Closed-Back Planar Magnetic vs. Open-Back Dynamic Headphones: Which One Wins Out?!
Mar 26, 2021 at 7:19 PM Post #31 of 122

RockStar2005

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ER4/ER3 = 4K at 120fps

HE400i/LCD1 = 4K/120fps

DT770, ER2xr = 1080p60

I would get the HE400i/LCD1 first since there not much gains on the EL-8 since you'll EQ'ing on the first too anyway and the drivers are low distortion anyway. Kinda like how a ER3SE + 75ohm = ER4SR.
Ok cool.

If I have to EQ the HE400i and/or LCD-1, then I'd rather get the EL-8 since it has the oval earcups. Does the EL-8 need EQ'ing? I only want planar headphones that DO NOT need EQ'ing and have a mostly neutral sound signature. From what I've seen, the LCD-1 and the EL-8 both have the same super low distortion level (per Audeze) of <0.1% @ 100dB. Not sure on the HE400i, but prob the same I assume.

What about the Hifiman Sundara? It has the same distortion level rating too.

If you had to rank these 4 headphones, how would that look? Actually, disregard the EL-8. A quick comparison review search has a few ppl saying that the LCD-1 was put out as basically a replacement of the EL-8. Some other ppl have said the LCD-1 isn't very "fun" (one person even said "lifeless") to listen to as well, though many others say they blow away other big name headphones like AKG, Sennheiser, etc, and one even Ken Rockwell compared them to $4000 Stax headphones?! Hmmm. Thoughts?!
 
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Mar 27, 2021 at 4:38 AM Post #32 of 122

Blackwoof

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Distortion isn't that much of an issue with most headphones. And 1.2% isn't that bad. That is down at -50dB. I'd say that is very close to the threshold of audibility with tones. With music, you would never be able to hear it. That is about the best distortion that speakers generally achieve, and even double or triple that sounds fine with speakers.

I've said that before on Reddit/ASR. That 0.6% on the ER4 is what many Speakers wish for but because it Balanced armature based suddenly It a crime.

Is that some sort of analogy to represent your subjective impression? Frame rates in video have absolutely nothing to do with headphones. You might as well just use vague terms like "veils": and "blacker blacks".

ER4PT, LCD2C(Stock) sound just as detailed bright headphones(Beyer, Stax, Grado). Even with bass boost they still sound different to dynamic drivers like bass notes don't linger as long.
If I have to EQ the HE400i and/or LCD-1, then I'd rather get the EL-8 since it has the oval earcups. Does the EL-8 need EQ'ing? I only want planar headphones that DO NOT need EQ'ing and have a mostly neutral sound signature. From what I've seen, the LCD-1 and the EL-8 both have the same super low distortion level (per Audeze) of <0.1% @ 100dB. Not sure on the HE400i, but prob the same I assume.

What about the Hifiman Sundara? It has the same distortion level rating too.
Get the Hifiman's since they sound fine stock and a safer buy.
 
Mar 27, 2021 at 4:46 AM Post #33 of 122

bigshot

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I've said that before on Reddit/ASR. That 0.6% on the ER4 is what many Speakers wish for but because it Balanced armature based suddenly It a crime.

I honestly couldn't care less about the design used to reproduce sound. I care about how it sounds. Speakers sound MUCH better than headphones for more than one reason. I suppose I could describe speakers as sounding like a sparkling diamond or an 8k DCI. But I'd rather break things down to the fundamental aspects of sound reproduction... frequency response, noise, dynamics, distortion, timing error, etc... and discuss those with real world terms that describe the specific aspects of sound reproduction that are most important and put them in context with the way human ears perceive recorded music. Distortion isn't a big issue with headphones. The only way to make it a big issue is to build it up with words.

Whenever people start talking brand names and model numbers and use vague terms to describe how magical the sound is, I know they are just indulging in bias.
 
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Mar 27, 2021 at 7:33 AM Post #34 of 122

Blackwoof

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Whenever people start talking brand names and model numbers and use vague terms to describe how magical the sound is, I know they are just indulging in bias.

You just can't say 1 ~ 10% THD is okay and then call other stuff as bias in the same breath like detail/res. Planar headphones can handle more bass than any Planar/electrostatic Speaker with only one driver, They outperform on THD in cases where it matters(mixing/studio). It really common for people to notice that many Beyer/Grado headphones sound meh when there treble is cut, But a LCD2 with no EQ still outperform them despite many saying there dark(less treble). That borderline trolling It quite annoying that you think this on Headphone forum, Since you comparing a free field device to one that work's by pressure chamber to do the same thing with less effort driver wise(Single driver instead of 4).

Balanced armature/Planar use different diaphragms with differing stiffness to move air. While dynamic drivers use a cone to move air, But the issue with full range DD's they deform at the centre when there heavy bass which is why the HD600 distorts at 6db. Speed pretty much means resting quickness, a HD600 can't rest fast enough so it just smears the treble/mids trying to keep up. While the ER4/LCD don't have that from in the ER4 case it has much stiffer driver & in LCD case the whole diaphragm moves as one.

Hence why the ER4SR, HE400I, LCD1, L300ltd can handle +12db max on the Harman target without issues. But the HD600 just turn into a distorted mess, No one gonna grab a Focal Utopia to avoid that when a HE400i/ER3XR can do that for $199?. But these days you can get planar woofers which you can cross over with any planar HP or BA IEM for a micro 2.1 system without the issues that dynamic drivers hand wave away.
 
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Mar 28, 2021 at 7:55 PM Post #35 of 122

bigshot

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You just can't say 1 ~ 10% THD is okay

Since I didn't say that, I don't have to bother to read any further. I can just answer, "You didn't hear me correctly."
 
Mar 29, 2021 at 4:08 PM Post #36 of 122

RockStar2005

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So after a lot of review, I think I'm gonna go give the LCD-1 a tryout vs. my K702. It seems like the best option overall to evaluate. The fact that someone like Ken Rockwell is comparing it to a $4000-$5000 Stax headphone says a lot too. But generally, the majority of reviewers seem to favor it over like the HD600, HD650, HD6XX, Sundara, etc etc.

It should arrive sometime around the 9th. Amazon has it for only $299 (sold by Audeze themselves), though most sellers on there (including the default one) are selling it for $399. Good thing I checked before buying! :ksc75smile:

I appreciate all the input from you guys as well! It would be amazing if the LCD-1 could beat out my K702, but it would take a lot to accomplish THAT! lol
 
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Mar 29, 2021 at 5:26 PM Post #37 of 122

Blackwoof

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So after a lot of review, I think I'm gonna go give the LCD-1 a tryout vs. my K702. It seems like the best option overall to evaluate. The fact that someone like Ken Rockwell is comparing it to a $4000-$5000 Stax headphone says a lot too. But generally, the majority of reviewers seem to favor it over like the HD600, HD650, HD6XX, Sundara, etc etc.

It should arrive sometime around the 9th. Amazon has it for only $299 (sold by Audeze themselves), though most sellers on there (including the default one) are selling it for $399. Good thing I checked before buying! :ksc75smile:

I appreciate all the input from you guys as well! It would be amazing if the LCD-1 could beat out my K702, but it would take a lot to accomplish THAT! lol

The best thing about it all Audeze headphones respond to EQ super well. You could even mimic there & other planar flagships without any distortion on top, It massive steal at $299.
 
Mar 29, 2021 at 7:38 PM Post #38 of 122

RockStar2005

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The best thing about it all Audeze headphones respond to EQ super well. You could even mimic there & other planar flagships without any distortion on top, It massive steal at $299.

Yeah I couldn't agree more! For like 5 min the page with Audeze listed as the seller was showing up, so I grabbed it. But before and after that tiny window, it wasn't listed, so I'm glad I didn't wait (esp if I keep them! lol)!! Very strange though.

That's cool. But if I feel they NEED EQ'ing to compete with the K702 (or just to be awesome in general), I most likely won't keep them. I guess it's good to have options though! lol
 
Mar 30, 2021 at 3:41 AM Post #39 of 122

Blackwoof

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That's cool. But if I feel they NEED EQ'ing to compete with the K702 (or just to be awesome in general), I most likely won't keep them. I guess it's good to have options though! lol
Going by Crin's charts the LCD-1 will less hot at 1 ~ 2.9k area and 5 ~ 8k area too than the K702. Also the only EQ would be adding more bass by doing 95Hz low shelf at 6db.
 
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Mar 30, 2021 at 9:00 AM Post #40 of 122

RockStar2005

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Going by Crin's charts the LCD-1 will less hot at 1 ~ 2.9k area and 5 ~ 8k area too than the K702. Also the only EQ would be adding more bass by doing 95Hz low shelf at 6db.
Less hot? So like, less lively-sounding?!!

Low shelf? lol

I'll assume Crin is some keeper of frequency charts. 😂

I guess in the end, it's all gonna depend on how the overall sound of one is gonna render my music vs. the other. I think this reviewer does a pretty solid job of explaining the pros & cons of both.
 
Mar 31, 2021 at 5:18 PM Post #41 of 122

bigshot

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He's suggesting equalization corrections. If you don't EQ, you will need to find cans that get close enough without EQ. That's going to take listening to a bunch of them and deciding what you like.
 
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Mar 31, 2021 at 5:30 PM Post #42 of 122

RockStar2005

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He's suggesting equalization corrections. If you don't EQ, you will need to find cans that get close enough without EQ. That's going to take listening to a bunch of them and deciding what you like.

Ok. Thanks for clarifying!

I'm just gonna compare them like I did with the Ella............no EQ'ing. But will use the same amp/DAC.

I should have it by the 9th, per Amazon. So I'll prob post my thoughts within a couple weeks after, though in a separate thread since this one doesn't pertain. lol (But I'll still post a link here anyway).
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:28 AM Post #43 of 122

RockStar2005

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I've said that before on Reddit/ASR. That 0.6% on the ER4 is what many Speakers wish for but because it Balanced armature based suddenly It a crime.



ER4PT, LCD2C(Stock) sound just as detailed bright headphones(Beyer, Stax, Grado). Even with bass boost they still sound different to dynamic drivers like bass notes don't linger as long.

Get the Hifiman's since they sound fine stock and a safer buy.
Update: After 2 listening sessions of the K702 vs. the LCD-1, I've decided to return the LCD-1. Awesome sound, and arguably better comfort b/c of the oval lambskin pads, but although more forward in sound, it doesn't have the soundstage necessary to really let the drums BREATHE properly, IMO.

I'm realizing now how important soundstage is, even when comparing 2 open-back headphones together. The LCD-1's soundstage is good, but it's def closer to a closed-back type of soundstage. But I guess with how small the earcups are vs. the K702 and Sundara, perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise.

So now I'm CONSIDERING getting the Sundara (new upgraded 2020 version, not the original 2017 one) as a final comparison vs. the K702 (and yes, I know you had suggested this as well above lol). Again, though slightly off-topic for this thread b/c both are open-back, it's still a planar vs. dynamic comparison too. But several reviews have stated the Sundara has a much wider soundstage than the LCD-1, so I think it may offer a more compelling comparison vs. the K702. In THIS case, the planar magnetic technology MAY give it a leading edge, or not.

If I decide to get the Sundara, I will def post my thoughts as well. The Sundara also has a balanced output option I can utilize via my iFi xDSD. For a comparison, I will prob not go this route though since the K702 doesn't have it as well to my knowledge. However, if I actually decide to keep the Sundara, I would def go ahead with the balanced option too (found a cable & adapter that will allow me to do this on Amazon).
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:32 AM Post #44 of 122

bigshot

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All of this is particular to your particular ear canals and head shape. It doesn't apply to others. Also, I suspect that you aren't separating frequency response from the ergonomics regarding how the headphones align with your ear canals. Balanced will make absolutely no difference to the sound quality.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:43 AM Post #45 of 122

RockStar2005

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All of this is particular to your particular ear canals and head shape. It doesn't apply to others. Also, I suspect that you aren't separating frequency response from the ergonomics regarding how the headphones align with your ear canals. Balanced will make absolutely no difference to the sound quality.
Yeah but, aren't all headphone reviews or commentaries subject to the reviewer's ear canals and head shape? I don't know how else to convey my experience but to speak in those terms.

I guess some people would prefer a more forward sound vs. spacious. I thought I might anyway, but I'm seeing now that I'm really not. While the idea of hearing the instruments more up-close may seem cooler, I'd rather give the instruments a BIT more breathing room, but not too much, which is something I'd envision maybe happening with listening to music on speakers. I personally prefer headphones, but hey, to each his/her own.

Ok. So you've done your own comparisons of balanced vs. unbalanced?
 
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