End-game closed-back recommendations

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  1. Luke Redgen
    Yeah, I get the sense the TH-900 are less closed than the Z1R. I'm definitely looking for higher volume listening, my Shures are great until I turn them up and then they fall apart for me so the main reason for the purchase is headphones that not only sound great but continue to sound great at higher volumes. I'm just wondering about that treble spike that some seem to report on the Z1Rs and if that will cause issues at louder volumes (which is a similar issue to the Shures). I am like 90% certain but it's a lot of money to spend, mostly I'm at the stage now where I'm going to purchase the Z1Rs unless there's a better alternative, but I have a feeling that they're my best bet. Audeze look too big and bulky, ZMF are difficult to source, HiFiMAN have a lot of detractors over build quality and the TH-900s are probably not isolated enough for my needs.
  2. Music Alchemist
    The TH900 is one of the few closed-backs that doesn't sound like a closed-back.

    What are your needs in terms of isolation?
  3. Luke Redgen
    I mean, if I had to list my priorities they would be from most to least important
    1. Sound quality - Especially at high volumes, minimal distortion, minimal sibilance, good bass and body. I listen to rap, r&b, rock, pop. Modern music mostly, some indie.
    2. Isolation - But mostly so as not to bother people around me more than worrying about environmental audio coming in. My office is quiet but I have one other person in the office with me. Being able to listen on public transport is nice too but again, more worried about bugging other people than background audio coming in since even on my open headphones I listen loudly enough that it doesn't degrade the sound too badly, in my opinion anyway
    3. Comfort - I think the SRH-1540s are the most comfortable headphones I've ever used and as such I'd be willing to trade some comfort off if it meant better sound quality.

    Basically I have bought a lot of headphones this year that have provided good comfort or good isolation or good portability, to cap off the year I'm looking for the best sound period in a closed back headphone.
  4. Music Alchemist
    I see.

    The TH900 is a little peaky, so you may want to consider taming that with a touch of EQ.

    It's not too bad, though: http://en.goldenears.net/17034

    It's among the most comfortable (not to mention beautiful) headphones.

    I can't tell you how much it really isolates, because I listen to music alone in my bedroom. I'd guess that any closed-back is still going to leak enough sound for someone next to you to be able to hear your music, and since the pads make them quasi-semi-open, it's certainly a concern.

    I haven't heard the Z1R, so I can't comment on it, but at such a higher price, I'd suggest looking up comparisons others have published.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  5. ctaxxxx
    Luke Redgen likes this.
  6. Luke Redgen
    That's very interesting... yeah, at that price it might just make sense, thanks for pointing that out. :) Will reach out.
  7. Luke Redgen
    So thanks to @emptymt who was awesome to deal with and sold me headphones at a great price in incredible condition, I went with the Z1R, and despite a couple of times where I was worried across a few genres they are incredible. They're warm like people say but in the most incredible way, they scale up and down amazingly - they're the first headphones that sound good out of my FiiO X5-3 and even sound great right out of my iPad. They sound even better out of my Cayin C5.

    They look beautiful, are comfortable as hell, and are built even better than my Oppo PM-1 so yeah, very happy and thanks everyone for your advice. Next question, I want to upgrade my DAP because unfortunately the X5 which was my first proper DAP just doesn't cut it, it sounds mechanical and distorts badly when loud. Any suggestions that'd pair well with the Z1R?

    Don't know what Tyll is listening to on his review of the Z1R, highly recommended.
  8. emptymt
    Glad you like it mate, regardless of what Tyll says about the headphone, you should only care about what you hear.
    regarding DAP, how loud are you listening to? when you dial in the X5 III in the volume wheel, what's the number?

    It seems that you like warm a lot, have a look at the Calyx M, it is an old model, but some people really really like it, nowadays you can find it for cheap.
    when it came out, people comments that it rivals the AK240 at that time, there are some youtube videos too.
    Bad thing about this DAP is battery life.

    The new Fiio X7 II is a nice DAP, and you can demo it in store first to find out if you like it or not, but it is not a warm DAP, and more to neutral.
    If you like it with the Cayin, there is also the Cayin I5 which is a nice DAP with similar sound signature as the amp, I believe that this is a cut above the Fiio X5-III, for me anyway.
  9. Luke Redgen
    Yeah, no doubt, I do find it interesting and I kinda wish the Z1R thread didn't die with people arguing endlessly. I read Tyll's review and bought anyway because it seemed like it was really focused on raw testing and not enough on other sonic properties. The things I find really incredible and immediately obvious are the insane clarity and detail, the immersion that those huge drivers allow for, it's the closest I've come to finding a headphone that sounds like a good car audio system which is what I moved away from when I went from driving everywhere to public transport. They're great for public transport too, seal very nicely.

    I don't know if I'd say I like warm headphones so much as I appreciate it on these after finding that the SRH-1540 had this really harsh brightness and lacked bass authority. Maybe the Z1R is bloated but I'd take a little bloat in exchange for the immersion and impact and I hear very little distortion and don't find them fatiguing at all so I'm not sure if I'm just not hearing the spikes that cause the issue for some people or if they just don't bother me, but if those are the flaws I don't hear them and all of the benefits that were left out of the criticisms would outweigh them anyway.

    I'll take a look at the DAPs you mentioned, was eyeing off the X7 Mk II but was considering jumping ship to A&K, my experience with FiiO is a little lackluster after the X5 3rd gen turned out to honestly be worse than my iPad. Louder, but definitely worse and more mechanical.
  10. Luke Redgen
    Oh, and ordinarily I top out at 100 on the volume dial on all my other headphones because they distort and sound like a disaster any louder. I listen to headphones very loud, that's the reason the SRH-1540 were such a huge disappointment to me, because they distort beyond recognition if you turn them up too loud. However, with the Z1R I can turn the volume all the way to 120 without significant distortion. No doubt, these headphones have bass bloat and I have already started EQing down the treble a little when I crank the volume but the resolution is just so perfect no matter how loud I turn them up, the clarity remains and they still sound like speakers rather than headphones. It's remarkable really.
  11. buke9
    You might want to look at the Questyle QP1R or the QP2R as I have a QP1R and it is definitely better than a AK 240 in sound quality. It has no bells and whistles just great sound quality if your looking for streaming and WiFi your out of luck with it. The new version has put in a balanced output at the cost of a sd slot but I have yet to hear it. The UI is not the best but I just listen to music from it so I don’t care but it does sound great.
  12. ctaxxxx
    Nice! I actually ended up buying the MDR-Z1R too after seeing this thread and a sweet deal online. I love the headphones as well!

    As for DAPs, I would recommend ones with interchangeable amp modules. - FiiO X7 II, or DX200. Not sure what else there is...

    I have the DX200 and being able to use different amp modules provides extra flexibility in sound and termination. Not to mention they just released AMP4, which uses the 4.4mm pentacon plug. I also recommend AMP3, a favorite on Head-Fi, but it uses only 2.5mm so you'll need another cable.
  13. Luke Redgen
    Yeah, I can't see myself regretting my purchase. I do wish the Head-Fi thread didn't derail and be closed for reply though, the community aspect is a big appeal when committing to big purchases, would have been nice but oh well.

    Thanks for the suggestions, will add to my consideration list. Kinda anxious about going for another FiiO player but the X7 II has been getting some pretty positive reviews and I love the idea of interchangeable amplification modules -- I was stacking the X5 and a portable amp for a while but god is it a pain on public transport, so if for any reason I needed versatility I wouldn't have to resort to buying a separate amp and using a DAP as a transport.

    That said, I think I'm going to start another thread on here to ask for recommendations for a DAP or maybe a DAC/Amp combo to pair with the Z1R since that wasn't really the point of this thread and it's more likely to get the attention of a Z1R owner who might not know I'm asking.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  14. ctaxxxx
    One last note. New thread is here. It's missing the MDR in the title so it's harder to find.

  15. Luke Redgen
    Thanks for that. Strange that it doesn't show up on Google when I was looking for it. Also, still a shame that the death of the first thread seems to have made the new thread fairly inactive. I think a lot of people who might otherwise really appreciate the headphone might miss out because of a pretty silly debate over taste. Debates on taste by their very nature rarely if ever end in resolution and a conclusion. Guess it's human nature that money makes people's egos very defensive at times.
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