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What are the most useful reference headphones?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Is there any good guidance on what models would be considered the most useful "reference" headphones?

 

I'm probably using the word "reference" in a very specific way, so let me define what I'm really looking for.  What models of headphones are so widely owned and understood that they can be used to make meaningful comparison to other headphones?

 

Here's an example:

 

Sally: Have you listened to the new Bazqux 2000 headphones yet? They are fabulous!

John: No, what do they sound like?

Sally: Imagine listening to a Reference 88 except with a little more response in the 20-150Hz range.

John: Oh, that really sounds like something I'd like!

 

So really my questions is: what models of headphones can generally serve as the "Reference 88" in the above conversation? What models can serve as point of meaningful comparison that many aficionados would have experience with?


Edited by Brownstone - 1/23/14 at 12:52pm
post #2 of 6

Any of the long surviving headphones, really

Chances are people have heard them and know what you're talking about

Audio Technica M50s

Sony 7506/V6

Beyerdynamic DT48

Grados

post #3 of 6
I would also recommend looking at Sennheiser HD-600. I had gotten them mine in 2000 (14 years ago!) based on Stereophile recommended products listing (way before HD-650 or HD-800) and all this time later, they are still considered in the top Class A. That says a lot. Needless to say I'm very happy with them, although they are not without flaws.
post #4 of 6

If there is any single headphone in the world that is considered a standard reference point to compare all others it would have to be the Sennheiser HD600.

 

Keep in mind that the HD600 really should not be used as a reference to different designs or technologies, like closed dynamics or electrostatics.  There are fundamental differences that really make it an apples to oranges kind of deal. 

post #5 of 6
The Momentum is kind of the reference point in portable over the ears $300 audio.

The M50 is a good benchmark.

The GR07 Mkii or BE for iems.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the useful answers. There were a few listed I hadn't head of before.

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