Looking for headphones for

@WaveTheory Re: headphone hunting…

My music tastes are eclectic and includes samples from 70’s album rock and Funk (Zepplin, YES, Boston, Alan Parsons Project, Steely Dan, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, Commodores) etc…
80’s NewWave/Pop/Industrial/Post Goth Punk/Rock (Smiths/Morrisey, Romeo Void, YAZ, The Fixx, Big Country, Spandau Ballet, Madonna, Ministry, Husker Du, Rick James, Morris Day/Time, Blondie, Clash, Joy Division/New Order, Van Halen, Styx, Foreigner, Echo & the Bunnymen) etc…
90’s - Pearl Jam, Lincoln Park, HoobaStank, Garbage, Hammerbox, Foo fighters, Queensryche, Rob Thomas/Matchbox Twenty, Lenny Kravitz, Jack Rubies, Los Lonely Boys, Red Temple Spirits, Robert Cray, Alice in Chains, Chili Peppers) etc…

Now - its still allover the place, but Sirrus XM is set to 1st Wave in the car … if that helps. I spend allot of the time reliving my past @ 40GB of crap I’ve ripped over the years - I also enjoy the likes of Vindsvept, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones and much of the House/EDM too - Truly, I am all over the place.

How I set my EQs usually looks like a soft stretched out W - I like the base with punchy mids and vocals and I like crispy highs but not sizzly. I also like the sound to be broad not just Base - Mid/vocal - Treble.

Geeze, a novel later…

Hi @Delta9K. I moved this post into the headphone category. I hope that is OK.

Thanks for the thorough list of music preferences. That will be really helpful. I have 2 additional questions to help tailor the search to you:

  1. what’s your budget?

  2. you mention a W shaped EQ. What did you EQ? Ie what headphone/IEM are you currently using? That way we have a better idea what signature you’re looking for.

^^^ Plus what do you intend to use to drive them?

Oops! @Ohmboy he’s using an Atom stack. I forgot to mention that for the general audience when I moved the post.

1 Like

Ok cool mate :+1:

Also! Closed or open back? Does it matter?

I think it’s best that I keep it to under $500.00 be happier @ $350 since I don’t really know what it is I want. I don’t really use headphones that much, even on my home stereo setup.

I probably just complicated things by mentioning that, as I am not using an EQ now for this setup. What I was referring to is what I was using on my dual channel EQ and other EQs that I have had with 5 -9 bands, where I typically boost 25hz up three notches 40Hz just under that 63 just a little under that, 100 just a a bit up and leave 160 pretty much alone , and then start boosting back up the same starting with 250, 400, 630 and until 1K is about 3 up and then the same matching pattern back across 1.6K being just a tad under - I think you can visualize that a bit better - The pattern appears like a \ /\ /. However, haven’t been using an EQ on my main setup for years now and just using the DSP and settings in my STR-DA5ES receiver to get what I want there. Which works really well with my speaker setup.

As for headphone I have now - they’re Philips X2HRs
I don’t use them for gaming. I have Corsair set I use there HS50’s I think, on the gaming PC ( I don’t use those either - I have a Cambridge THX 2.1 set up)

The X2HRs are OK I guess - I mean I like the way the fit my head and ears etc - Sound they leave me wanting more base and some times I think they get too sizzly on the highs. My main gripe is that I can not get them to sound as rich as like from the bottom though the middle without cranking the volume up but then, the vocals and top end are too loud and it’s not pleasant. That’s why I always migrate back to a set of speakers, because I get the full richness across the whole range and its more even. I know I am horrible at describing this and probably really frustrating to talk to, sorry.

I am not sure. I used to think closed because well… bass, but the phones I have now are open and I think that is supposed to help give me that wider filling presence I seek, that I get from listening to speakers.

Hmmmm… Are you open to hunting for something on the used market? Audioquest Nighthawks might be worth looking at if you can find them. You can probably find them well below $350. I’ve heard them described as a “w” shaped sound signature and IMO they are very fun and super comfortable headphones with a warm full sound and authoritative bass. Also the Focal Elegia has been hovering around the $450 mark with the recent sales and you can sometimes pick it up for around $400. It’s a steal at that price, although it is a more neutral headphone. I had only owned V or W tuned headphones until I owned these and they made me a believer.
Those two are my favorite headphones I have tried to date so they are naturally the ones I rec. I tend to think the Nighthawk might be a better sonic pairing with the Atom stack, but the Focal performs on a higher technical level in terms of detail.

I’ve not heard the X2HR, but from looking up frequency response charts it looks like something more neutral in sound. Here’s a chart from DIY-Audio-Heaven:


That’s impressively consistent frequency response - especially at that price - between 30ish Hz and 13-14ish KHz. If those are bass-light and treble-heavy for you then I would hypothesize you like warm-to-dark sound signatures. I suggest you read up on the Meze 99 Noir from Massdrop. Those are closed-back bassy headphones for ~$200. If you also want to upgrade your gaming experience, you could also look into the Beyerdynamic DT-880 600 ohm. Those are typically under $200 now and have a neutral-bright signature. The Noir and the 880 would be very complementary headphones, giving two different signatures to match your different styles of music, up your gaming, AND be under $500 for the pair. Other quality headphones in the price range are the Sennheiser HD58x Jubilee and HD6XX. The 6XX will have a neutral-warm signature but may not have the bass you want. The 58x is a bit more extended in both bass and treble than the 6xx but still may not give you the bass you seem to want. You could also look at the HiFiMan HE4XX. To my ear that sounds w-ish in its signature, but it does have an apparent bass roll-off under 80Hz.

I hope this helps some. Good luck.