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Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) UPDATE: AUDEZ'E LCD-2 Revision 2 (6/4/13) - Page 73

post #1081 of 4946

I've told them that in three separate posts, David, but they just won't listen to me.  biggrin.gif

post #1082 of 4946
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

I feel I should just reiterate that my rankings were a very abstract realization of my personal opinion.  Obviously, its fun for me to look at the chart, and its very flattering for some people to consider my rankings as meaningful, but please remember that its just my personal opinion :)gs1000.gif

 

All good. It's just the nature of the process. There is very little choice in creating a list of this sort without falling back to absolute strata. The other approach would be to create an even more subjective ranking that would simply invite endless rancor. What you laid out in your listing is very helpful David, and of course it's your listing. It's just that one cannot read it as meaning something as simplistic as say "the HD800 ranked # 6 must be so much better than the HD650 ranked # 20." I guess if we look at it as an order of preference of sound quality then there is no problem. No doubt others (using the same headphones) would have different preference lists. But with a large enough sample we should expect certain headphones to generally occupy certain ranges within the lists. Yours is a starting block reference list of extensive value. It's very much appreciated.

post #1083 of 4946
Thread Starter 

I don't mean to sound as though you shouldn't make the charts and/or take my ranking with some consideration.  It's very reassuring, after having put so much time (and $) into the project that people have considered the evaluation so highly.  I don't want to seem ungrateful and i don't ever mean to discourage the enthusiasm or creativity which you and others have shown in evaluating my review.  Please know that :).  I only want make it clear that it is never my personal intent for my opinions or rankings to be considered "the correct one."  Obviously, I agree with my own opinions LOL, but not everyone will. hehehe


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/18/12 at 7:38pm
post #1084 of 4946

Sorry for hjiacking but i see you wrote about HD600 when paired with a decent amp for $1k is not a bad setup in value compare to the Orpheus. What amp particularly you was thinking about?

post #1085 of 4946
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterob View Post

Sorry for hjiacking but i see you wrote about HD600 when paired with a decent amp for $1k is not a bad setup in value compare to the Orpheus. What amp particularly you was thinking about?


Over time, I've probably heard the HD600 and HD650 paired with a greater variety of amps than any other headphone.  It seems to me that it is impossible to make them sound bad.  I've never heard either of those headphones sound bad.  While I've heard them on DIY's and a handful of Meier sub $1000 amps (all good).... one of the best sounds I get with them in this price category is the Larocco PRII.  I'm confident that the Triad Audio L3 (which is built also by Phil Larocco) would sound awesome with the HD600.

post #1086 of 4946

David, have you considered doing a Battle of the Flagship Amps?  :-D

post #1087 of 4946
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendoji View Post

David, have you considered doing a Battle of the Flagship Amps?  :-D


:)

I don't think I have the space nor $ to do it haha

post #1088 of 4946
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post


Over time, I've probably heard the HD600 and HD650 paired with a greater variety of amps than any other headphone.  It seems to me that it is impossible to make them sound bad.  I've never heard either of those headphones sound bad.  While I've heard them on DIY's and a handful of Meier sub $1000 amps (all good).... one of the best sounds I get with them in this price category is the Larocco PRII.  I'm confident that the Triad Audio L3 (which is built also by Phil Larocco) would sound awesome with the HD600.

 

 

You shouldn't go around saying that in public on head-fi.  biggrin.gif

Almost every HD650 apologist/loyalist likes to talk about how well they scale, and that they don't sound good off lesser amps.

post #1089 of 4946
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

 

 

You shouldn't go around saying that in public on head-fi.  biggrin.gif

Almost every HD650 apologist/loyalist likes to talk about how well they scale, and that they don't sound good off lesser amps.

Well, there's some truth in both perceptions.

 

 

I don't feel that at its worst, the HD650 sounds bad.  However, when plugged into a balanced amp, in full balanced mode, the HD650 (and HD600) has the ability to sit alongside the best headphones ever made!

 

So, perhaps what you can extract from my statements is that it always sounds good if amped, but to have it sound GREAT or OUTSTANDING, you do need to spend a bit more $.

post #1090 of 4946
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Well, there's some truth in both perceptions.

 

 

I don't feel that at its worst, the HD650 sounds bad.  However, when plugged into a balanced amp, in full balanced mode, the HD650 (and HD600) has the ability to sit alongside the best headphones ever made!

 

So, perhaps what you can extract from my statements is that it always sounds good if amped, but to have it sound GREAT or OUTSTANDING, you do need to spend a bit more $.

 

 

I'll toast to that.  Also, I plan on getting a pair of 600s just for GP.

 

 

1000

post #1091 of 4946

The only bad thing about this review is that I wont be updating my PXC300 any time soon. All models reviewed exhibit shortcomings that I would find unacceptable, except for the Orpheus and the Electrostatics. And since I wont be buying an Orpheus and I do not own an electrostatic amp, I am going to be in for a very long wait. Certainly my PXC300 have shortcomings, but no different to the other models I was considering. 

 

Sadly for me, transient response / "speed", detail and grain free presentation are top of my list. I am a bit surprised that one has to pay so much to tick all three boxes, but better to know this now rather than waste money on half baked solutions. Thanks for the reality check, David. I realise the reviews are your own opinion, however of the models we have both heard, I am 100% in agreement with your observations. Given this and the fact we both listen to classical, I am fairly confident our opinions would be similar across all the models.


Edited by ADD - 11/19/12 at 12:05pm
post #1092 of 4946
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post

The only bad thing about this review is that I wont be updating my PXC300 any time soon. All models reviewed exhibit shortcomings that I would find unacceptable, except for the Orpheus and the Electrostatics. And since I wont be buying an Orpheus and I do not own an electrostatic amp, I am going to be in for a very long wait. Certainly my PXC300 have shortcomings, but no different to the other models I was considering. 

 

Sadly for me, transient response / "speed", detail and grain free presentation are top of my list. I am a bit surprised that one has to pay so much to tick all three boxes, but better to know this now rather than waste money on half baked solutions. Thanks for the reality check, David.

This is an interesting post and I feel obliged to comment.

 

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read the review:)

I want to express here that I was very hard on the headphones, because the majority of them were flagship models (or at some point were flagship models).  For instance, if I had no criticism of the HD800, LCD-3, HE-6, SR-007, R10 etc. they would all likely sound the same.  By not homing in on the distinctions (and sonic "flaws" as I hear them), there would be no way to differentiate and express and value the qualities of the headphone's performance.

 

Now four things:

 

1. Every headphone is likely to not be the best at everything.  In fact, it is impossible as far as I'm concerned.  And with this in mind, it is impossible for me not to have at least one criticism.  So if I comment that a headphone lacks some transparency, it doesn't mean that the headphone "sucks" or the headphone sounds as non-transparent as a 10 dollar no-name earbud from Walmart.

 

2.  It would be impossible for me to express with extreme accuracy the degree of "intensity" of a flaw.  Let me clarify because I feel I'm phrasing what I mean to say in a confusing way.... If I say a headphone has something off about the treble, it doesn't mean that the treble is terrible and it doesn't mean that if another headphone also has something off about its treble, that they're equally "off."  I try to explain in details what I find off about it, but even with this in mind, it's impossible to accurately suggest how two headphones compare in every sense, let alone 50 or more.

 

3. While you may find some issues with your headphone (in this case the PXC300), it does not mean that if I express the same issues with another headphone, that they are of equal intensity.  The HD800 sounds MUCH better than the PXC300, even though they may share some similar criticisms (and I'm not saying they do share the same criticisms, but I'm using it as an example.)  I make these criticisms not simply because I take issue with it; I make these criticisms because the quality of sound offered throughout the headphones in this review is so high, that I am in fact comparing the majority of the headphones/earphones here on a different level than I would a PXC300.  

 

4. Lastly, if it helps shed any light on the matter, I did rank the strengths and weaknesses in the approximate order of significance to my ranking.


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/19/12 at 12:40pm
post #1093 of 4946

Thanks for the clarifications David. Prior to your review, I had shortlisted the Beyerdynamic T70 and Shure SRH1840 as replacements, since they fitted within the budget, are premium models and have been reported as being good for classical, which I listen to exclusively. Unfortunately, given the country I live in, it isnt possible to hear the Shure prior to purchase, though in recent weeks I had felt this was probably going to be the best phone to have. I have had the PXC300 for about 5 years now and it's main weaknesses are the hiss (and slight increase in distortion) due to the noise cancellation circuit (unfortunately the phones are voiced to work only with it turned on) and a slight thin-ness to the sound. On the other hand, their incredible speed - right up there with electrostatics - and clarity at lower volume levels have seen them win out over and over again as I have auditioned some well regarded premium phones over the last couple of years.

 

I have had quite a lot of experience with the HD600 and whilst I think it is tonally extremely good, it has a distinct disadvantage compared to the PXC300 in terms of transient response and clarity at low volume levels and long term listening fatigue. I pretty much have to listen about 8 - 10 dB higher on the HD600 than I do the PXC300 to get the same proportion of scale and thus listening satisfaction in a classical work, and the sluggishness of response of the HD600 in comparison does not help. You'd think it would be easy to find a replacement for a headphone that wasn't anywhere near the top of the Sennheiser range 5 years ago and even though they cost me $400 back then, I have never found a substitute. I was going to bite the bullet and go with electrostatics, but I have two wonderful and excellent sounding Musical Fidelity XCan V8 amps in perfect condition (and a few spare pairs of expensive Mullard CV4009 tubes) and I would prefer not to see these amps go to waste so to speak. I'd have to sell them to afford the electrostatics and even then there is no guarantee I would prefer the result to a very good dynamic in any case.

 

So I though the Shure was a "safe" route to navigate, but I was put off by your comments about it's weaknesses. Then again, given your clarification, if you feel the Shure has less grain than the PXC300 and comparable "speed", then of course it is unlikely that I would find the Shure to be weak in this regard. As I say, were it not for the fact that the HD600 is very slow on it's feet compared to the PXC300 and needs a significantly higher listening level, I think it would have made a nice phone, but I have been there done that with phones that are not super-fast in the way they respond and I have never been able to live with them for more than a couple of months. The modest PXC300 though, I have lived happily with for 5 years. It is now only that my source and transport have now improved to the point where I have been able to further decrease listening volumes (since more detail is revealed) that the hiss has become an issue. I might even have given the Amperiors a go, but I am almost certain their impedance will cause hiss problems with the Musical Fideliry (plug a Shure SE215 into it and it hisses like crazy).

 

To make matters more difficult, I suffer from chronic pain in my upper body and heavy phones are a problem. That is another great thing with the PXC300 - you don't even know you are wearing them, though I don't think I have had issues with the HD580 for example. I even thought about the in-ear Stax model, but I have very sensitive ear canals. the Shure Olives work fine...not sure about anything else though.

 

One other point though - I listen exclusively to audiophile vinyl that I have digitalised. To my ears, this has a noticeably less grainy presentation to pure digital recordings. It might be interesting for me to send you a few examples from my transcriptions - perhaps a couple that I consider to be totally devoid of any grain and a couple that I consider borderline (i.e I hear grain with the PXC300 but it is just at the threshold of tolerability). I would then be interested to hear how the Shure copes with these.


Edited by ADD - 11/19/12 at 4:53pm
post #1094 of 4946
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Well, there's some truth in both perceptions.

 

 

I don't feel that at its worst, the HD650 sounds bad.  However, when plugged into a balanced amp, in full balanced mode, the HD650 (and HD600) has the ability to sit alongside the best headphones ever made!

 

So, perhaps what you can extract from my statements is that it always sounds good if amped, but to have it sound GREAT or OUTSTANDING, you do need to spend a bit more $.

 

First i'd like to commend you on a very well written, exhaustive comparison, even if i did own multiple headphones brands and models, i wouldn't have the patience to embark on such a journey.

 

That beeing said, i'm sure you'll be the first person to recognize that, no matter how objective you try to be, they're are many variables that influence our final decision when it comes to buying new headphones, or any other component for that matter, we all hear differently, we have different sound systems, and musical tastes, just to name a few, so,  i'm sure you encourage peoples to do their own experiments, and to take your views with a grain of salt.

 

I ''only'' own four pairs of headphones,three of them would be considered high end they are all Grados, yes i'm a Grado fan,but i don't consider myself a Grado fanboy, i have heard great sound from Stax, Audeze, Hi-Fi Man, Sennheiser etc...mine are GS/PS/HP1000s, and i find i have a beautifull problem when it comes to having to choose one for a listening session, so i can't begin to understand how it must be like for you.

 

Finally, i used to own HD-600s, and i tought they sounded very good with my Musical Fidelity X-CAN V2.

 

 

Again, job well done.

post #1095 of 4946

Hey David, you know Christmas is coming up... You should let me borrow your electrostats for like a month I'll cover shipping both ways lol 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) UPDATE: AUDEZ'E LCD-2 Revision 2 (6/4/13)