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Closed Back Headphones for Classical, Jazz, etc <$650

  1. srijohn93
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a closed back headphone with a relatively big soundstage and neutral+analytical, smooth mids and a little bit of sparkle on the treble as well. I primarily listen to orchestral pieces as well as jazz, indie rock and acoustic/folk pieces. Bass doesn't matter too much to me. My price range is up to about $650 for used or new.

    I'm hoping to pair these headphones with a Chord Mojo. I'm also open to IEMs if they meet my requirements better for my price point too since isolation is what keeps me from looking at open back options.

  2. surfgeorge
    Rob Watts' preferred headphones for the Mojo used to be the AudioQuest NightHawks, now he stated that he changed to the MrSpeakers Aeon closed and described them as more detailed, with an even more precise focus and soundstage.

    I wanted/needed closed headphones so I purchased the AudioQuest NightOwls, the closed version of the Hawks.
    To me they sound phenomenal with the Mojo, especially with jazz and classical music, with a very large soundstage.
    The first impression, when coming from other headphones is not neutral and sparkling, but rather spacious, and "dark".
    The NightOwls are known for having a stronger treble though, compared to the NightHawks.
    But they open up a concert hall and IMHO really reproduce a jazz bar very well too.
    The best way to describe their sound is that they sound remarkably like a set of good sepakers.
    One good thing about the NightOwls is the price - MSRP is €699 but they are being sold off now and I got mine for €330, NIB.
    PS: They really need the 100..150h burn in recommended to reach their final smoothness and openness

    Based on your stated preferences however, the Aeons might be a better match, but they are like $800, and I think also not considered "neutral and analytical".

    Both headphones are said to have a very low distortion.
  3. srijohn93
    Thanks for the suggestion; I appreciate the detailed explanation! I'll definitely look into them since they seem to fit my needs.

    While I would prefer headphones to typically be neutral and analytical, I'd just want a pair that are relatively strong in the mids since most of the closed backs I've been seeing (Fostex TH900 MKI, Denon D7000, etc) that are available on Head-Fi have a more v-shaped sound which may not quite work. Plus, other headphones like the ATH-W5000 don't seem compatible with a Chord Mojo.
  4. PaganDL
    Hi Srijohn93,

    For your needs, I would suggest looking at the following in no particular order :

    Sony WH 1000 XM2
    Sony MDR 1AM2
    Audio Technica MSR 7
    Audio Technica SR 9
    Fostex TH 610
    Meze 99 Classics
    Shure SRH 940

    Audio Technica E 70
    iBasso IT 01
    iBasso IT 03
    iBasso IT 04

    I would also suggest looking at the Rupert Neve RNHP as well as a good portable desktop head amp.
    It is my reference head amp I use almost everyday when at home.

    An important thing to note is as long as you have a quality source, at least CD quality, 320 kbps, all the above suggested scale well with any good head amp.

    With the exception of the 610 & SR 9, I own everything on suggested list.
  5. srijohn93
    Thanks for the insight! I'll look into those as well. I plan to have a portable DAC/amp however, since I may have some IEMs for a portable setup. I'm planning to have at least CD quality or FLAC files.
  6. fqdhlyc
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  7. Monsterzero
    +1 For Aeon Flow Closed. Fits your needs perfectly.
  8. surfgeorge
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018

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