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Headfonics 2020

Top Reader Voted Headphones

The following Top Reader Voted headphones scores are assigned by the readers, (Score) and apply only to all reviews where a slider voting system exists. This list includes all types of drivers including dynamic, planar and electrostatic headphones.

Please note the list will change dynamically as readers continue to vote. Higher scoring headphones will automatically replace lower-scoring headphones. They will also continue to change as we progressively work our way through historical reviews and add a voting system.

These lists are not to be confused with our forthcoming Editorial scoring lists which are the top gear as reviewed and scored by our review team. Those lists will form the basis of our Awards at the end of the year. Once the year is completed the Editorial scores will be deleted and the ‘annual top lists’ will start over again.

Top 30 headphones as voted on by our readers

ZMF Headphones Atrium Closed Review
The ZMF Headphones Atrium Closed not only looks beautiful but has some excellent audio chops to back it up. It retains the hallmarks of the original Atrium's generally smooth and slightly euphonic overtone but adds power and body on the low end. Importantly, for a closed-back headphone, it sounds spacious with very little congestion throughout. 
9.3
Reader's Score
Hifiman Susvara
The Hifiman Susvara is an absolute joy to listen to almost anything with. It is one of the most immersive and technically capable planars that I have heard to date and fully justifies its summit-fi status in terms of sonic capability.
9.3
Reader's Score
HIFIMAN Shangri-La Jr
With the right setup, the HIFIMAN Shangri-La Jr delivers outstanding electrostatic audio quality. Certainly, it offers a viable choice at the top of the audiophile dining table with its articulate, clear yet smooth-sounding performance.
9.2
Reader's Score
$4000
Focal Utopia 2022 Review featured image
The Focal Utopia 2022 is a magnificent-sounding dynamic driver headphone, one that is truly worthy of being called a high-end flagship. It looks beautiful, it sounds incredibly pleasing to my ear at least, and has the resolution and required levels of transparency to allow it to be super-easy to find the right setup to hear it at its best.
9.2
Reader's Score
Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE Review
The Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE is one of those rare headphones that can elicit both an emotive response from a purely listening perspective and an admiration for its technical capability at the same time. 
9.2
Reader's Score
Final D8000 Pro
The D8000 Pro has a slightly sweet, clean, and airy tone with excellent separation that makes it an absolute joy for hardcore detail fans but just enough of a natural timbre to make it an enjoyable listen. More in the reference camp than musical but not a dry analytical experience.
9.2
Reader's Score
ZMF Headphones Caldera Review Featured Image
The ZMF Headphones Caldera is an incredible high-end debut planar headphone. I was simply not expecting this huge emotionally enjoyable sound complete with that trademark easy-to-listen-to tuning. It also looks the 'biz' with those White Oak wood cup designs. 
9.2
Reader's Score
ZMF Headphones Atrium Review
As introductions go, the ZMF Headphones Atrium is an excellent one to start with. It easily ranks as one of the most agreeable sounding dynamic driver headphones I have tested in a long time.
9.1
Reader's Score
T+A Solitaire
The T+A Solitaire P headphones draw on years of industry experience to provide a product infused with an exceptional build, acoustic design, and commitment to leading standards. Primed with extraordinary cohesion, spatial localization of sound, and control, the Solitaire P provides its own niche to a growing high-end world of audiophilia.
9.1
Reader's Score
T+A Solitaire P-SE
What an outstanding headphone the T+A Solitaire P-SE is. It has a world-class resolving capability, a stellar transient response, and very pleasing levels of separation from top to bottom. This is purist's headphone for those who like to hear every event and note in the music they like to play. 
9.1
Reader's Score
Audeze LCD-5
The Audeze LCD-5 is the most mature-sounding and cohesive high-end Audeze headphones to date. Importantly, it is their most likable tuning with plenty of verve and character and absolutely excellent levels of detail to go along with it.
9.1
Reader's Score
$4500
Audeze CRBN Electrostatic Headphones
The Audeze CRBN is a sublime and gorgeous-sounding electrostatic headphone but also one that does not play by the electrostatic norms. A few e-stat cans have tried failed before to get that bass rumbling and remain a coherent listening experience, the CRBN is not one of those failures, not by a long shot, it sounds powerful yet very coherent at the same time. 
9
Reader's Score
$4500
Dan Clark Audio CORINA Review feature image
The Dan Clark Audio CORINA has a very smooth tone and a surprisingly weighty sound signature for an electrostatic headphone. The resolution is there, and the detail is typically electrostatic in terms of articulation but this is a planted sound with more emphasis on the bass and mids rather than a heady sparkle or heavy treble overtones.
9
Reader's Score
Audeze MM-500 Review
The Audeze MM-500 is going to appeal to a much wider audience beyond the pro-audio user with an enjoyable, high-energy tuning that works wonders with my own preferences such as hard rock, and, a design aesthetic that is simply gorgeous to hold and look at. 
9
Reader's Score
$1699.99
Abyss Headphones Diana TC Review
It is hard to overstate just how good the Abyss Headphones Diana TC is for such a small and cute-looking planar headphone. It belies its diminutive form factor with a superlative and engrossing performance that takes the Phi pitch to the next level.
9
Reader's Score
Dan Clark Audio Stealth
The detail is very much there but it is delivered in a very natural manner that makes the Dan Clark Audio Stealth a very enjoyable listen. Given how hard it is to tune closed backs to get an accurate and pleasing tonal character that should be taken as a bit of a home run from the DCA team.
9
Reader's Score
Focal Stellia
The Focal Stellia is in one word stellar. A closed back that does so many things right is hard to come by and I would say almost impossible but Focal pulled it off. For my last few words in this review, I would like to say and direct the words to the entire Focal staff, 'félicitations pour la fabrication d'un super casque'. Well done.
9
Reader's Score
Focal Utopia
Overall, I think this headphone out resolves hyper-detailed headphones such as the HE1000, SR-009, and HD800 and then improves on their desirable traits. The price is definitely steep at $4,000 though it can be justified for getting the most performance from cost-is-no-object amplifiers that can run from $5,000 and above excluding tubes.
9
Reader's Score
$3999
Meze Elite
The Meze Audio Elite is a step up but a step up in a very competitive high-end headphone market right now in 2021. Thankfully it has a unique sound signature that is I think many will embrace. Both portable and desktop audiophiles are included in that statement which is rare for flagship planars.
8.9
Reader's Score
Stax SR-L700MK2
The Stax SR-L700MK2 is absurdly good for the price. Made me want to potentially trade in my 007 MKII.  Or really, sell off my HD800 and other things to afford a total Stax setup, the 007 for when I want realism, and the SR-L700MK2 when I just want to ignore life and have fun.
8.9
Reader's Score
$1649.00
Rosson Audio Design RAD-0
The Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 is in my top 3 headphones I have tested and heard to date for this year. It has a beautifully balanced sound signature with a very impressive treble tuning and a sweet-sounding instrumental and vocal timbre.
8.9
Reader's Score
Final D8000
The D8000 simply rocks. And I mean with just about every track or record or genre that means something to me from the vaults. Not many people know I started out in the late '80s as a music and live act reviewer so my collection is wide and deep but it's 'hard rock' and 'new wave synth' that I always go to first.
8.9
Reader's Score
$3999
HIFIMAN HE-R10P
The Hifiman HE-R10P is easily one of the best closed-back planar headphones I have heard to date and can give plenty of open-backs a bit of a run for their money also.
8.8
Reader's Score
Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 Review
Paired with the right source the Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 can be a great all-rounder offering flexibility in tuning allowing it to appeal to those who demand perfect objectivity, and those who may want to have a more engaging listen.
8.8
Reader's Score
Sony MDR-XB1000 Headphones
Damn, I love these headphones and I feel like the world of mid-tier headphones once started out with very musical and abundant product selections, but then recently moved to a more neutral or less musical appeal in tonality offered. 
8.8
Reader's Score
Discontinued.
Meze Empyrean II Review featured image
The Meze Audio Empyrean II takes a huge chunk of what made the original Empyrean headphones so good such as looks and comfort and integrates a new sound signature that should appeal to a much wider audience than before.
8.8
Reader's Score
Meze Audio Liric
The Meze Audio Liric has a likable but more aggressive sound signature than what Meze Audio fans might be used to coming from the Empyrean and Elite. It gives up a bit in terms of resolution and dynamic range but in return, you get something much more immediate, fun if you like, and an entirely suitable high-end listening experience for portable audio fans.
8.8
Reader's Score
HIFIMAN Ananda Nano Review featured image
Once again, HIFIMAN broke the norm and produced a headphone that is superior to the previous revisions but simultaneously dropped the price tag making the Ananda Nano an incredible bargain. Perhaps one of the best this year.
8.8
Reader's Score
Rosson Audio Design MPL-0 Review
The Rosson Audio Design MPL-0 is a beautifully designed headphone and one which delivers a fulsome, smoother more relaxed sound signature compared to its flagship sibling. 
8.7
Reader's Score
Abyss Headphones Diana Phi
The Abyss Headphones Diana Phi owns its flagship status with aplomb despite its funky almost cutesy visual aesthetic. It also presents an equally capable but decidedly different presentation to the likes of the Empyrean that make it almost the perfect complement to Meze's masterpiece.
8.7
Reader's Score

 

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