Resolve's Headphone Ranking List

I was skeptical of how much FR affected perceived audio quality until I tried Wavelet. Now that I have presets on qudelix 5k, I’m looking forward to more and more tuneable products. Why can’t every headphone manufacturer include an EQ chip, tuneable by app, which includes several target curve presets, easily tweaked for personal preference?
Is it correct to say FR can affect, even obscure, technical abilities of a headphone? If so a list such as Crinacle’s is almost meaningless, in that you can’t judge technical capabilities without considering how FR is skewing perception. I hope the great work you and other reviewers do pressures the industry into giving us more user friendly tech.

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Hallo Resolve,

so the devil is vegetarian … and then I googled it … :slight_smile:

so thanx for doing this sort of thing - always a good conversation starter. One question from a converted EQ user (LCD-4, VC) is there a central location for the EQ profiles you have done/ are using - maybe that might be a future “extension” for this list …


@Resolve Have you listened to the Beyerdynamic T1 (any of them) at all? If you haven’t, do you plan on it any time soon?

Yeah, definitely too intense in the treble for my taste. But I’d need to evaluate a modern one, that was years ago and I’ve no idea if there have been any revisions.


17 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Objective, Subjective & Dejected Thread

@Resolve I purchased the Audeze LCD-XC after watching your review and live streams and must admit it is truly in the top of its class. Having owned the Focal Celestee and the Radiance can say that the Audeze LCD-XC has much more resounding definition and the music just sounds so much better. I actually use it with the IFI IDSD Signature using the Xbass and it just gives you the low end that is needed. Very pleased, wanted to say thank you for your advice.


Voce? Not heard, or don’t like? To me more natural than the Stax headliners which strike me as impressive, but not that musical.

You mention fundamentals and harmonics being matched is key. I find the Ananda lacking in harmonics - result transparent - but lacking body. Seems the kind of can that people that were raised on SS and digital would find no problem with, but live non amplified and pre digital would.

CSD plots. My frame is HFM (HE-6se v1, HE-500, HEX v2). Lots of mods on 500, some on other two). After EQ is settled for ones own can (but no crazy sub 100 Hz boost to match meh rooms and modern tastes), they still won’t play vocals by Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens (singers with edges in their voices) correctly - too rough and metallic. Helps to make that judgement when you’ve heard them live or on very top room systems for years. In some cases the CSD does not track the FR. Have to adjust with light hand (narrow Q 7.00 or higher) and range ~1.6-2.8 db so you don’t chop out too much music. Voices much closer to correct, slight steely/hollow sound these HFM’s can give - basically gone. Maybe it is group delay or some other thing than ringing. However planars as a group ring a lot more than other technologies. Where they have a notable amount the effect can also be heard as similarly annoying as odd order harmonics (little goes a long way) which can explain why FR and ringing do NOT always track each other perfectly.

Not with any sufficient confidence for an assessment.

What I mean by balance between fundamental and harmonic tones is that this is reasonably well represented by the ear gain, or in other words that the frequency response has a balance such that tones are represented similarly to the way they are in real life, and on the Ananda for the most part this is how it is. Below 150hz you might as well add a bass shelf. While the target I use is highly smoothed, that general shape of the ear gain allows for that harmonic balance to be intact. But this on its own doesn’t mean you can’t have deviations from it and still have a good balance between fundamental and harmonic tones.

There are some exceptions to headphones being minimum phase, but in general, I’d direct you to the comments earlier by Mad Economist, or the Chocomel reddit post on that one. We don’t need to go over that again in this thread haha.


Amen, I had been questioning my hearing since diving into open backs and wondering why the bass was so understated to my ears, when I realized my ears really weren’t missing anything, I was missing the physical sensation. Adding the bass shelf helps, but honestly it’s made me just realize that for my personal use case I prefer speakers and closed backs for when I need isolation, which I suppose is kind of the point for HP in the first place… would be different if I didn’t have a house full of kids I’m sure!


Amen brother.
But there are few places where I can really let loose with speakers. My office presently has the best set, but there are people above and businesses on each side, so I’ve never played them satisfyingly for a time at what we can say are “realistic” levels. or even fairly loudly.

At home, I have a spouse, cat, and neighbors. When the spouse and cat are gone, I can let the old Rectilinear III’s flex their muscles, but the room is large, and damn I’d like to upgrade those dear old buggers. The only things holding me back are reluctance to spend $15-20K and spousal approval for the room. And trying to figure out if the Kiva (below) is the right one, if I’d be satisfied with the Oso, or would need to go for the Viginti.

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Thank you for your quick and well considered opinions.


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Updated with a few additional headphones:

Audio Technica AWKT
Audio Technica AWAS
Drop + HiFiMAN HE-R7DX


Rofl. Exactly where I expected the AT stuff. Their tonality is wonk as hell