Looking to upgrade from DT 1990 Pro - Focal Clear vs LCD-X. (Demoing them tomorrow) a few pre-listen / research questions:
Sep 11, 2022 at 6:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34

MEETmyARSENAL

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Posts
71
Likes
20
About me: I LOVE energetic music. Listen to about 85% metal, the rest rock/alt/EDM. Some guilty pleasure pop here and there. As for my metal, it's a mix of new/old stuff, but the old stuff I love often isn't exceptionally well recorded. Older Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, etc.

I got a DT1990 pro (with JDS atom stack) in February, LOVE the sound, then eventually got a second pc (upgrade), now the old one resides in my room on the other end of the house. I want a good audiophile setup for that one too. It's so good for intense, in-your-face music, and I'm seeking a better version of that for metal.

So, for my old pc, I got an HE400SE with ifi zen dac. I really love that good planar sound, as well as the sound signature (I learned the importance of good mids, and the headphones sound more "comfortable" overall). Not 100% sure whether or not I prefer the planar sub bass sound over a dynamic bass slam yet, but they're neck and neck. Although I prefer the overall signature of the HE400SE over the 1990s, I feel like the timbre stinks on the HE400SE, so much so that the 1990 is still way better. I also LOVE the detail retrieval on the 1990.

Therefore, I decided I'll return the HE400SE (still within the return window), upgrade the 1990 to as actual endgame headphone, and move that 1990 to the old one in my room.

I'm going to demo a few headphones at a place tomorrow, including: utopia, stellia, celestee, clear (I think most likely OG, but could also be MG, or both?), HD660S, HD800S, LCD-X, and a few others, but those are the noteworthy ones. I can't wait to demo Utopia and HD800S, but they're already out of my price range.

Therefore, it would most likely end up being Focal Clear (I'd go OG since that's a way better buy at ~890 new over a Clear MG) or LCD-X (2021 revision).

A few questions:
1. For people who have heard both, which do you think would be better for metal? What about non-metal?
2. Which is more comfortable? Or is that a subjective question? Is the weight of the LCD-X a legitimate concern? I'm a strong guy who won a few powerlifting competitions in college, legitimately don't know if that would help at all though for neck stuff.
3. Will atom stack be enough to sufficiently drive them?
4. Can sub bass from the LCD-X get tiring after a while?
5. Is there an easy way to tell if the LCD-X is the 2021 revision?
6. Are there any major QC issues I should look out for? How can the two models be expected to age over the years, or are they not expected to last that long? I treat all my headphones with pretty good care, haven't dropped my 1990 so far after 6.5 months with it.
7. If I were to go with the Clear, because that's also a dynamic, although it's pretty universally considered better than the 1990, is it still considered a huge improvement, or only minor? Or far different headphone overall?

Any insight is more than greatly appreciated. I'll edit in any additional questions I might think of down the line.
 
Sep 11, 2022 at 6:55 PM Post #2 of 34

Terriero

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Posts
1,740
Likes
3,213
Location
Canary Islands, Spain
@DW75 also listen mostly to metal genres and subgenres. He had the DT 1990 Pros and recently he bought the Clear (original) and preferred them. He can inform to you about that better than me.

Anyway, here is the post where he commented about that.

I also love the 1990 Pros for metal and my Denon AH-D9200s. Maybe you can also try the 9200s if they are available in the shop you are going to visit :L3000: being a closed back maybe will be better for you if you live with other people.
 
Sep 11, 2022 at 8:04 PM Post #3 of 34

MEETmyARSENAL

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Posts
71
Likes
20
@DW75 also listen mostly to metal genres and subgenres. He had the DT 1990 Pros and recently he bought the Clear (original) and preferred them. He can inform to you about that better than me.

Anyway, here is the post where he commented about that.

I also love the 1990 Pros for metal and my Denon AH-D9200s. Maybe you can also try the 9200s if they are available in the shop you are going to visit :L3000: being a closed back maybe will be better for you if you live with other people.
thanks, good informative thread there.

I'm 99% going to stick with open back
 
Sep 11, 2022 at 11:13 PM Post #5 of 34

Guipnox

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Posts
190
Likes
758
Location
DE
Read about Hifiman HE6seV2.
 
Sep 11, 2022 at 11:42 PM Post #6 of 34

Andrew_WOT

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
Posts
7,103
Likes
1,277
You may find this thread useful, lots of good options discussed.
Between Clears and LCD-X 2021, LCD-X 2021 is more technical with famous planar layering, Clears on the other hand have smaller soundstage, even that LCD-X's is not huge by other open phones standard, more intimate but more dynamic with hard hitting bass and good speed, you will lose some microdetails though with things getting blurred on busy passages. On the other hand your amp should drive them just fine, they are not that picky except that may sound anemic from weak portable setup.
Give a serious listen to HD800S, they are IMO a better option than the other two. I have them all and if was forced to keep just one it would be HD800 or may be HE-1000v2, they are not that far apart from each other with Sennheiser having slightly more natural softer timbre, Hifiman can be a bit aggressive at times, even metallic sounding, but being planars resolve a bit better with a better bass.
 
Last edited:
Sep 11, 2022 at 11:56 PM Post #7 of 34

MEETmyARSENAL

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Posts
71
Likes
20
You may find this thread useful, lots of good options discussed.
Between Clears and LCD-X 2021, LCD-X 2021 is more technical with famous planar layering, Clears on the other hand have smaller soundstage, even that LCD-X's is not huge by other open phones standard, more intimate but more dynamic with hard hitting bass and good speed, you will lose some microdetails though with things getting blurred on busy passages. On the other hand your amp should drive them just fine, they are not that picky except that may sound anemic from weak portable setup.
Give a serious listen to HD800S, they are IMO a better option than the other two. I have them all and if was forced to keep just one it would be HD800 or may be HE-1000v2, they are not that far apart from each other with Sennheiser having slightly more natural softer timbre, Hifiman can be a bit aggressive at times, even metallic sounding, but being planars resolve a bit better with a better bass.
HD800 really has my eye, but isn't the frequency response similar to that of a Grado? I used an SR80i for ten years and liked it, but the lack of bass got really annoying at times.
 
Sep 12, 2022 at 12:20 AM Post #8 of 34

Andrew_WOT

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
Posts
7,103
Likes
1,277
HD800 really has my eye, but isn't the frequency response similar to that of a Grado? I used an SR80i for ten years and liked it, but the lack of bass got really annoying at times.
I don't think so, but it depends on the system and point of reference, I don't take too bright phones well, Grado MS2i didn't survive a week in my stash, same goes to Ultrasones.
Just keep in mind that quick auditioning switching between phones can make even excellent phones sound either bright or dark depending what you switch from. Give them an honest hour of headtime before judging, not sure if it's possible in your situation.
 
Sep 12, 2022 at 12:24 AM Post #9 of 34

dougms3

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 8, 2020
Posts
1,987
Likes
2,464
Location
'Merica
When you compare back to back, I think you will be disappointed with everything else after you hear the Utopia.

I don't listen to metal but the clears and the utopia to a further extent are on the bright side, don't know the preferred characteristics for metal or if it works well with that genre. The clear with the stock suede pads dont have much bass but if you swap it to sheepskin earpads they have really punchy bass.

Atom may only have enough power for the focals from your list.
 
Sep 12, 2022 at 2:00 AM Post #12 of 34

Andrew_WOT

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
Posts
7,103
Likes
1,277
the lcd x seems to be the better choice if you’re willing to eq
Utter BS spread by EQ mob, ignore, each phone has own unique signature, do not ruin it, cherish them for what they are and what manufacturer designed them to sound like.
 
Sep 12, 2022 at 2:05 AM Post #13 of 34

IAmARaven

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Posts
19
Likes
12
Location
Massachusetts
Utter BS spread by EQ mob, ignore, each phone has own unique signature, do not ruin it, cherish them for what they are and what manufacturer designed them to sound like.
Personally I don’t eq so I’m not sure I can be considered as part of an eq mob, however I will recognize that audeze is a particular exception to the rule - many if not all of their headphones are agreed upon to be tangibly worse and hindered without eq
 
Sep 12, 2022 at 8:10 AM Post #15 of 34

MEETmyARSENAL

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Posts
71
Likes
20
I don't think so, but it depends on the system and point of reference, I don't take too bright phones well, Grado MS2i didn't survive a week in my stash, same goes to Ultrasones.
Just keep in mind that quick auditioning switching between phones can make even excellent phones sound either bright or dark depending what you switch from. Give them an honest hour of headtime before judging, not sure if it's possible in your situation.
Sadly, it isn't, but I've got a few hours to be there. Used a half day of vacation today so I can get done around noon-12:30 est and can be there by 2. They close at 6.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top