Most detailed headphones?
Nov 1, 2008 at 12:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 242

Seamless Sounds

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I've compiled a list of headphones that provide great detail and resolution for mixing, recording, transcribing, and monitoring. I hope this guide helps for anyone who is a detail freak like me, or is a music producer or a sound engineer. This is a rough start but I'll be adding more cans in the future including cheaper cans for those on a tight budget with the help of some members here. The prices range from used to new, but they're only approximations. If the prices are wrong, please help me correct them.

Circumaural / Full-Sized Headphones

Closed
Beyerdynamic DT150 [$200]
Ultrasone Proline 750 [$200-$400]
Beyerdynamic DT 48E [$300-$400]
Audio Technica ATH-W5000[$500-$700]
Stax 4070 [$1350-$1500]
Sony MDR-R10 [Discontinued]

Open
Ultrasone Proline 2500 [$190-$275]
AKG K701 [$200-$250]
Sennheiser HD600 [$200-$300]
Sony MDR-SA5000 [$300-$380]
Stax SR-404 [$325-$425]
Ergo AMT 2 [$1100-$1400]
Stax SR-007 Omega II [$1500-$2000]
AKG K1000 [Discontinued]
Sony Qualia 010 [Discontinued]
Sennheiser HE90 "Orpheus" [Discontinued]

Semi-closed
Beyerdynamic DT 880 2005 250ohms [$200-$300]

Supraural Headphones


Closed
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II [$130-$200]
Ultrasone Edition 9 [$1050-$1500]

In-Ear Monitors (IEM)

Etymotic ER-4S [$140-$180]
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 12:50 AM Post #3 of 242

MaloS

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If you have moneys, get Omega 2 - otherwise, you need to talk budget here.

If I had 200 bucks and had to pick a can that is easiest to transcribe with, I'd get Sennheiser HD 25-1 II. If I was looking for proper tone - I'd get HD600. If I wanted a studio can, I'd get Ultrasone Pro 750 (that's a bit above 200)...

K701 would probably be the best combination of various properties - but you will need an amp to drive it for things to be decent.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 1:31 AM Post #8 of 242

Zuerst

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MaloS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Andrew, Zuerst - u both need to hear a high-end E-stat...


I heard an Omega 2 powered by a Singlepower ES1 off of an Acoustic Arts CD Player I
confused.gif
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 2:14 AM Post #11 of 242

fraseyboy

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ER4p/s.

My ER6i's are more detailed than anything I own. It's really amazing. You can focus on any instrument in the music and just listen to that.

ER4p/s is the next model up so presumably has even more detail.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 3:00 AM Post #12 of 242

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MaloS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Andrew, Zuerst - u both need to hear a high-end E-stat...


Quote:

Originally Posted by Zuerst /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I heard an Omega 2 powered by a Singlepower ES1 off of an Acoustic Arts CD Player I
confused.gif



Not to derail the thread further, but I've heard a lot of electrostat headphones and still believe that the Qualia 010 beats them all in terms of the ability to extract raw detail. The electrostat headphones that I'm most familiar with are the ones I own: HE90, O2, 4070, 404. I think the K-1000 are right up there in terms of details, and the R10 are not far behind this lot.

On a more limited budget, ER4S is worth looking at, and from everything I've read (haven't actually heard my pair yet) the Beyer DT-48E are detail freaks.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 3:06 AM Post #13 of 242

Andrew_WOT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Acix /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Mmm, interesting.
How would you compare W5000 vs K702 in the studio...



There is quite a gap between two. Not to say that K702 does not deliver good amount of details, but to my ears they fall behind W5000, Sony, and Beyers.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 3:25 AM Post #14 of 242

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT /img/forum/go_quote.gif
There is quite a gap between two. Not to say that K702 does not deliver good amount of details, but to my ears they fall behind W5000, Sony, and Beyers.


Hmmm... could be true. I could also be a case of recessed mids with the K702 (assuming that they're the same as the K701, or so I've read) and forward mids with the W5000. I've always felt that midrange emphasis (or lack thereof) has a big impact on how the mind's eye perceived the level of detail that a pair of headphones is delivering.

Whereas if you just listen for details and nothing else (i.e., test listening, not enjoyment listening), you'll sometimes be surprised at the outcomes. Note that I've not done this with the K701 and W5000, but think it would be an interesting experiment.

But one can also make the point that perception is reality. So if a pair of headphones with recessed mids makes you think they are less detailed than a pair with forward mids, then you may not be picking up on the details that are actually being presented in any event.

I'm not sure if any of this will make sense, but I do think there is some truth to it with certain headphones; some fool you into thinking they are more detailed than they really are (mind you, the ER4S are in fact detailed, but the upper register emphasis makes you think they're even more detailed than they really are), and some may fool you into thinking they are less detailed than they really are (the K701 is actually one of the examples that comes to mind because their overall presentation is somewhat lackluster since nothing really stands out, yet they do produce quite a bit of detail when placed under the sonic microscope - although I'll readily admit that they're still not kings in this regard).
 

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