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Downgrading my Headphone Collection

Luke Lemke

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After I found this Forum I realized that the money I've spent on my headphones was not necessarily money well spent considering price to performance ratio. I still like to keep many headphones as I'm a collector, but I don't want to have super expensive cans if I can get the same audio quality from headphones that cost a third of the price. I take into account comfort, brand, design, etc. Still, I can't help but think I could save money, "downgrade" and maintain a collection with virtually the same audio quality.

Here's my plan:

-From Focal Clear MG to Focal Elear (with elex pads) or Elex
-From Hifiman HE-6E V2 to Hifiman HE400SE
-From DT 1990 PRO to DT 880
-From Sennheiser HD800S to HD700???

I EQ all of my headphones, so Frequency response isn't really the main factor in the decision making.

Everyone hates the HD700, so there might be a better replacement here for the HD800s? Maybe the 660s?

Please let me hear what you guys think!
 

Graph Feppar

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Clear to Elex is good choice but depending on how much you can sell the Clear, it might not be worth it.
Hifiman HE6 is only good Hifiman headphone they ever made. H400 is absolute crap, this will be audible downgrade.
DT1990 PRO same as above only to lesser degree, dont do it.
HD800S sucks becose of the bass distortion but HD700 is even worse.

I would sell all of the above except maybe Clear MG and buy HD800 or Hive Nectar.
 
Last edited:

solderdude

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Please let me hear what you guys think!

Just sell everything but the HD800S and EQ those.
When you want to play really loud use a comfy planar instead.
Maybe keep a closed headphone and or portable one when essential.
 

ZolaIII

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I see this only as old lamps for new one's. Keep the one's you feal attached to, sell or gift the rest and in future buy something rather essential if you must that fits your needs the best.
 

Vini darko

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After I found this Forum I realized that the money I've spent on my headphones was not necessarily money well spent considering price to performance ratio. I still like to keep many headphones as I'm a collector, but I don't want to have super expensive cans if I can get the same audio quality from headphones that cost a third of the price. I take into account comfort, brand, design, etc. Still, I can't help but think I could save money, "downgrade" and maintain a collection with virtually the same audio quality.

Here's my plan:

-From Focal Clear MG to Focal Elear (with elex pads) or Elex
-From Hifiman HE-6E V2 to Hifiman HE400SE
-From DT 1990 PRO to DT 880
-From Sennheiser HD800S to HD700???

I EQ all of my headphones, so Frequency response isn't really the main factor in the decision making.

Everyone hates the HD700, so there might be a better replacement here for the HD800s? Maybe the 660s?

Please let me hear what you guys think!
You have a really good selection already. Get off the bying merry-go-round and just enjoy music. Thats my 2 cent.
 

Moonhead

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I Would skip Beyer and get Ananda or Elex and Keep HD800S.
 

JJB70

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If you have already paid for them I would keep them as you are unlikely to get your money back which will negate the point of downgrading if it's a financial measure. Or reduce the size of your collection but don't buy any replacement headphones.
 

Tobi

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Hm I dont really know if youre on the right track.... Sure, the point of diminishing return kicks in quite early with headphones, but since you already have really good cans, you get a "reverse point of diminishing returns". You sell good gear for less money than what you paid for it and have to invest that money again into somewhat worse gear. Sure, at the end you have more money in absolute numbers, but this way around the price to performance ratio also takes a hit.

I did something similar with my DT1990's, I sold them when I got the Tygr 300R, as they get like 90% of the performance of the DT1990 for much less cost. However, I really liked the 1990's (with A-pads and EQ) and I somehow miss them now... They are built really well, their bass quality is noticeably better than the Tygr's and overall fidelity and imaging also was better on the 1990's. It doesnt justify the price difference but imo they are objectively better.

I now have about 200 bucks more on my bank account, but I also feel like I have lost something good in my life, because I traded it for something that is "good enough".

I think @solderdude has a good point, keep what you like the most and sell what you dont like that much. Maybe a goal would be having two or three headphones, like an open back dynamic driver, one planar and one closed back.
That way you have three very good but different headphones that each serve you in their own way and you like each for different qualities.

I dont know if the "somewhat worse variant" of your favorite headphones makes you happier on the long run.
 
OP
Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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If you have already paid for them I would keep them as you are unlikely to get your money back which will negate the point of downgrading if it's a financial measure. Or reduce the size of your collection but don't buy any replacement headphones.
Yes, there's a risk I won't get the money back but I bought the HD800s and Focal Clear MG used on ebay. I paid around $1050 each in mint condition and I could probably sell them for that amount nowadays. The HE6 I got from Adorama on sale and the DT 1990 I bought brand new (coulnd't find a good deal on used on).
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Clear to Elex is good choice but depending on how much you can sell the Clear, it might not be worth it.
Hifiman HE6 is only good Hifiman headphone they ever made. H400 is absolute crap, this will be audible downgrade.
DT1990 PRO same as above only to lesser degree, dont do it.
HD800S sucks becose of the bass distortion but HD700 is even worse.

I would sell all of the above except maybe Clear MG and buy HD800 or Hive Nectar.
My original plan was to get the HD800 (as @solderdude recommended) but I couldn't find a good deal on ebay, so I ended up getting the HD800s for $1025. Still, keeping the Clear MG, HD800s and a nice planar would be an awesome collection already. As other people mentioned, maybe that's the way to go instead of selling everything, saving money but missing my old premium cans.
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Just sell everything but the HD800S and EQ those.
When you want to play really loud use a comfy planar instead.
Maybe keep a closed headphone and or portable one when essential.
I've bought the HD800s after your recommendation (and @Jimbob54). I wasn't blown away at first, but after using them for around 2 weeks and playing around with EQ, they have become one of my favorite cans. My favorites right now are the Focal Clear MG and he HD800s.

Still, I don't think I can live with a single headphone, LOL. My plan is to keep around 3 or 4 different ones but make sure I'm spending my money wisely at the same time...
 

solderdude

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Which ones do you use the most ?

I am quite a horder and have a lot of boxed and non-boxed headphones stashed away doing nothing. As an excuse I keep them so I can compare (for reviews or interested people stopping by for a listen) or because I got them for peanuts.
In the end I only use a few of them on a regular basis and the rest could go and would not miss them.

keepers HD800 (EQ'ed), HD650 (as reference for measurements)
DT1350 (modified + EQ'ed) because portable and good for me, would not recommend it to others.
HD560S (for when I can't use the HD800, as I can use it w/o EQ)
DT1990 (filtered) I got it cheap, likewise the DT1770 (modified + filter).
2nd hand Audeze Sine with alternative pads.
Maybe... just maybe HE400SE (was only € 150) with treble peak filter.
Koss KSC35 and KSC75 (can be handy when not wanting to stand out in public)
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Which ones do you use the most ?

I am quite a horder and have a lot of boxed and non-boxed headphones stashed away doing nothing. As an excuse I keep them so I can compare (for reviews or interested people stopping by for a listen) or because I got them for peanuts.
In the end I only use a few of them on a regular basis and the rest could go and would not miss them.

keepers HD800 (EQ'ed), HD650 (as reference for measurements)
DT1350 (modified + EQ'ed) because portable and good for me, would not recommend it to others.
HD560S (for when I can't use the HD800, as I can use it w/o EQ)
DT1990 (filtered) I got it cheap, likewise the DT1770 (modified + filter).
2nd hand Audeze Sine with alternative pads.
Maybe... just maybe HE400SE (was only € 150) with treble peak filter.
Koss KSC35 and KSC75 (can be handy when not wanting to stand out in public)
The ones are used the most are: Focal Clear MG, Sennheiser HD800s and DT 1990, in that order. I almost never use the HD-6SE, so I'll probably sell it.

From your keepers, I never heard DT 1350, HD560s, Audeze Sien and the Koss cans. You don't have any wireless HP's?

I also own some other cans that are just sitting around like the Fidelio X2, AKG240, ATH M50. I got all of them very cheap and they have a lot of wear and tear, so no reason to sell it as I wouldn't get much for them anyway.

At a certain point in my life I think I had almost 15 headphones around, most of them pretty cheap. Then I started to buy them from the US and sell them in Brazil to make some money... that was my excuse... :)
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Hm I dont really know if youre on the right track.... Sure, the point of diminishing return kicks in quite early with headphones, but since you already have really good cans, you get a "reverse point of diminishing returns". You sell good gear for less money than what you paid for it and have to invest that money again into somewhat worse gear. Sure, at the end you have more money in absolute numbers, but this way around the price to performance ratio also takes a hit.

I did something similar with my DT1990's, I sold them when I got the Tygr 300R, as they get like 90% of the performance of the DT1990 for much less cost. However, I really liked the 1990's (with A-pads and EQ) and I somehow miss them now... They are built really well, their bass quality is noticeably better than the Tygr's and overall fidelity and imaging also was better on the 1990's. It doesnt justify the price difference but imo they are objectively better.

I now have about 200 bucks more on my bank account, but I also feel like I have lost something good in my life, because I traded it for something that is "good enough".

I think @solderdude has a good point, keep what you like the most and sell what you dont like that much. Maybe a goal would be having two or three headphones, like an open back dynamic driver, one planar and one closed back.
That way you have three very good but different headphones that each serve you in their own way and you like each for different qualities.

I dont know if the "somewhat worse variant" of your favorite headphones makes you happier on the long run.
Interesting points. I also fear that I'll miss my premium headphones and have that feeling "well, this sounds pretty good but not AS GOOD as my previous cans". Even if the difference is in our heads, that could very well happen. Not sure what I would do with the money also. I'd like to say I would save for my retirement but probably I'll just waste it on something else... LOL.
 

solderdude

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You don't have any wireless HP's

No wireless here. The wireless transmission is always lossy and a compromise. A cable is technically far superior and they do not bother me much (when not microphonic)
It is amazing that some of them still sound good despite the arguable substantial loss of info.
 

ngs428

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I like this that was mentioned:

Maybe a goal would be having two or three headphones, like an open back dynamic driver, one planar and one closed back.

I would also add a wireless NC to that mix too. Handy to have in the toolbox.
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Thanks a lot for everyone's input! After some thought and taking into account the feedback I got here, my plan is:

Keepers:
-Focal Clear MG - Intimate sound, superb mid range, look like a piece of jewelry.
-HD800s - Amazing Soundstage, after EQ everything sounds good with them. Potentially switch to the HD800 if I can save money.
-DT1990 - I'm emotionally attached to Beyerdynamic headphones, they got me started into the hobby. Also, I love the Bass of the DT 1990.

Sell: Hifiman HE6 SE V2 and get another planar, maybe the Dan Clark Closed X from drop.

Hence, in the end, I'll have two open back HP's with pretty different characteristics, a nearly semi-open back headphone (DT 1990) and a closed back planar.

My original goal of saving money is out the window though... LOL
 

LTig

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Keep the HD800s. Maybe also the DT1990 just for comfort. Get a K371 to experience bass. But most important: use EQ for all of them.

I'm unsure about the planars. I'm thinking about getting a HE400SE myself to experience what a planar is doing differently.
 
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Luke Lemke

Luke Lemke

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Keep the HD800s. Maybe also the DT1990 just for comfort. Get a K371 to experience bass. But most important: use EQ for all of them.

I'm unsure about the planars. I'm thinking about getting a HE400SE myself to experience what a planar is doing differently.
Yep, I use EQ with all of them. Without EQ, I can't imagine myself listening to the DT 1990 or the HD 800s. The Focal Clear MG sounds pretty good out of the box but gets much better with EQ.

Never heard the K371 but it's been on my list, and it's pretty cheap too.

As far as planars go, I wanna try the Dan Clark Aeon Close X due to the review below. I've been told the Aeon RT is pretty much the same headphone as the Aeon closed X from drop.

 
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