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Posted (edited)

As the title suggests. This is thread for sharing different members opinions for headphones and how you see them tiered.

 

Hence the end users, people like us, what do we think and how we see these headphones tiered ?

 

Below is just my tiering . Do you think you have one, based on your experience ? Pls share 

 

TIERS

X - The BEST ! Awesome irrespective of price 

1 - Expensive (to an extent) but Unique - No Qualms ($ spend hurts but its ok!)

2 - Mid fi (or lower) price but Punching way above their weight

3 - Expensive, wish they were (substantially) lower in the price coz there exists something similar (and that similar is ? which is as good)

4 - Expensive and Dramatic , let it go, better spend that money on a same category leader (this might be controversial)

 

My listing is (of course) based on my ownership history, my audio journey, or if I have had it for a long loaner / demo. 

All the below headphones have been tested/used either with Auralic Taurus / HPA4 / Moon 430 / RME ADI 2 DAC / Hugo TT 1 DAC / Stax matching amps

 

PS: This list is not based on how you listen to headphones using Youtube reviews, rather traditional way, using your ears and making your own opinion.

 

Tier X :

  • HD800s
  • Abyss 1266

 

Tier 1:

  • ZMF Verite Closed
  • Final D8000
  • Meze Empyrean
  • Focal Stellia (when its on specials for $3000 from A2A, normal RRP its Tier 3)

 

Tier 2: 

  • Audio Technica ATH R70x
  • Shure 1540
  • Philips Fidelio X2 HR
  • Focal Elegia
  • Focal Clear
  • Audeze LCD X
  • Sony MDR Z1R (based on $1600-$1700 price NEW which it has been in the past)
  • Beyerdynamic T5 G3
  • ZMF Eikon
  • Hifiman Ananda
  • Stax L700 [this nearly made it to Tier X, but 800s pipped it slightly]

 

Tier 3:

  • ZMF Verite Open (VC took the cake while VO stood there flashing the ankle)
  • Final D8000 Pro (sidegrade NOT an upgrade to Final D8000. Does everything exceptionally well. Doesn't stand out in anything though and should be similarly priced as D8000)
  • Audeze LCD 3 (less said the best for the asking price)
  • Focal Utopia (Excellent headphone but EQ your 800s and tough to pick a winner)
  • Sennheiser HD820 (it should be around that 800s price or lower)
  • Audio Technica AD2000x (HD800s exists at lower price point)
  • Audeze LCD MX4 (one of the best Audeze with LCD X but exceptionally steeply priced, very very overpriced)
  • Hifiman HE1000SE (beautiful sound, $5500 NO, $4500 NO around $3k at the most)
  • Stax 007 Omega (loved it when I had it, but realised NOPE, in a few weeks)

 

Tier 4:

  • Audeze LCD4 (surpassed by Final D8000 Pro & no known driver inconsistency like Audeze)
  • Hifiman Susvara (purely based on the fact, that its in the same weight category as Abyss and looses to Abyss, else its one of the best headphones. Will rule Tier 1 easily if its under $5000 AUD)
  • Stax 009 (by the time you get a suitable amp , you are looking at a parallel ecosystem only for this and is going to be $10,000+ & Abyss and others are equal to or better sounding)
  • Ultrasone Edition 5 (why is it at that price and why in this day and age, I guess they are nearly dead)
Edited by peppy
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56 minutes ago, peppy said:

Tier 1:

  • ZMF Stellia Closed

 

Tier 3:

  • ZMF Stellia Open

I assume that you meant Verite in both of these instances

 

Personally I would put the Hifiman HE-1000SE in Tier 1 as well

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, sakabatou said:

I assume that you meant Verite in both of these instances

 

Personally I would put the Hifiman HE-1000SE in Tier 1 as well

oh Yes...what a stupid mistake. All 10s of headphones running in my mind....

 Thanks , will correct it.

Edited by peppy
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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, sakabatou said:

Personally I would put the Hifiman HE-1000SE in Tier 1 as well

At $4500 I will never put it ahead of D8000 or D8000 Pro hence, especially given their QC and build fragility at that price.

 

But again, that's just me. 

 

Hence was looking forward to you & others for sharing their Headphone tiering.

Edited by peppy
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Posted (edited)

I would move HD800S to Tier 1/2 - they’re between. Whilst their detail, seperation and soundstage especially for classical or acoustic is very good, it requires great amp synergy and has some flaws (eg. Bass). 

 

Empyrean is Tier 1 but can be placed 2 or 4 depending on how you feel. Many (including me) would say tier 1 as there’s nothing quite like it for comfort and enjoyability but for detail, it is bested by others in its price point. 
 

Utopia is Tier 1. Just plug it into a DCS Bartok and I challenge you to tell me it isn’t up there
 

Susvara is the only headphone I have auditioned I would say is Tier X - they are very, very good from a technical and enjoyability perspective when driven properly. 

 

Your entire Tier 4 is highly controversial and dependent upon personal taste. The scoring system in your tier definition doesn’t seem like it’s linear from best to worst. Whether you score 1 vs 4 is highly subjective. 
 

I didn’t love the d8000 pro so it’s very personal

Edited by Dr_Kevy
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7 minutes ago, Dr_Kevy said:

Your entire Tier 4 is highly controversial and dependent upon personal taste. The scoring system in your tier definition doesn’t seem like it’s linear from best to worst. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that that was done to encourage discussion 😉

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Dr_Kevy said:

Your entire Tier 4 is highly controversial and dependent upon personal taste.

I know , hence I said at the start 

1 hour ago, peppy said:

My listing is (of course) based on my ownership history, my audio journey, or if I have had it for a long loaner / demo. 

 

There is no right or wrong ...simple discussion. 

To me - Susvara , the build quality for a $7500 headphone is not upto the mark.

Also QC is not really up there, and the overall package never appealed to me.

 

And when at the same price point exists an Abyss 1266 Phi TC, Susvara just failed for me, when I tried Abyss 1266. To me, Susvara really should be in that Sub-$5000 category, at best and HE1000SE sub $3000

But again that's my subjective opinion .

 

Hence looking forward to members sharing their opinion and tiering. 

Edited by peppy
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4 minutes ago, sakabatou said:

I have a sneaking suspicion that that was done to encourage discussion 😉

Headphone opinion and sound preference is one topic that will result in a discussion automatically. Hence 1000s of threads on head-fi , SNA and other similar forums. :)

 

 

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Great idea for a thread, will generate some good discussion I think.

 

I could not agree more with the Focal Elegia's. A few on the forums suggested them and I'm glad I got them. Only use at work or late night but very good.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Tarzan said:

Great idea for a thread, will generate some good discussion I think.

 

I could not agree more with the Focal Elegia's. A few on the forums suggested them and I'm glad I got them. Only use at work or late night but very good.

 

 

Its an amazing amazing headphone for the price.

I can think of plenty under $1k-$2k headphones which cannot match its detail level.

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13 minutes ago, peppy said:

I know , hence I said at the start 

 

There is no right or wrong ...simple discussion. 

To me - Susvara , the build quality for a $7500 headphone is not upto the mark.

Also QC is not really up there, and the overall package never appealed to me.

 

And when at the same price point exists an Abyss 1266 Phi TC, Susvara just failed for me, when I tried Abyss 1266. To me, Susvara really should be in that Sub-$5000 category, at best and HE1000SE sub $3000

But again that's my subjective opinion .

 

Hence looking forward to members sharing their opinion and tiering. 


Agreed. I was judging predominantly from sound. But the price and build is one reason why I bought the Utopia instead. 
 

we need to arrange a headphone meet!

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Posted (edited)
On 08/05/2021 at 3:04 PM, Bengineer said:

D8000 @ 3000 when it went on sale at A2A is X surely.

Absolutely agree.

Yes D8000 at $3300 at A2A was phenomenal and my tiering of D8000 is based on that price , else it would be in Tier 3 with D8k Pro

 

But - X Tier to me is the level, where if you owned any 1 of the tier X headphones you will go happily into the sunset. (and they are not surpassed by another headphone in that same price category, hence Susvara doesn't cut it in Tier X to me)

D8000 to me, is not that. It does not deliver the goods in classical music or mids focussed music. My choice or ownership of it is purely based on its uniqueness and awesomeness for BASS Reproduction . Its just phenomenal with my electronica and trance.

 

D8000 Pro will be closer to X Tier than D8000 given its all rounder capability, but that price has to be same as D8000. Pro version does not warrant higher price its differently tuned with that silver cable.

That does not give it $1700 extra, hence Tier 3. But then D8000 pro does not generate the emotion as D8000 does. So FOR ME , D8 takes the cake when compared to D8K pro (of course EQ not taken into consideration)

 

 

Edited by peppy
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2 minutes ago, Dr_Kevy said:

we need to arrange a headphone meet!

I am . Mid - End of July.

Details will follow soon in a couple weeks time as I am talking to some retailers and trying to get their concurrence and availability.

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1266 in Tier X, must mean that usability and comfort aren't considered, pure SQ :P

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

usability and comfort aren't considered

Yes and No .

Usability has never been the issue.

 

Comfort - YES. But again, my listening sessions are usually 1-2 hrs max at a go.

And keep changing headphones as I listen to a wide genre.

 

When working and want to listen not focus on music with comfort for hours - HD800s or Empyrean

Edited by peppy
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Fun topic @peppy

 

I suspect there will be very few with knowledge in the upper tiers.

 

X - The BEST ! Awesome irrespective of price 

1 - Expensive but Unique - No Qualms ($ spend hurts but its ok!)

2 - Mid fi (or lower) price but Punching way above their weight

3 - Expensive, wish they were (substantially) lower in the price coz there exists something similar (and that similar is ? which is as good)

4 - Expensive and Dramatic , let it go, better spend that money on some other headphone (this might be controversial)

 

X - No experience with headphones at this level.

 

1 - 

  • Focal Utopia
  • Audeze LCD-3

2 - 

  • Focal Clear
  • HD800
  • Drop TH-x00
  • Audeze LCD-XC
  • EnigmAcoustics Dharma D1000
  • Beyer T1 gen 2

3 - 

  • AKGK812
  • AKG 702
  • A&K T5p gen 2
  • Beyer T5p gen 2
  • HD700
  • HD600/650

4 - 

  • Nil

 

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Posted (edited)

X - The BEST ! Awesome irrespective of price 

Oriolus Trailli … widely regarded as an all rounder with no significant flaws. Comfortable and pairs well to a quality source/DAC. 

 

1 - Expensive but Unique - No Qualms ($ spend hurts but its ok!)

 

Meze Empyrean (some will place this 3 or 4)

 

Focal Utopia 

 

Some will put the LCD4/4Z here. They do some things very very well but their sound signature, weight means they won’t appeal to everyone. Also a ***** to drive well. 
 

Focal Stellia if you want closed. And a can that plays directly out of a DAP well

 

2 - Mid fi (or lower) price but Punching way above their weight

 

HD800S - affordable. And does some things better than Tier 1.  Very comfortable and relaxing to listen out of when driven with good synergy. 

 

Perhaps HE1000SE

 

Shure 535’s

 

Focal Clear / Clear Mg


LCD-X

 

3 - Expensive, wish they were (substantially) lower in the price coz there exists something similar (and that similar is ? which is as good)

 

Final D8000 - sorry, they were too bright for me. 
 

Many Beyerdynamics

 

Some Focals eg. Bentley edition belong here or tier 4. 

 

4 - Expensive and Dramatic , let it go, better spend that money on some other headphone (this might be controversial)

 

Electrostatics. 

HD820S

 

AAA577E3-9D10-42E6-B52C-4C4A338AB2EA.jpeg

 

Edited by Dr_Kevy
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Posted (edited)

The headphones I own are the best headphones 😉

 

D8KP and Abyss 1266 all that's missing from my collection to fill every gap one could possibly find.

 

Susvara is amazing but hard to justify at it's asking price. 1266 seems like a shorter leap.

 

D8KP still the 'own only one' headphone that does the most with the greatest forms of music.

 

Also I think we're talking about categories here rather than Tiers?

Edited by elisix_
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15 minutes ago, elisix_ said:

Also I think we're talking about categories here rather than Tiers?

I agree .

Category is a better grouping.

Tier makes it feel ranked, which this is not.

 

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On 08/05/2021 at 2:42 PM, peppy said:

At $4500 I will never put it ahead of D8000 or D8000 Pro hence, especially given their QC and build fragility at that price.

 

But again, that's just me. 

 

Hence was looking forward to you & others for sharing their Headphone tiering.

Great topic!! 

 

Sonically,  HE100SE to be one of the best sounding  planar CAN for my taste.. don't know about their durability or QC issue as it's out off my budget.. :)

 

For me  they had the best sound stage and detail out of the Plannar can..  haven't heard Susvara but so far this was the best sounding CAN for my taste :)

 

But as you know I have very different taste to most of people...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, xtiva2000 said:

 haven't heard Susvara but so far this was the best sounding CAN for my taste :)

 

But as you know I have very different taste to most of people...

 

Susvara out of a decent amp (I auditioned out of the Moon SimAudio 430HAD) was a tier above everything I auditioned at A2A. Sound signature preference aside. The detail, separation, presentation, clarity, tonality, comfort were a level above many other TOTL headphones I had auditioned (or own)

 

The only reason I didn't buy one was I couldn't be bothered spending double the cost of the Susvara on a large desktop amp for one headphone. So I spent the money on the Oriolus Triailli instead which give me 95% of the Susvara out of an IEM. Unfortunately, at 95% of the price of the Susvara. 

Edited by Dr_Kevy
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Posted (edited)

Having spent the last few days listening to the Trailli ...

 

Decided back to full sized cans was in order.

ROON -> 2Go/Hugo2 (green HF filter) -> Utopia 2021 3.5mm terminated stock cable.

 

The soundstage isn't as wide, musical or airy as the Trailli. But the tonality, detail and controlled power of decent 40mm dynamic drivers has me in a very, very happy place. Easy to drive well. They're comfortable. Construction, stock cable(s) are all of reasonably good quality. Comfortable although the lamb leather and carbon fibre are somewhat exotic, but delicate. 

 

I'd be interested to see how the Cayin C9 with the Korg Tube/ClassA amp synergises (or not) with the Hugo2 but for the moment, Utopia are borderline 'X' tier. I haven't heard a better dynamic driver headphone.

 

Edited by Dr_Kevy
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Dr_Kevy said:

Utopia are borderline 'X' tier.

Isn't it awesome when you find your X tier headphone :)

 

For me , 4 headphones came knocking very very close to Tier X:

 

Susvara - Marred by Hifiman QC issues and reputation. Also HE1000SE is exceptional and dont see Susvara warranting nearly double of HE1000SE $7-$8k price tag. But when it comes to how it sounds, its just phenomenal . It compliments Abyss very well but if you have to choose ONE headphone between Abyss and Susvara, Abyss it is for me. Comparing Package, build quality, overall quality Abyss wins. Soundwise they both are different headphones and pioneer in their streams. But it seriously should be under $5k headphone and it will make it to Tier X and will rule .

 

Focal Stellia - It probably is the best detailed CB and to me, is the top pick in Focal Line up. Beats punch to punch with Verite Closed.

Verite Closed - Will say the same what I said above about Stellia. But with Universal Pads

 

Both of these work wonders with all kind of music.

 

Actually either Verite Closed or Stellia should be in the Tier X. I need to rethink my Tiering.

 

Final D8000 - Visceral Savage Bass reproduction. This is just phenomenal , but can be shimmery in treble at certain parts , like Utopia. And is not an all rounder like the other Tier X headphones are.

 

 

 

Edited by peppy
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12 hours ago, peppy said:

Focal Stellia - It probably is the best detailed CB

 

I'm reading between lines that Stellia and Verite C are best CB - but still fall short of Open back. Is it correct?

 

I'm thinking to replace my HD800s with Verite C or Stellia - but can they compete with HD800s in term of technicality?

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Technicality they both can compete in & at times rather better HD800s.

But open-ness and soundstage even Open backs struggle to compete with HD800s.

 

Having said that VC sounds more open than Stellia and has slightly warmer tonality.
If it was me , with HD800s I will buy Verite as Verite is totally different tonality and warmer hence a very nice compliment to HD800s

 

Needs a good amp though.

 

Stellia is a bit more forward and sounds more closed than them but is quite easy to drive.

 

But ur replacing HD800s so if u want a bit more open sounding CB , Verite it is.

But both Stellia and Verite are quite comparable & you can’t go wrong with either .

 

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45 minutes ago, peppy said:

But ur replacing HD800s so if u want a bit more open sounding CB , Verite it is.

But both Stellia and Verite are quite comparable & you can’t go wrong with either .

 

Thanks @peppy

As much as I love HD800s, it leaks sound abit too much and gives no privacy.

My wife keeps staring at me when I'm listening to the Wiggles.

 

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I will suggest reach out to @Indie Hi-Fi for the Verite Closed and see if you can try one (especially with Universal pads).

I was very very very happy with the Verite. Closed

 

To me HD800s is an unbeatable headphone for what it delivers.

Buy in addition to, not to replace ;)

 

 

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X - The BEST ! Awesome irrespective of price 

- Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000

- Focal Stellia

- Focal Clear OG 

- Final D8000/A8000

 

1 - Expensive (to an extent) but Unique - No Qualms ($ spend hurts but its ok!)

- Grado GS3000e/PS2000e

- Fostex TH909

- Audio Technica ATH-WP900

 

2 - Mid fi (or lower) price but Punching way above their weight

- Grado GH1/GH2//Hemp

- Sennheiser HD600

- Audeze Sine DX

- Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm

 

3 - Expensive, wish they were (substantially) lower in the price coz there exists something similar (and that similar is ? which is as good)

- Focal Utopia - Clear OG

- Beyerdynamic T1 - Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm

- Audeze LCD-4 - Audeze LCD-X / 2C

 

4 - Expensive and Dramatic , let it go, better spend that money on a same category leader (this might be controversial)

- Meze Empyrean

- Anything Abyss

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14 minutes ago, Mightygrey said:

- Focal Stellia

- Final D8000/A8000

Absolutely awesome headphones both of them/

 

Never owned or demo'ed ADX5000 long enough to have an opinion.

 

16 minutes ago, Mightygrey said:

4 - Expensive and Dramatic , let it go, better spend that money on a same category leader (this might be controversial)

- Meze Empyrean

- Anything Abyss

SAVAGE !!!

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8 hours ago, lycos said:

My wife keeps staring at me when I'm listening to the Wiggles.

 

Because you're not dancing too? Or because you are?

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Posted (edited)

Tier Z mentioned. Thought to self, "aha, reality check time on this thread. Time for the headphones that punch to the exact cost of the parts, excluding labour, packaging, shipping, and marketing." Searched thread for Beats.

 

Edited to add an actual worth-listening-to contribution to this interesting thread:

 

2 - Mid fi (or lower) price but Punching way above their weight

I'm a fan of the Fostex TH-900 but must admit I've not tried the 909 nor 900 variants.

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown
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1 hour ago, Bengineer said:

"Tier Z - Fkn any Grado bro" 

Tier Z - anything recommended by Zeos, aka "shill"

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