Pros: Lush, warm and inviting sound
Cons: Needs proper amping to excel
HE5LE /LCD2/HD650 /HD800 mini review
Interesting, unexpected or maybe expected outcomes.
Music used: Sarah Brightman, Norah Jones, Katherine Jenkins, Alisson Krauss, Eagles, Infected Mushroom.
DAC: Audio Gd DAC19DSP (neutral)+ Audio Gd Ref9 (slightly warm)
Amps: Meier Audio Concerto+ Violectric V200+ Lehmann BCL
Cables: original cables that came with the headphones.
Comfort/Fit: HD800=HE5LE> HD650> LCD2
Upper Highs: HD800>HE5LE>HD650>LCD2
Lower Highs: HE5LE>HD800>LCD2>HD650
Overall SQ: HE5LE>LCD2>HD650>HD800
Rank 1) HE5LE: Has my vote for best overall SQ , is not dominant in any one frequency range just gels nicely when amped well. Has a slightly lush and warm sound that is pleasing to my ears even during peaks of songs rendered by Sarah Brightman and Katherine Jenkins, where the only other headphone that was able to keep up was the HD650. Vocals are soothing, bass quality is adequate and in abundance. Cymbals and the like are produced faithfully. The mids however could be improved upon.
Preferred DAC/amp for HE5LE : DAC19/V200
Rank 2) LCD2: A good headphone that is badly let down by the comfort level or rather the lack of it . Clamping force on side of head has not decreased even after 3 weeks of stretching and use. Has an over emphasis on the lower highs that renders some genres of music eg female vocals shrill and fatiguing. The mids are excellent and very life like and bass quality is good .
Preferred DAC/amp for LCD2 : Ref9/Concerto
Rank 3) HD650: A bit of a find, has the best bang for buck. Has a similar sound sig as the HE5LE except that it loses out to the speed and detail retrieval of both the Orthodynamics. Seems that orthos are the way to go. An otherwise excellent headphone and like I mentioned for the HE5LE earlier no particular weaknesses or bad traits except maybe the fit could be better, a bit loose on my head.
Preferred DAC/amp: DAC19/V200
Rank4) HD800: I have tried very hard to like or find something to like about the most expensive member of my little club but I find the bass lacking and the upper and lower highs emphasized making the mids sound hollow and unnatural for female vocals which I mostly listen to. The headstage and detail retrieval is excellent, this expansive soundstage IMO is better suited for classical music.
Preferred DAC/amp: Ref9/v200