Welcome to the newly revised Zeos™ Headphone Buying Guide!!
FIRST, Nothing listed below is a bad headphone! They are separated into three categories based on Price / "Performance" / Upgrade-ability. This is based solely on my opinion and may change. This list is not sorted by my preference, so just look for things YOU might like in a headphone based on the Text and Video Descriptions.
I have included tags at the beginning of all descriptions that will help you sort for specific traits you might be looking for.
- GAMING - This tag indicates if a headphone can be considered for Serious Competitive Gameplay. Usually consisting of reduced Low End and Accurate Imaging.
A note, ALL other headphones can be used for gaming as well just . Where bass and soundstage make the experience even more enjoyable.
CLOSED - This style of headphone blocks sound from entering or exiting. Good for noisy rooms or if someone is around that you don't want to annoy. Can make sounds un-natural or exaggerate bass.
OPEN - Usually preferred with music for its spacious sound but can vary wildly on performance and signature. This is really the default headphone style.
HARD - Indicating a Hard to drive set of cans. You will need to invest in a dedicated headphone amplifier to run these properly. Please see my other guide here:: SOOON
PORTABLE - Almost always closed and fashionable and easy to drive. These headphones are designed to fold or have other features that make them a great choice for commuters, boy scouts and yo mom.
BASS - If you like bass. IE the low end of the audio spectrum and in mass quantities this tag indicates that proficiency. Go get your wub wubs from your dub dubs.
These headphones are great starters or you can use them forever. Their price is usually low and all you have to worry about is build quality and some, lacking in refinement, for higher end music and sources. If it's not on this list and it's cheap, don't buy it.
|Philips SHP9500||+GAMING +OPEN, The low rent HD600 with better soundstage and bass. Plus the comfort and the price and the build. These want to be my #1 so bad. Can't go wrong.||Review|
|Takstar Pro82||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS The most comfortable headphone on this list. Switches to adjust the bass. Balanced 2.5mm port.||Review|
|Monoprice RETRO||+CLOSED +BASS The cheapest cans on here, do a quick pad change and the bass and soundstage are epic! Attached cable is annoying?||Review|
|Sony MDR-1A||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS A very warm, bassy set of comfortable cans. Super chill sound more then anything else I say is chill in this list. Treble cut is quite a bit.||Review|
|Sennheiser Momentum 2||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS Perfect highs there are no other words. Bass is balanced and not overbearing. Style is perfect and everything is quality. Nothing to complain about.||Review|
|Koss PortaPro||+GAMING +OPEN +PORTABLEOPEN, smallest headphone you can get before IEM's start. Excellent sound per dollar. Practically disposable. Decent low end and good enough soundstage for gaming.||Review|
|Sennheiser 500Series||+GAMING +OPEN +PORTABLE Vary wildy in sound so check the video to understand how they stack up against each other.||Review|
|Ricardos||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS Well built and beautiful, great portable option with decent soundstage and pinpoint highs. Bass was neutral.||Review|
|Hifiman Edition S||+GAMING +OPEN +PORTABLE A rare Portable openback. Have plates to become closed but wow these open are incredible. Bass, imaging, soundstage, comfort. All of it.||Review|
|Superlux 668||+GAMING +OPEN Extreme Soundstage on the 668, Crazy low end on the 681. Both are built cheap but don't sound it. Slightly elevated Highs. Needs an HM5 velour pad Upgrade.||Review|
|ATH-M40x||+GAMING +CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS Probably the most surprisingly good set of cans I have tested. Didn't expect much with the M50x terror. But these with the ZMF pads or HM5 are top notch.||Review|
|Status CB-1||+GAMING +CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS Default comfort, Sound quality. Full 5 stars on amazon. These headphones are not built very well but everything else is special. Get them while you can.||Review|
|AKG K553||+CLOSED +BASS Huge almost fully comfortable pads, amazing build quality. Stellar sound quality for the price. Annoying attached wire and even that doesn't stop me from adding these to the board.||Review|
|Beyer DT880 Chrome||+OPEN +BASSAttached Cable.. FFFF I hate that because these sound GOOD. Soft, warm, soothing. Not Beyer-dynamic at all. Great soundstage and Better than average comfort.||Review|
|Monolith M560||+GAMING +OPEN +BASSEntry Level into Planar sound has never been better. A few quirks but sound quality of these is well beyond the price tag. I have changed the pads on mine but stock are good enough||Review|
|Sennheiser HD598||+GAMING +OPEN +PORTABLE The 598 is the go-to for many but I found the warmer bassier 558's preferable. Nobody is right or wrong in this scenario they are both great cans.||Review|
|Koss KSC75||+OPEN +PORTABLE Hilarious to look at but some of the best sounding clip on headphones ever made. For their cost, just try them.||Review|
The MEAT of the headphone world. This is where most enthusiasts have the most fun, mostly. Build quality is not REALLY an issue so it is just a game of find your preference. Prices can still step up to nearly $1000 or barely crest $200.
|Audio-Technica M60x||+GAMING +CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS The only On-ear with 5 stars of comfort. Then the sound kicks in and you cant imagine any better Portable set of cans.||Review|
|Monolith M1060||+GAMING +OPEN +BASS Easily one of the best headphones I've heard. For the price can't be beat. Planar width and bass and build quality like a rusty french car. If you get past that, ENJOY!||Review|
|Monolith M1060C||+GAMING +CLOSED +BASS Heavy and although closed take well to some open back modding. Wide and bassy. A great starter Planar. Just the headband is a quality issue.||Review|
|Meze 99 Classic||+CLOSED +PORTABLE Neutral, warm, wide, great imaging. These are a luxury sound and the real wood is so nice. Pads are small but comfortable. Can't argue that these aren't excellent.||Review|
|B&O H6||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS One of my favorites. Detailed yet not fatiguing, soft and not loose low end. Ambidextrous plug. Exceptional build quality and imaging. What I have for looking good.||Review|
|1More Triple||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +PORTABLE +BASS A very unique dual driver design that lets the highs be pushed perfectly while keeping insane low end and soundstage.||Review|
|Fostex T60rp||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +PORTABLE Made of African Mahogony cut on a CNC, these are the best mod of the T50 out. Besides the Argon.||Review|
|Sennheiser HD6xx||+GAMING +OPEN +HARD Basically the HD650 in cheap clothing. These will deliver some of the best Bang Per Buck towards Neutrality||Review|
|Hifiman 4XX||+GAMING +OPEN +PORTABLE The cheapest open Planar. Very form fitting and comfortable. Neutral and exciting at the same time.||Review|
|Audeze LCD-2C||+OPEN +BASS A very dark, wide and relaxed sounding set of cans. Huge and comfortable. A personal favorite. Quality I look for in an expensive can.||Review|
|Blue Sadie||+CLOSED +BASS They are heavy, have a built in amplifier and the most complex sound Ive heard in a while. Also come with the best bag ever. No joke.||Review|
|Mr Speakers AEON||+CLOSED +HARD Very Light, Very focused sound. Aiming toward neutrality. Great imaging but not as fun as some others.||Review|
|ADV Alpha||+GAMING +OPEN +HARD +BASS Extremely Light and very tight clamp. Almost painful detail and amp dependent.||Review|
|Nighthawks||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS, Strange, bizarre, unique, amazing? I really like these. That is why they are here in this list. Huge price drop if you are bored with all other headphones. Watch the review.||Review|
|AKG K712||+GAMING +OPEN +HARD +BASS, My latest acquisition. These have detail not seen in a headphone other than the Stax. A smooth low end response and my god are they comfy. Just change the wire.||Review|
|Philips Fidelio X2||+OPEN +BASS, Headphone of the year? Accurate, abundant bass and the best soundstage. Period. This should be top of the list but I have to go with my brain not my heart.||Review|
|HifiMan 400I/400S||400I +GAMING +OPEN, These two are in a fight for my heart. The i's have a cleaner upper range and build and the S with the HM5 Pad upgrade are amazing.||Review|
|Audio-Technica AD Series||500x - 900x - 1000x - 2000x +GAMING +OPEN Narrow but accurate soundstage, Gaming Gods Lite bass. Ebay Replacement Pads||Reviews|
|Shure 840||+GAMING +CLOSED +PORTABLE THE neutral king of closed cheap headphones. Still enjoyable for on the go use. Pads could use a refresh but might alter that perfect sound.||Review|
|Fostex T50rp MkIII||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +PORTABLE +BASS They came, they saw, they conquered. Planar and with Shure pads can compete with any of the big boys for comfort. SS is not super wide but these sing!||Review||$150|
|T50 Mods||Mayflower 1 $260 - Talos $250 - more added if created||------||------|
|Fostex THX00||+GAMING +CLOSED +BASS Bass monsters with a narrow soundstage but extreme fun and those wooden cups are gorgeous. You want these.||Review|
|Beyer-Dynamic DT770||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +BASS the 250Ω is hard but they are the pair I used the most and I think the perfect Sub-bass and clear wide soundstage highs make up for the 1991 build and plastics.||Review|
|Audio-Technica A1000Z||+GAMING +CLOSED A great alternative/opposite to the X00. Decent fast bass. Incredible highs. Soundstage unbecoming of a closed can. Light as F*CK. Attached cable ||Review|
|Sony Z7||+CLOSED +PORTABLE +BASS Huge sound. Soft responsive low end. These are pleasurable cans. Build quality rivals almost everyone else. Gaming A+, Music A+, Cables A+. I rest my case.||Review|
I'm pretty sure most people won't make it here. But if you are lucky, dedicated and wealthy enough to partake you can truly find some acoustical bliss. Some of these are very unique and there isn't much to compare them to in the lower tiers. The STAX are a whole different system to power for example. If you are a noob with cash, DON'T START HERE!
|Sennheiser HD660||+GAMING +OPEN My favorite cans all year. Accurate and exciting. Standard Sennheiser Comfort. Easy to drive and get LOUD!||Review|
|Beyer DT1990||+GAMING +OPEN +HARDHandcrafted in Germany... Do you need more? Best neutral headphone I've heard. Clarity to beat the band. Soundstage and imaging gamer's would kill for. Best of their new line 100%||Review|
|ARGON Mk3||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +BASS The Best mod of the T50 that ever was. Wider than anything, best low end. Detail. Magic.||Review|
|Sennheiser HD600/650||+OPEN +HARD, Power these things right and you finally understand what music is. Love my 600's so much I painted my pair. 650's have a bit more SS and bass.||Review|
|Audeze EL-8C||+GAMING +CLOSED +PORTABLE One of the best examples of what planar can do. And in closed form these cans sound marvelous. Near neutral but fun and BEST build quality. Period.||Review|
|Audeze LCD-X||+GAMING +OPEN +BASS Take these to the bank because you are hard pressed to hear a better headphone. Nothing about these is wrong except the weight and cost.||Review|
|Sony Z1r||+CLOSED +BASS The ice cream truck of this hi-fi section. These give zero fucks. Big and warm and inaccurate but I love them all the same. Get these to chillax and melt away all your problems.||Review|
|Fostex TH900||+CLOSED +BASS Would buy these in a heartbeat if I could have only ONE closed headphone ever again. The Hand painted Japanese red lacquer cups and the soundstage and bass... FFF||Review|
|Beyer-Dynamic T5p||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +BASS Some of the best closed cans I have ever heard. Sub bass like no other. Soundstage that rivals the most open cans. Simple build. Might benefit from a ZMF pad swap.||Review|
|Beyer-Dynamic T1||+GAMING +OPEN +HARD Probably the height of Beyer's technology. Truly amazing headphones with complements the T5p in soundstage and vocal clarity. Without brutal highs. Hard for words||Review|
|Sennheiser HD800S||+GAMING +OPEN +HARD The original HD800 were hard to love. Not these. These THEESE.. They are a glimpse into what good open dynamic cans can do. Detail for years. Comfort I'm not fully sold.||Review|
|HiFiMan Edition X||+OPEN +CLOSED +HARD +PORTABLE +BASS Costs as much as an OK used car. Sound better. Relaxed, spacious, unreal low end reproduction. Comfortable and well built... mostly... A real investment.||Review|
|Ether C Flow||+GAMING +CLOSED +HARD +BASS Not to be taken lightly. I bought these. I heard them, I heard the opens and I bought these.. Incredible imaging, soundstage, comfort, isolation, neutrality... FFFF||Review|
|Stax L300+252amp||+GAMING +OPEN +ELECTROSTATIC Even though this is up here. I put this entry level stax system over just about everything for everything .. Because STAX! But electrostatics are different.||Review|
|Stax L700||+GAMING +OPEN +ELECTROSTATIC I have linked to just the earspeakers. The Amp/energizer needs to be bought separately. But know this. Nothing beats these open back. Nothing but the Orpheus. And those are just A BIT more money.||Review|
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