Want great Closed Back Headphones under $1k USD

So my Hifiman Arya V2 just randomly had the left driver die on me (rip) and now I’m back in the market for headphones but I want to go closed back this time around (I have GoldPlanar GL2000s, Beyerdynamic DT1990, and Sennheiser 58X for open backs). I was looking at the DCA Aeon 2 Noire but it seems as though they are not dynamic at all and the Focal Celestee sounds like it has no soundstage but great dynamics. Is there anything towing the line?

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There’s a new Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro X coming out shortly:

I’m on the waiting list to see what this version sounds like. They did a great job with the DT900 Pro X so I’m hopeful.
I’ve tried a lot including the DC stuff and didn’t like the pads, comfortable but the ones I had were too dark/soft sounding (Aeon 1 closed). I’ve had the Audivina and it’s not worth the money. I have the HE-R10D and it’s worth the price for a closed back dynamic. The Arya Stealth fixes the upper mid shoutyness/glare in the V2, so female vocals sound great on it. They fixed everything wrong in the V2. Hifiman will just offer 20 percent off, so selling it for parts will take a year, but someone will buy it on eBay for the good driver side.
Usually it’s the connector that’s the weak spot. I’ve had the negative ground wire on the driver short out and they didn’t use enough thread locker on the screw holding it down (an an HE4xx). It might be worth taking a peek to see if anything obvious is loose. Just use a fingernail in the slit between the pad and press to release the clips. There’s 9 clips evenly spaced and after 3-4 of them it just flops out.

You are correct about the stage size of the Celestee. If you can find a pair of used or open-box Radiance, then that’s what I’d recommend if you really want dynamics. They still have a fairly small stage, but not nearly to the extent of the Celestee.

If you are willing to dabble with EQ, and don’t mind the weight of them, this is technically inside the budget. Audeze LCD-XC Headphones | 2021 Creator's Edition Headphones - Open Box – Headphones.com

The Kennerton Gjallarhorn is also not a terrible option. Kennerton Gjallarhorn GH 40 Closed Back Over-Ear Headphones

I ordered the Aeon 2 Noire and changed my mind later on but I couldn’t cancel it so now I’m wearing them right now. :sweat_smile: I’m going to try them out for a couple weeks and see if I like them enough to keep or what. Maybe I’ll switch them to the E3’s idk. But I’m waiting on a balanced cable now because it only came with a 3.5mm cable and I know these need power. The treble currently is kinda hot and sometimes harsh but I’d like to see if balanced may fix that. I’m not having a problem with the pads so far but now I remember how hot your ears can get with closed backs.

And in regards to the Arya, its probably the connector tbh. The left connector sometimes felt not super secure sometimes when I had to plug them back in. Same one that “died”. But also, if that is the issue, how would I go about fixing it? Will probably look into doing it later on. Just sad/disappointed it happened still because they were definitely my fav and I only owned them now for 2 years.

Honestly Audeze headphones look appealing but goddamn that weight on them is pretty crazy. Btw, if you can refer to my other comment in here that’s what I’m doing currently. And that response for the Kennerton headphones doesn’t strike me with much confidence tbh. :sob: Closed back headphones are really that far away from open backs huh? Truly unfortunate. I know the K361/71 are recommended but I want something higher end. I’ll see how I feel about the Noire for now and then move accordingly. I think for an LCD I’d need to wear it for long periods and see how I feel. I had the Sendy Aiva at one point and returned it because I was getting neck pain and it didn’t wow me. I think those are in the 500 grams area.

The weight issue is another drawback with Audeze. Even if you EQ them to sound good, it doesn’t do much good if you can’t wear them properly.

Kennerton really doesn’t do much to peak my interest personally. You shouldn’t let my personal preferences influence your decision though. Just because they aren’t something that I’d buy for my own tastes, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love them.

There are good closed backs, but there are far more good open-backs. I think a lot of it has to do with the market prioritizing IEMs in place of closed-backs.

If you are willing to spend the $2k on the E3, then most signs are currently positive on the E3 being quite good. You will need plenty of amp for it though. It’s not quite as demanding as the Stealth or Expanse, but it’s not too far off.

Of course, at that price you are also bringing the Focal Radiance into the picture, which is an easy recommendation. You can also find used Focal Stellia for $2k, or even less. Used ZMF Verite Closed show up for ~$1800 fairly regularly. And speaking of ZMF, the Bokeh will have another run available sometime.

I’ve done repair on that style with an Edition XS. The connector is in a plastic housing, so if you have to solder use a low heat, instant on type electric with solder thin enough it’ll melt. It’s so easy to melt the plastic connection housing along with it since it’s so tiny on the receiver. Usually it’s a spring plate that holds pressure down for the connector that fails.
There’s no repair option, Hifiman will offer 20 percent off a new purchase. Best bet is to sell on eBay to get top dollar, because there’s always someone out there with Jedi Knight soldering skills who will want them. The wire inside is a special stranded filament style and pretty expensive, $36 for a small roll of it. If it’s just the pressure plate that needs a bend to clamp again, you’re home free though. With Hifiman I always recommend using a multi kit like Hart Cables to minimize where on the plugs.

I have a Singxer SA-1 for power. Btw, I have actually gotten the Noire 2 and I thought they were good but were being limited by no balanced cable. But since, I actually ordered the E3’s with a balanced cable and I’m in love. A rare occasion where I don’t feel like EQ’ing them at all. Usually I’ll add a bass shelf or lower the treble because it becomes sibilant or sometimes vocals can be a bit shouty but nothing. No pain points. I think the bass is good but it doesn’t have too much slam but that’s about it. Dynamics are better than the Noire 2 as well. And imaging is fantastic. I game in them as well and they image just as well as my DT1990s without being nowhere sibilant or harsh. And I forgot the seal a closed back provides. Very much happy.