What headphones do you have in your collection and why?

Current headphones in rotation:
VC - upgrade from Eikon.
VO - because I love open backs.
HD650 - for reference.
KSC75, PP headband, Yaxi pads - If I lost everything in a fire, I would just get this and move on.

On order:
Auteur - my “neutral” ZMF.

In storage:
R70x - light, comfortable, good all-round headphones. Prefer my other cans.
K371 - curiosity got the better of me, not sure what to do with them.

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Well, for me it’s:

LCD-2.2 - I actually traded my modded HE-500 for this set, and they’re definitely every bit as fantastic as a lot of people made them out to be. Love their dark signature.

ZMF Vibro MK I & II - It’s a combination with the Vibro cans: extremely well-made wood cups (Cherry and Sapele), dark signature, and also ZMF’s awesome customer service. You can’t beat Zach and Bevin as far as helping their customers goes.

Sine DX - The first really good planar I purchased, and still love their sound as much as the others I’ve mentioned. Someone on Head-Fi was kind enough to make me some 3d printed adapters so that I can use over-the-ear pads with them (Brainwavz Oval Suede) which took them to a new level for me, plus they’re portable. I still want to see a deep comparison between them and the LCD-1.

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Currently, the ones in my collection are:

Focal Stellia: This is my current favorite. There’s just something so lush, warm, and sensual about it. Sounds very intimate yet not claustrophobic. Doesn’t have as much of that metallic timbre that several people complain about on the Utopia or Clear. It’s detailed and sounds super clean, but, I enjoy that bit of bass boost. It’s a phenomenal can.

Meze Empyrean: It’s so enjoyable. Bass goes deep and it is so versatile. I really enjoy the level of detail retrieval it has because I do not always want to be hyper-focused on the details. It’s bassy and easy going. Very musical.

Focal Clear: I enjoy Focal. These sound so nice and… clear, haha. There’s some bass (which I enjoy. I love my bass) but it still sounds pretty transparent whenever it’s called upon. There’s some of that Focal metallic timbre there, but, I honestly don’t mind it at all and it doesn’t bother me. I also enjoy the intimate sound stage because I like having a variety between large sound stages and intimate ones.

Sennheiser HD800S: I keep this for the same reason that I keep my Clear, except, this has sound stage for days. I don’t find the treble bothersome at all like some people do. I enjoy this one for classical music, opera, ballet, and things of that sort. I’m currently saving for a Susvara to supersede this as my main classical music can, but, I doubt I’ll ever get rid of this one. I enjoy it’s clarity, sound stage, and how comfortable it is.

Focal Radiance: This is my fun can. After selling my V-Moda Crossfade M100s because the comfort ruined it for me, even with pad swaps, I was looking for a fun closed back. I tried the Meze 99 Classics, and while the comfort was great, I didn’t like the sound signature. These are similar to those but are more up my alley. They have BASS. Lots of bass. They have more bass than the Stellia, aren’t as detailed, have a more intimate sound stage, and overall sound warmer and darker in all regards. This makes it great for EDM, synth, trance, and all that jazz. Definitely starts sounding like I have a subwoofer strapped to my head sometimes when the bass drops. It’s Focal, so, there’s still that feeling that you have a quality product on your head, but, I can definitely tell that it’s a very “consumer sound” whenever I listen to these. They’re less refined than the Stellia, but, I didn’t buy these because they were refined. I bought them to be my fun closed back bassy headphone and they fit that bill.

Jerry Harvey Jimi AION iems: Love these iems. Had the chance to do a home demo of these and the Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020 and decided to keep these. Absolutely phenomenal sound on these, and, they’re gorgeous. I much preferred them to the Andromedas after spending a week listening to them. They’re my only iem right now. I’ve bought (and resold) several high end iems that were not my cup of tea. So glad that someone gave me the chance to demo these because I’m very picky about iems.

Sennheiser HD650: Nothing shocking here. They’re fantastic. They scale really well, they sound good, and everyone should have a pair of these or the HD600s in their arsenal.

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These are great impressions, @Lana, and a pleasure to read - thank you! You’ve got a lovely collection of headphones.

I’d be keen to learn more from you about the Jerry Harvey Jimi AION IEMs - I’d not heard of them before!

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Nice collection and good read. May I ask if there were other headphones you considered for this purpose, before opting for the Susvara?

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Sony CD900st BTL-modded - I just love the vocal presentation on these old Sony’s. The fact that you can still pick them up is pretty crazy to me and Sony has tried many times to create an improved version but still haven’t been able to do so. Great mid range and enough clarity and resolution for me to enjoy even when Diana Phi is next to it. The mods help space out the bass, giving it more texture and detail. The recable also helps open up the stage a bit more compared to the SE variant. Overall, I’m very happy with the changes the modded version provides.

Diana Phi - A comfortable TOTL alternative to the Utopia. Has great resolution, space, and tonal balance. This is currently my newest headphone but I’m not sure if it has the same staying power as my sonys.

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Great list of gear you have . Very nice.

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My gear lineup has changed since my last post my current lineup is

ZMF Verite Open:
My TOTL headphone. Really is amazing for everything, detail, speed, tonality, soundstage, timbre just a great headphone. Only gripe is the slightly recessed mids but I can live with it and am used to it. It’s a good trade off for the other positives it brings.

ESX900:
My most recent acquisition. This headphone is legit. It’s a modded TH900, but it fixes everything wrong with the TH900 FR. This really could be my one and done headphone. The most slam/macro dynamics I’ve ever experienced with a headphone, great detail and technicalities almost on par with Verite and Utopia and timbre that is on par with the Auteur. Soundstage sounds larger than it’s closed back design would suggest (ok ok it’s semi open, looks closed to me so nananannaan I can’t hear you :slight_smile:) It really is a keeper.

HD6XX KISS:
My first headphone, HD6XX still is a regular in the lineup. The meme that these infinitly scale is true, put it into a better amp and it’ll reward you. I did the SBAF KISS mod recently and it brings it a bit more in line with an HD600 in terms or bass and treble but keeps the mids HD650 is known for. This isn’t going anywhere.

Nectar Hive:
Really a blind buy, but one that has been an amazing buy. I learned of the brand and quickly jumped on these as my introduction to electrostatics and boy am I glad I did. These are some of the best headphones I have tried, and those else who have tried these and have experience with other estats are just as impressed as I. If you can live with some quirks, these are a must buy at its price point.

CFA Andromeda:
Since joining the hobby the Andromeda has always been a staple that everyone touted as the king of IEMs. Maybe not the absolute best, but these are insane for the price point. Many say these are as high as you need to go, and these still impress today. I have tried some other IEMs, but at the end of the day I think imma stick with the Andromeda as my IEM of choice.

PortaPros:
Really just bought to try, but these have become my travel and use at work headphone. The ability to fold up and the sound that comes with it is really unfair for the price. These make a great gift to anybody trying to see what good sound is like, and a great entry drug into the hobby.

KPH30i:
Not going to lie, I bought these for the beige aesthetic. I found them to be good walk for the price but the lack of fold makes them not as handy as the PortaPros. I use them when I wanna be portable around the house and while cleaning mainly. Again a good gift for those who wanna get into the hobby or enjoy a vintage aesthetic.

DT770:
I bought these to try and be my closed back choice back when I didn’t have anything but the HD6XX. These are built like tanks and are very comfy, but the bass is overpowering, and the treble is just too much. I feel stabbed in the ear every time I wear them and the only thing I listen to is the SSSSSSS. I would sell these but it’s too much of a hassle so I just keep these hidden away.

These are what I have for now, I had a couple of other headphones such as the Clear and Auteur but those have left the collection to introduce these members. I’m not sure if I am actually looking to add anything in anymore as I feel I have everything I would need at this point. Maybe I will explore some more electrostatic in the future, but for the moment I am happy with my headphones. Now to upgrade the chain alittle more :crazy_face:

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Just a little upgrade, I’m sure…

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My current headphone lineup is a bit out of control, but I sometimes find it difficult to part with what I have loved.

I’ll start with my current favorite, a complete surprise that I discovered out of nowhere.

My Denon AH-D9200.

I had these at home for a few days together with a Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed and the Focal Stellia’s to find out which closed headphones I like the most.


Why did I choose the Denon?

— Because in my Eyes / Ears it has no weaknesses (until today). —

1.) Processing = A +

2.) Comfort = A-

3.) Sound image = A +++

4.) Bass = super dry, hitting hard, very well defined

5.) Mids = very good definition of voices, instruments and space, the whole thing is served razor-sharp and completely nuisance-free.

6.) Heights = tender as butter and crystal clear.

7.) Stage = absolutely extraordinary for a closed headphone.

8.) The best thing about these headphones is that all these attributes apply across genres.

If you are looking for" jack-of-all-trades" headphone, you will find it with the Denon’s.


My next choice is my beloved Sennheiser HD800S.

There is “The concert hall” in my portfolio, the qualities of which are well known.

I mainly use it for classical and live recordings.

And contradict those who claim that this is only really fun with tube amplifiers.

Questyle tunes their amplifier tonally with the HD800S.
And you can clearly hear that, the symbiosis of this pairing is extremely smooth.


The third in the group is my GRADO GS3000e.

In forums like this one more like a “frowned upon exotic outsider” who enjoys my absolute affection.

For jazz, blues, folk and rock, in the past 40 years in which I have dealt more intensively with this hobby, I have not found anything that reproduces these genres more “lively” than these headphones.

With a wonderful spatial musical reproduction, the tonal fading of every single note in the room, I cannot hear it with any other headphones.

These headphones are “living proof” that frequency measurements are only half the story.


Now comes my “intense activist”, the Focal Clear.

For me one of the headphones with a more intense sound, with which it is difficult not to focus completely on the music being played.

I find it difficult to “listen continuously” in a relaxed manner with these headphones, they are a precise sound monster, for which I recently had the opportunity to give them away in exchange for a new 2020 Focal Utopia for a small surcharge.

REJECTED, because somehow these headphones are “addictive”.


I don’t think I have to say anything about the next set of headphones, because the story speaks for itself!

Sennheiser HD600 = sit down, enjoy!


Here are my sonic surgical instruments, my DT880 edition 600 Ohm.

My analyst for musical recordings for 30 years, which I could wear on my head all day due to its comfort.


The second closed headphone in my portfolio, the Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed.

The first and only planar magnetic headphones to date that allow me to hear stress-free for more than 30 minutes.

After an inspiring initial phase of 20 minutes, this type of headphone sounds somehow “unnatural” TO ME, especially voices.

The Aeon 2 Closed does not do this to my ears, for this reason alone I keep it.

No, of course not only, it sounds very defined and clear to me, with good spatiality.
In addition, relatively little weight and very practical to handle.


Now a “little noticed” headphone with exceptionally good sound skills, the iBasso SR2.

All in all, the most well-balanced and most convincing headphones in the “mid” price segment, which in my opinion even reproduce “musical performances” well above its price segment.


Without question, the GRADO RS2e is THE headphone,

that, due to its sonic quality and comfort, encourages me time and again to give me time for relaxed listening with a good glass of scotch or bourbon in the armchair, close my eyes and relax.


My absolute price-performance winner in 2020, the Sennheiser HD560S.

Hyped or poorly portrayed.

Both nonsense, it is simply a very good-performing headphone that deviates from the typical sound of a sennheiser headphone.

That disappoints some, it excites others.

I try to see it neutrally, and tonally recognize a kind of “mini Focal Elex” for me, and the price is simply excellent for that.


I could go on here, but I think it will be too boring for one or the other :sleeping:.

Therefore, in the end, “the miracle weapon” of every audiophile lover;

And that is meant very seriously :heavy_heart_exclamation:

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Very nice collection, and a cool way to present them with photo of each.
Danke! :wink:

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Great post. Great collection.

Did you ever own the Aeon Flow Closed (v1 Blue) to compare to the Aeon Closed 2. I have the original version, and I think they are great headphones, and comfortable for prolonged sessions.

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Unfortunately not, but this may help you further:

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Nice collection and bit of storytelling. I like how you’ve given each a name or label based on their sound signature.

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Thanks @Lothar_Wolf

The people at Dan Clark are great. I live about 75 miles from them. I’ve been to the facility when I needed a repair to my Ether 2s mini XLR jack. It’s near the San Diego Sports Arena (Pechanga Arena). They fixed my headphones on the spot and sent me home with a nice T-shirt. Sue and Andy Regen are great folks working with Dan too.

I also own of HD800S and Focal Clear. Definitely great cans. I’d suggest you get one of those Geekaria headphone bands for the Clears. That light grey shows everything.

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I initially was very interested in Abyss headphones, but, am questioning that. I’m a female with a relatively small head and worry about the 1266 comfort. I’m contemplating between the Diana Phi or Diana V2 and adding padding to the headband to give a lift if it needs one.

I suffer from headaches and migraines, so, comfort is important. I LOVED the sound of the Raal SR1A but the pressure from the pads on the sides near the temples gave me really bad migraines in the short time that I owned them before sending them back. For that reason, because I suffer from tension headaches as well, I’ve ruled out Audeze due to the weight issues.

Everything in my current collection is super comfy. Focals are very comfortable for me, as is my Meze Empyrean, and especially the HD800S. I was looking for a comfortable headphone to get next. 80% of the time, I’m listening to classical, opera, or ballet. I’ve spoken to many people who vouch for the Susvara excelling particularly with these genres.

That being said, I’ve heard the original Abyss 1266 years ago and love their house sound, but, the comfort / fit are huge issues for me. I already know that I’ll most likely enjoy an Abyss Diana because I enjoy their house sound, and, they have more conventional fits that I could really try to make work better with my head.

For that reason, my next headphones will likely be a Hifiman Susvara and a Diana Phi or V2. The only other headphone that is on my list is a ZMF Verite open or closed, but, I’m just getting the big ones out of the way first before I save for those to top my collection off.

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Not to encourage spending.
I recently picked up a Susvara, and while I couldn’t justify retail, it was worth the used price.
It’s also probably the second most comfortable headphone I own (Dan Clark ether CX is the most comfortable, but not a headphone I’d recommend)
Still interested in a Diana V2 and the 1266 phi, one will probably happen in 2021.
With good amplification, the Susvara is incredibly resolving, I’d still take the D8000 pro for bass reproduction, but the Susvara ability to provide good dynamics in quiet passages is quite special. Reminds me a little of electrostatics in that regard without the glaring weaknesses.

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Have you tried any electrostatics? All of the STAX traditional Lambda style phones are light and comfortable, at least for me.

Yes, a decent amp for them is a consideration. I think they are well suited to the genres you like.

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The Stax are light and comfy. I find the Dan Clark headphones to be consistently comfortable as well, and I wonder if the Voce might be of interest to you, @Lana? I’m not recommending it - I heard it once at CanJam, in a quieter side room away from the main exhibition space, and while I was very much impressed by it, I’ve been intrigued about why there are so few reviews or impressions of it on the forums I follow (I seldom visit head-fi). I wonder why the Voce hasn’t been more popular?

Edit: the MySpheres might be of interest, too, especially for the genres you mention.

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Welcome back to the forum. I recall you posting earlier this year about choosing between the Empyrean and Abyss. It sounds like the former has worked out well for you.

I like your selections and your input is helpful. I had not considered the Diana Phi.

For this classical music purpose, I’m likely to go with a ZMF Verité Closed (I prefer closed back) using the Be2 or Auteur pads, which lean toward neutral and detailed compared to the Universe pads – perhaps ripe for classical music. The VC checks more boxes for me as a primary headphone, including classical.

Beyond that, I’d probably consider the SR1a, MySphere, and Diana Phi – subject to comfort considerations and matching well with tube amplification.

Hifiman, especially the Susvara, should excel with your primary genres. I understand they were tuned with such in mind and are the founder’s preferred music. See below.

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