Can both the LCD2 and HE-6 be improved upon technologically and sonically?
Feb 8, 2011 at 5:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

Jalo

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I have been reading all these LCD2 and HE-6 threads and their praises and how they are compared to the best cans ever made like R-10, K1000 etc.  I started to wonder technologically and sonically if there are room for improvement for these two phones.  For instance, we haven't seen a R-20, K2000, or L4000, so will there be LCD3 or HE-7?  Are they pushing the technological envelop with orthodynamic that to further improve on them is likely not easy? Are their sound near perfect (Cos I haven't read too many criticism on their sound) that it will be hard to improve upon?  The next ortho development coming from Head Direct is the HE-6p which is a lesser version of the HE-6, so we are going the wrong direction.
 
Feb 8, 2011 at 6:24 PM Post #2 of 17

robm321

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I don't think it's about perfection or reaching that as much as an individual liking the headphones sound characteristic. There are many of the top phones that sound neutral, extended one way or another, fast, etc. But they all have a unique sound. And it's about finding the particular sound(s) that you want. 
 
Headfi offers a lot of "this is better than that" or "which is the best" as if there's a universal truth or taste everyone will jump on. Its really about what holds your attention and works for you. For example, I spent a long time trying to like the 02 based on such a consensus here. I was ready to purchase several times, I'd go to a meet and find myself not engaged with it's sound over and over (out of the best of amps). The same with the HD650 back when it was really popular. I am a huge fan of the O2, but it just wasn't for me. Technically it's great, but I much prefer a couple of dynamics to it. The Qualia on paper is perfect, extended, fast, neutral, but I can't stand to listen to more than a few songs through it. It has a really aggressive edge to me. Others love it. 
 
It will continue on as it always has. New stuff comes out that has it's own sound and someone will like them better or worse than the old. There will not be a moment where we all bow the the one universal headphone that reaches perfection making all the others a mute point. 
 
Feb 8, 2011 at 8:04 PM Post #3 of 17

Jalo

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Rob, you definitely has a valid point that I will agree.  I really don't mean that there is such a thing as the perfect phone.  However, improvement can happen regardless of  the fact there is no such things as ultimate phone or one phone for all.  For instance, seems like there is a consensus that the LCD2 has a little recess or laid back treble and a little smaller sound stage than desire.  So if the next version comes out with improved treble and bigger sound stage, I would call that as improvement and not just a different taste.  Or if the HE-6 can improve on its efficiency while maintaining the same performance level will be a much welcoming revision.  But your point is very well taken. 
 
Feb 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM Post #4 of 17

robm321

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LOL Oh I see. I got all philosophical when you were just asking what improvements can be made for those two phones 
 
Hey, my point still stands 
wink_face.gif

 
 
Feb 9, 2011 at 10:40 AM Post #5 of 17

Danz03

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Depends on what you mean by 'improve'? In terms of frequency response, I think the LCD-2s sound very close to a pair of reference monitors or what the producers or sound engineers would hear in a studio so it's a bit hard to improve on that. But in terms of soundstage, headphones don't sound like speakers, period, and one can never feel the sub bass from headphones as from speakers.
 
Quote:
I have been reading all these LCD2 and HE-6 threads and their praises and how they are compared to the best cans ever made like R-10, K1000 etc.  I started to wonder technologically and sonically if there are room for improvement for these two phones.  For instance, we haven't seen a R-20, K2000, or L4000, so will there be LCD3 or HE-7?  Are they pushing the technological envelop with orthodynamic that to further improve on them is likely not easy? Are their sound near perfect (Cos I haven't read too many criticism on their sound) that it will be hard to improve upon?  The next ortho development coming from Head Direct is the HE-6p which is a lesser version of the HE-6, so we are going the wrong direction.

 
Feb 9, 2011 at 10:46 AM Post #6 of 17

PFKMan23

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I'd say of course there is, but only to a point.  Perfection or the perfect can, despite the name, is in the eye of the beholder.  I guess, it's a misnomer by construct, but the fact that there really isn't a universal consensus as to what is perfect shows that what might be the ideal for one may not be the ideal for another.  So yes you can improve on each headphone and others, but there will always be people who like or dislike one over another for whatever reason.
 
I look at it in a similar way that I think about balanced as is defined in the hobby.  Back when the Lavry DA-10 came out, and yes I realize the Benchmark was already on the market already, people were talking about how mainly due to the fact that you could have a "cheap" balanced set up, that it would be "the wave of the future."  There were discussions about increased slew rate, voltage swing, output impedance and others that balanced amps supposedly have over SE amps.  Of course, over time some people realized or determined that certain SE set ups sounded just as good or better than some balanced set ups.  Furthermore, here we are around 4 years later, balanced still hasn't gone mainstream despite the fact that there are even cheaper options out there.
 
So I think it's noble that somehow you're trying to find a more universal truth, but looking at my time in the hobby, there just isn't one, despite the fact that the data may be there to say otherwise.
 
--
 
And to the above, which was posted while I was still writing my post, I agree.  You can say you want to improve in certain areas and you may actually be able to do it, but there are limitations, as you've noted.  And some you just can;t overcome.  For example, I've owned the K1000 which are basically speakers that more or less have a headband, and while they might be somewhat speaker like, they do have their limits and IMO, while they offer certain things above the normal headphone, they also introduce certain problems as well; eg:  they leak alot, IMO just as much if not more than a normal headphone, the fit can get really awkward and the seeming requirement that you need a power amp to sufficiently drive them.
 
Feb 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM Post #7 of 17

Frank I

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Quote:
I'd say of course there is, but only to a point.  Perfection or the perfect can, despite the name, is in the eye of the beholder.  I guess, it's a misnomer by construct, but the fact that there really isn't a universal consensus as to what is perfect shows that what might be the ideal for one may not be the ideal for another.  So yes you can improve on each headphone and others, but there will always be people who like or dislike one over another for whatever reason.
 
I look at it in a similar way that I think about balanced as is defined in the hobby.  Back when the Lavry DA-10 came out, and yes I realize the Benchmark was already on the market already, people were talking about how mainly due to the fact that you could have a "cheap" balanced set up, that it would be "the wave of the future."  There were discussions about increased slew rate, voltage swing, output impedance and others that balanced amps supposedly have over SE amps.  Of course, over time some people realized or determined that certain SE set ups sounded just as good or better than some balanced set ups.  Furthermore, here we are around 4 years later, balanced still hasn't gone mainstream despite the fact that there are even cheaper options out there.
 
So I think it's noble that somehow you're trying to find a more universal truth, but looking at my time in the hobby, there just isn't one, despite the fact that the data may be there to say otherwise.
 
--
 
And to the above, which was posted while I was still writing my post, I agree.  You can say you want to improve in certain areas and you may actually be able to do it, but there are limitations, as you've noted.  And some you just can;t overcome.  For example, I've owned the K1000 which are basically speakers that more or less have a headband, and while they might be somewhat speaker like, they do have their limits and IMO, while they offer certain things above the normal headphone, they also introduce certain problems as well; eg:  they leak alot, IMO just as much if not more than a normal headphone, the fit can get really awkward and the seeming requirement that you need a power amp to sufficiently drive them.


Excellent post and I agree 100 percent. No matter how far hi end has come no one will ever be satisfied with the accomplishments. For many perfect has already been achieved and for many more that goal will never be reached. I can say the can developed today are so good I am satisfied and really wonder if I need so much. But for many other that holy grail is still in the hunting and has not been developed. Great Stuff PFK
 
Feb 9, 2011 at 3:55 PM Post #8 of 17

Jalo

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PFK, I appreciate your thoughts and again, I agree with the points being made here.  However, like Frank above indicated that for many perfection may have been achieved and if that is the case, there will be no need to chase anymore.  But as human nature as it is, many of us are never satisfy for what we've got, right?  We always want that we can't get or don't have.  How about if I were to post a more practical questions this way, may be it will be easy to make my point.  Assuming you have either the LCD2 or the HE-6 but you want to buy the other ortho also since they seems to be different enough.  At this time, it's not like you don't have a good phone to enjoy your music, you just want more.  So do you just go ahead and buy the other ortho, or do you wait for the next version to come out, like LCD3 or HE-7.  Do you think there will be LCD3 or HE-7?  Do you think they can refine the current versions anymore knowing the limit of the technology? They do have a history of improvement like LCD and LCD2 or the HE5, HE-5le, HE-6 etc but then again, eventually all things will come to the edge of technology.
 
How about if I approach the issue of perfection in a different way.  I already indicated that I totally agreed with the above messages from Rob, Dan, PFK and Frank with regard to going after perfection in headphone.  I know it is all relative.  What about if I look at each headphone designer from an artistic perspective and each headphone creation is their interpretation of how music should sound in their creation.  We are not talking about perfection here.  We are only talking about how music is interpreted in the minds of these headphone designers very much like the same Beethoven 9th can be played hundred of different ways by different conductors.  There is no perfect way to do it.  It is just their ways of interpreting the music.  So coming back to headphones, since many of us enjoy the LCD2 and/or the HE-6 so much.  It is natural to want to see how Audeze or Head Direct will interpret or refine in the next version if it is possible technologically.  And whatever it is, I know there are people that is going to like it and there are others that are not going to like it just like the HD600 and HD 650, UE 10 Pros vs UE11 Pros. etc. Thanks for you point of view though. 
 
Feb 9, 2011 at 4:17 PM Post #9 of 17

PFKMan23

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I do think it's possible to develop the technology of these headphones further which would hopefully result in "improvements".  Now whether it's a cost effective thing to do which would result in competitively priced products is another issue.  I've had discussions with other members about the future of the hobby and I was told that there was a manufacturer who felt that there was pressure to release a new product annually.  One possible consequence of this is invariably that a product would be released "too early" and would otherwise sound worse than if further R&D was allowed for in a longer time frame. In essence a question could be, would you find it acceptable for "improved" versions to be made, but have to wait 2 or more years for them.  Now that said, I do believe that the companies could conceivably release products that sounded different and had different "flavors" in their lineup ala HD600 vs HD650, JH13 vs. JH16, UE10 vs. UE11, etc... Not necessarily improvements, but new products nonetheless.
 
Feb 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM Post #10 of 17

Sophonax

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To address one of the questions, I think you can almost be certain that we'll be seeing the LCD-3 and HE-7 in the future (okay, maybe they won't be called that, but you get the idea).  Audez'e and Hifiman are making plenty of money off their new flagships, and I'm sure they'll want to continue bringing in the Benjamins, so they'll have to develop new products eventually.  When they do make the next generation orthos, they will probably cost 1.5 to 2 times as much, and plenty of people will inevitably say that these new headphones are better than the previous generation (in reality, maybe they will be, maybe they won't).  That's just the way Head-Fi and shiny-new-toy syndrome works.
 
In any case, I haven't heard the HE-6 yet, so I can't comment there.  I have heard the LCD-2, and I agree that it is very good (though its sound signature wasn't to my liking).  But perfect it is not.  While the LCD-2 may be hovering near what is currently considered to be "perfection", some new headphone (maybe the Stax C32?) will inevitably come along and perform better than many of us even thought possible, thereby raising the "perfection" bar.
 
Listening preferences aside, I think that perfection is definitely an asymptote, not some hard limit that can be reached.  Better headphones can always be made.
 
Feb 11, 2011 at 6:05 PM Post #11 of 17

Frank I

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Quote:
To address one of the questions, I think you can almost be certain that we'll be seeing the LCD-3 and HE-7 in the future (okay, maybe they won't be called that, but you get the idea).  Audez'e and Hifiman are making plenty of money off their new flagships, and I'm sure they'll want to continue bringing in the Benjamins, so they'll have to develop new products eventually.  When they do make the next generation orthos, they will probably cost 1.5 to 2 times as much, and plenty of people will inevitably say that these new headphones are better than the previous generation (in reality, maybe they will be, maybe they won't).  That's just the way Head-Fi and shiny-new-toy syndrome works.
 
In any case, I haven't heard the HE-6 yet, so I can't comment there.  I have heard the LCD-2, and I agree that it is very good (though its sound signature wasn't to my liking).  But perfect it is not.  While the LCD-2 may be hovering near what is currently considered to be "perfection", some new headphone (maybe the Stax C32?) will inevitably come along and perform better than many of us even thought possible, thereby raising the "perfection" bar.
 
Listening preferences aside, I think that perfection is definitely an asymptote, not some hard limit that can be reached.  Better headphones can always be made.

Usually when a company issue a flagship it remains for a bit so it will be interesting to see if Head Direct issues another higher end product. I know he is filling the line below and is working on another stat. Audeze from what I have heard is working on a speaker line and still trying to get their flagship finished and I think there may be more products in the lower price ranges from them
 
Feb 12, 2011 at 6:09 AM Post #13 of 17

vrln

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No offence intended, but to me this question is a bit odd. To me there seems to be a lot of groupthink especially regarding the LCD-2 here. The LCD-2 is basically the first real effort by the Audeze guys. They are a small company - now they have more money, more resources etc. Same with Hifiman. Of course they can and will be improved. If you enjoy the LCD-2, be happy - someday you´ll get something even better :) Personally I feel headphones have a long way to go, just look at what the current flagships did to the older top models. 
 
Feb 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM Post #14 of 17

Happy Camper

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I feel gear has caught up with recording technology. Listening to 50s to 70s music is rough on today's high end gear. It will expose what wasn't meant to be heard. Tracks being introduced in the mix with different background levels, reuse of tape caused some exposure to artifacts from previous recordings, etc. Today's digital technology has it's own sonic signature that can be heard on less than stellar recordings. When you get a properly mastered sound through today's gear, you're about as perfect as it needs to be. Unless they can figure out how to get a 3-D soundscape out of a headphone.
 
Feb 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM Post #15 of 17

Frank I

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Quote:
PFK, I appreciate your thoughts and again, I agree with the points being made here.  However, like Frank above indicated that for many perfection may have been achieved and if that is the case, there will be no need to chase anymore.  But as human nature as it is, many of us are never satisfy for what we've got, right?  We always want that we can't get or don't have.  How about if I were to post a more practical questions this way, may be it will be easy to make my point.  Assuming you have either the LCD2 or the HE-6 but you want to buy the other ortho also since they seems to be different enough.  At this time, it's not like you don't have a good phone to enjoy your music, you just want more.  So do you just go ahead and buy the other ortho, or do you wait for the next version to come out, like LCD3 or HE-7.  Do you think there will be LCD3 or HE-7?  Do you think they can refine the current versions anymore knowing the limit of the technology? They do have a history of improvement like LCD and LCD2 or the HE5, HE-5le, HE-6 etc but then again, eventually all things will come to the edge of technology.
 
How about if I approach the issue of perfection in a different way.  I already indicated that I totally agreed with the above messages from Rob, Dan, PFK and Frank with regard to going after perfection in headphone.  I know it is all relative.  What about if I look at each headphone designer from an artistic perspective and each headphone creation is their interpretation of how music should sound in their creation.  We are not talking about perfection here.  We are only talking about how music is interpreted in the minds of these headphone designers very much like the same Beethoven 9th can be played hundred of different ways by different conductors.  There is no perfect way to do it.  It is just their ways of interpreting the music.  So coming back to headphones, since many of us enjoy the LCD2 and/or the HE-6 so much.  It is natural to want to see how Audeze or Head Direct will interpret or refine in the next version if it is possible technologically.  And whatever it is, I know there are people that is going to like it and there are others that are not going to like it just like the HD600 and HD 650, UE 10 Pros vs UE11 Pros. etc. Thanks for you point of view though. 

Excellent post both well though out and a very nice read. I do think any improvements will be subtle and IMO there has to be a time just to listen to the music. I have too many headphones now. I enjoy the three reference ones most but in the end any other improvements will be subtle and certainly not leaps a forward better than these IMO and for me I have all I would ever need and so true about we want more. I think for me its all complete and better for me is not in my future with gear. I am happy with the way this system has developed and can be happy long term
 
 

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