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What headphone(s) do you own ?

Some basic stuff, in chronological order:
  • Xiaomi Piston 3 IEM (bought on Gearbest, prompted by my dissatisfaction with standard issue earbuds, following a favourable notion by John Darko) - to me they sound exactly as described in the article: balanced & clean. They do tend towards being "lean" however
  • Xiaomi Bluetooth Sports IEM (also bought on Gearbest, because working out, gardening etc isn't all that easy with wires all around) - they support AptX, even though it's mentioned nowhere. Sound is comparable to the Piston 3, just a tad more bass though. Battery life is quite good as well, allowing me to work in the garden all afternoon without any trouble
  • AKG K72 (for living room use, after reading another favourable review) - these were my first over-ear headphones. Though closed, the soundstage is quite OK. Sound is balanced, but a tad "polite". Really easygoing cans for movie or tv watching,not so much for my usual musical diet, which consists of about 70% metal in all its diverse subgenres and 30% of just about anything that's not current chart material
  • KZ ATE IEM (bought from Gearbest yet again) - bought on a lark, just to see if Darko's review held any truth, and also if I would be able to tell the difference with the Piston 3. To me the difference is huge: soundstage is more open, even more so than the AKG and they have quite a lot of nicely articulated bass without bloating the lower mids. These are now my go-to IEM's for late night listening & binge watching, the Piston having been demoted to being used at the office
Prompted by my growing acceptance of headphone listening I began looking at buying a "good" pair of full size headphones. Several Massdrop specials caught my fancy, Focal Spirit Professional as well. I talked some about it with a friend of mine, who's about as crazy about sound as I am but with more disposable income, weighing the merits of each candidate, when he told me if I fancied a listen to his new toy :p We arranged a timeslot where we wouldn't be disturbed and over to my house he came with his Focal Elear and a Questyle DAC/amp. We connected it all up to my Squeezebox Touch, bypassing the Questyle's DAC, just using the headphone amp, and of we went on a trip through my collection. I was smitten ...
Price for this gem was somewhat out of my league however, so I began putting money aside towards it. Earlier this year, about 4 months after I'd first heard them, my buddy suddenly calls me: "I'm buying the new Focal Clear, fancy buying my Elear?". I got them at a 35% price reduction compared to list price, only 5 months old, so "barely broken in" ;) I can't imagine headphones more suited to my musical tastes. I'm well aware of the current Elear bashing that seems to be going on all around the same sites that were previously raving about them being the best thing since sliced bread, and to some extent the criticism levelled against it are true, especially when it comes to sparsely orchestrated violin music, but given that it's incredibly rare that I listen to such music it's a non-issue to me.
What they do have, especially now that I've paired them with the Topping D10 + A30, is an expansive soundstage, articulate and copious bass, realistic mids and highs and above all incredible speed and dynamics. They sound so "alive" I can just listen for hours on end, much to the chagrin of my wife, who's already mightily regretting allowing me the purchase, as I tend to get "lost" in my music when I put them on.
Nice thread. :)

Here is my list:

Stax headphones with three earphones and three amps. The highest end one is the Omega. The other is the Nova. The amps are both tube and transistor.

Sennheiser HD-650

Hifiman HE-400i

Sony MDR-V6

Grado SR-60e


Etymotic SR4SR IEM

Etymotic ER4 (?)

ISOtunes PRO Noise Isolating Bluetooth Earbuds

Most uses are my Stax Omega and Hifiman HE-400i.
I may be sick in some way:
Owned and sold many times more than this.
definitely a horder...

Pioneer SE-300 ans SE305 (just out of curiosity, costed nearly nothing, not used)
Koss KSC35 and 2 pairs of KSC75 (have gotten lots of usage in the past)
Jays V-Jays (somewhat similar to Koss thingies)
AKG K518 (modified, still not great)
Fostex T50RP both modified and EQ'ed (have not been used for years, great sound though)
Beyerdynamic DT990-600 (oldie, used it for many years, not used any more but can't part with it)
Beyerdynamic DT1350 EQ'ed and nubuck pads (used these on vacation now and then, need EQ, very dynamic and good SQ to me)
HD250-Lin II (2 of them, not in use one driver defective)
HD238 (modified, wife uses it on vacation)
HD438 (modified, not in use any more)
Philips Uptown 2x (modified, good SQ, not in use anymore)
Mitchell & Johnson JP1-DJ (not in use)
Master & Dynamic MH40 stock (+ passive filter) not in use.
Superlux: HD681 (modified), HD681-EVO (modified), HD662-EVO (modified) HD687 proto (modified), HD688 proto (modified), HD671 proto + production (modified), HD672 proto + production (modified)
Fostex TH-X00 (used with EQ, rarely used)
Sennheiser HD58X proto + HD58X production (modified and filtered) occasionally used
Sennheiser HD650 (old, black driver) (EQ'ed) has been used extensively in the past. Now in the drawer. Not gonna sell it.
Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (modified), my current toy. Did not like the stock version.
Sennheiser HD800 (EQ'ed).

Favorites: HD800 (EQ'ed), HD688 Proto (modified), the production version is not nearly as good, DT1350 (EQ'ed), KSC35, HD650 (EQ'ed), COP (modified), HD58X (modified and filtered)
Most usage: HD800 (EQ'ed), HD688 (modified proto) and currently new toy; modified Beyer COP.

When you say "Modified" - what does it mean exactly?
Nothing special here:

I had a pair of Radio Shack phones (1969 or so) - gray ones with air-filled ear cushions when I was a kid. I have no audio memory of them.

Whatever little lightweight thing that came with a DiscMan... They were OK, as I remember.

Had a pair of Sony MDR-CD750 from 1992 or so that I never used which disintegrated just sitting on the shelf because they were so awful.

And now the "safe choice" HD-650 ordered unheard 5 years ago based on reviews, used occasionally and deemed satisfactory.
When you say "Modified" - what does it mean exactly?

altered in some way or another which differs from headphone to headphone.
For some headphones I wrote tutorials (downloadable in pdf format) for other headphones I have posted the modifications directly on my website.
Stax SR 507 (got used, sounded bad, found perforated mylar) then the headband broke. Eventually: Replaced mylar myself, repaired headband myself. They sound best with 'normal' bias, which is how I run them. They are Frankenstein, but are some of the best Stax I have heard, detailed, great, full bass etc. I would say sound is halfway between 007 and 009, which is about perfect. I have no idea why 'amateur' mylar wound up sounding so good on them. I run them with various amps through a transformer adapter using Z565 Dynaco transformer (used in the old Dynaco SCA35 amps from the day).

Stax Lambda normal bias
Stax SR 3 with 5n membranes
Ultrasone Ed 8 (trying to sell)
Sony MDR Z7
Sony MDR Z1R
Senn. HD580
Etymotic earbuds for gym and portable

I am in two spots, and one requires headphones rather than blasting stereo.
Sennheiser HD-650
Grado SR80e

I vary rarely listen to either.
Don't like headphone listening. Only use them when it is a necessary.
Some older Beyer DT880's.
My favorites are Sony MDR 7510.
I have some Creative Aurvana on ears for use with my phone or tablets or such.

I've had various phones over the years, none of them wowed me. Stax Lamda, Koss ESP9, Nakamichi SP7's which were my favorites until they disintegrated after a decade of use, some Grados SR60, SR80, and others not worth mentioning. Oh, and my first phones were Koss K6.
My junk (updated 18-Jun-2024):
  • Massdrop x Sennheiser HD6xx (measurements) - Well-rounded and extremely comfortable. Used to be my all-around go-to headphones. Everyone should have a pair of these (or the 650s, 600s, or 580s); don't let the relatively cheap plasticky appearance fool you.
  • Massdrop x AKG K7xx (measurements) - Acquired as part of a Drop "bounty box". These are super comfortable, even though they have a fairly cheap plastic feel to them; light clamping pressure, and very plush pads. Without surgery, they're single-ended, which is pretty weird for my collection; these live in my bedroom for mostly evening listening, paired to a JDS Labs Atom and a Topping D50, so it all works out pretty well, and they sound great. I tend to compare these to the HD6xx a lot; similarly competent sound for an excellent value.
  • Focal Clear Professional (measurements) - Bought as a Very Good Deal, and basically perfect for most uses; these spend more time on my head than anything else right now (they're my living room entertainment center cans), and completely replaced the HD6xx as my daily driver. Basically perfect fit (for my head), and the pads are amazingly soft and plush; I can wear them for hours. My only complaint is clipping, and for media that suffers from this, they're frustrating-bordering-on-unusable. (I have a sample that I use to demonstrate this: near the end of the M83 Isolated Score from the Oblivion blu-ray, there's an incredible musical moment that reduces these headphones to nothing but pops and crackle unless I turn the volume way down. tl;dr: these cans have serious problems with low-frequency gain.)
  • Hifiman HE-560 v2 (measurements) - I grabbed these because they were too cheap to pass up, and I wanted to see what the planar fuss was about. For my head, they're pretty comfortable (most people seem to complain about the headband, but it's been fine for me) and "plush". I found the stock pads fairly itchy, so I replaced them with a set of Dekoni fenestrated sheepskin pads, which solved that problem nicely.
  • Hifiman Sundara (measurements) - Another "price too good to pass up" purchase. Similar comfort level to the HE-560; Hifiman's pads are basically giant pillows, although again, they're itchy. These were my second-most-used headphones until I got the HD 800 S; they lived in my home office. I should probably swap the sheepskin pads on the HE-560s onto these at some point.
  • Oppo PM-3 (measurements) - I have a hard time believing I'm not filling the room with noise when I'm listening to these: they're by far the best closed-back headphones I've listened to, and their form factor make them an easy choice to bring with me. Not the strongest bass of the cans I own, but livable, and I don't find them bright at all. Honestly, it's hard to pick out anything in particular to say about them; they're just good all-arounders.
  • Sony WH-1000XM3 (measurements) - Picked these up on sale for a month-long trip to Japan where I wanted the airplane and other transit noise to just go away. Mission accomplished: they're middle-of-the-road as headphones, but the whole reason to own them is noise cancellation, and Oh My God they're amazing as far as that goes. I don't think I really appreciated how loud an airplane was until I took these off mid-flight. These live in my backpack now, replacing the PM-3s as my "take everywhere" cans; the noise cancellation (and bluetooth) are just too useful.
  • E-MU Teak (removable cable version) (measurements) - These are for fun, and for situations when I needed a closed back before I got the PM-3s. They've been great for games, pretty good for movie viewing, and great for music that's loud and compressed to hell and back in mastering. (That M83 track I mentioned above that the Clears blow up on? My head feels like it's going to vibrate off when I listen with these. It's the weirdest feeling.)
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S (measurements) - Found these on sale, which became a birthday present to myself. Initial impressions: without EQ, they're too bright for my ears, and fatigue sets in very quickly. With a little EQ, they're amazing. Comfort is mostly good, although like their cheaper counterparts, Sennheiser seems to make headphones that always feel a little cheap and plasticky. Definitely not as luxurious as the Clears, but the fit is good, they're light, and the pads are soft and comfortable. These have become my home office daily use headphones; nothing else in my collection touches them when they're EQ'd.
  • Sony MDR-ZX110 (measurements) - They're $9. They're the only on-ear cans in my collection, and with a little bit of EQ, they sound pretty good. And also: they were $9. At that price, I'm not going to over-think it.
  • Shure SE-846 (measurements) - these IEMs were an "I need to survive in a loud office environment" purchase back when I still worked in an open-plan bullpit. Their low impedance does a great job of highlighting the noise floor of most of your equipment. These spent a lot of time in my ears for several years; good all-around IEMs if you like bass (especially since you can tune them a bit with the inserts), but I find most IEMs to be too bright and harsh for my ears for some reason, so take that for what it's worth.
  • Tin Audio T3 (measurements) - Acquired as part of a Drop "bounty box". I can't get the fit on these quite right for my ears; it always feels like the body of the IEM is projecting too much and generally in the way, and the metal cylindrical design just makes it feel out of place for something you stick inside your head. Audibly, these seem "okay"; mids and treble seem neutral, bass seems a little underwhelming.
  • Massdrop x NuForce EDC3 (measurements) - Acquired as part of a Drop "bounty box". Fit is good, and they're light, but they sound like a hot mess to my ears; "muddy" is the only thing I can think of to describe the sound I get from them.
  • Moondrop Blessing 2 (measurements: amirm, crinacle) - Picked these up completely blind when I saw them go on sale, based entirely on the reviews and general hype about them, and they're... fantastic. They don't have the super-low impedance problem of the Shures, and the out-of-the-box tuning of them is basically perfect for my ears, with plenty of bass extension. Unlike a lot of IEMs, the build feels beefy, and the case design lets you easily insert and remove them. These replaced the Shures as my "toss in the bag and bring just in case" monitors, which seemed crazy given that they're less than a third the price. Did I mention how cheap they are? They're just stupid cheap for what you're getting.
  • Linsoul 7Hz x Crinacle Zero:2 (measurements) - $25 for something that competes on an even footing with the Blessing 2? How do these even exist? I'm so confused about the value of money right now. Anyway, this was a blind buy when I saw Amir's measurements, and they're basically perfect. Same beefy/chonky feel that the Blessing 2s have. Just like with the Blessing 2s, these turned into my "take everywhere" IEMs. I don't know what else to say, for $25 anyone can have top-of-the-line IEMs now that don't require EQ. I'm in crazytown.
  • Moondrop Chu 2 (measurements) - Like the Zero:2s, these are super cheap ($19), and also like the Zero:2s, no EQ required. They're also tiny, and as light as their size would suggest. I genuinely don't understand how these companies are able to make IEMs so cheaply, but I'm not complaining; these are almost certainly going to become the IEMs I use for my morning runs (see below for the bluetooth adapters/hooks I'm using); at this price, if something happens to them, I won't be that upset, and did I mention they sound great?
IEM bluetooth adapters:
  • KZ AZ20 - These worked great, until they died after the fifth use. Fitment was comfortable, good codec support, everything sounded like it was supposed to, no signal drop-outs. Shame about the quality control.
  • Moondrop EVO - These are pretty chonky, which makes the fit kind of odd for me; in particular, I have a hard time hitting the tap target for controlling them (media controls, power off, etc). Once they're on my head, I mostly don't notice them. I'm not sure if it's Apt-X Adaptive that's causing problems (renegotiating a different bitrate?), but I've noticed a lot of drop-out when I turn my head while listening. Can't comment on the battery life, as I only really use these for morning runs and occasionally when a coffee shop is a little too noisy for me, and then back on the (exceedingly huge) charger they go. Anyway, I feel like there's room for a lot of improvement in this particular market, but we're not quite there yet.
I had thought the Clears were going to be my "endgame" headphone, but the clipping with highly-dynamic tracks has been incredibly frustrating, and I found myself grabbing the HE-560s and Sundaras more and more often, or going back to the HD6xx. Then I got the HD800S, and now as long as I'm in a situation where I can EQ them, they are what I wear. I should probably take some time looking at the Stax lineup just to round out the collection, then I can just save up for a set of Dan Clark cans like I probably should have in the first place. :)

In retrospect, this list is just silly. How the hell did I end up with all of these?
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Hi :)

MrSpeakers Aeon closed (boring)
Grado Sr80e with bowl pads (my favs)
Hifiman HE400i
Oppo PM3
Audio-Technica M40x with Brainwaz angled leather pads
Koss Porta Pro
IEM : Xiaomi Piston Hybrid Pro HD

Best regards
Sennheiser PX 100-II - the gateway drug
Vsonic GR07 Bass Edition - first IEM that made me go, "Wow"
FLC 8S - A hybrid IEM: single dynamic driver, dual balanced armatures. Again, "Wow".
Plantronics Backbeat Sense - Light, cheap, on-ear Bluetooth 'phones. Surprisingly great sound.
Massdrop 6xx - If these had significantly more presence down to 30Hz, I would call them perfect.
64 Audio A12t - Custom IEMs that sound truly glorious. I will stop here. For now.
The ones I actually use are:


and a vintage pair of Sony MDR-70 from the 1980s for my computer.

I also have a decent collection of 'retro' 70s headphones I bought at a time everyone was throwing them out. I made great speeches about over-ear phones coming back into fashion and they'd one day be cool again. I was laughed at (in-ear was in fashion).
HD650s — great cans, easy to drive, sound excellent. Love binaural recordings through these.

HE560s - harder load to drive, yoke broke (v1), had to replace with the newer headband/yokes. I like the sound after EQ’ing, but still seem to prefer HD650 by a small margin.
ATH-M30X, sounded alright for the price, gave to my sister.
NVX XPT100, decent sound-stage for closed, kinda shouty. Modded it to reduce shout and deepened the bass and currently using it at work.
VE Monk, probably my favorite to wear and just forget about, sounds ok.
Hifiman 400i (No Back-plate), Like almost everything except the 8-9 khz peak at time, and can be REALLY BAD on some songs like "Losing my Religon" by REM on Spotifiy.
I personally really like the 2-3 kHz dip that Hifiman usually has, makes thing easy to listen to.
Office: Hifiman HE400S, MrSpeakers Mad Dog

Home: Sennheiser HD580, Apple Dual Driver IEM (a fantastic, underrated earphone that I wish Apple would revamp for the Lightning age), Audeze iSine 10

Travel Bag: NAD HP50, Bose QC30 (for planes and trains)

Don't use, should sell: AKG K550
Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω (previously DT990 Pro 600Ω -- falling apart after 20 years)
Audio Technica AD900 -- paired with bass-boost CMOY amp for low end oomph
Brainwavz B100
-- IEMs for portable use
I don’t much like headphones for listening either but as an occasional DJ and producer they are essential.

Current pair is NAD HP50. These suit me as they present as clean and neutral in the mids and treble, slightly heavy in the bass for some tastes. They also isolate better than average which is good for my hearing as a DJ.

Before that I had a pair of Senn HD25-II, the classic DJ headphone. They sounded a bit warmer and rounder, but were not too bad. Much prefer the NADs though.

Also have an older pair of Shure SRH-980. They’ve never sounded quite right to me, basically just a bit too lean.

My girlfriend has Audio-Technika ATH M50x. Those are very pleasant to my ears, like a warmer, more laid-back version of the NADs.

Long ago had a pair of HD-650 that broke. From recollection, those were the best of the bunch for me, mostly because of their very clear, delicate treble (on my head at least). Would consider getting another pair if I didn’t need closed cans for DJing and wanted something purely for listening.
Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω (previously DT990 Pro 600Ω -- falling apart after 20 years)
Audio Technica AD900 -- paired with bass-boost CMOY amp for low end oomph
Brainwavz B100
-- IEMs for portable use

Curious to hear your thoughts on the HP50 @Guermantes?
Curious to hear your thoughts on the HP50 @Guermantes?

I want to really like the HP50s but something about them holds them back from being my favourites. I know they are possibly the most neutral headphones I own but they still sound too "rock'n'roll". Some recordings I enjoy a lot with them but many of my classical recordings have me reaching for the DT880 or the AD900.

I think there are two reasons: dynamics and distortion. They sound a bit flat with some recordings and I have noticed some compression with dynamic orchestral pieces. There is also some lack of clarity in the high frequencies which I think may be attributed to distortion.

That said, my other headphones all have failings, too, so perhaps it is all a matter of what I am willing to tolerate or compromise in my listening preferences. If I am making mixing decisions, I would trust the DT880s with some Sonarworks EQ but would also use the NAD HP50s as a check or for laying down tracks, much like I would use near field monitors.

Also, the leather on the pads on my HP50s is disintegrating. Does anyone know of a source for replacements?
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