crinacle's

ranking list

Headphones

GRADES

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
SHifiman Susvara6000NeutralSubtle refinements to the already-great HE1000 makes this arguably the best planar in the world.SSPlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit6336000
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
(V2)
DiscontinuedNeutralA planar that comes unnervingly close estat speed, but not quite. Solid technicalities with excellent tone.SS-PlanarOpen CircumauralPersonal unit103799999
A+Hifiman HE1000se3500Bright neutralBasically a brighter and slightly shoutier version of the OG; may be a little too intense for some.A+S-PlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit201373500
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+Focal ClearDiscontinued
(Replaced by Clear Mg)
Warm neutralA decent Utopia alternative for thinner wallets. Slightly warmer sound may be more pleasant for some.S-A+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit2071399999
A+Hifiman Shangri-La Jr8000Bright neutralA tad too shouty for my tastes, but far less offensive tonal characteristics than the average estat.ASElectrostaticOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit242138000
AHifiman Jade II2500Bass-rolled neutralSuffers from typical estat timbre and bass extension issues, but otherwise a very resolving and well-tuned headphone.AS-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit282172500
AStax SR-007
(Mk2.5)
2100+975
(SRM-353X)
Warm neutralArguably the least wonky-sounding of the mainstream Staxes, with resolution just shy of the flagship 009.A-S+ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit323113075
A★★Aurorus Borealis900NeutralSounds like an odd mashup of the HD600 and the Clear, in a good way.A+ADynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit341321900
AHEDDphone1900Warm neutralAn interesting in-between of DD and estat timbre, though tuning around the lower midrange may be off.AA+AMTOpen CircumauralThird party unit3421131900
ANectar Hive600+975
(SRM-353X)
Bright neutralSome spiciness in the treble that is HD800-esque, but with a better midrange presentation.AAElectrostaticOpen CircumauralPersonal unit4221211575
A-Hifiman Edition X V2DiscontinuedNeutralExcellent tonal balance though limited by blunted notes and resolution.SB+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit4634399999
A-Stax SR-Lambda ProDiscontinuedNeutralOne of the original Lambda models, and arguably the best tuned of the Lambda-styled Staxes.B+S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit5043799999
A-★★Sennheiser HD600400NeutralThe legendary neutral reference. Slightly better clarity and imaging than the HD650.S-B+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit50743400
A-★★Audio Technica ATH-R70x
350Warm neutralExcellent imaging. Mostly neutral/flat tuning with an ever-so-slight tilt towards warmth.A+B+DynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit561343350
B+Stax SR-404
Stax SR-404 Limited
DiscontinuedNeutralSimilar tuning to that of the Lambda Pro. Sonically identical between 404 and 404LE.BS-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit6457799999
B+Stax SR-507DiscontinuedNeutralSimilar tuning to that of the Lambda Pro.BS-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit6457799999
B+Hifiman Ananda700NeutralOne of the best tuned headphones available, only limited by its raw resolving ability.S-BPlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit64757700
B+ZMF Auteur
(Teak)
(pref. lambskin Auteur pads)
1600Bright neutralVery pleasant tonality but lacking that last bit of definition for true top-tier status.AB+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit6421431600
B+Hifiman HE6DiscontinuedBright neutralClean, resolving yet intense sound scratches the detail itch but is a little too edgy for long listens.BS-PlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit6457799999
B+Stax SR-4070DiscontinuedMid-centricSurprisingly wide and spacious soundstage for a closed-back. Good low-end extension but rather shouty.BS-ElectrostaticClosed CircumauralThird party unit6457799999
B+★★★AKG K612 Pro200NeutralBasically dead-neutral tuning, emphasis on "dead". Strong all-rounder whose only fault is not having that "wow-factor".S-BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit64757200
B+★★★Sennheiser HD650/HD6XX
220
(HD6XX)
Warm neutralThe legendary neutral reference. "Veiled" with a warm tilt (in comparison to HD600), 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+Fostex TH610600Mild V-shapeThe most neutral of the Foster biodyna models. If you want a little more balance than the Teaks.B+A-DynamicClosed CircumauralAV One demo unit744331600
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 HD800/HD800S1700
(HD800S)
Bright neutralArguably the king of soundstage and raw detail, though at the cost of its infamous treble spike.B-SDynamicOpen CircumauralPersonal unit767331700
B+Beyerdynamic T70DiscontinuedBright neutralTreble peak may offend some, but otherwise very well balanced and natural tonality with decent technicalities.ABDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit78215799999
B+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".ABPlanarClosed CircumauralThird party unit78215799999
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
(SRM-353X)
NeutralGenerally pleasing tuning with a little honkiness in the centre-midrange.B-S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit807371767
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
BZMF Aeolus
(Pref. suede Universe pads)
1200Bright neutralTonally, a vast improvement over the Aeolus with stock pads, bringing in extra clarity and bite.BA-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit8857311200
BStax SR-L300430+975
(SRM-353X)
NeutralGenerally pleasing tuning, though a little honky and fatiguing in the treble.BA-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit8857311405
BAKG K701450Bright neutralThe brightest and arguably harshest of the K7-- lineup, but still very competent overall.A-BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit883157450
BHifiman HE6seDiscontinuedNeutralComes with an odd midrange dip. It's no HE6 replacement for sure.B-APlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit94732199999
BSennheiser HD560S200NeutralWell-balanced tonality with good bass extension, just slightly hot in the upper-mids and treble.AB-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit942173200
BFinal D8000 Pro4300BrightHighly resolving headphone with solid imaging capabilities, limited by its somewhat wonky tonality.B-APlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit9473214300
BFinal Audio D80004000BrightHigh treble-to-midrange contrast makes things sound shrill and borderline-sibilant.B-APlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit9473214000
BRAAL-requisite SR1a4000
(Jotunheim R bundle)
NeutralWeak, limp bass is the killing blow for what is an otherwise highly resolving and decently-tuned earspeaker.B-ARibbonEarspeakerTreoo demo unit9473214000
BHifiman HE560
(V1)
DiscontinuedNeutralSlight wonkiness around the lower midrange, but otherwise a capable planar headphone.B-APlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit94732199999
B★★AKG K371150HarmanExpectedly Harman tuning but lacks a bit of bite in the upper midrange for "true Harman".AB-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit942173150
BZMF Verite Closed
(Hybrid Universe pads)
2500Neutral with bass boostFar more tonally balanced than its open counterpart, whilst retaining its reverberant staging.C+S-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit989172500
BFocal Stellia3000Neutral with bass boost"Harman-inspired" tuning works decently well, though a myriad of small quirks ultimately screws its tonal balance.C+S-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit989173000
BAudio Technica ATH-ADX50002000Bright neutralClean, open sound reminsicent of the HD800, with a bit of midbass bloat and upper midrange shoutiness.C+S-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit989172000
BHifiman Deva300NeutralProbably the most "mellow" of the Hifiman planars with the least resolving ability.S-C+PlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit98791300
BStax SR-L7001570+975
(SRM-353X)
NeutralProbably the most balanced tuning of the L-series, with the usual e-stat technicalities.C+S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit989172545
BStax SR-L300 Limited900+975
(SRM-353X)
NeutralHonkier version of the standard L300.C+S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit989171875
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
BSony MDR-SA5000
(w/ AliExpress replacement pads)
DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralSurprisingly competent for a decades-old set. Midrange is a little uneven but beats out many other modern TOTLs.BB+DynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit100574399999
BFocal Radiance1300Harman neutralProbably the best of the closed-back Focals. Some tuning refinements over the Stellia, though technically limited.B+BDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10043571300
BHifiman HE5DiscontinuedNeutralThe original Hifiman. Midrange is a little too scooped out but remains competitive even today.B+BPlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit100435799999
BSennheiser HD660S400Warm neutralAn even darker HD6X0. A comparatively muffled mess just barely propped up by its decent resolving ability.BB+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1005743400
BBeyerdynamic DT880 Pro
(32Ω)
350Warm V-shapeCertainly a "mini-HD800" in terms of tonality only, however still far inferior in technical ability.B+BDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1004357350
BDenon AH-D5000DiscontinuedV-shapedThe usual "Foster biodyna dynamics" are at play here, with a somewhat fatiguing treble spike.BB+DynamicSemi-open CircumauralJaben SG demo unit100574399999
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
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
BHarmonicDyne Zeus350WarmA rare combination of a warm-focused tonality with decent technicalities.B+BDynamicOpen CircumauralReview unit1004357350
BSennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless350U-shapedA massive improvement over its predecessor. Limited resolution and potentially intense tonality.A-B-DynamicClosed CircumauralShowfloor demo unit1043173350
BFocal Clear Mg1500Warm neutralLacks upper mids and resolution compared to its predecessor.B-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit10473311500
BFocal Elear1000Warm neutralSubdued upper midrange with the odd treble spike makes this a weird headphone to listen to.B-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralTreoo demo unit10473311000
BAudeze LCD-XC1300"Balanced"Definitely the least Audeze-sounding Audeze. A little quirky tonally, but nothing too offensive.B-A-PlanarClosed CircumauralAV One demo unit10473311300
B★★Hifiman HE400i (2020)170NeutralWell-executed reference-ish tuning with a slight treble emphasis.BBPlanarOpen CircumauralTreoo demo unit1145757170
BMeze Empyrean3000WarmBland and unexciting tuning with compressed staging and generally underperforming technicalities.BBPlanarOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit11457573000
BBeyerdynamic DT990 Pro
(250Ω)
200V-shapedPretty bog-standard V-shaped response with forward upper-midrange and decently high resolution.BBDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1145757200
BBeyerdynamic TYGR 300 R200V-shapedVery reminiscent of the DT990.BBDynamicOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit1145757200
B-Hifiman HE500
(w/ FocusPad-A)
DiscontinuedWarm neutralPerhaps the warmest of the Hifiman lineup. Not the most resolving.B+B-PlanarOpen CircumauralThird party unit116437399999
B-Sivga Phoenix300Warm neutralA fairly competent warm-neutral monitor slightly held back by limited detail retrieval.B+B-DynamicOpen CircumauralReview unit1164373300
B-Audeze LCD-243500Warm neutralA slight tonal improvement over the LCD-4, but also comes with a slight hit in resolution.CS-PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit11811173500
B-Audeze LCD-X (2021)1200Warm neutralTonally, a massive improvement over the previous version(s) though with the usual pitfalls of the Audeze house sound.CA+PlanarOpen CircumauralReview unit124111131200
B-Abyss Diana Phi
Abyss Diana V2
3000 (V2)
4000 (Phi)
WarmNeeds a little more upper midrange to balance out the honkiness. Good dynamic performance especially in the bass.CA+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit124111133000
B-Audio Technica ATH-M70x300NeutralThe most neutral of the M-series. Good tonality but still suffers from narrow imaging.BB-DynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit1305773300
B-Sennheiser HD25 Plus200U-shapedPunchy, energetic sound with decently balanced tonality. A pretty good beat-tracking monitor.BB-DynamicClosed Supra-auralStereo demo unit1305773200
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-Audeze LCD-GX900Warm neutralAs a gaming headphone, possibly the best technically though with the usual pitfalls of the Audeze house sound.CAPlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit13211121900
B-BLON B20450Warm neutralBasically a darker planar HD6X0, with equally closed-in staging and lacking the final resolving edge.ACPlanarOpen CircumauralReview unit13221111450
B-Audeze LCD-2 Classic800WarmClassic Audeze combo of solid resolution with a confusing lack of upper midrange.CAPlanarOpen CircumauralStereo demo unit13211121800
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-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-Apple AirPods Max550U-shapedGreat tonality, sub-focused bass emphasis, bassy without being muddy. Average imaging and resolution.B+C+DynamicClosed CircumauralPersonal unit1344391550
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-ES Lab ES-1a2050Bright neutralSeems inspired by the tuning of the SR-009 with some minor improvements, though not enough to call it "good".C-S-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit14013372050
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-Fostex TR80DiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostA very well-tuned monitor-style headphone, if heavily bottlenecked by narrow imaging and blunt hits.A+C-DynamicOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit1461313399999
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+Timsok TS-10242000Warm V-shapeSomewhat warm midrange plagued with sharp and offensive treble.C+BPlanarOpen CircumauralReview unit14891572000
C+Acoustic Research AR-H1DiscontinuedNeutralA tempered, almost bright-leaning planar (but not quite). Decent tonality and technical ability.C+BDynamicOpen CircumauralJaben SG demo unit148915799999
C+Sendy Aiva600Warm neutralA slightly worse-tuned B20, kinda.BC+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit1485791600
C+AKG K712 Pro500WarmSizeable mid-bass bloat that's barely reigned in by an equally sizeable upper-midrange emphasis.C+BDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit1489157500
C+Beyerdynamic T5p (1st Gen)DiscontinuedV-shapedChoppy midrange response is its biggest turnoff, but otherwise a decent V-shaped headphone.C+BDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit148915799999
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+Massdrop x AKG K7XX200WarmA more bloated-sounding K712.C+BDynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit1489157200
C+Fostex TH7DiscontinuedNeutralFairly neutral monitor-style headphone with poor imaging and detail retrieval.B+CDynamicClosed CircumauralAV One demo unit1544311199999
C+Fostex TH9001600V-shapedSpicy sibilance and bloated bass are disappointments in what is otherwise an extremely dynamic headphone.C-ADynamicClosed CircumauralAV One demo unit154133211600
C+DCA Aeon 2 Closed900U-shapedPassable tonality with dulled and blunted transients make for lacklustre detailing.B+CPlanarClosed CircumauralStereo demo unit15443111900
C+Sony MDR-Z1R1800V-shapedHoles in the midrange. Big spike in the treble. Strangely disjointed soundstage. Decently resolving.CB+DynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit154111431800
C+Stax SR-009/SR-009S4325+975
(SRM-353X)
Bright neutralDetail and resolution worthy of being called "the best", marred by the tonally-off midrange.D+S+ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit15815715300
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+Fostex TH9091800V-shapedA slightly more balanced TH900 with similar sibilance issues.C-A-DynamicOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit164133311800
C+Sony MDR-MA900DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralImaging as expected of an earspeaker configuration; surprisingly good tonality and expected bad extension.C+B-DynamicEarspeakerThird party unit164917399999
C+1MORE MK80180Neutral with bass boostSmooth, generally pleasing tonality throughout with no offensive characteristics.A-C-DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit1643113380
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+Sony MDR-1AM2300Warm U-shapeHarman-ish tuning with a strong mid-bass presence and piercing upper treble response.BCDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit16857111300
C+Sennheiser HD579200Warm neutralMore or less a HD599 with slightly worse resolution.BCDynamicOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit16857111200
C+Rosson RAD-02600Warm neutralMiddling technicalities with suppressed upper midrange.CBPlanarOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit168111572600
C+Abyss AB-1266 Phi CC
Abyss AB-1266 Phi
Replaced with TC"Balanced"Sinfully addictive bass and treble reponse, but the midrange tonality needs a lot of work.D+A+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit1701571399999
C+Audeze LCD-MX43000WarmClassic 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
C+Sony MDR-CD380DiscontinuedDF-neutralShouty and thin-sounding, though surprisingly competent imaging ability.C+C+DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit182919199999
CStax SR-X Mk2DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralSurprisingly good tonal balance marred by its complete absence of bass response.CB-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit1841117399999
CAudio 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.CB-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit1841117399999
CAudio Technica ATH-AWAS1400Mid-centricRolled off bass with somewhat suppressed treble. Not the worst but far from being tonally balanced.CB-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit184111731400
CHarman Kardon FLY ANC250Neutral with bass boostPeaky, mid-bassy attempt at a Harman tuning.B-CDynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit18473111250
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 Open
DCA Aeon 2 Noire
900Warm V-shapeArguably the best tuned DCA headphone with a slightly thick midrange and least offensive treble.B-CPlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit18473111900
CFocal CelesteeDiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostThin and uneven mids with narrow, congested staging.B-CDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1847311199999
CBeyerdynamic DT1770 Pro
600U-shapedA slightly more balanced version of the old DT770.CB-DynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit18411173600
CAudioQuest NightHawkDiscontinuedWarm bassyThick, grand, heavy... muddy.CB-DynamicOpen CircumauralE1 demo unit1841117399999
CAudio Technica ATH-AD1000XDiscontinued"Balanced"Quirky tuning with imbalanced upper harmonics. Similar to that of the AD2000.C-BDynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit1901335799999
CAudio Technica ATH-AD2000Discontinued"Balanced"Quirky tuning with imbalanced upper harmonics. Similar to that of the AD1000X.C-BDynamicOpen CircumauralThird party unit1901335799999
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
CFostex TH500
(w/ worn pads)
Discontinued"Balanced"An interesting oldschool planar, vastly outpaced by today's market.CC+PlanarOpen CircumauralAV One demo unit2021119199999
CGrado The Hemp Headphone420Bass-rolled neutralNothing much different from your average Grado; paid extra for the novelty, not the sonic improvements.CC+DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit20211191420
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
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
CMeze 99 Classics310BassyJust excessive bass that unfortunately screws with the tonality of the mids.C-B-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit20613373310
CAudio Technica ATH-A2000XDiscontinued"Balanced"Somewhat mid-centric runing that's far too coloured for its own good.D+BDynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit2141575799999
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
C-Stax SR-3DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralSimilarly tuned to the SR-X, albeit with a much more blunted presentation.C+C-ElectrostaticOpen CircumauralThird party unit2249113399999
C-Audio Technica ATH-A1000ZDiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostOdd upper-midrange tuning results in a scratchy, uneven presentation.C-C+DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit2241339199999
C-Audio Technica ATH-A2000ZDiscontinuedNeutral with bass boostOdd upper-midrange tuning results in a scratchy, uneven presentation.C-C+DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit2241339199999
C-Grado SR60e/SR80e80
(SR60e)
Bright neutralForward, almost nasally midrange with an intense treble response.C-C+DynamicOpen Supra-auralZeppelin & Co demo unit2241339180
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-Audeze LCD-X (Pre-20201)1700NeutralProbably the worst tuned Audeze available. At least, this specific unit is.D-A+PlanarOpen CircumauralConnect IT demo unit224211131700
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, piercing, sibilant, and all other synonyms.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-Oppo PM-3DiscontinuedV-shapedFairly well-tuned, if very technically limited in both resolution and imaging performance.BDPlanarClosed CircumauralThird party unit2405718399999
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-Stax SR-40DiscontinuedBass-rolled neutralOne of the few Stax electrets out there. Not great in tonality nor technical performance.C-CElectretOpen CircumauralThird party unit24413311199999
C-Precide ERGO 2250Bass-rolled neutralSounds exactly like what it is: a headphone with a broken seal.C-CDynamicEarspeakerThird party unit244133111250
C-Audio Technica ATH-M30X70Neutral with bass boostScooped upper midrange with below average technicalities.CC-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit24411113370
C-Shure Aonic 50400V-shapedA parody of the V-shaped response. Scooped mids, hollow sound.C-CDynamicClosed CircumauralJaben SG demo unit244133111400
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-Audio Technica ATH-L50004000"Balanced"Quirkiness not unexpected of an Audio Technica; arguably their worst closed-back. Sure took an L on this one.DB-DynamicClosed CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit256183734000
C-Koss PRO DJ10080DF-neutral with bass boostGood tuning but unfortunately weird pad shape that makes it hard to get the proper bass response.B-DDynamicClosed Supra-auralTreoo demo unit2567318380
C-Audio Technica ATH-AWKT1900BrightAWKT, more like AWKward... I'll leave now.DB-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit256183731900
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+Pioneer Monitor 10Discontinued"Balanced"Slightly honky midrange, weird uneven treble, and hard to get a proper seal.D+CDynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit26815711199999
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+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+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-AD900X300"Balanced"Extremely uneven tuning, mediocre resolution, not a great choice unless you only want a wide soundstage.DCDymanicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit294183111300
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
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
DBeyerdynamic DT1350DiscontinuedWarmMuffled, narrow-sounding, and lacking surface-level detail.DC-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit31618313399999
DAudio Technica ATH-AD500X170WarmSuppressed and uneven upper-mids, mediocre resolution, not a great choice unless you only want a wide soundstage.DC-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit316183133170
DAudio Technica ATH-AD700X200WarmExtremely uneven tuning, mediocre resolution, not a great choice unless you only want a wide soundstage.DC-DynamicOpen CircumauralZeppelin & Co demo unit316183133200
DLogitech G431Discontinued
(Replaced by G432)
WarmBloated bass like the rest, but further exacerbated by the recessed midrange.C-DDynamicClosed CircumauralConnect IT demo unit31613318399999
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
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-Yamaha HP-50SDiscontinuedWarmBloated, lacking resolution, narrow imaging. Just a bad headphone all around.D+D-DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit36815721199999
D-AudioQuest NightOwlDiscontinuedDarkHeavily downsloped response makes the upper harmonics completely disappear.D-D+DynamicClosed CircumauralThird party unit36821115799999
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
EEKSA E900 Pro50DarkTypical cheaply-made headphone that's all bass with zero technical ability. A waste of any money.EEDynamicClosed CircumauralReview unit199899999950
EFiiO EH3200BassySounds as if the ANC is trying to cancel out its own sound.EEDynamicClosed CircumauralE1 demo unit1998999999200
FYamaha HP-300DiscontinuedComplete failureVirtually no records of this exist on the internet, and maybe it's better that way.FFDynamicSemi-open CircumauralThird party unit199989999999999999
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