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Iridist

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Been using a pair of Sennheiser HD560S for a bit over a year now, they sound good but I think I'm ready to upgrade.

So far I've narrowed down my options to these (lowest to highest $):

- Verum One MKII - $350
- HiFiman Edition XS - $380
- Audeze MM-100 - $400
- HiFiman Ananda Stealth - $400
- HiFiman Ananda Nano - $600
- HiFiman Arya Stealth - $900 (pricey)

Which is these would probably be the most worth it (as well as any other suggestions)? I don't mind the extra $ for an AMP/DAC, was looking at getting either the JDS Atom 2 Stack, Topping E30 II/L30 II Stack, or the SMSL SU-6/SH-6 Stack anyway (I suppose depending on the headphone I could get something cheaper and vice versa).
 

Brian Hall

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I've seen these mentioned before, how do they compare to something in a higher price range? (such as $600ish)

I don't know. Never saw a need to upgrade. They sound perfect to me with a little bit of EQ and a good headphone amp.

Here is Amir's review:

 

suttondesign

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I've pretty much given up on headphones because even inexpensive in-ears have better response and lower distortion. that said, over the years, going in and out of various cans, it's hard to beat Sean 600-series and 800-series with EQ.
 

DVDdoug

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Most sound quality/character differences in headphones is frequency response so if you know what you want in terms of an "upgrade" you can look at the curve in Amir's review and compare other prospective headphones to that. (You might want something with more bass.)
 

Doodski

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Most sound quality/character differences in headphones is frequency response so if you know what you want in terms of an "upgrade" you can look at the curve in Amir's review and compare other prospective headphones to that. (You might want something with more bass.)
Yes, I do that and look for very strong ability in the mids and highs as I really dig that part of the spectrum. I use the PEQ in a extreme manner to put it very lightly and need a headphone with the capability to accentuate sizzle on trumpets, the snap on drums and the rip of a trombone.
z Screenshot 2023-04-08 230137.png
 

Dunring

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The Ananda Stealth is literally half way between the regular Ananda and the Arya Stealth in sound quality and a really good value if you're not ready to take the plunge on the Arya Stealth. The Sennheiser HD600 is excellent if you want a neutral and versatile pair. The value for money in the Hifiman line is the HE5xx which I'm listening too now, the comfort can't be beat except for the Sennheiser HD700 which will always be the comfort kings.
 
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Iridist

Iridist

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Thank you guys for the replies. I'm now thinking that maybe I wouldn't be getting as significant of an upgrade from the 560S as I thought, so I might save up longer and get a pair of more high-end headphones to use for a long time instead of worrying about what I'm missing out on/replacing it any time soon. How are the HE1000SE/Stealth, Arya Organics, or the HD800S? All seem to be in the same $1200-1400 price range
 
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If you're willing and or able to EQ, the Edition XS from Hifiman's refurb store for $279 is where I'd go. Hifiman offers the same 1-year warranty on their refurbs as their new products, and I've heard good things about their customer support in case something breaks. Don't forget to play around with the filter adjustments on oratory1990's profiles if you go that route for EQ. I recall needing to dial in the treble filter on oratory's Edition XS profile by about -2-3 dB to get things where I really wanted them to be.

Without EQ, I'd go for a Hifiman Sundara or something from the Sennheiser HD6X0 line (HD600, HD6XX/650.) The Sundara isn't as aggressive with its treble boost as most Hifiman headphones, and the only thing I really EQ is the bass with Sundara. The Sundara offers a noticeable upgrade from 6X0 for soundstage, and imaging. The Sundara's big issue is comfort, and is why mine generally lives in its box. The ear cups are on the smaller side, and my ears get hot, fast.

The Sennheiser HD6X0 headphones are classics for good reason. They're great through the mids and treble in a way that few headphones even today can match. I find the treble response is more refined on my HD600 than on my HD560S, the build is tighter, and there is a bit more detail. The 6X0 line are very durable, and you can easily acquire replacement parts from Sennheiser. The 6X0 doesn't even need an amplifier for many modern Macs. The two big flaws of the 6X0 are that the treble response declines with age due to pad wear, and the bass roll-off below 100 Hz leads to missing information if you're listening to modern popular music, e.g. pop, hip-hop, electronic.

I like the JDS Labs gear for their customer support. JDS responded within 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon about an issue I had with my Element III, and turned a replacement unit around first thing Monday.
 

solderdude

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Thank you guys for the replies. I'm now thinking that maybe I wouldn't be getting as significant of an upgrade from the 560S as I thought, so I might save up longer and get a pair of more high-end headphones to use for a long time instead of worrying about what I'm missing out on/replacing it any time soon. How are the HE1000SE/Stealth, Arya Organics, or the HD800S? All seem to be in the same $1200-1400 price range

Are you planning to not use any EQ (so use the headphones as they are ?)

There is no 'best headphone' in a price bracket. There are several ones and one of them might fit you 'best' personally. Unfortunately there is a personal component in that choice so what is person A's 'best headphone' may not be yours of those of others.

All Hifiman headphones sound/measure very similar in tonality but differ slightly here and there in the treble range.
The Audeze all sound 'darker' (as in less bright) than hifiman.

Some other models that may bring some of the things you are looking for:
Focal Clear
AKG K812
OLLO S5X
Denon D5200 (closed)
Austrian Audio Hi-X60 (closed)
Hifiman Sundara
Meze 109 Pro
Neumann NDH30
Sennheiser HD660S2
Shure SRH1840 (a bit bass light)
Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X
FiiO FT3
 
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Filio45

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The value for money in the Hifiman line is the HE5xx
until it's time to replace the earpads with hifiman because it's difficult (with my Sundara's), at least ones that won't change the sound. Are earpads available at reasonable cost? In EU/ UK, maybe easier in US?
 
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isostasy

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Thank you all for the great replies, upon doing more research i decided i'll try and find an audio shop or it other to try headphones on in person instead.
This sounds like a good approach. The HD560S are very good, and the concept of "upgrade" is largely linked to price.

EQ is the best true upgrade to begin with as others have said. The fact you started out already thinking "they sound good" means you might not need anything more anyway. At the end of the day due to how 99% of headphones function - coupling 2 drivers next to the ears with slight variations in size and distance - besides frequency response there is far less difference between them and therefore far less to "upgrade" to than people make out.

The only headphone that really does anything unique that I can see is the HD800(S) - recommend reading Amir's review and description of the effect it creates.

If you really want to spend time and money I think researching how to make in-ear measurements and making/buying some in-ear microphones is a better investment than yet another set of headphones.

If the aim is to not use EQ for whatever reason then HD600/650 require less in some respects but have even lower bass response which might bother you more. As they are slightly warmer tilted it may not though. If I listen to my HD6XX without EQ after a few songs it's good enough that I sort of forget the lack of sub-bass until I EQ it back in.
 

phoenixdogfan

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You should want something that will play as loud as you want with little if any distortion, is close to Harman and Eq-able to whatever FR you prefer, is comfortable to wear, is consistent from unit to unit, is reliable and durable, and also something when you wear it that will not make you look like this:


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AryaStealth

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HiFiman Arya Stealth - $900 (pricey)
Very very good out of the box without any EQ and great with Oratory EQ as well (if you like Harman bass boost). Especially if you listen to vocals/classical music. Current price for new pair is $759 if you buy online at Hifiman store.
Audeze MM-100 - not worth $400. If its price was $100 then it would make a great buy just to feel the difference between a dynamic driver and a planar one.
 

nerdemoji

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aeon open x with EQ
 

Zorlac

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HIFIMAN Sundara scores a 95 when it comes to matching the Harman curve and 100 with PEQ. I would say that it pretty awesome objectively.

Rankings:

PEQ Settings:
 
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