Looking for good closed-back headphones

What the title says.

Right now I have a pair of DT1770. I’m less treble-sensitive than most so I actually kind of like them. Even so, their sound is very aggressive so I can’t really wear them for long. Which is why I’m looking for a replacement.

The headphones need to be comfortable as I intend to wear them for long stretches of time. I’m avoiding leather pads - I start sweating quickly with them. I’ll be using JDS Element II to power the headphones. I intend to use them purely for listening to music.

As far as budget goes, I’m flexible. Ideally I’d like to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $500, however I am prepared to go much higher ($1k+) if I see a lot of people suggesting a particular model in such price range.

What I’ve been looking into so far:

  • Beyer T5p 2nd gen: I heard they are less aggressive than the 1770s and I already like the Beyer sound sig; if anyone is familiar with them please let me know
  • Ether C: I found someone selling a used non-Flow variant for $850 but I don’t know how they stack up against newer C Flows nor if they are good for non-monitoring purposes nor if this is a good price for them
  • AEon 2 Closed: they look sexy as hell but seem a bit pricey (not sure if my instinct is correct there)

Any suggestions welcome.

The Aeon 2 closed is said to be better than the Ether C due in large part to improved dynamics. I haven’t heard them, but do have the Aeon Open X and Ether CX. I’d say the CX fits the comfort bill nicely, as it’s one of the lightest and most comfortable pairs I own and I can easily wear them all day. It is a very neutral signature and tends to sound best at higher volumes, as the dynamics open up a bit. Haven’t heard the T5p.

I’ll also say that the Elegias is very comfortable with great dynamics. I find them very transparent to the recording, so bass is present when it’s supposed to be, but is dependent on a good seal, so if you wear glasses your mileage may vary. You may still be able to pick up a set on Adorama for $400.

My daily driver closed is the ZMF Eikon, which you can find used at or a little under the $1k mark. It’s on the heavy side, but very comfortable if you don’t mind the weight.


@FiCurious thank you for your suggestions.

As far as ZMF goes, I’ve only ever heard good things. That said, I live in Europe so I’m somewhat hesitant when buying headphones I can’t easily service. And even if that weren’t the case, the import cost for them would sadly probably be astronomical.

I’m intrigued by Elegia. I didn’t even know about their existence. From what you wrote I’m assuming you’ve heard them? If so, do sou think they are worth ~$900? That’s the lowest price I can find them for here, sadly. I don’t mind paying, however in that case I’d like to know I’m getting my money’s worth.

Ether CX is really tempting, however I’m afraid I’d once again end up overpaying due to import costs. Also I’m not sure how long Drop would need to ship them…

There is a Euro ZMF distributor.
Don’t buy the Ether CX.
You should consider the Kennerton if they are reasonably priced in Europe


Ah, being in Europe does throw a wrench in getting some things. I don’t know that $900 is worth it for the Elegias, but they are good and yes I have a set.

Oh shit, didn’t realize ZMF had EU distributors. Thank you!

Out of curiosity: why do you advise against the Ether CX? Also, do you have any info about/experience with Aeons?

I own an Ether CX, my “review” is on drop.
The headphone has it’s strengths, but IMO With complex mixes it requires listening at Ridiculous volumes to make the headphone sound Like your not listening to something recorded in a broom closet.
I own a Kennerton Gjallerhorn and I really like it for a closed back, by far the most open sounding closed back I own and I own an Ether CX, a ZMF Eikon and a ZMF Verite C.

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That’s very helpful. As I’m going to be using the headphones in the office a lot I don’t really want to listen to them at too loud a volume.
I found Eikons for ~1200€ with shipping. That’s not terrible, however I don’t know if I’m willing to go that high, have to mull it over a bit.

I regret buying the Ether CX. If you’re able to handle the music to be cranked then sure… but I say avoid in general for now.

If they are available to you definitely check out the Aeon 2 and another wild card I’d throw in is the Audeze LCD2 closed backs.

I haven’t heard it but I’ve seen a lot of positive stuff about the Aeon flow RT which is a bit cheaper than the 2. Can’t speak to the difference between them though.

I’ve heard not great things about the LCD 2 closed backs. But the LCD-XC is legendary and Rupert Neve practically designed the RNHP for them.

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Hhhmmm I love my set but when I want a technically better headphone I definitely reach for my LCDXs. They are a warmer sound but still portray detail really well while having that famous low-end compared to many headphones I have.

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The RT is less technical and I would say have more pronounced low-end than the 2.

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I would really like to try this combo at some point. XC + RNHP might be my dream office setup.

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OK, new day, been researching for a couple of hours, here’s where I’m at (in order of what I’m considering most to least):

  • Aeon 2 Closed: I only hear good things, even at the price point (which all told would be around 900€).
  • Beyer T5p 2nd Gen: I can get them for ~750€ which seems like an OK price. I already like the Beyer sound sig. Most people I’ve seen criticizing the T5p for being too bright mostly also for the same reason didn’t like the DT1990 which is one of my favorite headphones.
  • LCD-XC: I own the LCD-X which is my favorite headphone to date. From what I’ve read, the XCs share some similarities which is definitely appealing. What’s holding me back with these is the price and the size.
  • ZMF Eikon: I would love to get a pair of these, however getting them would really stretch my budget.

I’ve mostly decided against:

  • Focal Elegia: there are three reasons I’m hesitant to get these for: 1. I don’t think they’re worth 900€ (couldn’t find them for cheaper); 2. they seem to be discontinued; 3. not sure how reliable this is but I read a forum post by a person whose headband broke (apparently it’s made of plastic?) and they got a response from Focal that the haedband is neither fixable nor replaceable, which… this ain’t it, chief
  • Ether CX: I don’t listen to my headphones at loud volumes at work so these are pretty much out. And if the Aeon 2 Closed are indeed close in quality, even more so.

Looking at but not really considering (yet):

  • Beyer T5 3rd Gen: The sound sig on these (as well as T1.3) seems to have been changed drastically so I’m extremely hesitant to pull the trigger until more reviews are out.
  • Focal Radiance: Fuck are these sexy, however A) outside of my price range (as far as I can see) and B) too new, would likewise like to see more reviews to form an opinion

Feedback appreciated.

I think Kennerton is a serious manufacturer worth looking into.

Also, ZMF are one of the most well respected ones in the industry - so also worth looking into.

I find it quite odd that no Fostex models were mentioned :thinking:


The TH900 Mk2s (the original is out of the question, I need a removable cable) is well outside my price range. The TH-X00 I can’t really find anywhere. As far as T50rp-s and the like, I used to own a pair and they seemed reasonably good, however I’ve since heard much better stuff. And Argons are probably not obtainable in a reasonable timeframe.

I’ll keep Kennerton in mind. ZMF I’m well aware of but as I said, most of their stuff really stretches my butget at best and is well outside of it at worst.

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Then look further into Kennerton and keep Focal and Dan Clark in mind - I think both are great manufacturers, though I believe Focal has more budget due to their long history with loudspeakers - this doesn’t mean it’s better.

I think that you could ask if the distributor is willing to give you a discount for the ZMF, it doesn’t hurt to ask :wink: I think some distributors are open to give a discount, especially because they make a sale, and perhaps they don’t get too many sales from that particular product or product line (headphones) - it’s seriously worth a try.

Does EMU.com ship to your location?