Closed Back Headphone Suggestions

Which headphones should I buy?

  • Audio Technica M50x

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • Audio Technica M50xBT

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Shure SHR440

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Shure SHR840

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (suggest below)

    Votes: 1 16.7%

  • Total voters
Nov 6, 2019 at 10:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


New Head-Fier
Feb 15, 2013
I've got the itch. And I've got a few hundred dollars burning a hole in my pocket.

Therefore, I'm looking for another pair of closed back headphones to keep on my desk at work.
I currently have the Sennheiser HD449 connected to a Headroom Total Bithead DAC/amp.
For actual listening at home, I have a pair of Sennheiser HD6xx connected to a NuForce uDac 3 and a Little Dot MKII.

Been looking at:
Audio Technica M50x or M5xBT
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
Shure SHR440 or 840

Any other headphones I should throw in the mix? Any suggestions between those three?

(I like the idea of bluetooth on the m50xBT, but not sure if it degrades audio quality too much. I also have a Fiio BTR-1K if I want to use my headphones wirelessly).

I really like my HD449's. I happily listen to them for hours and hours on end. I'm not looking to replace them, but just looking to try something else, and also get a 2nd pair so I can have one on my desk at home and at work.
Not necessarily looking for something that's going to be brutally transparent (as my source is only Google Play Music), but just something for easy listening. As for what type of music I listen to - it's easier to list what I don't listen to. No metal, no hip-hop / rap.

Let me know what you think!

Dec 10, 2019 at 4:01 PM Post #2 of 13
Sorry for not bringing any new info. I am just looking for the same answers as you are. From what I've seen these headphones kind of pop up in all serious "under 200$ closed headphones recommandations" . Another recommendations would be the Sennheiser 598 Cs, but they're some 100$ more expensive.
On another note, my search started from the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro, which I had used at work for over a year and I liked. They are sadly discontinued and (somehow) replaced by the HD 300 Pro, but they people seem to be a bit skeptical about the latter, especially when considering the un-discounted price (the've been at the 100€ pricetag for quite a while).
The M50x and M50xBT seem to be quite different beasts, even if both are driven wired.
The only thing I am concerned is that I cannot find either of the headphones mentioned by either of us on display to at least give them a short try.
Keeping my fingers crossed for some recommendations.

PS: If needed I can post some links from where I gathered all this info.
Dec 13, 2019 at 1:15 PM Post #3 of 13
Yeah, I've read the same about the M50x and the M50xBT.
The HD300 Pro looks interesting, but I'm guessing they're accomplishing their high isolation by using either extra material (weight) or more head band clamp. The one thing I really like about the HD449's is how light they are, both in weight and clamp. I ended up borrowing a set of Shure SHR440's, but can't wear them for more than an hour or so. The head band is too squared off, and I guess I rotate them back on my head a bit, but either way, the band digs into my head pretty bad.

Another thing I've been thinking about is - what defines a good headphone/speaker? Most people would probably say 'the most accurate representation of the original recording'. But I'm wondering if my answer would instead be 'something that makes music just sound great'. Which is a much more subjective, which might leave this search endless.

If I stumbled across any of my list used, I might pull the trigger just for fun. But I have a feeling I'll probably just keep coming back to my HD449's for the time being.

Dec 13, 2019 at 2:16 PM Post #4 of 13
After reading a few days about headphones, I ended up searching for a shop that might have them on display. Sadly most audio gear shops in my area are oriented towards expensive stuff (not necessarily high-end, but expensive :) ). But I did find one that at least have them on their website so I might be lucky. They actually have the HD 380 Pro too, but for over 160€ or so!

On another note, there are two other contenders from beyer that might sound good: the Custom One Pro Plus and the Custom Studio. Some say (at least about eh One Pro Plus that they're a more versatile version of the DT770 with a bit of extra bass on top of the cake).
Dec 14, 2019 at 7:27 AM Post #6 of 13
If the main reason for using closed back headphones is to get accurate sound at a decent price, then some suggestions I might give you are as follows. Please bear in mind that this is only my personal opinion.
First and foremost, Ultrasone's Signature DJ Pro and Pro750 (my personal preference). These two deliver flat and accurate sound especially when used with quality headphone amplifiers. Added bonus is the S-Logic technology which really ups the level of sound performance.
Next in line is Shure's SRH940. This model is considered my many to be the most accurate sounding headphone within Shure's product line.
Finally, Audio Technica's M50x (which you have mentioned in your list of choice). This model would be the most economically priced alternative to get great accurate sound from a pair of closed headphones.
Just my 2 cents....
Dec 16, 2019 at 2:13 PM Post #7 of 13
Thanks all for the replies.

Worldman - I think you mistook my one comment. I was thinking aloud / musing about what makes a good headphone. I used to think it was to produce the most accurate sound possible, but now I'm starting to shift towards 'makes music sound great'. (Which becomes next to impossible to qualify vs 'most accurate sound possible', as that can kind of be measured / quantified.)

PointyFox - Those came up in my search, and seem to have rave reviews across the board, especially in regards to how enjoyable they are to listen to. The frequency response graphs kind of scared me off though - they're heavily boosted in the sub 200hz range. Do they sound too bass heavy? Or do they still sound good?

Loft - I'll have to see if I can find any free time in the next while to wander into the city (Toronto) and find a few shops where I can demo some good headphones. Doubtful, with two small kids at home, but I think that'll be the plan. (Unless I stumble across a silly good deal on any of the headphones being discussed, in which case I'll just pick them up and try them out at home).

In summary - I'm ultimately looking for another set of lower cost, closed back headphones that are pleasing to listen to, and not especially picky when it comes to source quality.
Dec 17, 2019 at 5:18 AM Post #8 of 13
xcracer, I've checked that shop on Saturday. Didn't have much time as my wife and baby were waiting for me in the car.
I did manage to listed to a few songs on the following headphones: Sennheiser HD 300 Pro, Beyerdynamic DT770 32 & 80 Ohm, DT990 250 Ohm, Shure SRH840. Man I must insist: you have to listen to them before you buy. They can sound totally different from one another and you cannot notice the differences until you put them side by side.
I was surprised in many ways, the most amazing being that my OnePlus 5 cand drive the 250 Ohm DT990 (with the volume set at max) and they sound the best of the batch.
I'll retry the experience towards the end of January when they plan on having the DT880 and maybe I'll have a proper amp by then also.
Dec 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM Post #9 of 13
Hey Loft,

The DT990 is an open back headphone, so that would immediately cross it off my list. But the open vs closed could easily explain why it sounded better.
Did you notice much difference between the DT770 32 & 80 ohm? I find it quite interesting that they offer the same headphone in 3 different resistance levels. (I'm not too concerned about resistance, as I never plan on using them without some sort of amp).

Dec 18, 2019 at 4:14 AM Post #10 of 13
Well... The DT770's, driven by my OnePlus 5 (without any EQ) sound quite different:

- the 32 Ohm sounds more frontal. It doesn't give as much soundstage. It feels like it has a more V shaped response. The bass seems to extend a bit more, but it's also more, almost to the point of too much bass. Because it has leatherette ear cups and it has more clamping pressure it also feels more personal, more tight on the head. The same leatherette probably is also responsible for the more bass it has. I have only listened to it for a few minutes, but I have the impression that it will give more ear drum fatigue on the long run.

- the 80 Ohm feels more open, with more soundstage. The bass is not as prominent. It's almost lacking. Overall these headphones almost feels dull. Maybe too flat for my taste. The ear cups feel less intrusive to touch, more like a soft cotton hat. The clamping force is also less, which makes the headphones feel a little loose on the head.

Of course, the 80 Ohm headphone needed a higher volume setting on the phone in order to sound as loud as the 32 Ohm version. Somehow I feel that the 80 Ohm version gives more resolution as it is harder to drive the coils to the maximum.

What I did notice overall is that the hardware source matters a lot! I couldn't emphasize this more. I had the same files/player on both my OnePlus 5 and my work Samsung S8. The S8 seems to provide less soundstage with any of the headphones, so I gave up testing with it.
Sadly, the listening happened some 5 days ago and I don't remember the exact details so well. I ordered a Radsone ES100 DAC/amp and I am planning to go for another listening round in the first week of January (even if the DT880 didn't arrive yet).
Dec 18, 2019 at 4:41 AM Post #11 of 13
I've only just received DT770 Pro 80ohms, but I find the amount of bass just right. They don't leave me wanting any more bass, clamping force or vinyl earpads - that would just make them more fatiguing and uncomfortable to listen to for long periods imo.
Dec 18, 2019 at 10:54 AM Post #12 of 13
Hey Loft,

Thanks for the reply. I'm surprised that there are that many differences between the 32 ohm and 80 ohm. Good to know.
I've noticed that DAC/Amp also makes quite a difference.
I use my HD449's with a Headroom Total Bithead 99% of the time. But I ran them off my Fiio BTR1K (Bluetooth receiver) for the day a few weeks back, and was surprised at how much more punch the bass had. It was quite interesting. Meanwhile, my highest end DAC/Amp (NuForce uDac3) sits on my desk at home and barely gets used. Might be time to bring that one to work instead to play with. Although it's feeding my Little Dot MkII. I wonder if my boss will care if I start setting up an array of audio devices across my desk at work....

TMM - thanks for the input. The DT770's in 80 or 250 ohm are starting to look quite interesting. Might have to keep an eye out for a pair of them.
Feb 18, 2020 at 3:25 PM Post #13 of 13
Have you considered the ATH-A900X?

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