Portable closed back showdown.
Jul 25, 2011 at 8:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8


New Head-Fier
Jul 8, 2011
I have been searching around these forums for a while, and although there's a few threads about closed back phones it normally comes down to HD25s or Beyer DT1350. I used to have HD25s, and they were GREAT headphones, but they weren't VERY portable, and they are also very expensive.
SO! The time has come for me to get some closed back phones (the PX100s are so terrible on the underground in London!), and I need some advice, and this might also help as a reference for someone like me in the future, searching the forums.
I will just use headphones, unamped, with an iPod nano (a situation many commuters may en up in, regardless of setup at home), on the London Underground, buses etc. to listen to rock, folk, drone etc. and I have an ideal budget of around £50 (about $80) and an absolute max of £85 (about $140). I can't use IEMs as I have never found a comfortable pair, and also the extreme isolation is a bit too much for me, I need to at least slightly hear the traffic!
A bit of research has yielded this shortlist here... and I have annotated some concerns with each model. Which of these headphone models do you guys think is the best in terms of sq, portability, durability and isolation? I'm sure there isn't just one in the list that wind out on all fronts...
Sennheiser PX200-II - closed back sister of my beloved PX100, however reviews suggest that the bass response is bad, and overall sound quality not so good as PX100.
Aiaiai Tracks - good reviews for SQ, but reviews hint at (although don't explicitly say) that these are as leaky as open back phones, so I'd still be able to hear the tube and nothing else.
Jays C-Jays - Not as well reviewed as V-Jays, plus I have no idea how much leak in and out a "semi-closed" design give.
Beyerdynamic DTX300 p - they look light and very portable (good fold), but I have no idea about SQ. Possibly to middy for what I like (I am pretty into the PX100 sound, nice punchy bass. Highs don;t come through too well though).
Beyerdynamic DT235 - Not very portable, but good price, but how does the SQ match up considering the lack of portability?
Audio-Technica ATH-ES55 - VERY good reviews for SQ, however they are at the absolute top end of my budget, and furthermore they aren't very foldable. The main question for this set is are they robust enough to live an evening in a backpack without being folded up? Does the SQ of this set justify stretching my budget that far?
Anyway, I may have missed some competitors here, feel free to mention them and add them into the list, and then hopefully this thread will help other people looking for a headset for commuting without breaking the bank!
Thanks, in advance, for all your help.
Jul 25, 2011 at 9:28 AM Post #2 of 8
Poineer MJ171, JVC on ear and Klipsch Image ONE.
Jul 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM Post #3 of 8
I would think that C-Jays are the most expensive cans on your list. They'd also be the best sounding. V-Jays might be the model you're thinking of. ATH es55 can actually be had for cheap. So can the ES7 (which would be a decent portable with some isolation)
aiaiai tracks and me go waay back. No they dont isolate well, if at all. In a train, you'd be hearing bass + some treble + commute noises and THE TRAIN.
Do you want LOUD or discrete??
The panasonic RP-HTX7  or the superluxx hd651 are pretty decent, closed portables with retro looking style and colours.
Jul 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM Post #4 of 8
As for loud vs. discrete... Well primarily I don't want to hear the train! But I also don't want to wind up other passengers (as I have been the guy listening to leaky headphones and getting pissed off before!).
When you say the ATH-es55 can be had for cheap, how cheap is that? I feel like they might be my best option if I can bite the bullet on the price... The retro look of the panasonic and superluxx seems a little... tacky. That's the wrong word I guess, but they DO remind me of MASH or Dad's Army...
Jul 25, 2011 at 11:55 AM Post #6 of 8
loud vs discrete was meant for the physical looks...
loud ie flashy..  and discrete ie .. less flashy...
in Australia, the land of jacked up retail prices, one can get the es7 brand new for 99..  thats about 110 USD
and the es55 should be no more than 90 USD
this site has both
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM Post #7 of 8
I too am on a search for the right cans. After spending a lot of time reading various reviews I had it narrowed down to the Senn px-200ii or the Audio Tec. ATH-ES55. As the originator of this thread asked for help choosing among several models, I find it interesting that he chose to dismiss one of his choices (the px-200ii) out of hand due to some negative remarks he read.
Universal truth is as always, a rare commodity, but I report to have found one. Namely that there is no headphone that everyone likes.
One thing I have learned is that Impedance mismatches can have a great affect on performance. When I read a review that pans a unit for being thin or flat, or on the other hand lively but with a disturbing hiss, I look to the source device. That so many opinionated reviews neglect to mention this bit, significantly reduces their relevance.
I apologize here for re-stating the obvious.
Living in rural Thailand, it's impossible to just run to the local shop and compare. So, has anyone with a low impedance loving PmP with a fairly good PO such as my rockboxed Sansa Fuze V2 want to give us a hand here?
FYI my musical taste runs from Doc Watson to Pink Floyd, with Steely Dan in the middle. Soundstage, accuracy, musicality, are priorities. ABHH
Feb 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM Post #8 of 8

I completely forgot the sennheiser hd228/238 as well. What does anyone know about these guys?

They are very inefficient. Some complain about not getting enough volume when using a low powered portable. Based on the reviews I read, the sound quality seems quite mediocre, especially if you don't have a very powerful source.
The JVC HA-S650 is compact and has decent bass. It is only around $41. It has a warm balance like the PX100II, but is closed. It doesn't isolate that well though. It is very comfortable.
The JVC HAS160 "Flats" is a great bargain at around $13. It doesn't have as much detail or as much bass as the HAS650. It does sound quite neutral though. It has bass, but the bass is in proportion. It has very nice highs. It isolates even less than the HAS650 though.
The problem with the PX200II seems to be its high price. Its sound seems to be okay with decent bass, but not basshead bass. Overall balance of the PX200II is much more neutral than the warm PX100II.
The prices I gave are for Amazon's US site. I guess prices in the UK might be much higher.

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