Where should I go to step up from my Grado RS1?
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Mayfield4

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Hello folks. I am currently saving up to buy a step up from my current headphone, the Grado RS1, and I'm hoping to get some recommendations from some members. I bought the RS1's a few years back and I use them with my Cambridge Audio 851c CD player and ASL MG Head II tube amp.

I really like the tone and detail of RS1 but now I'm looking to take a definitive step up from them with the best value for the dollar...and don't know where to go with it. I have been eyeing the Focal Elear ($1200), Audeze LCD2 classic ($800), MrSpeakers Aeon Flow PLanar ($999), HifiMan Sundara ($649). I don't live anywhere near where I could listen to these headphones so I'm hoping to get some opinions on them and how they stack up to the Grados.

Thanks so much. I'm happy to be part of the forum and look forward to any feedback you can provide.
-Dwayne
 
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loopfreak

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Bought recently Elear and own the sr325e. Elears uber-dynamic midbass mostly, reminds me of Grados, with more body, definition and slam. Elears note attack on rest FR is bite like but smoother than Grado, you see where I'm aming for. They are different sounding make no mistake, but somehow It can definitely relate to Grados signature.

And yeah, buy used !
 
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Mayfield4

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As it happens my local hifi store just started carrying the focal Elear/clear/utopia line so I brought in my ASL tube amp and my grados and set about doing some tests. I must say I'm am impressed with the focals. Brilliant. Both the Clear and Elear blew away my grado reference series. And the Clear was substantially better than the Elear. I need to hear the Audeze LCD line but they have a huge task ahead of them. In fact...I compared the Clear with my own tube amp to the $5000 Stax headphone and proprietary amp system and I felt the Clear were significantly better....that's how high I am on them!
 
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loopfreak

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Well, if you have the option to audition them all then you don't need help, which is great ! Enjoy your listening tests.
 
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Mayfield4

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Oh I could certainly use the input! My dealer only carries focal, beyerdynamic, stax, and grado. I don't have access to Audeze, Hifiman, mrspeakers, and those other goodies that I really want to experience!
 
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loopfreak

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Since you've heard Clear/Elear it would be nice if someone can describe the sound of other headphones with Focals as a reference point. And you can dig the threads as well.
 
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