Top 7 Most Recommended Headphones

So as you guys know (hopefully) I am the Director of Marketing at Antlion Audio, the guys that make the ModMic and also a local Portland company near the new Tek Syndicate office.

Last week we combed the internet and found 12 trusted sources which listed their recommendations for headphones. We then checked which pairs appear most often as a way to generate a fairly unbiased list of the best headphones, rather than give our own personal opinions. Hopefully this helps some of you narrow down your research a bit.

The winner was the DT770 at 6 of 12. In second was the HD500 at 5 of 12, and the rest all appeared 4 times.

The results are below in price order:
Creative Aurvana Live ~$52.99
Sony MDR-V6 ~$98.00
Sennheiser HD558 ~$99.99
Beyerdynamic DT770 ~$126.00
Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro ~$190.00
AKG Q701 ~$239.99
Sennheiser HD 600 ~$287.86

The full article is availble at, which contains links to all the sources if you want to check them out yourself.

I hope to add more sources and update this list every 6 months or so, but it was pretty neat to see such a wide variety of styles, manufacturers, and price ranges.

I wonder why the AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X is not on there. I would have expected to see it.

Interesting. Unfortunately I still think that this approach still gives a really shallow list.

99% of people looking for recommendations are people who are new to the audio world.

They don't have a lot of cash, and they are not looking for a complicated setup. So a lot of good quality headphones get replaced with lower quality and lower fuss headphones.

For instance the fostex t50-rp is a decent headphone for around the same price as the sony headphones. The fostex headphones actually sound better, but they require an amp, and they are kind of a bit funky to deal with.

The sonys are just plug and play. So even though they sound worse, they get "recommended" more often.


They work pretty well for gaming, but they suck if you want to listen to music.

Try using them to listen to norah jones. When she hits the higher notes, you can kiss your hearing goodbye.

I don´t get what you mean.
Compared them to my HD 600s and can´t really tell the difference. I might go over to my dBc meter to figure this one out....
Currently trying various pieces by Yiruma.

Uhhhhhh huh.

There should be a significant difference in the bass, and the highs on the 600s are a lot smoother.

The only way you could be getting similar sound is if you are not using a proper amp with the 600s.

In Samuel Barbers "Adagio for Strings" you can make out the two rougher spots if paying close attention.
I should get an oscilloscope for christmas!

Lol me too.

I am looking through the specs to find the input impedance of the amp.

I mean I have owned the HD600s in the past, and I have spent a lot of time putting them into different amps and just messing about with them in general. (I am very bored with a lot of time on my hands lol)

They are not super picky headphones, but their sound signature can definitely vary. Thats why I am highly suspicions that something is not setup correctly, or that marantz is just full of shit.

I bet you that if you took your headphones into any audio shop that would let you test different amps, you would get a whole new appreciation for the 600s.

Marantz being full of shit would be VERY strange. I got some much older amp (PM-80 mkII) made by them. I will hook that up, give me a second.

Update: PM-80 mkII is still perfectly working. I got a bit lost listening to "Kraftwerk - Stratovarious" and "Kraftwerk - Vom Himmel hoch" before I remembered what I wanted to do. Either Sennheiser fucked up on the HD 600s or AudioTechnica is as good with headphones as they are with pick-up systems (my record player got one of their higher end ones).

Plan for Saturday: Pay visit to local HiFi shop. Try HD 600s & HD 800s and AudioTechnica ATH-AD 500X & 2000X, maybe some others. I might spend money there.

Should the 598's be not above the 558's, or is that just a pricing thing?

Nah, marantz sold out.

Vintage marantz is pretty darn nice. Newer marantz is hit and miss.

You could be right about the 600s though. Sennheiser has a very bad habit of sneaking in modifications to their headphones. My pair were probably 4-7 years old.

Th 598 and the 558 are darn near identical.

The 598 improved the 558s a bit by removing some foam and then they gave it that awful paint job.

You can easily modify the 558s to be 598s and you would save quite a bit of cash.

Already have em, and I like the colour!

Let me guess, you are one of those Yamaha amp owners?
You might want to read some reviews regarding Marantz next time...

Hell do I know how old my gear is. Why would I care if it works?
Sneaking changes into products? VeryDouptful.wav

Nope. I would own vintage marantz wayyyyyyyyyyyy before yamaha. But I prefer vintage tube amps or custom made amps.

And no, sennheiser is known for doing that. Why do you think all the HD800 people compare serial numbers ; )

My issue here is I know the sennheiser representative. I have spent a lot of time at hifi shows getting to know people.

If sennheiser ruined the HD600s...........well then I am gonna have to have a chat with these guys and sort this crap out.

"Most recommended" is a completely different thing than "best".


None of my 3 headphones are on the list.


Although to be honest there's like a bajillion headphones out there, so it's understandable.

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I recently boaght the cheap Sennheiser HD202-II for arround €35,-.
I have tested a couple in diffrent price ranges at the shop.
But for headphones in the price range upto $50,-
it was one of the best sounding they had in the shop at that price point imo.
It doesnt have the best build quality i have to admit, but for that price i cannot complain.

Just got some Audeze LCD-2's .... I like 'em.

I'm still trying to decide if I should keep them though.


YYAAAYYYYY... another 10-best list. The internet needs more of these lol.

I've had a pair of those too. Pretty decent headphones for the price, although those with larger heads might want to stretch the headband out a little.

Oh, and the stupidly long cable it has.

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