Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Land of the Canuck
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Metalhead here, I'm pretty happy with my Hifiman 400i and on-screen EQ if we are talking about PC as a source, or a nice DAC that let's you set a P-EQ on it. Reference is great and all, but I like to "tweak to genre". I'm pretty new to the residential / consumer realm, but I don't think there are a lot of DAC + P-EQ options out there in this space unfortunately.
I had to order the headphones just to hear them, so I have no comparison to another Planar Open-Back. But I can tell you that if noise-bleed around you isn't an issue, open back is the way to go! Holy sound stage, Batman. I love mine, paired with a Schitt 2U stack; never had a pair of phones sound so good.
Hifiman has some good reviews out there, and they go on sale for a steal occasionally; maybe google around a bit and you can likely find some comparisons!
Also be weary of the impedance / sensitivity of any Planars vs. Amps you'll use, it can get a bit weird in my experience. For example there are proprietary amps on the real high end of the planar headphone / speaker spectrum with certain brands.