Looking for TOTL used headphones

I’m in the market for a used TOTL headphone to add to and complement my current gear. Open or closed back is fine. I prefer closed backs since I listen a lot in bed and don’t want to bother my wife. Although, I understand that open backs often have more ‘wow factor’. My current headphones are: HiFiMan he1000v2, DCA Neon 2 Noire, Focal Clear OG, Sennheiser 6xx, E-MU Teak, and Kennerton LSA HP-2.

I’m looking for a sound signature that is not overly warm, but has a good mid-bass punch and satisfying sub-bass. I like fantastic mids, with natural, not reduced, vocals. I’d also like a treble that is sparkly and has air. I’d also like the best dynamics, imaging, and detail retrieval. A massive soundstage is not crucial.

I’ve been looking at the following models, but would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for others.

  • Meze Elite
  • ZMF Atrium (open or closed)
  • Sennheiser 800 or 800s
  • Audeze LCD-4Z (or a different LCD)

For Top of the league closed backs you could look into Denon D9200

I bought it new and don´t regret a penny :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :money_mouth_face:


Thanks. I never think about Denon. I just read some reviews and they look like what I’m looking for. Do you know how they compare to the ZMF Verite Closed in terms of sound quality?


Keeping it closed-back.
Maybe look at Focal Radiance or Stellia too?

1 Like

Sorry no idea about that but according to Zeos
Verite Closed is the best closed can but that was three years ago
And D9200 one of the best Closed backs (1 year ago)

Also would be nice to know what chain you plan to run things on as that could heavily influence what makes sense to consider and what doesn’t imo.

I’d personally rather have a th900 ltd or d9200 over a verite closed most of the time, and also better value used (although vc prices have gotten a lot more reasonable in the past few years). Also think it depends on what you plan to drive the headphones with chain wise, think the fostex/denons can scale better than the zmf. Given what’s been mentioned in the initial post I think that either the denon/fostex or a verite closed would be a solid fit for what you want imo, although my personal preference especially considering value would likely be toward the fostex/denon. (not saying that the th900 ltd or 9200 are the same btw, just saying they’re similar goals and similar ish sound. Denon tends to focus on being a bit more organic and natural with a bit of a midrange focus whereas the fostex is a bit more fun and direct and a bit more mildly v shaped)

I will say that the fostex and denon leak more sound than the verite closed so not as isolating, but they’re also less bulky, in terms of comfort I’d say the denon is more comfy than fostex and on par with the comfort for the verite, although none of them really stood out to me in that regard, but figured I’d mention it.

In terms of other options, I’d skip the 800/s unless you have a super warm chain if you’re looking for something a bit tilted more toward the lower ranges, but it does fulfill some of the things you’re looking for, so if you don’t mind something a bit more on the brighter and dryer side of things than I think it could be a good pick, although I do think that if you aren’t into a massive stage that’s one of it’s main party tricks/selling points. Instead, I’d actually suggest an audio technica adx5k which is pretty neutral and I think would check more boxes than the 800s for what you want, although wouldn’t consider either warm

On the audeze side of things I’d actually consider an lcd 24 instead of a lcd 4z if you can find one of those used, it’s a bit warmer and a bit more full in the mids, imo more balanced and refined tuning and a hair better technical performance, although not as impactful in the bass as the 4z and less forward, but the 24 imo sounds like it’s a bit closer to your goals than the 4z is, but both nice headphones.

I’d personally skip the meze on the value front unless you can find quite a good deal on them, although I’ve only heard the empy and not the elite so perhaps they’ve brought it more technically up to snuff for the price which I thought the empy was lacking in, but signature wise it’s likely potentially appealing, but I think it falls short on a lot of things like dynamics, imaging, detail, etc

If you like your clear and want a direct upgrade to that, a focal utopia is an excellent value used these days, although you’re really going to want to make sure you have the chain to back those up for them to be worthwhile, and you might want to lean them to be a bit more on the warmer sweeter and more relaxed side of things that way

I guess another alternative could be the abyss diana v2, worth looking into for what you’re after imo

There’s not really many pretty high end closed backs worth their salt imo, one I can think of that I personally really like is the audio technica awkt but it’s pretty picky when it comes to chain and it’s on the brighter and a bit leaner side of things, not sure if it would be the best bet. There’s the aforementioned stellia but I personally wasn’t that big of a fan of it, the denon/fostex or zmf would be a safer pick for what you’re after there imo

All this being said, are you mainly looking for something different for a collection or looking to an upgrade from something like you’re hek? Since I think some of these aren’t going to be on the same tier of performance as the hek will be (assuming the hek and others mentioned aren’t gimped by chain)


Thanks. I looked at those too. My only reason for not going with them is that I have the OG Focal Clear, so I already have a taste of the Focal sound.

Thanks for your response. This was very helpful. I plan on running them , if possible, off my iFi Gryphon, FiiO Q7, or SMSL m500 mk3. I also just ordered a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 and a Magnius amp.

Im mainly looking for something new…a new brand perhaps. I’m leaning toward getting the Denons.

1 Like

Gotcha, I think that would be a solid pick considering what you have already imo. I think it would be in a similar vein to your emu teak, so if you like that and want to go up higher in a semi similar direction it would be a great option. Something more different from what you have would be stuff like the lcd 24/4z, dv2, or adx5k imo

So, I will say, in the future you might really want to upgrade that down the line to get a lot more out of some of your cans, starting first on the desktop amp since that’s going to be the weakest link right now. You might be surprised how much your cans specifically the hekv2 and clear (lsa to a lesser extent) would benefit. I guess for now if you’re looking for new cans to try grab one, but I’d just say with your current sources you’re likely leaving a lot on the table and might not be getting the full picture of what your headphones can do

1 Like

Thats good to know. Do you have any recommendations for a desktop amp? I recently ordered the Schiit Magnius (not Modius…oops), but they haven’t shipped yet.

Really would depend on what you end up going with headphone wise, and also what direction you want to go sound wise. I’d wait for the bifrost to get in and see how that fairs in your current setups, and go from there

1 Like

IEM’s all night long…headphones way too much pillow real-estate.

1 Like

I hear you. I have the ie600, ea500, oh10, and a set of red Serratus earbuds on my nightstand ready to go!