The best bass reproduction available?
Mar 4, 2012 at 10:48 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17


New Head-Fier
Feb 12, 2012
Just purely out of interest I've been researching what the world considers the best bass reproduction available in a set of cans and haven't really found any one obvious candidate.
What would you guys say it is in you're experience? Price is not a factor (though about $1500 should be the limit to make it a possibly realistic aspiration!)
Also it would be nice if the mids, the highs and the overall sound was relatively nice in addition to the bass, but this is not essential. I am looking for deep, powerful, detailed and tight bass. The very best. Help me out?
Mar 4, 2012 at 11:31 PM Post #2 of 17
Audeze LCD-3, perhaps. Flat, flat to 10Hz.[]=3431

Oh, $1500 limit, then the LCD-2s.
Mar 5, 2012 at 2:09 AM Post #3 of 17

Audeze LCD-3, perhaps. Flat, flat to 10Hz.[]=3431
Oh, $1500 limit, then the LCD-2s.

How a headphone with THAT recessed highs can be considered as top tier and cost 2k$? 

Mar 5, 2012 at 2:12 AM Post #4 of 17

How a headphone with THAT recessed highs can be considered as top tier and cost 2k$? 

 Huge market out there for treble shy campers

 Sound stage will also not be a strong suit but if you like your mids and bass with a big warm signature then
 they may suit the bill.
Mar 5, 2012 at 2:27 AM Post #5 of 17
Setting aside the mids and highs for a minute headphones like the Sony XB series could be considered best at what they do which is produce copious amounts of deep bass. Detailed, not really, it's a bit monotonous. Turning the bass down a bit and bringing up the mids and highs you're looking at the Denon D2000 and D5000; still a bass-head phone with emphatic bass but usable for more genres. Turning the bass down further and bringing the mids and highs closer to a neutral level (while still remaining a bass-forward phone) would be the D7000; deep, powerful, detailed and tight bass.
Ultimately the more bass a headphone has the more the mids, highs and overall detail of the phone will suffer. It's all about finding your personal sweet spot.
Mar 5, 2012 at 7:49 AM Post #6 of 17


How a headphone with THAT recessed highs can be considered as top tier and cost 2k$? 

Same for Grados, How a headphone with THAT recessed bass can be considered as top tier and cost 1.6k$? :) I personally don't like Grados, Beyerdynamic headphones their trebles are annoying to my ears.
Mar 5, 2012 at 8:32 AM Post #7 of 17
This is a great topic for discussion, cause that's one thing I've had to be careful of since getting interested in headphones a few months ago. I can enjoy the type of boomy, deep, impressive bass that can really be fun with movies, but when it comes to music I'm not into that at all. I've seen a lot of threads on here where people talk about how this headphone or that one doesn't have enough bass, but what they're really wanting more of is an artificial low end "noise". My main speakers at home are Magnepan 3.6s, which are huge planar panels that can play down into the low 30s. Planar bass is very clean, crisp, and articulate and it'smore consistent with what you'd hear in a live setting from instruments and vocals that live in the low end. The bass I like is the kind that rounds out the bottom end of the overall presentation, not the sort that stands out like a sore thumb and takes over the music. Not that there is anything WRONG with that, it's just that I think on a forum like this where you have bass-heads and audiophiles alike, it's important to distinguish what you're after.
For example, the bass is one of the aspects of the Grado SR80is that I fell for immediately. It doesn't reach real low, but it's very well articulated and it sounds very natural to me. When I recently jumped up in the line a bit to the 325s, that quality remained except it was more of a good thing. A lot of people would say the Grado Prestige line doesn't have any bass at all, given what they're after. Recently there was a thread on here where someone was after bassier heaphones, and the consensus was that he should pick up some Denon 2000s. I've not heard those cans, but from what I understand they are, like the Grados, very well articulated in the low end and offer excellent, natural bass reproduction. But the OP of that thread wasn't happy at all with the bass he heard, cause he was after something different. He wanted bass that was closer to what you'd get with Beats, so even though the Denons have a stellar rep here, he just wasn't able to find what he was looking for.
There are headphones for just about any type of listening preference, but it's how each person defines what they're after that can make all the difference in threads like this.
Mar 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM Post #8 of 17
I had a D5000 and went to an HE-6. Planar Magnetic bass is really where it's at. The denons did have more bass, but the HE-6s have phenomenally clear bass. The Denon sound was a giant, cavernous rumble -- in a very good and pleasing way. The HE-6 aimed to be far more clear, providing powerful bass without so much resonance.   
I've also heard the LCD-3. That had better bass than the HE-6, by a small but appreciable amount. It really seems like there are just so many different approaches to bass presentation. Every top tier headphone does it differently.
Mar 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM Post #9 of 17
The best bass I heard was on my LCD-3 but in your budget the LCD-2 rev2 will be a great match, they are overall some of the best dynamic headphones monye can buy right now, just keep some money for proper amplification.
Mar 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM Post #10 of 17
I'll be "that guy" and advocate electrostats. I really liked the ESP/10, and really love the ESP/950. The bass is not like what you get from a dynamic; it's tight and well integrated, but it isn't going to smush your head. They also have other good qualities, like mids, highs, soundstage, things like that. Probably not for everyone though - it's a different take on "sound quality" for sure. Dropping out of the worlds of 'stats, a cheaper and very good "second place" would be the Sony SA5000; afaik these were just discontinued, so you'd probably have to act quick if you want them brand new. 
Not to offend anyone, but I don't feel the Denons are "at the table" with any of the three cans I listed in terms of bass quality; they certainly have more bass (and do it without ruining themselves), but they give up something on the top-end, and aren't the fastest ride on the planet. They're not bad at all, and if you need a balance between "boom" and "tight" they should be looked at very seriously; especially if the 'stat bass doesn't do it for you, and the Sony's "bright and tight" presentation drives you up a wall (or you need a closed can). My experience dictates that basically as you increase bass quantity/impact/slam, you have to give something up to get that (sound stage, bass quality, the midrange, etc); stats don't seem to do that, but they manage to completely depart from what a dynamic headphone sounds like (which may be a "give up" for some people, I don't know). There are headphones that walk the line here, and I'd consider the Denons to be among them (I'll also give a nod to their closest natural competition, the Kenwood KH-K1000). From what I've read, the Audio-Technica ATH-W1000X is also one of those cans (they certainly LOOK the part). Just something to think about. And again, I'm not trying to condemn anyone's choices - you ultimately have to decide what suits you. 
Mar 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM Post #11 of 17
The highest quality I've heard came from an Ultrasone Edition 8 that I demoed.  It was powerful and well-extended, yet didn't seem to intrude into and muddy up the mids in the slightest, though it did have an overall V-shape.  I liked the bass I heard from it better than even the LCD-3 and HE-6 that I demoed.  It was also superior to any of the cans I own, including the D5000 and Pro 900.
Edit:  Out of curiosity, I compared the graph for it at Headroom to a few others, and the graph looks completely wrong.  It has the exact same problem that the HFI-780 does, where the graph makes it look bass-shy, but my ears tell me otherwise.  A bit eerie too in that it has a similar sound signature to the HFI-780, but has more detail, clarity and resolution.
Mar 7, 2012 at 5:50 AM Post #13 of 17
Agree with what has been said about electrostats. For less than your budget you can get very good electrostats setup, namely the ESP 950 and some of the cheaper used Stax. 
It depends on what you want when you mean bass reproduction, do you want quality or quantity? How much quality you want? How much quantity you want? How tight do you want your bass to be?
Mind you I am Stax convert, but electrostats have some of the best speed, texture and bass definition I have ever heard. The Prat I get from the Stax 507, ooh, it's just simply lovely.
Other than electrostats, you might want to take a lot at the planar headphones from Audeze and Hifiman. I didn't have much experience with those except with the LCD-3, and it has some of the best bass slam and attack I have ever heard. Then there are also a bunch of dynamic cans to consider from. Do your research properly, start with something cheap first, then once you know what you really want you can jump from there.
Mar 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM Post #14 of 17

The highest quality I've heard came from an Ultrasone Edition 8 that I demoed.

I have Ed8 Palladiums and it does something funny. I think it has to do with the arrangement of S-Logic, because if I turn my head a bit, I can totally hear lots of bass (but only coming out of the side I am turning my head towards). Once I am back in neutral position, the bass just kind of .. disappears. I know it's there, and I need to "look" hard for it. I know what powerful bass sounds like (I also have the D5000). As a result of this, it makes the D5000 more fun to listen but. The Ed8s can't be touched for resolving power through crystal clear and mids and highs though.
Anyone else with Ed8s experiencing this? I am just wondering if it's maybe the shape of my head, the way my ears are built, etc... If I could only just a bit more of the bass, the Ed8 would easily be my favorite, but unfortunately, at the moment, if I was forced to only keep one, I'd keep the Denons, which cost 1/3 of the Ed8s.
Mar 8, 2012 at 2:03 PM Post #15 of 17


How a headphone with THAT recessed highs can be considered as top tier and cost 2k$? 

Look at their raw measurements.  Their treble is right in line.  On the contrary, most headphones are unnaturally bright.  It is also hard for the graph to tell you all of what the headphone's signature looks like.  Looking at graphs of the DT990 and DT880 and it looks as though both have near the same amount of treble, but people have said over and over again that the 990 has way more treble.

Users who are viewing this thread