Headphone Regrets 😟

This is an interesting question. As others have said, there is a learning curve any some products I just didn’t like the sound signature, but learned something from them (i.e. also learned what I liked). The ones I actively disliked and most quickly returned/got rid of:

Audioquest NightOwl
HiFiMan HE-350
HiFiMan Edition S


I think we share a taste. NightOwls are long gone and the HiFiman HE4XX’s are on probation.:slightly_smiling_face:


So what’s on the other end of the spectrum, what equipment do you love?

My Grado GH2’s have swept back into # 1 since I got the Burson Fun amp with Classic opamps. Number two is Beyer T5p.2’s (great closed back out of amp, DAP, anything) and number three is Meze 99 Classic’s, my go-to mobile phones.

I am taking a break from my HE4XX’s and will give them one more chance.

I also really enjoy my computer station again, where I collect, store and organize my music. I recently got a pair of Vanatoo Transparent Zero’s. The office is rockin’! I have actually been in here for most of the day music and job hunting.


Although there is an impossible amount of hype regarding HD650/HD6XX, I think they are great for the money with the right amplification. What amp did you use the HD6XX with? I actually just recently just started using my HD6XX again and fired up my bottlehead crack with some decent tubes (tungsol 6sn7 BGRP, bendix 6080wb). The bass rolls off too much for me to make this my ultimate, but it’s still very enjoyable for me.

disclaimer: i did have a pair of HD650’s that I used very happily for 10 years before going down the (enjoyable) headphone rabbit hole. i do tend toward more forgiving sound than anything bright/analytical/sibilant.

I also do like the HE4XX for the money too. it gives a taste of planar sound and a low price (relative to most planars).

The nightowls did some things great, but the FR was just way off to me. Couldn’t get over it.


I used an iFi amp with a long name. I believe the correct name is iFi MICRO iCann SE. I found the sound flat, boring and uninteresting. I would not call this a learning experience as I never cared for the sound. A crappy $700.00 experiment

Having said all that, the reviews on the HD58X have me somewhat interested. I actually just offered to trade a guy my HE4XX’s for his HD58X’s.


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If you didn’t like the HD6XX I bet you won’t like the HD58X either. They’re tuned quite similarly, and nothing like a Beyerdynamic.


That is what I was thinking. However they are cheap enough that I could try them out and re-sell if necessary.

I like a variety of sounds. I have three very different types now and I am REALLY curious about the Elex and Cascades.

The hunt will never end.:grin:



the hunt is definitely part of the fun and a good part of it is learning what you like and what you don’t like. I have a some HPs that might be considered “end game” but I enjoy trying out different HPs. I should have some ZMF Auteurs tomorrow and some Massdrop Koss ESP 95x next week.


Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon. Liked them initially, but ended up returning them after a month. Just didn’t seem to fit real well, and/or allow immersion in the music. A key component for any headphone I use is comfort. If they’re not comfortable, I wont use them.

For me the biggest regret is probably the Philips Fidelio X2. Not that it’s bad (certainly not bad for the price when on sale), but I found that the clamp force was too tight for my head and couldn’t get it to be comfortable. So I ended up lending it to my dad for over a year before I sold it.

My other biggest regret is the Hifiman EF-5 tube hybrid amp that I bought to go with my HE-500. At the time this was released as a decent pairing for the headphone, but it was relatively unimpressive and the knob kept falling off. The volume pot also got a bit rough quite quickly. I still have it but never use it because it’s just kind of a piece of junk.


Odd to read your comment about the X2s. For me it’s the exact opposite:

  • The X2s were my first serious headphone (ie, buying based on reviews aligning w/my preferences). It was love at first listen, not only w/the sound but also w/the comfort & that whole spaceship-helmet vibe of this headphone
  • I went on to get a dozen or so others (some sold & some kept), with an emphasis on open-back planars
  • If I had to stop headphone audio and keep just 1 headphone, it would be the X2s.

(everybody hears & feels differently)


What was the issue with the Elise? I have heard great things about Feliks Audio. What do you use now instead?

I have just bought a pair of Bose Soundtrue Ultra, to replace a pair of Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear and this is my worst regret for now.

The choice was based on the graphs shown in this website, according to which the Bose should be slightly better than the Sennheiser:

To me, the Momentum delivered an overall entertaining sound, with plenty of lows and highs… party-like if you want.
On the contrary, when I first put the Bose on, I found them very flat, or apsetic if you forgive the expression. Bass is present but much more subdued than the Sennheiser’s, and overall they feel much less “warm”. Just to give you the idea, it feels like I have my ears just slightly plugged, as sometimes happens on an airplane.
I have to say, with the Bose I can get to hear some sounds around the mids that I wasn’t aware of before.

Maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to them, but had you any experience with any of the two models?


Hi and welcome to the community @Brunix.

Thank you for posting. I can’t give an opinion as I’ve never listened to either of them, but I feel the pain of someone whose first post is in “Headphone Regrets”. Have you broken-in the Bose? It’s not unusual for a headphone or IEM to need a day or two of playing before their sound settles down. This does not have to be at high volume.

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Thank you for accepting me in the community :slight_smile:

Yes, I have been trying them on for 6 days now but the situation unfortunately isn’t improving :frowning:

Some days ago I found those graphs and the Bose didn’t seem bad, but I guess I have learnt that nothing beats hearing a new pair of earbuds in person… I will try to trade them for another model.

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Do you know what kind of sound you are looking for? Why not drift over to the intros section, tell us about yourself and what kind of music you listen to?

And the purchase advice might be a good place to start where some real live people will try and help. Which can be better than graphs driving reviews. If you’re not at Trust Level 2, just reply to the thread that looks closest.


Thank you pennstac, I will be heading to the introduction thread :slight_smile:


Reading this hurts my brain a bit, prompting a rant of sorts.

I feel for you, and it’s one of the reasons I take such an issue with rtings conclusions - they base them strictly on curve targets, suggesting that ‘critical listening’ should entail adherence to a specific response (that is ultimately subjective anyway). They lack the indication that performance can be found in a number of other areas that aren’t captured strictly by frequency response. I’d take a super fast and highly resolving headphone that deviated slightly from that curve over a loose and poorly resolving headphone that matched it perfectly any day (and there are lots of examples of this). What people ultimately enjoy for ‘critical listening’ is heavily impacted by a multitude of other factors, and if we were to take their recommendations seriously, we’d all end up with QC35iis over L700s…

It’s an axe to grind for me I know, but when I read people making purchase decisions based on their recommendations, when they don’t even consider resolution or speed - or other defining characteristics of headphones like driver type and material - I feel like I have to speak out against what they’re doing. In fact I’ve spoken to them about it in the past after they reached out to me about what they could be doing better. I identified this area in particular as one of the reasons why they end up with such ridiculous conclusions, and they never responded or even gave a justification for why they don’t include those considerations. My hunch is that one of two things is going on:

A) They don’t actually listen to the headphones they review - at least not with the scrutiny that someone making a purchase based on their recommendations would.

B) They’re only basing their conclusions on what they have the tools to measure. This means anything to do with why a planar sounds different from a dynamic, or an estat for example is completely ignored. Same with detail, speed, timbre and imaging. They’re basing recommendations for where to go by pointing at an incomplete map because that’s all they have - one that leaves out topography… or water and then suddenly you have a mountain or a lake where you wanted to build your house.

Getting slightly back on track here, I feel like that site is responsible for a lot of headphone regrets.