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$1500 Budget, advice needed.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by austerlitz, Sep 29, 2011.
  1. Austerlitz
    Hi!
     
    I've been lurking on head-fi for a few months and I'll start off by saying that I really appreciate the forum and the amount of sound (pun intended) advice that is provided for a relative audiophile rookie such as myself.
     
    I've always been picky about sound quality in general, but I've never spent big bucks on audiophile equipment. My current listening setup is very basic, I own a pair of Grado SR60 and a pair of AKG K242HD which I listen to through my Apogee One. I'm pretty happy with the quality of my setup, but having listened to a pair of Grado GS1000 and other high end headphones a couple of years back I know I'm missing out and I've always fancied getting myself a nicer setup.
     
    As of right now I have roughly $1500 to spend on a rig and my initial plan was to get the Sennheiser HD650 and a decent amp and dac to go with them. Having spent a fair amount of time on this site, however, It's hard not to get sucked in by the LCD-2 hype.
     
    Being somewhat geographically challenged, I have to travel a fair distance to be able to listen to/buy these headphones and I figure that I might as well gather as much info and advice as possible before I go shopping.
     
    My question is whether you, if you were in my position, would go for the LCD-2's and save the balance with the intention of getting an amp and dac for them at a later date or go for the HD650 and a nice amp (Asgard? Burson?) and dac straight away?
     
    Would the difference in quality between the two headphones be at all appreciable on my current meagre setup, or would I need to save up money to be able to get an amp and a dac at the same time as the LCD-2's to be able to hear any real difference?
     
    Lastly, would settling for the dac in my Apogee One and investing in, say, a Burson HA160 be an option?
     
    Sorry for the long winded post and my cluelessness, and thanks in advance :)
     
  2. MalVeauX
    Heya,
     
    With how easy it is to drive the LCD2, there's no reason not to go for them unless comfort/size is an issue.
     
    A decent DAC and even a basic AMP will get you where you need to be with the LCD2.

    Or if you want a more comfortable headphone, look at the HE-500. Very similar to the LCD2.
     
    I take it you want some bass...
     
    Very best,
     
  3. olor1n
    I have the LCD-2 rev.2 and HD650 and appreciate both equally, so I may be able to address your question. There's no denying the LCD-2 is technically superior to the HD650, but in terms of engagement in the music, that jump in quality doesn't really change how much I connect with and enjoy the music. Don't get me wrong, I love the LCD-2, but I could probably live without them and I advise those contemplating to be wary of the hype around any product on this forum.
     
    If I were to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, I would seriously consider throwing about 2/3 of your budget into a modest HD650 rig, pocket some change and call it a day. The downside to this for you though is that you'll always wonder about the LCD-2 until you actually spend time with it yourself. A sensible alternative (if you can't audition) is to go with the LCD-2 and Lyr, until you can afford a better source.
     
  4. FlatNine

    Agreed. The 650's are definitely engaging. I have the TTJV Slim and the HD650's and totally love it. (fed by iPod Touch and LOD.) 
     
    But - the most important thing is this: Know what it is you like and want in your rig. If you have no goal on mind, you'll never be content. Personally, I like a bit warm and engaging, clean but not boomy bass, forward mid, rolled off highs. The point is, know (or figure out) what you want. If you don't know, listen to as much gear as you can to see what really moves you, *not* what you think should move you or is currently in "style". We're all different.
     
    Quote:


     
     
  5. BGRoberts
    X2
     
    "But - the most important thing is this: Know what it is you like and want in your rig. If you have no goal on mind, you'll never be content. Personally, I like a bit warm and engaging, clean but not boomy bass, forward mid, rolled off highs. The point is, know (or figure out) what you want. If you don't know, listen to as much gear as you can to see what really moves you, *not* what you think should move you or is currently in "style". We're all different."
     
  6. NinjaSquirt
    I think we're all missing a very essential question that should be asked before advising anyone on their budget... What genres of music do you listen?
     
  7. Donnyhifi
    I can recommend the HE-500, very nice pair of cans.
     
  8. olor1n


    Quote:


    Why? The OP knows what sound he/she is after and has obviously narrowed the selection down based on personal preference. The HD650 and LCD-2 are great all rounders. The notion of needing specific headphones for specific genres is absurd imo.
     
  9. Austerlitz
    Thank you for all the replies!
     
    It seems like I have a bit of thinking to do. I'm leaning towards the HD650, but if the LCD-2 wow me enough I might splash to indulge myself.
     
    Regarding sound preferences and music taste I would say that I lean more towards a warmer, darker sound without going too bass heavy. Neutrality is not key, immersion is.
    I listen to a wide variety of music, a lot of jazz (Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Coltrane), progressive rock (Yes, King Crimson), rock and pop such as The Band, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, newer stuff like Radiohead, Björk, The National, Midlake etc. and the occasional classical music (Ravel & Debussy mainly).
     
     
  10. NamelessPFG
    That's Stax money right there...but I can't say for sure whether the Lambda-series models (still not enough for their expensive Omega-series flagships, generally considered a bit darker than the Lambdas) would fit your sound signature tastes. At least I find the electrostatic sound experience rather immersive no matter what I listen to.
     
    $1,000 should be plenty for the headphones and needed amp, leaving you a cool $500 (maybe a bit more) for a better DAC if desired.
     
  11. Austerlitz
     
     
    Quote:
     
    Unfortunately I won't be able to listen to Stax since no one carries them here in Sweden, at least to my knowledge.
     
    I've all but decided on getting the Sennheiser HD650s, now I'm trying to figure out with amp to get. Buying from abroad is expensive because of the Swedish customs, so I'm not really spoilt for choice. I've been eyeing the Graham Slee Novo or the Graham Slee Solo. From my understanding the Solo is a good fit for the HD650, I haven't really found that much info about the Novo though, could anyone enlighten me as to whether the Novo is a good match for the 650's? If it is, that would leave me some money for a DAC and recabling.
     
    Providing I go for the Novo or the Solo, what would be a good inexpensive usb dac to go with it? Preferably aesthetically/form factor similar if possible :)
     
    Edit: The Meier-Audio Jazz also looks like an option, although I haven't found any reviews of it yet.
     
  12. disastermouse

    You're only $250-$300 away from being able to pick up the LCD 2s and a Centrance DACmini (combo DAC/amp that's getting good reviews for pairing with the LCD 2s very well).
     

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