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post your headphone or IEM tier list

N

nhatlam96

Guest
I am interested in your headphone/IEM tier lists, please post here.
I will begin with my own (subjective) headphone tier list.
Other headphone tier lists you can check out: Crinacle, Gary Chen (YT), Joshua Valour, DMS

I do not consider myself as an audiophile or an expert in audio.
Everyone has different taste and biology, that is why every headphone tier list is controversial.

The ranking is from best to worst. So, the first headphone you see, is the best headphone I have listened so far, while the last headphone on this list is the worst headphone I have listened.
I will not talk about comfort, because everyone has different head shapes and sizes,
this tier list is mainly focused on sound.
Here you can see some gear I have owned: pictures.
Desktop Setup: Topping DX3 Pro v2 -> Focal Clear
Mobile Setup: Earfun Free Pro (Oluv Edition)
Source: Spotify
S Tier – summitFi, world best headphones
Focal Clear OG [favourite Focal] – 900€ (special discount)
+++ clean and organic tuning
+ good soundstage width, better than HD600.
+ depth and layering like HD600. It’s not as thick, but cleaner. Notes spread out a little wider than HD600 and a lot wider than DT1990.
+ instrument separation better than DT1990
+ nice dynamics and punch
--clipping issues with bass, depends on the song you are listening.
Fortunately for me, this affects only 1% of my music library.
Preamp: -3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.48
Filter: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 0.75
Filter: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.45
Filter: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -0.5 dB Q 4
Filter: ON PK Fc 11319 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2.5
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 2
A Tier – HiFi experience
Focal Clear MG [better than Clear OG, but only on smaller soundstages] – 1500€
Vocals: OG == MG
MG vocals are more forward and detailed, but sometimes slightly too hot in the upper region.
OG vocals are more natural sounding, but less forward.
Bass: OG == MG
MG bass is punchier and smoother, but less detailed and can be boomy.
It's like you would hump up the bass and make it smoother, losing detail/quality in the process.
OGs bass are less present/dynamic, but it is more detailed.
Dynamics/micro dynamics: MG > OG
The dynamics/micro dynamics are better on the MG, but it sometimes sound wonky. A little less dynamics or humped bass would help. OG is more laid back, lighter and less fatiguing.
Spatial recreation: OG == MG
Soundstage: MG is more intimate and forward, while the OGs soundstage is placed further away.
Width: MGs width is about HD600 level or even less (!!!). OGs width is significantly wider.
Layering and instrument separation: MG have less layers, but the instrument separation works very well. OGs have more layers, but the instrument separation is not as good.
Detail and conclusion: MG == OG
Due to MGs more forward/intimate soundstage and better dynamics, it is easier to pick up detail, but enjoyment with MG is limited on songs with small soundstages.
On songs with greater soundstages, the MGs width is noticeably too lacking.
The stage feels cut off and crammed.
I find the HD600/650 soundstage size to be acceptable, but MG is worse than that.
I personally rate it like this:
On music with smaller soundstages: MG >> OG > Elegia > HD600.
On music with greater soundstages: OG > Elegia > HD600 == MG.
My personal winner & recommendation: Focal Clear OG.
If you can tolerate much less width and soundstage, then the MG is recommend.
Focal Elegia with Dekoni Sheepskin Pads [fun and fresh] – 600€ (+100€ for pads)
This headphone has a lot in common with Focal Clear.
+ mid forward headphone, without claustrophobic feel. Bass rumbles and the treble is fresh.
+ good dynamics and punch
+ instrument separation like Clear, but less clean
+ technicalities slightly less than Focal Clear
+ very nice imaging
0 acceptable soundstage, like Clear
0 good resolution, but mid bass bleed negatively impacts it (probably due to the sheepskin pads)
+ closed back
Technicality wise it’s slightly worse than Clear. It takes a little hit in resolution from the mid bleed. Tuning wise this is more mid forward without being shouty, which is more fun.
I would still consider the Clear as an upgrade, even if I prefer the Elegia’s mid forward tuning.
Preamp: -4.3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 0.48
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.75
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 1.45
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1316 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.22
Filter: ON PK Fc 8497 Hz Gain 2.9 dB Q 1.78
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 2.95
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3637 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 4461 Hz Gain 4.9 dB Q 3.52
Filter: ON PK Fc 11506 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 1.37
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -10.9 dB Q 0.43
Sennheiser HD800S [DT1990 upgrade] – 1500€
+++ Instrument layering, oh man, this is great
++ more organic than Ananda / Arya, while cleaner than Focal Clear
- slightly at the thin side
-- excessive treble, semi fixable. If you want to find faults in recordings, get this or the DT1990.
- bass needs more ohmpf and size, semi-fixable.
HD800s vs DT1990:
The HD800s is like an upgraded version of DT1990, but with real soundstage and great imaging, while the DT1990 has fake soundstage and bad imaging.
They both have problems with hisses, excessive treble and slightly thin sound.
The DT1990 is better at bass, but you can balance that out with EQ.
Preamp: -10 dB
Filter: ON LS Fc 40 Hz Gain 7 dB Q 1
Filter: ON LS Fc 75 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 1702 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 2.13
Filter: ON PK Fc 3286 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 5648 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 3.94
Filter: ON PK Fc 10533 Hz Gain 2.2 dB Q 1.17
Filter: ON PK Fc 19366 Hz Gain -11.6 dB Q 0.38 // ß much needed
After EQ we have balanced tonality with amazing spatial qualities.
Problem lies in thickness, rumble and hiss.
In FPS-Shooter like CSGO, the localization is good. On the other hand, various sound effects like gun shots or taking the knife out sound harsh.
Hifiman Arya [three different things]
++ adds verticality
++ soundstage, very enjoyable headphone for orchestra
+ clean sound, like Sundara, but without being too clinical. DT1990 is still more organic.
+ the bass is very nice, like it more than on Focal Clear
0 excessive treble, but it’s easily fixable.
- sounds thin at times, for example the vocals don’t embrace me
- it’s like Joshua Valour said, the Arya is like three headphones in one headphone.
For my case it doesn’t feel right. The bass, mids and highs feel disjunct and not cohesive, there is something wonky about the placement.
Hifiman Ananda [Sundara upgrade] – 900€ (special discount)
++ adds verticality
+ clean sound, like Sundara, but without being too clinical. DT1990 is still more organic.
0 Due to planar, I expected better instrument separation than Focal Clear, which wasn’t the case.
Technicalities are mostly the same, but due to Planar the Ananda sounds cleaner.
--- Unfortunately, soundstage width is like Sundara, otherwise I would have rated it higher than Arya.
- EQ adjustments:
Filter: ON LS Fc 20 Hz Gain 4 dB Q 1 // ß great bass feeling
Filter: ON LS Fc 40 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 90 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 209 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 1.06
Filter: ON PK Fc 568 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 2.99
Filter: ON PK Fc 975 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 7.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 1617 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 2.3
Filter: ON PK Fc 2200 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 0.57
Filter: ON PK Fc 3216 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 2.32 // ß sharp, boosted and distorted mids (semi-fixable)
Filter: ON PK Fc 8100 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 3 // ß excessive treble 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 12000 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 3 // ß excessive treble 2
B Tier – good headphones
Earfun Free Pro (Oluv Edition) [a more engaging Starfield] – 60€
Tuning: Inoffensive and engaging at the same time.
This has more treble than Starfield, but I still prefer a little more treble energy.
The mid forwardness is good, the vocals stand out, which I like.
The bass is dynamic and punchy, with nice sub bass extension.
Technicalities: Unfortunately, due to limitations of the IEM housing, the sound presentation doesn’t feel grandiose like full sized headphones.
I’m aware that’s an IEM, but the Samsung SM-R140, Tin T2s, Starfields etc. all have a bigger sound.
Detail is good for mids and lows, but I miss detail from treble. Maybe due to lack of treble extension.
Conclusion: Tuning wise, I would prefer more treble extension. Technicality wise the Earfun Free Pro are too tiny to make big enough sound for me. I wish that someone would give Oluv a bigger headphone to tune, that would be interesting.
Elear / Eclair [HD600 upgrade] – paid 650€ at eBay
The Elear is placed more at the front with mid forwardness,
where it can become shouty at times.
- layering/depth.
-The resolution is not on par with the newer Focals.
--clipping issues with bass, depends on the song you are listening.
Preamp: -2.6 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 2.6 dB Q 0.79
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 193 Hz Gain -3.1 dB Q 0.56
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1108 Hz Gain -2.1 dB Q 1.46
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1589 Hz Gain -1.3 dB Q 4.23
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2122 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 3.61
Filter: ON PK Fc 5747 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 3.03
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 6854 Hz Gain 2.8 dB Q 3.30
C Tier - okay headphones
ZMF Auteur [warm and echoing]
+ warm and organic
0 Soundstage is placed further away
0 it has a similar wet towel effect like the LCD-X, but not as strong
- much reverb
- vocals sound a little dull
Audeze LCD-X [wet towel]
+ clean
++ instrument seperation
0 soundstage is placed further away
-- it’s like the sound goes through a wet towel.
HD600/650 [great starter] – 300€
+ pleasing tonality, very smooth. Sennheiser veil is not that strong.
+ depth and layering, the depth may be faked due to the smooth and thick tuning, but it works
0 acceptable detail/resolution/imaging/instrument separation
-soundstage a little small, but better than HD650
With little more resolution and clarity, it would have been A-Tier.
Wouldn’t recommend this headphone for studio use, due to the Sennheiser veil.
(modified autoEQ)
Preamp: -2.4 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 2.3 dB Q 0.88
Filter: ON PK Fc 60 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 5959 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 5.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 19499 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 0.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 573 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.18
Filter: ON PK Fc 3227 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 6591 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.48

DT1990 [DT770 with more resolution] – 400€
The B-pads suck sound wonky and unbalanced, the A-pads are more balanced.
--- Unbearable peak at 7.6k.
So this review is with the A-Pads and modified autoEQ:
Preamp: -5.7 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 18 Hz Gain 4.8 dB Q 0.69
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 44 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.62
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 208 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 4039 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.67 /*<-- don’t EQ this more than 3dB, otherwise ridiculous mid sharpness/bleed.*/
Filter: ON PK Fc 19249 Hz Gain -6.7 dB Q 0.12
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 902 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1.59
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2218 Hz Gain 1.9 dB Q 2.32
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2694 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 2.82
Filter: ON PK Fc 7117 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 4.65
Filter: ON PK Fc 7624 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 1.51
(If you delete the last two parameters of the EQ, then the treble spike becomes strong,
which you can use for studio purposes like mastering your recordings.)
+ the decay of the reverb is kept to a minimum, creating a very fast attack. Faster than Focal Clear
+ due to the fast attack, everything feels pinpoint precise. Fast guitars, strings or everything that plays fast, is handled.
+ good resolution, that is what I was missing from the DT770-880-990.
+ nice punch and slam
+ incredibly clean, cleaner than Focal Clear… maybe too clean?
- can be thin at times, lacking the girth or texture.
0 mediocre detail retrieval, don’t get fooled by that treble peak.
+ very open sounding, but…
- … it creates a fake vast soundstage with subpar depth/layering/instrument separation
- due to the tuning of the driver, the edges stay a little sharp, no matter the EQ setting.
In comparison to HD600:
DT1990 is clean + precise and the dynamics/punch are fun. DT1990 has higher resolution than HD600, but the big soundstage is fake, while the instrument separation/depth/imaging/layering ties with- or is slightly worse than HD600. I would recommend to try both out.
Comparison between EQ’d DT1990 and EQ’d DT770:
The biggest difference is the upgrade in resolution and it is very noticeable, like 720p -> 1080p.
Focal Radiance [LOUD] – 1300€
The overall sound presentation is loud, but never shouty.
This loudness is fatiguing even after little time.
The Radiance has the highest resolution of all Focals.
--- Negative aspect would be the narrow sound.
Filter: ON PK Fc 19822 Hz Gain -3.3 dB Q 0.39
Focal Celestee [honest closed back] – 1000€
The Clear has more thickness and spatial qualities.
--- Drawbacks would be narrow sound and thin mids.
Preamp: -1 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 95 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 3294 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 5740 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 7.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 869 Hz Gain -0.9 dB Q 0.8
Filter: ON PK Fc 1767 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 4.08
Filter: ON PK Fc 250 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 4102 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.52
Moondrop Starfield [solid, but too inoffensive and tame] – 100€
Bass: Smooth, mildly thick and present. It’s not the highest resolution or defined bass,
but it’s appropriate for IEM.
Mids: It’s a bit on the warmish neutral side, the vocals stand a little too forward for my taste.
I would decrease the mids by a few db.
Highs: Very agreeable, it doesn’t stand out. I would have a little boost on it.
Misc: I don’t know what I'm doing wrong, but these iems don’t respond well with EQ.
Overall sound impression: Agreeable Tonality. Smooth and present bass, slightly too forward vocals, treble is just there. It can come off as a bit boring.
Build: The art looks good, but I would rather have a simple housing and not worry about accidently damaging the paint. Medium weight, somewhere in-between T2 and Blon.
Value: 4/5, It’s a slightly boring headphone, needs more energy.

Abyss Diana Phi [weird…]

+layering
+nice detail, but that’s due to weird tuning?
-Small soundstage
-thin, missing some thickness
- could need more lower mids + bass
Overall it’s weirdly tuned headphone with nice technicalities, missing some bottom frequencies.
(I am very surprised about this outcome, I will listen to that headphone again with different gear and see if anything changes my opinion.)

DT770 80 Ohm [solid closed back for your studio booth] –
100€
FR problems: treble spike at 5k and mid recession at 3.5k.
++ realistic and balanced tonality
+ closed back design
0 acceptable resolution
-slightly thin/hollow
-sharp treble edge, not as much as DT990
-ok bass, at least not distorted like DT880
Doesn’t take EQ well (heavy distortion and resolution hit), therefore only slight adjustments for gain:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 57 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 0.63
Filter: ON PK Fc 205 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 3531 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 4.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5444 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 19233 Hz Gain -13 dB Q 0.62
Filter: ON PK Fc 140 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 6.63
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2312 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 4.75
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 6335 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.18
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 7299 Hz Gain -2.1 dB Q 3.88
Tin T2 [cheap and cheating] – 50€
Bass: Would greatly benefit from a bass boost. After adding a few dB on 31 – 250 hz, the bass sounds smooth and more present. It’s still stays on the light side, even after EQ.
Mids: The upper part of the mid spectrum is well done. Vocals sound angelic, but lack thickness.
Highs: Good extension of the highs and the soundstage is great. However, the highs can get tiresome after a few hours. I therefore subtracted a few dB on 4k hz – 16k hz, which cools the treble down.
Misc: Technicalities are a step above the Blon bl03, but the stereo imaging still isn’t good.
Overall sound impression: Angelic presentation of the music, I would highly recommend a bass boost and decrease in the treble region. Technicalities and resolution punches above its price.
Build: The housing feels rigid and stable, but also very lightweight.
Value: 5/5, can't do anything wrong in the sub 100€ range with these. I prefer these over RHA T20i.

D Tier – acceptable
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 [too boomy] – 60€
The bass is boomy and the treble is harsh and low quality.
The main problem is the unfixable boomy bass, which was the most apparent in NC mode.
In normal mode it was still slightly too much. The rest of the frequency response was good:
Nice clarity and neutral mids.
Depth was alright, but the imaging, soundstage and layering was subpar, but that is not important, because it is a Bluetooth headphone and not meant for HiFi at home listening.
It’s unfortunate that they had to resort to unnecessary boomy bass for their product,
otherwise I would have considered it better than Moondrop Starfield.
DT880 250 Ohm [wonky and bright] – 100€
+dynamic and punchy.
0 acceptable detail and resolution.
-sounds feels uncontrolled and not as cohesive, same problem like DT990
-even after EQ, the tonality is bright
-sub bass distorts even with little EQ
Preamp: -1.9 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 30 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 700 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 2967 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 3.40
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 5490 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 1.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 5898 Hz Gain -8.3 dB Q 4.32
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 84 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 4.16
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 209 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 1.51
Filter: ON PK Fc 506 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 3.78
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10991 Hz Gain 2.6 dB Q 1.46
Filter: ON PK Fc 19786 Hz Gain -13.4 dB Q 0.41
AKG K712 Pro [good for orchestra, classic] – 200€
If you only listen to classic or orchestras, it’s okay.
+The soundstage is great
0 acceptable resolution and imaging
- layering and detail is subpar
-Not good for pop, metal, EDM etc.
It’s better than Sennheiser 6xx for orchestras.
HiFiMAN Sundara [too cold for my taste] – 300€
+resolution is great
+very nice instrument separation, everything sounds neat
+clean tonal balance
-the soundstage and stereo wideness is small, smaller than HD600.
-layering or depth is flat
-little punch or dynamics
--clinical or cold sounding, not organic - I can’t get used to it.
Preamp: -2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 0.81
Filter: ON PK Fc 5815 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 2.92
Filter: ON PK Fc 234 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 1.27
Filter: ON PK Fc 1148 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 1.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 19828 Hz Gain -9.6 dB Q 0.36
If you can get past that cold and clinical sound signature, then this is probably the best budget headphone.

F tier – I do not recommend

ATH M40-X [where is the soundstage?] – 80€
++great out of the box tonal balance, just very slight EQ here:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 33 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.35
Filter: ON PK Fc 195 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 0.61
Filter: ON PK Fc 361 Hz Gain 0.8 dB Q 0.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 19745 Hz Gain -8 dB Q 0.28
Filter: ON PK Fc 986 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 2.21
Filter: ON PK Fc 1326 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 1.52
0 slight bad resolution
--- The soundstage is even worse than HD650.
Soundstage is like SHP9500, minus the open feel.

DT990 250 Ohm [treble spikes, even after eq] – 100€
Too much treble like DT880 - This review is going to be with autoEQ.
+It’s not as thin or hollow as DT770, but also not as smooth or thick as HD600.
I tried to make the DT770 sound thicker with something like this:
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
It got thicker, but not by a lot. Any more than 1.5 dB will noticeably increase distortion.
-lively and punchy, but wonky. Similar to DT880.
-BIG MINUS F: the treble spikes are hilariously too strong
Preamp: -3.7 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 21 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 177 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 0.66
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 701 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 3
Filter: ON PK Fc 19917 Hz Gain -14.9 dB Q 0.19
Filter: ON PK Fc 1246 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.05
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2328 Hz Gain 1.8 dB Q 0.79
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2791 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.10
Filter: ON PK Fc 5804 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 5822 Hz Gain -4.1 dB Q 4.35

HD660s [where is the treble extension?] – 400€
+ like an EQ’d HD600, with more clarity
- small soundstage. Orchestras sound like a small room unfortunately.
-- 1/4 of the treble extension is missing, feels weird and incomplete.
EQ settings:
Preamp: -3.2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 24 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 207 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 0.38
Filter: ON PK Fc 2423 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 2.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 1223 Hz Gain -1.6 dB Q 3.98
Filter: ON PK Fc 4543 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 5.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5576 Hz Gain -3.7 dB Q 3.96
Filter: ON PK Fc 6408 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 5.86
ATH R70-X [music behind your head] – 300€
+Resolution and detail are nice
-missing volume, notes take little space
+open sounding
0 mediocre spatial technicalities
--- the whole front imaging is kind of missing?
Somehow, the rear has more presence than the front image, which weirdly creates an impression of “music behind your head” => Dealbreaker
0 bright tuning that can be overly excessive at times, overall music impression is “reference like”.
-shy and polite bass
Preamp: -2.1 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 22 Hz Gain 2.1 dB Q 0.97
Filter: ON PK Fc 175 Hz Gain -1.8 dB Q 0.71
Filter: ON PK Fc 3459 Hz Gain -0.1 dB Q 1.02
Filter: ON PK Fc 3704 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 2.81
HD560s [no detail] – 200€
+Tonality like HD600 with less veil
+takes EQ quite well, autoEQ on this no problem
-worse bass and resolution capabilities than HD600
BIG MINUS F: I’m not sure if I imagine things, but I somehow only hear HALF of the detail???
SHP9500 [too flat, no layers] – 200€
without EQ the upper mids or lower treble is too glaring
+resolution on par with HD600
+nice tonal balance after EQ
+open sounding, dynamic
0 sub bass doesn’t take EQ great
-BIG MINUS F: layering and soundstage is non-existent. There is maybe like 1-2 layers, even the HD600/DT770 have more layers available.
MDR-ZX110 [great tonality…] – 10€
amirmEQ is used for this review.
Imaging is like non-existent, but the tonality is nice. Guitars and Bass sound dynamic, but the resolution suffers a lot,
due to this the bass or treble spikes often sound harsh.
For a little more money you can get the Tin T2s, with better resolution and stock tonality.
Blon BL03 – [horrible] – 40€
Bass: fast and punchy, but lacks thickness.
Mids: hollow and shouty.
Highs: There is some strange peak somewhere and that is the only thing you can hear from the treble range lol. It feels like that it only plays a specific part of the treble range and the rest is recessed.
Misc: Stereo imaging is nice. Lacks definition and resolution.
Overall sound impression: Low quality presentation of music, feels like YouTube 480p. The wonky tonality is tiresome, EQ won’t fix this.
Build: Simple design, which is a good thing. Medium weight.
AKG K371 [no resolution] – 200€
Bass: Slightly thick, but punchy. Quality wise it’s bad.
Mids: Vocals are emphasized, but it doesn’t sound good. It’s shallow and sharp.
Highs: There is an annoying treble peak somewhere.
Quality wise it’s comparable to the Blon BL03, but at least it extends further...
Misc: Intimidate sounding headphones, but not like HD650. Subpar – mediocre technicalities, wouldn’t even call it appropriate for the price range.
Overall sound impression: Bad
Comfort: Ears are touching inside. I wish for thicker and bigger earpads. Wouldn’t wear it for more than 1 hour. It’s very lightweight.
Build: Lightweight and sturdy, it’s well made for studio use.
Value: 2/5, for studio or music enjoyment I prefer DT770.
For mobile use I go with ATH-M50X or Tin T2s/Moondrop Starfield.
I did not like the AKG K371 BT either.
I would like to remind again, that everything here is purely my own experience. If you happen to not agree with my experience, then that may mean that we are built differently. Otherwise please write a comment and we can discuss.
 
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majingotan

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Here's my IEM and headphone list:
Caveat Emptor: it will always be subjective opinion. Stock tuning, no EQ evaluation

S Tier – summitFi, world best headphones and IEM

CA Andromeda CK Pacific Blue
+ Tonality (for some it's the polar opposite)
+ top tier soundstage, depth and width in IEM classification
+ nice dynamics and punch
+ tonality suits all genres IMHO
- there are IEMs that have better dynamics subjectively

Focal Utopia
+ Tonality
+ unparalleled layering, depth, instrument separation (best I've heard yet subjectively, noticeably better than HD800S IMHO)
+ excellent dynamics and punch
+ Tonality suits all genres IMHO
- slightly less soundstage width than HD800

A Tier – HiFi experience

Sennheiser HD800S
+ Tonality (never sounded harsh/fatiguing to my ears even at 100+ dB SPL listening with No EQ)
+ Unparalleled soundstage (only the Raal SR1 can match its soundstage width)
+ excellent dynamics and punch
- Tonality does not suit all genres
- Imaging can be artificial (after A/Bing with Focal Utopia)

HEDDphone
+
Tonality (not harsh sounding at all)
+ Excellent layering, layering, depth, instrument separation (just shy of Focal Utopia, slightly better than HD800S)
+ Excellent Macrodynamics
+ Bass sounds so godly with these
- slightly less soundstage width than HD800

Sennheiser HD650/HD600/HD6XX
+
Tonality
+ Great Imaging, depth and layering
+ nice dynamics and punch
- Detail retrieval has been surpassed with newer headphones at or above its price range

B Tier – good headphones

AKG K712
+ A Tier soundstage
+ Decent tonality (suits classical music really well)
+ nice dynamics and punch
+ Good layering, depth and instrument separation (works so good on gaming) but clearly behind A Tier
- Detail retrieval is B Tier
- Bass extension is lacking compared to even the HD800S
- Tonality does not suit all genres

CA Vega (2016 edition)
+ A Tier layering, depth and instrument separation in IEM classification
+ Bass extension
+ Nice dynamics and punch
+ Can be found at 1/3 its MSRP thus I consider this now in B Tier, but C Tier at its MSRP
- Tonality is subpar for its asking price
- Andromeda is much better in every aspect of sound

C Tier - okay headphones

Airpods (not the Pro)
+
A Tier tonality/tuning, never harsh, great for audiobooks and podcast streams
+ Okay detail retrieval
+ Perfect for background listening while performing other tasks
- No bass
- Lacking dynamics and punch

F tier – I do not recommend

Sony MDR-7506
+
clear sound, great for tracking
+ built like a tank
+ Dolby headphone DSP works amazingly well with its stock tonality
- lifeless tonality
- bass doesn't have depth
- 2D soundstage
- It's a headphone solely made to not enjoy listening to music IMHO
 

Robbo99999

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I am interested in your headphone/IEM tier lists, please post here.
I will begin with my own (subjective) headphone tier list.
Other headphone tier lists you can check out: Crinacle, Gary Chen (YT), Joshua Valour, DMS

I do not consider myself as an audiophile or an expert in audio.
Everyone has different taste and biology, that is why every headphone tier list is controversial.
In example: For some, the AKG K371 is great, for others it’s not and so on.
My opinion about DACs and AMPs:
For me, I cannot differentiate anything in signal quality above 100dB+ SINAD (
Link1, Link2, Link3).
However, there is one thing about the power of the amplifiers.
I compared M500 and SP200 and noticed that the M500 sounds comparatively limp and lifeless,
due to its lower power output.


The ranking is from best to worst. So, the first headphone you see, is the best headphone I have listened so far, while the last headphone on this list is the worst headphone I have listened.
I will not talk about comfort, because everyone has different head shapes and sizes,
this tier list is mainly focused on sound.
Here you can see some gear I have owned: pictures.

Desktop Setup: SMSL M500 -> SMSL SP200 -> Focal Clear
Mobile Setup: Apple Dongle -> Tin HiFi T2
Source: Spotify

I will keep this list updated. Next week I will add Earfun Free Pro - Oluv's edition.

S Tier – summitFi, world best headphones
Work in progress.

A Tier – HiFi experience


Focal Clear OG [HD600 upgrade] – 1000€
++++ clear and organic – clean detail/resolution/imaging, without losing the organicness.
+ good soundstage and width, better than HD600.
+ depth and layering like HD600. It’s not as thick, but cleaner. Notes spread out a little wider than HD600 and a lot wider than DT1990.
+ instrument separation significantly superior than DT1990
+ nice dynamics and punch
I never encountered any clipping issues.
Preamp: -3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.48
Filter: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 0.75
Filter: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.45
Filter: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -0.5 dB Q 4
Filter: ON PK Fc 11319 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2.5
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 2

Focal Clear MG [better than Clear OG, but only on smaller soundstages] – 1500€
Vocals: OG == MG
MG vocals are more forward and detailed, but sometimes slightly too hot in the upper region.
OG vocals are more natural sounding, but less forward.
Bass: OG == MG
MG bass is punchier and smoother, but less detailed and can be boomy.
It's like you would hump up the bass and make it smoother, losing detail/quality in the process.
OGs bass are less present/dynamic, but it is more detailed.
Dynamics/micro dynamics: MG > OG
The dynamics/micro dynamics are better on the MG, but it sometimes sound wonky. A little less dynamics or humped bass would help. OG is more laid back, lighter and less fatiguing.
Spatial recreation: OG == MG
Soundstage: MG is more intimate and forward, while the OGs soundstage is placed further away.
Width: MGs width is about HD600 level or even less (!!!). OGs width is significantly wider.
Layering and instrument separation: MG have less layers, but the instrument separation works very well. OGs have more layers, but the instrument separation is not as good.
Detail and conclusion: MG == OG
Due to MGs more forward/intimate soundstage and better dynamics, it is easier to pick up detail, but enjoyment with MG is limited on songs with small soundstages.
On songs with greater soundstages, the MGs width is noticeably too lacking.
The stage feels cut off and crammed.
I find the HD600/650 soundstage size to be acceptable, but MG is worse than that.
I personally rate it like this:
On music with smaller soundstages: MG >> OG > Elegia.
On music with greater soundstages: OG > Elegia > HD600 > MG.
My personal winner & recommendation: Focal Clear OG.
If you can tolerate less width and small soundstages, then the MG is recommend.



Focal Elegia with Dekoni Sheepskin Pads [value closed back] – 600€
This headphone has a lot in common with Focal Clear.
+ mid forward headphone, without claustrophobic feel. Bass rumbles and the treble is fresh.
+ good dynamics and punch
+ instrument separation like Clear, but less clean
+ technicalities slightly less than Focal Clear
+ very nice imaging
0 acceptable soundstage, like Clear
0 good resolution, but mid bass bleed negatively impacts it (probably due to the sheepskin pads)
+ closed back

Technicality wise it’s slightly worse than Clear. It takes a little hit in resolution from the mid bleed. Tuning wise this is more mid forward, which can be more fun for some people.
I would consider the Focal Clear as an upgrade, even if you prefer the Elegia’s mid forward tuning.
Preamp: -4.3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 0.48
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.75
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 1.45
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1316 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.22
Filter: ON PK Fc 8497 Hz Gain 2.9 dB Q 1.78
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 2.95
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3637 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 4461 Hz Gain 4.9 dB Q 3.52
Filter: ON PK Fc 11506 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 1.37
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -10.9 dB Q 0.43



B Tier – good headphones


HD600 [at the border of A Tier] – 300€
+ pleasing tonality, very smooth. Sennheiser veil is not that strong.
+ great depth and layering, the depth may be faked due to the smooth and thick tuning, but it works
0 acceptable detail/resolution/imaging/instrument separation
-soundstage a little small, but better than HD650
With little more resolution and clarity, it would have been A-Tier.
Wouldn’t recommend this headphone for studio use, due to the Sennheiser veil.
(modified autoEQ)
Preamp: -2.4 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 2.3 dB Q 0.88
Filter: ON PK Fc 60 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 5959 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 5.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 19499 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 0.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 573 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.18
Filter: ON PK Fc 3227 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 6591 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.48

DT1990 [DT770 with more resolution] – 400€
The B-pads suck sound wonky and unbalanced, the A-pads are much more balanced.
EQ is a must here, otherwise that peak at 7.6k is unbearable.
So this review is with the A-Pads and modified autoEQ:
Preamp: -5.7 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 18 Hz Gain 4.8 dB Q 0.69
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 44 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.62
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 208 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 4039 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.67 /*<-- don’t EQ this more than 3dB, otherwise ridiculous mid sharpness/bleed.*/
Filter: ON PK Fc 19249 Hz Gain -6.7 dB Q 0.12
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 902 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1.59
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2218 Hz Gain 1.9 dB Q 2.32
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2694 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 2.82
Filter: ON PK Fc 7117 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 4.65
Filter: ON PK Fc 7624 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 1.51
(If you delete the last two parameters of the EQ, then the treble spike becomes strong,
which you can use for studio purposes like mastering your recordings.)
+ the decay of the reverb is kept to a minimum, creating a very fast attack. Faster than Focal Clear
+ due to the fast attack, everything feels pinpoint precise. Fast guitars, strings or everything that plays fast, is handled.
+ good resolution, that is what I was missing from the DT770-880-990.
+ nice punch and slam
+ incredibly clean, cleaner than Focal Clear… maybe too clean?
- but can be also thin at times, lacking the girth, texture or organicness.
0 mediocre detail retrieval, don’t get fooled by that treble peak.
+ very open sounding, but…
- … it creates a fake perceived vast soundstage with subpar depth/layering/instrument separation
- due to the tuning of the driver, the edges stay a little sharp, no matter the EQ setting.

In comparison to HD600:
DT1190 is clean + precise and the dynamics/punch are more fun, that tuning I prefer over the HD600. DT1990 has higher resolution than HD600 and that made me think it is technically better, but at a 2nd glance and looking at other aspects, you can see that this is not the whole story.
The DT1990’s strong tuned openness creates a fake grandiose soundstage, while the instrument separation/depth/imaging/layering ties with- or is slightly worse than HD600.
I would say they are both equally good, I would recommend to try both out.

Comparison between EQ’d DT1990 and EQ’d DT770:
The biggest difference is the upgrade in resolution and it is very noticeable, like 720p -> 1080p.

C Tier - okay headphones


DT770 80 Ohm [solid closed back for your studio booth] – 100€
FR problems: treble spike at 5k and mid recession at 3.5k.
++ realistic and balanced tonality
+ closed back design
0 acceptable resolution
-slightly thin/hollow
-sharp treble edge, not as much like DT990, otherwise it might would have beaten the HD600
-ok bass, at least not distorted like DT880
Doesn’t take EQ well (heavy distortion and resolution hit), therefore only slight adjustments:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 57 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 0.63
Filter: ON PK Fc 205 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 3531 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 4.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5444 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 19233 Hz Gain -13 dB Q 0.62
Filter: ON PK Fc 140 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 6.63
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2312 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 4.75
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 6335 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.18
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 7299 Hz Gain -2.1 dB Q 3.88

HD650 [it’s like HD600, but worse] – 300€
+nice and strong mids, but that’s it really
-HD600 soundstage is small, but HD650 feels even smaller
-surprisingly worse detail and resolution capabilities than HD600
-tried different EQs like amirmEQ or autoEQ to no avail.
The Sennheiser veil is too strong here imo.

Moondrop Starfield [solid, but too inoffensive and tame] – 100€

Bass: Smooth, mildly thick and present. It’s not the highest resolution or defined bass,
but it’s appropriate for IEM.
Mids: It’s a bit on the warmish neutral side, the vocals stand a little too forward for my taste.
I would decrease the mids by a few db.
Highs: Very agreeable, it doesn’t stand out. I would have a little boost on it.
Misc: I don’t know what I'm doing wrong, but these iems don’t respond well with EQ.
Overall sound impression: Agreeable Tonality. Smooth and present bass, slightly too forward vocals, treble is just there. It can come off as a bit boring in times.
Build: The art looks good, but I would rather have a simple housing and not worry about accidently damaging the paint. Medium weight, somewhere in-between T2 and Blon.
Value: 4/5, It’s a slightly boring headphone, needs more energy.



Tin T2 [cheap and cheating] – 50€

Bass: Would greatly benefit from a bass boost. After adding a few dB on 31 – 250 hz, the bass sounds smooth and more present. It’s still stays on the light side, even after EQ.
Mids: The upper part of the mid spectrum is well done. Vocals sound angelic, but lack thickness.
It’s slightly thin, but still miles ahead compared to Blon BL03.
Highs: Good extension of the highs and the soundstage is great. However, the highs can get tiresome after a few hours. I therefore subtracted a few dB on 4k hz – 16k hz, which cools the treble down.
Misc: Technicalities are a step above the Blon bl03, but the stereo imaging still isn’t good.
Overall sound impression: Angelic presentation of the music, I would highly recommend a bass boost and decrease in the treble region. Technicalities and resolution punches above its price.
Build: The housing feels rigid and stable, but also very lightweight. Solid built.
Value: 5/5, can't do anything wrong in the sub 100€ range with these. I prefer these over RHA T20i.



D Tier – acceptable
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 [too boomy] – 60€
The bass is boomy and the treble is harsh and low quality.
The main problem is the unfixable boomy bass, which was the most apparent in NC mode.
In normal mode it was still slightly too much. The rest of the frequency response was good:
Nice clarity and neutral mids.
Depth was alright, but the imaging, soundstage and layering was subpar, but that is not important, because it is a Bluetooth headphone and not meant for HiFi at home listening.
It’s unfortunate that they had to resort to unnecessary boomy bass for their product,
otherwise I would have considered it as a C-Tier headphone as good as Moondrop Starfield.

DT880 250 Ohm [wonky and bright] – 100€
+dynamic and punchy.
0 acceptable detail and resolution.
-sounds feels uncontrolled and not as cohesive, same problem like DT990
-even after EQ, the tonality is a little bright
-sub bass distorts even with little of EQ, otherwise it would have beaten DT770
Preamp: -1.9 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 30 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 700 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 2967 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 3.40
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 5490 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 1.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 5898 Hz Gain -8.3 dB Q 4.32
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 84 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 4.16
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 209 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 1.51
Filter: ON PK Fc 506 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 3.78
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10991 Hz Gain 2.6 dB Q 1.46
Filter: ON PK Fc 19786 Hz Gain -13.4 dB Q 0.41

AKG K712 Pro [good for orchestra, classic] – 200€
If you only listen to classic or orchestras, it’s okay.
+The soundstage is great
0 acceptable resolution and imaging
- layering and detail is subpar
-Not good for pop, metal, EDM etc, even with EQ.
It’s better than the Sennheiser 6xx for orchestras.
If not for that, then it would have been on E tier.

HiFiMAN Sundara [too cold for my taste] – 300€
+resolution is great
+very nice instrument separation, everything sounds neat
+clean tonal balance
-the soundstage and stereo wideness is small, smaller than HD600.
-layering or depth is flat
-little punch or dynamics
--clinical or cold sounding, not organic - maybe you can get used to it, I don’t.
using EQ helps a little:
Preamp: -2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 0.81
Filter: ON PK Fc 5815 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 2.92
Filter: ON PK Fc 234 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 1.27
Filter: ON PK Fc 1148 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 1.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 19828 Hz Gain -9.6 dB Q 0.36

If you can get past that cold and clinical sound signature, then it would compete with B-Tier.


F tier – I do not recommend


ATH M40-X [where is the soundstage?] – 80€
++great out of the box tonal balance, just very slight EQ here:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 33 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.35
Filter: ON PK Fc 195 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 0.61
Filter: ON PK Fc 361 Hz Gain 0.8 dB Q 0.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 19745 Hz Gain -8 dB Q 0.28
Filter: ON PK Fc 986 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 2.21
Filter: ON PK Fc 1326 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 1.52

0 slight bad resolution
--- The soundstage is even worse than HD650.
Soundstage is like SHP9500, minus the open feel.


DT990 250 Ohm [treble spikes, even after eq] – 100€
Too much treble like DT880 - This review is going to be with autoEQ.
+It’s not as thin or hollow as DT770, but also not as smooth or thick as HD600.
I tried to make the DT770 sound thicker with something like this:
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
It got thicker, but not by a lot. Any more than 1.5 dB will noticeably increase distortion.
-lively and punchy, but also wonky. Similar to DT880.
-BIG MINUS F: the treble spikes are hilariously too strong
Preamp: -3.7 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 21 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 177 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 0.66
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 701 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 3
Filter: ON PK Fc 19917 Hz Gain -14.9 dB Q 0.19
Filter: ON PK Fc 1246 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.05
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2328 Hz Gain 1.8 dB Q 0.79
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2791 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.10
Filter: ON PK Fc 5804 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 5822 Hz Gain -4.1 dB Q 4.35


HD660s [where is the treble extension?] – 400€
+ like an EQ’d HD600, with more clarity
- small soundstage. Orchestras sound like a small room unfortunately.
-- 1/4 of the treble extension is missing, feels weird and uncomplete. The rest is done well.
EQ settings:
Preamp: -3.2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 24 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 207 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 0.38
Filter: ON PK Fc 2423 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 2.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 1223 Hz Gain -1.6 dB Q 3.98
Filter: ON PK Fc 4543 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 5.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5576 Hz Gain -3.7 dB Q 3.96
Filter: ON PK Fc 6408 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 5.86

ATH R70-X [music behind your head] – 300€
+Resolution and detail are nice
-missing volume, notes take little space
+open sounding
0 mediocre spatial technicalities
--- the whole front imaging is kind of missing?
The acoustic room consists of left, right, front, rear and centre. Somehow the front is too quiet? Therefore, the rear has more presence than the front image, which weirdly creates an impression of “music behind your head” => Dealbreaker
0 bright tuning that can be overly excessive at times, overall music impression is “reference like”.
-shy and polite bass

Preamp: -2.1 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 22 Hz Gain 2.1 dB Q 0.97
Filter: ON PK Fc 175 Hz Gain -1.8 dB Q 0.71
Filter: ON PK Fc 3459 Hz Gain -0.1 dB Q 1.02
Filter: ON PK Fc 3704 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 2.81

HD560s [no detail] – 200€
+Tonality like HD600 with less veil
+takes EQ quite well, autoEQ on this no problem
-worse bass and resolution capabilities than HD600
BIG MINUS F: I’m not sure if I imagine things, but I somehow only hear HALF of the detail…?

SHP9500 [too flat, no layers] – 200€
without EQ the upper mids or lower treble is too glaring
+resolution on par with HD600
+nice tonal balance after EQ
+open sounding, dynamic
0 sub bass doesn’t take EQ great, but can take some EQ
-BIG MINUS F: layering and soundstage is non-existent. There is maybe like 1-2 layers, even the HD600/DT770 have more layers available. If this headphone had more layers, then it would compete with HD600 and Sundara.

MDR-ZX110 [great tonality…] – 10€
AutoEQ on the mdr-zx110 was pretty awful, amirmEQ is better.
Imaging is like non-existent, but the tonality is okay. Guitars and Bass sound dynamic, but the resolution suffers a lot,
due to this the bass or treble spikes often sound harsh.
For a little more money you can get the Tin T2s, with better resolution and stock tonality.
For the price it's good, dynamic tonality, with punchy bass, surprisingly relatively great soundstage and open dynamic treble.
Tonality wise it’s great with amirmEQ.

Blon BL03 – [horrible] – 40€
Bass: fast and punchy, but lacks thickness.
Mids: hollow and shouty.
Highs: There is some strange peak somewhere and that is the only thing you can hear from the treble range lol. It feels like that it only plays a specific part of the treble range and the rest is recessed = no treble extension?
Misc: Stereo imaging is very nice. Everything lacks definition and resolution; low quality sound.
Overall sound impression: Low quality presentation of music, feels like YouTube 480p. The wonky tonality is tiresome, EQ won’t fix this.
Build: Simple design, which is a good thing. I can't see any faults. Not too heavy.

AKG K371 [no resolution] – 200€
Bass: Slightly thick, but punchy. Quality wise it’s bad.
Mids: Vocals are emphasized, but it doesn’t sound good. It’s shallow and sharp. Low quality sound.
Highs: There is an annoying treble peak somewhere.
Quality wise it’s comparable to the Blon BL03, but at least it extends further...
Misc: Intimidate sounding headphones, but not like a HD650. Subpar – mediocre technicalities, wouldn’t call it appropriate for the price range either.
Overall sound impression: Bad
Comfort: Ears are touching inside. I wish for thicker and bigger earpads. Wouldn’t wear it for more than 1 hour. It’s very lightweight.
Build: Lightweight and sturdy, it’s well made for studio use.
Value: 2/5, for studio or music enjoyment I would just get DT770.
For mobile use I would prefer ATH-M50X or Tin T2s/Moondrop Starfield.
I did not like the AKG K371 BT either.

I would like to remind again, that everything here is purely my own experience.
If you happen to not agree with my experience, then that may mean that we are built differently.
Otherwise please write a comment and we can discuss.
There's a bit too much information to absorb with all this, but headphones by their nature sound different to different people due to HRTF differences and Headphone Transfer Function Differences, unlike speakers (or less so).

I've got the HD600 which you said had the Sennheiser veil, they are not veiled at all for me.....they are exceedingly detailed and the best sounding headphone to me when used without EQ, but they're not my favourite headphone when used with EQ (Harman EQ), K702 is my favourite when used with Harman EQ because of best soundstage whilst having great resolution. I really don't know how you can call the HD600 veiled though, it's the opposite, max clarity......but it could be that your HRTF is different from the norm due to anatomy differences which would explain it, some people vary from it further than others.....if that's the case do you like headphones that others consider overly bright? It's true that we all experience headphones differently due to our anatomy, so that can't be helped....so there is no right or wrong, but there is a "population trend" towards the Harman Sound, but it is just that - a strong trend.

My headphone list from favourite to least favourite whilst all are EQ'd to the Harman Curve is as follows: AKG K702 > Drop HifiMan HE4XX > NAD HP50 > Sennheiser HD600.

And my list when headphones are at stock without EQ: Sennheiser HD600 best, but no distinct order for the others as not done enough testing at stock to rank them.
 
OP
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nhatlam96

Guest
I really don't know how you can call the HD600 veiled though, it's the opposite, max clarity......but it could be that your HRTF is different from the norm due to anatomy differences which would explain it, some people vary from it further than others.....if that's the case do you like headphones that others consider overly bright?
Now in my case, I experience the HD600 as smooth and thick tuning, but it's acceptable. As you can see I rank that at close to A-Tier.
The HD650 I find to be too much of smoothness and thickness, thats why its bottom tier.
It is really obvious for me when I compare it with other headphones.
To your other question: "if that's the case do you like headphones that others consider overly bright?" I dont think so. If you would look at my impression of DT770/880/990/1990, ATH R70x and Tin T2, you can see that I complain about the treble peaks and that I find them annoying.

I guess its just the case of different biology and its perception of sound. I for example can not understand how you can not see that the HD600 has atleast a little sennheiser veil on it, despite owning hifiman he4xx and k702^^ We are all different.
 

Robbo99999

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Now in my case, I experience the HD600 as smooth and thick tuning, but it's acceptable. As you can see I rank that at close to A-Tier.
The HD650 I find to be too much of smoothness and thickness, thats why its bottom tier.
It is really obvious for me when I compare it with other headphones.
To your other question: "if that's the case do you like headphones that others consider overly bright?" I dont think so. If you would look at my impression of DT770/880/990/1990, ATH R70x and Tin T2, you can see that I complain about the treble peaks and that I find them annoying.

I guess its just the case of different biology and its perception of sound. I for example can not understand how you can not see that the HD600 has atleast a little sennheiser veil on it, despite owning hifiman he4xx and k702^^ We are all different.
Yes, I don't listen to the K702 at stock, and it's certainly not my favourite headphone at stock. Well, the HD600 requires just a minor cut in the mid treble, the K702 also for the most part, whilst the HE4XX requires boosting in various areas north of 1kHz, so the HE4XX is not bright at all..............all my headphones require a bass boost from around 100Hz downwards.

I am still surprised by your description of thick sound from the HD600 given that you say you're still sensitive to bright headphones. Most people say the HD600 requires a few cuts north of 1 kHz (which tallies with measurements on GRAS devices). (It could be that you're sensitive to peaking above around 4kHz rather than the 2kHz peaking of the HD600 & K702)
 

HereYaGo

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I use dt990 250 ohm headphones exclusively. regarding treble peaks. It smooths out over time considerably regardless of trolls who deny it and continue to peddle veiled sennheiser offerings instead like 6XX.
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For IEM I use samsung galaxy buds pro mainly because they have better treble extension than buds+. Not gonna defend its measurable flaws, lol. I decided to stay in the samsung ecosystem to go along with my phone and its ok I don't really thave much to complain about. I tried a few other iems like sennheiser CX 400BT which are Momentum 2 but cheaper with less features. After I realized the sennheiser IEM measure exactly the same as EPOS GTW 270 I lost interest in them entirely, lol. https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-4/graph#22078/3992
 
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nhatlam96

Guest
Update: added earfun free pro oluv edition, zmf auteur, abyss diana phi, lcd-x, ananda, arya, celestee, radiance, hd800-s
will try: Utopia, Stellia
 

stevenswall

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Orem, UT
1. JH Audio Lola: Warmer sounding than the Etymotic but sometimes it seemed too warm at the end of the day and the Etymotic would be clearer.
2. Etymotic Mc5: Even sound, clean and clear, something missing (or placebo thinking multi driver earphones should be better?)
3. UE TripleFi 10: Good, some coloration, and a bad treble peak.
4. Klipsch X10: Good if you want a ton of warmth, most comfortable earphone ever.
5. Koss KDE 250: Loved these before I knew what deep bass sounded like. For a non sealing earphone one of the best I've used. First dual driver earphone and I really enjoyed how much better it was than the earbuds that came with things.
6. Kiss PortaPro: For the price I'd put this higher, and it's not bad, just sound wise I'd choose the others now.
 

Lynxairsound

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Apr 4, 2022
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I am interested in your headphone/IEM tier lists, please post here.
I will begin with my own (subjective) headphone tier list.
Other headphone tier lists you can check out: Crinacle, Gary Chen (YT), Joshua Valour, DMS

I do not consider myself as an audiophile or an expert in audio.
Everyone has different taste and biology, that is why every headphone tier list is controversial.

The ranking is from best to worst. So, the first headphone you see, is the best headphone I have listened so far, while the last headphone on this list is the worst headphone I have listened.
I will not talk about comfort, because everyone has different head shapes and sizes,
this tier list is mainly focused on sound.
Here you can see some gear I have owned: pictures.
Desktop Setup: Topping DX3 Pro v2 -> Focal Clear
Mobile Setup: Earfun Free Pro (Oluv Edition)
Source: Spotify
S Tier – summitFi, world best headphones
Focal Clear OG [favourite Focal] – 900€ (special discount)
+++ clean and organic tuning
+ good soundstage width, better than HD600.
+ depth and layering like HD600. It’s not as thick, but cleaner. Notes spread out a little wider than HD600 and a lot wider than DT1990.
+ instrument separation better than DT1990
+ nice dynamics and punch
--clipping issues with bass, depends on the song you are listening.
Fortunately for me, this affects only 1% of my music library.
Preamp: -3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.48
Filter: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 0.75
Filter: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.45
Filter: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -0.5 dB Q 4
Filter: ON PK Fc 11319 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2.5
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 2
A Tier – HiFi experience
Focal Clear MG [better than Clear OG, but only on smaller soundstages] – 1500€
Vocals: OG == MG
MG vocals are more forward and detailed, but sometimes slightly too hot in the upper region.
OG vocals are more natural sounding, but less forward.
Bass: OG == MG
MG bass is punchier and smoother, but less detailed and can be boomy.
It's like you would hump up the bass and make it smoother, losing detail/quality in the process.
OGs bass are less present/dynamic, but it is more detailed.
Dynamics/micro dynamics: MG > OG
The dynamics/micro dynamics are better on the MG, but it sometimes sound wonky. A little less dynamics or humped bass would help. OG is more laid back, lighter and less fatiguing.
Spatial recreation: OG == MG
Soundstage: MG is more intimate and forward, while the OGs soundstage is placed further away.
Width: MGs width is about HD600 level or even less (!!!). OGs width is significantly wider.
Layering and instrument separation: MG have less layers, but the instrument separation works very well. OGs have more layers, but the instrument separation is not as good.
Detail and conclusion: MG == OG
Due to MGs more forward/intimate soundstage and better dynamics, it is easier to pick up detail, but enjoyment with MG is limited on songs with small soundstages.
On songs with greater soundstages, the MGs width is noticeably too lacking.
The stage feels cut off and crammed.
I find the HD600/650 soundstage size to be acceptable, but MG is worse than that.
I personally rate it like this:
On music with smaller soundstages: MG >> OG > Elegia > HD600.
On music with greater soundstages: OG > Elegia > HD600 == MG.
My personal winner & recommendation: Focal Clear OG.
If you can tolerate much less width and soundstage, then the MG is recommend.
Focal Elegia with Dekoni Sheepskin Pads [fun and fresh] – 600€ (+100€ for pads)
This headphone has a lot in common with Focal Clear.
+ mid forward headphone, without claustrophobic feel. Bass rumbles and the treble is fresh.
+ good dynamics and punch
+ instrument separation like Clear, but less clean
+ technicalities slightly less than Focal Clear
+ very nice imaging
0 acceptable soundstage, like Clear
0 good resolution, but mid bass bleed negatively impacts it (probably due to the sheepskin pads)
+ closed back
Technicality wise it’s slightly worse than Clear. It takes a little hit in resolution from the mid bleed. Tuning wise this is more mid forward without being shouty, which is more fun.
I would still consider the Clear as an upgrade, even if I prefer the Elegia’s mid forward tuning.
Preamp: -4.3 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 0.48
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 192 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.75
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1264 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 1.45
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1316 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.22
Filter: ON PK Fc 8497 Hz Gain 2.9 dB Q 1.78
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2245 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 2.95
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3637 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 4461 Hz Gain 4.9 dB Q 3.52
Filter: ON PK Fc 11506 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 1.37
Filter: ON PK Fc 19581 Hz Gain -10.9 dB Q 0.43
Sennheiser HD800S [DT1990 upgrade] – 1500€
+++ Instrument layering, oh man, this is great
++ more organic than Ananda / Arya, while cleaner than Focal Clear
- slightly at the thin side
-- excessive treble, semi fixable. If you want to find faults in recordings, get this or the DT1990.
- bass needs more ohmpf and size, semi-fixable.
HD800s vs DT1990:
The HD800s is like an upgraded version of DT1990, but with real soundstage and great imaging, while the DT1990 has fake soundstage and bad imaging.
They both have problems with hisses, excessive treble and slightly thin sound.
The DT1990 is better at bass, but you can balance that out with EQ.
Preamp: -10 dB
Filter: ON LS Fc 40 Hz Gain 7 dB Q 1
Filter: ON LS Fc 75 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 1702 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 2.13
Filter: ON PK Fc 3286 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 5648 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 3.94
Filter: ON PK Fc 10533 Hz Gain 2.2 dB Q 1.17
Filter: ON PK Fc 19366 Hz Gain -11.6 dB Q 0.38 // ß much needed
After EQ we have balanced tonality with amazing spatial qualities.
Problem lies in thickness, rumble and hiss.
In FPS-Shooter like CSGO, the localization is good. On the other hand, various sound effects like gun shots or taking the knife out sound harsh.
Hifiman Arya [three different things]
++ adds verticality
++ soundstage, very enjoyable headphone for orchestra
+ clean sound, like Sundara, but without being too clinical. DT1990 is still more organic.
+ the bass is very nice, like it more than on Focal Clear
0 excessive treble, but it’s easily fixable.
- sounds thin at times, for example the vocals don’t embrace me
- it’s like Joshua Valour said, the Arya is like three headphones in one headphone.
For my case it doesn’t feel right. The bass, mids and highs feel disjunct and not cohesive, there is something wonky about the placement.
Hifiman Ananda [Sundara upgrade] – 900€ (special discount)
++ adds verticality
+ clean sound, like Sundara, but without being too clinical. DT1990 is still more organic.
0 Due to planar, I expected better instrument separation than Focal Clear, which wasn’t the case.
Technicalities are mostly the same, but due to Planar the Ananda sounds cleaner.
--- Unfortunately, soundstage width is like Sundara, otherwise I would have rated it higher than Arya.
- EQ adjustments:
Filter: ON LS Fc 20 Hz Gain 4 dB Q 1 // ß great bass feeling
Filter: ON LS Fc 40 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 90 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 209 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 1.06
Filter: ON PK Fc 568 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 2.99
Filter: ON PK Fc 975 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 7.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 1617 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 2.3
Filter: ON PK Fc 2200 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 0.57
Filter: ON PK Fc 3216 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 2.32 // ß sharp, boosted and distorted mids (semi-fixable)
Filter: ON PK Fc 8100 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 3 // ß excessive treble 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 12000 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 3 // ß excessive treble 2
B Tier – good headphones
Earfun Free Pro (Oluv Edition) [a more engaging Starfield] – 60€
Tuning: Inoffensive and engaging at the same time.
This has more treble than Starfield, but I still prefer a little more treble energy.
The mid forwardness is good, the vocals stand out, which I like.
The bass is dynamic and punchy, with nice sub bass extension.
Technicalities: Unfortunately, due to limitations of the IEM housing, the sound presentation doesn’t feel grandiose like full sized headphones.
I’m aware that’s an IEM, but the Samsung SM-R140, Tin T2s, Starfields etc. all have a bigger sound.
Detail is good for mids and lows, but I miss detail from treble. Maybe due to lack of treble extension.
Conclusion: Tuning wise, I would prefer more treble extension. Technicality wise the Earfun Free Pro are too tiny to make big enough sound for me. I wish that someone would give Oluv a bigger headphone to tune, that would be interesting.
Elear / Eclair [HD600 upgrade] – paid 650€ at eBay
The Elear is placed more at the front with mid forwardness,
where it can become shouty at times.
- layering/depth.
-The resolution is not on par with the newer Focals.
--clipping issues with bass, depends on the song you are listening.
Preamp: -2.6 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 17 Hz Gain 2.6 dB Q 0.79
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 193 Hz Gain -3.1 dB Q 0.56
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1108 Hz Gain -2.1 dB Q 1.46
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1589 Hz Gain -1.3 dB Q 4.23
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2122 Hz Gain 2.0 dB Q 3.61
Filter: ON PK Fc 5747 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 3.03
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 6854 Hz Gain 2.8 dB Q 3.30
C Tier - okay headphones
ZMF Auteur [warm and echoing]
+ warm and organic
0 Soundstage is placed further away
0 it has a similar wet towel effect like the LCD-X, but not as strong
- much reverb
- vocals sound a little dull
Audeze LCD-X [wet towel]
+ clean
++ instrument seperation
0 soundstage is placed further away
-- it’s like the sound goes through a wet towel.
HD600/650 [great starter] – 300€
+ pleasing tonality, very smooth. Sennheiser veil is not that strong.
+ depth and layering, the depth may be faked due to the smooth and thick tuning, but it works
0 acceptable detail/resolution/imaging/instrument separation
-soundstage a little small, but better than HD650
With little more resolution and clarity, it would have been A-Tier.
Wouldn’t recommend this headphone for studio use, due to the Sennheiser veil.
(modified autoEQ)
Preamp: -2.4 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 2.3 dB Q 0.88
Filter: ON PK Fc 60 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 5959 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 5.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 19499 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 0.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 573 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.18
Filter: ON PK Fc 3227 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 6591 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2.48

DT1990 [DT770 with more resolution] – 400€
The B-pads suck sound wonky and unbalanced, the A-pads are more balanced.
--- Unbearable peak at 7.6k.
So this review is with the A-Pads and modified autoEQ:
Preamp: -5.7 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 18 Hz Gain 4.8 dB Q 0.69
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 44 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.62
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 208 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.42
Filter: ON PK Fc 4039 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 1.67 /*<-- don’t EQ this more than 3dB, otherwise ridiculous mid sharpness/bleed.*/
Filter: ON PK Fc 19249 Hz Gain -6.7 dB Q 0.12
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 902 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1.59
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2218 Hz Gain 1.9 dB Q 2.32
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2694 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 2.82
Filter: ON PK Fc 7117 Hz Gain -4.8 dB Q 4.65
Filter: ON PK Fc 7624 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 1.51
(If you delete the last two parameters of the EQ, then the treble spike becomes strong,
which you can use for studio purposes like mastering your recordings.)
+ the decay of the reverb is kept to a minimum, creating a very fast attack. Faster than Focal Clear
+ due to the fast attack, everything feels pinpoint precise. Fast guitars, strings or everything that plays fast, is handled.
+ good resolution, that is what I was missing from the DT770-880-990.
+ nice punch and slam
+ incredibly clean, cleaner than Focal Clear… maybe too clean?
- can be thin at times, lacking the girth or texture.
0 mediocre detail retrieval, don’t get fooled by that treble peak.
+ very open sounding, but…
- … it creates a fake vast soundstage with subpar depth/layering/instrument separation
- due to the tuning of the driver, the edges stay a little sharp, no matter the EQ setting.
In comparison to HD600:
DT1990 is clean + precise and the dynamics/punch are fun. DT1990 has higher resolution than HD600, but the big soundstage is fake, while the instrument separation/depth/imaging/layering ties with- or is slightly worse than HD600. I would recommend to try both out.
Comparison between EQ’d DT1990 and EQ’d DT770:
The biggest difference is the upgrade in resolution and it is very noticeable, like 720p -> 1080p.
Focal Radiance [LOUD] – 1300€
The overall sound presentation is loud, but never shouty.
This loudness is fatiguing even after little time.
The Radiance has the highest resolution of all Focals.
--- Negative aspect would be the narrow sound.
Filter: ON PK Fc 19822 Hz Gain -3.3 dB Q 0.39
Focal Celestee [honest closed back] – 1000€
The Clear has more thickness and spatial qualities.
--- Drawbacks would be narrow sound and thin mids.
Preamp: -1 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 95 Hz Gain -1.9 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 3294 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 5740 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 7.11
Filter: ON PK Fc 869 Hz Gain -0.9 dB Q 0.8
Filter: ON PK Fc 1767 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 4.08
Filter: ON PK Fc 250 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 4102 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.52
Moondrop Starfield [solid, but too inoffensive and tame] – 100€
Bass: Smooth, mildly thick and present. It’s not the highest resolution or defined bass,
but it’s appropriate for IEM.
Mids: It’s a bit on the warmish neutral side, the vocals stand a little too forward for my taste.
I would decrease the mids by a few db.
Highs: Very agreeable, it doesn’t stand out. I would have a little boost on it.
Misc: I don’t know what I'm doing wrong, but these iems don’t respond well with EQ.
Overall sound impression: Agreeable Tonality. Smooth and present bass, slightly too forward vocals, treble is just there. It can come off as a bit boring.
Build: The art looks good, but I would rather have a simple housing and not worry about accidently damaging the paint. Medium weight, somewhere in-between T2 and Blon.
Value: 4/5, It’s a slightly boring headphone, needs more energy.

Abyss Diana Phi [weird…]

+layering
+nice detail, but that’s due to weird tuning?
-Small soundstage
-thin, missing some thickness
- could need more lower mids + bass
Overall it’s weirdly tuned headphone with nice technicalities, missing some bottom frequencies.
(I am very surprised about this outcome, I will listen to that headphone again with different gear and see if anything changes my opinion.)

DT770 80 Ohm [solid closed back for your studio booth] –
100€
FR problems: treble spike at 5k and mid recession at 3.5k.
++ realistic and balanced tonality
+ closed back design
0 acceptable resolution
-slightly thin/hollow
-sharp treble edge, not as much as DT990
-ok bass, at least not distorted like DT880
Doesn’t take EQ well (heavy distortion and resolution hit), therefore only slight adjustments for gain:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 57 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 0.63
Filter: ON PK Fc 205 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.04
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 3531 Hz Gain 2.4 dB Q 4.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5444 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 19233 Hz Gain -13 dB Q 0.62
Filter: ON PK Fc 140 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 6.63
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2312 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 4.75
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 6335 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.18
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 7299 Hz Gain -2.1 dB Q 3.88
Tin T2 [cheap and cheating] – 50€
Bass: Would greatly benefit from a bass boost. After adding a few dB on 31 – 250 hz, the bass sounds smooth and more present. It’s still stays on the light side, even after EQ.
Mids: The upper part of the mid spectrum is well done. Vocals sound angelic, but lack thickness.
Highs: Good extension of the highs and the soundstage is great. However, the highs can get tiresome after a few hours. I therefore subtracted a few dB on 4k hz – 16k hz, which cools the treble down.
Misc: Technicalities are a step above the Blon bl03, but the stereo imaging still isn’t good.
Overall sound impression: Angelic presentation of the music, I would highly recommend a bass boost and decrease in the treble region. Technicalities and resolution punches above its price.
Build: The housing feels rigid and stable, but also very lightweight.
Value: 5/5, can't do anything wrong in the sub 100€ range with these. I prefer these over RHA T20i.

D Tier – acceptable
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 [too boomy] – 60€
The bass is boomy and the treble is harsh and low quality.
The main problem is the unfixable boomy bass, which was the most apparent in NC mode.
In normal mode it was still slightly too much. The rest of the frequency response was good:
Nice clarity and neutral mids.
Depth was alright, but the imaging, soundstage and layering was subpar, but that is not important, because it is a Bluetooth headphone and not meant for HiFi at home listening.
It’s unfortunate that they had to resort to unnecessary boomy bass for their product,
otherwise I would have considered it better than Moondrop Starfield.
DT880 250 Ohm [wonky and bright] – 100€
+dynamic and punchy.
0 acceptable detail and resolution.
-sounds feels uncontrolled and not as cohesive, same problem like DT990
-even after EQ, the tonality is bright
-sub bass distorts even with little EQ
Preamp: -1.9 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 30 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 0.43
Filter: ON PK Fc 700 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 2
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 2967 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 3.40
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 5490 Hz Gain 1.3 dB Q 1.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 5898 Hz Gain -8.3 dB Q 4.32
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 84 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 4.16
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 209 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 1.51
Filter: ON PK Fc 506 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 3.78
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10991 Hz Gain 2.6 dB Q 1.46
Filter: ON PK Fc 19786 Hz Gain -13.4 dB Q 0.41
AKG K712 Pro [good for orchestra, classic] – 200€
If you only listen to classic or orchestras, it’s okay.
+The soundstage is great
0 acceptable resolution and imaging
- layering and detail is subpar
-Not good for pop, metal, EDM etc.
It’s better than Sennheiser 6xx for orchestras.
HiFiMAN Sundara [too cold for my taste] – 300€
+resolution is great
+very nice instrument separation, everything sounds neat
+clean tonal balance
-the soundstage and stereo wideness is small, smaller than HD600.
-layering or depth is flat
-little punch or dynamics
--clinical or cold sounding, not organic - I can’t get used to it.
Preamp: -2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 0.81
Filter: ON PK Fc 5815 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 2.92
Filter: ON PK Fc 234 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 1.27
Filter: ON PK Fc 1148 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 1.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 19828 Hz Gain -9.6 dB Q 0.36
If you can get past that cold and clinical sound signature, then this is probably the best budget headphone.

F tier – I do not recommend

ATH M40-X [where is the soundstage?] – 80€
++great out of the box tonal balance, just very slight EQ here:
Preamp: -1.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 33 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 0.35
Filter: ON PK Fc 195 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 0.61
Filter: ON PK Fc 361 Hz Gain 0.8 dB Q 0.89
Filter: ON PK Fc 19745 Hz Gain -8 dB Q 0.28
Filter: ON PK Fc 986 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 2.21
Filter: ON PK Fc 1326 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 1.52
0 slight bad resolution
--- The soundstage is even worse than HD650.
Soundstage is like SHP9500, minus the open feel.

DT990 250 Ohm [treble spikes, even after eq] – 100€
Too much treble like DT880 - This review is going to be with autoEQ.
+It’s not as thin or hollow as DT770, but also not as smooth or thick as HD600.
I tried to make the DT770 sound thicker with something like this:
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.39
It got thicker, but not by a lot. Any more than 1.5 dB will noticeably increase distortion.
-lively and punchy, but wonky. Similar to DT880.
-BIG MINUS F: the treble spikes are hilariously too strong
Preamp: -3.7 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 21 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 177 Hz Gain -2.4 dB Q 0.66
Filter: ON PK Fc 461 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.39
Filter: ON PK Fc 701 Hz Gain 1.2 dB Q 3
Filter: ON PK Fc 19917 Hz Gain -14.9 dB Q 0.19
Filter: ON PK Fc 1246 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.05
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 2328 Hz Gain 1.8 dB Q 0.79
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2791 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 3.10
Filter: ON PK Fc 5804 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 1.26
Filter: ON PK Fc 5822 Hz Gain -4.1 dB Q 4.35

HD660s [where is the treble extension?] – 400€
+ like an EQ’d HD600, with more clarity
- small soundstage. Orchestras sound like a small room unfortunately.
-- 1/4 of the treble extension is missing, feels weird and incomplete.
EQ settings:
Preamp: -3.2 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 24 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 207 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 0.38
Filter: ON PK Fc 2423 Hz Gain 1.1 dB Q 2.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 1223 Hz Gain -1.6 dB Q 3.98
Filter: ON PK Fc 4543 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 5.15
Filter: ON PK Fc 5576 Hz Gain -3.7 dB Q 3.96
Filter: ON PK Fc 6408 Hz Gain 1.4 dB Q 5.86
ATH R70-X [music behind your head] – 300€
+Resolution and detail are nice
-missing volume, notes take little space
+open sounding
0 mediocre spatial technicalities
--- the whole front imaging is kind of missing?
Somehow, the rear has more presence than the front image, which weirdly creates an impression of “music behind your head” => Dealbreaker
0 bright tuning that can be overly excessive at times, overall music impression is “reference like”.
-shy and polite bass
Preamp: -2.1 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 22 Hz Gain 2.1 dB Q 0.97
Filter: ON PK Fc 175 Hz Gain -1.8 dB Q 0.71
Filter: ON PK Fc 3459 Hz Gain -0.1 dB Q 1.02
Filter: ON PK Fc 3704 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 2.81
HD560s [no detail] – 200€
+Tonality like HD600 with less veil
+takes EQ quite well, autoEQ on this no problem
-worse bass and resolution capabilities than HD600
BIG MINUS F: I’m not sure if I imagine things, but I somehow only hear HALF of the detail???
SHP9500 [too flat, no layers] – 200€
without EQ the upper mids or lower treble is too glaring
+resolution on par with HD600
+nice tonal balance after EQ
+open sounding, dynamic
0 sub bass doesn’t take EQ great
-BIG MINUS F: layering and soundstage is non-existent. There is maybe like 1-2 layers, even the HD600/DT770 have more layers available.
MDR-ZX110 [great tonality…] – 10€
amirmEQ is used for this review.
Imaging is like non-existent, but the tonality is nice. Guitars and Bass sound dynamic, but the resolution suffers a lot,
due to this the bass or treble spikes often sound harsh.
For a little more money you can get the Tin T2s, with better resolution and stock tonality.
Blon BL03 – [horrible] – 40€
Bass: fast and punchy, but lacks thickness.
Mids: hollow and shouty.
Highs: There is some strange peak somewhere and that is the only thing you can hear from the treble range lol. It feels like that it only plays a specific part of the treble range and the rest is recessed.
Misc: Stereo imaging is nice. Lacks definition and resolution.
Overall sound impression: Low quality presentation of music, feels like YouTube 480p. The wonky tonality is tiresome, EQ won’t fix this.
Build: Simple design, which is a good thing. Medium weight.
AKG K371 [no resolution] – 200€
Bass: Slightly thick, but punchy. Quality wise it’s bad.
Mids: Vocals are emphasized, but it doesn’t sound good. It’s shallow and sharp.
Highs: There is an annoying treble peak somewhere.
Quality wise it’s comparable to the Blon BL03, but at least it extends further...
Misc: Intimidate sounding headphones, but not like HD650. Subpar – mediocre technicalities, wouldn’t even call it appropriate for the price range.
Overall sound impression: Bad
Comfort: Ears are touching inside. I wish for thicker and bigger earpads. Wouldn’t wear it for more than 1 hour. It’s very lightweight.
Build: Lightweight and sturdy, it’s well made for studio use.
Value: 2/5, for studio or music enjoyment I prefer DT770.
For mobile use I go with ATH-M50X or Tin T2s/Moondrop Starfield.
I did not like the AKG K371 BT either.
I would like to remind again, that everything here is purely my own experience. If you happen to not agree with my experience, then that may mean that we are built differently. Otherwise please write a comment and we can discuss.
I like your overall assessment. I have one doubt.
Considering that I'm a weirdo and I like the extra treble of the DT1990 pro and I don't have the dekoni pads and I'm not going to buy them ...., could you tell me where you would re-rate the Beyerdinamic Dt1990pro and the Focal elegia?

Thank you.
 
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