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Help finding a good portable headphone

  1. Stewardess2
    I need a headphone for listening outdoors, mainly in open spaces such as the subway or cafes.
    Apparently would need to be closed-back, foldable if over-ear, small size if on-ear.

    Tried out a bunch of headphones today, and I found the Sennheiser HD569 to best suit my preferences in terms of sound. They were even and coherent, bass-to mid driven sound, which would be the sound I'm looking for. However, they were too bulky and could not fold so didn't fit my needs for portability.

    I'll put a list of headphones I tried if that helps.
    Basically all of these were inferior to the HD569 to me in sound alone
    ATH-m40x, m50x, m60x
    V-moda M-100, xs
    Sennheiser - momentum 2.0 around-ear, HD4.30g, pxc480
    Philips M1 mk2
    1More triple driver headphone
    Oppo PM-3

    Some impressions of the popular ones would be:
    ATH-M50x were decent, but too treble-hot, and it just didn't sound right, odd coloration of AT I suppose.
    V-moda M-100s had way too much bass. The xs was decent but lacked that last bit of treble extension.
    1more triple driver I felt nothing special, just a dull sound and the PM-3s I really liked the bass but mids and highs too laid back and dry.

    Of the ones I tried I liked the HD 4.30 and ATH-es770h the most.

    Budget not considering right now, just a rough limit to ~400$

    What would be the best alternative?
    There are so many headphones in this category(portable, closed) and pricepoint, I was curious if there were any more solid choices I could think of...
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  2. Rackhour
    I think you and I share somewhat similar tastes in sound signature, and hell, I’m in the same boat as you are, what with looking for portable headphones.

    I too have been visiting shops to try out different headphones. Some models I haven’t seen you mention, and I think may interest you:

    Sony MDR-A1
    Sony MDR-A1M2
    V-moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex

    The top three have cans that swivel, so the headphones can lay flat or fit in a bag like a book. The Codex folds up like the M100, and it actually is less of a bass cannon than the M100.
  3. takeitblue
    Why don't you try some active noise cancelling ones, like the Panasonic HD605N or Bose QC 35II?
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Audio Technica ATH-ESW9, find them used (or new) on eBay.
  5. Stewardess2
    Tried out the MDR-1AM2, Crossfade 2 Wireless and QC35 today. All three had really good sound, thanks for the recommendations.

    Especially the crossfade 2 wireless was the best among them, although bass was just on the brink of too much. V-moda products have really interesting bass, visceral up to the point that it rattles the whole enclosing yet mids and treble remain somewhat articulate.
    Also the headphones got my ears quite hot after 20~30 minutes of listening. These are not gonna get year-round use, I would expect.

    MDR-1AM2 had good balance but sub-bass felt boomy and overall sounded a little hollow/empty. I guess it's the combined effect of dry mids and treble emphasis.
    QC35 with active mode on the bass/mids seemed good, but highs felt a little peaky and sibilant. Also the treble felt a little weird, made my head kind of dizzy

    I've seen good reviews about the ESW9. But it's gonna be difficult to find a pair.
    From what I've heard, the ESW990h is the following version of ESW9 and sounds basically the same. ESW990h is a bit more laid-back than the ES770h which is the one I heard, and they're already a little laid-back for me, so probably not gonna meet my tastes.

    The ES770h is by far my choice if I were to pull the trigger. A little more mid-emphasis than I would want but other than that it sounds reall good.
    @Rackhour if you're looking for something similar you should definitely try these.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  6. Rackhour
    Good to know on the ES770h, thanks.

    I’m specifically looking for something to wear in the winter, so I wasn’t expecting to wear the Codex in the summer.
  7. Mhog55
    Try to find a pair of Denon ah-mm400. I think these fit quite well in all aspects of what you're looking for.
    If you can handle having something that doesn't fold, the Beoplay H6 is a wonderful headphone. Probably my favorite closed back I've owned.
    Unfortunately, both of these are discontinued, but still readily available for the time being. Maybe check out the reviews written on here.
  8. chimney189
    Audioquest NightOwl :)
  9. Stewardess2
    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    Been searching further and on the way I found out about the Thinksound On2, had a listen and bought it. Mids are a little leaner than on the HD569, but other than that sound is very well balanced with punchy bass and extended smooth highs, which is something hard to find in on-ears. Happy with it so far. Timbre is exceptional, has that clear sound of wooden housings.
  10. Mhog55
    Great pick up. Best on ears I've heard - very musical.

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