Sub- Bass Headphone

What is your favourite headphones that have amazing sub base ?
I can’t tell you mine because I’ve never had a pair, although I was really disappointed with the he400I, since some had said they have good base, sorry but not really, and My HD700 didn’t have either.

Biodynamics headphones such as the TH-X00 and Audeze’s LCD series usually have very good subbass (well extended, tight, and impactfull). but if you already like the sound of your headphones throughout the rest of the frequency range, it’ll probably be more worthwhile to just get a subpac if you want to experience sub-bass.

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JPS Labs Abyss AB-1266 Phi … properly adjusted (meaning a super-light, or no, seal).

The rumble, growl and near visceral impact they have, is hard to match with any headphone, without having the bass overpower/mess up the rest of the presentation. And they do this while still being open back.

The Sony MDR-Z1R and Fostex TH900 Mk2 will deliver similar, maybe even higher, levels of sub-bass (quantity) but it comes at the cost of overall bass quality (resolution and texture). It also tends to sound exaggerated due to their mid-range troughs, and the midrange itself suffers as the bass bleeds into those muddying things up.

The LCD-4 does a very nice job with sub-bass also, but it lacks the raw impact and scale of the Abyss.


If by sub based I’m assuming you mean headphones that have prominent low bass sound. Well first off forget about any open back models that tend to allow bass notes to “leak” out through the rear. And absolutely elminate any planar or electrostatic designs that are dipoles that send sounds in both directions. So closed back designs are good place to start. I heard nothing but good things about the Beyerdynamic DT-880 for about $350. There’s 2 models. Choose between high impedance 250 Ohm or the more efficient 32 Ohm version. Another thing to keep in mind is bass frequencies require a headphone amp with a lot of power as bass is very taxing. If you think, and I hope this isn’t the case, your soundcard on your PC or Mac will do the job, it’s not going to. At the very least you should look into the Audioquest Dragonfly. For $100 you get a DAC and amp that plugs right into a USB port and is size of a large thumb drive. If you’ve got the scratch, go for the $200 model. Both models have the the stones to power all but least efficient headphones. If you choose the 32 Ohm Beyer, you’ll be blown away.

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I have the Sennheiser HD1. It has plenty of low bass slam. Much more than the Beyerdynamic DT 880 which is good but as an open no match.

You could also give the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 Ohm a shot. I find the bass quite prominent.

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… I’ve also seen some good reviews for this one: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone. But I don’t have any personal experience with it.

I loved my JVC DX1000’s for when I wanted to feel actual vibrations on my ears. It’s a shame they were so fragile. I was always afraid to be anything but incredibly careful when I used them. My Master and Dynamic MH40 is also surprisingly proficient at creating rumbly sub bass. They make my ears tickle more than I would expect a fashion-forward portable to.

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The nuraphones have rather good sub-bass and bass due to having a dedicated driver for it.

That guy has listened to hundreds of pairs of headphones and says it’s the most bass he’s heard in a pair of headphones.

You really need to hear some of the better examples of these units, properly driven, before making blanket statements like this.

Yes, closed-back headphones will generally give a more overt bass delivery, at a lower cost, but things like the LCD-4 and Abyss deliver bass all the way down to the infrasonic range, and do so with more texture, resolution, and slam than even the flagship closed-backs cans.

The big difference is that the closed-back stuff, while deep, prominent and cheap gets boomy, bloated and encroaches on the mid-range much faster which becomes overbearing very quickly.

There’s more to this than quantity.

I say this based on being able to do back-to-back comparisons with closed-backs known for their bass performance (e.g. TH900 Mk2) against some of the better planar and open headphones available.


Well said: quality trumps quantity. While the nuraphones can produce insane levels of bass I prefer the “immersion” setting around 35%-55% since at those levels the bass remains clear and crisp without overpowering the mids or highs. But the nuraphones also deliver bass you can feel and not just hear… it’s something one needs to try since it’s a unique experience that’s hard to describe with words alone. The closest thing I can think to relate it to is how you can feel a sub-woofer thumping.

The ZMF Eikon has the best subbass I’ve heard! Was a hair too much for my type of music though

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You made me do it Tony :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I did order the Nuraphone last week after speaking so highly of them. They’ll be here next week. I will post my impressions then.


Awesome! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been the past few weeks since I got them. Looking forward to hearing your opinions/thoughts when they arrive :sunglasses:.

Can confirm, the Eikon’s sub bass is outstanding.

I’ve started to look into ZMF headphones, but on another forum some have said that they don’t pair well with Woo Audio amps. But is that really the case?
DMS3 raved about the Auteur, and I’d love to know more about them.

@I_want_all_the_tacos has some great posts in this thread about tube amps (and solid state) with ZMF headphones. Very informative

I wouldn’t say ZMF and Woo are an inherently bad pairing. From what I’ve heard they are a bit warm, but something more neutral like the WA6 I tried sounds fantastic. Unless you’re considering the Atticus, which can get pretty muddied with some gear (OG Liquid Carbon, cheaper tubes), the fairly neutral tone of the Eikon and Auteur should play well. Obviously dependent on tubes.

Let’s see if I can make this semi-brief. I’m a relentless basshead and have owned many dozens of headphones and IEMs with sub-bass being one of the most important elements I’m looking for.

My favorite sub-bass headphones are the JVC HA-DX1000 / DX2000. Their primary flaw (other than rarity) is that there are a couple of parts on the headband that are prone to cracking.

The JVC HA-SZ2000 has epic bass capability and some interesting tech, but sounds like you’re listening through a 1970s-era vacuum cleaner that’s been cleaning a crazy cat lady’s house for at least the past three decades.

Fostex makes several great sub-bass cans (TH900, THX00, basically anything based on the Foster design). Same goes for Denon (the ones that look exactly like Fostex woodies–same OEM).

Many of the open headphones with solid sub-bass are planars. Audeze makes some good examples. The LCD-2C has rather capable sub-bass and is about the least expensive viable open option.

Generally speaking, bigger is better. The larger the driver, the more bass-capable it’s likely to be (perhaps because it can move more air and flex more without distorting).

Sony has some big drivers in the XB1000, Z7, and MDR-Z1R, they just tend to be tuned like crap. I’d love a Z1R with a heavy dose of EQ, but I can’t justify owning such an expensive pair of headphones if I’m going to have to EQ it all the time.

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the most capable sub-bass headphones are actually IEMs. I tend to significantly prefer dynamic driver-based in-ears to balanced armature receivers both for the sound and bass impact.

Some of my personal favorites are the Future Sonics Spectrum G10 and Aurisonics Kicker/Fender FXA2 (same thing). My daily in-ears are the Future Sonics MG5HX (customs). Excellent sub-bass reproduction, outstanding isolation, and non-fatiguing tuning make for great bass-heavy listening all day at work.

There are quite a few more options if you’re willing to look at in-ear monitors. From inexpensive (Sony MDR-XB90EX, JVC HA-FXZ200) to offensively-priced (they shall not be mentioned!).

Other headphones worth a quick mention that I’m reminded of as I almost hit the “Reply” button: ZMF makes solid options as does MrSpeakers.

And one last thing: You must have a good amplifier to get the best bass quality. Bass suffers more than any other frequency from a mediocre amplifier or bad power.

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The 400i extends very low being an orthodynamic and all, but the quality of the bass is not that great anyway. Combined with the myriad of other issues with the mids and treble that makes it almost an unlistenable experience.