Drowning in a sea of choices!

Hi all! I’m looking for some upgrade input. Here are some of my deciding factors:

  • My budget is ~$399 for my primary set, but I anticipate needing to buy multiple sets to cover my needs fully (General listening, Studio, Gaming). My budget is fluid on the second and third headsets and dependent on exactly how the first plays out.
  • I wear headphones most of the hours in the day for listening to music/video while working. I’m at my desk for the majority of my waking hours, in headphones.
  • I am a novice music and audio producer.
  • I play FPS competitively every day (not for a living, but a major driver in this upgrade is to improve imaging for footsteps in PUBG in particular).
  • Comfort is a primary concern. I’m sensitive to the top-of-head hot spot with certain headbands. AT’s 3D Wing headband is god’s gift to my scalp, and I really would like to maintain this level of headband comfort going forward considering my long hours at the desk.
  • I have planar magnetic home theater towers and love the sound, so I have been strongly drawn toward planar headphones in this move.
  • Historically I have run closed back headphones since I greatly enjoy isolation while working.
  • Music I enjoy is a pretty varied. Electronic (not a basshead, though I do enjoy bass), experimental, hip hop, rock, some classical.

My current setup is a ZOOM UAC-2 > Objective 2 > Audio Technica ATH-A990Z. I enjoy the sound of the A990Z and the imaging seems good but I am consistently out-imaged by my friend on DT770 250ohms (can’t have that)!

Currently I’m looking at:

  • Monolith m1070 (not out, I know)
  • Monolith m570
  • Thieaudio Phantom
  • Verum 1
  • Audeze LCD-1
  • Audeze Mobius
  • HyperX Cloud Orbit
  • Hifiman HE4xx
  • Hifiman Sundara
  • Audio Technica ATH-A1000Z
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD1000x
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700x
  • Audio Technica R70x
  • AKG K712
  • Shure SRH1840
  • Shure SRH1540

Anything I’m missing that might also fit the bill?

My current thinking is:
Option 1) ATH-AD1000x, ATH-A1000Z, AKG K712 or some planar may function as an all-rounder
Option 2) ATH-AD700x for gaming, ??? for general
Option 3) ATH-AD700x for gaming, ??? for general, ??? for studio

Do the planars in my selection keep up with the AD700/1000s in imaging, or the r70x in accuracy?
Will the headbands on any of the planars (LCD-1, HE4xx, m570) be comfortable for extended use? HE4xx and the Verum 1 look pretty comfortable.
Are there any closed back cans that compete with the AD700x/AD1000x for imaging?
Would the A1000z, AD700x, AD1000x, have improved imaging over my A990z’s?

I know I’m asking to have my cake and eat it too! :smiley: Thanks for your advice!

You can buy the he4xx from drop and send them back if you don’t like them.

You got 30 days.

I’m looking for similar things to you btw. Just started buying a bunch of cans to try out and return the ones I don’t want. Bought from different companies and different places with 30 day returns.

The only headphone I bought that can’t be returned is the Focal Elex, which I’m listening to as I type.
It doesn’t have a 30 day return policy but…I kind of have this feeling that’s not going to matter very much…It does everything you’re talking about very well. The only questionable one is the comfort, but that’s only because it’s heavy. A lot of them on that list is heavy.

LCD-1 def isn’t.

You also might want to add DT1990 to your list. Elex and 1990 are both out of your price range, but…you may not need to buy another headphone if you get something like that. Got five other headphones on the way to the house, and am kind of thinking…uhmmm why? The only thing Elex is lacking is a very wide soundstage, but it captures the vibe of a regular size bedroom pretty good.

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You may also want to look into the Vokyl Erupt, but that’s just hearsay for now as far as me recommending it. I have it on the way.

Yes we’re chasing similar things for sure, I’ve been checking your post. Considering doing the same with a few that I’d like to compare, and good info on the drop return. The Elex is appealing, but as you said I’m a bit worried about comfort wearing them for the durations I will be, and I really find the price tag a bit painful.

The LCD-1’s seem like the best shot for a true all-rounder imo, but it really does look like the headband will rest right on top of your head, which has me debating those even with the light weight.

Looking forward to hearing your opinion on the Erupts. When do they arrive?

Hoping something in the list will show up on a black friday offer!

I have ATH-AD500X, same headband design as the other AD _00x phones.
And my AKG K-712 Pro’s do not come anywhere close to them in comfort, especially with the headband.

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I think the dt1990 would cover everything you want it to very well. I think it could suit all your needs and is very comfortable. It is open back, but I do think it’s exactly what you are looking for if you can only pick one headphone

Or another option would be the ad700x for gaming and the lcd1 for studio and general if you wanted two pairs

The main thing that’s going to limit some recommendations is the studio usage requirements imo


Honestly if you want closed back imaging the 770 is hard to beat the customer one studios are great option too literally the same headphone but better build.
If you want better imaging than the 770 i say go with the 880,990 or the 4xx as that has really good front and rear imaging imaging overall isn’t as precise and beyars but they don’t do the front or rear as well as the 4xx. Or get argons

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Well imo at this budget the dt 177x might make more sense if you really need a closed back

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Or argons but the amp may need an upgrade?

The argons are fun but don’t work well for some of the genre mentioned and are def not that great for studio use

Perhaps a ndh 20 if they fit well. Yeah actually I would take the ndh 20 over the dt177x if it fits well

But are the very intimate nature of them good for gaming?

It would do fine, but yeah it wouldn’t be the best. I just think the 1990 ticks the most boxes at this price range for an all in one option


Seems priority is gaming so really good imaging and a wider soundstage.

I don’t think you have to have a wider soundstage per se, but a soundstage that can create a good spatial image is important, and some headphones can do that with a fairly intimate soundstage

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true I just appreciate a wide soundstage ffor games like siege where i need to listen to a guy comin into a window a meters away to my left and a pottential guy coming through a door comnig from the same direction but all divided by lockers. hard to explain but all i want to say is a good wides ound stage is very much apreciated as well especially when its an option. if he can get the 1990 it really does tick all my personal boxes for gaming and it should tick all his if he wants a open back

I think that something like the ad1000x is actually my favorite headphone for competitive gaming, but there are a lot of things you have to deal with and it also wouldn’t fit into his budget unless he got the 1000x and a pair of dt880 600 ohms for music and studio

I’m going to sound a note of caution re the 1990 despite my fondness for my own pair.

For day-long comfort I have multiple concerns. I and others experienced the crown hot spot issue. In my case a slight tweak to the headband shape, taking advantage of the metal headband’s malleability, solved that. But I am still aware of the heft and snug clamp. For me it’s an enjoyable wear for the hour or three I ever use it in one stretch. But I’m skeptical DannyM would also find it works for him. I’d be looking for something feather light and with a suspension strap given what Danny has written.

As for its tuning, I can indeed see it working very well as an analytical tool in the studio. Certainly no note of sibilance would ever escape his notice. But it would hardly double as a neutrality reference without EQ, should that be needed.

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I got the DT 1990 primarily for gaming (they are great at spotting footsteps in PUBG!) but they are superb with most of mu sic as well, so I only use closed back now, when there is too much noise in the house. (I know, wife and kids don’t go well with this hobby…)

They are worth the price and would cover all 3 areas without problems. You won’t regret getting them and you will love them BECAUSE they are open back.

I think it should be fine for amateur or mid-range production as a reference, but for higher level mastering I would agree

Comfort wise for me at least I could wear these all day but for some people I could see it getting a bit irritating for those with sensitive heads after 3 hours

@ 380 that’s a good deal?..https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-beyerdynamic-dt177x-go-headphones?mode=shop_open&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=6134752517340&utm_term=6154400698340&utm_content=6154400698740&pc=OCHGSAFFCOPXJZTHGIPWUKNQ&fbclid=IwAR0jhrj-lLtsGJVr2DKu0PgB7eWvY2sxs_ywQ_gHF7DDqI4b-GV5ywEsVCQ