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.