I don't use headphones much, I do have a pair of Sennheiser HD600 and a X-can. I hit the Head-fi area of Axpona this year anxious to hear the difference between HD600 and a megadollar set of cans.
It's difficult to compare cans as each station used different amps and sources, but from what I heard.
Based on price and performance my pick for best was the Janzen true electrostatic headphone prototype. Price will be $995.00 and rivaled everything I heard that day regardless of price. I don't remember exactly how long he told me a charge lasts but I remember being amazed, like a month or more.
My next pick would be Audeze, I forget the model, I believe they were $3999 same as the Focal. The Focal were much louder but my least favorite, I can't believe the price tag. If in my budget the Audeze sounded great.
Mr. Speakers were good, showing models around $1k to $1.5k. The sound was more like a speaker, instruments having weight and impact. Like a cymbal had a denser metal sound, for instance. Big and bold but not even offensive.
Hifiman was showing several models from $299.00 and up, I listened to about 4 models. First the $899, then the $1500, then $599 and $299.
The Hifiman pretty much had the same character from model to model just better as you go up and one of the sets were said to be easy to drive where one of the models were recommended to definitely need an amp.
Where Hifiman excelled was in imaging, they seemed to fill in the center soundstage for a complete sound field where others, even the expensive ones, seemed to be more of a left/right sound leaving some space in the middle. The Janzen came fairly close to the Hifiman.
Hifiman had an engaging sound, warmer than the others. On a track by Adell there were hand claps, they seemed to be more buried in the music than I remember but I'm not sure what size files they were playing. If you've ever heard Quad speakers the Hifiman remind me of them in sound.
Some of the stations were using Class A head amps or tubes.
For me it seems headphones have more of a diminishing return than other areas of electronics, or, maybe a way to say it, you git that price level sooner. Maybe my expectations were too high. I can enjoy the HD600, the other high dollar models didn't let me hear anything that would make me want to spend that much money. With that being said, if I listened more to cans I'd probably snag a set of the Janzen to take things up a level. I am tempted to get a set of the entry Hifiman to have as an alternative.
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Topic - Axpona 2017 - headphones - Mr Peabody 18:38:34 04/27/17 (2)