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Is Head-Fi Witnessing The Rise Of Two New Kings

post #1 of 425
Thread Starter 

I've only been using this forum for a few months and like so many others I accidentally wound up finding this site while Googling some information on headphones and quickly realized what a treasure trove of valuable information Head-Fi was. Being a natural people watcher and complete noob who did not wish to embarrass myself with my ignorance of the hobby I quietly lurked around the threads the first few weeks soaking in impressions and information all the while noticing something interesting happening amongst some of the forums users. Traditionally companies such as Sennheiser Audio Technica and AKG etc have been the tried and true go to headphone companies for many an audiophile and rank and file music lover. Over the last few months though I've noticed a rather interesting trend appearing amongst many of the more hardcore members of this site in that two relatively new headphone lines seem to be grabbing more and more of the sites bandwidth as more and more users become drawn into very detailed discussions concerning these products sound signature. The headphones I'm speaking of are the  Audeze LCD-2 and Hifiman headphone lines. It seems no matter where I go on the net I always seem to run across some sort of thread throwing praise on the LCD-2 or one of the Hifiman headphones. It's almost like a quiet revolution is going on and a new bar has been raised in headphone audio quality. It's gotten so bad it seems even the professional reviewers can't review a companies top headphone without drawing a comparison to the LCD-2 or the Hifiman HE 6 which would later evolve into adoration for the HE 500.

 

 

 

Audeze LCD-2.jpg   hifiman_he500.jpg

 

Audeze LCD-2                                                                                              Hifiman HE-500

 

What do you think ladies and gentlemen? Are we witnessing the rise of two new kings or will all the hype eventually die down as time goes by and other more established companies start to take notice and compete for mind share? Feedback from people who have heard or have owned these cans would be appreciated. Above all what I would like to know is are these headphones really all that and why are they all that? I await your comments with interest. darthsmile.gif

post #2 of 425
well considering that the LCD-2 is the number 1 'phone on the site(according to the Head Gear section) I'd say that at least that one is successful.

Haven't heard as much about HE-500 though
post #3 of 425

Good article here from Tyll on the development of the Hifiman range. The ubiquity of these and the LCD-2 on Head-Fi makes it easy to forget this planar magnetic resurgence is still in its relative infancy. If the perhaps subjective superiority of this tech is all it seems then surely the big boys will inevitably enter the fray. It'll be interesting to observe if a plateau has been reached with the LCD-2/HE-6/500 flagships and whether enthusiasts who aren't early adaptors will flock to this tier in time.


Edited by olor1n - 6/15/11 at 10:06pm
post #4 of 425

Well the LCD-2 isn't exactly an underdog, it's the second most popular high end can here.

 

The HE500 is relatively unknown in comparison, which is very strange considering they're unbelievably good and in my and a few others' opinion, superior to all of the high end dynamic cans (except maybe the T1, they're very similar and I'm still A/Bing) and a hell of a lot cheaper.

post #5 of 425

The LCD-2's are my first pair of cans ever.


Edited by WarriorAnt - 6/16/11 at 8:14am
post #6 of 425
I've heard the LCD2 and let's just say that I am not at all surprised at how popular they are. The LCD2, or more likely its successor, will be my next upgrade.
post #7 of 425

It's nice having so many more options at the ~1k price point, there was definitely a void in between the mainstream $500 'flagships', the old school flagships, and Stax.

 

I've had the LCD-2 over for a while, and it's really damn good. It certainly does live up to it's hype, but as good as they are, I feel they aren't quite up there with the old dogs.

 

For a thousand bucks though, you certainly get more than what you pay for, and that's what matters for a lot of people.

post #8 of 425
I bought the LCD-2's just for the box.
post #9 of 425

We're in an Ortho Craze right now, that's all. Anything Ortho is in. 

 

That said... I love the LCD2 to death.

post #10 of 425

In a word: Yes.

 

I've been a fan of the vintage orthos but the LCD-2 and Hifiman orthos have really, really impressed me.

 

As this thread shows, it all comes down to personal preference.

 

For my ears - in direct comparrison of the "old guard" big boy dynamics and the "upstart" orthos, it's not so much that there are new contenders, but that the old contenders need to do some work to come back into contention. £1000 for the HD800 and T1 seemed outlandish when they were released. Sat in a room next to the cheaper and IMO better new orthos it seems untennable.

 

I still like Stax the best, but for me the new orthos have bumped the dynamics even further down my pecking order.

 

I really do think that dynamic phones are going to become less and less relevant. They aren't going to go anywhere as they still have their merits and for portability are obviously ideal but I think the big manufacturers are going to have to pull something extremely special out of the bag or preferrably just reduce their prices so they are relative to their quality.

post #11 of 425

How do people feel about the ortho craze at the moment, compared to the high end electrostats? The 'summit-fi' forum seems to be a slightly different social circle to here, but Stax still appears to be as much of a favourite as the orthos are over there.

post #12 of 425

Both are wonderful, I have heard the LCD-2, truly superb, and the HE-500 looks equally stunning, but the kings are dynamic headphones, the likes of Sennheiser, Denon, Beyer, Grado etc sell in the millions, not hundreds.

Not bashing orthos, I have a pair, but as headphones are consumable items its a non-contest.

post #13 of 425
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post

I bought the LCD-2's just for the box.


You would  cool.gif

 

I can't wait to hear them.
 

 

post #14 of 425

Quote:

Originally Posted by b0wl1ng View Post

Both are wonderful, I have heard the LCD-2, truly superb, and the HE-500 looks equally stunning, but the kings are dynamic headphones, the likes of Sennheiser, Denon, Beyer, Grado etc sell in the millions, not hundreds.

Not bashing orthos, I have a pair, but as headphones are consumable items its a non-contest.

 
This is true at the low to mid priced headphones level and won't change for a while, if ever.

 

But the high end headphone market is a small and knowledgeable one. The average punter on the street doesn't walk into a shop and buy a £500 + headphone much less a £1000 headphone.

 

People planning on going high end with headphones will either already be a part of this online community or be asking advice of people they know who are experts.

 

Its actually a much more level playing field at the high end as value is based around expert reviews and word of mouth - tiny companies like Audez'e and Hifiman can genuinely eat into the sales of the high end offerings of beyer, Sennheiser, Denon, Grado, Audio Technica et al and I would guess certainly have done.

 

On this higher level - I do think that Audez'e and Hifiman are already established as contenders.
 


 

 

post #15 of 425

Kings are crowned and de-throned on a regular basis here.

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