Jack-of-All-Trades Headphone Below $700

Hey all,

I’m looking for mid-fi headphones (max price $700) that people would consider jack-of-all-trades. The headphone should do everything at least well. They may not be especially great at one thing but aren’t lacking in anything. For example, I wouldn’t consider the HD650 in this category because it has a narrow sound stage. I may be chasing a unicorn, but I interested in what you all have to say.

For background on me, I currently own Focal Elex, modded m1060c and T20RP mk3. I thought the Focal Elex was what I was looking for, but the more I listen to it, the more it feels like a $400 headphone and not a $700 one.

Thanks in advance! I look forward to reading your recommendations!

Here are a few sites that do recommendations based on performance and cost and also give you frequency response measurements so that you can EQ your stuff if you want.

Inner Fidelity Wall of Fame

rtings.com list

Thanks! Definitely familiar with both. Not the biggest fan of Rtings and Tyll is obviously very well known.

However, Tyll is retired and hasn’t updated his wall in over a year. And I would like to hear some community suggestions.

While I like all a lot of the professional reviewers, it can sometimes be hard for me to make a purchasing judgement based off their reviews because they only have the headphones for a short period of time most of the time. First impressions are strong, and I am looking for options that people still love after months of listening to day after day. Hope that makes sense!

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Awesome. Yeah, most people in the audio community know about them, but Im so used to directing friends and family to them that it’s become almost an involuntary response now haha. That totally makes sense! I’m the same way. Best of luck.


Maybe the E-mu Teaks? I own a pair, and while they are not what I’d consider a “reference” sound for sure, they’re a great “fun” pair. IIRC Zeos is of the opinion that they’re the best of the Fostex headphones that are of the same family as the Massdrop X00s.

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Neumann NDH20. Period. The end.

I was really looking at those, but I have heard so many mixed reviews. I know Zeos loved them, but I haven’t really seen that same reaction other places.

I’m guessing you really like them, too? How is the sound stage on them? I’m always hesitant with closed backs because they are usually more intimate.

I will have to take a look at them. Thanks for the recommendation.

They have convinced me to sell at least 4 of my other sets. They tick every single box for me. Sound stage is great. Not as wide as my Argon mk3s, but very present. Imaging is sepctacular.

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You won’t find anything better built, better looking and better sounding than the Beyerdynamic DT1990s for under $700
Sure some headphones might have one or two of those two factors but not a perfect combination of all three

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Are looking you for something with a similar sound signature to the Elex? If you want both a good balanced sound signature and superior detail to the Elex for under $700, there’s very few options. Hifiman Sundara? I’m considering it since I really like the HE-4XX. Let us know if figure it out.
BTW, I ordered the Elex a couple day ago so thanks for making me question that lol. I decided to get it after auditioning the Elear, and hearing DMS’s reviews.

The Elex is a perfectly good headphone. I think DMS overstated its performance a little bit. Everything is subjective. If the Elex was a $400-500 headphone, I think it would be perfect. But at $700, I don’t think the price is justified by the performance.

I own the Neumann NDH20 and I love it, but I wouldn’t want it as my sole headphone. My only gripe with it is that it’s just not that comfortable. The sound on the other hand - I couldn’t ask for more. If I had to choose 1 close back headphone, it’s going to be the Neumann NDH20 especially for critical listening. For me, it is the closed back endgame.

But for pleasure cans, I think everyone also needs an amazing pair of open backs (or a few). Starting with 6xx, Beyerdynamic dt 1990 pro, Sendy Aiva to name a few (at lower price points).

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I guess everyone is different. I honestly habe no issues at all with the comfort

Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 is maybe your Elex follower
It is at only 759 Euro at Amazon Germany at the Moment.
Wider stage than my loved 1990s and in every way better and balanced driveable
But will keep my DT1990 Pro with analytical pads playing- the 1990s are the best looking cans I know.

Wow…I didn’t even realize Rtings did Audio reviews. I just recently found them and watched all their recent 4k Tv reviews and they do a great job in that category.

Did you ever find what you were looking for?

I doubt it. he wanted a headphone better than the elex for under 700? dont think so lol