Looking for Closed-back with

Hi, hoping someone can recommend me something.

I’m looking for closed-back headphones with certain requirements.

First let me state the headphones which I currently own.

  • DT 770 Pro 250ohm
  • AKG k371
  • AKG k702
  • Rode NTH-100
  • Shure SRH440a

I use this dac and amp:

  • JDS Labs Dac+
  • JDS Labs Atom+

Out of all of these, I only find DT 770 and AKG k702 comfortable, to the point I can wear them all day, whereas every single other headphone, I can’t wear it for more than an hour without my head hurting. I think my ears might be big or weirdly shaped, not sure, but I came to the conclusion, the earpads, they need to be round, like an “O”, whereas all those other headphones(besides dt770 and k702), they are more shaped like an “0” (other than the Rode, idk what that shape is but it’s tiny and bad for me).

When it comes to the sound, all of these besides the DT 770 sound somewhat similar, I’m not much of an expert with all the sound terminology, all of them more or less sound similar besides DT 770 which sounds completely different to the rest and I actually dislike it. Best one I’d say k371 sound wise. So what is my issue with DT 770 besides sound? It’s not loud enough, in fact, it’s the quietest out of all these headphones (I tried 80ohm too, same thing). I love to crank up my volume really really high, and honestly, k371 at half volume is louder than dt770 at max. k702 is a also very loud and comfortable but it’s open back so it’s not acceptable for me, I need closed back.

So having said all that, I am looking for a closed back headphone with these requirements:

  • “O” large shaped earpads, minimum DT 770 size(58cm innerear up/sideways) , preferably k702 size(they are very large).
  • Close to level of loudness of k371
  • Max budget 300pounds (350usd), but preferably within 0-200usd range.
  • Has to be available on Amazon UK

Sadly something like DT 700 Pro which I think might fit my criteria, is unavailable on Amazon.

Thank you for your time.

What about something like the Drop+Hifiman HE-R7DX? The only real problem with them is the fit, and if they’re a little big for your head, you can purchase another headband on AliExpress for like $40 (right now), or bend them (see ZReviews review of the JM mod). They are super easy to drive. Edit: just noticed that you need them to be on Amazon.co.uk, so I guess these are out…

Or, as an alternative, why not get an Audeze Maxwell? You won’t need to worry about driving them because the DAC is internal. They sound amazing (and not just for a gaming headphone) and also have great bluetooth codecs for wireless listening without the dongle.

Edit #2: I’m not an expert, but it seems strange to me that you can’t get the DT770 Pro loud enough with an Atom Stack. I have DT990 Pro 250 Ohm that I can get all the volume I would need with a Zen DAC V2 without power matching on. With power matching on I can crank it up way too loud for safe listening. Also, I find my K702 only ever so slightly easier to drive than the DT990 Pro. Is it possible that there’s an issue with your DT770?

Anyone else have any ideas for Adam82? I’m thinking there’s some kind of issue that’s causing him to not be able to get enough volume. Is it possible that he needs to activate a high gain mode on his amp? I’ve never used the Atom stack, so I don’t know…

Edit: I can see that it does have a gain button. @Adam82 , have you tried running it in high gain mode (sorry if that’s a stupid question- I just think your stack should be able to provide plenty of volume, even with the headphone sensitivity being a bit low…)

Hi, thanks for the reply.

I use the high gain mode already on my dac/amp.

I think it’s just my preference for volume levels is higher than most people. Don’t get me wrong, dt770 is loud at max volume, but it’s not as loud as the other headphones and not my preference. If you google the headphones “sensitivity”, dt770 is 96dB/mW but k371 is 114db/mw. Every headphone I listed is higher sensitivity than the dt770. Also when I tried dt 770 80ohm than 250ohm, it was a bit louder, only a tiny bit, but still nowhere near the levels of k371. Having said that, I can’t listen to k371 at max volume, that would make my ears bleed, but its 60% is still louder than dt770, it’s just shows how loud the headphone is. I can listen to about 80% volume level of k371. Plus honestly I don’t like how the dt770 sounds compared to every other headphone I listed.

I looked at the Audeze Maxwell but I’m not interested in gaming headset, I know for a fact it won’t be anywhere near as loud(my partner has many, many different gaming headsets, both wired and wireless), and it being a gaming headset, I dont know how good it would sound (and its wireless, it cannot possibly sound better than something like k371). I have for example also an old Hyperx Cloud, which is in reality a takstar pro 80, and alone with its dac, the hyperx is quiet, I plug it to my dac/amp, it’s very loud, but it’s not comfortable and it sounds kind of bad compared to every other headphone I own.

I can tell you that connected by USB I usually have it set at 50 on the PC. Max volume is ear damaging levels of loud.

Andrew (Resolve) from Headphones.com said it might be the best closed back (not just gaming headset) for music, period, and has some of Audeze’s best tuning. I have an R7DX, which I consider to be very good standard Hifiman tuning with decent imaging and technical abilities, and aside from the R7DX having a massive soundstage for a closed back, the Maxwell wins in every other way. Wired through USB, over wireless dongle, over BT. It doesn’t matter. Check out their review. Its music tuning alone would make it worth more than $500 as a wired headphone. The fact that they’re selling it for $300 is mind boggling.

I don’t doubt your recommendation but I’d rather not gamble on this.

You yourself said you find it strange I find the dt 770 quiet (and I doubt your zen dac/amp drives it to “much” higher loudness values than my jds stack), I just have a really high tolerance of volume and like my music very loud. It’s not that dt770 is quiet, it’s just quiet for my taste. For my partner for example, me turning dt770 for 100%, she says it’s ears bleeding, but it’s not for me. K371 at 100% is.

I’ve had in past, my partner current has a few and had lots in past, of wireless headset, and I don’t doubt how good the Audeze Maxwell is, but I cannot gamble 300usd that it might be “loud enough” for me, and that I will like how it sounds or that it sounds close or better than let’s say k371.

You can even google “Audeze Maxwell quiet” as keywords and already lots of people complaining about it:

People just have different level of tolerance. You can say the same can be said for any headphones if you type it to google and add the keyword “quiet”, which is true, but this is where dac/amp stuff comes in so you can get way louder volumes but even then you will find people saying they find a headphone quiet, like me with dt770. The maxwell being a wireless headset, you cannot even plug it to a dac/amp so you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Wireless is not really an option for me, has to be a wired headphone.

It definitely should not be even close, but I’m able to get the open back version (same driver, same impedance and sensitivity) to well over 100 decibels on high gain, and I would wager pretty close to 100, if not over on low.

Your Atom Stack should crush the iFi on power, which is why I was wondering if there was some other issue. You should be able to get it to deafness inducing levels (not safe for more than a few moments), so it’s strange. I really wish someone else would chime in on it.

I understand your concerns about the Maxwell. I think anything you buy without listening is taking a chance, and that’s no different. It’s pretty easy to talk yourself out of anything if look at anecdotal information. Firmware updates most likely squashed the early bugs (which I did not have on Windows 11) and a DAC-Amp would potentially damage the Maxwell, since there’s one built in. While I know that I can get it loud enough to make my ears bleed via a USB C connection, your ears may be significantly less sensitive to those sorts of volumes if you’re truly getting the documented power levels out of the Atom stack.

Okay so let me give you my impressions on the Maxwell. I am not no crazy audiophile, I don’t sit down and pick a part music and songs to try to find every single little detail I just want to listen to music and enjoy it. I’ve own a couple of the akg q701, HD 6xx, 660, 800s, beyerdynamic 770, 990, 1990, tygr, emu teak, fostex th-x00, 900mk2, and a few other different headsets here and there also some crappy ones like the Sony XM4, Razer blackshark V2.

Okay for my two favorite headphones they are the HD6XX for the lush mid-range for vocals, the bass,it’s okay it’s not bad sometimes I wish I had more. it’s nice to have that warm laid-back sound as well. And the Th900mk2 for the deep strong bass and sparkly treble, but I do use the ZMF Ori pads to tame some of that. And man sometimes the mid-range vocals feel so lacking. As for the Maxwell I don’t want to sound like I’m hyping them up but they’re definitely one of the top headphones I have to listen to and are becoming my favorite. To me they sound like they are w shape. TO ME The Maxwell sounds like the best of both worlds. The treble is not fatiguing, the vocals are just right and enough bass to get a nice thumb and enjoyment. It also comes with the app so you can adjust the EQ which takes really well.

Quality of audio sounds great to me it doesn’t feel like it’s compressed or lacking or anything, it sounds like full and detailed. Which something like the XM4 sound horrible for being wireless. I was noticing stuff in music and video games that I never paid attention to or noticed before. Being wireless has been super convenient and nice to have good quality audio at the house and just to throw around my neck and take and listen on the go. The Maxwell made me questioned my Th900mk2 which I like the look so much.

I know there’s probably a bunch of people that would say that I don’t know what I’m talking about and and would probably not agree with me at all. I’m probably not really good at describing audiophile characteristics and phrases. This is what it sounds like to me and I really like the Maxwell and I would definitely buy them over again.

Before I was finished with this I went back and watched Andrew’s review from the headphone show to say he’s pretty spot on how I feel and I agree for the most part. Hopefully this helps you out a little bit.

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Oh yeah also, I placed my order in around April 1st I kept an eye on Reddit and headfi to see what people were saying. I seen there was a lot of complaints and people being very negative about the headset. And it made me more nervous the more I seen the negative stuff that was coming out about it. There was one point I almost considered canceling my order. But I decided there was a 30-day return in case it was as bad as what people were saying. But I’m definitely glad I waited till I got them in hand definitely not disappointing.

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