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HD800, T1 or LCD-2 on a small system

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 

I will get the chance to audition these three at my local shop in the next week where the T1 and LCD2 are priced $1000 and the HD800 $1200.

I will be listening 90% of the time through an iphone (320mp3) and ALO RX mkII and 10% of the time through a Cyrus CD/ Amp output to the ALO (the Cyrus has no headphone socket).


I listen primarily to electronic music with some ambient, classical and rock thrown in and am looking for a meatier upgrade to my pair of 325is. I will likely keep the Grados, so a complimentary pair would be cool.


My question is, do I just go for the pair which sounds best in the shop or should I take into account that I may in the future buy a full sized amp to attach to the Cyrus system and take into account that the Senns may scale up better?


This will likely be my last purchase for a while so I'm looking for a good all-rounder.

post #2 of 65

You picked three headphones that are likely to disappoint if you don't have the right kind of headamp to drive them from day one. It's like a Porsche 911 stuck in traffic. You might need a rethink.

post #3 of 65
Thread Starter 

ALO RX mkII not good enough for these three? I listened to the LCD2's already and liked them, although I could tell they would sound even better through a proper amp.

I figure get the best possible cans now and maybe upgrade my hifi later.

post #4 of 65

yeah even i know that when you spend that much on headphones the amp should cost atleast that much, and then add a good dac into the equation... things get expensive.


Go for a more humble system

post #5 of 65

I agree with WiR3D and Baxide; if you do not have the proper amplifier to drive these headphones, while purchasing them is fine, you may be left disappointed as they will not sound their best.

post #6 of 65

I think you will find the HD800 really poor from your portable because they demand high volume levels to get the neutral sound they can so eloquently deliver.  The T1 is going to sound the same, but with an even more distant veil.  The LCD-2 is going to sound the loudest and probably the best under your listening conditions at the shop.


I would look at the problem more like this.  What do you plan on listening to 90% of the time.  I listen to everything from Slaid Cleaves to Dream Theatre so I need a headphone that performs well and delivers a highly enjoyable listening experience.  If you plan on doing just this then the LCD-2 will most likely be the best bet, but the AKG K550 or Denon D2000 would surely be a less expensive way to get such an experience.


If you plan on doing 50% recording and 50% listening to high quality audio files then the HD-800 may be the best for you as long as you ask around as to what amp drives them well.  They were extremely neutral and sounded a bit boring out of my m903.  I also had to increase the volume 20% to really enjoy listening to music, but at these sound levels I was very concerned with my hearing.  I now use a pair of Denon AH-D2000 and they sound awesome through the m903.


Hope that helps.

post #7 of 65

Check those phones on your gear and take a decision by yourself.

You'll need an adaptor (6.3mm to 3.5mm) for HD 800 and T1. Same for LCD 2, I think, but not sure.

Powered by the headphone jack of my old Technics CDP my HD 800 sounds surprisingly good.

Edited by Mr Blonde - 5/22/12 at 4:02pm
post #8 of 65

T1 if you're looking for an all-rounder that plays all genres of music (good or bad quality recordings) with aplomb. The other two may sound terrible with certain types of music, the HD800 sounding terrible with poor recordings.

post #9 of 65

I've got no bigger problems with bad recordings on HD 800 compared to HD 590.

But the TO has to listen to his music on his equipment to take a decision.

According to his portable rig that'll be easy for him.

post #10 of 65
Originally Posted by jonnyt View Post
This will likely be my last purchase for a while so I'm looking for a good all-rounder.


FWIW I chose the T1 due to its all-rounder tag.

post #11 of 65

show about an HE500 + an amp (and dac) for your 1200usd budget?

post #12 of 65

I've found that there is a growing population here on head-fi of Grado/BeyerDynamic people. I just sort of happened to gravitate in these two directions and love it, and then found that there were lots of others out there who had found they love the same combination. I love my T1s as a complement to my Grados since Grados are traditionally bright whereas the T1s are quite neutral. I don't prefer a darker sound or I may have considered something like the LCD-2s. I have three pairs of Grados and I just bought my third pair of Beyers (although I sold one previously when I upgraded to the T1s) and I can assure you that ALL of them get head time. 


I definitely agree that the T1s need good gear, but I dont' agree that you have to spend a lot of money. I have a Meier Jazz amp with an Audioengine D1 DAC, and the pair cost just a little over five bills. I consider the D1 one of the best kept secrets in audio...I love it...and Meier gear has an excellent reputation around these parts. There are lots of other ways to go, this is just one example. 

post #13 of 65

The HD800 should sound worse than the other 2 as I'm able to regularly pick out 320kb mp3s when my friends try to eff w/ me.  The T1 and LCD2 are a level below the HD800 in resolving ability.  If they sound similar in ability then it's you chain holding back the HD800.  Just a heads up.  Just get what you think sounds best on what gear you will use.  If you don't have a chain that can get out of the way sufficiently, the HD800 is a waste of money.  An iphone w/ 320 and the ALO RX mk2 isn't near good enough technically as a matter of fact.  Subjectively, anyone could like anything but you won't be hearing what the HD800 can do. 

post #14 of 65
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses. I had thought that it was best to get the highest quality cans now, even if my kit wouldn't get the best out of them so that there are fewer things to upgrade in the future but you are all making me rethink that.


I had also forgotten that I have another listening option, the headphone jack on my surround amp ($500 Marantz) driven from Marantz CD player or iPhone LOD. I won't get to audition the cans on it but I guess it will easily be powerful enough to drive whatever pair I decide on, although I'm not sure of the quality?


I also auditioned the HD650 and while I slightly prefered the LCD2, I still enjoyed them a lot. I'm now leaning towards getting those unless one of the other pairs blows me away. This way, I save $500 and if in the future I am able to move my Cyrus system to a more convenient place for headphone listening and add a $1000 headamp, I can decide then if it is worth keeping the 650's or upgrading to one of the cans I originally mentioned.


I suppose my new decision is,

a) buy a better set of cans now than my current system deserves (eg LCD2) and in the future buy a good desktop amp


b) buy a better matched set of cans now (HD650 or D2000) and in the future, think about upgrading both amp and cans

post #15 of 65

I vote Denon D5000/D7000 + Yulong D100 II DAC/amp

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