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HD800 vs LCD-X vs HE-6 vs SR-007 for critical listening and monitoring purposes?

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

How do these compare in a high-end set up?

I'm about to buy a headphone for critical listening, monitoring and casual listening as well. 

I'm mainly interested in three aspects.

 

1) Tonal Balance

2) Imaging and Soundstage

3) Microdynamics

 

In a conversation I had with a mastering engineer he pointed out these as the most important in a speaker/monitor performance

so I thought they must stand correct for headphones too..

 

post #2 of 81

1) Tonal Balance

2) Imaging and Soundstage

3) Microdynamics

 

Then forget SR-007 and Audeze and go with HD800 or HE-6. Both have a nice tonal balance, big soundstage (HD800) and the dynamic out of HD800 is amazing.

Maybe you have to consider the new AKG K812 Pro as well. It is really one of the best headphones I've heard so far.

post #3 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input. I think Audeze might have finally achieved a good tonal balance with the X as well but its imaging and microdynamics might still be worse than the other three. 

The SR-007 is well known for its imaging capabilities and its microdynamics being an electrostat and all but its tonal balance might be off and requires KGSS(HV) or BHSE to perform.

For the HD800 I'm worried about the tonal balance and the slightly treble emphasis at 6KHz. As for the HE-6 I really don't know and the fact that it requires a speaker amp to shine troubles me.

post #4 of 81

Just go to hd800:cool:

post #5 of 81

I only have a HD800 and none of the other 3 you have as alternative. So I can only comment on the Sennheiser.

 

The HD800 has the best sound stage of any headphone, that is something even critics can agree on. Everything else is getting a little difficult. This headphone is ruthlessly revealing any flaws and it's doing this with a level of detail that will be surprising or shocking to some.

 

If the recording is crap it will sound crap. If it's something that was pieced together from multitracks recorded at different locations - it will sound like that. Something stitched together. That maybe a reason why a lot of folks claim the HD800 is not suitable for that kind music. No matter what and who and with what kind of technology, it's not a homogenous live recording with all musicians interacting and timing their playing together. And you will hear this on the HD800. If any of you sources, amp, cables has an issue, you will be able to hear this.

 

So it's up to you if you want this level of authenticity. It might not always be pleasant.

If everything comes together, it will create that big smile on you face though ;-)).

post #6 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post
 

I only have a HD800 and none of the other 3 you have as alternative. So I can only comment on the Sennheiser.

 

The HD800 has the best sound stage of any headphone, that is something even critics can agree on. Everything else is getting a little difficult. This headphone is ruthlessly revealing any flaws and it's doing this with a level of detail that will be surprising or shocking to some.

I like how you say you can only comment on the HD 800 and then your very next sentence comments on every other headphone in the world. ;)

 

I had an HD 800 with a Gungnir and WA2, and I had an LCD-X with a PureDAC, Yulong DA8, and Gungnir.  Straight out of the PureDAC and with the other two through a Mjolnir.  

 

I can say that the best of all those for tonality was the LCD-X straight out of the PureDAC.  The best for dynamics overall was the Gungnir -> Mjonlir -> LCD-X.  The HD 800 should be able to best the -X, but not with any of the gear I used it with.  I think the primary concern with the HD 800 is getting the whole chain right.  If you don't have the right amp and source, the 800 will disappoint.  The -X is much easier to get sounding right.

 

Good luck. :)

post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomincha View Post

Thanks for your input. I think Audeze might have finally achieved a good tonal balance with the X as well but its imaging and microdynamics might still be worse than the other three. 
The SR-007 is well known for its imaging capabilities and its microdynamics being an electrostat and all but its tonal balance might be off and requires KGSS(HV) or BHSE to perform.
For the HD800 I'm worried about the tonal balance and the slightly treble emphasis at 6KHz. As for the HE-6 I really don't know and the fact that it requires a speaker amp to shine troubles me.

I have heard three of the four and have the he-6. I would just point out that "needing" a speaker amp is not such a bad thing. There are lots of good quality speaker amps out there available used for reasonable money. The fact that the he-6 responds so well to and are so revealing of quality electronics is what makes them special I think. That said, all these headphones are pretty different (caveat I have not heard the audeze). You really would do yourself a favor by trying to listen to any of them that you can.
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies!

I wish I could demo all of them with proper amplification but there's no chance here in Greece.

I am also waiting for Tyll's review of the LCD-X at Inner Fidelity.

The Focal Spirit Professional also seems promising for a 250 euro closed headphone.

post #9 of 81

You'll need to build a system around your hps, for me the K-702 with the Phonitor works best. Here is more info: http://www.head-fi.org/t/393139/k702-in-the-studio

There is this one as well, http://www.head-fi.org/t/595522/akg-k702-vs-beyerdynamic-t1-in-the-studio

 

BTW, the Stax studio hps are the 4070 model.

post #10 of 81

I own the HD-800 and the HE-6 but can't say anything about the other cans on your list.  

 

The HD-800 has the larger soundstage, but is picky about amp pairing and extremely revealing, to the point that it's (imo) downright painful to listen to badly recorded pieces or older recordings.  It's not a fault, rather a mostly unwanted effect of its extreme capabilities and you have to be the judge if it suits your purpose.  I do find that occasionally it's a bit too hot in the treble, yes.  But overall it's a very well constructed (supreme comfort), very high quality headphone.

 

The HE-6:  they require a powerful amp but it's a total myth being perpetuated by some people on this site that *only* a speaker amp will work.  I drive mine using a high powered SS amp (2750 mW into 50 Ohm) and they're absolutely fine. I also drive them from a dual mono tube amp (which, admittedly, I thought wouldn't work at all but I've since found out that one of the headphones used as a reference to design it was the AKG K-1000, 'nough said).  Wrong.  They still sound beautifully.  Speaker amps can and will work but, liberally quoting from memory from the manual that comes with the HE-6, HifiMan recommends max 70W into 8 Ohm and mentions that not all speaker amps match well with the 6.  Presumably this has to do with the impedance mismatch which sometimes causes a hiss/distortion.  When  properly amped the HE-6 is very transparent (more so than the HD-800) and while very detailed, it doesn't present defects in such a glaring fashion as the HD-800.  It also has this totally subjective and intangible 'euphony' factor which makes music really sing, great bass and a good treble which is very occasionally a bit too pronounced, though not as 'bad' as with the HD-800.

 

For musical enjoyment (classical only) I prefer the 6 myself, except when I'm listening to large ensembles due to the soundstage of the HD-800.  Apples and oranges.  If I'd have to purchase a set of cans for critically assessing recording quality and reproduction then I'd go for the 800.  If for pure enjoyment then for sure with the HE-6.  If you get the 6 and have no other top end gear then it would imo make sense to build your entire chain around it. 

post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

I own the HD-800 and the HE-6 but can't say anything about the other cans on your list.  

 

The HD-800 has the larger soundstage, but is picky about amp pairing and extremely revealing, to the point that it's (imo) downright painful to listen to badly recorded pieces or older recordings.  It's not a fault, rather a mostly unwanted effect of its extreme capabilities and you have to be the judge if it suits your purpose.  I do find that occasionally it's a bit too hot in the treble, yes.  But overall it's a very well constructed (supreme comfort), very high quality headphone.

 

The HE-6:  they require a powerful amp but it's a total myth being perpetuated by some people on this site that *only* a speaker amp will work.  I drive mine using a high powered SS amp (2750 mW into 50 Ohm) and they're absolutely fine. I also drive them from a dual mono tube amp (which, admittedly, I thought wouldn't work at all but I've since found out that one of the headphones used as a reference to design it was the AKG K-1000, 'nough said).  Wrong.  They still sound beautifully.  Speaker amps can and will work but, liberally quoting from memory from the manual that comes with the HE-6, HifiMan recommends max 70W into 8 Ohm and mentions that not all speaker amps match well with the 6.  Presumably this has to do with the impedance mismatch which sometimes causes a hiss/distortion.  When  properly amped the HE-6 is very transparent (more so than the HD-800) and while very detailed, it doesn't present defects in such a glaring fashion as the HD-800.  It also has this totally subjective and intangible 'euphony' factor which makes music really sing, great bass and a good treble which is very occasionally a bit too pronounced, though not as 'bad' as with the HD-800.

 

For musical enjoyment (classical only) I prefer the 6 myself, except when I'm listening to large ensembles due to the soundstage of the HD-800.  Apples and oranges.  If I'd have to purchase a set of cans for critically assessing recording quality and reproduction then I'd go for the 800.  If for pure enjoyment then for sure with the HE-6.  If you get the 6 and have no other top end gear then it would imo make sense to build your entire chain around it. 


+1. I think that the he-6 is enjoyable because it is musical.  sometimes we worry we may be missing something if we do not get the last ounce of detail, but sometimes when we do lose sight of how it all fits together and what matters, which is the music.  i have not heard the hd800 on equipment that is comparable to that i have used on the he-6, so maybe the hd800 gets there as well.  the he-6 will not disappoint on a high end system

post #12 of 81
HD800 is really the only answer here. The rest are flawed enough in one way or another to be be easier to listen to, not accurate. There's not a week that goes by that someone posts in the HD800 thread 'I was worried about the treble, but I ordered them anyway. Got them, treble sounds great to me. What's the big deal?"
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

HD800 is really the only answer here. The rest are flawed enough in one way or another to be be easier to listen to, not accurate. There's not a week that goes by that someone posts in the HD800 thread 'I was worried about the treble, but I ordered them anyway. Got them, treble sounds great to me. What's the big deal?"

 

 

With a pro studio amp like the SPL Phonitor the HD-800 treble peak is very audible especially with electronic music. Now, to mix or master with 800s it can be very hard. First your mix/mastering can get dark, opposite to the treble peak. Second there is no studio monitor that I know to be boost by + 5 db in 20Hz area. As well Sennheiser never claim for the HD-800 to be a studio monitor headphones.

 

Is possible to roll off the treble peak of the HD800 with some tube amp, but then the 800s will be not so balanced headphones.

post #14 of 81

Easily the HD800.

 

They are also to me by far the most comfortable, I can wear them all they no problem.

 

It is a VERY transparent headphone so if you are mixing and you make it sound "passable" on the HD800 it will be fantastic and perfect for 99,9% of the rest of the people listening to it.

 

Like others have said they can be a little bright with some equipment, which would make the mix a tad dark in the end.

 

A good amp for monitoring purposes would be the Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear. It's a very good match for the HD800, a little on the warm/tubey side but not slow or mellow or lacking in detail. Which is exactly what the HD800 needs. Together they are nigh on bang on neutral.

post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post


With a pro studio amp like the SPL Phonitor the HD-800 treble peak is very audible especially with electronic music. Now, to mix or master with 800s it can be very hard. First your mix/mastering can get dark, opposite to the treble peak. Second there is no studio monitor that I know to be boost by + 5 db in 20Hz area. As well Sennheiser never claim for the HD-800 to be a studio monitor headphones.

Is possible to roll off the treble peak of the HD800 with some tube amp, but then the 800s will be not so balanced headphones.

HD800/Auditor sounds like garbage anyway.

-Daniel
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