600$ End Game suggestion

hey everyone, i am looking at spending 600$ for end game that is my budget for my headphones i used the headphone finder on this site but i just wanted to get some suggestions from the wonderful people here in these forums. and see if what you guys suggest and compare that to the site tool

i am currently using the hifiman sundara, i mostly use these headphones for music and movies speaking of music i usually listen to rock or metal and well movies is movies lol, i find them physically fatiguing for too long other than that they have been a great pair I don’t need lots of bass i have a subwoofer in my car for that and i prefer open back headphones

thanks for your time

Grado. they’re good for rock and metal I’ve heard.

1 Like

I have the sundara’s if you find those fatiguing I wouldn’t recommend the DT1990 but for $500-550 they are probably the best you can get for sound quality, imaging, and treble, even the mid range is better than sundaras despite being recessed it is so clear…

However the sundara are just about the most natural sounding and relaxed in terms of great clarity but non fatiguing, atleast for myself, it kind of sounds like you want something with little detail IMO, am I wrong?

EDIT- just saw you said physically fatiguing as in weight or I assume possibly the clamp/pads which i also find strange since weight seems like it would be low with headbands and pads are pillows, is it the clamp?

Maybe ESP/95X? Would compliment your Sundara nicely. Not a lot of bass, mid-centric, relaxed treble. Takes EQ well if you don’t like the stock sound signature. They can sound a bit boring and aloof, but in contrast that same character is what makes them very easy to listen to while still being quite detailed.

Comfort wise - large pads, well-padded headband, low clamp, probably under 300g without cable (weights about the same as my Audio Technica AD900x). Heck, maybe an AD1000x or 2000x would be a nice choice too. I love AT’s wing headband, and the AD line has low clamp too. Earcups are a bit small in terms of inner-diameter though.

Obligatory Gold Planar GL2000 double magnet hype. This headphone is getting a lot of hype, lots of people say its super comfortable although a little heavy. If you haven’t heard about this one, then you should check it out. Also heard lots of great things about Focal Elex, which you should be able to score used or on sale.


You didn’t mention accompanying equipment. What DAC and amp? Perhaps the improvement you’re looking for is not in the cans.


If you can get a Focal Elex for $600.00, it is awesome. But it really does need a DAC and amp to sound its’ best.

Grado’s are awesome, if you like the sound. And they run just fine off your phone or DAP.

They are my two favourite headphones.

1 Like

Hey thanks for the reply, the clamp force and the pads are the big deal I have an old pair of senn 598 Sr which I could wear for hours and forget they are on my head and yes a little more detail would be nice hope this helps

Hey thanks for the reply currently I have a zen dac but if I get new cans I would most likely get a stack I figured I would get the new cans first then a dac and amp hope this helps

Hey thanks for the reply I currently have a zen dac but would totally get a new dac and amp stack after I get my new cans is my goal

1 Like

Ok, Hifiman is sending me Focuspads-A and the velour ones for the HE series (the cheap $10 ones), those are all they have right now I am doing a review and can let you know if it makes it any better

You’re good then. Changing the cans is the right thing to do.

Back to the DT1990 also, the clamp force is hooge and the balanced pads are pretty stiff, honestly I prefer them comfort wise, but if you want soft you have to use analyticals which are going to, sound wise be fatiguing, if you have no issue with sound and can take extra treble and legit want the most detailed headphones (i’m doing a review, i buy stuff based on other peoples votes, bought over $1k so far) basically treble > sundara, mid range edges sundara despite V shape due to crazy detail and BASS falls just short of sundara, comes on faster and punches but can’t beat the planar bass and that sounds like something you want.

What you would end up doing is having to manually bend the band some (please check before you take my word you can just bend it) and maybe spend some extra $$$ on some plush pads or use analyticals if the sound while using them isn’t an issue

I think you can get the headset and pads around $600… if you find a place to sample them and are sure they are what you want PM me and I may be able to help you get a good deal direct from BD

WARNING- the pads are the MOST GERMAN THING EVER they are HARD to get on, they are very very durable but holy fucking shit why, if you don’t do it a specific way well let’s just say I legit sat there for almost an hour

I will give you a recommendation based on what I have heard in person.

The iBasso SR2. Not the easiest to find, but an impressive headphone (wrote a long ass review for it). Here is the thing, they are semi-open, which means they are not as airy as some fully open-back headphones. They have a more intimate presentation which makes them very enjoyable for virtually any music genre (from personal experience), and I can imagine that they would perform very well in movies.

In terms of comfort, I wore the SR2 for ~4-5 hours, and there were no signs of discomfort.

Another plus is that they are of high sensitivity and thus do not depend as much on the source and amplification.

In terms of other options, I guess you could go for a Focal, but make sure to listen to them first. Focals seem to be a love/hate option, so it is crucial to listen to them in person. Same goes for Grado’s.

1 Like

My vote goes Elex, love mine.


Thanks for the reply I will look into that

1 Like

Thanks for the input might be out of my range though endless I find open box


They’re a really incredible set of cans and I’m pretty sure you can find them on eBay for $600 pretty frequently.

I also forgot to say there is no such thing as ‘end game’. it’s a rabbit hole that will go as deep as your wallet will let it, LoL!

I prefer to look at it as a journey / experience as when you mix up your DAC / Amp and headphones, you will find so many nuanced differences to what you’re hearing. sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. on occasion you may find a combination that just sounds…‘offensive’.


Yeah, I’ll echo this. Endgame is where price to preference meets. I’ve got money and a great interest in audio, but honestly I wouldn’t pay more than $200 per piece of gear.

For buying anything expensive, I ask myself, “Could I buy five of these and feel ok?” if the answer is yes, I’m good for it. If no, then that’s the answer.