ranking list



S: Must try. Experience what the best has to offer.
A: While not at the top of the summit, Grade-A headphones are still very respectable performers that would still be considered as some of the best by many.
B: Can essentially be described as “very good”, or excellent performers in their own right.
C: Average in the grand scheme of things, anywhere from “passable” to “good”.
D: The threshold for “bad” starts here.
E: The truly horrible.
F: The failures. One needs to literally sound broken to reach the depths of F-tier.

Value Rating

★: “Worth the price” (MSRP)
– Only those with a grade of “C” or above are considered for their first star.
– Discontinued models are not eligible.
★★: “Redefines the price bracket”
★★★: “Worth the Blind”
– Needs to be eligible for at least a ★ rating before ★★★ can be considered.
– Discontinued models may still be considered.

“You’re the measurements guy! You measure more than you listen! I’m not going to listen to you!

Great, I’m not telling you to. My work on measurements is separate from my reviewing work. It takes me 5 minutes to measure a headphone, you honestly think I don’t have time to listen to it as well?

↓↓↓ READ THIS: Notes & Disclaimers ↓↓↓

  • The headphones are ranked purely by sonic performance. Fit, isolation, durability, build quality etc. are ignored unless they interfere with the sound itself.
    • The headphones are not ranked in terms of price-to-performance value. They are ranked according to what I think is “objectively” the best.
  • Most of the headphones in this list are determined based off demo units from shops.
    • Rankings will only consider stock pads (or pads provided out of the box). Third party pads (apart from “stock replacement” pads designed for a specific headphone) are not a consideration in this ranking list.
  • The positions are not set in stone. I’m only human; I may miss out on certain details or traits that may only be apparent with repeated listening. Expect changes.
  • Ranks will be determined based on the best unit tried. Because of this, I am not accounting for unit variation. I cannot guarantee that what I’m hearing is what you will be hearing.
    • This will revert to the most recent unit tried if there is a significant time gap between the last and most recent times I tried a particular model.
  • Prices are at MSRP in USD. Prices not directly available in USD are based off the exchange rate during the time of writing.
    • The price of any additional compulsory component (e.g. electrostatic energisers) will be added to this MSRP value and valued accordingly.
    • With enough requests, a headphone may also be tested with a different (typically more expensive) amplifier. If the community deems this amplifier as “necessary” for said headphone, the price of the amplifier will also be added to the MSRP value and valued accordingly.
  • All headphones are tested on the iFi iDSD micro Black Label, unless otherwise indicated.
    • Headphones are occasionally tested on the Motu M2 and Topping A90, but final ranks are determined according to performance on the micro Black Label unless performance is deemed superior on the A90, in which case it will also be indicated as such.
  • A (non-complete) list of headphones that I’ve tried can be found on my measurements database.
    • If you can tell, some headphones on the database (that I’ve tried) are not in this list. This is could be due to lack of interest or lack of enough ear time to make a proper decision on tier placement.
  • Yes, this is the opinion of one person on the internet. Please do not get too offended if your favourite headphone isn’t graded as highly as you’d like. (vice versa applies)
  • This list is meant to be used as a reference point. I highly recommend against blind-buying and suggest to have a listen to the headphones yourself. By all means, use this to shortlist what you should try in the future but don’t take it as gospel.

To aid searching, ranks without the + or – symbol will be marked with a “=”. That also includes the E & F ranks.

Remember: You’re not supposed to agree 100% with this list, and that’s the point.

RankValue RatingModelPrice (MSRP)SignatureCommentsTone GradeTechnical GradeDriver TypeFit/Cup TypeBased onNote weightRanksortTonesortTechsortPricesort
SSennheiser HE-1
59000Harman neutralMostly neutral, slight bass lift, highly resolving and natural both in tone and timbre. The world's best headphone.S+SElectrostaticOpen CircumauralShowfloor demo unit41359000
S-Focal Utopia4000NeutralSolid tuning with close to top-tier resolution. An inoffensive all-rounder that lives up to its reputation.SS-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10374000
S-Hifiman HE1000
DiscontinuedBright neutralA planar that comes unnervingly close estat speed, but not quite. Solid technicalities with excellent tone.SS-PlanarOpen CircumauralPersonal unit103799999
A+★★Focal Clear1500Warm neutralA decent Utopia alternative for thinner wallets. Slightly warmer sound may be more pleasant for some.S-A+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit207131500
A+★★Hifiman Arya1600Bright neutralHigh resolution planar that may be a little peaky in the treble for some.A+S-PlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit201371600
A+Stax SR-0072100+975
Warm neutralArguably the least wonky-sounding of the mainstream Staxes, with resolution just shy of the flagship 009.AS+ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit222113075
A★★Hifiman Ananda700NeutralOne of the best tuned headphones available, only limited by its raw resolving ability.SA-PlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit34331700
AHEDDphone1900Warm neutralAn interesting in-between of DD and estat timbre, though tuning around the lower midrange may be off.AA+AMTOpen CircumauralThird party unit3421131900
AHifiman HE560
DiscontinuedNeutralSlight wonkiness around the lower midrange, but otherwise a capable planar headphone.AA+PlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit34211399999
ASennheiser HD800/HD800S1700
Bright neutralArguably the king of soundstage and raw detail, though at the cost of its infamous treble spike.A-SDynamicOpen CircumauralPersonal unit343131700
AZMF Auteur
(pref. lambskin Auteur pads)
1600Bright neutralVery pleasant tonality but lacking that last bit of definition for true top-tier status.S-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit387311600
A★★★Audio Technica ATH-R70x
350NeutralExcellent imaging. Mostly neutral/flat tuning with an ever-so-slight tilt towards warmth.S-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit38731350
ABeyerdynamic T70DiscontinuedBright neutralTreble peak may offend some, but otherwise very well balanced and natural tonality with decent technicalities.AADynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit42212199999
A-Stax SR-L300430+975
NeutralGenerally pleasing tuning, though a little honky and fatiguing in the treble.A-A+ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit4431131405
A-Audio Technica ATH-ADX50002000Bright neutralClean, open sound reminsicent of the HD800, with a bit of midbass bloat and upper midrange shoutiness.B+S-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit504372000
A-Hifiman HE6DiscontinuedBright neutralClean, resolving yet intense sound scratches the detail itch but is a little too edgy for long listens.B+S-PlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit5043799999
A-Stax SR-4070DiscontinuedMid-centricSurprisingly wide and spacious soundstage for a closed-back. Good low-end extension but rather shouty.B+S-ElectrostaticClosed CircumauralThird party unit5043799999
A-MrSpeakers Ether CDiscontinued
(Replaced by Ether C Flow)
DF-neutralForward, in-your-face sound that's shouty and thin at the same time. A good reference for "true DF neutral".AA-PlanarClosed CircumauralThird party unit52213199999
A-★★★Sennheiser HD600400Bass-rolled neutralThe legendary neutral reference. Slightly better clarity and imaging than the HD650.A+B+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit561343400
B+ZMF Verite Closed
(Hybrid Universe pads)
2500Neutral with bass boostFar more tonally balanced than its open counterpart, whilst retaining its reverberant staging.BS-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit645772500
B+Focal Stellia3000Neutral with bass boost"Harman-inspired" tuning works decently well, though a myriad of small quirks ultimately screws its tonal balance.BS-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit645773000
B+Final D8000 Pro4300BrightHighly resolving headphone with solid imaging capabilities, limited by its somewhat wonky tonality.BS-PlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit645774300
B+★★★Sennheiser HD650/HD6XX
Bass-rolled neutralThe legendary neutral reference. Warm tilt, "veiled" and pretty terrible at imaging.A+BDynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit701357220
B+Hifiman Sundara350NeutralSolid tuning with a little treble spiciness for the daring. One of the better midrange planars out there.A+BPlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit701357350
B+★★AKG K612 Pro200NeutralBasically dead-neutral tuning, emphasis on "dead". Strong all-rounder whose only fault is not having that "wow-factor".A+BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit701357200
B+★★Sennheiser HD560S200NeutralWell-balanced tonality with good bass extension, just slightly hot in the upper-mids and treble.A+BDynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit701357200
B+E-MU Teak400V-shapedExcellent dynamics with one of the best bass I've heard in a headphone, though the midrange can be a little harsh.B+A-DynamicSemi-open CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit744331400
B+Sennheiser HD660S400Warm neutralAn even darker HD6X0. A comparatively muffled mess just barely propped up by its decent resolving ability.A-B+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit743143400
B+ZMF Aeolus
(Pref. suede Universe pads)
1200Bright neutralTonally, a vast improvement over the Aeolus with stock pads, bringing in extra clarity and bite.BADynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit7857211200
B+Final Audio D80004000BrightHigh treble-to-midrange contrast makes things sound shrill and borderline-sibilant.BAPlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit7857214000
B+Audeze LCD-2 Classic800WarmClassic Audeze combo of solid resolution with a confusing lack of upper midrange.BAPlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit785721800
B+Shure SRH1540500Neutral with bass boostAlmost "Harman" tuning with some undesirable mid-bass bloat. ABDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit782157500
B+AKG K702350Mid-centricSlightly more upper-mid-forward (read: shoutier) version of the K612.ABDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit782157350
B+Stax SR-L500792+975
NeutralGenerally pleasing tuning with a little honkiness in the centre-midrange.B-S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit807371767
B+RAAL-requisite SR1a4000
(Jotunheim R bundle)
NeutralWeak, limp bass is the killing blow for what is an otherwise highly resolving and decently-tuned earspeaker.B-S-RibbonEarspeakerTreoo demo unit807374000
B+★★Shure SRH840150V-shapedExtremely well-executed V-shaped tuning with no erronous peaks or dips. More mid-bassy than sub-bassy.A+B-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit861373150
BDenon AH-D5000DiscontinuedV-shapedThe usual "Foster biodyna dynamics" are at play here, with a somewhat fatiguing treble spike.BA-DynamicSemi-open CircumauralJaben SG demo unit88573199999
BAKG K701450Bright neutralThe brightest and arguably harshest of the K7-- lineup, but still very competent overall.A-BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit883157450
BBeyerdynamic DT880 Pro
350Warm V-shapeCertainly a "mini-HD800" in terms of tonality only, however still far inferior in technical ability.A-BDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit883157350
BHifiman HE400i (2020)170NeutralWell-executed reference-ish tuning with a slight treble emphasis.A-BPlanarOpen CircumauralTreoo demo unit883157170
BFocal Clear Mg1500Warm neutralLacks upper mids and resolution compared to its predecessor.BA-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit8857311500
B★★AKG K371150HarmanExpectedly Harman tuning but lacks a bit of bite in the upper midrange for "true Harman".AB-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit942173150
BStax SR-L7001570+975
NeutralProbably the most balanced tuning of the L-series, with the usual e-stat technicalities.C+S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit989172545
B★★★Shure SRH440
100HarmanClosest thing to Harman thus far. Comes with a small upper treble spike and lacking raw resolution.S-C+DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit98791100
BStax SR-L300 Limited900+975
NeutralHonkier version of the standard L300.C+S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit989171875
BKennerton Odin3600
(Bog Oak)
Warm neutralGenerally "okay" tonality with some odd dips here and there. Lacking serious extension for a planar.B+BPlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10043573600
BAcoustic Research AR-H1DiscontinuedNeutralA tempered, almost bright-leaning planar (but not quite). Decent tonality and technical ability.B+BDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit100435799999
BAudio Technica ATH-M70x300NeutralThe most neutral of the M-series. Good tonality but still suffers from narrow imaging.B+BDynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit1004357300
BKennerton Thror3600
(Bog Oak)
Warm neutralKind of a "nothing headphone"; not bad, not great, just good enough to be okay.B+BPlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10043573600
BMeze Empyrean3000WarmBland and unexciting tuning with compressed staging and generally underperforming technicalities.BB+PlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10057433000
BHarmonicDyne Zeus350WarmA rare combination of a warm-focused tonality with decent technicalities.B+BDynamicOpen CircumauralReview unit1004357350
BFocal Elear1000Warm neutralSubdued upper midrange with the odd treble spike makes this a weird headphone to listen to.B-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralTreoo demo unit10473311000
BAbyss Diana Phi4000WarmAudeze-like tuning with good detail retrieval. Needs more upper midrange, lacks bite and energy.C+A+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit10491134000
BSennheiser HD25 Plus200U-shapedPunchy, energetic sound with decently balanced tonality. A pretty good beat-tracking monitor.A-B-DynamicClosed Supra-auralStereo demo unit1043173200
BAudeze LCD-243500WarmClassic Audeze combo of solid resolution with a confusing lack of upper midrange.C+APlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit11291213500
BBLON B20450Warm neutralBasically a darker planar HD6X0, with equally closed-in staging and lacking the final resolving edge.AC+PlanarOpen CircumauralReview unit1122191450
BStax SR-009/SR-009S4325+975
Bright neutralDetail and resolution worthy of being called "the best", marred by the tonally-off midrange.CS+ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit11211115300
BBeyerdynamic DT990 Pro
200V-shapedPretty bog-standard V-shaped response with forward upper-midrange and decently high resolution.BBDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1145757200
BBeyerdynamic T5p (1st Gen)DiscontinuedV-shapedChoppy midrange response is its biggest turnoff, but otherwise a decent V-shaped headphone.BBDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit114575799999
BAudio Technica ATH-AWAS1400Mid-centricRolled off bass with somewhat suppressed treble. Not the worst but far from being tonally balanced.BBDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit11457571400
BBeyerdynamic TYGR 300 R200V-shapedVery reminiscent of the DT990.BBDynamicOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit1145757200
B-Sony MDR-MA900DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralImaging as expected of an earspeaker configuration; surprisingly good tonality and expected bad extension.B+B-DynamicEarspeakerThird party unit116437399999
B-Sendy Aiva600Warm neutralA slightly worse-tuned B20, kinda.A-C+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit1223191600
B-Hifiman Deva300NeutralProbably the most "mellow" of the Hifiman planars with the least resolving ability.A-C+PlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit1223191300
B-Sony MDR-CD380DiscontinuedDF-neutralShouty and thin-sounding, though surprisingly competent imaging ability.A-C+DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit122319199999
B-Apple AirPods Max550U-shapedGreat tonality, sub-focused bass emphasis, bassy without being muddy. Average imaging and resolution.A-C+DynamicClosed CircumauralPersonal unit1223191550
B-AKG K712 Pro500WarmSizeable mid-bass bloat that's barely reigned in by an equally sizeable upper-midrange emphasis.B-BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit1307357500
B-Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro
(Balanced pads)
600Warm V-shapeAn intense sound given its significant treble boost, but countered by a smooth lower-midrange bump.B-BDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1307357600
B-Denon AH-D5200700Warm neutralProbably the least wonky of the new Denons. Suffers from some mid-bass bloat.B-BDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit1307357700
B-Audio Technica ATH-A900XDiscontinued
(Replaced by A990Z)
Warm with bass boostSubdued upper mids and enhanced mid-bass. If anything else, this is a headphone that wouldn't fatigue.BB-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit130577399999
B-Audeze LCD-2 Closed-back900Warm V-shapeNot the worst Audeze in terms of tonality, but its tuning still doesn't live up to its technical capabilities.CAPlanarClosed CircumauralStereo demo unit13211121900
B-Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X450Mid-centricGood resolving ability and imaging, marred by its odd and honky midrange.CAElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit13211121450
B-★★★Koss KSC75
20Bass-rolled neutralNon-existent sub-bass and poor resolution. But it's so well-tuned you may not even care.ACDynamicOpen Clip-onPersonal unit1322111120
B-ASTRO A40 TR150Warm V-shapeMiddling technicalities, but for a gaming headphone its tonality is surprisingly balanced. B+C+DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit1344391150
B-ZMF Verite
(Pref. lambskin Verite pads)
2500WarmExcellent resolution unfortunately marred by suppressed harmonics and a harsh upper-midrange.C-S-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit14013372500
B-Audio Technica ATH-M40x100Neutral with bass boostWell-balanced tonality with disappointing detailing and claustrophobic imaging.A-CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit14231111100
B-Abyss AB-1266 Phi CC LiteReplaced with TCV-shapedSinfully addictive bass and treble reponse, but the midrange tonality needs a lot of work.C-A+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit1461331399999
B-E-MU Walnut100"Balanced"Tonality is somewhat off with peaks and dips here and there, but overall not a bad sounding headphone.B-B-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1467373100
C+Massdrop x AKG K7XX200WarmA more bloated-sounding K712.C+BDynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit1489157200
C+Rosson RAD-02600Warm neutralMiddling technicalities with suppressed upper midrange.C+BPlanarOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit14891572600
C+HarmonicDyne Helios180V-shapedLack of bass extension is its biggest dealbreaker of what would be an otherwise solid headphone.BC+DynamicOpen CircumauralReview unit1485791180
C+Sennheiser HD599200V-shapedA little too sharp, a little too midbassy, but overall not the most offensive headphone out there.BC+DynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit1485791200
C+Sony MDR-1AM2300Warm U-shapeHarman-ish tuning with a strong mid-bass presence and piercing upper treble response.B+CDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit15443111300
C+Audeze LCD-44000+3000
(GS-X mk2)
WarmA classic example of a highly resolving yet wonky sounding headphone. Needs more upper midrange.D+SPlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit16015737000
C+Neumann NDH 20500Neutral with bass boostFeels like an attempt at Harman but ultimately missing the mark in the midrange tuning.C+B-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit1649173500
C+1MORE MK80180Neutral with bass boostSmooth, generally pleasing tonality throughout with no offensive characteristics.A-C-DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1643113380
C+Sony MDR-Z1R1800V-shapedHoles in the midrange. Big spike in the treble. Strangely disjointed soundstage. Decently resolving.CBDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit168111571800
C+Koss PRO DJ10080DF-neutral with bass boostGood tuning but unfortunately weird pad shape that makes it hard to get the proper bass response.BCDynamicClosed Supra-auralTreoo demo unit1685711180
C+Sennheiser HD579200Warm neutralMore or less a HD599 with slightly worse resolution.BCDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit16857111200
C+Harman Kardon FLY ANC250Neutral with bass boostPeaky, mid-bassy attempt at a Harman tuning.BCDynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit16857111250
C+Audeze MX-43000WarmClassic Audeze combo of solid resolution with a confusing lack of upper midrange.D+A+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit170157133000
C+Hifiman HE5SE700V-shapedStrong contender for an excellent headphone, if not for the inexplicable hole in the mids.D+APlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit17815721700
CBeyerdynamic DT1770 Pro
600U-shapedA slightly more balanced version of the old DT770.CB-DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit18411173600
CBeyerdynamic DT860Discontinued
(Replaced by DT880)
BrightUpwards-sloping bright and lean sound.B-CDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1847311199999
CBose QuietComfort 35 II (QC35)350V-shapedThe typical mainstream V-shape response with middling technicalities.B-CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit18473111350
CKoss SP540150V-shapedThe typical mainstream V-shape response with middling technicalities.B-CDynamicClosed CircumauralTreoo demo unit18473111150
CDCA Aeon 2 Open900Warm V-shapeArguably the best tuned DCA headphone with a slightly thick midrange and least offensive treble.B-CPlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit18473111900
CAudioQuest NightHawkDiscontinuedWarm bassyThick, grand, heavy... muddy.CB-DynamicOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit1841117399999
CFocal CelesteeDiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostThin and uneven mids with narrow, congested staging.B-CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1847311199999
CZMF Atticus
(Suede Eikon pads)
1100BassyBloated bass with wonky midrange, a killer combination.C-BDynamicSemi-open CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit190133571100
CAKG K872 Pro1500"Balanced"Strange pad shape makes for wildly-varying bass. Generally a tonally weird headphone.C-BDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit190133571500
CSony MDR-Z7M2900U-shapedSounds like a "Z1R-lite", with arguably better bass response but peakier treble.C-BDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit19013357900
CAudeze LCD-31950Mid-centricClassic Audeze combo of solid resolution with a confusing lack of upper midrange. Now with extra honk.DA+PlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit196183131950
CAudeze LCD-1400NeutralThe best tuned Audeze headphone with the worst resolution.B+D+PlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit20043157400
CDCA Aeon 2 Closed900U-shapedPassable tonality with dulled and blunted transients make for lacklustre detailing.C+CPlanarClosed CircumauralStereo demo unit20291111900
CCampfire Cascade800BassyCompetent midrange tuning let down by a loose, bloated bass response.C+CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit20291111800
CBose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700400Neutral with bass boostMore subdued presentation compared to its precedessor, almost to the point of being boring.C+CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit20291111400
CPhilips SHP9500Discontinued
(Replaced by SHP9600)
BrightDecent imaging chops held back by its intensely bright presentation and below-average resolution.CC+DynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit2021119199999
CGrado GW100250"Balanced"Not the worst Grado, but you could still do better than Grado.CC+DynamicOpen Supra-auralZeppelin & Co demo unit20211191250
CAudeze Mobius
(Default preset)
300Warm neutralNot the total lack of upper midrange I expected, but a hole in the upper mids nonetheless.CC+PlanarClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit20211191300
CBeyerdynamic DT770 Pro160U-shapedSounds like a parody of Harman with its excessive 200Hz notch and overblown treble.CC+DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit20211191160
CAKG K240 Studio70Mid-centricAbysmal bass extension with overly-boosted lower mids makes for a strange listening experience.CC+DynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit2021119170
CDCA Ether C Flow 1.11600Neutral with bass boostSounds like something went wrong with the upper-midrange tuning.CC+PlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit202111911600
CMaster & Dynamic MH40250BassyToo much bass, and not the good kind either.CC+DynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit20211191250
CAudio Technica ATH-AWKT1900BrightAWKT, more like AWKward... I'll leave now.C-B-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit206133731900
CMeze 99 Classics310BassyJust excessive bass that unfortunately screws with the tonality of the mids.C-B-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit20613373310
CDenon AH-D72001000Mid-centricGenerally weird and wonky tuning that can also get rather harsh at times.D+BDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit214157571000
CDenon AH-D92001600Mid-centricGenerally weird and wonky tuning that can also get rather harsh at times.D+BDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit214157571600
CZMF Eikon
(Lambskin Eikon pads)
1400BrightHole in the mids with a sharp piercing peak in the treble.D+BDynamicSemi-open CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit214157571400
CMrSpeakers Aeon FlowDiscontinued
(Replaced by Aeon 2)
WarmReminds of the NightHawk a bit, except with far worse resolution.CCPlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit22211111199999
CDCA Ether Flow 1.11800Warm V-shapeHas elements of the DT880/HD800 tuning, with extra note thickness and more piercing treble.CCPlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit2221111111800
CB&W PX400WarmWarm, bloated sound with a largely muffled midrange.CCDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit222111111400
CAudeze Sine DX600Mid-centricDecent bass extension, honky midrange presentation.CCPlanarClosed Supra-auralStereo demo unit222111111600
CAudio Technica ATH-MSR7b250V-shapedThin-sounding yet bloated at the same time. Intense upper midrange.CCDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit222111111250
CDCA Ether 22300"Balanced"Hard to explain what exactly this sounds like, but the first thing you'd hear is probably the treble roll-off.CCPlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit2221111112300
CKoss Portapro80Bass-rolled warmThe KSC75 is better.CCDynamicOpen Supra-auralThird party unit22211111180
CV-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless330V-shapedThe typical mainstream V-shape response with middling technicalities.CCDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit222111111330
CPrecide ERGO 2250Bass-rolled neutralSounds exactly like what it is: a headphone with a broken seal.CCDynamicEarspeakerThird party unit222111111250
C-Audeze LCD-X1700NeutralProbably the worst tuned Audeze available. At least, this specific unit is.D-A+PlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit224211131700
C-Audio Technica ATH-M50x150Neutral with bass boostThe headphone that the elites love to hate... isn't that bad. An alright starter headphone, if generally overrated.C+C-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit22491133150
C-Grado SR60e/SR80e80
Bright neutralForward, almost nasally midrange with an intense treble response.C-C+DynamicOpen Supra-auralZeppelin & Co demo unit2241339180
C-Sony MDR-V6Discontinued
(Replaced by M1ST)
DF-neutral with bass boostSomewhat thin-sound and shouty but overall a very well-tuned set, if extremely blunted and narrow in imaging.B+DDynamicClosed Supra-auralThird party unit2264318399999
C-Focal Elegia900Neutral with bass boostSevere lack of upper midrange and treble results in a muffled, dulled tone.D+B-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit23015773900
C-AKG K8121500BrightSharp, shrill and piercing.D+B-DynamicOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit230157731500
C-DCA Voce3300"Balanced"Wonky, honky, whatever you want to call it. Probably the worst e-stat I've heard.D-AElectrostaticOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit232211213300
C-Quad ERA-1800Mid-centricKind of a "nothing headphone"; not the worst thing in the world but no praises either.DBPlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit24018357800
C-Shure Aonic 50400V-shapedA parody of the V-shaped response. Scooped mids, hollow sound.C-CDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit244133111400
C-Audio Technica ATH-M30X70Neutral with bass boostScooped upper midrange with below average technicalities.CC-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit24411113370
C-Logitech G PRO X130BassyToo much bloat going on in the bass, which is a shame given that the rest of the mids are alright.C+D+DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit24891157130
C-Sony MDR-CD900STDiscontinued
(Replaced by M1ST)
Warm neutralSolid dark-ish reference tuning, with the usual V6/7506-esque absence of soundstage.B-DDynamicClosed Supra-auralThird party unit2567318399999
C-Stax SR-84DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralSurprisingly coherent tuning for what is effectively an unsealed electret. Lacks too much resolution.B-DElectretOpen Supra-auralThird party unit2567318399999
C-Sony WH-1000XM4350BassyConsumer-friendly heavy bass unfortunately bleeds into the mids, but otherwise fine.C-C-DynamicClosed CircumauralStereo demo unit266133133350
D+Klipsch HP31200Warm V-shapeLots of bass bloat, way too thick-sounding and lacking definition.D+CDynamicOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit2681571111200
D+Beyerdynamic Amiron Home750Warm V-shapeMid-bass bloated and shouty at the same time.D+CDynamicOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit268157111750
D+Logitech G933s200BassyToo much bloat going on in the bass, which is a shame given that the rest of the mids are alright.CD+DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit268111157200
D+Beyerdynamic T5 (3rd Gen)1000BassyWibbly-wobbly midrange with far too liberal a bass boost makes for a terrible sound.DC+DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit274183911000
D+Pioneer SE-Master12500BrightTreble daggers applied directly into ear.DC+DynamicOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit274183912500
D+Drop + THX Panda400WarmWell-tuned but with overpowering mid-bass and extremely dulled transients.B-D-PlanarClosed CircumauralReview unit28473211400
D+Sennheiser HD559150WarmBig, thick sound that muffles everything but the most surface level details.D+C-DynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit290157133150
D+Audio Technica ATH-A990Z220V-shapedOdd cup resonance results in wonky imaging. Prefer the original A900X.DCDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit294183111220
D+iBasso SR1500"Balanced"Wonky midrange is one thing, but dying after 6kHz is another.DCDynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit294183111500
D+V-MODA Crossfade LP2200BassyBig bass, bad bass, no treble extension.DCDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit294183111200
D+Beyerdynamic DT250200Mid-centricHorrible treble extension and a honkiness that gets worse the longer you listen.CDDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit294111183200
D+Sony MDR-7510DiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostEverything just sounds strange and oddly sharp in tone, but extremely blunted in transients.CDDynamicClosed Supra-auralConnect IT demo unit29411118399999
DB&O BeoPlay H7450"Balanced"Wonky, honky midrange. Not great.DC-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit316183133450
DSennheiser AmperiorDiscontinuedMid-centricExtremely nasally vocals and lacks weight in the mids.DC-DynamicClosed Supra-auralThird party unit31618313399999
DLogitech G431Discontinued
(Replaced by G432)
WarmBloated bass like the rest, but further exacerbated by the recessed midrange.C-DDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit31613318399999
DiBasso SR2550BrightShouty, shrill and lacking the proper heft in the bass region.D-CDynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit322211111550
DKoss Pro4S150V-shapedHorrible lower-midrange scoop screws with every instrument.D-CDynamicClosed CircumauralTreoo demo unit322211111150
DAudio Technica ATH-EW9330Mid-centricForget shout; this thing screams.D+DDynamicOpen Clip-onThird party unit340157183330
DFocal Listen Professional300"Balanced"Not sure if this is supposed to seal, but in the event that it isn't: why?DDDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit366183183300
DSennheiser HD400S70"Balanced"At least it's not the Momentum 2.0 Wireless.DDDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit36618318370
D-Shure SRH240A60V-shapedCompressed, honky and lacking all but the most surface-level of detailing.D+D-DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit36815721160
ESennheiser HD8202400V-shapedThe mystical acoustic properties of Gorilla Glass could not save this monstrosity.EBDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1056999572400
EBeyerdynamic T1 (3rd Gen)1000Warm V-shapeWhen you answer "yes" to the question "how much lower mids do you want?"EB-DynamicOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit1072999731000
ESennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless180UniqueProbably the worst headphone Sennheiser has ever made. Yes, even the HD820.EC+DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit109099991180
EFinal Sonorous VIIIDiscontinuedUniqueQuirky artisanal Japanese handiwork so quirky that they forgot that it's supposed to play music.ECDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit111099911199999
EFinal Sonorous XDiscontinuedUniqueQuirky artisanal Japanese handiwork so quirky that they forgot that it's supposed to play music.ECDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit111099911199999
ESpirit Torino Radiante2250UniqueHumps for days. Wouldn't be a stretch to call this "ꟿ-shaped".ECDynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit11109991112250
EAKG K7250V-shapedHole in the bass, hole in the mids, hole in the treble. AKG's struck a turkey.EDDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit118299918350
EAKG K5235V-shapedHole in the bass, hole in the mids, hole in the treble. AKG's struck a turkey.EDDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit118299918335
EAKG K9260V-shapedHole in the bass, hole in the mids, hole in the treble. AKG's struck a turkey.EDDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit118299918360
EFiiO EH3200BassySounds as if the ANC is trying to cancel out its own sound.EEDynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit1998999999200
FPioneer SE-2PDiscontinuedComplete failureThe pads look like toilet plungers. Sounds like one too.FFDynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit199989999999999999
FSansui SS-10DiscontinuedComplete failureA simulation of how it's like to have hearing damage.FFDynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit199989999999999999