Top 10 headphones for micro-detail retrieval?

Just curious. Just for fun. No price limit or anything. Headphones with which you hear cars passing next to the studio. Headphones with which you can hear the difference between AMPS and DACS, etc. Some say, headphones with which you fish for plankton (whatever the hell this means. :wink: )

Apparently, Sony MDR-V6/7506 are good old cheap headphones seen everywhere in TV studios because with them “you hear everything, magnified”. But I don’t think I’ll hear more details in that than in my Grado SR60s or Sennheiser HD280 pros.

Apparently, the Sennheiser HD800s are legendary for micro-detail retrieval.

Apparently, planars, in theory, should be better for this. So, are Fostex T50RPs good entry-level detail retrieval headphones? Can anything beat them for 150$?

(Also, are IEMs better than headphones, for detail retrieval? Just in theory also, I guess.)

Apparently, higher-end Grados also have decent micro-details (but I’m too treble sensitive for them – list them anyway for anyone interested. :slight_smile: ).

Apparently, Neumann NDH20s should be in this list also. And Focals (Elex, Elear, Clear?).

Enjoy. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget the Sendy Aiva.


Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro with analytical pads are quite resolving and show of good and bad recordings


Not sure if you’re counting Stax becuase “”" e a r s p e a k e r “”", but some models bring out absurd microdetail.


In no apparent order I’d say that
Stax 007mk1
Stax 009
Stax 404le
Etymotic ER4
Beyerdynamic T1
Audio Technica X5000
Have all amazing amounts of detail in different parts of the music and you can be sure that if you have any of the headphones in this list you wouldn’t be wanting for more detail

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Well, apparently everything in this list is 1000$ or more, except the Sendy Aivas…

Do you get decent micro-details with the Hifiman Sundaras, too? (Planars, same price – 500$-ish.)

Also, FYI, the cheapest of the bunch are the Fostex T50RPs (150$-ish planars), and I just saw a review, saying “prepare to delete all your mp3 files because it’s now worthless”.

So, for every “noob” here with Beats or whatever, wanting more detail, you have been warned: Don’t spend more than that for mp3s if your main goal is to hear more detail in your mp3s.

Also. :stuck_out_tongue:



Heh, I’ve had this happen, but primarily with open dynamics with good stage (HD668B, KSC75), because the thing that makes me stop the music is the impression those noises are in the room with me, and that’s a question of staging more than resolution (some minimal resolution is needed for that realism ofc, but it’s not hard to achieve, you don’t need Stax for that).

I was watching Sex Education with the KSC75 a few months ago and in a scene at a house party with music thumping from a few rooms away I could swear I was hearing the party thumping through the walls of the hotel I was in. I had every information to know for sure this was not the case, but I still had to take the headphones off to check. :smiley:

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Focal Elegia are “detail monsters”, apparently!

“I already said that once you get up 1000$, incremental improvements in detail retrieval are not that big of a deal (…) nope!”

Focal Stellia… 3000$:

So, yeah, we’re at 3000$ now. And over 1000$, everything has “sufficient” detail retrieval (I mean, hell, I hope so, for this price).

Now, what is impressive, for less than 500$?

Can concur…


Micro-details under 500$.

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IDK if this is just me, but I think a HE560 v1 is better than the Sundara. I think it scales alot better than the Sundara, and is a more refined sound. Along with the more comfortable, but more likely to break headband. You should be able to find them new for under 500 easily

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Do you own both? I was considering getting the Sundara.

I know someone who lives nearby who bought a sundara as soon as it came out and I bought my he560 right before it was announced. At first I was kinda irritated that within a week the sundara was announced after I had bought my 560, and stayed that way until my friend received his. I will admit that the sundara IMO looks and feels nicer than my 560, but after listening back and forth, I found the 560 to be more natural sounding and pleasurable to the sundara. The sundara has better mids, but I think that the he560 has it beat on treble and bass, along with timbre and soundstage. I can’t quite remember the imaging on the sundara so I can’t comment on that. The big caveat is that the 560 is alot more picky on how it’s being powered. It requires more power than the sundara and sounds great on a good setup, but kinda lifeless on less than ideal amps. The sundara was much more forgiving on its amps and sources IMO. I should also mention that I personally find the 560 headband more comfortable than the headband on the sundara. If the new headband allowed the cups to swivel I feel it would be much more comfortable for me.

I came here to mention them

I will definitely consider the 560 if I can get them at a good price and under warranty. I’m eyeing the Sundara because I really loved how the mids sounded on the HE-4XX. So right now I’m leaning that way based on what I’ve read so far.

I read a lot of people’s sundara’s drivers dieing on them. not sure if it’s just classic bad hifiman QC or something else but I just want to let you know. you could maybe get a m1060 c and mod it to be an open back I hear a lot of good things from that mod. or just the base m1060 non c. I would trust that more than the sundara

Replying to myself with my new HD58Xs on my ears. 9/10 wavs found in this test:

Yes, this means you’ll hear more details from your mp3s. But this also means you’ll crave for CDs and FLACs because you will now hear the difference. So you will know your entire mp3 collection is of lesser quality. You’ve been warned. :stuck_out_tongue: