The Closed-Back Headphone Thread (Plus Comparisons & Reviews)
Jun 19, 2021 at 6:32 PM Post #1,981 of 2,507

arielext

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Could you please suggest a decent alternative to Aeon 2 Closed with similar signature, still portable enough to take for a walk, even long one (so sturdy and ideally even foldable) with good isolation and decent soundstage depth but less power hungry?

I am looking for a side-grade for my Cascades with more neutral mid-centric sound and natural timbre, and liked A2C a lot compared to WP900, AP2000Ti, D5200 and Elegia but my L&P W2 is too weak to drive them properly even high gain balanced.

Initially I liked WP900 as the most portable, light and comfortable compared to the rest of the pack. They sounded very fun and toe-tapping for some tracks but quite fatiguing for a long listening session being too much V-shaped.

Compared to them AP2000Ti sounded much more neutral and natural with nice level of details and decent speed though they definitely lacked some rumble in lows, are less portable, and shiny metal cups are fingerprint magnets.

D5200 felt like a home sneakers compared to both providing comfortable but much less detailed and overly warm sound, and Elegia was just nothing to write home about being the least interesting overall with weird timbre which surprised me after reading several reviews praising its acoustic and vocal performance.

I've heard good words about Celestee but haven't had a chance to listen to them yet, any more options?
Although it will take some time/effort to get: considered a Drop DT177x go? The DT177x go is less aggressive then the DT 1770, at 32 ohm easily driven and quite portable (though not comparable to the æon 2 closed/noire.
 
Jun 20, 2021 at 3:37 AM Post #1,982 of 2,507

vanez1985

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Could you please suggest a decent alternative to Aeon 2 Closed with similar signature, still portable enough to take for a walk, even long one (so sturdy and ideally even foldable) with good isolation and decent soundstage depth but less power hungry?

I am looking for a side-grade for my Cascades with more neutral mid-centric sound and natural timbre, and liked A2C a lot compared to WP900, AP2000Ti, D5200 and Elegia but my L&P W2 is too weak to drive them properly even high gain balanced.

Initially I liked WP900 as the most portable, light and comfortable compared to the rest of the pack. They sounded very fun and toe-tapping for some tracks but quite fatiguing for a long listening session being too much V-shaped.

Compared to them AP2000Ti sounded much more neutral and natural with nice level of details and decent speed though they definitely lacked some rumble in lows, are less portable, and shiny metal cups are fingerprint magnets.

D5200 felt like a home sneakers compared to both providing comfortable but much less detailed and overly warm sound, and Elegia was just nothing to write home about being the least interesting overall with weird timbre which surprised me after reading several reviews praising its acoustic and vocal performance.

I've heard good words about Celestee but haven't had a chance to listen to them yet, any more options?
Just realized that (thanks to being in Russia) Kennerton Gjallarhorn is actually cheaper here than e.g. D7200, LCD2C, T5 Gen3, Aeon 2C or AP2000Ti and just $200 more expensive than WP900, so gonna try both OG and JM next week.

They are definitely by no means portable but sound sig could be really interesting for home/office use based on what I've read here.
 
Jun 20, 2021 at 5:12 AM Post #1,983 of 2,507

P007

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Just realized that (thanks to being in Russia) Kennerton Gjallarhorn is actually cheaper here than e.g. D7200, LCD2C, T5 Gen3, Aeon 2C or AP2000Ti and just $200 more expensive than WP900, so gonna try both OG and JM next week.

They are definitely by no means portable but sound sig could be really interesting for home/office use based on what I've read here.

To be honest, there aren't many full-size headphones discussed here are truly 'portable'. You can get slim cases at best for most.

I've got the Aeon 2N, and while they fold up wonderfully small you still look like your working for air traffic control when they are on. They do much better than most people say even straight from a phone, so I wouldn't discount them if you are on the go and have a smaller dac/amp that bumps up the current, but is less than a desktop amp.
 
Jun 20, 2021 at 7:10 AM Post #1,984 of 2,507

vanez1985

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To be honest, there aren't many full-size headphones discussed here are truly 'portable'. You can get slim cases at best for most.

I've got the Aeon 2N, and while they fold up wonderfully small you still look like your working for air traffic control when they are on. They do much better than most people say even straight from a phone, so I wouldn't discount them if you are on the go and have a smaller dac/amp that bumps up the current, but is less than a desktop amp.
That's okay as I'm fine taking my Cascades outdoors which are roughly same size with A2C and WP900.
I liked Aeon 2 sound quite a lot though my dongles like Lotoo PAW S1 and L&P W2 both are unable to drive them properly with a volume sufficient to make street noise completely disappear.
 
Jun 20, 2021 at 7:19 AM Post #1,985 of 2,507

HipHopScribe

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That's okay as I'm fine taking my Cascades outdoors which are roughly same size with A2C and WP900.
I liked Aeon 2 sound quite a lot though my dongles like Lotoo PAW S1 and L&P W2 both are unable to drive them properly with a volume sufficient to make street noise completely disappear.

Have you thought about IEMs? Not to sound like a worrywart, but turning up the volume to drown out loud noises is a good way to unknowingly pass into hearing damage territory. The L&P W2 isn't that wimpy, so you're probably listening pretty loud to max it out
 
Jun 20, 2021 at 7:54 AM Post #1,986 of 2,507

P007

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That's okay as I'm fine taking my Cascades outdoors which are roughly same size with A2C and WP900.
I liked Aeon 2 sound quite a lot though my dongles like Lotoo PAW S1 and L&P W2 both are unable to drive them properly with a volume sufficient to make street noise completely disappear.
Have you thought about IEMs? Not to sound like a worrywart, but turning up the volume to drown out loud noises is a good way to unknowingly pass into hearing damage territory. The L&P W2 isn't that wimpy, so you're probably listening pretty loud to max it out


I would second this....and suggest maybe some noise cancelling features are what you might look for? You might sacrifice on sound quality a bit, but be able to listen at much lower volumes! If you are listening in noisy environments, there are few high-end closed backs that truly isolate that kind of sound. Really good not to go deaf too early....enjoy those tunes as long as possible.

I have found that certain albums have required more juice to get up to listenable volumes (e.g. Justice - Cross) and even on my desktop amp I can really crank the volume for some choral recordings....where the same volume levels on another album would make my ears bleed.
 
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Jun 20, 2021 at 8:14 AM Post #1,987 of 2,507

vanez1985

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Have you thought about IEMs? Not to sound like a worrywart, but turning up the volume to drown out loud noises is a good way to unknowingly pass into hearing damage territory. The L&P W2 isn't that wimpy, so you're probably listening pretty loud to max it out
I have a number of IEMs as you can see in my signature, they are just not that convenient sometimes when you need to talk with people / answer calls occasionally + my ear channels are getting tired of these after 4+ hours so I'm in search of natural sounding closed cans I can take with me everywhere without compromising IEMs SQ.

Cascades are not that bad at all though I'm looking for a replacement with more natural, musical and mid-centric (not V-shaped, not a bass cannon or clinical treble) sound without compromising their technicalities and (ideally) portability. Something being equally great both on the go, doing house chores or enjoying glass of whisky and a cigar in the evening.

Aeon 2 Closed was the closest to fill this gap I've ever heard, if only it was 4-5 dB more sensitive or W2 has 30-40 mW more output power.
 
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Jun 21, 2021 at 2:49 PM Post #1,988 of 2,507

designbykai

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Hey guys, I've been reading through this thread quite a bit and been doing a lot of research on current mid-high end closed backs ($1k and below)
I'm after something to compliment/contrast my Fostex THX00 Purple Hearts which I absolutely love and don't think I'll ever get rid of (I'm thinking of getting some Lawton mods, unfortunately I have the first version with non-detachable cable :frowning2: )

So, something more neutral, with deep bass extension and a lot of detail. And something with good passive isolation (something Fostex sucks at, they're more semi-open). I want to be able to use them for some music production/mixing and recording podcasts/voiceovers etc., but also music listening enjoyment (less work daily driver perhaps more dedicated listening sessions).

To be honest I've kind of got my heart set on the Focal Celestee, they just look so beautiful and seem to tick all the boxes I'm after.. I'm really keen to hear the Focal house sound and dynamic punch for myself. But all the options I'm considering are:
- Focal Celestee $900
- Audeze LCD2 Closed Back $900 - deep bass, planar, heavy, dislike new version Audeze logo on cups)
- Beyerdynamic T5P 3rd Gen $1000 - boring looking, flat sound sig, detailed, I used to love Beyer DT1350 Tesla
- Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire $900
- Denon D7200 $1000 - I feel like they could be too similar to Fostex in sound and what about isolation?
- Beyerdynamic DT177X - $375 (plus import duty possible to canada for me) - waaay cheaper than the rest, still seem really good???
- Focal Listen Pro - $299 - good for the price but I hear reports that they are shy on bass?
- AKG K361 / K371 - ok really low tier in price and build quality compared to the rest but seems like they do the job for studio use...

Regardless, $1k would be the most I've spent on headphones and I don't really want to go above that.
Although technically Ultrasone Signature DJs are 1k+ closed backs, I got them for a good used-price many years ago - and although I love them I will probably sell them soon because I never use them. They leak too much with the custom pads I put on and they are too Vshaped / aren't suitable for mixing/production stuff. Too similar in sound sig to my Fostex.

I'd appreciate any thoughts/comparisons regarding my list! And is there anything worthwhile that I'm missing in mid-tier $500-600 range ?
I was always interested in the Oppo PM series planars too. My friend who got the Drop Panda's likes them but had some QC issues on multiple pairs...
 
Jun 21, 2021 at 3:13 PM Post #1,989 of 2,507

arielext

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I always enjoyed the DT1770 pro (another one for your list :wink:) but I let them go due to comfort issues and no balanced option (less prio then the first one ofc). Ever since I have gone through quite a lot of closed backs. I've returned to the DT177X GO which fixes both issues for me: the clamp is less and it has a 4pin mini-xlr connector which allows for balanced operation. The DT177X go is also slightly less aggressive, which is less fatiguing for longer listening sessions. I have had DCA æon 2 noire but didn't like it's comfort/clamp but really enjoyed the fun sound signature that closely follows the harman-target (which the K361/K371 do as well). I have owned the Audeze LCD2 CB for 2 days before returning it due to their weight; you need to be able to carry that weight or it's a real pain. From your list I cannot directly comment on the Celestee but I have had my share of Focal headphones in the past (Elegia, Clear and Stellia). All of them are OK but I always get the feeling they are worth way less then what they ask for.

My money would go to the DT177X GO; which it did.
 
Jun 21, 2021 at 4:26 PM Post #1,991 of 2,507

P007

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Hey guys, I've been reading through this thread quite a bit and been doing a lot of research on current mid-high end closed backs ($1k and below)
I'm after something to compliment/contrast my Fostex THX00 Purple Hearts which I absolutely love and don't think I'll ever get rid of (I'm thinking of getting some Lawton mods, unfortunately I have the first version with non-detachable cable :frowning2: )

So, something more neutral, with deep bass extension and a lot of detail. And something with good passive isolation (something Fostex sucks at, they're more semi-open). I want to be able to use them for some music production/mixing and recording podcasts/voiceovers etc., but also music listening enjoyment (less work daily driver perhaps more dedicated listening sessions).

To be honest I've kind of got my heart set on the Focal Celestee, they just look so beautiful and seem to tick all the boxes I'm after.. I'm really keen to hear the Focal house sound and dynamic punch for myself. But all the options I'm considering are:
- Focal Celestee $900
- Audeze LCD2 Closed Back $900 - deep bass, planar, heavy, dislike new version Audeze logo on cups)
- Beyerdynamic T5P 3rd Gen $1000 - boring looking, flat sound sig, detailed, I used to love Beyer DT1350 Tesla
- Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire $900
- Denon D7200 $1000 - I feel like they could be too similar to Fostex in sound and what about isolation?
- Beyerdynamic DT177X - $375 (plus import duty possible to canada for me) - waaay cheaper than the rest, still seem really good???
- Focal Listen Pro - $299 - good for the price but I hear reports that they are shy on bass?
- AKG K361 / K371 - ok really low tier in price and build quality compared to the rest but seems like they do the job for studio use...

Regardless, $1k would be the most I've spent on headphones and I don't really want to go above that.
Although technically Ultrasone Signature DJs are 1k+ closed backs, I got them for a good used-price many years ago - and although I love them I will probably sell them soon because I never use them. They leak too much with the custom pads I put on and they are too Vshaped / aren't suitable for mixing/production stuff. Too similar in sound sig to my Fostex.

I'd appreciate any thoughts/comparisons regarding my list! And is there anything worthwhile that I'm missing in mid-tier $500-600 range ?
I was always interested in the Oppo PM series planars too. My friend who got the Drop Panda's likes them but had some QC issues on multiple pairs...
Do you have the opportunity to try anything nearby?
 
Jun 21, 2021 at 4:51 PM Post #1,992 of 2,507

designbykai

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I always enjoyed the DT1770 pro (another one for your list :wink:) but I let them go due to comfort issues and no balanced option (less prio then the first one ofc). Ever since I have gone through quite a lot of closed backs. I've returned to the DT177X GO which fixes both issues for me: the clamp is less and it has a 4pin mini-xlr connector which allows for balanced operation. The DT177X go is also slightly less aggressive, which is less fatiguing for longer listening sessions. I have had DCA æon 2 noire but didn't like it's comfort/clamp but really enjoyed the fun sound signature that closely follows the harman-target (which the K361/K371 do as well). I have owned the Audeze LCD2 CB for 2 days before returning it due to their weight; you need to be able to carry that weight or it's a real pain. From your list I cannot directly comment on the Celestee but I have had my share of Focal headphones in the past (Elegia, Clear and Stellia). All of them are OK but I always get the feeling they are worth way less then what they ask for.

My money would go to the DT177X GO; which it did.
Hmm yeah that's what I gathered from what I'd ready about DT1770Pro vs DT177X, the X sound much better for my preferences!
Tempting especially given how much cheaper they are than Focals etc. I'm quite interested in the Focal Elex as well but obviously not closed. A lot of reviewers seem to say they are also amazing value and compete with super expensive Focals. A common thing with Drop products (you just don't get the fancy Focal case etc).

There is someone selling one used for $450CAD which would save me the import duty. Whereas if I buy Focal Celestee new that's $1300 plus 12% tax. $1456.
More than 3X the price and are they 3X better than the beyer's ? I somehow doubt it... just different tuning, more luxury etc. I do wish I could compare. But with the Beyers being affordable I could always buy both and sell/return what I don't like.
I sincerely think the best closed back choice for, you should be the Kennerton JM Édition even though it is slightly above your budget, if you can you should try it, I am sure you will be surprised…
Interesting I hadn't heard of them! Will check them out
Do you have the opportunity to try anything nearby?
Hmmm I'm not sure, I could look into it. There's a good headphone store in the city but not sure what covid protocols for demo's are etc.
 
Jun 21, 2021 at 5:31 PM Post #1,993 of 2,507

vanez1985

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I have a number of IEMs as you can see in my signature, they are just not that convenient sometimes when you need to talk with people / answer calls occasionally + my ear channels are getting tired of these after 4+ hours so I'm in search of natural sounding closed cans I can take with me everywhere without compromising IEMs SQ.

Cascades are not that bad at all though I'm looking for a replacement with more natural, musical and mid-centric (not V-shaped, not a bass cannon or clinical treble) sound without compromising their technicalities and (ideally) portability. Something being equally great both on the go, doing house chores or enjoying glass of whisky and a cigar in the evening.

Aeon 2 Closed was the closest to fill this gap I've ever heard, if only it was 4-5 dB more sensitive or W2 has 30-40 mW more output power.
I had a short listening session for Kennerton Gjallarhorn both stock and JM edition on W2 today: long story short, KG JM are the best sounding closed headphones I've had a chance to listen so far, just marvellous and great with W2. Totally not portable though but I haven't heard any closed-back HPs sounding even close to these in ~$1k tier so am going to save some funds and make myself a birthday present in a few months.

Meanwhile I decided to get something portable and cheap yet musical and detailed and bought MSR7b for just $150: what a treat for intimate acoustic and vocal-centric tracks! They are definitely not the best for modern compressed music, but Chris Isaac's voice in Wicked Games or Hans Theessink's in St. James Infirmary are astonishing on these dirt cheap cans, much better than on bass-heavy Cascades for my ears.
 
Jun 22, 2021 at 2:23 AM Post #1,994 of 2,507

P007

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Hmm yeah that's what I gathered from what I'd ready about DT1770Pro vs DT177X, the X sound much better for my preferences!
Tempting especially given how much cheaper they are than Focals etc. I'm quite interested in the Focal Elex as well but obviously not closed. A lot of reviewers seem to say they are also amazing value and compete with super expensive Focals. A common thing with Drop products (you just don't get the fancy Focal case etc).

There is someone selling one used for $450CAD which would save me the import duty. Whereas if I buy Focal Celestee new that's $1300 plus 12% tax. $1456.
More than 3X the price and are they 3X better than the beyer's ? I somehow doubt it... just different tuning, more luxury etc. I do wish I could compare. But with the Beyers being affordable I could always buy both and sell/return what I don't like.

Interesting I hadn't heard of them! Will check them out

Hmmm I'm not sure, I could look into it. There's a good headphone store in the city but not sure what covid protocols for demo's are etc.
Definitely recommend trying what you can.....as whatever the opinions on here you will find different from your in-person experience. Comfort is also #1....for obvious reasons.

I had also been looking earlier at the DT177x, and would have saved 6 months of looking around to be probably 95% as satisfied as with my current headphones (A2C noire) for half the price. The returns on $1500 cad compared to your $450 will not be worth it.
 
Jun 22, 2021 at 4:21 AM Post #1,995 of 2,507

SHAMuuu

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Very interesting design! I wish their cups were like the DX1000. That would be something :D
 

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