Next purchase from SHP9500 but different

I have the SHP9500 and the BTR3K. Great combo actually. I love the Shps, really. It was my first open back.

But I wanted to try something different now. A different sound or feature from a headphone. But I don’t know where to start or what to look for.

I was thinking of the 560S, but maybe it be like the Shps since its neutral. I was also thinking of x2hr, but their of the same brand, so might not be different. I really dont know.

Can you recommend something that can also be driven by the btr3k? I’m limited to $200 for now. TIA.

X2HR is definitely different, although similarly open sounding and very wide. What are some of the things you like about the 9500 and what would you want the key differences to be in your new set?

1 Like

There are a couple of well regarded and easy to drive options, X2HR (pretty different from 9500), HD560S as you said, also low impedance version of DT880/990, HD58X, Grados, Creative Aurvana Live. But as @FiCurious said, perhaps describe a bit more what you like / don’t like about the 9500 and what you’re looking for in the upgrade?Open or closed back? What music do you like?


For a cheap option open back but different to the SHP. The 400i/4XX/HE4* yada yada. maybe a good starting place its a coloured fun tuning extremely open bass is great. surprisingly good dynamics I’d also recommend the X2HR that open wide fun bass tuning is great. and they’re both relatively good on price point.

Do you game at all? If so, you could try AD900X or DT880. HE400i. You can get a lot better sound quality from IEMs at the same prices, so you could try KZ AST, Tri Starsea, ThieAudio Legacy 2 + KZ ZAS.

I should have been more specific here.

Something I love about the Shp9500:

  1. Clear vocals, guitars, drums, etc., I mean the detail is there
  2. There is clarity and separation from instruments
  3. The weak bass is actually fine for me as it does not overpower the mids. It’s not like it’s not there, but I find metal571’s EQ to actually improve the sub-bass part without affecting the mids and trebles. I think that’s the right of bass I’d love.
  4. Very comfortable, but it’s kinda lose.
  5. It’s really a jump from a closed-back.

Something I don’t like or wasn’t really expecting:

  1. I really don’t know what a good soundstage is, but this still feels close to my head. Better than my closed back JBLs though. It’s like they are playing closing to me. An upgrade from this department might be good.
  2. Just like soundstage, I really don’t know what good imaging is. While I can hear the instrument separation, it’s just confused. It’s just either left or right or it is both at the left and the right. I can’t get that the drums are in the back comments, etc. An upgrade from this department might be good.
  3. There are tracks when all the instruments are put into the mix, like a song’s climax, it’s just a mess. There are also tracks that the audio is inaudible. But, maybe it’s just a problem in the mix?
  4. The bass department. While it works well with EQ, I just can’t EQ it on my phone, so maybe an improvement there might be good. But not so much though that it would overpower the mids and trebles.

Other notes:

  1. I can’t get Drop Headphones in my location. I’m in Asia. I have a brother in Germany, and the thomann music store offers great prices. But, they usually sell german products like Senns, Beyerdynamics, and AKGs.
  2. I’m not sure if I’m going to buy an IEM. They just hurt my ear. But, if there are comfortable ones I might consider.
  3. Also I don’t game. I only use the headphones for music and movies.

Sorry for the long post.

1 Like

No need to apologise!

So first of all I would avoid planar headphones as they won’t be powered properly by the BTR3k, and that certainly limits your choice.

Second I think 200USD is a budget level and there probably isn’t a headphone that can tick all the boxes for you, you just gotta pick your priority.

Third regarding sounding a mess - it could be poor recordings, but it could be the fact that the driver just can’t handle complex music. And planars typically are faster at this price point and can handle it better (but it has other limitations), for dynamic headphone you need to spend a lot more, at least that’s my experience.

Lastly since you’re looking for soundstage and imaging, those probably require an open back at this budget.

To narrow down the options:

  • if you want good sound stage but slightly worse imagine: Audio-Technica AD900x
  • If you want good imaging but slightly worse soundstage: Beyerdynamic DT880/990, the latter is more v-shaped and has more bass and a slightly larger soundstage, but you need to be able to handle the treble. Alternatively the TYGR300R, it’s a warmer less harsh DT990. Make sure it’s the 32Ohm version for Beyers.
  • X2HR is quite different and has a pretty large soundstage, not as good imaging, quite a bit of bass especially for an open back
  • Probably not 58x since Drop is unavailable
  • Haven’t heard the 560S so I can’t comment on that one

Personally I think you would like the TYGR300R as it is reasonably good for the aspects you’re looking for, and basing on DT990 it has really good resolution for the price, and has a more pleasing tuning than DT990.

1 Like

For most extreme open sound priority = AD700X or 900X (essentially the same).

  • Very little bass. Comfort is not great, but they sound very unique.

For most balanced sound = DT880 / 300 R (essentially the same).

  • I hate how dry Beyers sound. The round, thin cups are not comfortable to me, but the sound is balanced and decent versus other DT models.

AKG K701. I actually think this is the one you should try :slight_smile: Comfort not as good as Sennheisers, but I think you will like the sound. They may sound too distant, but it might be just what you’re looking for. Here’s one at price:

900X has noticeably more bass than 700X tho, it’s 700x and 500x that are almost identical. and I think TYGR300R is based on DT990 instead of 880

AKG K7 series would be a good choice if OP had a more powerful amp, it takes a lot of current and I’ll not sure the BTR3k can deliver that.

I hear barely any difference, on mine. Don’t have a 500X to say about them. I love using the big, soft lambskin pads you can get for them, though. Probably adds some bass.

These are great suggestions, btw. I think I’ve narrowed down my choices between: Beyerdynamics TYGR 300R, AKG 702, or Senn 560s. Will look further into the reviews of these 3.

But, just a few more questions:

  1. How much does it bother you to have an undetachable cable like the TYGR? Does it matter?

  2. Is the Drop x AKG K7xx based on the K702 or the K712 Pro? How does the drop differ from the original?

  3. What would be your choice, personally, between the 3? Taking into my preference, which would it be?

That sounds like a question for yourself :grin: it bothers some ppl, not all

Neither I believe. I think it’s closer to Q701 with gel pads. Think of it as a K702 tuned closer to 712

I personally would recommend the TYGR300R, it’ll provide a nice contrast to what you have now. As I said above I wouldn’t consider the K7 series because you need a more powerful amp

I have no idea about your amp, but I would go for an AKG still. Upgrade your amp later(if you feel you need to). After AKG, I would try the 560.

I know Drop is not an option, but I think Hifiman 5xx or AT 900x are good options from a similarity score.

I was looking into all of these headphone recommendations and I think I’m going for the DT990/880 for a different take on imaging, clarity, and bass boost. I find that I actually like a bright and detailed sound signature.

Which leads me to discover that SHP9500 is actually a bright headphone. This is probably why I like these cans. And likewise this applies to my preference with speakers, like my Edifier R1280db, to which I always prefer to oomph a bit of treble for extra detail.

However, I recently noticed that with the SHP9500 my ear starts to hurt for about an hour. Like the insides hurt. It has the similar feeling of using IEMs. Is this because SHP9500 is sibilant and I am sensitive to treble? Or it’s just normal to hurt your ears when listening to it for an hour? Or do I have ear problems? lol

This leads me to another question, if it hurts because I am sensitive to treble, does that mean that I won’t be enjoying the DT990/880? Or the trebles in DT990/880 would be a lot smoother than the SHP9500?

EDIT: Also, I was actually thinking of getting an Amp, like the Schiit Magni, and not stick with the BTR3K. I feel like adding an Amp to my set-up would really be useful in the future. So I have no problem driving the DT990 by that time.

Getting the amp would also allow you to use a higher impedance Beyer. I’d recommend getting a single ended only amp since bot Beyer and SHP9500 are single ended only unless modded. Magni 3+ or Monoprice Liquid Spark are pretty good matches for the 250 ohm Beyers, and can even handle the 600 ohm, which probably scale better if you upgrade in the future.

Beyer is the way if you want to get your bright on, haha. Not the 880, but the 770 or 990. AD700X/900X are still brighter, but mostly a treble specialty headphone. I would not say SHP was bright, from recollection… 770, 990, and AD’s are seriously bright. The brightness, and the very dry sound presentation/tone of Beyers, is why I can’t stand them. The AD’s don’t sound dry, at least, and offer extremely open soundstage/sound unlike anything else.

I would probably say SHP has a balanced sound, like the AKG’s, X2, 880(definitely), and 560 probably do. I would say an HE-400i would be balanced, with slight brightness, if they sound like HE-500.

Comfort-wise, I’d roughly rank them: 560 > HE400i > AKG/SHP/X2 > AD > DT