AeonFlowC, Sundara, Deva, DT1990 or a grado?

Hi all,
getting itchy to get another set of headphones. I currently own EL8C, NDH-20, HD700, B&W P9 (underrated imo) KPH30i, and HD565 Ovation. Also some IEMs like Legacy 3, Tin T1 and Starfields. I have a chord mojo and a SMSL SP200.

I listen to different types of music, post rock/metal, stoner rock, alternative, indie, but also ambient stuff, new wave etc.

I’m currently thinking of Aeon Flow Closed 1st gen, Sundara, Deva, DT1990 or a grado, at least i’m interested in all of these and they (used/new) fall roughly into the same price category.

Which of these would you choose to get something really new, different or just plain better then what i already own? (regardless of at home/portable use)

What would you get if aiming for a ridiculous portable set combined with my mojo?

Would you even get another set of HPs in this price range of do i need to step up my game now?

So many thoughts … thanks for your input!

1 Like

noone? I have the feeling i might have offended everyone by stating that i like my B&W P9s, especially in a forum created by DMS and Zeos :laughing: Let’s just say, one can still like a product even if it’s not perfect. I had the HD700 as my only HP for years and managed to enjoy it likewise, so my hearing might just be messed up/different then yours.

I’d really like to hear you opinion on this … i know the question is a bit vague but i’m just curious about these models and which one of these would be a worthy addition to my exisiting gear. And please be honest here - it i.e. might also be a better idea to invest in a decent desktop tube amp or something like the rebelamp to get more out of what i already have. What makes it more easy or more diffcult is, that i seemingly don’t have a prefered sound signature. Going from something like the NDM-20 to the EL8C can be quite drastic sometimes, but my brain has learned to adapt and appreciate…

Thanks guys!

lol I think you somehow got burried and may have posted at a time where not a lot of people were active.
since you seemingly have a lack of open back planar the sundara could be a ice pick to add to the collection. I also wanna suggest the elex for another open back I just dont like the 700 personally and i think the elex is a better headphone overall especially regarding tuning.

yeah, i also think it was bad timing … and maybe an uncomfortable question. I’d really like to hear te Elex, but sadly, this one is out of the question by comparing prices and availability here in europe. To are more specific question: besides the open-backness, how ridiculous would a Sundara look if used portable? If think from the front it looks quite alright since the cups don’t seem too thick. From the sides though … yes, i would guess that’s just that bit too large to not gain much weird attention? Also, compared to the Deva, the headband also looks like a bit too much. Do you agree?

i was going to post about this but was confused about the comparison to 3 planars, the 1990, and a random grado with no specifics… so i dunno what you specifically want in sound

thanks pointing that out, in can feel you confusion … it seems so random. The reason i picked these sets were

  1. i don’t own any of these models yet
  2. i don’t even own anything of these brands yet!
  3. except the grado option, i have purchase options where all of these are in roughly the same price, yes, even the Aeon and the DE1990
  4. it would be cool if any of these would also make a great portable option, regardless of open-back… but it shouldn’t look too ridiculous, otherwise, i wont wear them often.
  5. all of them have good reviews and some kind of fan base.

You know, as i already wrote, i already have different sounding cans and i appreciate the differences. And that’s excactly why i’m struggling to decide what’s a good addition, someting new. Could a Grado, like ein SR80e be the most “unique” sounding, not comparable to what i own? Would you say, that the Aeon Flow C looks like the best deal if at the same price, or the DT1990? Is the Sundara the “best” HP on the list?

what sound are you looking for… what grado are you thinking about

i’m not looking for a specific sound, that’s not my focus. I’m rather fascinated by HPs in general and how different they can shape the sound, i really like hearing the same records on different tunings/soundstage/imaging/detail-levels. You see, i already own HPs with differren tunings and i appreciate them all.

Rearding Grado, that might be a topic for itself. Is Zeos right about the GW100 being superior due to DSP correction? Or should i start with SR60e/SR80e… at least, these three HPs are also in my price range. Guttenberg said, that Grados remind him of horn speakers, that’s why they’re too extreme for many people. Which Grado, up to the 325, would you recommend?

if you are really wanting to go grado i feel like unless you want to use exclusively wireless go with the SR80e’s if you want warmth, if you want more trebel go with the 60s… but grado are more into acoustics and rock so they might not be perfect for everything

If you’re willing to stretch your budget just a bit ($420) I would HIGHLY recommend the Grado Hemp LTD Edition. They are the most natural sounding headphones I have tried so far and have a great all rounder type tuning with surprising bass, lush grado mids, and bright but smooth treble.

If you can’t stretch you budget then try they SR225e or SR325e. From what I hear these are brighter but still fairly smooth and still have those signature Grado mids.

The sundara are also a rather well liked option. I think I would recommend the sundara over the aeon since the 1sy gen aeon are supposedly rather compressed and a bit boring.

Oh. That’s somthing else about the Grados. They have great dynamics. The SR80e and Hemps (the Grados I own) both have a very lively and exciting sound that I love. Also with the Grados I would recommend looking at these pads since they are great for if you find the bass too light or the upper mids too shouty. I also fond the flat pads to he more comfortable.

These are also a good cheap option, but they do not sound quite as good as the TTVJ pads, at least on my Hemps. I can’t try the TTVJ pads on my SR80e since they got stretched out and are now too big to fit.


i actually dont think he has to stretch his budget at all…

the DT1990 are 550 dollars and thats on his list so the grado hemp could definitely work

thanks guys for your advise, yes, theese hemps also got my attention, since they’re THE GOAT currently for grado fans… what a nice pair of headphones! I could stretch my budget that far, it would be the same price as a new DT1990 here in germany :wink: I could even get a (very) used DT1990 for 280 € and a used Aeon Flow C for 320 €… these are dream prices currently. But it already helps that you’re have a clear opinion about Sundara > Aeon. Sundara is very popular, a guess for a reason. But reagrding the hemp … it’s more difficult to get a good price for them in germany. I don’t find any online seller located in germany that has it in stock. But it seems, that grado is also very popular in the UK where i (afaik, damn brexit) could still import without fees from. You guys happen to know any UK/European online store which has the hemps in stock?!

This should help you find a dealer

just wanted to give you guys a final update, i just ordered a Sundara. I don’t own any Hifiman yet, let’s see what the quality and everything else is about. It’s also nice to have a second planar next to the EL8C, i have enough with a dynamic driver. Also they will pair nicely with my Mojo, so i might give them a try outside, since i have regular walks in the park. Let’s see how ridicuIous that looks. Could have gotten the Grado Hemps for 499 €, but considering everything, also the price, the Sundara just won.


I doubt the sundara will look bad. They may look out of the ordinary but the cups are simple and the headband doesn’t stand up above your head much so you won’t look like a cyberman like some other suspention strap headbands. I hope you like them.

1 Like

Although I am a Grado lover, I really enjoy the Sundara’s. They are a great all rounder for a pretty good price. :+1:t2:

1 Like

just wanted to say - i got the Sundara last week and was very impressed by the soft but wide sound, fine trebles, really high fidelty stuff. really, really great. Unfortunately, i will now return it to Amazon due to a rather light, but definitely audible channel imbalance. Everything that should have been center image, was slightly moved to the left. Initially, i thought this was not the HPs fault but rather the known problem of my SMSL SP200’s volume knob. But i did also have it on my Mojo and my NDH20 didn’t have the problem on the SMSL. Really disappointing. It was my first HiFiman and, at least for now, will propably be my last. If you already know about possible QC problems, you get more aware of this stuff. But if it really happens to you, you’ll still be bummed. I really, really liked the sound though.


Maybe give the SR325e a shot, or if you can still get them a a comparable price, the DT1990. If you really liked the sundara then maybe get another set but a open box one from Hifiman direct. These are apperently ones that have been returned and then fixed and check over by a person, so they are less prone to QA issues.

Edit: here’s a link but it looks like the open box might only be available in the USA and Canada?

well … now i have a Focal Clear on my head. :upside_down_face: I couldn’t be happier. I still know how good the Sundara is and what makes him special, but the whole experience about having another HP in roughly the same, sub-500€ range, that also wasn’t working perfectly, made me think again. I forged the decision to really gear up now. The currently available offer, Clear for 999€, and also my taste in music, did the rest. The Clear is the best HP i’ve ever heard by far (!) and i’m enjoying it way more than the Sundara. It’s my end-game for now as it feels like the beginning of a journey, so much to discover with these cans… wow. I couldn’t be happier.


Did you get the rupert neve RNHP amp to go with your clears? It supposed to be a great pairing and a great amo in general. Also if you really want to complete the M0N stack you can get the Bifrost 2 for your DAC.