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recommendations for the absolute best, "cost-no-object" portable headphones

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have done a lot of searching here but all the comparable threads seem to center on "Best under $200" or the like.

 

I am nearly 50 years old and have spent my lifetime as a musician. My ears appreciate the difference between "really good" and "truly great". My tastes are eclectic but mainly Jazz, vocals, acoustic and rock. Tight bass and spacious midrange are key for me.

 

I am willing to spend whatever it takes to get great sound quality from a pair of portable phones but I am beginning to wonder whether that is an oxymoron and it just does not exist. I own the Audeze LCD-X's and am very happy....but they are not portable at all :-)

 

My question is this:

 

What are your recommendations for the absolute best, cost-no-object headphones (over or on ear - no IEM's) for portable use?

 

I have listened to several of the offerings out there and they all seem to have one major Achilles heel or another.

 

 

Please help...any advice would be appreciated. I am using an A+K AK120 and also sometimes travel with my Acer tablet with JRiver/Apex Glacier.

 

Thanks!!!!

 

-Russ

post #2 of 10

Read up on the Ultrasone Edition 8 and Oppo PM-1. The latter is open back but at my listening levels in a noisy cafe I have to put my ears near the back of the cups to hear any sound leaking out. Treble has more detail but has sharp but not necessarily rough edges in some treble notes compared to the Ed.8, which some might find a little too smoothed over by comparison. Both worked well out of portable devices (I tried Ed.8 on an iPod, the PM-1 on a smartphone) but do better with better amplification.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I tried the Oppo's recently. While I liked the sound, I wouldn't really call them "portable" in the strict sense. Not sure about the Ultrasone but will look them up now :-)

 

I am going to try and Listen to the B+W P7's and the NAD HP50's if I can find a retailer with them this coming weekend. They seem to be the best rated portables from what I can tell here on HeadFi.


Edited by sashua - 4/15/14 at 9:40am
post #4 of 10

Have you tried Beyerdynamic T5p?

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, I tried them recently at the NY meet. I think they are pretty well balanced and quite decent...but they didn't change my world :-)

 

As I stated, I am probably just looking for something that doesn't exist. Ideally I'd like the sound of mt LCD-X's but in a smaller, portable (maybe even foldable) form factor. I know that is probably impossible so I am looking for the closest thing to it, regardless of cost.

 

It seems that you get to take your choice of tight bass and a very noticeable midrange suck-out or nice warm mids but flabby bass. Highs are easy to get reasonably close to right but the other stuff seems to be about whether you are in camp "A" or camp "B"

post #6 of 10

I'd add the Thinksound On1 Monitor Series headphones - http://www.thinksound.com/on1.php - as I find them very tonally balanced and engaging. They're currently $250 from the link above with free shipping. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by sashua View Post
 

I tried the Oppo's recently. While I liked the sound, I wouldn't really call them "portable" in the strict sense. Not sure about the Ultrasone but will look them up now :-)

 

I am going to try and Listen to the B+W P7's and the NAD HP50's if I can find a retailer with them this coming weekend. They seem to be the best rated portables from what I can tell here on HeadFi.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have never heard of Thinksound but I really love the memory foam earpads. If you really consider them a great all-around choice I will give them a try and order a pair for thirty day demo. 

 

I will also get a pair of the NAD HP50 and the B+W 7's and have my own little shootout :-)

post #8 of 10
I have the NAD HP50 and the B+W P5, but much prefer the Thinksound headphones for sound quality and comfort. Please try them as they deserve much higher praise and exposure.

Cheers,
Andy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sashua View Post

I have never heard of Thinksound but I really love the memory foam earpads. If you really consider them a great all-around choice I will give them a try and order a pair for thirty day demo. 

I will also get a pair of the NAD HP50 and the B+W 7's and have my own little shootout :-)
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashua View Post
 

I have never heard of Thinksound but I really love the memory foam earpads. If you really consider them a great all-around choice I will give them a try and order a pair for thirty day demo. 

 

I will also get a pair of the NAD HP50 and the B+W 7's and have my own little shootout :-)

 

I listen to a lot of classical (mainly orchestral) and also consider myself to have a good ear for what an unamplified instrument sounds like.   I really like the HP50s as far as portable, closed headphones go - havent found anything better yet, to be honest - but i have to admit, they are a small step down from the LCDs (I own the 2s).   Still, they are the best i have found so far.   If you find the Thinksounds are better, do post here.

post #10 of 10

You may find this article pretty interesting (specially Page 2)

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/two-strike-zone-focal-spirit-professional-and-spirit-classic

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