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Headphone recommendation for female vocals

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am going to make this very specific (probably too specific) but I am looking for the best headphone I can get for reproducing female vocals, in fact what I had in mind was Sarah Brightman and Loreena McKennitt, in other words higher registers. The other thing is that Loreena McKennitt's recordings usually have a LOT of percussion of all kinds in them, so it would need to do well with that as well. Right now I am thinking of LCD2 or 3, HD800, or possibly one of the HiFiMan's, either HE-6 or the new HE-560. Feel free to bring something else into the mix that I haven't thought of however, but these are kind of where I am looking right now. Leaning toward the LCD 2.1 at the moment but I haven't heard a 3 and it is supposed to be even better. I also liked the HD800 but the incredibly smooth yet articulate bass and treble on the LCD 2 really kind of won me over.

post #2 of 4

Stax or AT's A700/A900 have a treble reproduction that reproduces those high-frequency reverb/vibrations in powerful soprano and alto vocals. Sarah Brightman and the previous vocalist of Visions of Atlantis* sound perfect on these headphones - treble was very extended that you can hear how the air from their mouth and the higher frequencies hitting the mic and yet not sibilant. In a very abstract sense I'd use the adjective "ethereal." Unfortunately, personally I found the percussion lacking in both, unlike for example with speakers. Sonus Faber's Cremona Auditor for example does treble like this, but the percussion is still quite good (just don't compare it to Dynaudio or Focal-JMLab); the tower speaker does a lot better. Ditto the Aurum Cantus Volla, which if used with a gutsy, powerful, and clean amp and a clean source like Cayin and NAD, bring out a lot of that treble detail through the ribbon tweeters and still deliver somewhat aggressive percussion.


That said you might want to look into some hybrid IEMs. The soundstage on headphones isn't going to be much larger and farther out of your head anyway, so if any of them might have someone who can favorably compare them to Sonus Faber and Aurum Cantus, or at the very least Vifa's XT25 tweeters paired with Dynaudio or Focal midwoofers, then you might just find exactly what you're looking for.




*These are what I had when I tested the A700 and A900 at a local shop, although I've tried other recordings on Lambdas

post #3 of 4
I find the Audezes too dark and HD800 too bright and unforgiving. I think you'd be better off with the new ZMF flagship (when it's released), K501, HD600, HE500, or maybe one of the new Hifimans that I haven't tried yet.

This recent thread considered some of the less expensive choices: http://www.head-fi.org/t/713700/best-cans-for-female-vocals-500.
post #4 of 4

i find the lcd2 reproduces female vocals in a very sweet way. I prefer it to the hd800 for vocals even though i feel like the hd800 has a more realistic tone, weight and presentation. Actually, i prefer it to the hd800 for most music, but that's a different story.


I see that you have the hd650's, the audeze's are the best upgrade if you're going for that kind of sound signature. The audeze house sound focuses on the mids and that's definitely true for the lcd2 that i own. If you want more treble extension, you may want to look into the lcdx. In the end though, buy what sounds best to you.

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