What headphones do you have in your collection and why?

My current Equipment is as follows:
Headphones
HD58X
HD650
HD800
Focal Clear

Of these to be honest I listen to the 650’s the most.

Iems
Shure Se425
Shure Se846
CA Andromeda (OG)
64 Audio U18t
Massdrop Plus
T2 Pro
CCA C12

Being an iem kinda guy the U18t gets most of my head time. I listen to this coupled with my Pioneer XDP-300R or my trusty Ipod Touch 6g. I also have a soft spot for my Se846. Over the last 4 years I have bought and sold a stupid amount of headphones. With the greatest majority of them being iems. My fingers never stop getting that itch to fire up my phone to look for more iems. Though to be honest I am satisfied with what I have and feel really blessed to own what I do.

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Nice collection, Paul. Interesting that for your full sized headphone listening you use the HD 650 the most. That’s a real testament to their sound quality given the other headphones in your collection.

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Happiness isn’t having what you want; it’s wanting what you have. as the wise saying goes

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I am also giving the HD6XX more use than anything while at my desk @prfallon69

However, as I am travelling constantly lately (or so it seems) I have been mostly using the ZS10 Pro and the T2. I would love to upgrade IEMs as the ZS10 Pro still tire me but I haven’t even had time to check in here or do any online surfing to find some.

I have actually gone for around 3 or 4 months without buying anything headphone related!

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I have the Sennheiser HD650 (listened to them for a few years) but I later bought the HD700 and usually prefer using them for the last few years. I’ve occasionally considered buying the HD800 so I would like to know why you end up using the 650s more than the HD800. How do you compare them?

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So I thought I should share what headphones I currently am listening to as well!

Here are some short reviews and impressions of the current headphones I am listening to as well as some that I didn’t keep around for one reason or another. This is all of course subjective from my point of view and you may not agree or feel the same way.

Just so everyone knows what my sources of music are, the devices they are playing from and what is driving/converting the digital signal.

Iphone 11, IpadPro 2018, IMac, MacBook Pro, Audio Technica 120 usb Turntable, SMSL THX 200 amp with SMSL 8U-A V2 DAC for desktop, iFi XDSD for on the go listening. All streaming is from Amazon Music HD, and well Vinyl is Vinyl but whenever possible I try to obtain master recordings and higher quality pressings.

  1. Sennheiser 6XX-

The headphones that started me down this path of being an audio purist, phile, lover, uhhhh person …

What I like: I love the warmth, mostly neutral sound, non fatiguing listening experience they provide. Intimate vocals that are just beautiful like being right next to the singer or I am the microphone. I am able to use tone control with the 6XX and the Schiit Loki to bring up the lower end some in some cases I bring up the first 3 dials on the Loki a touch and they sound even better to me. I really want to get a true tube amp to see what these are really capable of. The headphones are very lightweight and I can wear them for a very long time without issue. They are owned by thousands of music listeners and are great reference headphones for listening to when online reviewers compare other headphones to them. For less than $200 hard to beat. I use these for relaxed and critical listening. I also use them for really long photo editing sessions and I will even travel with them.

What I don’t like about them:

Clamp force is pretty strong and the headband comfort is not my favorite but still overall a very comfortable headphone to my medium sized head. They due tend to have a bit of an audible veil or rolled off treble that everyone refers to compared to my other headphones. This can be managed some with tone control.

  1. Sennheiser True Wireless Momentums IEM-

Purchased these when my bluetooth IEM beats of 8 years died and I didn’t love the sound from Apple AirPods.

What I like: Pretty great sound for bluetooth with a sound signature and easy listening experience Sennheiser is known for with some of their other models. Fairly comfortable for IEM. To be honest I don’t enjoy IEM from a comfort stand point so take my opinion on comfort with a grain of salt. They have a pretty fun app you can download to your phone or IPAD and play around with a little eq. which is interesting. I usually just leave them set to standard though. Transparency mode works pretty well to hear the outside world, at the gym, when wanting to talk to others or listen for the boogey man when on the go. USB charging case with additional charges is also nice. The case is small and clean looking. They go on sale quite often so you can usually get them well below their normal retail price. I have only heard a few true wireless IEM’s, but for me these sounded better than the rest with pretty good detail and imaging. I mostly use these for business calls on the go, gym, travel, hiking, and outdoor activities.

What I don’t like:

Battery life, Battery life, Battery life. They just seem to always need more and more charging even when I haven’t used them and they have been sitting in their case. The design of how you need to twist them into your ear canal is a bit weird coming from say beats IEM or Apple AirPods. They also can tend to fall out over time, but this could just be the luck of my ear canals and why maybe I don’t like IEM. Tapping to control track skipping, taking calls, volume up and down I found to not be the best probably due to the small size.

  1. Sennheiser 550XII NC Headphones

I picked these up recently for a trip to Moscow, Russia where I was photographing the first NPC/IFBB sanctioned Bodybuilding show in Russian history. I had a pretty long travel/flight schedule to get there from Nevada, USA. I thought about getting just closed backs for the trip but luckily some smart people urged me to definitely get some noise cancelling headphones for the flights.

What I like: Pretty comfortable, ear pads are some of the softest/squishiest on my list. Compact and can fold up nicely in their travel case. I actually carried them inside a Scotte Vest Jacket to give you reference for how portable they are. The Sennheiser app for these is even better than that of the True Wireless Momentum IEM’s as it offers fun listening modes for types of music and movies. I enjoyed that for plugging in on the long flights and watching some great movies. Noise cancelling is decent but don’t expect it to completely get rid of all the engine noise or background noise. Imaging and detail retrieval is pretty good on these as well. I found I could definitely listen to them for hours on end with no ear fatigue. Battery life is superb, I really didn’t need to charge them often if ever for my entire trip. Sound quality is super good through bluetooth almost hard to audibly hear a difference when plugged into my iFi XDSD…almost. They power on and off with a simple twist, pretty cool. Easy to connect to multiple devices such as my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro via bluetooth. You are able to control volume up and down, skip tracks forward or back, take calls with touching the outside of the headphones. It takes a bit to learn but once you get it down it works pretty well. It does take some practice and isn’t always perfect likely due to my error.

What I don’t like:

Older usb charging connection. I would have liked to see Usb C so I had to bring one less cable when traveling. Noise canceling could be better but honestly this is my first noise cancelling headphone so I have no frame of reference. What I have read is the Bose NC are the best for Noise cancelling but don’t necessarily sound the best. I guess it is a trade off. Ear pads could have been a bit bigger allowing more room for my ears. This would have made them more comfortable. Listening for long periods on a flight my ears did feel a bit warmer than I am used to.

  1. Focal Elear w/ Clear Pads purchased from @taronlissimore on headphones.com .

I was actually originally looking to Purchase the ELEX’s from Drop as I had read they were a beefed up 6XX when I discovered the drop sale price recently ended and another Drop member posted a link to headphones.com where I found the current sale bundle price. They were less expensive than what Drop was offering with two sets of pads and a carrying case plus a 5 year warranty! Taron sealed the deal with exceptional service, tons of patience, fast response time, and fast shipping.

What I like: Pretty much everything. Sexy looking, amazing build quality, 2 listening experiences with two sets of pads, nice clean thump in the low end compared to my other headphones, great detail retrieval, wider sound stage then all my other headphones, the speed of the drivers is pretty incredible, just really fun and exciting to listen to for all genres of music so far for me. Cable is really, really, long! At first I didn’t think I was going to like that, but actually I do, as it allows me to roll around my office in my chair or walk around and not have to unplug! The headphones are heavier than all my other headphones but they are super comfortable and just feel incredible to hold and admire when not being used to listen. I honestly love almost everything about them. Coming from the 6XX these just felt like I just leveled up my listening experience and removed that veil. Also they take well to some tone control via the Loki and I can make them thump a bit more in the low end and bring up the mids a bit without any issues so far.

What I don’t like:

Treble on certain tracks can be a little bright and I find this can make the headphones a little fatiguing for longer listening sessions. However a little tone control via the Loki helps with this. Some tracks I do feel like I also want to bring up the mids and lower end a touch to really make these sound perfect to my ears. So really none of these are dislikes just small things that I choose to tackle with tone control.

  1. Hifiman Ananda

Last but definitely not least! I received these literally today when the mail man woke me up around 6:30 am, lol. I have been listening to them ever since. So this is my initial impression of these headphones. Once again @taronlissimore guided me with this purchase and his service and guidance were spot on as usual.

What I like:

Improved soundstage over all the headphones so far. Wider, larger, deeper… get your minds out of the gutter! No but seriously, Soundstage is the best of all the headphones I own, as is detail retrieval, tone, and overall comfort (so far only had them for one day). I haven’t even touched the Loki with these headphones their tone has been right on for me for everything I have listened to so far which spans almost every genre of music. They are lightweight and fit well on my medium sized head. They seem to pair beautifully with the SMSL THX amp. The large planars sound great across the board including the low end, not as much punch as the ELEAR’s but clean, accurate, and a pleasure to listen to. Mid’s are beautiful, and the Treble isn’t really ever too bright for my ears with detail for days! Honestly so far these are my favorite headphones I have ever listened to. The sale price right now is amazing from headphones.com and I believe they have one pair open box up for grabs that are deeply discounted. If you haven’t heard these headphones, you might be missing out. I highly recommend these headphones, even though I may be new to the game.

What I don’t like:

The cables from the manufacture they come with don’t seem that great from a build quality perspective. No noticeable audible issue with the cables however, just kind of weird clear cheap looking cables. The headphones overall don’t have the same level of build quality as the Focal Elear’s do but what they don’t have in build quality they make up for in sound quality.

Ok so what did I have that I parted with?

Sennheiser 58X from drop- they were to close to the 6XX and I preferred the 6XX sound signature. They are both awesome but I wasn’t going to keep both and one had to go.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones. It was a long time ago, but if my memory serves me correctly the mids felt very recessed on them and overall I didn’t like the fit. Compared to the 6XX they just didn’t do it for me.

Bose old wired IEM’s that I don’t even know what model they are. I actually still have these but will likely keep as emergency use only and or gift to someone in my family.

Beats IEM wireless bluetooth. They actually stopped working after like 8 years.

So there you go! Some short reviews and impressions of what I currently am listening to! I hope this helps someone, as I know it can be tough living in a small town or city and not having hifi audio shops around to audition the headphones in person.

MR

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Hi @duke.briscoe. well the HD650 obviously can’t compete with the HD800 for Soundstage and Imaging as well as being technically superior. The 650 however is a much easier headphone to listen to tonally it just feels right. The Mids sound so nice. If I could transfer these qualities over to the HD800 I would have one hell of a headphone.

Sound wise I like analytical headphones but the can and do get fatigueing. So hence when I need to use overear headphones i am spoilt for choice really. I know i don’t have any really top tier overears but for my circumstances I feel I have the best I can get at this moment in time.

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Thank you to everyone else who has commented on my gear too. I appreciate the feedback. You’re a good set of guy’s and gals.

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Agree!! I have the HD800 and Elears but HD6xx is the one I use the most, maybe because is the one stored close to my seat at the studio and is a easy reach without standing.
Some times I think about selling all of them and just buy one, a perfect one and that’s it, but that is NOT possible. Right??

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Do you find the HD800 to ever sound sibilant or have to much treble? I have read different things online about it? I have been thinking about maybe snagging some one day or the HD800S.

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I don’t think I could ever get down to just one overear headphone. After all, it would need to cover all bases and be an exceptionally great allrounder. I don’t know of one as yet. I mean there may be one out there. I suppose that’s the $64,000 question.

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In a long session of listening, yes, they are but not in a horrible way, at least to my ears. If you are planning to jump on them, go with the HD800S and problem solved, for the price difference you can also get the HD800 and do the modification for an extra $30 and some cold blood on your side.
Sonarworks also work fine with them.

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My HD800 (sdr mod) is awesome! But, since getting the Aeolus/Verite/Verite Closed/RAAL SR1A they have gotten almost zero head time…but I can’t bring myself to move them along lol

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:thinking: I wonder why…???
I was commenting to @prfallon69 about the “perfect” headphones early today, I know is impossible, but I find myself reaching for the same 80% of the time (HD6xx) and is not even the best of them, There is a big amount of laziness on my side, but still… HD800 and Elears are on top of one of my shelfs while HD58x and Grados sr80e are in their boxes like new and even LCD i3 do not get too much use unless I’m looking for an specific presentation on my music. I’ll be the perfect guy to conduct an experiment to probe you can live with only one set of cans ( or two, let’s not to go too extreme).
I had the Clears for 2 or 3 weeks early this year and love them and I’m pretty sure they could be doing that 80% right now if I still had them. In the other side of the story, your comments months ago about how the Aeolus kill the Clears put me to think ,again ,about idea of selling “all of the above”, but the LCD i3 and just get the Aeolus. Any way, is not the right moment for that analysis since this is the peak of the work for my wife and myself and January is vacation time for the family!!!:grin:
In February I’ll put my brain to work on that again and I’ll be asking some questions to ZMF owner in here, so you know .

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I have like many of us gone thru dozens of headphones, and liked most of them…and still have 6 or 7 headphones, but the Focal Clears I have now for a few months have made me the most happy over all the others those still here and those that are gone. The tonality and presentation is so compelling to me I could sell all the others and be very happy with these…so much I have thought of buying a second set in case they stop making these!!! :>)

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I stand by my statement that the ZMF Aeolus is probably all anyone “sane” in this hobby would ever need! But, if you are on this forum than the likely hood of being a “sane” i.e. normal consumer…are pretty low lol…

Mind you, this is my opinion and I don’t think it is the end all be all opinion, I hear things my way, everyone else hears things their way.

That being said, I have yet to come across anyone that hasn’t at least enjoyed the Aeolus.

They in my opinion find the balance between the HD800/Clears/LCD-X and some others… Yes, you guessed it, another “but” lol…but, all of those other headphones do either something or a couple of things better than the Aeolus… The Aeolus just does in my opinion everything very good if not excellent, and might not dominate certain areas like the others do, but, it gets you almost there in those areas it is beaten.

Also everyone says the Elex or Clears are the upward path for the HD6xx/650 but after doing that upgrade path, and now owning none of them, but, the Aeolus should tell you something…

I.e. I think the Aeolus has more in common with the HD650 than the Focals…my opinion though :wink:

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did you listen to the Hifiman Ananda?
Andrew had compared them to the Clears in his review.
While I did like the Clears, I prefered my Elegia and am now at the point where I would like to own a open “Clear planar” with it
I have auditioned the Ananda a few times and it was great!
Still had no chance to try the Aeolus. … This is planned for spring at a dealer 350 km away from our place.

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And now my levels of sanity are lower !!:crazy_face:

I know, but at the end is impossible to wear all of them at the same time to have the whole experience, they all excel in some areas and not so much in others, the right balance of clarity, detail and “fun” is the perfect mix.

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See… and we want sanity!!!

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I have both the Ananda and the Elears but not the Clears, I honestly thought about trading up to the Clears as there is an open box pair but want to keep the punch in the low end from the Elear’s…so I can’t tell you which is better between those two but If I had to choose one headphone between the Elear and Ananda’s it would be the Ananda’s for sure.

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