can get a good deal on the Momentums.
post #5 of 2034
I'd 100% agree that the PSB is the best. The momentum is only better than the 1r in certain aspects like detail, while the 1r has a better sound stage, better bass, and vocals.
post #6 of 2034

Nice comparison Peter.   Well done.

post #7 of 2034
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks159 View Post

I'd 100% agree that the PSB is the best. The momentum is only better than the 1r in certain aspects like detail, while the 1r has a better sound stage, better bass, and vocals.

Actually, I rated the Momentum's #1 and the PSBs immediately behind them at #1a. wink.gif The differences weren't that great, that's why I didn't feel the M4U 2s deserved to be at #2. Both are fantastic and why I kept them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

Nice comparison Peter.   Well done.

Thanks Frank!

post #8 of 2034

Nice work Peter. You examined and covered the merits of portable headphones for what they were intended for.

 

I was comparing a bunch of portables last night and wanted the MDR-1R to do well because they are so comfortable. But that "n" shaped midrange is the fatal flaw, because the frequency extremes just roll off each end and disappear.

 

I gained some more respect for the Momentum during my comparison. I found I had to crank them up a bit for maximum enjoyment. I still find the bass is thumping just a little bit too much and the extreme top lacks some air. Interestingly, I find the PSB bass slightly vague at times and the top also a wee bit soft. But I agree that these two get the most right out of the bunch you compared because the midrange/treble transition is smooth and seamless on both.

 

But I haven't mentioned the ones I liked the best biggrin.gifvery_evil_smiley.gif

post #9 of 2034
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

Nice work Peter. You examined and covered the merits of portable headphones for what they were intended for.

 

I was comparing a bunch of portables last night and wanted the MDR-1R to do well because they are so comfortable. But that "n" shaped midrange is the fatal flaw, because the frequency extremes just roll off each end and disappear.

 

I gained some more respect for the Momentum during my comparison. I found I had to crank them up a bit for maximum enjoyment. I still find the bass is thumping just a little bit too much and the extreme top lacks some air. Interestingly, I find the PSB bass slightly vague at times and the top also a wee bit soft. But I agree that these two get the most right out of the bunch you compared because the midrange/treble transition is smooth and seamless on both.

 

But I haven't mentioned the ones I liked the best biggrin.gifvery_evil_smiley.gif

Thanks Dave. I also do share your findings with regards to the MDR-1Rs...comfort-wise and sonically too. As well, I agree with your assessments of the Momentums. I don't mind the extra rumble down low, but would prefer the PSB's more airy presentation up top. Between the Sennheisers and PSBs, I think they're quite close and personal preferences come into play.

 

So which ones do you like best? popcorn.gif


Edited by MacedonianHero - 7/17/13 at 7:17pm
post #10 of 2034

This is some very valuable info for somebody, in the market, and  not in the possible to test different phones.

 

 

 

well done and thanks for sharing

post #11 of 2034
Love the 1R. I use it around the house and it sounds great out of any source (laptop, ipad, X3). I found the Momentum's sound too V-shaped from the same sources (except the X3). I prefer the M100's V-shaped sound a little more (energy-wise, bass-wise)

The 1R's comfort can't be understated. The pads' softness, shape and clamp are very forgiving for the head and ears.
post #12 of 2034
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

Thanks Dave. I also do share your findings with regards to the MDR-1Rs...comfort-wise and sonically too. As well, I agree with your assessments of the Momentums. I don't mind the extra rumble down low, but would prefer the PSB's more airy presentation up top. Between the Sennheisers and PSBs, I think they're quite close and personal preferences come into play.

 

So which ones do you like best? popcorn.gif

 

Last night, sonically I liked the MartinLogan Mikros 90 and the KEF M500. But on any given day, my preferences change depending on my mood and type of sound I am looking for. SO I'm no help here biggrin.gif

 

And the Mikros 90 and M500 (and Paradigm H15) have fit and isolation issues that factor in to the overall scheme of things..

post #13 of 2034
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

Last night, sonically I liked the MartinLogan Mikros 90 and the KEF M500. But on any given day, my preferences change depending on my mood and type of sound I am looking for. SO I'm no help here biggrin.gif

 

And the Mikros 90 and M500 (and Paradigm H15) have fit and isolation issues that factor in to the overall scheme of things..

Those are two that I still need to hear. Good to see some great speaker manufacturers like PSB, MartinLogan, KEF and Paradigm getting into the headphone market.

post #14 of 2034
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snapple10 View Post

This is some very valuable info for somebody, in the market, and  not in the possible to test different phones.

 

 

 

well done and thanks for sharing

Thanks!

post #15 of 2034
How would the 1350 rank without taking comfort issues in to consideration.
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