Buying Guide

Roundup of Raghav's Favourite Headphones (2023 Updated)

There are so many headphones I love listening to. But I do tend to have a few headphones I keep going back to again and again." Watch Raghav share his favourite headphones and more on the eve of his birthday.


I have been asked to talk about some of my favourite headphones from our incredible collection that we have here at Headphone Zone and you know I get asked so many times every day what my favourite headphones are and I've made a couple different videos talking about this in the past as well I don't really have any one favorite headphone in fact I don't even think I have three favourite headphones there are so many headphones that I absolutely love listening to and I tend to pick them up depending on the kind of music I'm listening to what kind of mood I'm in and where I'm listening to music depending on the situation depending on the kind of music I'm listening to I tend to have a few favourite headphones that I go back to again and again and today we're going to list them out.

Meze Audio Elite

Guys so if I had to have one headphone to start with it had to be this one this is the Meze Audio Empyrean Elite for those of you who know me and watched my videos you guys know that I absolutely loved the Meze Empyrean and the Empyrean Elite is everything I loved about the Empyrean but just better. Meze Audio is a beautiful Boutique manufacturer of headphones from Romania all the headphones are absolutely stunning they are beautifully well designed but what I absolutely love about the Empyrean Elites the most comfortable headphone to listen to for long hours on end so of course I'm not going to go around recommending a three lakh rupee headphone to everyone around me.

Meze - 99 Classics

Next up on the list is Meze 99 Classics, I still recommend these heavily it's the Meze 99 Classics this was my first serious headphone that I got maybe five or six years back and I've been using this particular Meze 99 classics all the ways since then I usually pair it along with my Chord Mojo which is a really nice beautiful.

STAX - SR-009S

All right coming up next my favorite Stax electrostatic headphones this is the flagship 009S from Stax I absolutely love them it's really really hard for me to describe what an electrostatic headphone sounds like even after all these years those of you have experienced these on one of our headphone connect events or right here at the experience Studio you guys know what I'm talking about the level of precision detail Clarity speed it's just Indescribable on a Stax and the greatest headphone the 009S is what I absolutely love listening to.

STAX - SRS-3100

Another very special headphone that I have no quants recommending to everybody out there is this this is the Stax L300 on it it's the most affordable electrostatic headphone from Stax for less than 60,000 rupees you have a headphone the L300 and an amplifier the 252S that come together as a bundle the bundle is called the SRS3100. It's the most affordable way of getting your hands on an electrostatic setup and one that I recommend to absolutely everyone.

Audeze - LCD-5

One of my favorite headphone brands out there is Audeze from America I absolutely love this brand. I love their headphones and I love the people behind the brand and the flagship from Audeze is this right here the Audeze LCD 5. For less than four lakh rupees it's not cheap but it's absolutely phenomenal it is simply put one of the greatest headphones ever made by man anywhere so it's no wonder it's on my list of favorite headphones as well have the surround in my Listening Room it's quite comfortable to wear which is very unusual for an Audeze this particular Audeze is very comfortable very lightweight it sounds full-bodied phenomenally detailed really really layered in nuanced it's all the things that you would expect from an absolute top of the line headphone.

Audeze - LCD2 Classic

The Audeze LCD2 classics 10 years ago this was the headphone that really kicked off the journey for Audeze that really built the brand and it is even now after all these years the most affordable and to me one of my favorite Audeze of all time so sixty thousand rupees what you're getting is everything that Audeze is known for warm full body based a tremendous amount of detail and quite literally a life transforming moment when you put these headphones on and listen to your favorite soundtrack.

Focal - Utopia 2022

Focal are one of the world's greatest manufacturers of loudspeakers and they've got some phenomenal headphones the first generation Focal Utopia at an eye-watering three lakh rupee price point was just an earth-shattering headphone that decimated everybody else out there but it had some problems it never made it to my favorite list but this the newest iteration which is the Focal Utopia 2022 and another eye-watering price point of 4 lakh Rupees is definitely on my list of my favorite headphones as you would expect from a high-end French manufacturer this is an absolutely stunningly beautifully designed headphone it looks gorgeous they use only the highest quality leather on these headphones they're very very comfortable to listen to and for me what makes these headphones special is the incredible amount of detail and Nuance that you can put into a high-end headphone and Pad along with the right amplifier and DAC it's quite deeply out there with all the other flagships if not better than most of them this to me is one of the best focal headphones for anybody out there wanting to get their hands on a beautifully crafted headphone for everyone.

Focal - Radiance

The Focal Radiance this is being made in collaboration with Bentley you have a beautiful Bentley branding on the headphone as well as in the carry case true to the brand they've used very high quality materials a very very subtle easy to wear headphones and the best part they close back and relatively easy to drive Focal has made these headphones imagining that people are going to be able to put this into their backpack put this into their laptop bags and carry with this carry them everywhere on flights on planes they should be able to walk around with these headphones on and that's making a huge statement.

Sennheiser - HD 650

Some of you who know me know I'm a big history buff and especially when it comes to the history of headphones one of the most iconic headphones ever made is this the Sennheiser HD 650. Axel Grell the sound engineered Sennheiser who first developed the very first audiophile headphone the 600 and its iteration the Next Generation Improvement they're HD 650. It's got a very very important place in the audiophile journey that we've all been on over the last few years this easily is one of the greatest headphones made from Sennheiser they're very affordable especially by this video standard certainly at 25,000 rupees everybody who's owned a pair of HD 650 will tell you that they can have headphones which are running into the lakhs but when they want to listen to comforting easy music listening session something that just feels like a warm hug the Sennheiser HD 650 almost always is the headphone that they tend to go to and listen to.

Campfire Audio - Cascade

This is the Campfire Audio Cascade most of you may know Campfire Audio as an American brand famous for making really high-end IEMs like the Andromeda and the Solaris they made one headphone and this is the one the Cascade now the Cascade is not the most technical not the most revealing not the most detailed hell it's not even the greatest sounding headphone by any audiophile standard but there's one thing I absolutely love the Campfire Audio Cascade for and that's the bass it's a superb fun sounding headphone has a reasonably wide soundstage a lot of detail in there for a bass heavy headphone I don't think I've heard anything quite like this.

In-Ear Monitors

Okay so my IEM collection has also grown quite a bit over the years we've got quite a few different IEMs that I use these days um can all of them I think are special for me for different reasons I'm going to tell you what my top picks from my IEM collection are my absolute favorite in-ears out there.

Noble Audio - Sultan

All right number one and this is not cheap it's the Noble Audio Sultan absolutely love Noble Audio as a brand that's so beautifully crafted they look phenomenal and they've got a very distinct sound signature that sounds detailed technical and yet fun there's so many items after they're not fun there are a lot of things but aren't fun. Noble Audio makes IEMs that are fun and my favorite IEM is the Sultan it was the flagship it was made a couple of years back it's phenomenal it's got so many different kinds of driver types that itself would need a video on its own but I would say if I had to pick one IEM from my entire collection the sultan would be it.

64 Audio - U12t

Now this is a slightly different IEM from the sultan not as fun but its a great IEM it does everything well to me from the entire 64 audio lineup you have some eye-watering Flagship IEMs like the Trio Fourte and U18t but I really really find myself coming back to the U12t because I genuinely believe for the price of just over a lakh what you get is probably a great all-rounder IEM and if you get the U12t it's just literally one earphone that does everything so you never feel like you're missing out or you need to get another one and for that reason I would say that this is one of my favorite picks.

FiiO - FD5

Alright so here's a little secret okay I'm never going to admit this out there in public but I'll do it on YouTube one of my favorite IEM Brands is FiiO now I know that FiiO not known for their IEMs known for making some insane high-res audio players but I genuinely believe that whatever IEMs FiiO has made a phenomenal value for money it's incredible what these guys are able to churn out at such incredibly affordable price points giving you the sound that I think would cost you several times the price from some more well-established IEM Brands and there are two IEMs from FiiO that I absolutely love I'm folding them in my hand the both priced right now for less than 20,000 rupees which in my opinion makes them so affordable that almost everyone who's entering into the hobby should be able to get them

7HZ - Timeless

It is the first planar magnetic in-ear monitor done at this price point and done so well. I don't think I can think of any other IEM that started a trend quite like this did and since then you've got so many planar magnetic IEMs that have come out but the OG was the 7Hz Timeless it's just started this craze this year where everyone's got to have a planar magnetic IEM and I still think for that reason this is a very special IEM. I can't deny it's beautifully tuned it's so well balanced great piece and for twenty thousand rupees a planar magnetic IEM that sounds this good this happened free on my collection


Another planar magnetic IEM it's just kind of being this entire hyped train of planar magnetic IEMs that has led us over here from CCA it's a beautiful planar magnetic IEM sounds very very good but you're not gonna believe the price this is less than 4,000 rupees for a planar magnetic in-ear monitor I mean it's just unbelievable. I can't even believe in one video I'm talking about headphones that cost 4 lakhs and then headphones that cost 4000 rupees but that's how legendary these earphones are.

1Custom - Junior

I had recommended these earphones so so many friends and family and so many friends of mine who are professional musicians use these as in-ear monitors on stage and this way by them why because this fit into your ears literally like a glove so comfortable to wear and the sound is phenomenal for 15,000 rupees these are and probably will remain for quite some time my favorite earphones of all time.

Etymotic - ER2

Now Etymotic research as a brand is not really an audiophile's favorite in ear monitor brand these guys are super geeky super technical and their in ear monitors reflect the way that they think this in-ear monitors a single Dynamic driver it costs less than 10,000 rupees they look incredibly intrusive and that's because they are they go all the way into your ears with these triple flange eartips you know quite literally going deeper than any other in ear monitor has ever gone and for a long time I genuinely that these were the flattest sounding earphones that anybody could get this was the reference I think since then things have changed but what is undeniable is that these even today serve as a reference point for every other in ear monitor to be tuned in any way.

Final - E1000

I'm gonna tell you what my favorite in ear monitor from that entire collection is and it's not Chinese it's from Japan it's from final audio and the earphone is the Final E1000. For the price of less than 2,000 rupees I genuinely think that the Final Audio earphones may not be the most technical may not be the base heaviest may not even be the most revealing by standard audiophile terms so a lot of people don't notice the fact that the Final Audio IEMs to me are just the most beautiful all-around package they're very very well built they're incredibly comfortable none of the frequencies are too exaggerated you find that it's probably well balanced and therefore you can wear them for hours on end and for the fact that it's not a Chinese brand they've got a much higher standard to live up to the Japanese craftsmanship the attention to detail that Final Audio is perfect with these earphones I think makes it a winner but if you really want my honest recommendation for what I think everyone should get instead of the Final E1000 by spending just a little bit more money the Final E3000 is probably my favorite IEM from this entire lineup again very very comfortable very easy to listen to something that you can wear for hours on end but the E3000 unlike the E1000 now has a full metal body it's probably well built you could quite literally throw this from the balcony and it would land without a dent on it it's built to be used as an everyday earphone something you can carry everywhere and now they've just tweak the sound signature a little bit to make it a little bit more treble heavy a little bit more bass heavy there's a little bit of an extension out there so it's a lot more fun to listen to

Final - ZE3000

Okay as a special mention I have to talk about this earphone these are my favorite true wireless earbuds that I'm using right now again from Final Audio the ZE3000 it's a true Wireless earbud that the company release last year. I use these every day while I'm on a run when I'm doing yoga when I'm working out it's the best sounding true Wireless earbud I have heard period.

Chord - Mojo 2

This is no secret okay anyone who's been watching my videos over some time will know that I'm a huge fan of the Chord Mojo and then the Chord Mojo 2 this is a portable DAC and amp when I plug into my laptop or my phone I use this along with virtually every headphone that I have every IEM that I have it's the one device that I refuse to listen to music without sounds phenomenal it makes everything sound phenomenal and for that reason I absolutely have to recommend this to everyone

Chord - Qutest

At home along with my speakers I use this this is the Chord Qutest it's the Chord Mojo big brother in some senses but really uses very similar technology sounds very very good at least to me I'm a huge fan of the way that Chord Electronics is that sound. The cutest is a very simple dac it's got no bells and whistles takes a very simple digital input via USB Optical in spit out an analog output via RCA and I plug these directly to my speakers and it makes my speakers sing.

Burson Audio - Playmate 2

Okay one of my favorite headphone amplifier brands out there is Burson audio from Melbourne Australia they make some phenomenal headphone amplifiers and I genuinely believe that they're some of the nicest built amplifiers anywhere they look phenomenal they're beautiful to hold and have and the most affordable product is this Burson Audio Playmate 2. For less than 50,000 rupees what you're getting is a beautifully crafted well-built headphone amplifier. I tend to use this with all my mid-sized headphones and they all are driven perfectly well they sound beautiful along with this amplifier this also has an in-built DAC but I tend to use it along with an external DAC something like the chord Qutest and I connect to it via an RCA connection and this makes the headphones really stand-out.

HiFiMAN - EF400

So one of my favorite R-2R DAC is coming from a slightly unexpected Corner you'll find them right here in my desktop Amp & DAC stack this is the HiFiMAN EF400 yeah HiFiMAN also makes R-2R DAC guys didn't know that but the EF400 is a hard to what that on the headphone amplifier in an incredible package that sounds just phenomenal but at a price point of less than 50,000 rupees I couldn't believe it the first time I heard it I love the fact that the R-2R DAC is superbly well implemented it sounds beautiful organic just the way an R-2R DAC should but the EF400 completes the package in a beautiful headphone amplifier that just about drives every HiFiMAN out there except maybe the Susvara.

Cayin - RU6

How do you get that R-2R goodness in a portable form factor something that you can slip into your pocket and carry with you everywhere to listen to your IEMs with that's this this is the Cayin RU6 it's an R-2R DAC that's right in a tiny little form factor that you can put quite literally put into a smartphone and carry with you everywhere and plug your IEMs into for less than 20,000 rupees it's insane what you get with this.

Astell&Kern - AK XB10

So if I have to end this video with a very special product that's this the Astell&kern XB10 this is a Bluetooth DAC & Amp from Astell&Kern some would say is the world's greatest audiophile brand making some of the greatest high-res audio players money can buy and they made a portable DAC & Amp that connects to your phone via Bluetooth for Less Than 3,000 rupees it's just incredible.


All right guys this is one long list of products and I know that there are a lot of headphones that I've spoken about and the fact is that I love all of them some of them because they're just phenomenal with what they can do they sound incredible and some of them because for the price you're paying you get so much value out of it that they are absolutely steals so some headphones I like to listen to Just for my own pure listening pleasure sometimes because it's just an Indulgence but some headphones you really want to recommend to friends family people around you and you know that they're affordable so this is something that you have no qualms recommending to everybody out there the honest truth is that all of these headphones serve a very specific purpose they're all useful for something that I'm looking for something I'm craving in the music if I'm listening to music that fits a particular mood then there's invariably one headphone that I tend to go for one particular kind of IEM that I go for and if I'm in a different mood and I'm listening to music that's of a very different genre I tend to pick up something different so there's really no secret formula out there for raghav's favorite headphones but I think with this video you'll get an honest insight into what kind of headphones I tend to listen to out here in our listening group.


All right guys with that signing off thank you so much for watching and I look forward to having you listen to some of these headphones either at the experience Studio right here in Mumbai so come by say hi if you're in the neighborhood or at a headphone connect event that's happening near you we're doing a lot of shows across the country and I'm sure there'll be one that's happening close by so come by say hi and let's listen to some headphones together.