Why is the closed-back market so bad?
Jun 13, 2015 at 3:19 AM Post #31 of 98

money4me247

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Nonsense. Have you even heard the Sony? If not, buy it, then use that calibration profile. You can activate and deactivate it while listening. With it deactivated, it's pure murder your ears nastiness. With it activated, it sounds much more accurate. I hate dark headphones. I also hate bright headphones. I want accurate headphones that sound the closest to real life and/or the recording. I wish people would stop making claims about me that have nothing to do with reality. I hate to break it to you, but a headphone being used in "professional applications" means absolutely nothing other than the fact that marketing convinced them to use it. If you click the link I provided, it illustrates how much extra treble the headphone adds.
 
Also, don't you remember my comments about the Focal Spirit Professional and HD 650 being too dark?
 
And by the way, my current favorite headphone (Yamaha HPH-MT220) is slightly bright.

 
@Music Alchemist,
...and you do realize that you canNOT take a single random graph (which uses a very different measuring protocol and applies an unknown proprietary compensation curve) and compare it to any other frequency response measurement made by any other source?? Basically, meaning that measurement you linked is useless since you don't know how any other headphone will look on it. The only other headphone they measured was the ATH-M50 which displays a similar 7dB spike in that region. If you actually volume match their 'proprietary compensated' measurements based on the midrange, they have a similar ~13dB difference between the midrange and their "treble spike."
 
In a properly compensated FR measurement of the MDR-7506, there is a ~3dB bump in the 10kHz region compared to the midrange and even then, the most prominent aspect of its FR curve would be the 4dB bump at about 300-400 Hz. That is why people traditionally think of the MDR-7506 has more neutral. Hell, most people would call the MDR-7506 more mid-centric first over bright. If you volume match the MDR-7506 with the M50 based on the mid-range, you will find that the treble peak at 10kHz actually will sound relatively sharper on the M50 over the MDR-7506. This is the REASON that your method of doing a quick 5 minute demo with one headphone and then waiting 3 weeks before trying another random pair of headphones will NOT show you the actual relative differences between headphones and is extremely subjective to expectation bias (aka you reading random FR curves on the internet or what random head-fi say about headphones).
 
If you are going to pull random measurements from the web to support your opinion, at least pull a measurement from an actual legitimate headphone data base where there is more than two headphones measured lol.
 
ATH-M50 vs Sony V6 - (the v-shaped version of the mdr-7506 with a sharper spike in that region)

Note how that treble peak that you are complaining about measured out to be exactly the same, but will be more obvious on the more colored ATH-M50, which you don't throw the same negative descriptor of a nasty treble peak. The MDR-7506 is relatively LESS bright than the MDR-V6.

 
lol, honestly I think it is probably impossible for anyone to keep track of all the random negatives you attach to headphones after a 5 minute demo. Perhaps you can replace your wishlist with just a list of headphone name and flaw. Then you can use that list to figure out actually what type of sound signature you want rather than just repeating stating you want an "accurate realistic neutral" sound signature when there are a multitude of options that fall within that spectrum that you already arbitrarily decided not to try because someone on the internet stated they sound dark. Just fyi, it's a relative dark!!! The Audeze LCD-X may be called 'dark,' but since you are so into measurements, look at how these headphones actually relatively compare during a full spectrum sine sweep. (note the dip at 7kHz is an artifact due to my ear shape). These are measurements I've taken using the same exact protocol and set-up.
 

LCD-X pink noise log sweep (sometimes called dark)
 

AKG K553 pink noise log sweep (called neutral to slightly warm)
 

Hifiman HE-560 pink noise log sweep (called neutral to slightly bright)
 

Oppo PM-3 pink noise log sweep (called neutral or slightly warm)
 
So from everything you say, you say you want a straight line. There are 4 straight line options that are described from dark to warm to neutral to bright to whatever... etc. The relative measured differences between them are not dramatic despite what people say about their sound signature on the head-fi forums. They ALL measure extremely well and sound basically "neutral."
 
*********************************************************************************************************
 
Now you say that the LCD-X is too dark and colored for you. Let's look at FR curves.
 
LCD-X vs the HD800 (which has too weak bass and too bright treble for you)

analysis: bass actually about the same, treble FIXED.
 
LCD-X vs HE-6 (slightly too bright for you)

analysis: treble FIXED. note HE-6's treble is actually much brighter than the HD800!!
 
LCD-X vs the HE-1000, too warm for you (aka too much bass) & treble peaks.

analysis: bass is about the same, treble peaks SUBDUED, issues FIXED!
 
So basically, the HD800 (bass too weak for you) and the HE-1000 (bass too much for you) measure to have about the same linear bass response... like is also the same as the LCD-X (which is too dark for you). The HD800 and HE-6 is too bright for you. The HE-1000 still has too much treble peakiness for you. The LCD-X has less treble than all three of those flagship options that you are complaining about. It also has adequate bass emphasis (since that linear bass measurement can be both too much or too little for you).
 
 
Now let's look at comparative FR responses based on my vague recollection of your headphone complaints. LCD-X in red.
 
LCD-X vs headphones you find too dark (ATH-M50, HD650, Spirit One) = LCD-X is less dark; Issue FIXED

LCD-X vs headphones you find too bright (7506, HD800, HE-6) = LCD-X is less bright; Issue FIXED

LCD-X vs headphones you generally like (DT880, HD770)
***Please note that these headphones you like are actually much BRIGHTER than the headphones you complain of being TOO BRIGHT (???)***

 
Yes, measurements don't tell the whole story, but you keep bringing up measurements and your desire for a flat neutral line etc etc, so here is a comprehensive measurement analysis on your personal preferences. The conclusion should be quite obvious. You either actually want something a bit darker than neutral or what you want changes every time you try a new pair of headphones.
 
So, you MAY be getting tired of hearing people tell you that you want a dark headphone, but I am most definitely tired of you proclaiming that you want the "most accurate neutral life-like" headphones while trashing headphones that measure extremely well (as "too bright") and refusing to consider headphones that measure just as well (but are just subtly darker than the headphones you yourself claim to be "too bright").
 
.....?!?W!?!?T!?!?F?!?.....
 
I think it might be time for me to use that block feature.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 7:29 AM Post #32 of 98

nehcrow

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Where can I get it brand new for under $100?
eek.gif

eBay? F/S forums here? Idk tbh haha
I'd read the extensive DIY thread on the T50RP as well to get an idea of what you are getting into
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 9:27 AM Post #33 of 98

HotIce

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I am familiar with that review and think they have no idea what they are talking about. The Sony MDR-7506 has extremely bright, nasty treble. (The HD 800 is even worse.) Not neutral in the slightest. The Sonarworks calibration profile dramatically improves that and makes it sound more accurate instead of nasty.
 
http://sonarworks.com/2015/06/studio-headphone-review-sony-mdr-7506/

 

Of course, they have no clue, because, in a very personal matter like sound perception is, they do not agree with your view (either biased, agenda driven, or not) of what neutral is.
I can wear those 8h/day without suffering from any sign of fatigue (be it mechanical, or sound bound), and so are sound engineers using those in the field.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 10:02 AM Post #34 of 98

Music Alchemist

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Good job avoiding the question. Have you heard the Sony or not?
 
If you read the article, they clearly explain the problems it has. You don't even need to get into the intricacies of graphs to understand it.
 
I have owned the Focal Spirit Professional, not the Focal Spirit One.
 
I hate the DT 880 and HD 700. So much for understanding my preferences.
 
Maybe I should try the LCD-X someday anyway...but I doubt it would be anywhere near as good as the SR-009.
 
  eBay? F/S forums here? Idk tbh haha

 
I said brand new, not used...
 
Of course, they have no clue, because, in a very personal matter like sound perception is, they do not agree with your view (either biased, agenda driven, or not) of what neutral is.
I can wear those 8h/day without suffering from any sign of fatigue (be it mechanical, or sound bound), and so are sound engineers using those in the field.

 
Only because you've gotten so used to it. I did too for awhile.
 
Follow my tutorial to get a much flatter frequency response for the Sony: http://www.head-fi.org/t/762969/sonarworks-headphone-calibration-software/30#post_11659119
 
You would just need to download and install some software, then listen to music (all the genres you can) with and without the calibration profile activated. The difference is enormous.
 
Also, the people who use the Sony in studios often use it to hear defects in the mix that they otherwise would not hear, because it's so bright and harsh already.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 10:19 AM Post #35 of 98

gelocks

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*snip*
 
I think it might be time for me to use that block feature.

 
LOL!
The block feature works wonderfully! I had actually used it on you because you made so many annoying comments when you started (regarding price vs performance :p). But I love this well researched and thought out response. Man how time on a forum and a willingness to accept everything thrown at you and researching it changes views... :wink: 
Good job!
 
   
Good job avoiding the question. Have you heard the Sony or not?
 
If you read the article, they clearly explain the problems it has. You don't even need to get into the intricacies of graphs to understand it.
 
I have owned the Focal Spirit Professional, not the Focal Spirit One.
 
I hate the DT 880 and HD 700. So much for understanding my preferences.
 
Maybe I should try the LCD-X someday anyway...but I doubt it would be anywhere near as good as the SR-009.
 
 
I said brand new, not used...
 
 
Only because you've gotten so used to it. I did too for awhile.
 
Follow my tutorial to get a much flatter frequency response for the Sony: http://www.head-fi.org/t/762969/sonarworks-headphone-calibration-software/30#post_11659119
 
You would just need to download and install some software, then listen to music (all the genres you can) with and without the calibration profile activated. The difference is enormous.
 
Also, the people who use the Sony in studios often use it to hear defects in the mix that they otherwise would not hear, because it's so bright and harsh already.

 
I've heard those Sony's and I've also owned the Yammies. For some reason, both are bright but the Yammies accentuate sibilance more. I'd still pick the MTs between those two but neither are "neutral" and that's what you are looking for and that's what money4me has pointed out.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 10:23 AM Post #36 of 98

Music Alchemist

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  I've heard those Sony's and I've also owned the Yammies. For some reason, both are bright but the Yammies accentuate sibilance more. I'd still pick the MTs between those two but neither are "neutral" and that's what you are looking for and that's what money4me has pointed out.

 
Maybe you missed that I already pointed out how the MT220 is slightly bright. I completely disagree about the sibilance. The Sony makes everything sound extremely bright and harsh, whereas the MT220 has only some slight clangy, mechanical coldness in the treble. I stuffed gauze under the pads and moved my ears to the front of the pads to improve the sound. It's not perfectly neutral, that's for sure, but it's closer to it than most other headphones I have heard.
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 11:09 AM Post #37 of 98

money4me247

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LOL!
The block feature works wonderfully! I had actually used it on you because you made so many annoying comments when you started (regarding price vs performance :p). But I love this well researched and thought out response. Man how time on a forum and a willingness to accept everything thrown at you and researching it changes views... :wink: 
Good job!

 
hey gelocks!!
 
hahaha!!! I totally remember that. I was getting into flame wars on the reg & mods were hitting me up every other day telling me to chill.
 
in retrospective, I can totally understand why my comments were so annoying, but I swear my comments were just out of a sincere interest to try to understand what drives the pricing of headphones and what varying improvements in sound quality occur at different price points. With limited extensive direct comparison listening experience, there were a lot of sonic attributes/differences I didn't really appreciate yet. Really took a lot of time, research, and extensive personal listening auditions before I began to get a more comprehensive understanding. lol, I probably still have a weird view on price:performance compared to other head-fiers here & personally judge a lot of the audiophile-favorites to be overpriced, but now I understand how important finding a sound signature that matches your own personal taste. Can often be very subjective and personal journey that is quite difficult to place a price tag on.
 
cheers!
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 2:57 PM Post #38 of 98

nehcrow

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I said brand new, not used...

http://www.amazon.com/Fostex-Semi-Open-Headphones-Commercial-Applications/dp/B0002MT6RY
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Fostex-T50-RP-Hi-Fidelity-Pro-Headphone-Detachable-Lock-Cable-T50rp-/301626622133?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item463a5900b5
 
30 seconds of google research
Slightly over $100 but not a huge leap, you can try best offer on the eBay
Used to retail for $75 USD but I guess demand is high so they can price whatever they feel like
Also I don't get the fuss with buying used OVER-EARS when you can swap the pads. I've found 95% used audio related products in be in mint condition
(even in-ears to some degree where the tips can be wiped with alcoholic swabs or just swapped out)
If you are on a tight student budget why not save as much money as possible
 
Jun 13, 2015 at 5:19 PM Post #39 of 98

HotIce

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Good job avoiding the question. Have you heard the Sony or not?
 
If you read the article, they clearly explain the problems it has. You don't even need to get into the intricacies of graphs to understand it.
 
I have owned the Focal Spirit Professional, not the Focal Spirit One.
 
I hate the DT 880 and HD 700. So much for understanding my preferences.
 
Maybe I should try the LCD-X someday anyway...but I doubt it would be anywhere near as good as the SR-009.
 
 
I said brand new, not used...
 
 
Only because you've gotten so used to it. I did too for awhile.
 
Follow my tutorial to get a much flatter frequency response for the Sony: http://www.head-fi.org/t/762969/sonarworks-headphone-calibration-software/30#post_11659119
 
You would just need to download and install some software, then listen to music (all the genres you can) with and without the calibration profile activated. The difference is enormous.
 
Also, the people who use the Sony in studios often use it to hear defects in the mix that they otherwise would not hear, because it's so bright and harsh already.

 
You are missing the point of sound subjectivity.
A flat response by a mic perfectly placed inside the ear cavity, does not map to a flat response perceived by an individual brain (even assuming each individual brain behaves the same - which is clearly a wrong assumption).
Ears are transducers, with different responses, on different individuals.
IOW, flat response is a marketing tool used to fool people into keep buying new HW in search of the holy grail.
I use a much more personal and accurate verifier to evaluate sound. Which is, while listening, do I forget about flat vs V shape, sound stage vs no sound stage, etc..., and I fall deeply into simply enjoying the music?
If yes, I've got a winner.
And the MDR-7506 do exactly that to me. And at a stupid low price, to boot.
 
Jun 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM Post #40 of 98

Music Alchemist

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  hey gelocks!!
 
hahaha!!! I totally remember that. I was getting into flame wars on the reg & mods were hitting me up every other day telling me to chill.
 
in retrospective, I can totally understand why my comments were so annoying, but I swear my comments were just out of a sincere interest to try to understand what drives the pricing of headphones and what varying improvements in sound quality occur at different price points. With limited extensive direct comparison listening experience, there were a lot of sonic attributes/differences I didn't really appreciate yet. Really took a lot of time, research, and extensive personal listening auditions before I began to get a more comprehensive understanding. lol, I probably still have a weird view on price:performance compared to other head-fiers here & personally judge a lot of the audiophile-favorites to be overpriced, but now I understand how important finding a sound signature that matches your own personal taste. Can often be very subjective and personal journey that is quite difficult to place a price tag on.
 
cheers!

 
I have an interesting personal perspective on value: I don't care how much it costs as long as it sounds good enough to me.
very_evil_smiley.gif

 
  http://www.amazon.com/Fostex-Semi-Open-Headphones-Commercial-Applications/dp/B0002MT6RY
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Fostex-T50-RP-Hi-Fidelity-Pro-Headphone-Detachable-Lock-Cable-T50rp-/301626622133?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item463a5900b5
 
30 seconds of google research
Slightly over $100 but not a huge leap, you can try best offer on the eBay
Used to retail for $75 USD but I guess demand is high so they can price whatever they feel like
Also I don't get the fuss with buying used OVER-EARS when you can swap the pads. I've found 95% used audio related products in be in mint condition
(even in-ears to some degree where the tips can be wiped with alcoholic swabs or just swapped out)
If you are on a tight student budget why not save as much money as possible

 
I believe you (or was it someone else?) said it was available new for under $100. $130 and $140 is not under $100.
 
I buy, sell, and trade headphones quite frequently and have no problem with buying used headphones...but would prefer buying new to at least have the safety and convenience of a return policy.
 
I'm only mildly interested in the Fostex, anyway. I actually want to save up for a STAX system sometime in the next few months.
 
You are missing the point of sound subjectivity.
A flat response by a mic perfectly placed inside the ear cavity, does not map to a flat response perceived by an individual brain (even assuming each individual brain behaves the same - which is clearly a wrong assumption).
Ears are transducers, with different responses, on different individuals.
IOW, flat response is a marketing tool used to fool people into keep buying new HW in search of the holy grail.
I use a much more personal and accurate verifier to evaluate sound. Which is, while listening, do I forget about flat vs V shape, sound stage vs no sound stage, etc..., and I fall deeply into simply enjoying the music?
If yes, I've got a winner.
And the MDR-7506 do exactly that to me. And at a stupid low price, to boot.

 
I'm genuinely happy for you. When I first got the 7506, I was impressed by some aspects of its sound quality for the price.
 
However, to my ears, no acoustic instruments under any circumstances sound even half as bright and harsh in real life as the 7506 and HD 800 make them. (This is only for some of the upper frequencies, though.) And I do not have a sensitivity to realistic treble frequencies; I have a sensitivity to harsh treble frequencies that are not found in real life.
 
I strongly recommend trying out that calibration software with lots of music. It made a dramatic improvement. I can't even listen to the 7506 without EQ now. I used it for months without EQ, and now that I hear how much more accurate it sounds with EQ, I'm astonished at how well the human brain adapts. Personally, though, it still sounds like trash to me even with EQ, but I'm extremely picky and have heard many headphones. Didn't mean to rain on anyone's parade here. If it sounds good to you, that's all that matters.
 
Jun 15, 2015 at 3:17 AM Post #42 of 98

chowmein83

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Where can I get it brand new for under $100?
eek.gif

 
I actually got my T50RP on Amazon, brand new, for something like $77 one time when they had a sale. Not sure how frequent these sales are, but they do happen.
 
Also, I got my T20RP mkII (which is mostly identical to the T50RP for modding purposes, and if I remember correctly it also mostly sounds the same in stock form compared to the T50RP also in stock form) for something like $105 brand new from a third-party reseller on Rakuten.com. That's not terribly over $100.
 
In fact, I'm looking to sell my T20RP mkII modded. PM me if you want more details. (Actually, anybody is free to PM me if they're interested in the T20RP - if I'm breaking any rules by posting this here, please let me know and I'll edit this post accordingly.)
 
Jun 15, 2015 at 6:58 AM Post #43 of 98

money4me247

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I really like the oppo pm3s and MSR7s

+1 on the PM-3s. Very highly recommend people demo the Oppos. One of the top performers for sure in the portable closed category in my personal opinion.
 
MSR7s are pretty solid, but require earpad upgrade for comfort. too shallow stock. MSR7s are sitting at a very competitive price point and offers really good value.
 
The closed portable market is actually getting more and more competitive recently, and nice sounding options are also becoming more stylish which is always good to see for broader consumer appeal.
 
@chowmein83, pm me your price. semi-interested, but cannot make a move until I move a lot of my current gear. I have headphones up to my ears right now hahaha. can't wait for the ethers to arrive so I can run a through direct comparison shoot out and sell off everything else at niice discounts of course :)
 
Jun 15, 2015 at 7:54 AM Post #44 of 98

Redcarmoose

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@Longtime Lurker


Were you interested in learning about "standout headphones for every price range in the closed market" or only ones between $100 and $200?

Here are some notable closed headphones in various price ranges, from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. However, not all of them have objectively stellar sound quality. Some are notable for other reasons.


@money4me247
already mentioned the Fostex TH-900, MrSpeakers Alpha Prime (there is also the Mad Dog and Alpha Dog), and OPPO PM-3, which I would have listed as well if I knew you were considering ones over $200.

Although many open headphones have better sound quality than many closed headphones, this is not a rule. There are plenty of closed headphones with better sound quality than plenty of open headphones as well.



One thing to take note of is Innerfidelity has a write up from 2012 that describes the AHD 7000/5000/2000 as not really being closed headphones, they are not sealed and have a vent for the pressure to move out. It is just not on the outside where we normally see open back vents. Thus the Fostex TH900 are also semi-closed back or really semi-open front headphones.


Quote:

In order to have the lovely uninterrupted wood housings (though the D2000 is plastic) of these headphones--which does give them a simple and elegant look--the acoustic engineers had to deal with the potential of resonances developing in the chamber behind the driver. This is a very real problem in sealed back designs, and is what makes sealed headphone performance generally inferior to open headphone designs. In the case of the Dx000 headphones, the engineers developed an acoustic labyrinth of channels, damped windows, and vents which are designed to inhibit and control resonance and response. (All well designed headphones have these elements, but because of the closed back of these headphones this design appears to be somewhat more complex than most.) The external vent of this design is a thin gap around the entire ear piece between the magnesium frame and ear cup housing.

End of Innerfidelity Quote:


Many will also notice the Fostex headphones in this series actually offer very little sound isolation neither keeping sound in or out of this headphone.
 
Jun 15, 2015 at 8:02 AM Post #45 of 98

money4me247

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I recently wrote a response to @costas23 PMing me about closed headphone comparisons & he recommended that I put my reply up on some thread. Wasn't sure where to put it, but figured this would be a dece place to throw it in. Note these are just all relative impressions against each other with no claims which is overall best (just more suitable for my personal tastes). also, the pricing analysis is all personal opinion as well. hope this is helpful to somebody.
 
edit: @costas23, hope you don't mind me quoting parts of your original message. really just to provide context what I am answering. PM me immediately if you are uncomfortable & I will take it down.
 
Hi,
 
I am looking for a (very) good closed headphone. Portability is not important, I want to use it in bed and not wake up my wife :wink:
 
Which would you suggest. I like neutral sound with natural mids and vocal reproduction, a nice soundstage is also important. 
 
...I just listen to many various genres, can't even name any as it changes every week and depending on my mood. What I really appreciate is natural and (maybe sweet) vocal reproduction and the mids shouldn't be recessed. The soundstage (it shouldn't sound to closed in, as many closed backs often sound) should be also good as well as transparency and instrument separation. I also like a warmish but not bassy tone, rather neutral-smooth-warmish-musical and not boring phone, if that makes sense :)
 
thanks & best regards


hey costas23,
 
wow, I am really sorry for the the long delay. not sure how I missed answering your query. I am currently still penning my EL-8 review, but it's actually been quite lackluster for me. I feel like it does have a bit of extra edginess and raspiness to male and female vocals, and I really personally dislike it. However, to be fair, it also has quite a few very good strengths such as its bass quality, impact, speed, and sound stage/imaging. For me personally though, I do think sound signature plays a larger part in my enjoyment of a headphone, so I felt like its unique coloration in its frequency response really makes me hesitant to recommend it without an audition. Too much coloration at this sort of price point. perhaps more justifiable at the $400-500ish price point imo. I did do my best to give it a fair chance with a few months of ownership & tons of burn-in.
 
I've recently started listening to the Primes a little bit more, but not too seriously yet. generally seems pretty well balanced. well need to run a wider variety of test tracks on it and do some serious critical listening later. They are currently on sale from Mr. Speaker direct and I see it as a pretty solid value at the discount price point. I got mine full price, which I think is a tad pricey. However, there aren't too many stand-out closed options in the upper echelon of headphones, so I guess it's okay. A lot of the closed TOTL options are way too overpriced for their sound quality from my experience (ultrasone come to mind), so relative to that it is an acceptable pricing at retail. A lot more competitive at its current sale pricing and I would recommend it. Will send you more impressions if you end up being interested in them.
 
The K553 is an outstanding performer at its price point, but a hint of excess brightness for my personal preferences compared to true TOTL headphones. Has a quite well-balanced sound signature though with stellar sound stage. Competitive if not exceeding the EL-8 and Primes. Sometimes hard to tell exactly. highly recommended for those on a limited budget or looking for a solid performance:price ratio. However, you can get more pleasing sound quality imo with pretty inexpensive investment (like up to $400 price range, so if your budget and value ideals stretch that far).
 
The other options for closed I would look into would be the $300 NAD HP50 and sub-$200 AKG K545 or Sound Magic HP150. Both extremely competitive sonic performance at their price points and a generally neutral-orientated sound signature.
 
The PM-3s still are my personal favorite pick out of all the options I've tried. Relatively speaking, you can go K553 to save money or if you enjoy a slightly brighter presentation. You can go Prime if you want a bigger more spacious sound stage. EL-8 for bass quality & don't mind its coloration & don't really care about performance:price. Would strongly recommend demoing or getting the EL-8 from a place with a solid refund policy.
 
Out of all the closed headphones I've tried (which actually I think almost covers the majority of headphones available in the market lol), the PM-3 fit my tastes the best and its main critical considerations (normal to above average sound stage for a closed headphone, hint of warmth, and smoothness of its treble presentation) actually find my tastes very well. I do think it is quite balanced overall and will be a good choice and easy universal recommendation. However, do note it is not a headphone without flaws as there are no headphones without flaws. I find its 'critical aspects' to actually be very acceptable for the headphones I am looking for as my primary focus is a well-balanced sound signature with good speed and bass quality. I love a really exceptional sound stage as well, but as long as the imaging is okay, my brain will adjust accordingly.
 
For a reference point, the headphones I consider to be neutral include the K7xx (slight bass bump), HD600, and HE-560 (slightly extra crispiness). For closed headphones, things I consider to be neutral would be the K545 (bit of a bass bump), NAD HP50, PM-3 (subtle warmth underlying its notes, but bass measures quite linearly), and the Alpha Prime (not super confident about this yet, but a bit distance with the mids - not the same as a midrange dip, but something I will investigate further with more critical listening). EL-8 are definitely colored. TH-900 is definitely v-shaped from my audition (but amazing sound quality, phenomenal sound stage/basically sounds like an open pair of headphones, and extremely enjoyable pair of headphones), and the LCD-XC is too uncomfortable too wear & while its sonic performance is enjoyable, it most definitely has the Audeze coloration and it priced at an extreme premium considering the relative amount of sonic return you are getting.
 
My recommendation to you for neutral with great vocals and wide sound stage would be the Alpha Prime. If you don't need an really wide sound stage (and above average sound stage + stellar imaging is acceptable), the PM-3s have excellent technical attributes and great overall tuning.
 
Hope this information was helpful!!
 
Cheers

 
edit: added bold to the closed headphones when first mentioned just for clarity :)
 

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