Hello Summit-Fi'ers. This is my first venture into the "back room" of Head-Fi, many of you already know me and my opinions and tastes, some of your probably don't.
I'm contemplating wading into one piece of summit-fi kit and wanted to get a bit of advice on what direction to go in that realm. For those not familiar with my setup, I'm a huge fan of HD650, currently running with a Silver Dragon cable, and of HE-400, just upgraded to Blue Dragon cable.
Those two compete for 90% of my head-time. And I do not want my summit kit to replace them, only to compliment them as sort of a "Sunday drive" kind of special treat. I also have D5000 for my electronic music and for when I need a semi-closed can for a little more isolation, and I suspect D5k will remain my dedicated electronic music can no matter what I get for summit. I'm a fan of my K702, but I find I listen to them less and less. Yet I get surprised by them when I give them a spin. I used them for the Cheskey binaural CD and was very impressed by them. Yet I somehow still keep them at the bottom of the heap for some reason.
My primary music is jazz, classical, and world. Electronic is for the Denons, and any other genres are a small percentage (bluegrass, pop, rock) For world, I almost always pick HD650. For Jazz I pick HD650 about 50% of the time, HE-400 50%. For classical, contrary to most audiophiles that think that bright, over-emphasized treble sounds good for classical, I almost universally pick HE-400 for that genre. The dark weighty tone sounds far more like a concert hall than any bright tinkly "airy" headphone that to me, like K702" sounds more like the conductors podium than a seat in the hall.
My "end game" or mostly end-game source is a Squeezebox Touch feeding a Schiit Bifrost feeding a Schiit Lyr (with various tube choices) and also feeding an O2 for the Denons. Yes, I'm well aware that is not a summit-fi source chain, and many summit-fier's will say that it's unworthy to feed headphones of that class with amps of that class. However I'm also aware that most summit-fier's will say the headphone is more important than the source....so I'll start there. I have an interest in Schiit's statement gear next year, but it depends on what it does as to whether I consider Lyr & O2 "endgame" or not. I have a nice tube collection growing for Lyr so I'm not hugely interested in changing it out. It's a nice little amp.
I'm fairly treble sensitive and K702 can fatigue me too easily. So can D5k at times on the wrong albums. For that reason I've mostly ruled out T1 and HD800, though part of me still wants to be talked into HD800. Thin and nasal classical can be detailed but doesn't sound realistic to me. Thus why HE-400 tends to win out over HD650 and K702 for classical for me. I swear most audiophiles have never been to a live orchestra given the choices many suggest for classical!
So between LCD-2, HD800, (I'm unsure of T1, I hate hardwired cables from a durability perspective), LCD-3, Signature Pro....there's quite a bit of choice to make. I've MOSTLY ruled out TH900, but I won't discount it. I know it's very good, but I can't help but see it as a really expensive Denon Dx000, with that v-shaped curve and the same ergonomics and construction. I'm not sure I want my summit-fi piece to be an overgrown Denon "v". LCD-2 vs LCD-3....they seem so similar, but they seem slightly differently voiced in addition to whatever detail/speed improvements it has. Those of you who have owned both...what would you consider the principal differences between them?
I wouldn't rule out LCD-2 + HD800....it's possible to get both for the same price as a new LCD-3 if going used...maybe that would be a good route to go... Or maybe LCD-2 is really all I'm looking for.
So summit-fiers, help out head-fi-er looking for a taste of the elite! What would you suggest?