Endgame for Metal Music
Aug 16, 2019 at 10:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

monkey4054

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Hi everyone, so I’m fed up with messing around with different headphones and gear and I’m looking to go complete endgame and just set and forget for good. Willing to spend up to 3k AUD maximum. So uber high-end headphones like the Abyss 1266, Susvara, LCD-4z, Utopia etc. are just out of the question. Still, have to pay the bills….. ☹

I currently have a Fostex TH-600, Focal Elegia, Burson Fun amp and an SMSL SU-8 V2 DAC. I recently bought the Focal Elegia, but I have found that I prefer the sound of the 600 overall. But both are still missing… something.

I am thinking of selling almost all my audio gear and buying the RME ADI-2 DAC which from what I’ve been reading, seems to be the best “value” overall high-end DAC/amp on the market.

Now, headphones. I mainly listen to metal, rock and hardcore music. But I will very occasionally venture outside these genres as well. Sound signature wise I want excellent bass quantity and quality with plenty of slam, impact and weight. Of course, excellent, meaty and forward mids and clear/crisp but non-sibilant or fatiguing highs. I would consider bass the most important end of the frequency range. I can deal with imperfect mids and treble somewhat, but bass-lacking headphones are a complete no-go.

I basically want an improved Fostex TH series sound, but with better, more forward mids and non-sibilant treble. If that exists. I have heard the Fostex 610 and the 900 and very much liked both. But the 900 just needs more forward mids and to tame that sibilant treble! If they did that, it would be perfection.

I have heard the Audeze LCD-X and LCD-2 and didn’t really like them as they sounded somewhat muddy/fuzzy compared to the clarity of the Focal and Hifiman. But haven’t heard any of the higher-end models, or any of the closed-backs. So I won’t go as far as to dismiss the whole line completely, based on my limited experience with those two.

The best headphone I have ever heard is the Focal Stellia, even better than the Hifiman Susvara (which I have also heard), but I felt its price was ridiculous (just like the Susvara) in comparison to the similar sounding and much less expensive Clear and even the Elegia.


Headphones I have been looking into or considered:

· Meze Empyrean

· Mr Speakers Ether C/Flow Closed

· Focal Clear

· Hifiman Arya or Ananda (heard the Ananda and liked it, but went with the Elegia instead because I thought it sounded clearer and more forward, but in practice, is lacking in bass quantity and impact somewhat and is quite fatiguing for long listening and unforgiving of bad material (a bit of buyers remorse perhaps?))

· Hifiman HE-6se?

· Fostex 909?

· LCD-3 Fazor or XC?

· Sony Z1R?

· Denon D7200

· Beyerdynamic T1, T5p, Amiron, 1770, 1990

· One of the ZMFs?

· Campfire Audio Cascade

· Sennheiser 820, 800s, or 660s



Any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
 
Aug 16, 2019 at 11:01 PM Post #2 of 16

acguitar84

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Saw this and thought I'd reply. I hope others will respond that have a lot more headphones on hand (and amps too). My main two headphones are the PS1000e and the HD650. I have a balanced cable on the HD650 and am getting one put on the PS1000e. I like both headphones for different reasons. Which is why I think it's hard to have just one set for endgame. That said, I could probably live with just the HD650. Right now I'm listening to Van Halen For Unlawful with them and it really sounds great!

The main reason though I thought I'd reply is I own the RME DAC and so far, this dang thing, lol. Makes me want to stay up later and later at night when I should be sleeping and keep on listening. It's a really fun DAC. I haven't dived into it's EQ yet, but I think I figured out the first few menus, and like I said on the RME thread, I really like the "slow" filter.

I'm set up with computer into RME and balanced into the Jotunheim and balanced into the HD650. I am thinking of doing an amp "upgrade" but not sure yet. The Jotunheim seems to get along good with the RME, really punches above it's weight IMO. Then again, I haven't heard that many amps yet. I see a lot of people with far more experience recommending the Phonitor X as a companion to the RME. I guess you have to be careful with it though, mute volume before switching headphones. I'm also looking at the WA22, Mjolnir 2 and even considering the Benchmark HPA4. The Woo WA33, really love to hear that one, but lots of bucks required for that!

Headphones, I'd really like to hear GS3000e, PS2000e, the Empyreans, Focal Utopias and HD800s. Just to name a few. Is there an endgame? lol. Crazy hobby.
 
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Aug 16, 2019 at 11:11 PM Post #3 of 16

nishan99

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Nothing beats Planars and estats when it comes to metal and rock.
They excel at loud volumes and sound smooth and non fatiguing compared to dynamics with similar sound signature and price.
My recommendations:
1- Hifiman arya, but you may want to EQ the treble down for metal and rock

2- Hifiman ananda, sound amazing with metal without EQ and more forward sounding than arya

3- Hifiman he1000se, more dynamic and smoother treble arya but pricy.

Sorry for reking only hifimans but they excel at metal
 
Aug 16, 2019 at 11:21 PM Post #4 of 16

Monsterzero

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ZMF headphones fit your description perfectly.
basically want an improved Fostex TH series sound, but with better, more forward mids and non-sibilant treble. If that exists.

I listen to quite a bit of metal. Check out my metal music thread for the types of stuff I like. You can also check my YouTube channel for reviews on headphones. I put all my headphones thru the melodeath test.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 3:32 AM Post #5 of 16

monkey4054

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ZMF headphones fit your description perfectly.


I listen to quite a bit of metal. Check out my metal music thread for the types of stuff I like. You can also check my YouTube channel for reviews on headphones. I put all my headphones thru the melodeath test.

Hey Monster, thanks for your suggestion. I've actually been subscribed to your Youtube channel for a while now, great content by the way. Yes, the ZMFs have been really REALLy intriguing me for quite a long time. The only thing that is holding me back is the conflicting opinions. Some people say they are great, but some people have been disappointed as well. Plus I'm not sure the differences between all the models. I've tossed up between the Atticus, Aeolus and Auteur. But I'm just not convinced enough to pull the trigger. Which model would you say has the closest bass to a Fostex? Atticus maybe? But then I've also heard that the Atticus is laid back and not very bassy? Confusing...
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 3:36 AM Post #6 of 16

monkey4054

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Saw this and thought I'd reply. I hope others will respond that have a lot more headphones on hand (and amps too). My main two headphones are the PS1000e and the HD650. I have a balanced cable on the HD650 and am getting one put on the PS1000e. I like both headphones for different reasons. Which is why I think it's hard to have just one set for endgame. That said, I could probably live with just the HD650. Right now I'm listening to Van Halen For Unlawful with them and it really sounds great!

The main reason though I thought I'd reply is I own the RME DAC and so far, this dang thing, lol. Makes me want to stay up later and later at night when I should be sleeping and keep on listening. It's a really fun DAC. I haven't dived into it's EQ yet, but I think I figured out the first few menus, and like I said on the RME thread, I really like the "slow" filter.

I'm set up with computer into RME and balanced into the Jotunheim and balanced into the HD650. I am thinking of doing an amp "upgrade" but not sure yet. The Jotunheim seems to get along good with the RME, really punches above it's weight IMO. Then again, I haven't heard that many amps yet. I see a lot of people with far more experience recommending the Phonitor X as a companion to the RME. I guess you have to be careful with it though, mute volume before switching headphones. I'm also looking at the WA22, Mjolnir 2 and even considering the Benchmark HPA4. The Woo WA33, really love to hear that one, but lots of bucks required for that!

Headphones, I'd really like to hear GS3000e, PS2000e, the Empyreans, Focal Utopias and HD800s. Just to name a few. Is there an endgame? lol. Crazy hobby.

Hey, you're definitely right. It's a crazy hobby. I'm pretty much set on the RME at this point, will look at adding a dedicated amp in the future, if I feel it's necessary.



Nothing beats Planars and estats when it comes to metal and rock.
They excel at loud volumes and sound smooth and non fatiguing compared to dynamics with similar sound signature and price.
My recommendations:
1- Hifiman arya, but you may want to EQ the treble down for metal and rock

2- Hifiman ananda, sound amazing with metal without EQ and more forward sounding than arya

3- Hifiman he1000se, more dynamic and smoother treble arya but pricy.

Sorry for reking only hifimans but they excel at metal

Hey, thanks for your input. I definitely liked the Ananda when I heard it, but there was just something about the Focal at the time that made me choose it instead. Do you think the Arya worth it over the Ananda?
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 4:09 AM Post #7 of 16

nishan99

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Hey, you're definitely right. It's a crazy hobby. I'm pretty much set on the RME at this point, will look at adding a dedicated amp in the future, if I feel it's necessary.





Hey, thanks for your input. I definitely liked the Ananda when I heard it, but there was just something about the Focal at the time that made me choose it instead. Do you think the Arya worth it over the Ananda?

I own the Ananda and I a/b it with the he1000v2(fancy arya) and the difference was not big enough to upgrade but now with a $1600 arya I think it's worth it. The difference was obviouse from the first 5 seconds of a/bing, they were more clearer and wider. Just keep in mind you may need to EQ their treble down.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 4:26 AM Post #8 of 16

monkey4054

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I own the Ananda and I a/b it with the he1000v2(fancy arya) and the difference was not big enough to upgrade but now with a $1600 arya I think it's worth it. The difference was obviouse from the first 5 seconds of a/bing, they were more clearer and wider. Just keep in mind you may need to EQ their treble down.

Interesting. Well the Arya is definitely on my list. Do you have any experience with the ZMF line at all? If so, how do you think they stack up against the Hifiman headphones?
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 7:39 AM Post #9 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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I've been using my HD600 (EQ-d closer to HD650, plus thicker angled pads) since 2010 and last year I listened to it back to back with the Focal Utopia with the new Cayin PP tube amp there (I have a Meier Cantate.2 for it at home). I decided to stick with it instead of blowing essentially 30X the money on the Utopia. Listened to Metallica (One, Wherever I May Roam), Kamelot (Center of the Universe, Forever, and Farewell from One Cold Winter's Night), and Nightwish (Wishmaster, Fantasmic, The Poet and the Pendulum).

Personally if I'd blow some money I'd get the HD800S or LCD-3, or the K1000 if I can find one. Otherwise I'd just get speakers, or work towards getting a house where I can run speakers.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 8:09 AM Post #10 of 16

nishan99

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Interesting. Well the Arya is definitely on my list. Do you have any experience with the ZMF line at all? If so, how do you think they stack up against the Hifiman headphones?

I will get the Verite in a week and I will compare it to the ananda and elex after one week of listening.
Yet I doubt they will be better than ananda for metal.
 
Aug 17, 2019 at 11:09 AM Post #11 of 16

Monsterzero

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Which model would you say has the closest bass to a Fostex? Atticus maybe? But then I've also heard that the Atticus is laid back and not very bassy? Confusing...

The Atticus is an odd beast. Its quite thick and warm sounding,with silly midbass,kind of a Super HD650,but better obviously. Depending upon the amp pairing and pads being used it can sound quite different from system to system. I actually preferred the Aeolus,as the mid bass was turned down a notch,which allowed other aspects of the sound to come thru clearer.

The Auteur is more neutrally tuned,so IMO is more versatile than either of the others,but it doesnt slam in a silly way like the Fostex,or the Aeolus or Atticus.

Another thing to consider is amping the ZMFs. Im not sure which amp you have but some of the other headphones being mentioned are less amp dependent than the ZMF line.

I had the Ananda on loan,and actually filmed a review,but I havent posted it yet. If visceral bass is what youre after I'd skip the Ananda. I liked it,but from what youre describing as the type of sound youre after,the Ananda doesnt fit. The Auteur would be the closest in sound to the Ananda of the headphones I own,and it was a clear step up from the Ananda.

Personally,if I were you,I'd save and get the Stellia. Youve heard it. You loved it,and its easy to drive.
You can buy a ZMF,and a good tube amp to drive them. After youve invested in good tubes for your amp,youre spending as much,or more than the Stellia.
 
Aug 25, 2019 at 4:07 AM Post #12 of 16

monkey4054

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The Atticus is an odd beast. Its quite thick and warm sounding,with silly midbass,kind of a Super HD650,but better obviously. Depending upon the amp pairing and pads being used it can sound quite different from system to system. I actually preferred the Aeolus,as the mid bass was turned down a notch,which allowed other aspects of the sound to come thru clearer.

The Auteur is more neutrally tuned,so IMO is more versatile than either of the others,but it doesnt slam in a silly way like the Fostex,or the Aeolus or Atticus.

Another thing to consider is amping the ZMFs. Im not sure which amp you have but some of the other headphones being mentioned are less amp dependent than the ZMF line.

I had the Ananda on loan,and actually filmed a review,but I havent posted it yet. If visceral bass is what youre after I'd skip the Ananda. I liked it,but from what youre describing as the type of sound youre after,the Ananda doesnt fit. The Auteur would be the closest in sound to the Ananda of the headphones I own,and it was a clear step up from the Ananda.

Personally,if I were you,I'd save and get the Stellia. Youve heard it. You loved it,and its easy to drive.
You can buy a ZMF,and a good tube amp to drive them. After youve invested in good tubes for your amp,youre spending as much,or more than the Stellia.

I think you're pretty right on with that logic. It would definitely be a safer bet to just get the Stellia, which I've heard, over one of the ZMFs. The only problem is the Stellia costs $4500 AUD and whilst they are the best headphones I've heard, that is just an insane price for any headphone. Especially considering the very small improvements in sound quality between it and the lower end models like the Elegia and the Clear. If they halved in price, they would probably be worth it though. Still something intriguing about the ZMFs, even though there's a strong possibility I will find them lacking in bass or something. I would really kill to be able to hear them one day... Maybe if they decide to go to mass production at some stage...
 
Aug 25, 2019 at 11:52 AM Post #13 of 16

Monsterzero

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Still something intriguing about the ZMFs, even though there's a strong possibility I will find them lacking in bass or something. I would really kill to be able to hear them one day... Maybe if they decide to go to mass production at some stage...
The only dynamic ZMF that one perhaps might consider bass light is the Auteur. I dont feel that way,but theyre the most neutrally tuned ZMF dynamic out there.
Dont hold your breath on them going mass production any time soon.

ZMF used to have an Australian dealer in place,but apparently that ended. @zach915m mentioned another dealer theyre working with now. Perhaps he can chime in and let you know where to go to check out the ZMF lineup.
 
Aug 25, 2019 at 5:11 PM Post #14 of 16

Mightygrey

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Hi everyone, so I’m fed up with messing around with different headphones and gear and I’m looking to go complete endgame and just set and forget for good. Willing to spend up to 3k AUD maximum. So uber high-end headphones like the Abyss 1266, Susvara, LCD-4z, Utopia etc. are just out of the question. Still, have to pay the bills….. ☹

I currently have a Fostex TH-600, Focal Elegia, Burson Fun amp and an SMSL SU-8 V2 DAC. I recently bought the Focal Elegia, but I have found that I prefer the sound of the 600 overall. But both are still missing… something.

I am thinking of selling almost all my audio gear and buying the RME ADI-2 DAC which from what I’ve been reading, seems to be the best “value” overall high-end DAC/amp on the market.

Now, headphones. I mainly listen to metal, rock and hardcore music. But I will very occasionally venture outside these genres as well. Sound signature wise I want excellent bass quantity and quality with plenty of slam, impact and weight. Of course, excellent, meaty and forward mids and clear/crisp but non-sibilant or fatiguing highs. I would consider bass the most important end of the frequency range. I can deal with imperfect mids and treble somewhat, but bass-lacking headphones are a complete no-go.

I basically want an improved Fostex TH series sound, but with better, more forward mids and non-sibilant treble. If that exists. I have heard the Fostex 610 and the 900 and very much liked both. But the 900 just needs more forward mids and to tame that sibilant treble! If they did that, it would be perfection.

I have heard the Audeze LCD-X and LCD-2 and didn’t really like them as they sounded somewhat muddy/fuzzy compared to the clarity of the Focal and Hifiman. But haven’t heard any of the higher-end models, or any of the closed-backs. So I won’t go as far as to dismiss the whole line completely, based on my limited experience with those two.

The best headphone I have ever heard is the Focal Stellia, even better than the Hifiman Susvara (which I have also heard), but I felt its price was ridiculous (just like the Susvara) in comparison to the similar sounding and much less expensive Clear and even the Elegia.


Headphones I have been looking into or considered:

· Meze Empyrean

· Mr Speakers Ether C/Flow Closed

· Focal Clear

· Hifiman Arya or Ananda (heard the Ananda and liked it, but went with the Elegia instead because I thought it sounded clearer and more forward, but in practice, is lacking in bass quantity and impact somewhat and is quite fatiguing for long listening and unforgiving of bad material (a bit of buyers remorse perhaps?))

· Hifiman HE-6se?

· Fostex 909?

· LCD-3 Fazor or XC?

· Sony Z1R?

· Denon D7200

· Beyerdynamic T1, T5p, Amiron, 1770, 1990

· One of the ZMFs?

· Campfire Audio Cascade

· Sennheiser 820, 800s, or 660s



Any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
Hey mate, another Aussie metal fan here. My ZMF Eikons are amazing with just about everything, but I have to say my Grado GH1's take the cake - they're incredible.

If you're after end-game metal sound, I'd audition the Grado PS2000e.
 
Sep 1, 2019 at 7:45 AM Post #15 of 16

monkey4054

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The only dynamic ZMF that one perhaps might consider bass light is the Auteur. I dont feel that way,but theyre the most neutrally tuned ZMF dynamic out there.
Dont hold your breath on them going mass production any time soon.

ZMF used to have an Australian dealer in place, but apparently that ended. @zach915m mentioned another dealer theyre working with now. Perhaps he can chime in and let you know where to go to check out the ZMF lineup.

You know, I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger on the Atticus. The only things holding me back would be the exchange rate being really bad and also selecting a new amp for them. Now, I know that ZMFs are supposed to work best with high-end tube amps and I've heard they can be amp picky, but I just would really prefer not to mess around with tube amps at this stage. Are there any solid-state amps out there that are known to work well with the Atticus? I've heard the Head Amp Gilmore is apparently good with the ZMFs? Other than that, I'm not too sure. Thanks for all your help and input so far.


Hey mate, another Aussie metal fan here. My ZMF Eikons are amazing with just about everything, but I have to say my Grado GH1's take the cake - they're incredible.

If you're after end-game metal sound, I'd audition the Grado PS2000e.

Hey mate, good to see another Aussie on here. You know, I have never tried a Grado before, but they are definitely on my list. I hear people recommend them a lot for rock and metal music. I think what has made me overlook them has been the criticism about them being bass-light, having peaky treble and apparently some of the higher-end models sound just as good if not worse than some of the cheaper models. Definitely need to hear them for myself though. Cheers.
 
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