Question Which open back headphones should I look into?

Revan11

Member
May 15, 2021
2
1
20
I have never owned a set of open back headphones. For the last couple of years I have been using a set of Audio Technica ATH-M50X and am looking to get a set of replacements soon. I will be doing a mixture of music listening (EDM & Rock) and lots of gaming & have heard open back's are very good, maybe even better for competitive shooters (hearing audio cues like footsteps, reloads etc)

I've been looking into a few sets I've seen recommended online, namely;

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58x Jubilee
Sennheiser HD 560s
Sennheiser HD6xx
Massdrop x Hifiman HD-X4


I currently have a Creative Sound G6 DAC/AMP combo but will be looking into getting a Magni/Modi stack from Schiit very soon. Since I am new to open backs I am looking for some help either choosing between the above sets or getting some advice from people in the know.
 
D

Deleted member 188533

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Let me start off by saying I dislike the M50X. Really it's one of the few headphones I'd recommend against in almost every case. It has bloated bass that bleeds into and colors the mids, peaky treble and recessed mids all in the most uncomfortable frame on the market. So almost anything is an improvement to me.

Of those listed I owned the HD650 ( 6xx ) for about 8 years and I currently own the 660S which many people compare the 58X to.

I wouldn't even consider the 650/6XX for EDM or electronic pop. It's a lovely headphone but it lacks top end sparkle and has no sub bass.

The 58X Jubilee has better extension that's closer to the 660S. - Worth considering.

The 560S by all accounts also has much better bass and probably crisper highs for that upper sparkle and shimmer. - Worth considering. Probably a noticeable upgrade to the 58X in everything but tonality and tuning. The 58X might be arguably more 'musical'.

I don't have any experience with that particular HiFiMan. The newest HE400i would be worth considering though. An upgrade choice would be the Sundara which at $350 easily competes with the $500-$750 market segment.

The AKG K712 Pro is also another consideration. It's still my daily driver just because of the comfort and sound quality. It's a very good electronica headphone because of the staging which is really only second to the HD800. At under $300 on sale it's the best in the price range. The Sundara is probably technically 'better' but it's close.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Let me start off by saying I dislike the M50X. Really it's one of the few headphones I'd recommend against in almost every case. It has bloated bass that bleeds into and colors the mids, peaky treble and recessed mids all in the most uncomfortable frame on the market. So almost anything is an improvement to me.

Of those listed I owned the HD650 ( 6xx ) for about 8 years and I currently own the 660S which many people compare the 58X to.

I wouldn't even consider the 650/6XX for EDM or electronic pop. It's a lovely headphone but it lacks top end sparkle and has no sub bass.

The 58X Jubilee has better extension that's closer to the 660S. - Worth considering.

The 560S by all accounts also has much better bass and probably crisper highs for that upper sparkle and shimmer. - Worth considering. Probably a noticeable upgrade to the 58X in everything but tonality and tuning. The 58X might be arguably more 'musical'.

I don't have any experience with that particular HiFiMan. The newest HE400i would be worth considering though. An upgrade choice would be the Sundara which at $350 easily competes with the $500-$750 market segment.

The AKG K712 Pro is also another consideration. It's still my daily driver just because of the comfort and sound quality. It's a very good electronica headphone because of the staging which is really only second to the HD800. At under $300 on sale it's the best in the price range. The Sundara is probably technically 'better' but it's close.
That's got to be the best and most relevant batch of advice the OP could have got.
(And the more you praise the 712 Pro, the more I fancy some myself - even though I don't need them :)).
 
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Revan11

Member
May 15, 2021
2
1
20
Let me start off by saying I dislike the M50X. Really it's one of the few headphones I'd recommend against in almost every case. It has bloated bass that bleeds into and colors the mids, peaky treble and recessed mids all in the most uncomfortable frame on the market. So almost anything is an improvement to me.

Of those listed I owned the HD650 ( 6xx ) for about 8 years and I currently own the 660S which many people compare the 58X to.

I wouldn't even consider the 650/6XX for EDM or electronic pop. It's a lovely headphone but it lacks top end sparkle and has no sub bass.

The 58X Jubilee has better extension that's closer to the 660S. - Worth considering.

The 560S by all accounts also has much better bass and probably crisper highs for that upper sparkle and shimmer. - Worth considering. Probably a noticeable upgrade to the 58X in everything but tonality and tuning. The 58X might be arguably more 'musical'.

I don't have any experience with that particular HiFiMan. The newest HE400i would be worth considering though. An upgrade choice would be the Sundara which at $350 easily competes with the $500-$750 market segment.

The AKG K712 Pro is also another consideration. It's still my daily driver just because of the comfort and sound quality. It's a very good electronica headphone because of the staging which is really only second to the HD800. At under $300 on sale it's the best in the price range. The Sundara is probably technically 'better' but it's close.
That's really helpful, thanks very much. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I got the M50X, don't really have much knowledge with headphones.

I'll probably shortlist the 58X and 560s.
I did look at the Sundara, but wasn't sure whether to stretch the budget for those or not. I'll definitely have a better look into them and give the K712 Pro a look.

Gave me a lot to consider here man thanks.
 
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Friesiansam

Well-known member
I've got the 560S. The contrast might be quite a shock, especially if you've become familiar with your M50X sound. Such contrast is what leads to the "no bass" verdict from some. Try to get an extended trial if you can.
Amazon have the 560s in stock, sold by themselves, that gives you 4 weeks to try them.
 
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Deleted member 188533

Guest
That's really helpful, thanks very much. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I got the M50X, don't really have much knowledge with headphones.

I'll probably shortlist the 58X and 560s.
I did look at the Sundara, but wasn't sure whether to stretch the budget for those or not. I'll definitely have a better look into them and give the K712 Pro a look.

Gave me a lot to consider here man thanks.
If you can extend your budget to the Sundara do it and don't look back. They're slightly hard to drive ( harder than the ohm rating suggests ) but even your current Creative G6 should get them loud and a Schiit stack absolutely will. It really is an amazing headphone for the price. They, like all planars need a good 50-100 hours of burn in before you judge the sound. They just keep getting better over that period.
 
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Jeff Watts

Well-known member
Feb 4, 2021
14
5
525
HiFiman Sundara, without hesitation. They're like the planar benchmark under $500. They respond to eq pretty well. If you're feeling adventurous, try the HarmonicDyne Zeus. It has remarkable transient response.
 
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GeoffreyW

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2005
165
10
18,595
No mention yet, so here goes. Grado SR80e or their SR325e phones should hit the spot. I have the Alessandro version of the SR80s, and really enjoy them.
 
Sep 14, 2022
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The Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee hits the spot for exciting sound - close but not exactly flat. Clear and sharp vocals with no sibilance in the highs and mids. Soundstage could be a little better but all things considering they are a fabulous all-rounder - especially for an open-back.
I have the AKG K550 and absolutely love them - similar to the K712 Pro but slightly less bass and you must make sure there is a good seal on the cup for much better performance. I have custom cups on them for greater effect.
I had the M50X myself and sold them within the month due to the muddy sound and overlapping frequencies - I could not use them for mastering considering many musicians would!
All in all a great pair of cans to add to the collection - The HD58X really delivers on the comfort as well!
Enjoy!
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
The Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee hits the spot for exciting sound - close but not exactly flat. Clear and sharp vocals with no sibilance in the highs and mids. Soundstage could be a little better but all things considering they are a fabulous all-rounder - especially for an open-back.
I have the AKG K550 and absolutely love them - similar to the K712 Pro but slightly less bass and you must make sure there is a good seal on the cup for much better performance. I have custom cups on them for greater effect.
I had the M50X myself and sold them within the month due to the muddy sound and overlapping frequencies - I could not use them for mastering considering many musicians would!
All in all a great pair of cans to add to the collection - The HD58X really delivers on the comfort as well!
Enjoy!
I think the OP has most likely already bought new headphones, as this thread is more than a year old...
 

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