Rank the Headphones that You Own.
Jun 29, 2019 at 8:10 AM Post #6,677 of 8,131
It was a while ago I made a list. Purchased a new headphone and sold off a bunch.

1. HD800S - Big sound and soundstage. Impeccable imaging and timbre. Clear and detailed. When you get used to these you don't want to listen to another headphone. Very good for Jazz, Classical and Acoustic and mainly well mastered music. Many would say they are a little thin sounding. I disagree. They are just picky with the source. Feed them with high quality music and you are in for a treat.
2. AH-D7200 - Good quality bass though not as good quality as the HD800S but with more punch and impact. Bass doesn't overpower the mids, and the highs are on the friendly side not fatiguing. Some would say the highs are a little bit rolled off but to me they are just perfect. Good detail. Very good soundstage and imaging for a closed-back.
3. HD599 - Reminds me of HD650 as far as smoothness but with a little more sparkle at the top end which I like.
4. MDR-7506 - A production tool. Can come across as way too bright for casual listening. Belongs in a studio environment.
Last edited:
Jul 4, 2019 at 8:26 AM Post #6,679 of 8,131
At this point, I've decided only to keep headphones around that I'm incredibly impressed with... so it's quite hard for me to do this. But...

(I'm pretty much a classical listener 98% of the time, btw.)

1. Meze Empyrean: Perfect balance of analytical and luxuriant warmth to me. Big, open, involving sound and incredibly comfortable. Laid-back, but not TOO laid-back. I use the velour pads exclusively.

2. Focal Utopia: The ultimate precision tool; a surgeon's scalpel. Sometimes a bit too bright for me, but amazingly detailed and engaging when I'm in the mood.

3. Sony MDR-Z1R: Even more laid-back and luxurious than the Empyrean. Detail is still there, but it's toned down. Almost as comfortable as the Empyrean, too. I feel that these sound a lot like what I hear when I go to a classical concert, too, which always turns out to be a much warmer sound experience than I had previously imagined.

4. Sennheiser HD820: Similar to the Utopia in that it reveals all, but more diffuse and pulled back. Also, a bit more low-end impact than the Utopia. Fidgety fit for me, but I usually end up forgetting about how it feels about 5 minutes in and just enjoy. Gorgeous, too!

5. Hyland Saturn One: One of the best deals in this hobby, IMO. HUGE soundstage and incredibly comfortable. Detail retrieval is quite impressive for the price. That it even compares to the aforementioned is spectacular (and they do!).

6. Grado PS500e: Modded to the extreme -- BeautifulAudio detachable cable mod, two different headband systems (from lesser headphone models) that I interchange as desired, g-cushions. Even pre-mods, my favorite Grado (I've owned SR80e, RS1e, GS2000e, PS1000e) for it's smoother sound and excellent low-end response. Nearly on the same level as the Saturn One.

Have pity on me. I'm only a teacher and have been pulled way too deep into this hobby. Haha
Last edited:
Jul 4, 2019 at 8:39 AM Post #6,680 of 8,131
Big Ones: Ranking from best to less best.

1) Sony MDR-Z1R
Fairly easy to listen to and laid back with just enough excitement to keep stuff interesting. Really the best headphone I have found so far?

2) Sony MDR-Z7

Slightly disjointed but in a fun and wonderfully wrong way. Used amps and headphone-cables to help this reach my electronic genre end-game.

3) Denon AHD7000

My old favorite updated and passed up with newer headphones.

4) AKG-k701

Probably not my tone but complementary to what I normally use and still totally interesting after all these years?

Little Ones: Ranking from best to worse.

1) Sony IER-Z1R
The long lost unicorn, my favorite of all. Breathtaking and fun.....I’m all done............for now.

2) Noble K10 Encore
Always different and fun.Seems I fall in love with this over and over? Technically proficient.

3) Fearless S6 Rui
The best deal I’ve ever come across. While not perfect, it’s more like an $899 IEM than a $389 IEM. Lovely capable and somewhat complete being both midcentric laid-back and warm......it seems to do a lot?

4) Sony XBA-Z5
The stepping stone to the IER-Z1R, it’s very different from everything hence I keep it around.


I listen to this way more than I should for a $199 IEM. It’s exciting and intense.

6) qdc Anole V3

Again another very different IEM I’m always excited to hear.

7) Sony XBA-N3
Very much a sleeper in my collection with another unique tone.

8) Magaosi K5
Much like a k701 in an IEM.


Very different.Learing to like it?
Last edited:
Jul 4, 2019 at 2:38 PM Post #6,683 of 8,131
I have gone mobile for the time being soooo.....

1. Auglamour R8. They fit me ears perfectly so I just EQ the hell out of them to get good sound.
2. TY HI-Z 32ohm. I bent the jack on my EMX500 and it took its place. It actually makes streaming from Google Music worthwhile.
3. HE 150 PRO. If my phone could feed its hunger for power,I would use it more but I only use it with my Ibasso DX50 with and without the iFi iCan amp.
4. Tribit Xfree. Bluetooth headphone that does the job for housework and even did well on a 5hr flight without noise-canceling capabilities.
Jul 6, 2019 at 6:19 AM Post #6,688 of 8,131
1. Focal Elex.
2. Oppo PM3
3. HD6XX (sold)

Pretty much sold all my other headphones and I've owned a lot over the years. Elex just ticks so many boxes with my taste, HD800S were pretty limited in terms of what I enjoyed on them.
Jul 6, 2019 at 6:25 AM Post #6,689 of 8,131
HD800S were pretty limited in terms of what I enjoyed on them.

I kind of agree with you. One can't just put HD800S on and start listening to whatever you want to listen to. You need really well mastered music to enjoy the HD800S. That's why I kept the HD599 so I can listen to anything without worrying about the quality of the recording. Almost anything sounds good with the HD599. I also prefer them over cans like HD650.
Jul 7, 2019 at 3:33 AM Post #6,690 of 8,131
Re-revised list (in order of preference, order changes regularly based on the music that I'm listening to):

1. Custom Grado build (Walnut cups from Fleasbaby, Nhoord Red ver.2 drivers, Grado L-cushions, Sennheiser HD800 type jacks for detachable cable, Shipibo Audio slim gimbals & rod blocks w/ black ceramic coating finish, Turbulent Labs padded leather headband)

2. beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro w/ Balanced pads

3. Custom Grado build (early 90's Grado SR325 cups w/ no buttons, Symphones Magnum V8 drivers, Grado L-chushions, SMC coax jacks for detachable cable, Concord Custom Lab polished aluminum gimbals & rod blocks, Turbulent Labs padded leather headband)

4. beyerdynamic Amiron Home

5. Custom Grado build (Rholupat Carica Mahogany cups, Nhoord Red ver.2 drivers, Grado L-cushions, Sennheiser HD800 type jacks for detachable cable, Shipibo Audio slim gimbals & rod blocks w/ bead blasted aluminum finish, Turbulent Labs padded leather headband)

6. beyerdynamic DT250 / 250 ohm

System most often used with the aforementioned headphones:
Foobar2000 on Windows 10 64-bit PC -> Schiit Eitr USB-to-S/PDIF interface -> Schiit Modi Multibit DAC -> Schiit Saga preamp -> Schiit Loki Mini EQ -> Schiit Lyr 3 headphone amp

When away from home I use the following rig exclusively:
HiBy R3 music player (balanced out) -> LZ-A4 in-ear monitors (gunmetal front filters / black back filters)
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread