The Closed-Back Headphone Thread (Plus Comparisons & Reviews)
Sep 17, 2021 at 6:19 PM Post #2,461 of 6,385
Even without listening to the Stealth, I can accurately envision what you are trying to describe - it's the classic Dan Clark Audio house sound, just a more refined version, perhaps?

I've heard most of the Dan Clark Audio headphones, from the original AEON Flow to the VOCE. All of them have one thing in common, and that's a distinct lack of engagement and dynamism vis-à-vis their contemporaries on the market. With the exception of the AEON 2 Closed, they generally sound.. bland, for lack of a better term.

I am sure the Stealth is good-to-great in the technical department - they should, for the price that it's commanding. However, if the tuning is insipid and boring to a fault, then it's not my cup of tea.
That's a common opinion but I don't really find my AEON RTs lacking in this area even relative to my Audezes and HE-500. They are a bit flatter, yes, but there is still plenty of dynamic and 'bump'.
 
Sep 17, 2021 at 9:29 PM Post #2,462 of 6,385
They are about equal in this regard; both isolate noise fairly well.

Out of curiosity, are you looking to get one or the other? Or, are you looking at an upgrade from the AEON 2 Closed?

Thanks for the info. Isolation is critical for my situation and preferences (I enjoy having a nice quiet background, without hearing any crickets, birds chirping, rain, etc). So if the VC actually had more isolation than my Aeon 2 Closed, I would be motivated to upgrade.

I'm currently using a Hugo 2 as DAC and amp, and generally I think the synergy with the A2C is good. The cross feed elevates the bass slightly, which is great for metal, electronica, stuff like that. But the treble sometimes is sharp/hard/bright, a little much. Everyone says the TT2 gives smoother (or more pleasant, less fatiguing) treble than the Hugo 2, as well as more detail, bigger soundstage, so that's what I'm saving up for right now. I think the TT2 will have better synergy with the A2C due to the "easier listen" treble presentation. Plus I feel like the Hugo 2 doesn't quite give the A2C a big enough soundstage for orchestral music.

I may end up getting a Verite Closed eventually, but I think the Aeon 2 Closed is going to be pretty satisfying with a TT2, so that may do me for awhile. One factor is, I bought an extremely expensive upgrade cable for my A2C, basically in order to find out for myself if it would really sound better and... it actually does. My A2C is pumping out substantially more detail than it did with the Vivo cable I got with it originally, and if the TT2 can take it up another notch, my ears will be very pleased.
 
Sep 17, 2021 at 11:33 PM Post #2,463 of 6,385
Hello,
Any recommendation for a 300€ closed back headphone?
Really interested in the 99 classic.
Most of the time I listen EDM, rock/pop, jazz and sometimes classic.

I can go around 300/400€, the Elegia is also a good option.
I'll use the closed back on daily, outdoor and indoor. So I need a confortable headphone without much sound leak

Setup:
Bifrost 2 - UD503
Little dot Mk3 SE

If you can afford it, the Neumann NDH20 is one of the most comfortable, well built, and most isolating closed backs out there. It has an overall pretty neutral sound, but the bass is just slightly elevated, and has enough slam and sub bass to be fun without any fatigue. Detail for a 500 USD headphone is very good, and soundstage and imaging for a midrange closed back are fantastic. I've worn that thing for 6 hours straight, no comfort issues, but people with unusually large ears apparently have problems with it.
 
Sep 18, 2021 at 5:03 AM Post #2,465 of 6,385
Ok, I also can go around 450€ (500$) used
Then I can also recommend the Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro for a much brighter Sound signature.

Personally I prefer the Meze despite the price difference.

Since you said used is fine as well, maybe you luck out and find an Audeze LCD-2 closed back.

Others might chime in and recommend some Kennerton models which could be had in used condition. I never heard them myself but read good things
 
Sep 18, 2021 at 6:15 PM Post #2,467 of 6,385
@Malevolent , you know that I have the Denon 9200s and I briefly tried (during trial period) the Beyer T 1.3.

I love the Denon clean bass, but sometimes I would like a little more impact in some albums or genres. When I tried the Beyer T 1.3 I found the bass very impactful in some of my preffered metal bands (I loved to listen to Metallica, Stratovarius or Nightwish with them... but with other bands the sound was awful).

I would like to know how do you compare the Fostex TH 900 bass with the 9200s and T 1.3 or T5 (that you've tried more than the new T1 and I suppose they share a similar register)?

Some people say me that owning the Denons and the Fostex will be redundant, but I don't know... And you know is very difficult for me to try headphones (only in trial periods, but I don't want to abuse of that).

I wonder if I will have a similar experience (regarding only to bass) with the TH 900 as the one I had with the T 1.3.

Thanks, my friend :beerchug:
I actually own both the TH 900 and the 9200s. From my initial impression of the 2, I have had them both for about 2 weeks so far. They have, at least to my ears, similar but different sound signatures. I hope to post a better comparison later on once I have had more time to listen to them.

The 9200s have better crisper highs. The instrument separation and clarity is also a little better on the 9200s over the TH900. I found the mids, especially the mid bass, can be a little bloated on the TH900. The sound stage on the TH900s is a little bit larger than the 9200s. As far as the bass goes the TH900s have more in all areas over the 9200s not massive amount but noticeably more. I would say a 10%-15% increase over the 9200s. I found the bass of the 9200s has a more impactful quality, especially in the sub bass, compared to the more aggressive bass of the th900s.

Personally I find the 9200s to be a more technical headphone with great bass and the TH900 to be a more fun headphone with aggressive powerful bass.

Though, if more bass is what you are looking for I would recommend getting the E-mu teak and installing a D.I.Y. Lawton Tune up Level 1. They are literally bass cannons. The Tune up helps control the bloated mid bass a little but they are still monsters in bass specifically in the sub bass. If you want to get basically a TH900 sound but a little warmer and with even more bass over the TH900s get the D.I.Y. Lawton Tune up Level 2, with the wood cups.

For the E-MU cost, depending on what Lawton level and quality of cups you do, they can be anywhere from $625 to $1100. Though you can often find used full Lawton Level 2 upgrades E-MU for sub $800.

Edit: Spelling and other things.

Forgot to mention. The cable that comes with the E-MU is terrible. It is a heavy kinked mess. So you will probably have to look at getting a replacement cable for it too.
 
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Sep 19, 2021 at 2:44 AM Post #2,468 of 6,385
I actually own both the TH 900 and the 9200s. From my initial impression of the 2, I have had them both for about 2 weeks so far. They have, at least to my ears, similar but different sound signatures. I hope to post a better comparison later on once I have had more time to listen to them.

The 9200s have better crisper highs. The instrument separation and clarity is also a little better on the 9200s over the TH900. I found the mids, especially the mid bass, can be a little bloated on the TH900. The sound stage on the TH900s is a little bit larger than the 9200s. As far as the bass goes the TH900s have more in all areas over the 9200s not massive amount but noticeably more. I would say a 10%-15% increase over the 9200s. I found the bass of the 9200s has a more impactful quality, especially in the sub bass, compared to the more aggressive bass of the th900s.

Personally I find the 9200s to be a more technical headphone with great bass and the TH900 to be a more fun headphone with aggressive powerful bass.
I largely agree with your comparison. For my personal taste, I like the 9200 a lot more. The TH900 was too forward for me, I could not listen to it for very long.
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 3:00 PM Post #2,469 of 6,385
Yesterday I auditioned the Focal Celestee and DCA Aeon 2 Noire headphones. When playing Hotel California (Live - 1994) by The Eagles, I loved the punch and impact of the Celestee as it really brought out the hang drum in the song to life and made me feel I was there. The Noire was weaker in bringing out the hang drum. However, I hated how narrow and congested the soundstage on the Celestee was and I loved the wider and more open soundstage on the Noire.

Can anyone recommend a closed headphone (price doesn't matter) that can match or beat the macrodynamics, punch, and impact of the Celestee but with a considerably more open soundstage (hopefully as open as the Noire's )?

Or alternatively, a closed headphone that can match the openness of soundstage of the Noire but with more punch, impact, and macrodynamics than the Noire?
 
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Sep 19, 2021 at 3:20 PM Post #2,470 of 6,385
Thanks for the info. Isolation is critical for my situation and preferences (I enjoy having a nice quiet background, without hearing any crickets, birds chirping, rain, etc). So if the VC actually had more isolation than my Aeon 2 Closed, I would be motivated to upgrade.

I'm currently using a Hugo 2 as DAC and amp, and generally I think the synergy with the A2C is good. The cross feed elevates the bass slightly, which is great for metal, electronica, stuff like that. But the treble sometimes is sharp/hard/bright, a little much. Everyone says the TT2 gives smoother (or more pleasant, less fatiguing) treble than the Hugo 2, as well as more detail, bigger soundstage, so that's what I'm saving up for right now. I think the TT2 will have better synergy with the A2C due to the "easier listen" treble presentation. Plus I feel like the Hugo 2 doesn't quite give the A2C a big enough soundstage for orchestral music.

I may end up getting a Verite Closed eventually, but I think the Aeon 2 Closed is going to be pretty satisfying with a TT2, so that may do me for awhile. One factor is, I bought an extremely expensive upgrade cable for my A2C, basically in order to find out for myself if it would really sound better and... it actually does. My A2C is pumping out substantially more detail than it did with the Vivo cable I got with it originally, and if the TT2 can take it up another notch, my ears will be very pleased.
I have yet to try the AEON 2 Closed with my Hugo TT 2 since I took receipt of the device a month or more ago. Nevertheless, the differences between the Hugo 2 and the Hugo TT 2 are readily apparent; the bigger brother takes a few steps forward in resolution, layering and articulation; it also retains a robust, lush tone that contrasts a little with the slightly-more neutral sound of the Hugo 2. With that being said, I didn't find the treble on the Dan Clark Audio harsh or sharp; it has just the right amount of presence, sizzle, and air, IMO.

Still, if you're looking to spend a fair bit of coin on your next headphone, the Vérité Closed remains one of the top contenders in the closed-back space. It's certainly an obvious upgrade over the AEON 2 Closed in many aspects. Still, Dan Clark's new Stealth hovers above the ZMF flagship in terms of pricing, though, I've yet to audition this headphone for myself.
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 3:25 PM Post #2,471 of 6,385
@Malevolent , you know that I have the Denon 9200s and I briefly tried (during trial period) the Beyer T 1.3.

I love the Denon clean bass, but sometimes I would like a little more impact in some albums or genres. When I tried the Beyer T 1.3 I found the bass very impactful in some of my preffered metal bands (I loved to listen to Metallica, Stratovarius or Nightwish with them... but with other bands the sound was awful).

I would like to know how do you compare the Fostex TH 900 bass with the 9200s and T 1.3 or T5 (that you've tried more than the new T1 and I suppose they share a similar register)?

Some people say me that owning the Denons and the Fostex will be redundant, but I don't know... And you know is very difficult for me to try headphones (only in trial periods, but I don't want to abuse of that).

I wonder if I will have a similar experience (regarding only to bass) with the TH 900 as the one I had with the T 1.3.

Thanks, my friend :beerchug:
In contrast to the AH-D9200, the TH900 Mk2 has greater quantity and impact in its bass, specifically, the sub-bass region. Nevertheless, these 2 headphones have similar texture in the lows, with good rumble, slam, separation and layering. However, if you want a potent and tangible experience with your bass, the TH900 Mk2 outshines the Denon in this regard. It's certainly a basshead's headphone.

To be honest, whilst the Denon and the Fostex share a similar fundamental blueprint, they are divergent enough in their respective signatures that you won't think it redundant keeping both within a collection. The AH-D9200 is the more balanced of the 2, whilst the TH900 Mk2 boosts the high and low-end sections, resulting in a notorious, but also well-loved, "v-shaped" response.

In contrast to these 2 headphones, the 3rd Generation of the T5 and T1 share a similar presentation with their lows; it is boosted in the mid-bass, but the lows lack the Fostex's and the Denon's definition and articulation. The bass has great impact, but it is also slightly wooly or mushy, with apparent (and unwanted) bleed into the lower-midrange region. Certainly, the T5 (3rd Gen), which I have more experience with, has a lush, warm, and thick sound that feels somewhat heavy and bloated at the worst of times. Both of the Beyerdynamic cans also feature a reduced treble response, resulting in a silky, smooth, and dark tone.

Ultimately, how I'd categorize the choice between these headphones rests primarily on the importance of treble to your music (or you). If you require a prominent (but not harsh) treble region, the new T5 and T1 will not satisfy your needs. On the other hand, if you enjoy a darker, smoother sound, the high levels of engagement, dynamism and treble energy of the TH900 Mk2 will not suit your tastes.
 
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Sep 19, 2021 at 3:41 PM Post #2,472 of 6,385
Ok, I also can go around 450€ (500$) used
You could also try the E-MU Teak; it's $500 flat, if I'm not wrong.

The Elegia is a good option, too, though it sounds a lot better with the Celestee pads. With its stock pads, it sounds a little too limp in the bass for my liking.
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 4:03 PM Post #2,473 of 6,385
Yesterday I auditioned the Focal Celestee and DCA Aeon 2 Noire headphones. When playing Hotel California (Live - 1994) by The Eagles, I loved the punch and impact of the Celestee as it really brought out the hang drum in the song to life and made me feel I was there. The Noire was weaker in bringing out the hang drum. However, I hated how narrow and congested the soundstage on the Celestee was and I loved the wider and more open soundstage on the Noire.

Can anyone recommend a closed headphone (price doesn't matter) that can match or beat the macrodynamics, punch, and impact of the Celestee but with a considerably more open soundstage (hopefully as open as the Noire's )?

Or alternatively, a closed headphone that can match the openness of soundstage of the Noire but with more punch, impact, and macrodynamics than the Noire?
I think your best bet is the Kennerton Rögnir
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 5:14 PM Post #2,474 of 6,385
Yesterday I auditioned the Focal Celestee and DCA Aeon 2 Noire headphones. When playing Hotel California (Live - 1994) by The Eagles, I loved the punch and impact of the Celestee as it really brought out the hang drum in the song to life and made me feel I was there. The Noire was weaker in bringing out the hang drum. However, I hated how narrow and congested the soundstage on the Celestee was and I loved the wider and more open soundstage on the Noire.

Can anyone recommend a closed headphone (price doesn't matter) that can match or beat the macrodynamics, punch, and impact of the Celestee but with a considerably more open soundstage (hopefully as open as the Noire's )?

Or alternatively, a closed headphone that can match the openness of soundstage of the Noire but with more punch, impact, and macrodynamics than the Noire?

I feel your pain! I skipped on the Focal's because I heard the soundstage was too 'intimate' and have been trying out the Beyerdynamic T5 and the Noire's for the past month or so.

I think that the T5, or T5P is worth a try as they definitely have a wider soundstage and a bit more impact. Not a huge amount more, but a bit more satisfying. A note, the new T5 (gen3) has added some baffles, which to my preferences take away some of the brightness/airiness that adds to soundstage and is why I liked the T5P's as well. When removed, they make it sound much more like the predecessor T5P's.

I think neither the noire or T5 is perfect, but they are at the same price bracket. Not sure if the T5 will match the impact of the focal 100%, but I think I will choose it over the noire for the same reasons you are looking for.
 
Sep 19, 2021 at 5:48 PM Post #2,475 of 6,385
I have yet to try the AEON 2 Closed with my Hugo TT 2 since I took receipt of the device a month or more ago. Nevertheless, the differences between the Hugo 2 and the Hugo TT 2 are readily apparent; the bigger brother takes a few steps forward in resolution, layering and articulation; it also retains a robust, lush tone that contrasts a little with the slightly-more neutral sound of the Hugo 2. With that being said, I didn't find the treble on the Dan Clark Audio harsh or sharp; it has just the right amount of presence, sizzle, and air, IMO.

Still, if you're looking to spend a fair bit of coin on your next headphone, the Vérité Closed remains one of the top contenders in the closed-back space. It's certainly an obvious upgrade over the AEON 2 Closed in many aspects. Still, Dan Clark's new Stealth hovers above the ZMF flagship in terms of pricing, though, I've yet to audition this headphone for myself.
I actually own both the TH 900 and the 9200s. From my initial impression of the 2, I have had them both for about 2 weeks so far. They have, at least to my ears, similar but different sound signatures. I hope to post a better comparison later on once I have had more time to listen to them.

The 9200s have better crisper highs. The instrument separation and clarity is also a little better on the 9200s over the TH900. I found the mids, especially the mid bass, can be a little bloated on the TH900. The sound stage on the TH900s is a little bit larger than the 9200s. As far as the bass goes the TH900s have more in all areas over the 9200s not massive amount but noticeably more. I would say a 10%-15% increase over the 9200s. I found the bass of the 9200s has a more impactful quality, especially in the sub bass, compared to the more aggressive bass of the th900s.

Personally I find the 9200s to be a more technical headphone with great bass and the TH900 to be a more fun headphone with aggressive powerful bass.

Though, if more bass is what you are looking for I would recommend getting the E-mu teak and installing a D.I.Y. Lawton Tune up Level 1. They are literally bass cannons. The Tune up helps control the bloated mid bass a little but they are still monsters in bass specifically in the sub bass. If you want to get basically a TH900 sound but a little warmer and with even more bass over the TH900s get the D.I.Y. Lawton Tune up Level 2, with the wood cups.

For the E-MU cost, depending on what Lawton level and quality of cups you do, they can be anywhere from $625 to $1100. Though you can often find used full Lawton Level 2 upgrades E-MU for sub $800.

Edit: Spelling and other things.

Forgot to mention. The cable that comes with the E-MU is terrible. It is a heavy kinked mess. So you will probably have to look at getting a replacement cable for it too.
I largely agree with your comparison. For my personal taste, I like the 9200 a lot more. The TH900 was too forward for me, I could not listen to it for very long.
Thanks to all of you. Somedays is difficult to leave that "FOMO" obssesion out of my mind :wink: Now enjoying a lot listening to "Sentenced- The Cold White Light" with the 9200s, not the best production but still enjoyable...

... And looking info about the volcanic eruption that happened today in one of the Canary Islands, near from where I live :rolling_eyes: but not in the island where I reside.
 

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