Nov 14, 2018545 views

Good Closed Back Headphones?

Hello to all that come across this post. I am currently in the market for a good pair of closed back headphones. I currently have the Focal Elex and the 6XX, however, I am going on to graduate school and I do not think open back headphones would be a good fit for an office space lol. I want these headphones to cost between $500 and $1000. I have been looking at the Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Closed, Mr. Speakers Ether C and the Focal Elegia. I should mention that I do enjoy headphones with a slight bass boost so that would be a plus but not a deal breaker. I would love to hear from people who already own these headphones or people who have some input to give.

It's rather odd to compare the TR-x00 to the Focals. The TR and TH are textbook Harmon whereas the Focals are diffuse model. . . which is to your taste is well, to taste. It would seem better if anything to compare with the Fostex RP variants if one insisted on comparing.
You don't really need to spend over $300 to get a most excellent closed back headphone... the Modhouse Argon Mk3, which is closedback planar headphone that I like over any other planar I've tried and even my Fostex TH-X00PH... You just need the amp to drive them properly. Bass quality is second only to my STAX L300 Limited... really deep extension, quick speed, excellent note separation with extraordinary detail, really punchy presentation, and with a sound scape that is reminiscent of listening to speakers but not as mid-forward. My modded TH-X00PH has an absolutely bloated mess of low end compared to the Argon, and it's noticeably better than a stock Purpleheart. The only thing the Purpleheart does better is subbass presence with a massive sound/energy unlike most anything else. Ever since getting the Argon's I'm struggling to think of another closed back I have liked better. For technical abilities such as speed, clarity, punch, dynamics, and resolution I would slot the Argon in between the HD58X and modded STAX L300 Limited, actually being much closer to the capability of the STAX Lambdas. It's pretty much similar to a Focal Clear, but with more punch and low end. Just need to properly power the Argon to have it show its real potential, will sound lacking and flat when under-powered. Will go from flat planar sounding to an extremely good dynamic driver type sound quality when an amp is proper for it. I really liked and considered eventually getting the Campfire Audio Cascades after having a 10 day audition with them earlier this year, with close to 100 hours of listening time. They are very nice portable closedbacks. But the Argon's have changed that... no inkling whatsoever to pick up the Cascades anymore.
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For gaming (console) I run mine directly out the Xbox 1 Elite controller and it sounds okay. Not as good as dedicated desktop DAC & amp but fine enough to play. Audio section should be good enough on your motherboard for it to sound decent. For computer rig setup just try using a Vmoda Boom PRO microphone cable to see how it is right out of the motherboard. Later then try an external DAC/amp combo to see how things change. Its good for gaming straight out of a controller for me, but does get better with higher quality upstream gear (DAC and amp.) I will say though, that for both gaming and music I'm enjoying my newly closedback modded HD58X more than the Argon Mk3. The cups do at a minimum cost about as much as a new HD58X by itself though, and only go up in price from there depending on the wood you want. Basically it's ~$400+ with pads though, but it's much easier to drive and sounds fantastic from any source, along with better fit and comfort than the Argon Mk3. Really have not been using the Argon Mk3 since the recent conversion of one of my HD58X to closed back. Closedback HD58X is currently my gaming headphone of choice.
And the built-in microphone on the cable doesn't sound half bad...

Oh interesting, I bought HD58X 3 months ago and found its bass lackluster, I haven't modded it and heard about Argons which could be an upgrade for bass but pretty hard to drive. Your HD58X looks cool with wood. When I don't use HD58X for music or gaming solo, I pick up my PC37X, great mic but I'd say the sound is a bit worse than HD58X. With Borderlands 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 incoming I'd like a flagship headphone with cool bass, Argons looks perfect, maybe I should try your HD58X mod as you love it even more than Argon.
ZMF Ori without a doubt. One of my favorite non-electrostatic headphones, open or closed. Very well balanced sound, not too laid back and not fatiguing for most. Bass that dynamic headphones can only dream of, linear full bodied mids with surprisingly transparent vocals that beat the likes of the HiFiMan HE-6, no odd treble peaks or dips which is rare in headphones.
Given your current taste in headphones u will be happy with the Elegia
I just ordered the the Fostex TR-X00 Mahogany, for that bass. The price to performance is incredible according to sone credible reviewers say; they should cost double the price. The only problem with your case, I hear they leak a little bit, but supposedly you can decrease the leak with different pads.
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Does anyone else feel what I'm about to describe. I feel the TR X00 Mahogany are slightly bright. It's so strange. They have very high treble (not extreme), and then very low bass (nice and tight); I believe that's what V-shape is. The treble is slightly sharp, so it's hard to bump some EDM louddly to feel that bass. Hip-Hop is an easier listen, since the genre uses less treble. @jaydunndiddit are you getting the same experience with the sexy Ebony's? Maybe I have to get used to them, but I'm now having second thoughts since my 58X aren't as bright, and already plays those genres pretty well. I'm curious if those ZMF pads (drop) would decrease the treble.
The Ebony's are more neutral than the Mahogany and also have a denser wood. It helps keep their bass tight and why they extend the best of the group and why their highs aren't as "hot" or sibilant. That's why I chose them over all the others in the long run when I was researching initially. I also switched to the Dekoni TH900 sheepskin with attenuation rings and that put them in a better place sonically for me in regards to control and bass impact. I've never had treble issues with the Ebony's, personally. It's just right to my ears. Just enough sparkle and zing to not be boring but not a lot of detail. Since you're used to the 58X, that may also be the issue of you needing more ear time and allowing your brain to adjust to the new sound sig. The 58X top-end is pushed down in comparison so hearing all these bright details are probably a bit jarring. I'd give it a week without swapping before coming to a firm conclusion. I know folks probably don't care for my opinions but I do try to be as honest and to the point. I really meant what I said about all 3 variants above and I think now that you;re hearing them too, you know what I was saying before. They're not bad but they had some quirks that I didn't like overall. The Ebony's were so much smoother and pleasant stock. With new pads, it was no contest, sonically and refinement-wise. Now, I just need to pick up a pilot pad as the headband is kinda poopy (Focal has me spoiled here). I also know I've seen some measurements with Fostex and ZMF pads so I'll try to find that thread and share here for you, too.
Ive tried the Mr. Speaker Aeon Flow closed back. I hated them. In my opinion, the sound was muddy and the headphone was not memorable. My roommate owns the mahogany Fostex TH-X00 and those things bump. Lots of bass/sub bass. You can feel the sub bass rumble through those. The ear pad shape is very comfortable and you can buy the new version with removable cables.
I own the Elegia and tried the AFO and ultimately returned them. Personally, I cannot think of a better "luxury" closed back in this performance bracket. While the Elegia are not truly portable, they get pretty close and offer better isolation than its closest competitors. They have a slight bass boost compared to the Elex and convey more impact lower in the sub-bass region. But, I would still call them "bass light" compared to something like the Fostex Ebonies. And since you have the Elex, I am going to assume you enjoy that signature and can confirm they have a lot in common with the Elegia SQ-wise. Really, beyond the stock cable being made out of garden hose and wanting a tad more bass impact, I have to try hard to find any legitimate faults with the Elegia compared to the AFO or any other can in this range. Personally, I think Focal has set a bar for those of us that want a TOTL closed back that could feasibly work with portable devices. The Elex is actually easy to drive. The AFO is not despite it's low impedance. (It's a trap!) I dunno, the Elegia present a fun, detailed, dynamic sound with little power and low distortion. They also look swanky, feel premium, and have a nice hard carry case (that can hold an extra pair of pads just FYI).
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Not any brighter than the Elex. The two sound very similar but the typical issues of open vs. closed and the Elegia does have more bass impact and has more shelved, rolled highs (not by a lot but if you A/B with the Elex you'll notice). I typically think of the Elex as neutral-bright anyhow and since you love it, I see no reason you won't enjoy the Elegia. Too many folks went into it thinking they would be like the LCD2C or some other heavy hitter. But as far as I know, I've never heard a Focal that has a ton of bass anyhow.
You have sold me on the Elegia. Will let you know what I think 🤓