Your Top Headphones for 2019

Post your Top Ten Headphones for 2019! I did a top 10. Of course you dont have to stick with 10. Can be over or under lol.

Ive been in this hobby for a while now. listened to a lot of interviews and read a lot of posts and tried a lot of headphones lol. From what ive been hearing, these are the best headphones right now as it seems to me. Some of these i own and others i want to own and probably will someday.

I tried to keep out outrageously priced headphones according to my estimation, yours may be different. I tried to pick one headphone from a company and one of a kind of headphone like 1 of the 4 Sendy Aiva driver headphones. If you think there’s a glaring omission from my list or if you think there’s a better headphone from a company let me know. And yes, I excluded Sennhieser.

In no order:
Focal Elex
Sendy Aiva
ZMF Aeolus
Audeze LCD X
Hifiman Arya
Fostex 909
Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000
Stax L700
Mr Speakers Ether 2
Beyerdynamic 1990


No order:

  • AKG K712 Pro
  • Sennheiser HD 25
  • Beyerdynamic Custom Game
  • Koss PortaPro
  • Sony MDR-7506

Short list:

  • Sennheiser HX6XX
  • Philips SHP9500
  • Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC
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Koss Porta Pro with Yaxi pads (wy wifes) cheap, light, transportable, warm, wide and stylish

  • all you need - STOP reading

Sennheiser 58x - Budget King (my wifes)
Sennheiser HD 600 - vocal focus champ(miss mine not enough rebuying) prio over 650/660s(own/sell)
DT 1990s Pro with analytical pads or dekoni eilte velours pads (own and my keeper for OTL times) and my wife likes the 1990 with the dekoni pads more for the warmth/ I miss imaging/stage with this pads

Focal Elegia - the allrounder (most used at office and on the sofa) won timbre-wise over the Clear
Focal Clear - best open dynamic at around 1k (misses wider soundstage or the Ananda scaling)

Hifiman Ananda - next purchase? - sounded just big and wide enough plus nice imaging, with all the sparkle and speed I want … but have to wait to get a listen to the ZMF´s … or not … will see in a few weeks

ZMF Aoelus or Auteur? - next purchase? still aiming to audition the hole ZMF lineup in germany(not easy) - we need more Zach M´s in this world … craftsmanship, service, looks and the sound is maybe exactly what I search for

ZMF Verité open in desert ironwood with copper grill - if money was not important

Meze Empyrean with Cayin N8 in tube mode was glorious for comfort, build and chilled sound …maybe used under 2k someday … though the Cayin N8 has to be included for free on top :slight_smile:

did not like the Audeze house sound under 2k € - the LCD 4 was a thing … though the weight…

Abyss Diana Phi with the Woo audio wa11 topaz - was brilliant … just a nice memory … forget it

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you might be right about this lol. i regret getting the cheap Koss headphones. they make me wonder why im getting expensive headphones

you grade these above the 660’s?

hmm, never thought of changing pads on these, but they do have a lot of treble i hear

yeah If i needed a close back headphone i would probably get these.
I already have the Elex, i’m not sure if theres that much improvement to the Clear. Josh Valour said if you have the Elex your 98% there. so not sure i want the extra 2% lol

I just ordered these, i heard they were pretty good and they were on sale. i think the sale is still going on 700$ but i heard the Arya is better. but it seems i’m always buying the model just under the best one.

The Aeolus was the headphone that was making all the waves i heard. Zeos said these are the more exciting headphones and the Auteur was more relaxed. but i got the Aeolus.

really? have you heard the LCD X?

yeah i would love the abyss 1266 phi but waaaaay to expensive lol

cause they sound different is how I justify it to myself

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This is my first year in the hobby. Here’s a ranking of everything I’ve owned or heard this year:

Kennerton Vali 2019
Thieaudio Phantom (Modded)
Neumann NDH20
Hifiman 560SE (Grill Mod)
Modhouse Argon MK III
Modhouse Argon MK II
Focal Elex
Sennheiser 58xx
Sennheiser 6xxx
Philips Fidelio X2HR
Philips SHP9500
Koss Porta Pro w/Yaxi pads
Monoprice Retro w/pad change
Audio Technica m40x

Coming Soon: Kennerton Magni, Fostex TH-X00 Ebony so order will be updated!

May everyone get the headphones of your choice in 2020!!!


These are so damned good.

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I’ll keep my list short and simple
Focal Elex/Clear are my top headphones of 2019, easily.
and the Neumann NDH 20s are a runner up.

These are the only 2 I really care about for the moment. They compliment each other extremely well, IMO. I have some HD 6xx on the way that will likely replace my 660s for running off the Dark Voice as well.

Notable mention would be the Sendy Aiva… it’s very good and very beautiful.


Best of what I tried this year
HD 58x For games and movies
Campfire audio Comets :comet: for everything else
Hope next year I can make a big list :slight_smile:

I prefer the 600, 650, and 6xx to the 660s


In order of how much I liked them:

  1. ZMF Aeolus (Warm and comfy, but like a chameleon capable of seperate great sound signatures depending on choice of pads. Like owning 4 different awesome headphones. Amazing investment. Didn’t expect to like them to the level I do.)
  2. Thieaudio Phantom modded (For around $400 overall comes close to the aeolus w/ suede pads. More agressive and puts you more in the music, but can be a bit much after too long. Excellent buy though. Glad I jumped on it.)
  3. Koss PortaPro (I love the sound of these, but I wish the build was better. It’d be perfect if KOSS made a comfy, over-ear version of this)
  4. Koss KPH30i (I think these are good too, I just prefer the sound of the porta pro.)
  5. Neumann NDH20 (I thought they were a bit too boring for music and I ultimately sent them back because I realized I didn’t really need a closed back. I enjoyed the soundstage and tone of them for gaming though, they were really cool.)
  6. Sennheiser 58x Jubilees (I like these, but they weren’t exactly what I was seeking. Instead of sending it back, I ended up giving these to my brother, since they were an upgrade to the sennheiser he had.)

Next year I want to get a Focal Clear at some point, I think that would be a good compliment to my Aeolus.


Wow nice lists guys. Surprised to see so many Nuemann NDH20’s maybe ive judged them too harshly…


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I reordered my list again, realized I said I loved the porta pro, etc. but not the ndh20, so I pushed it back. What was your problem with the NDH20? I remember when I got them it certainly didn’t wow me as much as I thought it would. I didn’t have the reactions others were having, but I could see what they liked in them, it just wasn’t doing it for me. It did make me realize I wanted a warmer headphone then what it could give me.

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:rofl::rofl::rofl: Pretty polarizing headphone!

This is an important comparison for me. I agonized over buying a Kennerton headphone or a ZMF. I think based on your list, I would have been okay going in either direction. It also underscores for me how good the Phantoms are after mods. Still love that headphone.

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I enjoyed the 600 more than the 650 and the 660s - it´s all about the mids and the 660s lost the unique selling point with the 660s - not that it would be a bad hf - it´s a top allrounder under 500

I did not hear the Elex, so I can´t say anything about it, though the Clear under 1k is a steal

the Ananda I can get used(in perfect condition) under 500 from a very well known source and could even return it - hope you enjoy yours

I think I would get the Auteur over the Aeolus - have to audition them

forgot the LCD X - yes this one is great for a Audeze - not overall compared to others in this price range

You still have time