Closed back headphones


The few people that I’ve seen talk about them weren’t favorable. The 1060c are really good and can be had for $200-$240 usd on sales and used.


Thanks for reminding me about the Thinksound ON2. I kept waiting for them to drop again. However I was able to get them from Amazon for 86 bucks with my cash back.

These are very pleasant and isolate very well. While I work, the ac vents (too small) can be distracting with open phones. Nice to have background silence while listening while I work.

My ears have gotten used to the pressure, no more discomfort, even with glasses.

At one point, they seemed to be too much, with the bass seeming to bounce back and forth between my ears and the phones. I actually felt too much pressure from the music and it became fatiguing. That has disappeared and I have found that I can mitigate it more with different heights (top of the ear,bottom of the ear)


Mine just shipped today. I am buying them for my wife. Tons of great reviews and pretty cheap. I am sure she will be THRILLED with them. I am curious to see how they fare against some big boys.



I’ll have to just say tonight’s the first time in many months I’ve actually listened to my MDR V6… and holy smokes I always question why I’ve kept it and tonight I’ve got my answer

A little dry sure but with my HM601 it’s super handy while I’m getting everything else set back up

split this topic #45

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: About the Purchase Advice category


That’s where you lost me. Good luck!

I stand corrected. PM3s. Yup.

1 Like

I’ll toss my experience with closed-backs into the mix as well, though like most here, I prefer open-backs when the situation permits.

Denon AH-D5000
Perhaps the best Christmas present my wife has ever bought. These are the 1st-gen, probably bought about 15 years ago at this point. Virtually no clamp force, certainly the most supple earpads I think you could find at the time (this was before the heyday of guys like Brainwavz and Dekoni…what you got was all there really was). Unapologetically V-shaped, the D5000 are an excellent can for listeners of bass-heavy music. A far cry from what I’d consider a detail-oriented can, I think they kinda set the standard for what you’d think a wood-cup pair of cans would sound like.

Sony MDR-V700DJ
Sony is cool, man. They even say DJ on the side so you know they’ve got the kickin’ bass. These were bought back in 2005, well before I was gifted the Denons. It’s consumer tuning, but without being exceptionally boomy. For its intended purpose as a DJ can, I kinda like how it presents bass; makes it easy to beatmatch and cue up the next track when you’re mixing since the bass pops more than it booms. Earpads are nothing to write home about, comfort’s not that great, and the plastic build doesn’t lend itself well to constantly swiveling the earcups. I’ve been lucky that mine have stayed intact for as much as they’ve been abused. At this point, they only really get brought out when I’m doing needledrops since it’s easier to hear when I need to set my trackpoints in Vinyl Studio during post-processing.

Sennheiser HD280 Pro
On a budget, they do fairly well. They seem to hug the boundary between analytical and fun and, should you enjoy having a compressed soundstage or need that in the studio, will find yourself quite pleased. That being said, there’s better alternatives out there for simply enjoying your music. Despite the tight clamp and cheap-feeling earpads, I don’t find that to be the source of discomfort; sound-wise they just cause fatigue early. While that’s something that lends itself well to cutting through a mix, their tuning still isn’t neutral and the learning curve for learning how they translate to other systems is steep (though not impossible to overcome). But I still have them around. They tend to share time with the V700DJ for needledrops since I’m not having to strain to pick up on any fade ins/fade outs. Speaking from an enthusiast’s standpoint, though, they do make a solid transition piece for people who’ve been born and bred on consumer tuning.

Meze 99 Classics
And on the topic of consumer tuning, seems like you can’t not bring up the 99 Classics these days. The praise is well deserved…so is the ire. I can see both sides of the argument. Tuning is definitely on the “fun” side with its bass punch and overall warmth, but Antonio has also managed to tune these in a way that doesn’t cause the top-end sparkle to completely disappear. In a word, I’d say they’re romantic, but still energetic enough to keep up with modern music. Pad-rolling can cause significant changes in FR and, the more you look into these, the more you’ll see people covet the original pads (which were shallow and narrow, but didn’t cause issues with bloom in the mids). Haven’t had a pair of them to test myself, but people have also claimed success using Yaxi’s pads designed for the Sony 7506 on the Classics for taming some of that low end. Personally, I love them the way they are and think they’re capable of being diverse enough to be someone’s sole pair if they don’t have an expansive budget and absolutely must have closed-backs. Breaking into the open-back territory, well, I think we can all figure out what happens there.

Bose QC35
Another gift from the wife, these are my go-to pair for taking on planes. Sound signature is what I’d classify as “Bose Plus,” meaning the typical Bose pedigree of sucking out information from the upper mids is still easily identifiable, but overall tuning is a nice departure from what Bose had been doing for many years prior. I found them ridiculously comfortable for long-term use, though they do suffer from a little sweatiness in hotter/more humid climates. Having a printed L and R inside the earcup is also a major plus as the QC35’s “none more black” motif otherwise makes it pretty tough to identify proper sides at a glance. Not surprisingly, the best use I’ve found for them is when flying, though depending on how close your seat is to the turbines, causes some nasty interference during takeoff and landing. These days, I take full advantage of the standard-setting ANC, but (and I can’t help but laugh as I type this) have taken it upon myself to put on a pair of IEMs under the QC35 for enjoyable listening in the air. Chuckle you might, try it you should. You might be surprised at how effective it works.

MrSpeakers Ether Flow Closed
Sadly, I’ve never owned these, but I did get an extended audition at the Schiitr (Schiit showroom in Valencia, CA) over multiple pieces of equipment. Much like @Torq’s impressions of the AFC, the EFC redefined for me what a closed-back pair of cans was capable of. Instantly smitten with them, I think they ended up on my head more than any other pair in the showroom and equally as many amps and DACs. The theme seemed to be neutral with a small tilt towards fun, blatantly analytical yet not boring. Long story short, I walked away from that audition believing they were worth every penny of Dan’s asking price. That was until…

MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed
…the AFC arrived. Touted by many as a closed-back, planar HD600, these continue the EFC’s analytical trend. Maybe not as fun overall, but the new earcup shape makes it effortless to find a good seal and the earpads (oh Mylanta, those earpads) are to die for. If the 6XX is an open-backed pair that can stay on your head all day once the clamp has loosened up, the AFC more than fit the bill in Camp Closed. Bass is unabashedly planar, but the closed-back nature helps a bit with the energy. Most first-time listeners will call them boring and I could see why, but they positively grow on you. They’re also the first pair of headphones that gave me a legitimate aha moment where I could be convinced that burn-in is a real thing. Much like my beloved 6XX and Audeze LCD2C, I don’t think I can ever bring myself to part with them. They’re current-hungry suckers, though, so reliable amplification is a must IMO.


Love these impressions. I’ve never felt the need for closed backs. Hence I have never tried any. Nowhere near me to try any either. But I haven’t looked hard to be honest. It’s nice to see what they bring to the table though. Thanks.


I always favored open headphones and any closed I’ve tried never felt or sounded right until I purchased the Shure 1540. They to me sound like an open headphone and I have compared them to my Beyerdynamic DT 880( the Shure is much smoother. More Analog like) and the Senn HD650(the Shure is more balanced and open with more clarity in the treble.) Plus the Shure has the best low end. Not a booming pop based low end but the kind that only makes its appearance when there is actual low end such as you find in classical or soundtracks. Also it’s very comfortable and similar to the 650 but not as good as the 880. In any case I needed a closed headphone and after trying a few and getting discouraged this exceeds my expectations.