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Koss ESP-950, vs, HIFIMAN HE560, vs, Audeze LCD-2 w/ fazors, vs, (something else???)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

So I have been using these sennheiser HD 650 headphones for years. They're great, they have no obvious glaring flaws. They sound good, they're comfortable as hell, they feel so light and formless on my head it's sort of amazing (I've tried a lot of headphones that clamp, hurt, feel not right. These ones are just a really good fit. Sennheiser seems to be on their game in that regard. I own a pair of sennheiser momentum headphones and those are some of the most comfortable I've ever had too). 

 

I've tried so many other headphones. I had the Audeze LCD-2 for a while. It was not the one with fazors, and it broke. The right side driver died. They were rather uncomfortable because of the clamping pressure and rather hot, so they weren't the right choice. But they were more lively and detailed, I felt more immersed in the music, they had a very musical sound. I've tried the hifiman he-400 headphones, briefly, a few years ago, for a week. They were too dark, I didn't like the laid back analytical sound. 

 

I also have a bunch of other lower end headphones, like the akg k240 for my guitar amp, the sony mdr v6 for my electric drum kit, the sennheiser hd558 which I used for a while before upgrading to the sennheiser hd650 (and usually switch back to when the cord for the 650 periodically breaks), the sennheiser momentum and the Denon AH-MM400 (these sound really good for non metal music, but they are uncomfortable as hell without replacement ear pads) for portable use.

 

The thing is, I just want some more variety. I really like the sennheiser hd650s, but I would like to have more variety in my headphone stock. I've never tried electrostatic headphones, so I'm merely curious about the Koss headphones. Someone told me the hifimans are a logical upgrade to the sennheiser HD650s and are better than audeze lcd-2, and I've heard multiple people say there's better headphones than the audeze lcd-2 for less. 

 

I use schiitz magni 2 and modi for my dac and amp, and I have thought about upgrading but probably won't be any time soon, considering I'm skeptical about the necessity of upgrading an amplifier. I've heard from some audio mythbuster style folk on youtube that you only really need an amplifier that can drive your headphones to a decent level without any superfluous noise. That being said, phew! I know this has been quite the long journey through all my selfish and obsessive whims, but I thank you whoever took up the task of reading it! Your help would be appreciated. 

 

I'm just going off of the headphones in the buying guide for my choices. I'm looking for phones under 1000. That's not a glass ceiling either lol, that's the edge of the universe. 

 

Note: I would like to add that I am looking for headphones that sound good with poorly recorded music. I find that the hd650 work very well with poorly recorded music, and so did the lcd-2. I just watched a review that said the Koss would not sound good with poorly recorded music, and I also hear the focal Elear would not either. 

 

Here is a glance at the genres I listen to

 


Edited by VocaloidDude - 3/18/17 at 1:12pm
post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 

bump

post #3 of 32

I find this thread to be an interesting coincidence. I remember you from previous conversations and have owned many of the headphones you have mentioned. I agree that the HD 650 does well with pretty much any recording. I recently owned the LCD-2F, Elear, and many others...I currently own the HE500 and various others...and I just bought a brand new ESP950 tonight, mostly because it was a good deal, but also because I've been meaning to get back into electrostatic systems for awhile now.

 

Out of all the high-end non-electrostatic open-backs I have owned (see profile), the HE500 is my favorite. The description of "HE6's little brother" fits. It and the HD 650 are among the best all-rounders I've heard. However, electrostats sound more transparent to me than anything else, and I like them even more with all types of music.

 

I'll check back in once the ESP950 arrives.

post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Alchemist View Post
 

I find this thread to be an interesting coincidence. I remember you from previous conversations and have owned many of the headphones you have mentioned. I agree that the HD 650 does well with pretty much any recording. I recently owned the LCD-2F, Elear, and many others...I currently own the HE500 and various others...and I just bought a brand new ESP950 tonight, mostly because it was a good deal, but also because I've been meaning to get back into electrostatic systems for awhile now.

 

Out of all the high-end non-electrostatic open-backs I have owned (see profile), the HE500 is my favorite. The description of "HE6's little brother" fits. It and the HD 650 are among the best all-rounders I've heard. However, electrostats sound more transparent to me than anything else, and I like them even more with all types of music.

 

I'll check back in once the ESP950 arrives.

The HE500 definitely interests me. I would like it if amazon had it, but they don't. It's only available from third party sellers and I don't buy third party. Hifiman apparently doesn't sell that one anymore, they must have released an upgrade of it or something.

post #5 of 32

HiFiMan released the HE-560 as a new and improved 500,but they ended up sounding not too similar.

I have/had a lot of the gear mentioned...LCD-2,HE-500,HE-6,Magni Uber...what I can tell you is the HE-500 is one of the better bang for the buck HPs around,but the Magni is not enough amp for the 500...its really not worth it unless you give the HiFiMan HPs juice...they love juice!

post #6 of 32

i also second the HE-560 but get the Focus A pads as well.  If you find the HE-560 too bright they should tame them just enough.  Planars are a great compliment to the HD650.  I have my HE-6 modded the way I like and it's the best headphone I've heard, but I can't recommend getting one unless you find a good deal as their discontinued and you really have to build a special system just for them to make them truly shine.  

 

Also, amps make a difference but not as much as some people say.  I would take a Vali 2, Valhalla 2, or Jot, and then not bother upgrading until you're willing to spend $2000.  That's the jump required to see a SIGNIFICANT improvement in sound quality.  

post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsterzero View Post

HiFiMan released the HE-560 as a new and improved 500,but they ended up sounding not too similar.


I have/had a lot of the gear mentioned...LCD-2,HE-500,HE-6,Magni Uber...what I can tell you is the HE-500 is one of the better bang for the buck HPs around,but the Magni is not enough amp for the 500...its really not worth it unless you give the HiFiMan HPs juice...they love juice!

This! HE-500 plus lots of juice is sonic bliss. They are excellent sounding cans.
post #8 of 32
Have the 560 and the 950,stopped using them much since I got the HE-1000. Before that didn't find one better than the other, just different. 560 had more punch; the 950 had more open sound, and "let go" of notes in a cool way. 560 can be harsh/strident...didn't like it at first (using LH Labs Geek Out SE), but getting RSA-HR2,then MicroZOTL2 made a big improvement (for the Senn 650 as well to my ears). But, if a major criteria is making bad sounding files sound good, ZMF comes to mind. I reviewed the Omni, made hard to listen to downloads of a live Richard and Linda Thompson concert sound sweet. They have models at many price points. And the wood work on them is lovely.
Edited by doctorjazz - 3/19/17 at 4:15pm
post #9 of 32

Alright, checking in. The ESP950 has some of the effortlessness and transparency you'd expect of an electrostat...but STAX (even entry-level) is in a completely different league (like no contest) and is what I would recommend if you want an electrostatic system.

 

And if I had to pick between the ESP950 and KTXPRO1 (the former being their flagship, the latter being one of their ~$20 dynamic semi-open headphones), I'd choose the KTX without hesitation. In fact, right now the ESP950 is on my head and I'm frequently thinking, "Eh...the KTX does it better."


Edited by Music Alchemist - 3/20/17 at 4:51pm
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Alchemist View Post
 

Alright, checking in. The ESP950 has some of the effortlessness and transparency you'd expect of an electrostat...but STAX (even entry-level) is in a completely different league (like no contest) and is what I would recommend if you want an electrostatic system.

 

And if I had to pick between the ESP950 and KTXPRO1 (the former being their flagship, the latter being one of their ~$20 dynamic semi-open headphones), I'd choose the KTX without hesitation. In fact, right now the ESP950 is on my head and I'm frequently thinking, "Eh...the KTX does it better."

Hmmm,I was sorta interested in getting a Koss at some point,but now...not so much....

One other thing that I shouldve mentioned about my suggestion of HE-6+vintage receiver is its an investment...you will actually make $ down the road on the receiver if you decide to sell it...Prices are going up...up....up

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsterzero View Post
 

Hmmm,I was sorta interested in getting a Koss at some point,but now...not so much....

One other thing that I shouldve mentioned about my suggestion of HE-6+vintage receiver is its an investment...you will actually make $ down the road on the receiver if you decide to sell it...Prices are going up...up....up

 

I still like it a lot, but happen to like STAX and the KTXPRO1 much more. If you want a great Koss that doesn't cost much, the KTXPRO1 is one of my favorite headphones regardless of price. The ESP950 is in that all-too-common category of headphones that do some things better, but the overall sound isn't as good for me.

post #12 of 32

So to address your concerns about metal, @VocaloidDude...

 

The ESP950 doesn't sound bad per se. I played extreme metal on it and it was acceptable. But it does excel with softer recordings (sounding godlike with some of them), and in my opinion is beaten by all the other headphones mentioned when it comes to most music, especially metal. The KTXPRO1 might be my favorite out of all of these for metal despite its bargain basement price and less "impressive" technical capability. I'd say a good choice would be a used HE500 (from the classifieds here) and a decent amp.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocaloidDude View Post
 

The HE500 definitely interests me. I would like it if amazon had it, but they don't. It's only available from third party sellers and I don't buy third party. Hifiman apparently doesn't sell that one anymore, they must have released an upgrade of it or something.

 

Why not?

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWerk View Post
 

 

Why not?

I ordered a pair of audeze lcd-2 headphones from amazon, one of the drivers on the right side of the headphones went out. I messaged the seller and tried to ask them if they had ever been serviced in the past few years to know if they were under warranty. He told me that I'm lying and that the headphones didn't have any problems when I sent them to him, in spite of the fact that I was trying to ask him if I could get them serviced so I wouldn't have to return them. So I sent them in to get serviced and got caught up in amazon's return policy which expired while I was getting them looked at by audeze, who decided that they were not in warranty. So I had to be in limbo with amazon for several days after returning them to the seller (about 2 months after I had originally ordered them), and called them at least a dozen times to talk to a representative who could help me. Someone finally reinstated the refund process, but I almost lost about 200 dollars because the seller wanted a 30% restocking fee and I paid about 750 dollars for them.

 

This is why I don't like buying third party used. 

post #15 of 32

That's just Audeze being Audeze pal ;)

 

Don't let their headphones ruin the whole 3rd party market for you... especially people selling stuff on here who take care of their gear.

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