Advice on both closed back (DT 770 vs Meze 99) and open back (HD 599 vs SHP9600 vs DT 990) for music/movies/games

Hey everyone, this is my first post here, glad to be part of the community after lurking for a few weeks. I’ve been heavily researching for the right headphones to suit my needs for the last 2-3 weeks, and the more info I get the more indecisive I become. Such an overwhelming amount of options, and I just get deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of indecisiveness due to these options.

I listen to a variety of music, pretty much everything but with an emphasis on EDM and hip-hop. I also plan to use my headphones for watching movies and TV shows, as well as lots of gaming (mostly singleplayer and some multiplayer but nothing too competitive). So I do think I’m looking for something with a good amount of bass, as well as being immersive for movies and singleplayer games. However, I do also appreciate detail, clarity, separation of instruments, and good vocals as well. I am willing to get either an open back or a closed back, but also willing to get both since I do run into lots of situations where I need the isolation of a closed back but also really love the open airy immersive sound of an open back. I’m lenient on my budget here, just nothing too expensive or past $400-500 total or something.

And now I do have a bit of experience with a couple of headphones I’ve tried out in the last week or so, and I’ve also had a pair of M50X’s for the past two years. Another big thing for me is comfort, something my M50X did not have, I am very sensitive to clamp and unfortunately have a large head, so I really hate wearing my M50X for more than an hour or two.

I have tried a Sony MDR1AM2, which was ok but didn’t impress me too much and the earcups were too small for me, despite liking the low clamp. I’ve also tried a SHP9600 and a Fidelio X2HR, of the two I really loved the X2HR the most and I felt like it fulfilled most of my needs. The bass was great and I adored the massive soundstage. However, the clamp is way too high for me and despite leaving them to stretch on a box for about a week, they show no sign of loosening up and it is borderline painful how tight they are. I get very sore wearing them and they are also just really heavy/uncomfortable. The 9600 was much better in terms of comfort, but I felt it was lacking in sound compared to the X2. These 3 headphones I will most likely return if I can find something better.

So for open backs, I was looking at the HD 599, which looks very comfortable from what I’ve read, but saw that the FR is very similar to the 9600. How different are these actually? Also the soundstage probably isn’t as big as the X2 right? One of the things I greatly preferred the X2 over the 9600 was the bigger soundstage, and also I felt like the overall detail/clarity was much better on the X2. Also, the bass just sounded better on the X2. Would the 599 be too similar to the 9600 in these aspects? Another option I’m looking at is the DT 990, which I think is comparable to the X2 somewhat, but I still don’t know.

As for closed backs, I’ve been looking at lots but I think I narrowed it down to the Meze 99 Classics/Noir (same thing) and the DT 770. How do these two stack up compared to each other, especially for my needs? I’m a bit worried on the clamp of the 770, how is it compared to the X2? And I’m also a little doubtful of the small earcups of the Meze 99, as the MDR1AM2 was too small for me.

Thanks for any help, sorry for the long post but I’m just really lost on all these options. I’m also open to any other suggestions for either category as well, I’ve been reading a lot into planars that have caught my eye, but comfort is kind of putting me off from them.

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Welcome to HifiGuides!

The dt770 do clamp quite a bit so they might be a bit uncomfortable for you. I have a pretty large head too but still find the 770 to be comfortable enough for me. The Tygr 300r has less clamp in comparison and has a similar sound signature to the x2 but has a tighter bass response and is more detailed.

The 770 sound in comparison has more sub bass, a bit more forward mids but isn’t as full sounding and can sound shouty, a tad bit piercing in the treble but is not grainy unlike the x2.

I listen to metal and rock mostly but do occasionally listen to edm and rap. The dt770 are my personal go to for those genres.

For you I would say the Tygr 300r is the better option because it clamps less and sounds like a better x2hr.

The Tygrs are about $200 and if you don’t have an amp dac setup I’d suggest getting a Schiit modi and magni stack which is another $200. There are also some equally good alternatives to the schiit stack like the jds labs atom amp dac, and the monoprice liquid spark amp dac. Both cost the same as the schiit stack.

EDIT: One other headphone I forgot mention is the emotiva gr1. A very well built open back headphone that also sounds like the x2hr. However the earcups are quite small.

With Beyer, I hear that the “Pro” designation will result in a higher clamp force - something to consider. The “Premium” with straight cables should be safer. The round cups on these are not huge either. The DT990 has a good V-shape, but I find them to be less monsterous in bass than others. The level of bass is also limited to how you can handle the high-peaks. I have heard Meze 99 earcups being small, but have not experienced.

Sennheiser clamp force tends to be strong. While the metal pieces of the 600-series offer a way to bend a lot of initial clamp away, the 500-series build doesn’t allow much of that. I also question if the sound signature of either is in-line with what you’re looking for.

AKG 700-series perhaps as an outsider? I think pad swapping on a lot of these things could help you. For fun-money, you should try Monoprice Modern Retro w/Brainwavz XL pads. Boom boom, big light comfy, and cheap.

Wish I could help more, your needs don’t fall quite inline with mine, but I know there are some giant-meloned comrades on here that can help.

Tygr sounds like a solid choice to me. Beyers are wide, bassy, and super comfy. If you like the fit, then maybe consider adding the 770s for a closed option.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, looks like the Tygr 300 R is a great option for my open back needs. I had come across the name a few times in my research but never actually looked into it too much, I kind of waved it off since it’s always out of stock and it was marketed as a gaming pair of headphones. I had no idea that it performed similarly and better than the X2HR in the areas I was looking for in an open back.

It’s unfortunate that it always seems to be out of stock, and that it’s only sold on the Beyerdynamic store, as there is no way of getting an email notification when it’s back in stock like Amazon does. Seems like when they do get back in stock that they usually get sold off pretty quick too.

For closed backs, I’m heavily considering going for the Meze 99 Noir that’s having a drop going on right now. Does anyone have any experience with both these and the DT 770, and knows how they compare to each other?

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Personally, I was not a fan of the 99s. Very dark and bassy (also weren’t comfortable for me). The 770 has a good amount of bass, but it is more balanced with the rest of the frequency response. Imaging on the 770 is much better IMO. For gaming, I think most would say the 770 is easily better. Music would be more subjective, but I preferred the 770.

Of course, you may want to try the Meze just for something different, which can be fun too.

I would go with the Dt770, the 99s sounded muddy with the bass and the earpads were super small for my ears, even the “large” pads were to small.

@MrAyrit @Droccord I know they’re closed backs, but how is the soundstage between the two? I hear that the DT 770 has a decently big soundstage for a closed back but haven’t found too much info on the Meze 99’s soundstage.

Ya the 770 have a big soundstage for closed back, I don’t remember the 99s much since I had them only for a few days they were unwearable since the cups were to uncomfortable for my ears. The 770 have great soundstage, imaging, and bass. I do have the 80ohms which have the most bass of the variants.

Agreed on all accounts. IMO for imaging and soundstage the 770 is the clear choice.

Wow, that’s hilarious, I’ve pretty much went through the exact same thing this last month, even our use cases are very similar.
Personally having tried out the dt770s, dt880s, and x2hrs, I’ve settled on the Hifiman he200i 2020s. Which seemed to be the most detailed, soundstagy, neutralish (without lacking in sub bass) headphone (that can even be driven half decently by my phone) of the bunch. It’s only problem is the hotspot at the top of the headband, but i have a small head. Other possibilities in the 100€-200€ (sorry about the euros, but i live in italy) range would be the senn 560s and the 599, but from my research (haven’t tried them), it seems the hifimans are better in the places that count. So that would be my rec for open back.
As for my closed back rec… I’ve been led to believe the AKG k371 is one of the best offerings, unless you can afford the dt770s (250 ohms) and an amp capable of powering them. I do want to leave you with a thought though: consider IEMs. In my research, I’ve encountered alot of audiophiles suggesting (i even heard Joshua Valour say something of the sort) that IEMs seem to be alot more bang for buck than at least most budget to entry-level mid-fi closed backs. If you’re like me, and only need closed back headphones on specific occasions / for portability, this might make sense and also help you get more value out of your budget. You can allocate most of your budget torwards a really good open backs that you’ll use most of the time, and the rest for a decent pair of IEMs.

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I have exactly these. Just got the noirs on the drop and found my sweet spot. I blew for the dekoni pads fuck me there’s better everything. If you like bass and perfectly smooth mids and most treble and a touch of good detail, then go that route. With the dekoni pads they feel big and comfy like the beyers.

I have the DT770 pro 250ohm and love how they feel. They’re great for mixing and if you want flat details across the board. The sparkly is jarring at first but can be gotten used to.

I picked up the DT880 limited (also 250ohm) from drop recently too and found them very comfy but far too dark and muddy. Tried a few different pads. Might do some a/b testing on high/low gain on my heresy to see if I can find the right spot for me.

You think the Meze is perfect and the 880 is too dark / muddy?! That surprises me. I feel the the Meze were one of the darkest headphones I’ve listened to, while most consider the 880s neutral/ bright.

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Ha I know, I am hearing drastically different things from my 880s than what others are hearing. Everything sounds recessed except a muddy bass for me.

The noirs resolve the low-end for me better than anything and now they pop all aroundwwith tthe bigger pads.

It’s quite possible that my ears are totally off from the norm too.

Woo man long read I’ll put in my opinion here. Sounds like you may not like the meze… so the thing about meze is they aren’t the most comfortable, you can pad swap though, and have a very narrow intimate soundstage… sounds like this would be a bad fit reading through here.

Shp9600 is a hard skip in my opinion. It’s just not worth it… you can take a shp9500 at like 50 bucks mod it with some pad adapters for 10 bucks and throw on some dekonis for around 30 to 40 bucks and get what’s essentially the same sound signature but much better comfort and clamp for cheaper.

HD 599… it’s hard to recommend. It’s one of those bassier sennheisers and bleeds into the vocals by quite a bit. I’d honestly recommend the 558 over this as it’s more controlled yet bassy… if you just want warm tones yet neutral grab the 58x jubilee instead

Most of your preferences sync with the dt 770… the only issue I see is you like vocals which isn’t a beyers strongpoint 880 and higher priced headphones excluded. Its v shaped and strongly so generally demanding an amp and sounding great at 250 ohms granted 80 ohms is bassier so boils on preference… personally reading this I think you’d love 770 so it’s worth a shot. Soundstage is quite big for closed back.

990… if you have any treble intolerance any at all… hard skip this immediately. Extremely sharp V shape signature that peak can be extremely fatiguing however if you can tolerate the signature 990 is great. 600 ohms recommends at 250 is bassier yet more treble. 600 ohm beyers also scale with higher grade equipment it can grow a bit in your setup which is nice. Alternative to 990 is the tygr 300r which doesnt really have that big treble issue

As far as clamps… between all these the sennheiser have the most followed by the beyers however all can be fixed with stretching them out.

Saw the 2020 200i recommended… that one is quite neutral it wont be what your searching for considering your preferences if you wanted a bassy planar you’d be looking at something from monoprice or something such as the argons

Got the MMX300 over amazon warehouse for 220€ … I have to say they sound amazing. Great clarity, exceptional soundstage for closed back, very fun to listen to.
Ordered the dekoni choice leathers because Z … :stuck_out_tongue: (the stock pads really arent great anyway)

So if you’re wiling to invest a bit more (or make a bargain with warehouse deals) and invest in additional pads, I’d recommend those very much.

Another way would also to go for the DT770s (or other beyers) and change the pads to adapt the sound signature to your liking.