Best Headphone for Headline

Hi everyone

the tread on the headphones intrigued me and led me to evaluate the purchase of a headset in order to hear music in the evening when the whole family goes to bed.

I intend to take a headline / napsc (maybe later I will evaluate an upgrade with hicap).

at the moment I would like to maintain the Naim brand and not evaluate other options.

based on the budget that I set myself, I identified three models of headphones: Sennheiser HD660,
Sennheiser HD700,
Beyerdynamic T90.

any suggestions on which fits best with the Headline?

Thx in advance


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Having just sold my headline 2, i was using grado sr325e and found they worked well together, the new sennheiser hd800s didn’t go very well

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I used the Focal Elears for a while with HL2 and NAPSC 2, which worked very well with good drive and a nice balance to the sound. Designed to go with Naim gear, so I imagine most Focal headphones would be a good and safe match at whatever price point you’re looking at…

I’m using Sennheiser HD700’s. They’re very detailed, but a bit bass light.
Haven’t tried other options yet.

I have the Beyerdynamic Amiron, which are the replacement for the T90. I recommend listening to a few models. Work out if you prefer open or closed back, over or on ear, and weight/fit. The weight/fit becomes more important if you’re planning to wear them regularly for long periods. Enjoy your search.

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There are a lot of great headphones available today.

After you have decided on a budget, you will have to choose between an open back or a closed back design.

Next you will have to choose between dynamic driver or planar magnetic technology.

Another thing to consider is the length and termination of the headphone cable included with the headphone.

The last and most important thing is comfort.

One affordable headphone that is not on your list is the Sennheiser/Drop HD6xx. It is an open back headphone with dynamic drivers.

Other headphones you might consider are the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO (open back, dynamic driver), Hifiman Sundara (open back, planar magnetic), Meze 99 Classics (closed back, dynamic driver).

As I mentioned above, there are a lot of great headphones available today.

Enjoy your search!

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If you are planning to use them when others are not in the same room, I suggest open backed phones.
Comfort is a huge issue, just as much as sound quality. They can be the best sounding set in the world but if you can’t wear them for some time, they are a waste of money. I have little hair up top so a comfortable headband was important. Some are harder than others and lead to sore scalp.
I always listen when the wife is watching her crap on TV, so I went for closed backed, the Mezze 99 Classics.
Try before you buy if you can.


Wise words from @Neilb1906, comfort and SQ are almost equally important if you want to listen for extended periods. For many years I used a pair of Senn HD650 with my Headline2/NAPSC and found the combination worked well. I have recently purchased a pair of Meze Empyreans and so far my view is that they are not particularly good with the Headline2/NAPSC. Currently I use the Meze’s primarily with a Chord Hugo 2 and this combination is excellent. I am waiting to trial the Headline2 with a Hicap DR to see it that improves things.
If you can, audition the phones and Headline/NAPSC together before purchase.


Regarding the HeadLine 2 and flagship headphones: I have tried a few flagship headphones (Focal Utopia, Hifiman HE1000, Hifiman HE1000se) with the HeadLine (powered by the HiCap DR). In my opinion, the flagship headphones reveal the limitations of the HeadLine. If you are lucky enough to own a flagship headphone there are better options than the HeadLine headphone amplifier.


Thanks for your comments - very interesting that you have seen Headline2 limitations with high end phones even when powered by a Hicap DR. Although personally I havent tried the Headline2/Hicap DR combo yet, I have a horrible feeling I will come to the same conclusion.
I wonder if Naim have stopped Headline2 production because they realise a “higher quality” replacement is now required(?). We will have to wait and see.
Going back to the original post from @angelodipa, despite my above comments, I personally would still recommend the Senn HD650’s with a Headline2/NAPSC - a good combination which I used for many years.

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The best headphones are ones that are not connected to a headline…

Throw it away and get a decent amp first…

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From my experience, the Headline2 comes to life with a SuperCap DR, but there are plenty of alternatives to consider.

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Did you try a Headline with Supercap?

I’d also strongly recommend you try and audition some of the top-end Grados, preferably well run in.

No, I have not tried the HeadLine with a SuperCap power supply.

I’m in Canada, and a SuperCap DR currently has a suggested retail price of $9,690.00 plus tax.

I would love to hear from anyone driving a flagship headphone with a HeadLine powered by a SuperCap DR.

In my opinion, some hard to drive flagship headphones benefit from a balanced headphone amplifier. I hope Naim are developing a flagship headphone amplifier with a balanced output option.

thank you very much for your always valuable advice … unfortunately in the city where I live I have no way to make demos … I only have an Ultrasone dealer … he offered me an Ultrasone Edition 11 … for all the rest would take specifically for without being able to try them first …

considering a budget of around € 500 (which is the value of a second-hand HL / Napsc), what alternatives could I consider?

Mike has recently purchased the Heed Canalot III which is being powered by the Q-PSU. It’s warming up at the moment but soon he’ll be able to report upon his experiences compared to the headphone amp in his SN2. This combination is slightly over budget but it is a possible alternative to a Headline/NAPSC.

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Over here @angelodipa

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Have to 100% agree on the statement, that top flight headphones need something better than a headline, even if you power it with a supercap. I tried mine with it being powered from a hicap, 552, and supercap, and it didn’t really make much difference, but then it only used one power rail, so really why would it?
I just replace mine with a violectic V281 into my sennheiser hd800s and its just great, really showing up the limits of the headline 2, even my older grado sr325e sound much better.
If you are serious about headphones or maybe looking at using headphones more, i would get a better amp, simple, the headline is just about ok at the £300 second hand mark, as long as you dont need to buy a power supply to use it and your headphones are just for the odd occasions and you want to keep it naim.