What headphones have blown you away?

Alright so I’ve had a fortune year of getting new headphones/iems that have absolutely wowed me. I’ve been so wowed by these that I’m genuinely going to start thinning out my collection. Here’s my top headphones that I suggest getting to try out if you can.

#1 ZMF Atrium
#2 Unique Melody Mest MK2
#3 Meze Liric
#4 Meze 109Pro

Honorable mention - ZMF Aeolus

Please share your headphones that wowed you.

Note: price is not a factor so please don’t be put off from sharing because of that. Free 99 to $1M it does not matter.

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I’m not too deep into hi-fi for headphones, but I am consistently wowed while using my HifiMan sundara’s.

I even think to myself sometimes that, I don’t know what you could improve in higher end cans.

I’m sure one day I will get the chance to get a nicer pair of cans and I will understand but these are just so damn good.

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In no order:

  • iBasso SR2
  • Soltanus Acoustics Euridiche (paired w/Fortissimo amp)
  • Camerton Audio Binom-ER
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The 4XX is what got me into this hobby so I completely understand that feeling.

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I need to look up those last 2 as I’ve never heard of them.

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For me, it was the HD598, which I still use to this day.

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hm, for me it would be

  • HD650 with a beginner Amp, was using before a M50 with a chinese cheapo amp/dac
  • Beyer T1.2, for the price i got them they’re nearly unbeatable :stuck_out_tongue:
  • ZMF Aeolus, was impressive enough for me to get a VC on this years ZMF November ^^
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  • Sundara: the one mistake that made me a poor man. Didnt expect much, but coming from beats these were really impressive to me. I still use them daily for work.
  • Focal Clear MG: I love how hard they slam
  • ZMF Aeolus: just got them recently, didnt have much time listening to them. But so far they sound really great to me. Their presentation is really different to my other headphones
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Focal Stellia. Only tried them in a shop in Seattle, but they’re still the best headphones I’ve heard. Better than HD 800. Better than pre-2022 Utopia.

Audeze LCD-X 2021. I own these. Just got them a couple of months ago. They’re closer to my ideal sound signature than anything I’ve owned. Love them. They still bring a smile to my face every time I use them.

Sennheiser HD 6XX. Still the best mids of any can I’ve heard. I smile because these are just an INSANE value for $220, and I’m glad I own a pair.

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Focal Stellia and the HE-1000 v2.

the Focal Clear og are up there too, but as I sampled them the same time as I did the Stellia, they weren’t as good, but so close that I would be happy to take them as a consolation prize. :wink:

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HD 6XX, they seem to only impress me the more I use them, and I basically live in them (over 8 hours a day wearing lol). The intimate, pleasant signature of these makes everything else I’ve tried come not even close. The perfect mids and surprisingly decent bass (mainly mid bass) is just so enjoyable.
I do really wanna try out the Meze 109 and Focal Clear one day. The 109 already blows me away with how gorgeous they look, and the Clears are supposed to give off 6XX vibes, but with improved bass and soundstage.

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That was my first pair of “hi-fi” with headphones, did not wow me as it sounded very anemic. Too analytical for my taste…

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Interesting!

After ~7 years of use, I always considered my HD598’s to be warm. They’re not too exciting, but I love them and wouldn’t replace them with any other headphone on earth.

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I’m more of a price to perfomance maniac, so I love things that are dirt cheap but sound really expensive. Namely The Koss KPH30i, Koss KSC75, Brainwavz HM5, and the Sony MDR 7506.

KPH30I > Sound stage is good. Resolution for detail is good. Build tends to be pretty sus though. God tier soud for 15 or 20 bucks on sale is stupidity at its finest.

KSC75 > Sounds stage is good. Reslution is a bit finer than the KPH30i. Lacks eough bass for music/movies. Eear-clip design leaves a lot to be desired with fitment and sound leakage.

HM5 > Massive sound stage. Resolution is really good. Studio Neutrality. Can be a bit wacky for mixing or mastering due to the stupidly big sound stage.

MDR 7506 > Sound stage is almost non-existant. Resolution for sound detail is bonkers. Studio grade sound with a slight V shape. These puppies also do sub-base like none other, its like two dedicated subs on your head. The soundtrack for Dune rumbles. The difference is that the sub-base on these is detailed and distinguishable compared to other brands.

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  1. Fostex T50RP/T60RP Mods: Really an excellent first foray into planar-magnetic headphones with ones like Mrspeakers Mad Dogs & Mod House Argons having an appreciable stock-tonality.
  2. Final D8000 Pro: Presentation and timbre that sets itself apart from other planars. Excellent for mimicking that concert hall/live venue feel.
  3. Audeze LCD-5: They’re somewhat of a sleeper headphone among TOTLs. Contentious stock sound, but when EQ is dialed in, they impress me over the Susvara in most areas.
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Like quite a few others, the set that opened my eyes to what HiFi can be was the Sundara. I still have them, and they get used regularly, especially now that they have taken station on the bedroom system. They are absolutely amazing there! Who knew.

I think the one that had the biggest impact on me right out of the box was the HP-2. They were like shockingly good! I remember that evening. I couldn’t believe it. Such a great set. For my ear, they are damn near perfect.

But there is a new kid in town that is climbing the charts rapidly! And that is the Radiance. Just Wow.

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I feel the same about my HD599se.

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My two WOW! headphones in this hobby were the Grado GH2 and the Focal Elex. They have been tops in my collection for the past couple of years. After going through a lot of good, mediocre and some bad headphones, these showed me what the hobby could be.

Now I have other very good headphones and life goes on.

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Recently the DCA Stealth and Expanse. Stealth blew me away to the point that they beat out all the other TOTL contenders I demoed and was the set I purchased after 8 months of hunting for the best high end headphone for me.

Then Expanse dropped a few months later, I tried them at CanJam SoCal, and they blew me away enough that I purchased them as well despite not having planned to purchase another headphone in that price range so soon if at all. Between the two of them, I regularly have moments where I’m floored at the level of listening experience I have at my fingertips. Ultimately, I still prefer the Stealth, but owning both and not needing to decide between the two makes me extremely happy.

I said it in another thread and I’ll reiterate it here, my over ear rig is so perfect for me right now that it’s just ridiculous.

First headphones I ever heard that wowed me were a pair of AKG K501s that my saxophone teacher gave to be along with his old CD player and amp setup so I could listen to and improvise along with the CDs he sent me home with. I had that pair for over 20 years until they got lost in a move and they may well be the next pair of over ears I buy.

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I wonder if you will ever find the ‘one.’

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