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What high end 'phones for me who prefers musicality over accuracy?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

Can I get recommendations for headphones up to around the $2000+ range?

 

My sound taste is about the same you'd find in a tube amp review: emotionally involving, endlessly musical, smooth, and just makes you want to listen to the music rather than analyze technical merits of your rig.  Something that can make anything, even bad recordings, sound musically endearing.  Accuracy and all that is not something I focus on too much.  I know some people can be "It's so accurate, etc. that you just can't stop listening" as their definition of musical, but for me its more in the traditional sense, if that makes any sense.

 

The DAC I'll be using is a MHDT Stockholm Balanced (about the same as a MHDT Havana), which is a NOS tube DAC.  The amp I'm so far interested in the most is a DNA Stratus.  Both of these components reflect my taste in sound if that helps with seeing what I like.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/609965/review-mhdt-labs-stockholm-dac

http://www.head-fi.org/t/609800/dna-stratus-2a3-amplifier-first-impressions/90

 

Quick background on past rigs:

Bijou + Valab NOS DAC + HD650 was far and away my favorite since it had everything I described above.  Extremely lush, romantic sound that made you want to listen to it endlessly.  My honest desire is to replicate this sound except on a higher tier of sound.

 

Audeze LCD2 + Violectric V200 (using its built in USB DAC) was a resounding MEH.  In a technical sense it blew away the above setup for soundstage, dynamics, extension, and all that, but it had very little emotional involvement or musicality for me.  I'd put it on and WANT to like it since it was so damn expensive, but I'd just take it off maybe just a couple songs later.  There was absolutely nothing that I could really say that was bad about the sound... it just didn't captivate me on a emotional level, I guess.  

post #2 of 54
I would give the lcd2 another try. The V200 isnt exactly an emotionally involving amp/dac combo. My lcd2 was warm and lush running it from a tube dac and a tube amp. The lcd3 shows more flaws in the music so I probably woudnt go that route. The lcd2 is probably the warmest of the higher end cans that I can think of right now. An LA7000 if you want a closed can can be fun.
post #3 of 54
Thread Starter 

TBH I'm pretty hesitant of the LCD2 simply due to my horrible experience... I tried it with a Mapletree Super II and it had the same issue of no emotional involvement... though it might've just been a bad combo.  However, I'm not necessarily after "warm", more musicality, if that makes sense.

 

I'm not too much after a fun can; I had the D2000 which were pretty damn bassy but ultimately had the same issue of uninvolvement as the LCD2.

post #4 of 54

You might like the Stax SR-007, it sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

post #5 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlylover View Post

You might like the Stax SR-007, it sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

Interesting... hadn't thought any electrostat would have the sound I want.  Definitely adding this to the list.

 

However, I'm not really keen to electrostats needing their own amps apart from dynamics.  So I'm kinda sorta hoping there's something out there that's even more of the sound that I want, but in Dynamic form. 

post #6 of 54

denon d7000

post #7 of 54
Koss ESP/950 - you said "improve on the Sennheiser" after all. They'll add more bass extension, and give you back mids and treble with more detail and speed than the 580/6x0 know what to do with (and you can feed them the most sibilant, harsh, nasty tracks you want, and they still won't ring or pierce - they'll just reproduce whats on the cut). The fit is fairly similar too (the earcups are bigger, but they fit fairly similarly, so if you thought the 650 was comfy, the 950 will be equally comfy (probably better, due to less clamp, but decidedly not worse)). I'd leave well enough alone with the E/90 amp too - you don't need to spend $2000+ for good sound. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 54

The first headphone to do this for me was the Denon 7000, and it still does.
 

post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by CountChoculaBot View Post

Interesting... hadn't thought any electrostat would have the sound I want.  Definitely adding this to the list.

 

However, I'm not really keen to electrostats needing their own amps apart from dynamics.  So I'm kinda sorta hoping there's something out there that's even more of the sound that I want, but in Dynamic form. 

 

possibly the best of both worlds with the Stax SR-007

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
Find us at www.HeadAmp.com

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post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by CountChoculaBot View Post

Interesting... hadn't thought any electrostat would have the sound I want.  Definitely adding this to the list.

 

However, I'm not really keen to electrostats needing their own amps apart from dynamics.  So I'm kinda sorta hoping there's something out there that's even more of the sound that I want, but in Dynamic form. 

 

For dynamics, I'd suggest the Fostex TH900. That or buy a D7000 and send it to Lawton Audio.

post #11 of 54

Good lord.  The 007 is the only correct answer here.  Seriously.

 

/thread

post #12 of 54

SR-o2smile.gifo2smile.gif7

 

Edit: I'm kind of tempted to try a HE-6 with a Cary CAD 120S MKII given how the HE-6 has reportedly done well with a Cary SLI 80, but still, SR007.


Edited by Elysian - 6/26/12 at 6:06pm
post #13 of 54

Agreed, HE-6 is nice.

 

 

But, y'know, 007.

post #14 of 54
Thread Starter 

Hmm definitely taking all the suggestions into consideration.  In regards to the SR-007, would the MKI or MKII suit me better, assuming I can find a MKI?

post #15 of 54

Just get a used mk2.  If you want a little less midbass and less roll off in the deep bass, plug the ports and it'll sound pretty much like the mk1.  Port mod is fully reversible to boot.  Oh, and you get the nice leather earpads by getting the mk2.

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