Reference open-back and closed-back headphones!

Most of us could agree that the Sennheiser HD650/6XX is a reference open-back headphone for comparing and listening to audio gear! With hundreds of thousands out in the wild, it is hard to argue with it being a reference headphone.

When it comes to closed-back headphones what do you use as your baseline? Do you have a reference closed pair, if so why did you choose it? If you don’t have a Sennheiser 650/6XX what is your open back reference headphone?

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My two reference closed backs are the Elegia and ZMF Verite Closed… though I do want to get an extended listen with the Stellia at some point…

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I haven’t listened to it (an unfortunate common theme of mine), but I feel as though the Elegia would be a natural choice as so many here endorse it. Plus, it’s not too expensive.

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Elegia is one of my favorite headphones and I think severely underrated! I’ve been listening to it every night while on our trip this week… just fantastic!

I recommend anyone listening to it to listen exclusively to it for a couple days, without listening to any other headphone (if confused by my use of exclusively)… then go back to other headphones and see what you’re missing.

Regarding the bass… it is really good… just not emphasized like other headphones especially Closed backs. I’m by the pool now but kind of wish I had my Elegia setup right now… but 3 year old, water and high end audio gear don’t mix lol

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Waterproof. The future of high-end audio…

Enjoy your time in the sun!

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I think it’s an interesting conversation to have as the 6XX is generally affordable with most everyone’s budget, however the Elegia may not be and the Verite Open definitely won’t be in everyone’s price range. For personal reference it doesn’t matter as much but if your are reviewing it may be more important as @ProfFalkin had said to base off of something that more people have heard, thoughts?

I totally agree the Elegia is a good closed-back reference headphone though and would agree it is my reference As of now with its fairly neutral mid forward presentation.

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Just as a reference point (not commenting on sound) I would say that almost everyone has heard something from the AudioTecnica closed back line up. The M50x probably being the most common but then everything would get good reviews if referenced to it :smiley:

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While I agree that having a good reference point that is prevalent amongst users as a baseline is great for reviewers. I also don’t think it needs to be one of the masses… “my” reference point for closed backs is the Elegia… “my” reference point for open backs would probably be the ZMF Aeolus… at least at this stage in my audio journey… personally I really enjoyed the 6xx and it was my first foray into “audiophile” level headphones and gear.

If we are talking about what “should” be the reference points that is another very subjective thing. Sure lots of people have heard the 6xx but should it be the baseline? I don’t know! I’m not even remotely qualified to determine that.

Another way of looking at it, is to state your preferred headphones and gear before a review to let people know your preference. Then they know you like a/b/c style of headphones or sound profile?

Another thing for me is I’m odd in that I can appreciate multiple different styles and actually prefer it… I don’t like being stuck in one sound profile for long periods of time (ADHD doesn’t help)

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This is what Metal571 does, and I agree that it’s the best way to go about reviews. Stating your point of reference and your personal preferences is a best practices, imo.

I also get the want for a reference device (headphone). Disclosing the above would be just as helpful.

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I think this is a great point!! That Is why I thought this thread would be a good discussion, I definitely don’t have the answer, so getting everyone’s thoughts was my intention! Well said @DarthPool !!

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I’ve written a lot here about the Shure closed 1540 and open 1840. These are my reference headphones now. Sold the HD650 and selling my DT 880.

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For a while the HD600 were my reference pair of headphones. After a year or two, the HD800 took that title. Now, I’m down to just a pair of Focal Utopias. They are currently my reference headphones since they’re all I would have to reference, but I still think of the Sennheisers as the true references.

I have not yet found my true reference closed headphones. Maybe it’s time I tried a few out.

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Absolutely agree, it really is a fantastic closed back headphone. It is my most used closed back and the second most used headphone I currently have.

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@MRphotography The Sennheiser HD600 (model I have) really is one of the “great” headphones. I have used it as a reference point in the past, comparing it to my other headphones.

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I bought the Elegia last year, a batch of Focals came real cheap at some stores. They were 600 AUD (395 usd) new, delivered.

Then it turns out the Focal design just sits on my head wrong, gives me a near instant headache. RIP!

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That’s a great price!

Very sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you.

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For myself it’s simple. My HD650 is my personal baseline for open-backs. Closed-back I don’t know.

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What’s your number one?

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HD 600 for open

Closed is tough, Aeon 2 sit’s in the current spot, Eikon has been there in the past.

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Nice to see some appreciation for the Aeon2C @mshenay !

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