Now all i need to decide is if to get the ODAC or Modi, with the Vali.
Edited by pearljam50000 - 8/9/14 at 10:56am
Cool :) Keep us informed. I'm defo getting interested in the Val2
@marcoarment is here on the forums. He makes a good point I reckon, but I do wish he had listed the music he likes, as I reckon that makes the most difference when choosing headphones.
A lot of impressions of the HD-800s with different gear not only comes down to the music, but what one is used to and has experienced.
Best value so far though has been the HD-800s from the Geek Out and from the Valhalla 2.
I mostly listen to rock albums from the '90s forward, with preferences toward live albums and anything well-recorded using acoustic instruments, and also a very large quantity of the official live releases of Phish's current and recent tours. Some of my go-to tests for headphone quality and enjoyment:
In other words: what most people would consider an absolutely horrible, out of touch, and mostly outdated music collection. But I love it.
My main complaint with the HD 800 is that its overall technical excellence comes at the cost of personality. I thought I wanted neutrality for years... until I got it. It's a great headphone at achieving technical perfection of a style that, as it turns out, I don't really care for: smoothness, with a mostly laid-back sound signature, light bass, and relatively little excitement. You're left with little to complain about, but nothing stands out. And it lacks the treble finesse and fast decay usually found in orthos and stats to provide a "wow!" level of detail.
But even the article you referred to is relatively out of date: since then, I rented and then bought an HE-6, renting it with the EF-6 amp (which was great) and then buying a used Schiit Mjolnir from here (which is almost as good as the EF-6 at powering the HE-6) to tide me over until the Ragnarok is widely available. I believe the HE-6 is the better-sounding headphone on nearly all fronts, and it brings excitement and energy to the music without significant technical flaws or tonal imbalances. (It also made me realize how nice a good midrange is, and how recessed the midrange often is in other headphones.)
The HD 800 beats the HE-6 in soundstage, comfort, and amp-friendliness, but I greatly prefer the HE-6's sound. (And it's not uncomfortable on me, just heavier.) But if you're looking for a great overall-setup value in a flagship headphone, I don't think you can look at any of the orthos, and especially not the HE-6, because of their amp needs. You can drive the HD 800 well enough from amps that cost less than $300, while I think the $750 Mjolnir is the cheapest amp that can drive the HE-6 respectably. So, all in, you can get a great HD 800 setup for about $1800+DAC, whereas you're looking at $2100+DAC minimum for the HE-6.
(Of course, if you're looking to maximize value near the high end, you're probably better off skipping both and taking a good look at an HE-560 setup.)
Not going to agree with you on this one.
This, I agree with 100%
The suspense is killing me, Matt!!
I'll give some quick thoughts now. Please remember that when you have people over to your place to audition gear, you spend most of your time hosting and very little time listening. Tonight and tomorrow I'll spend more time evaluating the new gear and will share more detailed impressions.
*The Val 2 is the real deal, especially with the hd800. This pairing was my favorite of all.
*The Crack is still king with the hd650/600 but the Val 2 gave it a real run.
*NAD m51...if there is any way you can afford it, get it.