Is $2000 The Hi-End Headphone Sweet Spot in Mid-2024?
Jun 5, 2024 at 12:07 PM Post #31 of 99
i would not write off LCDx (situational with some music, better with mod) and definitely not 800S. I have replaced HEK with 800S and 800S sounded more correctly to me in terms of everything except for sub bass with significant improvements in terms of mid range purity and timbre. I am no longer interested in any planar now given I have tried to make them work since 2010.

Also it does not matter if one cans is better than another in all areas but one, if that one area makes you not like the cans those cans gotta go.
Fair enough that you like the HD 800S so much. I can fully understand that you like it more than any Hifiman. But looking at things from a more balanced view this isn't really the case. I have an HD 800 and an Arya Stealth and I already feel as though the Arya Stealth is a much more well-rounded headphone. The only thing the HD 800 edges the Stealth in is finer imaging cues in a directional sense, stage width and perhaps treble clarity. Literally everything else goes to the Stealth. I'm sure that you're going to have variance depending on the system, but the HEKse already shoots so far past the Arya Stealth that the latter is not even worth mentioning in discussions any more. HD 800 just doesn't really compete in this range.
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 12:07 PM Post #32 of 99
There's the HE1KV2 for 1K or even less than 1K used and Utopia used for 1.6-1.7K. You're pretty much getting more bang for buck than the 2000 quoted ones by Wave IMHO.
You are correct but I have to operate in a world where these videos are going to outlive the somewhat rapid fluctuations in the used market. When we assign value I think it's best to look at the market for new units you can obtain at MSRP or slightly under with normal seasonal sales and the like. The problem with making recommendations based on the used market is that the used market is not stable. Prices and availability can vary wildly. I absolutely agree that there are stunning values available on the used market (OG Utopia certainly being one right now), but there has to be an understanding that saving up for something that may or may not become available used is much riskier than saving up for something new. Another aspect of the used market is that it's very regional. The used market in Europe is very different than the used market in the US, and so forth. The new market is less regionally specific (although there certainly are still challenges *cough Schiit's international availability & pricing cough*). Anyway, that's my rationale for leaving the used market out the discussion. I hope that makes sense.
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 12:26 PM Post #33 of 99
Fair enough that you like the HD 800S so much. I can fully understand that you like it more than any Hifiman. But looking at things from a more balanced view this isn't really the case. I have an HD 800 and an Arya Stealth and I already feel as though the Arya Stealth is a much more well-rounded headphone. The only thing the HD 800 edges the Stealth in is finer imaging cues in a directional sense, stage width and perhaps treble clarity. Literally everything else goes to the Stealth. I'm sure that you're going to have variance depending on the system, but the HEKse already shoots so far past the Arya Stealth that the latter is not even worth mentioning in discussions any more. HD 800 just doesn't really compete in this range.
Depending on your gear. 800S is very picky about amp and dac. You can have completely different experience (polar opposites in some cases) if you pair 800S with different gear. For example 800S doesn’t work well with Chord and dacs along that sonic signature, including many low/mid chifi dacs. 800S trades blows with Utopia OG in my system.
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 1:15 PM Post #34 of 99
I would divided it in two groups.

First would be headphones with looks. Here i say, if someone has money , hey, we live only ones, just go for it. You love the design and want to have it, Just order it.
The second group, with focus on the sound quality.
I did tested - was in the store - Focal Clear OG vs Focal Clear MG, Utopia ( the first version ), Meze Empyrian ( first model ) and one of the Audeze headphones.
Came back home with the Clear OG. Nothing special, nothing standing out. Just very nice, clear and pleasant sound.

At home i was able to compare the Clear OG to the Stellia and some less expensive Focal models. Same story.
In the end i went for the Denon AH D9200. Than the Denon compared with Hifiman HE 1000 stealth. Bit surprised i was, hearing that the only difference was the bigger soundstage and the Hifiman is much more comfortable.

Now i am in the first group - have ordered ZMF Auteur Classic, just based on this forum opinions and the Looks.
I even forgot to check the impedance of the headphone.

Someone on different forum did compared some headphones. Among others was Meze 109 pro and Yamaha YH 5000 se. He said that he can not really hear any differences. For him the best choice from all the headphone was the Meze 109 Pro. So i am not the only one.
For me these prices are from space - meaning - companies are using their name, brand and upon this creating prices. I am not saying that the headphones were not sounding good, they were but prises are not normal.
So i would say, sweet spot can be much lower than the 2000 mark.

This is what i have experienced.
Cheers
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 1:28 PM Post #35 of 99
So the MSRP was lowered to 1.899€ a few days ago at least here in Germany but I guess everywhere.

I the SusUn thread some talked about that the new is as expensive as OG factoring in inflation.

Doing the same with HXse it would be worth more then 4k today.
Assuming Hifiman and retailers still earn money with 1899,- I just throw out 1k cost (fits the HP)
deducting inflation now and going back in time they sold it for 3.5 and it's cost was 800 back then?

Or should I belive R&D always mentioned as being THE expensive part has now paid off over the years so they just lower the price accordingly?
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 4:50 PM Post #36 of 99
So i would say, sweet spot can be much lower than the 2000 mark.
I tend to agree, however my experiences with 2k+ headphones are only as store demos with semi unfamiliar chains. For me the sweetspot lies between 1-2k (say from 109 pro to ZMF Atrium which i got to try).

On a side note, that Mars Volta album is great, regardless of its recording quality.
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 5:21 PM Post #37 of 99
hd800s just build around it and it will scale mount everest. what is it now? less than 2G for sure.
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 5:29 PM Post #38 of 99
When we assign value I think it's best to look at the market for new units
When we assign value I think it's best to look how loved ones live, maybe they need help (before buying another toy for $2000+)

I think your phrase would look much better this way:thinking: Well... I was joking:upside_down: don't be offended :handshake:
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 10:23 PM Post #39 of 99
we live only ones, just go for it. You love the design and want to have it, Just order it.
exactly how I fell into the 'trap' of Fostex's repaints lol
 
Jun 5, 2024 at 11:19 PM Post #40 of 99
I sold almost everything other than my HD600. Realized I don't care that much about chasing the elusive best - just want something that sounds good and doesn't fatigue me after a long day of work. Those HE1KSE I'm sure sound good BUT can you listen for however long you need without fatigue?

I noticed with most Hifiman, the answer to that is a simple, no. And I hear the one being suggested is one of the brightest ones within their lineup.

Great - they boost the treble quite a bit to expose more detail, but everything is some kind of tradeoff when it comes to tuning... for treble boost - it is usually fatigue.

I've actually moved away from headphones in general as I find even certain low cost speakers to have better overall sound than what most headphones provide, especially when you start to consider price. I literally got a pair of Best Buy branded Insignia bluetooth speakers for $30 dollars which do certain things better than most headphones I've owned. Things like soundstage, air, bass punch - can be done better on the very cheapest $30 speakers versus several hundred dollar headphones.

I mean it's really crazy when I think about it actually. In many respects I feel like I wasted a lot of my time with headphones.
 
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Jun 5, 2024 at 11:50 PM Post #41 of 99
In my experience, listening fatigue to me is a function of DAC and amp synergy and to a lesser extent, cables and interconnects and headphone cable synergy to the headphone rather than the headphone tuning itself as @WaveTheory emphasizes in his 2K headphone shootout video
 
Jun 6, 2024 at 12:07 AM Post #42 of 99
DAC and AMP certainly plays a role but the headphone itself dictates which way you may need to go with AMP in the first place...
 
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Jun 6, 2024 at 1:21 AM Post #43 of 99
I sold almost everything other than my HD600. Realized I don't care that much about chasing the elusive best - just want something that sounds good and doesn't fatigue me after a long day of work. Those HE1KSE I'm sure sound good BUT can you listen for however long you need without fatigue?

I noticed with most Hifiman, the answer to that is a simple, no. And I hear the one being suggested is one of the brightest ones within their lineup.

Great - they boost the treble quite a bit to expose more detail, but everything is some kind of tradeoff when it comes to tuning... for treble boost - it is usually fatigue.

I've actually moved away from headphones in general as I find even certain low cost speakers to have better overall sound than what most headphones provide, especially when you start to consider price. I literally got a pair of Best Buy branded Insignia bluetooth speakers for $30 dollars which do certain things better than most headphones I've owned. Things like soundstage, air, bass punch - can be done better on the very cheapest $30 speakers versus several hundred dollar headphones.

I mean it's really crazy when I think about it actually. In many respects I feel like I wasted a lot of my time with headphones.
This one I do not completely agree about speakers. The best headphones do so many things than moderate speakers and you’d need to have such a tweaked speaker system to approach certain aspects of headphone listening. Now if all you’re looking for is space and stage and out of head feel, then yes, I can agree with you… even cheap speakers will supersede the headphone experience.
 
Jun 6, 2024 at 1:56 AM Post #44 of 99
Fair enough that you like the HD 800S so much. I can fully understand that you like it more than any Hifiman. But looking at things from a more balanced view this isn't really the case. I have an HD 800 and an Arya Stealth and I already feel as though the Arya Stealth is a much more well-rounded headphone. The only thing the HD 800 edges the Stealth in is finer imaging cues in a directional sense, stage width and perhaps treble clarity. Literally everything else goes to the Stealth. I'm sure that you're going to have variance depending on the system, but the HEKse already shoots so far past the Arya Stealth that the latter is not even worth mentioning in discussions any more. HD 800 just doesn't really compete in this range.
From Headfonia review about Composer, HEKSE can't even compete with Composer, let alone HD800S.

The Hifiman HE1000SE (selling for $2K), like the Meze is a slower tuned headphone and in this case it is also lighter in presence and body. The Hifiman is the more typical reference, neutral tuned headphone where The Composer is the slightly fuller and more engaging one. The layering and depth of The Composer are easier to pick-up on, but it also is a more energetic headphone compared to the HE1000SE. The extension, spaciousness, timbre and tonal decay of The Composer easily trump that of the HE1000SE.

https://www.headfonia.com/austrian-audio-the-composer-review/2/

I'm using neutral reviewer perspective. Not fanboy perspective.
 
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Jun 6, 2024 at 1:59 AM Post #45 of 99
I sold almost everything other than my HD600. Realized I don't care that much about chasing the elusive best - just want something that sounds good and doesn't fatigue me after a long day of work. Those HE1KSE I'm sure sound good BUT can you listen for however long you need without fatigue?

I noticed with most Hifiman, the answer to that is a simple, no. And I hear the one being suggested is one of the brightest ones within their lineup.

Great - they boost the treble quite a bit to expose more detail, but everything is some kind of tradeoff when it comes to tuning... for treble boost - it is usually fatigue.

I've actually moved away from headphones in general as I find even certain low cost speakers to have better overall sound than what most headphones provide, especially when you start to consider price. I literally got a pair of Best Buy branded Insignia bluetooth speakers for $30 dollars which do certain things better than most headphones I've owned. Things like soundstage, air, bass punch - can be done better on the very cheapest $30 speakers versus several hundred dollar headphones.

I mean it's really crazy when I think about it actually. In many respects I feel like I wasted a lot of my time with headphones.
I don't know what your experience is exactly, but treble tolerance is a thing. Amplify Audio goes into this on his channel, but if you 'train' yourself to take a bit of treble, you'll see the benefits well outweigh the drawbacks. Hifiman headphones are not nearly as sharp as the graphs would indicate because the control is there. Especially the more modern you go. The HEKse also had a silent revision around 2020/21, which was also probably about when they switched from 2.5 to 3.5 connections on the cup, and the treble got a lot smoother the second time around. A lot of those early reports of people's ears being assaulted aren't so accurate these days. Check Passion For Sound's video on the HEKse/HE1000 Stealth to see what I mean. Of course, if you have the money, the Susvara would most likely fix that for you.
 

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