Looking for ( found )"end game" headphones in 2K ± price range.
Sep 5, 2020 at 8:18 AM Post #46 of 1,473

FYFL

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Tubes are a lot of fun and are sort of a "fixed hardware EQ" that is a lot more enjoyable to use than an actual EQ.

Anyways, in my humble opinion, these should be your finalists to check out:

The soundstage champion, technical wizard, Sennheiser HD800S:
https://en-us.sennheiser.com/high-resolution-headphones-3d-audio-hd-800-s

The romantic and intimate, never offending ZMF Aeolus Ltd Ed:
https://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-originals/aeolusltd

Both headphones actually look like how they sound ;]

From your discussion of your preferences, the HD800S I think will be the clear winner. The ZMF Aeolus is a good 2nd headphone to have though for a more intimate, less revealing and totally different sound. So buy both, complementary bliss :)
Can’t do both. Lol
HD800s would bring something different to the equation. I doubt any of my headphones sound presentation could relate to dynamic driver in HD800s and it’s technicalities. Still debating ZMF as a contender.
Also, what about HiFiman HE1000 V2? He sells open box directly for 2K. It’s within budget but I’m not sure how it scales in comparison to other headphones we talked about?
And anyone have experience using hifiman cans with quality tube amp?
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 8:30 AM Post #47 of 1,473

FYFL

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From the headphones I have owned and currently own I would rank them as

susvara>he1000se=verite>arya>aeolus>focal clear>lcdx

The Verite has a natural timbre and great bass slam. The SE has a larger soundstage and is more detailed. The Susvara takes the best qualities of SE and Verite and combines them into one super headphone.
Can you tell me more about your experiences with HE1000? With open box discount these would be with budget. Also, are these cans tube friendly? Verite looks nice and gets good reviews within the community but it will be hard to audition them......I think.
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 8:54 AM Post #48 of 1,473

RSC08

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Massively better, not even comparable. Hd700 sounds small soundstage and muffled compared to hd800s. But hd800s is also much larger so hd700 good to have for portability.

The only similarity is that the hd700 has a large soundstage compared to other headphones with similar size driver as the hd700. But compared the hd800s, the hd700 soundstage is far smaller and the frequency range far more uneven.

If vast soundstage and high technicality are your criteria and you want a currently in-production headphone, nothing comes close to hd800s in 2k range. (Trust me I've investigated the same thing since soundstage is most important to me)

If you like large soundstage top 3 headphones you should have are:
HD800S (when you don't need isolation)
HD820 (when you need isolation)
HD700 (when you need portability)


These 3 are the biggest soundstage in each of their class considering those still readily available

Seeing someone recommend HD700 and following it up with HD820: that awkward moment when you need to check if you are actually awake or asleep. :confused:
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 9:07 AM Post #49 of 1,473

ruinedx

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Seeing someone recommend HD700 and following it up with HD820: that awkward moment when you need to check if you are actually awake or asleep. :confused:

That awkward moment you realize independent thought is a thing :wink:

I can easily back up either recommendation. If you are a fan of soundstage there is nothing readily available the size of hd700 or with a closed back like hd820 that comes even close to reaching the soundstage of either. Just cause some herd followers who likely never even heard them don't like em because reasons ain't something I care about. They both possess technical soundstage prowess none of their peers can match.
 
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Sep 5, 2020 at 9:22 AM Post #50 of 1,473

RSC08

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Just because you like something, your subjective preferences don't make that something recommendable for someone else. Especially when the majority of the informed spectrum rates both previously mentioned headphones very poorly.

Additionally, I find it a bit amusing that you seem stuck on the "soundstage" part of the requirements and seem to overlook/ignore when the op says: " Technically better and with more even, correct tonality then my current headphones."
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 9:23 AM Post #51 of 1,473

yolosauce

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Can you tell me more about your experiences with HE1000? With open box discount these would be with budget. Also, are these cans tube friendly? Verite looks nice and gets good reviews within the community but it will be hard to audition them......I think.

The SE is very detailed. It has hard hitting bass and very dynamic when it needs to be. It doesn't have the soft sound that hifiman has become known for in the past. The bass gives texture to the music. It's an end game headphone for classical/ orchestra and takes well to EQ if you find it too bright for other genres.
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 9:24 AM Post #52 of 1,473

ruinedx

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Just because you like something, your subjective preferences don't make that something recommendable for someone else. Especially when the majority of the informed spectrum rates both previously mentioned headphones very poorly.

I would argue that the majority is uninformed, or perhaps informed with misinformation. I've actually heard these headphones, most commenting never have. They just follow the herd.

Let me guess the HD800S is ok in your book because its herd-approved? If so kind of ridiculous to take a stance against the hd700 and hd820 when they are simply the portable and closed back versions respectively of the hd800s. If you like the hd800s sound but need to make a trade-off for portability or isolation the hd700/hd820 are your best bet headphones.

Additionally, I find it a bit amusing that you seem stuck on the "soundstage" part of the requirements and seem to overlook/ignore when the op says: " Technically better and with more even, correct tonality then my current headphones."

Again part of being informed. You do know that altering the frequency response in certain ways contributes to larger soundstage perception, right (psychoacoustics)? So if soundstage is a priority it's a trade-off that is part of the deal.

IMO there is no purpose to "more neutral" sound curve when it comes with that "in your head" artificial-sounding soundstage that sounds nowhere near a "correct" representation of real life instrumentation.
 
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Sep 5, 2020 at 11:01 AM Post #53 of 1,473

bagwell359

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I like the Estats (Voce, 007, etc.) bu the amp requirements take that option (high end stats) away.

The Susvara is incredible and can be had new for about $3.6-7k according to one poster, but it needs more juice than you have. Like the LCD-4 but that needs more juice, the 'z' model needs less but doesn't sound quite as good. The HEKse is very very good, and they say it doesn't need a lot of juice, but I'd want at least 4 wpc (class A natch). There are other very great planars, but, you better check in person on power in your own system.

The 800 or 800s (with eq - pref parametric digital) would be great. ZMF's? Never heard one, they could float your boat, try a couple. Clear is the best they make, but isn't lush, tubes may help.

Good luck, report progress please.
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 12:26 PM Post #54 of 1,473

FYFL

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The SE is very detailed. It has hard hitting bass and very dynamic when it needs to be. It doesn't have the soft sound that hifiman has become known for in the past. The bass gives texture to the music. It's an end game headphone for classical/ orchestra and takes well to EQ if you find it too bright for other genres.
Yeah, I have heard that it could be slightly peaky at 5-6khz. I don’t mind it as long as it’s not sibling or shrill. From what I’ve read, they seemed to easy to listen to but still very technical. There were no complains regarding bass response or soundstage/imaging. Which is great.
I guess the only question is, do they respond well to tube amps and are they that much better then way less expensive Arya? There’s some conflicting opinions regarding value to performance ratio. Some say that it’s an obvious set up, others can’t seem to justify tiny (according to them) sound improvements. Any thoughts?


I like the Estats (Voce, 007, etc.) bu the amp requirements take that option (high end stats) away.

The Susvara is incredible and can be had new for about $3.6-7k according to one poster, but it needs more juice than you have. Like the LCD-4 but that needs more juice, the 'z' model needs less but doesn't sound quite as good. The HEKse is very very good, and they say it doesn't need a lot of juice, but I'd want at least 4 wpc (class A natch). There are other very great planars, but, you better check in person on power in your own system.

The 800 or 800s (with eq - pref parametric digital) would be great. ZMF's? Never heard one, they could float your boat, try a couple. Clear is the best they make, but isn't lush, tubes may help.

Good luck, report progress please.
By HEKse you mean HADDs? If so, yeah, I was looking at them for a while. Not sure how is the comfort at being 700+g? Some don’t mind it as they distributes weight quite nicely thanks to the tight(ish) clam. LCDX being on the heavy side are tolerable but I would prefer a little better comfort. They would have to be awesome to make me overlook this shortcoming.

LCD4 are great but again. A little too heavy. And like you said power requirement might disqualify them to some degree. But I know one guy that is/was using the same amp that I have with them and loved it. I was hoping that “z” version would be identical as far as performance goes........ Interesting that you found it to not be the case. For a second I was also considering lcd i4 as an alternative to their bigger brother. More within my price range and extremely portable, not hard to drive and close in performance to sound signature of lcd4s. But I’m not sure if they are worth 2k+? Maybe they are. That could also be an option.

I would rather stay away from EQing if possible.Are you saying that HD800s require EQ?

I’ll have to at least experience what Sasvara is all about. I’ve heard a lot of extremely positive reviews about these guys. If they’re better then lcd4s, I might sell a kidney to get it.
Might be worth tho.
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 12:32 PM Post #55 of 1,473

ruinedx

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I would rather stay away from EQing if possible.Are you saying that HD800s require EQ?

This is 100% dependent on your gear chain. On HD820 which has same treble as HD800S I don't use any EQ. But it you have any gear in your chain that is gritty or offensive you might need to. Of course in your case simply rolling the tube will fix this usually

I have found extreme EQ to the HD8xx greatly harms soundstage and defeats the purpose of getting it. Carefully matching of source gear is better route.
 
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Sep 5, 2020 at 12:32 PM Post #56 of 1,473

FYFL

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Additionally, I find it a bit amusing that you seem stuck on the "soundstage" part of the requirements and seem to overlook/ignore when the op says: " Technically better and with more even, correct tonality then my current headphones."

That would be correct. As important as soundstage is, there are other aspectsthat are equally important to me. If it wasn’t, it would be much easier to make up my mind about next headphones purchase. But it’s not that’s why I need your help guys. I don’t have the time or energy to go to the meets and shows to narrow down my options. Besides, that presents it’s own challanges.
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 12:36 PM Post #57 of 1,473

FYFL

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This is 100% dependent on your gear chain. On HD820 which has same treble as HD800S I don't use any EQ. But it you have any gear in your chain that is gritty or offensive you might need to. Of course in your case simply rolling the tube will fix this usually
I don’t think so. You know what I use for amplification. I have several DACs to match it with. From sterile to lush sounding PS Audio Directstream DAC. I also love vinyl and that setup is also tube based (phono).
 
Sep 5, 2020 at 12:47 PM Post #58 of 1,473

ruinedx

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That would be correct. As important as soundstage is, there are other aspectsthat are equally important to me. If it wasn’t, it would be much easier to make up my mind about next headphones purchase. But it’s not that’s why I need your help guys. I don’t have the time or energy to go to the meets and shows to narrow down my options. Besides, that presents it’s own challanges.

In some ways the goals you presented with run contrary to each other in terms of tradeoffs to making a headphone so you kind of have to pick which is most important.

In order to get the massive soundstage of HD800S, Sennheiser used a very large cup with off-axis angled drivers, and then used a specific frequency curve that helps trick the brain into thinking the sound is much larger and farther away than it actually is. On the other hand, to get what some people would call perfectly "neutral" in a headphone design you'd need to have on-axis drivers with a different FR curve that will result in a small in-the-head soundstage like the HD600.

So you have to decide whats most important because every design has tradeoff and there is no perfect design. But the HD800S is probably the closest to what you describe as its a very technically proficient headphone and has an unbeatable soundstage in its pricerange, and this is why its so popular.

I don’t think so. You know what I use for amplification. I have several DACs to match it with. From sterile to lush sounding PS Audio Directstream DAC. I also love vinyl and that setup is also tube based (phono).

No I think you will be perfectly fine with that, like I said worse comes to worse you swap out one tube for another.
 
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Sep 5, 2020 at 12:52 PM Post #59 of 1,473

bagwell359

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By HEKse you mean HADDs?

No, commonly used notation for hifiman HE-1000 SE, on this site.

[QUOTE}If so, yeah, I was looking at them for a while. Not sure how is the comfort at being 700+g? Some don’t mind it as they distributes weight quite nicely thanks to the tight(ish) clam.[/QUOTE]

Sorry, no idea.

I would rather stay away from EQing if possible.Are you saying that HD800s require EQ?

Every can needs EQ - just stick with digital parametric. The 800s need EQ in at least 6 areas.

I’ll have to at least experience what Sasvara is all about. I’ve heard a lot of extremely positive reviews about these guys. If they’re better then lcd4s, I might sell a kidney to get it.
Might be worth tho.

Susvara needs a lift in the low bass, might not need any anywhere else. I just can't afford the amp to go with the Estats I like. So goodbye Indian Head Cent collection - 1877 VG+, 1909S EF, etc... and hello Susvara - by the time I get sick of 'em my hearing will be gone....
 
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Sep 5, 2020 at 12:57 PM Post #60 of 1,473

FYFL

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In some ways the goals you presented with run contrary to each other in terms of tradeoffs to making a headphone so you kind of have to pick which is most important.

In order to get the massive soundstage of HD800S, Sennheiser used a very large cup with off-axis angled drivers, and then used a specific frequency curve that helps trick the brain into thinking the sound is much larger and farther away than it actually is. On the other hand, to get what some people would call perfectly "neutral" in a headphone design you'd need to have on-axis drivers with a different FR curve that will result in a small in-the-head soundstage like the HD600.

So you have to decide whats most important because every design has tradeoff and there is no perfect design. But the HD800S is probably the closest to what you describe as its a very technically proficient headphone and has an unbeatable soundstage in its pricerange, and this is why its so popular.



No I think you will be perfectly fine with that, like I said worse comes to worse you swap out one tube for another.
One of the wonders of tube gear. It’s never boring. Unless there are anomalies that tubes can’t fix.
 

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