What headphones do you have in your collection and why?

Right now the only set of cans I have are the Campfire Cascades, Koss Portapro, and Koss KPH30i. I’ve sold off most of my headphones in favor of purchasing gear. I’ve gone very much overboard and now have to save to purchase my next flagship. I’m leaning toward the Empyrean, Stellia, or AB1266

Why do I own those three headphones? I mostly listen to electronic music. They work very well for that genre. My favorite brand is Koss because I believe they offer the best value per $ of any brand today. Most anyone can afford $30-50 and I have no reason to get rid of them. The new headphone purchase will be for every genre other than electronic/modern.


I have only ZMF Verite. At the moment those are “end game” headphones for me.


Awesome! What makes those headphones “end game” for you?

1 Like

Welcome. Looking forward to hearing ZMF’s offerings.

1 Like

I grab my TH-X00s when I want to rock out. Their bass slam is second-to-none. Those kick drums… Electronic music, too.
Prefered DAP: iPod Classic generation 5.5
Prefered Amp: iFi xCan with XBass II and 3D+ enabled

For critical listening I insert my Etymotic ER2XRs. I get extraordinary isolation, quality bass extension on the low end, and a neutral frequency response that allows me to hear details in the recording in a way that other headphones I own can’t match. I never Eq them.
Preferered DAP: ZiShan DSD

When listening to my favorite vocalists I inevitably grab HD600s. They have a way of making my ears placed right at the singer’s microphone. Soundtracks, too. I never Eq them.
Prefered DAP: iPod Classic generation 6.5
Prefered Amp: Little Bear BX-4

I find that my HE-400i does most things well and they respond to Eq. You can really make them, or their siblings, the HE-4XX sound better and mimic expensive headphones like the Elex by putting in the work to Eq them properly.
Prefered DAP: Huawei Matebook X Pro
Prefered Amp: Creative Labs Sound Blaster E5
Software: Equalizer APO w/Peace plug-in, Foobar2000, iTunes, JRiver Media Center

For general, casual listening at my computer my Philips Fidelio X1S is my headphone of choice. It is excellent regarding sound quality and ridiculously well-built and comfortable. It looks good. It has a wide-ranging soundstage making it perfect for movies and gaming.
Prefered DAP: Huawei Matebook X Pro
Prefered Amp: Creative Labs Sound Blaster E5
Software: Equalizer APO w/Peace plug-in, Foobar2000, iTunes, JRiver Media Center, VLC


This looks promising.

When Listening to my Favorite Vocalists…

1 Like

Everything in my collection sounds good. That’s the entire reason I own them. From my Porta Pros to my Verite Closed, it’s all about what sounds good. I don’t overthink it, and I don’t have specialized cans for specific music.


An old pair Howard Leight shooting muffs(not kidding) with 3.5 mm input.
Bob Marley headphones just because.
Audio Technica ATH 50X with isolation muffs and headband cushion for comfort and to monitor recordings. Closed back.
Beyer DT990 PRO 250 ohm open back to hear clients next to me while monitoring.
Hifiman 500 for home. Waiting for the 560’s in the mail.
Ify nano idsd bl DAC and LGV30 for MQA.


They sound fantastic and they are super comfy.

I bought many audio products in 2017-2018, and actually reduced my collection in 2019. Here’s what’s left, and a few comment about what I sold. Somewhere along the way I visited a local store and demoed a bunch of headphones up to and including the Focal Utopia. I concluded my current collection was “just fine.”

In approximate order of acquisition:

  • Sennheiser HD-600: My first true audiophile headphones (long ago) and considered a reference standard when first purchased. I chose them over HD-650s, as I usually prefer a neutral profile. I liked them “well enough” for several years, but they always had a bothersome high-end hiss until I switched to balanced amps in 2018. These kept me happy for a number of years, and they remain a primary option (i.e., smooth, gentle) on a balanced setup.

  • Sony WH-1000X2: Dedicated noise cancelling headphones. Used mainly for travel or (rarely) noisy workplaces requiring strong noise blocking. They are actually too isolating for city streets, subways, etc. Mediocre audio but they serve a purpose.

  • Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon: Purchased on deep discount/closeout to explore a bass-heavy profile and their technology. The bass is ridiculous with the pleather pads and still too strong with the microfiber pads. Highs are shaky and weak. However, they are good for overly-bright sources, good for low-power devices, and are exceptionally comfortable to wear. My wife uses them for electric piano, where the high-end is not relevant.

  • Focal Elex: My ears and interest in audio greatly increased at this point, and I started to explore other technologies. Given the solid reviews, I got these as “Improved HD-600s.” At first I thought it was a mistake, as they sounded tinny for 20-30 hours, and the massive dynamics felt like needles in the ear. They either broke in or my ears adapted, but remained fairly fatiguing. [This drove me to balanced amps–which tamed the dynamics and redeemed the Elex.] I use them as a primary option.

  • HiFiMan HE-560: Black Friday 2018 impulse buy, but absolutely worth it. Their planar drivers are less intense and precise than some others, but the overall presentation is very nice. Let them break in. Use a very powerful amp. One primary option for everyday listening.

  • Mr.Speakers/Dan Clark AEON Flow Closed: Audiophile-grade closed headphones that “sound like open headphones.” These are for stationary situations where I need isolation, as they demand a ton of power to sound their best. However, they are competitive with open headphones until your ears experience air pressure fatigue (as expected with closed headphones).

  • Random Chi-Fi IEMs: I have several rarely used IEMs, most collect dust and some have been sold. This is because I hate “stuff in my ears.” I use Moondrop Kanas Pros at work sometimes, and much more than anything else.

  • Disposable Bluetooth IEM of the Season: This product must be Bluetooth and must be suitable for sweat or rain. They rarely last more than a year or two, and my expectations are modest. Mine have included Jaybirds, Beats, and generic Chinese products – all equally satisfactory for noisy, sweaty, non-critical environments.

Sold products:

  • Grado SR-80e: Sound like HD-600s with the bass cut off, and extremely uncomfortable foam rests on the ears. Very hissy in my ears, so I never used them.

  • Audeze LCD-2C (Classic, Open): Another impulse purchase and a disappointment. These were built like a tank but caused instant jaw pain. The product quality is great, and the audio profile is V shaped. I never chose these over the HE-560s. Ever. So they were sold.


Welcome to you

Thank you! This is an awesome answer to my question. Thank you for taking the time to put so much detail and thought into this response, I really appreciate it.


I have more amps than headphones!

For headphones I started way back when with Senn HD 414’s “open-aire” marvels for the time…and I still miss these!! A novel concept from the wold of the Koss Pro 4A’s…

Abut 6-7 years ago when I left the 2ch stereo worls I wanted to see how good present day technology was being implemented in the headphone world…so I bought a set if $200 Beyers, DT "somethings:…wanst really impressed and sold them.

A few years later I bought one of the earliy Audeze LCD2’s for about a $1000 and did this because they were planars and I was in love with Maganapans…so I had to hear what a planar headphone was all about…they were massive, heavy but built like a tank and had IMO stunning base for such small transducers…

The headphone bug bit and I sold the LCD’s to buy several lower cost cans that I thought that would give me the same if not better experience…so I went thru a dozen sets, Grado SR80’s, Grado 325is, Beyer DT 1350s, T90’s, T1’s, ATH M50’s, AT MSR7’s, AKG 701/702’s, Senn HD 600’s, Senn 650’s, Koss KPH 30i’s, Philips SHP9500’s etc…and lately Focal Clears.

The Clears eclipse most of everything I have heard even the Utopias to me…I just like the tonality and with most of my source material things just sound so right and heres that word again “musical” :>)

I rotate thru the ones I still have, the HD600’s, T1’s, MSR7’s and Clears…but the Clears are the winner for me.



I like @generic 's presentation of headphones in order of acquisition. I’m copying.

Audio Technica ATH-2 Circa 1974. I realized that my Veritas were crap. I keep them because I rarely throw things out or sell them. They are one of the earliest of what is now called planar-magnetic. Bass heavy, but so was I back then. Sound nice with a decent amp. Use them for early Led Zeppelin.

STAX SR-5n originally with SRD-6, now use SRM-T1S (modified tube amp). Sorry about talking about the amp, but these are electrostatics. Why? I still love them. They are lightweight, super-fast, and lack only deep bass slam. I got them because they were the best I could afford at the time. Wanted Lambda Pros. They still get substantial use.

Sennheiser HD-580 A friend started introducing me to headphones and tiny mobile amps about 1999-2000. He liked the HD-600s, but I went for the less expensive sibling. Relegated to the home away from home, but I’m keeping them. Nice neutral presentation, and I learned the sound over 20 years of use.

Grado SR-60e Before I got this, I destroyed 2 pair of Sennheiser PX-100s that I really liked. Overuse, trying to wear them while I had a halo for a broken neck, that sort of thing. I’d found this forum, and gave the Grados a try. They made me smile. I still keep them, now with L-pads and the plastic electrical tape pad mod.

Hifiman HE-560 third generation with the wood veneer and 2.5mm cables. In a fit of selfish indulgence, I gifted my better half with some crystalline mineral material, then pointed at a great online sale price near the holiday season. They mysteriously appeared, and I’m very happy with them, as @generic says for similar reasons. These will never be sold.

Sennheiser Massdrop HD-6xx well just because Drop and price. They are much more power hungry than generally advertised.

Grado Reference Series RS1e My most recent headphone, because the friend mentioned above with reference to the HD-580s had a pair of top end Grados for a little while. And since I heard them, I wanted some nice wood Grados. These, the HE-560s, and the HD-6xx are most frequently listened to. They are my EDC semi-portables.

OK, that’s it. Not talking IEM, or things planned in future, or that I can’t find, or broken/lost regrets.


Stax SR-3 started the obsession. I listened to them in the '80s at my favorite stereo store and brought them home that day. Stunning clarity and speed. Sold them around '92 with the entire analog system.

Current favorite headphones: Focal Clear, my favorite for “special session” listening to decent DSD files with either my PS Audio DSJ (or Topping D70) and Lyr3 or THX AAA 789. Pure heaven with the Lyr 3 and DSJ. The DSJ makes Red Book CD sound like DSD.

1/10/2020 Note: I just purchased a slightly used set of Utopia beauties. I am awaiting their delivery in a few days. I will proudly display them next to the Clears. Will post impressions and comparisons after I have listened to them for a few weeks.

The remainder of my headphone collection:
Sennheiser HD650
Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro
Status Audio CB-1
Koss KPH30iK

The HD650 are the best all around for any music and my go to cans for use with balanced sources.
I mainly listen to '60s and '70s rock and folk, and fusion/jazz, with a little classical in the mix. I would like to add maybe Senn HD800 or a really sweet planar set. Maybe a Bottlehead tube amp also.

For portable use, my main source is a LG v30 (EDC) and v40 (backup). The LG internal DAC/amp drives all my IEMs well.

And when I feel the need for speed:
Chord Mojo
Dragonfly Red and Cobalt
Fiio K3 (for laptop) and Q1 mk2

IEM’s I currently own:
Campfire Polaris
Fiio FH7 and FA7
TIN HiFi P1 planar, T2 Pro, T3, T4
Shuoer Tape electrostat/DD hybrid


I’m a believer that variety is the spice of life when it comes to wine, women and song. With that said there are a few headphones that I have kept over the years and will probably keep for a long time.

Stax SRD-34, not a true e-stat but sounds like one to me. I’ve had these since 1984 iirc and they have been modded to use Hifiman earpads so the comfort is much better.

HD800 and T1 gen1: some nice old timers that provide a nice reference IMO,

Like others I love my HE 560 (gen 2: wood veneer SMC jacks) with grill mod and sorbothane in the cups, if only it didn’t need an amp it would be ideal IMO,

Ypsilon R1, this is an alternative Grado like driver and to me its better than the GS1000e and PS1000e for a fraction of the price to me.

Nhoord Red V2, another alternative Grado driver that is my all around jack of all trade headphone. It doesn’t do anything really well but then it doesn’t have any glaring weakness either.

I do have quite a few other headphones but they don’t get much / daily use
I have quite a few other headphones but they don’t get daily use


Sennheiser HD 595
Sennheiser HD 700
Sennheiser HD 800
Sennheiser HD 800S
Audeze LCD-X (up for sale BTW)
Mr Speakers (Dan Clark Audio) Ether 2
HiFiMan H6se
ZMF Aeolus (being assembled)

Why? I like to experiment with different headphones and its a hobby. They all have have their strengths. I have six headphone amps too…Maybe there’s a trend here…


For home use I’ve got only DIY headphones from local master MaxNANO, it’s his rendition of Abyss1266 membrane. It’s called Final Carbon and it sounds way better than HE4, HE500, Ananda or Edition X from HIFIMAN. It has around 95 dB sensivity and 16 Ohm resistance.
My DACAmp is also from Ukrainian master Nazar - S-Audio Focus with binaural DSP.

For portable use I have Dita Answer Truth + AK100-II.

1 Like

Hello and welcome @bgodbey.