The Closed-Back Headphone Thread (Plus Comparisons & Reviews)
Jan 30, 2024 at 6:57 AM Post #6,136 of 6,351
Hi all. I am new here, and I have a request for you all. I have been dabbing into iems and earbuds for quite a long while now, and I feel that I should have a closed-back headphone in my collection. Now, my last closed-back headphone was the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B, which I hated because it felt hollow and bright. The bass did not have enough meat, the upper-mid was too bright for my taste. I returned it...probably 3 years back. After that, I bought the AKG K371, and hated it again - felt again hollow and weak, compressed sounding and very low-resolution. I sold it and never looked at another headphone since then.

So I have been snooping around and reading reviews. The following are my preferences:
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
  • I never do EQ
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
 
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Jan 30, 2024 at 7:12 AM Post #6,137 of 6,351
Hi all. I am new here, and I have a request for you all. I have been dabbing into iems and earbuds for quite a long while now, and I feel that I should have a closed-back headphone in my collection. Now, my last closed-back headphone was the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B, which I hated because it felt hollow and bright. The bass did not have enough meat, the upper-mid was too bright for my taste. I returned it...probably 3 years back. After that, I bought the AKG K371, and hated it again - felt again hollow and weak, compressed sounding and very low-resolution. I sold it and never looked at another headphone since then.

So I have been snooping around and reading reviews. The following are my preferences:
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
The D9200 would be an excellent choice but might be hard to get within your price range.
The WP900 is quite comfortable (for me at least), but might have a bit too much bass to be genre-agnostic. Its treble can also be a bit tizzy at times.
Did not like the Sonorous models I tried, too heavy and I remember them as being not that balanced.
TH900 does have a very fun bass, clear and deep reaching, though a bit much overall. Its treble made me sell it again though.

If you can get your hands on one try the Austrian Audio Hi-X60. Isolates very well, not boring while still rather neutral with good extension, lightweight and comfortable.
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 7:24 AM Post #6,138 of 6,351
The D9200 would be an excellent choice but might be hard to get within your price range.
The WP900 is quite comfortable (for me at least), but might have a bit too much bass to be genre-agnostic. Its treble can also be a bit tizzy at times.
Did not like the Sonorous models I tried, too heavy and I remember them as being not that balanced.
TH900 does have a very fun bass, clear and deep reaching, though a bit much overall. Its treble made me sell it again though.

If you can get your hands on one try the Austrian Audio Hi-X60. Isolates very well, not boring while still rather neutral with good extension, lightweight and comfortable.
Soundstage on HI-X60 is good?
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 7:39 AM Post #6,139 of 6,351
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
I think what you're describing is a used ATH AWAS and I crossed off the ones on your list that I know are particularly bass-oriented. In regards to bass though, if you want sub-bass then the ATH AWAS may not satisfy and I might uncross the D7200 and EMU Teak in that case though it's important to understand these 2 headphones get props for being boosted bassy while still relatively balanced. Particularly after EQ so part of the price you're paying for is the capability that you might not care about. I'd keep TH900mk2 permanently crossed off with your wants I think, they are bass cannons that take further bass EQ better than almost anything else and that is what you're paying for.

Other folks can comment on the ZMF Bokeh to confirm or deny, my thoughts on ZMF after hearing 4 different ZMF headphones is unless you want to invest further in equipment such as tube amps then don't bother - I'm assuming since you're more of an IEM person that you don't care to invest in tubes.
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 7:58 AM Post #6,140 of 6,351
I think what you're describing is a used ATH AWAS and I crossed off the ones on your list that I know are particularly bass-oriented. In regards to bass though, if you want sub-bass then the ATH AWAS may not satisfy and I might uncross the D7200 and EMU Teak in that case though it's important to understand these 2 headphones get props for being boosted bassy while still relatively balanced. Particularly after EQ so part of the price you're paying for is the capability that you might not care about. I'd keep TH900mk2 permanently crossed off with your wants I think, they are bass cannons that take further bass EQ better than almost anything else and that is what you're paying for.

Other folks can comment on the ZMF Bokeh to confirm or deny, my thoughts on ZMF after hearing 4 different ZMF headphones is unless you want to invest further in equipment such as tube amps then don't bother - I'm assuming since you're more of an IEM person that you don't care to invest in tubes.
Understood. I am comfortable with a bit of bass boost, but not comfortable with sharp and thin mids. I believe I have seen some reviews where the D7200 is described to be so.

I am also exploring the JM Audio XTC headphones. Looks promising.
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 8:27 AM Post #6,141 of 6,351
Understood. I am comfortable with a bit of bass boost, but not comfortable with sharp and thin mids. I believe I have seen some reviews where the D7200 is described to be so.

I am also exploring the JM Audio XTC headphones. Looks promising.
There were a couple of JM for sale on the used market here. if you can get one of them and don't like the tunning, you can ask John to re-tune it. for you
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 11:12 AM Post #6,142 of 6,351
Hi all. I am new here, and I have a request for you all. I have been dabbing into iems and earbuds for quite a long while now, and I feel that I should have a closed-back headphone in my collection. Now, my last closed-back headphone was the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B, which I hated because it felt hollow and bright. The bass did not have enough meat, the upper-mid was too bright for my taste. I returned it...probably 3 years back. After that, I bought the AKG K371, and hated it again - felt again hollow and weak, compressed sounding and very low-resolution. I sold it and never looked at another headphone since then.

So I have been snooping around and reading reviews. The following are my preferences:
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
  • I never do EQ
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
The Teak is my favorite headphone in my collection, so I can definitely sing praises for that one all day if you want
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 12:38 PM Post #6,144 of 6,351
Hi all. I am new here, and I have a request for you all. I have been dabbing into iems and earbuds for quite a long while now, and I feel that I should have a closed-back headphone in my collection. Now, my last closed-back headphone was the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B, which I hated because it felt hollow and bright. The bass did not have enough meat, the upper-mid was too bright for my taste. I returned it...probably 3 years back. After that, I bought the AKG K371, and hated it again - felt again hollow and weak, compressed sounding and very low-resolution. I sold it and never looked at another headphone since then.

So I have been snooping around and reading reviews. The following are my preferences:
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
  • I never do EQ
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
I can only compare the Bokeh with the D7200. From your sound description i would strongly suggest the Bokeh over the Denon.
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 7:45 PM Post #6,145 of 6,351
Hi all. I am new here, and I have a request for you all. I have been dabbing into iems and earbuds for quite a long while now, and I feel that I should have a closed-back headphone in my collection. Now, my last closed-back headphone was the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B, which I hated because it felt hollow and bright. The bass did not have enough meat, the upper-mid was too bright for my taste. I returned it...probably 3 years back. After that, I bought the AKG K371, and hated it again - felt again hollow and weak, compressed sounding and very low-resolution. I sold it and never looked at another headphone since then.

So I have been snooping around and reading reviews. The following are my preferences:
  • My target price is anywhere between $300 - $800 from the used market.
  • I am looking for a balanced sound, full-sounding but tight bass (not overly full or boosted), natural mids (not thin), clear but not too boosted treble, and an open soundstage (as much as possible in a closed-back headphone).
  • Over-ear Closed-back Dynamic Driver Only.
  • I listen to a wide variety of music - classic rock, pop, metal, post-rock, ambient, punk, r&b, indie, instrumental, orchestral, jazz, country...
  • I never do EQ
These are the ones I have shortlisted, but have found negative impressions on almost all of them, so I am really not sure which one should I go with -
  1. Audio Technica ATH-WP900
  2. Denon AH-D5200/7200/9200
  3. Final Audio Sonorous III
  4. E-MU Teak
  5. Fostex TH900MK2
  6. ZMF Bokeh
  7. Kennerton GH40
Would you, noble guys and girls, kindly guide me to the right choice? Also, feel free to add anything that I might have missed on. I can buy from USA, Europe, and Japan. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to sell as well. Looking forward to your response.
For you I will easily recommend Denon ah-d 5200.
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 8:02 PM Post #6,146 of 6,351
Other folks can comment on the ZMF Bokeh to confirm or deny, my thoughts on ZMF after hearing 4 different ZMF headphones is unless you want to invest further in equipment such as tube amps then don't bother - I'm assuming since you're more of an IEM person that you don't care to invest in tubes.
This is certainly true of the 300 Ohm impedance ZMF headphones. The Bokeh is NOT that, however.

While I am NOT a Bokeh owner, I’ve done a fair amount of reading about them. The whole purpose of the Bokeh is to be a low-impedance headphone for a broader range of sources. I would not write them off without further reading in the ZMF Bokeh-specific thread. 😊
 
Jan 30, 2024 at 9:53 PM Post #6,147 of 6,351
For you I will easily recommend Denon ah-d 5200.
awesome set of cans , and criminally underrated. The only negative is if you have a large head, then these cans will look funny and stretched out on your head. Im a big man, and they looked funny and bent outta shape on my head. So id say, this is for those with medium sized heads and smaller
 
Jan 31, 2024 at 1:33 PM Post #6,148 of 6,351
General Question - what has been your experience on burn in for the ZMF Atrium Closed? Just received mine today.
 
Feb 7, 2024 at 3:25 PM Post #6,149 of 6,351
General Question - what has been your experience on burn in for the ZMF Atrium Closed? Just received mine today.
You'll get better results in the AC thread, IMO.

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/zmf...losed-back-headphone-from-zmf.966989/page-187

Burn in is real for ZMFs. The suspensions are thick rubber or rubber like material that needs some use to reach a steady state of mechanical operation. Kind of like a new leather baseball glove. Super tight at first but with use (and lots of oil!) it smooths out and loosens up. I never believed in burn in/break in before ZMFs, but now I do. Give them time to work. If you're like me (horribly impatient) leave them running over night and when at work to speed up the process.
 
Feb 8, 2024 at 7:18 PM Post #6,150 of 6,351
I recently acquired the AWAS thanks to a friendly Head-Fier. As someone who started out my headphone journey with Audio Technica, it's good to come home. The AWAS is sort of a "remaster" of my pad-rolled A990Z. By remaster, I mean it in the sense of a videogame remaster, where a good remaster will look and play like how you remember the original game looking and playing. It should keep all of the best parts that made an impression, while also cutting out or improving all of the issues that rose-colored glasses block out so that you don't resurface those memories. The AWAS has all of the rich and sweet vocals, airy percussion, and pleasant staging that I remember from the suede-earpad A990Z, and that's what I was really looking for in an AT. My main issues with it are concerning the fit, comfort, and cable. The fit is awkward, and would be a lot better if only AT went a bit further with padding. The stock cable is trash; worse than Hifiman stock cables in my estimation. Fortunately, the seller bundled a very nice Plussound cable.

Full impressions are in the AT Woodies thread.
 

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