Headphones to go with 6XXs (Meze 109 vs R70x)

Hey all!
Currently I live in my HD 6XXs, and I’m definitely not replacing or ever getting rid of these. I was watching some Driving POV Binaural Audio videos (Lexus LFA by Tedward and Porsche Cayman GT4 RS vids by TheTopher if you’re curious), and I dunno, for the first time I felt the weak soundstage of the 6XXs. Not exactly bothering me, but enough to make me notice and ask “Huh, how would this sound with a different headphone?”. The lack of that wide soundstage for gaming as well, so I’m thinking of getting another headphone to complement them.

Headphone Use - I mainly use my headphones for music, gaming, talking with friends while gaming, playing piano, and watching YouTube. When it comes to music, I do not do anything analytical. I just wanna enjoy whatever I’m listening to while I ignore the tinnitus knocking at my door.

Music Taste - I mainly listen to Metalcore and Videogame OSTs, mostly energetic stuff that’d get you hyped for a lift. I also like listening to rock, weeb shit, and synth-wave. Here’s some examples:

The Hell We Create - Fit For A King
Gone Astray - Currents
Salt (Fairlane Remix) - TDWP
Kick Back - Kenshi Yonezu
A Placid Island of Ignorance - Chris Christodoulou
…con lentitude poderosa - Chris Christodoulou

Source: I plug my cans into my AT 2020 USB+ mic, which is connected to my PC. I don’t have any Amps or DACs. I used to own a Schiit stack, but I didn’t find any improvements or differences to my sound when using them compared to being plugged into my PC. Even if the Amp gives a lot of juice, I’ve never had a problem with my 6XXs. So if they run easily like the 6XXs, all the better. The two main options I’m looking at are the R70x and Meze 109s.

Budget: Obviously the more I can save the better, which is why the R70x is one of my two main headphones I’m looking at. But just cause I hate having money, I’m willing to go as high as ~$800 if it’ll be worth it.

Audio Technica ATH-R70x: $350 - I’ve heard that these give 6XX vibes with them being on the warm neutral side for their sound signature. But with them have more bass extension and significantly more soundstage in comparison. Their comfort is supposedly very good too. Would they be a good option for gaming and for getting that soundstage experience? I don’t need them to be HD 800S level, but as long as it’ll be noticeable and fun. With them also being around $350, they seem like the best option…however…huh…what is that sexy light attracting my eyes?

Meze 109 Pro: $800 - A lot has been said about these since they dropped. They’re one of the best looking and best built headphones you can get at their price, even beating a lot of higher tier headphones in build quality. The fact that you can take them apart and get whatever parts you need to replace is fantastic. And especially are said to be the king in comfort. Super easy to run as well. Sound-wise I hear they sound amazing, and are around the level/a bit below the Focal Clear OGs. But I’ve heard that due to them being slightly V shaped, the treble can be pretty bright. Lets say I would want to warm them up a bit, and lower the treble a smidge. Would putting a diver fabric cover like the 6XXs have be able to do the trick? I would prefer to not EQ anything. I’m not necessarily against brightness, my first headphones were the DT 770s. But I love my bass and mids especially.

Focal Clear OG: $890(when on sale) - One of the most beloved headphones around the $1k price range. Even called the direct upgrade to the 6XX. Just a bit pricier than the Meze 109s, and a lot of people say it still beats the 109s in sound quality. But my main worries is how I’ve heard the QC (stuff like faulty drivers and headbands breaking from normal use) and customer support just isn’t that reliable, how the earcups get gross quickly, and are expensive to replace. With this kind of money, I don’t have the most confidence that these would last me years and years.

HiFiman also has it’s big hitters like the XS and Ananda in this range. But I would prefer to avoid HiFiman. I owned a pair of Sundaras, and while I found them to be decently comfy and great sounding, they stopped working after just 2 weeks of use. Even their higher end headphones aren’t free of the poor QC, and tend to not have the build quality you’d expect for the price. Cause of my experience with them I don’t trust them, even if I know HiFiman makes great sounding headphones. Most of them have a flatter sound from what I’ve looked at, and I prefer the more musicality and color of something like the 6XXs.

I might be getting a little too ahead of myself. I know there is a level of diminishing returns, especially once you go beyond the $300 range of headphones. So I might be simping a little too hard for the Meze 109s. Going that high might not be worth it, since the $220 I spent on the HD 6XXs has given me the best audio experience I’ve ever had. If any of you are a fan of the 6XXs like me, please let me know your experiences with what you consider an “upgrade” or something to complement them.

Just as a point of context? I own 3 sets of Focal, well 2 if one considers the Elex as a DROP collab… I have never had any problems with any of them . I got the 800 dollar deal on the Clear OG and picked up a spare set of pads at the same time just in case. I also have the Radiance and that one has been quite flawless as well. As for Hifiman I have the Edition X V2 and it has been excellent over the years. I recently replaced the pads on it as well (age and non abused) as for the 109 pro I do not have any experience with that one. I have experience with the Senn 650 and I use that exclusively on tubes and it is very good on my Feliks Echo. Back to the Clear’s I would agree with the knowledgeable that the better you power it the better it scales! On tubes they are awesome as I normally run those on my Quicksilver amp.


You won’t get any of these benefits without a quality dedicated amp. I would rule these (r70x) out.

1 Like

This will be no help, but just my thoughts.
I’m making the same decision right now between the Clear OG and the Meze 109 Pro. The reviews I’ve seen really like them both, so I figure I can’t go wrong either way.
I do have the Focal Elex, which, from what I hear, is very similar to the Clear according to J Valour. But the Elex, for me, is a little fatiguing (shouty). I EQ it to make it less so. I’ve heard the Clear doesn’t have this issue.
I think the Clear is technically more accurate than the Meze, but I’ve learned after 2 years of iffy spending that accurate and clean doesn’t mean good sounding.
These are both great looking headphones, but the Meze edges out the Clear IMO. The Meze likely has better build quality. Focal’s QC is … not great. (buy from Headphones dot com for a super easy return. I had to return my DOA Focal Bathys and had a replacement in hand in 4 days)
Price-wise, the Clear is slightly higher on sale but originally $1000. So getting a $1000 headphone with sound quality to match might be worth it.
I’m leaning toward the Meze I think, based on looks, comfort, build quality, and from what I hear, spectacular sound. I don’t mind a bit of treble unless its too strong, then I’ll EQ it out. And if the Clear’s sound is ‘similar’ to the Elex, well, been there - done that.
I have the good fortune of CamJam Chicago coming in 2 weeks so I’ll spend some time listening to both and make my decision there.

See, I told you I’d be no help.
Anxious to hear what you decide!


You can get the Meze 109 pro open box here for $650, this is what I did: Meze Audio 109 Pro Dynamic Open-Back Headphones - Open Box – Headphones.com

I really love the 109 pro, the comfort is amazing, really nice design and its really easy to drive - I also have the Clears (and the Elex), I think for me I would choose the Meze 109 pro if you have the Elex already…

The Clears do sound better than the Elex but the Meze 109s are more different, unique and really comfortable and much easier to drive, sound good on anything and superior comfort wise - the Clears sound probably slightly higher res but the 109s I find I gravitate towards more these days, comfort for me matters and its the nicest feeling headphone I own, luxurious feeling and sounds really full and natural and rich, good on most genres… Focals are fun and punchy and have good energy, and are quite comfortable but they are just a little bit more rigid feeling around the head and these days I find them kindof just slightly too stiff and I find I play them less often day to day lately

Both are great headphones, 2 of my favorites, but if I had to choose I would probably pick the Meze

1 Like

The more I think about it, the tougher it gets. But from what I’ve seen, and what Barolo and Jetman have said that if you really want to have them sing, you need a proper quality amp. And I just personally don’t see much of a reason to have an amp and dac. When I had mine they showed absolutely no difference for my HD 6XXs, so I wasted nearly $300. And even if they improved the headphones, is it really worth it price wise considering they costed more than the headphones themselves? At least in my opinion. I’ll probably rule the R70x and Clears out due to that. I’m still not completely sold on getting the 109s, but they are so far the best contender.

I just wish I could find an audiophile store around the Sacramento area here in California. Cause I’d love to try out the Focal Clears and R70x, and the tons of other wonderful cans that exist.

For the Open Box stuff, do you know if that simply means they just opened them up, tried them for a tiny bit and immediately returned them? I personally prefer to not buy things used, unless it’s basically brand new.

FYI Open box sales are not eligible for headphones.com’s 365 day return and your money back if you don’t like them for any reason unlike sealed box items :+1:

My HD6xx’s do benefit from a bit more power via amp, but it doesn’t take much. I use a Schitt HEL with these at my PC (need a mic for tutoring) and music sounds noticeably warmer and fuller with it, but I wouldn’t say they NEED an amp.
If you already have a $300 amp, then all your choices are still viable options, and if you’re going with an $800 or higher priced headphone, you want it to sound its best.
As far as open box, at least at Headphones.com, I wouldn’t hesitate. Anything you get would be at worst, slightly uses “like new” (I’m sure they’re inspected thoroughly), and at best, they just broke the seal to do a demo or something. Their open box policy states "An “open-box” product means it has been opened before. These are typically returned products or demo models. There are several possible reasons why an item is returned, and not because it has been damaged. "
I do feel like they should give some sort of return policy on those though, just in case of some sort of defect they missed the first time through.
And hey, Canjam SoCal is the end of September if you want to wait to demo them all. (Not sure how long the Clears are going to be around since they’re end of production).


Besides being too duplicative to 6xx, I’d check the impedance curve on R70x before buying with the intention of running them on an interface. Not an upgrade overall and not different enough. When I finally went insane from Senn 6 series, it was a Hifiman 5xx and Beyerdynamic DT880 I found good alts with. Different.

I’d suggest something like T1 maybe, though it seems like all suggestions also would like to see a source gear upgrade. What about something like the Harmonicdyne Zeus? Was a good old recommendation here for a bit. When it comes to fun, wide, comfy, warm and easy to run for not a lot of money.

I have purchased open box from headphones.com a couple times, good experience I wouldnt know they werent new… I got the Meze 109 pro open box as well as I believe my Focal Clears.

I have also purchased open box directly from Hifiman… These are like new condition, hardly know they arent new. Its not like purchasing from Ebay which will vary alot, could be heavily used.

However as mentioned open box items cannot be returned usually


I’ve actually had the Zeus while looking for my first open back. Their ear pads were made of angel feathers or something, cause man they felt nice. But the sound was too muddy for me. I’ve also tried the AKG K712 Pro, but their boring sound and cheap build really disappointed me.

That’s a shame about the Zeus. I was interested in those as everyday comfy fun drivers with huge soundstage. I would have to disagree with you on one point on the akg. I found them rather excited and wide. Maybe not super accurate or clear like a senn 6 series but still detailed enough. However I will agree with you that the build quality was absolutely horrendous. Especially when you consider their price.