Seeking as neutral as possible headphones, what would you recommend

…in IEM’s as well as open and closed back over ear headphones at the following price points:

  • $100
  • $200
  • $300
  • $400
  • $500
  • $1000


1 Like

Let me look at my “neutral headphones” folder. Also, welcome to the world of graphs. :stuck_out_tongue:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X (“Fuck me with details” headphones -Zeos)
Fostex T50RP MK3 (Planars… Stock, for once! Neutral-ish.)

Sennheiser HD58X (Neutral, with just a tiny bit of a boost around 100khz)
Sennheiser HD600/6XX (Neutral AF, detailed AF)
Sennheiser HD650 (Neutral AF, detailed AF)
Tin P1 (In-ear planars, dip at 10khz.)
Fostex T60RPs (299$)

Brainwavz Alara (Well, 399$. Planars).

Hifiman Sundara (Flat AF, planar detail monsters under 500$!)
Neumann NDH20 (Neutral-ish (debated) – 499$)
Koss ESP950/95X (Yes, electrostatics – the 95X doesn’t have the 2khz dip anymore, but I suspect there’s so much things happening at 2khz it’s the reason Zeos said they’re “finally” worth it as entry-level electrostatics).

Focal Elex

Hifiman Arya
Focal Elegia (Detail monsters – with just a little 4khz dip apparenty)
Sennheiser HD800S (Flat AF, detail monsters).

LESS than 100$:
Panasonic RP-HJE120-125 (10$!)
KZ ZS10/ZS10 Pros (40$)
Fiio FH1

There’s also a ton of bluetooth gaming and/or headphones… Don’t know if I should mention them, because basically, they all use DSP (or whatever) to EQ “imperfect” headphones to a neutral frequency response.

  1. IEMs can never be neutral - they can’t do sub-bass that hits your skin outside of your ears, as proper sub-bass should, so they’re out of the question. :slight_smile:

  2. Get the most capable planar you can afford, then equalize it to your own HRTF according to dr. David Griesinger’s method. Voila: neutrality for any budget. :slight_smile:

And to help with that (or with whatever Sonarworks or ToneBoosters “neutralizing” solution you might choose), here’s GoldenEars’ list of ratings for how well various headphones respond to EQ:

Edited, because I forgot the Sennheiser HD800S.
Pretty sure I missed a lot, obviously.

Also… apparently all Audezes are NOT neutral, whatever the price. They have their own special “audeze signature sound”. Interesting.

What about T60RP at $300, according to Zeos they are a T50RP mod, so not neutral?

1 Like

Agreed. T60RPs may be better, apparently. Hmm.


This is a T50RP graph, Most graphs you will find on the net (…are not from stock T50RPs…), but when you find stock T50RP graphs (heh) you may find there’s a big 2-to-5khz hole in the frequency graph. Like, -10db. But, it’s planars. They mess up with microphones. Stock T50RPs sound neutral.

T50RP MK3s:

Also, edited the list because I forgot “mk3.” T50RP mk3s are neutral (ish).
Difference between mk2 (orange) and mk3 (blue)… yeah, absolutely get the mk3s.


Added T60RPs to the list, sorry for the edits, I screwed up multiple times. Lol.

Also, just pads make T50RP MK3s even more neutral (image: Blue: smoothening the 2-5khz dip with 10$ Shure 840 pads! – 8khz dip is a measurement error). Cheaper than T60RPs, isn’t it?

Also these, probably.

I’ve not compared graphs, but are the Neumann NDH 20’s in the mix here?


Surprised they aren’t according to z they are like the most neutral closed backs he owns

Completely forgot about them. Z likes them, but a lot of people don’t believe they’re “neutral”.
I mean, I certainly don’t believe they’re “HD600/HD650 neutral”.

Just realized this…Look at the headphones I have chosen to own: HD6xx, Fostex T50rp Mk3, Focal Elex and the Neumann ND 20.

Haha! I’ve always been a medium soda ordering, vanilla ice cream eating, switzerland loving, neutral kind of guy! I need some spice in my life.

Lol my daily drivers dt990, ksc 75s and tin t3. Seems like I might like a little sizzle in my food. It do like a little to a lot of spice to my food. I own more neutral headphones like the he 58x but only really pull them out when listening to tracks with good vocals.

get those TR-X00 Purpleheart! :wink:

or maybe the Monolith M1060C?

This is interesting, though the downside of stock Mk3s vs T60Rp is they got no balanced jack. Do not know if its worth the price difference though. Maybe its all because of wood.
I got X7S and a balanced cable for HD58x (even though they do not need it at all being so easy to drive) so its a bias on my end :smiley:

1 Like

That first dip might be done with good intentions. Around those frequencies is a specific “hiss” that many do not like, it just gets in ears and rapes you. It’s normal from Hearing - Physics, how we normally hear things. Our ears have the same “dip”. That’s why many graphs show there are ~3kHz usually a dip. It might “fix” the graphs as flat it can be without more EQ but you get in return a very ear irritating hissing highs…

Last time the i tuned a audio system, we dipped that on purpose also. Owner did not like, It just hurts on loud systems.

1 Like

I noticed that too. There’s a LOT of “neutral” (according to the harman curve) headphones with this 2-3khz dip. Not a coincidence, then!

Forgot about Fiio. Found a graph for Fiio FH1s. Nice!