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Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) UPDATE: AUDEZ'E LCD-2 Revision 2 (6/4/13) - Page 75

post #1111 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

so you voted for Lincoln? smily_headphones1.gif
LOL
My vote went to the American Bald Eagle. wink.gif

BTW, your review is really impressive.
If u ever run for "President" of Head-Fi, u've got my vote! smily_headphones1.gif
post #1112 of 5020
Impressive thread, truly enjoyable read. Thank you. Now, can we get a battle for headphone amps? :P
post #1113 of 5020
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Soth View Post


LOL
My vote went to the American Bald Eagle. wink.gif
BTW, your review is really impressive.
If u ever run for "President" of Head-Fi, u've got my vote! smily_headphones1.gif

Haha thanks!:)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiga3mata View Post

Hi David, here is the link. You will get a taste of how I felt after reading your post....stupendous!
http://www.head-fi.org/t/40313/stax-sr-007-omega-ii-a-review-after-4-years-of-ownership

very nice review!! Now that I reread some of it, I'm confident that I've read this before.  Thank you for comparing my review to this one :)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Instrumental View Post

Impressive thread, truly enjoyable read. Thank you. Now, can we get a battle for headphone amps? :P

A few people have asked that.  Sadly, that thread won't be mine :(....at least not for a decade hahaha

post #1114 of 5020

David, with an intense and respectable review like this... perhaps you (or some of the people around Head-Fi with influence) could get some of the top amp-manufacturers to send you some review units or at least blow them out to you at cost to be included in an amp battle?
 

Are there 50 units out there really worth consideration or would 25 (say, 15 solid state and 10 tube samples) be wide enough in scope when looking at top tier amps?  The amps are half the battle with this complex and confusing hobby, but you did mention that once you have a reasonably good DAC, you are more or less set and I assume this could ring true for the two main amp categories (SS and tube), respectively.

 

The other question is: would you need to use the same headphone to review every amp and how hard of a decision would THAT be?  Any idea as to what would suffice for that?  HD800 or SR-009 maybe?

post #1115 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

There are many things I agree with in your reviews, although overall I find that my taste is closer to Tyll's. Generally, I find that you're maybe a bit too forgiving of excessive bass and treble. Common peaks around 10KHz doesn't seem to bother you as much, as well as the common mid-bass hump around 125Hz. For me, they mess too much with the clarity of instruments like double-bass in jazz, or the naturalness of cymbals.

 

 

 

 

I'll have you know that David has officially denied prefering bright headphones and anyone who suggests as much from now on is to receive 50 lashes, or perhaps more if David so deigns. So watch yourself.

 

biggrin.gif

post #1116 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hubert481 View Post

My favourite is also the HE-90 (i do not own confused_face.gif)

But if anyone needs a christmas-present...

#1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/300803280434?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_sacat%3D0%26_from%3DR40%26_nkw%3D300803280434%26_rdc%3D1

#2

http://www.ebay.com/itm/300814105569?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_sacat%3D0%26_from%3DR40%26_nkw%3D300814105569%26_rdc%3D1

 

 

Sennheiser might bring a follower for the HE-90 in about 2 years - maybe cheaper L3000.gif(price is unknown - one modell man can buy, one modell with unlimited pricepoint)

 

AKG will NOT bring a follower of the K1000 (confirmed)

 

Pretty stingy ads for headphones costing as much as a decent new car. Well, at least the single photo of the second pair is taken from closer than 500 feet away.

post #1117 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

 

 

I'll have you know that David has officially denied prefering bright headphones and anyone who suggests as much from now on is to receive 50 lashes, or perhaps more if David so deigns. So watch yourself.

 

biggrin.gif

 

David prefers bright headphones for sure... I have no problem with it but calling HD800 or HE-6 neutral because of pairing them with "the right" amplifier? LOL... Headphones are or are not near-to-neutral, regardless the amp, DAC or your mood when listening ,-)

post #1118 of 5020
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by discombob View Post

David, with an intense and respectable review like this... perhaps you (or some of the people around Head-Fi with influence) could get some of the top amp-manufacturers to send you some review units or at least blow them out to you at cost to be included in an amp battle?
 

Are there 50 units out there really worth consideration or would 25 (say, 15 solid state and 10 tube samples) be wide enough in scope when looking at top tier amps?  The amps are half the battle with this complex and confusing hobby, but you did mention that once you have a reasonably good DAC, you are more or less set and I assume this could ring true for the two main amp categories (SS and tube), respectively.

 

The other question is: would you need to use the same headphone to review every amp and how hard of a decision would THAT be?  Any idea as to what would suffice for that?  HD800 or SR-009 maybe?

I can definitely look into it in the future.  Obviously, any amp builders who wish to send me a model are welcomed to do so and I will happily add it into this review (and maybe an amp comparison at some point.)  It would be impossible (and I believe ineffective) to use the same headphone on every amp.  Obviously, electrostatics and dynamic headphones would be using different amps, but even if I were to use the HD800 on the same amp, it won't necessarily insinuate the best amp, it may insinuate the best amp for the HD800 (at least in my opinion).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

 

 

I'll have you know that David has officially denied prefering bright headphones and anyone who suggests as much from now on is to receive 50 lashes, or perhaps more if David so deigns. So watch yourself.

 

biggrin.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

David prefers bright headphones for sure... I have no problem with it but calling HD800 or HE-6 neutral because of pairing them with "the right" amplifier? LOL... Headphones are or are not near-to-neutral, regardless the amp, DAC or your mood when listening ,-)

Haha

 

I think we all need to get on the same page here.  Some have even accused me of liking too much bass, not treble.  It depends on how you perceive my review.

 

A few things:

 

The majority of headphone listeners (including head-fiers) tend to prefer added warmth to their sound.  This is based on my personal observations AND a poll which I put up many years ago that proposed "do you prefer bright / neutral / warm" etc....

 

So I think perhaps that on the basis that more people prefer warmer than neutral, some people may be caught up in the fact that they "don't enjoy a neutral sound signature, so why promote this as a positive attribute."  But all in all, the HD800 are to my ears, based on hearing them on several amplifiers with several sources, about as neutral as can be.  Is there room for improvement? Yes, because there always is.  :)

 

Also, I must restate, I don't think neutrality is the attribute to trump all other attributes.  Otherwise the HD800 would be in my top spot.


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/21/12 at 6:02am
post #1119 of 5020

But to me the HD800, hurts my ears.

post #1120 of 5020
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimi View Post

But to me the HD800, hurts my ears.


It's very sensitive to amplification.  But even then, its possible the HD800 is not for you.

 

It's also not ideally suited to rock and pop music.  Most rock and pop music is mastered brightly (sometimes exceedingly bright) to compensate for the standard speaker/headphone roll off in the consumer market.  So when you pair this type of music with a headphone which was tweaked differently, it can hurt...especially at loud volumes.


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/21/12 at 8:23am
post #1121 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Haha

 

I think we all need to get on the same page here.  Some have even accused me of liking too much bass, not treble.  It depends on how you perceive my review.

 

A few things:

 

The majority of headphone listeners (including head-fiers) tend to prefer added warmth to their sound.  This is based on my personal observations AND a poll which I put up many years ago that proposed "do you prefer bright / neutral / warm" etc....

 

So I think perhaps that on the basis that more people prefer warmer than neutral, some people may be caught up in the fact that they "don't enjoy a neutral sound signature, so why promote this as a positive attribute."  But all in all, the HD800 are to my ears, based on hearing them on several amplifiers with several sources, about as neutral as can be.  Is there room for improvement? Yes, because there always is.  :)

 

Also, I must restate, I don't think neutrality is the attribute to trump all other attributes.  Otherwise the HD800 would be in my top spot.

 

I don't like emphasised bass... The bass on D7000, even though not emphasised in comparison with many other phones, had a resonance that made the bass very present, quite boomy (but still tight). But it was nowhere near reality, it was so artificial. The treble as well even though it's not emphasised in comparison with the majority of products today - too much, painful to my ears quite sometimes, artificial as hell...

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/DenonAHD7000.pdf

 

Sennheiser have even worse peak around 7 khz, that's the worst place possible for having a peak IMHO... It must be like sawing your ears from the inside if you do not have TOP QUALITY stuff to listen. The rather weak bass is not very helpful in this regard here (not neutral as well).

 

To finish up, I admire HD800 for their technical abilities, they measure pretty impressive... But I don't believe they can sound real (not considering any "synergies" and other myths... the headphone itself is just not neutral and that's it, amp specs have nothing to do with it). I would much more believe HD650 are nearer to reality than HD800.


Edited by MHOE - 11/21/12 at 8:28am
post #1122 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post


It's very sensitive to amplification.  But even then, its possible the HD800 is not for you.

 

It's also not ideally suited to rock and pop music.  Most rock and pop music is mastered brightly (sometimes exceedingly bright) to compensate for the standard speaker/headphone roll off in the consumer market.  So when you pair this type of music with a headphone which was tweaked differently, it can hurt...especially at loud volumes.

 

This is where I agree... Today's modern music is not perfect for evaluation. But still, the treble is too much... You would need to listen to TOP STUFF all the time not feel the fatigue. I can even feel some weak sort of fatigue from LCD-2 rev2 as well rarely and its treble is nowhere near HD800.

post #1123 of 5020
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

I don't like emphasised bass... The bass on D7000, even though not emphasised in comparison with many other phones, had a resonance that made the bass very present, quite boomy (but still tight). But it was nowhere near reality, it was so artificial. The treble as well even though it's not emphasised in comparison with the majority of products today - too much, painful to my ears quite sometimes, artificial as hell...

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/DenonAHD7000.pdf

 

Sennheiser have even worse peak around 7 khz, that's the worst place possible for having a peak IMHO... It must be like sawing your ears from the inside if you do not have TOP QUALITY stuff to listen. The rather weak bass is not very helpful in this regard here (not neutral as well).

 

To finish up, I admire HD800 for their technical abilities, they measure pretty impressive... But I don't believe they can sound real (not considering any "synergies" and other myths... the headphone itself is just not neutral and that's it, amp specs have nothing to do with it). I would much more believe HD650 are nearer to reality than HD800.

To use the word myth is to proclaim someone else's opinion as dishonest or inexperienced.  While I certainly understand room to disagree, I think it's important to leave room for other perceptions.  Comparing electronically produced sound to real acoustical sound can NEVER result in anything factual or unanimous.  There are far too many variables at play.  Graphs are apparently extremely important to you.  And I understand you will ultimately find in favor of headphone which you feel graphs more to your liking than another.  I simply don't feel the same way about graphs. I trust my ears more than a dummyhead microphone.  There is no perfectly flat microphone anyway, just as there is no perfectly flat headphone.  Human hearing is also not perfectly flat.  This is not to discount the validity of graphs.  Certainly in comparing several headphone graphs you can still decipher differences in the way the headphones measure.  But for me, the keyword is measure.  You likely do not love the HD800's sound anyway, and I appreciate this because I too have taken issue with its sound at times (especially in the beginning of my ownership). But as far as I'm concerned, for better or worse, the HD800 is the most neutral transducer I've heard based on my perception of what neutral is.  And I hardly say its "the best" headphone.  It's certainly not the most transparent.  It's certainly not the most engaging for every genre.


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/21/12 at 8:48am
post #1124 of 5020

Well I've now spent quite a bit of time with my Grado PS1000s and my new Bryston headphone amp. I've also spent extended periods of time with the HD800. I've spent lots of time with some great loudspeakers including B&W 800 series speakers, ect. You can have a battle of the "flagships" if you want, but compared with speakers, they are all toy boats in my books. No headphone can get it right, it is simply a matter of taste. These units are inherently incapable of faithfully producing the source because of inability to produce the low frequencies. Also, they do not image like good speakers--they just can't. They all sort of suck, I'm sorry to say.

 

I listen to headphones because my neighbors probably are not fans of 70's jazz fusion guitar -- at 3:00AM, end of story.  But the level of performance I get from my $1,600 Grado is a lot closer to my $600 600 series B&W loudspeakers than my $4,000 (in 1999 dollars) 800 series speakers. That was true with the HD800 as well and every other headphone I have ever heard. Yes there are revelations with headphones because they are sitting on your freaking ears and you can play them loud. But they are tin cans compared to a floorstanding speaker and I do not even believe they offer better price/performance than speakers. They just offer sanity for pets, girlfriends, and neighbors and privacy for me.

 

I say if you are into headphones then buy them all, enjoy them all and tinker with them. Or enjoy your current pair and take comfort with the fact that real neutrality and transparency in a headphone is impossible. Unfortunately my quest for headphone perfection has only led me back to the conclusion that what I really need is a soundproofed room for my loudspeakers!

post #1125 of 5020
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

To use the word myth is to proclaim someone else's opinion as dishonest or inexperienced.  While I certainly understand room to disagree, I think it's important to leave room for other perceptions.  Comparing electronically produced sound to real acoustical sound can NEVER result in anything factual or unanimous.  There are far too many variables at play.  Graphs are apparently extremely important to you.  And I understand you will ultimately find in favor of headphone which you feel graphs more to your liking than another.  I simply don't feel the same way about graphs. I trust my ears more than a dummyhead microphone.  There is no perfectly flat microphone anyway, just as there is no perfectly flat headphone.  This is not to discount the validity of graphs.  Certainly in comparing several headphone graphs you can still decipher differences in the way the headphones measure.  But for me, the keyword is measure.  You likely do not love the HD800's sound anyway, and I appreciate this because I too have taken issue with its sound at times (especially in the beginning of my ownership). But as far as I'm concerned, for better or worse, the HD800 is the most neutral transducer I've heard based on my perception of what neutral is.  And I hardly say its "the best" headphone.  It's certainly not the most transparent.  It's certainly not the most engaging for every genre.

 

You are right... I am so skeptical about any "synergies" and this sort of stuff that it must be apparent more than enough. I am even willing to understand that for your ears, HD800 perform very neutral. But it is going to be extremely difficult to even consider anything like "synergy".

 

In my point of view, the amp is supposed to amplify the signal, nothing more... This is the theoretical concept behind it and this should apply to reality as well as it is nothing too much scientific. There are amps that do their job pretty well, like E9 or much better O2. I do as well own E11 and it works pretty bad with LCD-2 but pretty great with T50RP. Is this because of some mystical power, synergy? No! The amp is just coloured as hell in bass and it makes LCD-2 rev2 sound horrible because of their already great bass... And it helps to mitigate overtreble on T50RP by putting their bass more forward. But it's not a synergy, it's just a bad working amp! O2 is going to sound great with any pair of headphone that is able to sound great itself... It's not transforming their sound into anything better, it just helps where it is supposed to help.

 

Again, I admire HD800 and am willing to claim that they are the most advanced dynamic headphone available today... They are just not neutral. Near-to-neutral headphones are LCD-2 rev2, LCD-3, Stax 009. And few others quite close to it like LCD-2 rev1, HE-6, HE-500, HD800, some other Staxes maybe...


Edited by MHOE - 11/21/12 at 9:03am
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