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HiFiMAN HE-1000 V2 or Sennheiser HD800S or Sennheiser HD820 or Audeze LCD-XC?


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Coming from KEF Ls50w, Ls50, R900  and some other speakers to headphone (which im not the most educated on) I currently have a B&W P9 which do sound very nice, but looking to see if there is something even better that I might be missing in the sound quality department.

 

I know im listing closed back vs open back, but want something new to try.

I have found the following options:

 

Open Back:
HiFiMAN HE-1000 V2 for $2499 aud

Sennheiser HD800S for $1815 aud

 

Closed Back

Sennheiser HD820 Closed Back for $1999 aud

AUDEZE LCD-XC CLOSED PLANAR for $1899 aud


Which of the these would be a better option for value? Or are there better lower cost options I haven't listed.

Is the open back options a major sound quality increase vs the close back?

 


I use a Fiio X7 MK2 DAP but I'm thinking these headphones would need a dedicated amp to run them properly?
I would use them mostly in my room, so its a noise free environment.  But I guess having closed back would allow me the option of using it in other places.
Looking to acquire something in the next few days. 

 

 

Updated original post to include AUDEZE LCD-XC CLOSED PLANAR and Sennheiser HD800s

Edited by Bruno28
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Yeah you'd definately want a dedicated amp to run them, but I'd just look at what amps comes across the classifieds to begin with.  Start with a budget of $500 and over time work up if need be.  The hifiman's are easy to drive, I think the Sennies are as well.

 

It's a tough question asking to compare open and closed backs.  For me, I'll never go closed back again, so I'll say best value are the hi-fi man's just based on this alone.  Having said that, I chose my hifiman's over HD800's (not the S model) so add in my listening impressions as well.  I've never heard the HD820's.  Such is my impression of closed vs open backs I'd only ever go back to closed if noise affecting others was an issue.

Edited by Kaynin
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updated original post to include the AUDEZE LCD-XC CLOSED PLANAR and Sennheiser HD800S as an option too. 

Edited by Bruno28
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Coming for speakers I would forget closed back headphones. In my opinion you take a big performance hit with the isolation.

So that leaves you with the question of what open backs to aim for. I’ve owned HE-1000, HE500, HD800s, HD800, HD650, HD600, LCD3 and Utopia. This is my top 4 and why.

1st place. This would of been my Utopias up until recently. Now top billing is shared between the Utopias and the HD800.

Utopias are incredibly musical. They present the sound just the way I want it. I have them running off a tube amp I built and have spend a lot of time tweaking it’s design get the most out of these cans. I would call the sound signature smooth, detailed and rich.

HD800 are another story. I’ve done the SDR mod to them which smoothed out their notorious frequency spikes. I’ve also replace the standard cable with a Black Dragon. These cans are very sensitive to your setup. You’ll need a good DAC and amp. I have the 800’s are running off tricked up PDX and a modified Bottlehead Crack amp. I’ve found tube selection is critical, but get it right and the cans are simply mind blowing. Soundstage, detail and separation are the best I’ve ever heard and by a huge margin. They’ll punish a bad recording but with the good stuff, pure magic!!!!!

2nd place. HD1000. I’ve only heard the V1 so I can’t comment on the V2. Excellent headphones with a nice wide open soundstage. Does pretty much everything thing right but was missing a little body. I only had these for a few weeks and didn’t really have the right amp for them. I sold them to my mate and he brings them around every now and then. With my current setups they sound a whole lot better and probably could be improved on. If it wasn’t for the HD800 I would probably own these again.

3rd place. HD650. Value for money these can not be beat. I use these in my rig at work. I’m astounded how good these sound and have found myself doing overtime listening to tunes. Again you’ll need to pair these ups with a suitable amp. I’m using a tube hybrid I built.

As you can see it’s not just the headphones that you need to choose, but the DAC, amp and cans.

So I hope this will give you some direction. Of course these are all my opinions and you might think differently. Best thing is to have a listen yourself and make up your own mind. What part of Australia do you live in?

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Thanks Ben for sharing your experience. 
I might have to go to a a shop close by (Minidisc) and actually try them out. Ive never experienced an open back headphones. The only thing that worries me is that you need to be in a silent environment to listen to it and can't use in other places with people (as to not annoy them). Even though majority of my listening would be at home, having open back means I would not have any options of taking them anywhere else.

Im located in Sydney Northern Beaches. 

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Background noise can be an issue to a point. I listen to my headphones in the next room to my wife watching TV. Hasn’t really been an issue. As far as taking them outside the house, I don’t feel comfortable wearing several thousands of dollars worth of headphones out in public or taking them elsewhere, and besides, not way will my amps and DACs ever leave my place. For a portable rig, I’m happy with a pair of Apple AirPods. They are convenient and sound ok and makes my appreciate my rigs at home.

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👆  +1.

 

I wouldn't take expensive cans like this anywhere outside my listening room - I have another travelling pair for that.  As for open back room noise, that's what the volume control is for!  I've never found it to be a problem.

 

As I mentioned earlier, having owned both closed and open backs, I'll never go back to closed unless I had no other option - such is the difference.  

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Thanks Ben for sharing your experience. 
I might have to go to a a shop close by (Minidisc) and actually try them out. Ive never experienced an open back headphones. The only thing that worries me is that you need to be in a silent environment to listen to it and can't use in other places with people (as to not annoy them). Even though majority of my listening would be at home, having open back means I would not have any options of taking them anywhere else.

Im located in Sydney Northern Beaches. 

I’ve bought for Minidisc and would recommend them. Just wished I lived near them.
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Yeah you'd definately want a dedicated amp to run them, but I'd just look at what amps comes across the classifieds to begin with.  Start with a budget of $500 and over time work up if need be.  The hifiman's are easy to drive, I think the Sennies are as well.
 
It's a tough question asking to compare open and closed backs.  For me, I'll never go closed back again, so I'll say best value are the hi-fi man's just based on this alone.  Having said that, I chose my hifiman's over HD800's (not the S model) so add in my listening impressions as well.  I've never heard the HD820's.  Such is my impression of closed vs open backs I'd only ever go back to closed if noise affecting others was an issue.

Hifiman are easy to drive, hard to drive properly
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4 minutes ago, Benjet said:


Hifiman are easy to drive, hard to drive properly

 

 

I'll take your word for it.  I've only ever heard them on my WA22 which I take to the shop when trailling cans.

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I’ve bought for Minidisc and would recommend them. Just wished I lived near them.
I'm only 20 mins away. So I'll go check them out and demo them before I make a decision.
I just saw this video from a guy ive been following for a while. Apparently the Mr Speaker Ether CX from massdrop at $900usd seem to be pretty good.


The more I look, the harder it gets and options keep opening. Though for some reason I'm 60% included to closed back.
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I'm only 20 mins away. So I'll go check them out and demo them before I make a decision.
I just saw this video from a guy ive been following for a while. Apparently the Mr Speaker Ether CX from massdrop at $900usd seem to be pretty good.


The more I look, the harder it gets and options keep opening. Though for some reason I'm 60% included to closed back.

Are you looking for pretty good or for sublime? Plenty of pretty good cans out there.
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Are you looking for pretty good or for sublime? Plenty of pretty good cans out there.

Well I prefer to invest my money on something of quality vs pay less and get something inferior. Obviously within reason (budget $2200).

 

But since the Fiio X7 MK2 I have won't be of use and I'll need a dedicated AMP, I'll have to consider that. But since there are some good deals on headphones, I wanted to get something before end of financial year and later I can search for a good amp.

 

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Well I prefer to invest my money on something of quality vs pay less and get something inferior. Obviously within reason (budget $2200). 
But since the Fiio X7 MK2 I have won't be of use and I'll need a dedicated AMP, I'll have to consider that. But since there are some good deals on headphones, I wanted to get something before end of financial year and later I can search for a good amp.
 

Do you have a separate DAC?
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If you are using the Fiio as your source and amplifier, I wouldn’t tip too much money into high end cans. You really need the DAC and amp to get the most out of them. Look at the Hifiman edition X V2. Easy to drive and designed more for portability. Sounds close the HE 1000, just a little less refined.

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  • 4 months later...

Given that you haven't had much experience with headphones I do recommend that you try as many as you can before you buy. There is a lot of difference between open and closed and the 'phones you mention definitely require a good amp to get the most out of them. The HD800s in particular sound thin unless mated with a high powered amp. Many on this forum quote the HE1K V1 as easy to drive and they are correct up to a point. Getting a decent soundstage and bass response out of both Senn and Hifimans (both of which are detail and analytical focussed) require good amps. Tube for HDs and solid state for HE1Ks. There are plenty of good headphones at all price points and you may wish to start lower and work up as you become used to what sound signature and music you like best. HD650 (600) are some of the best value open backed headphones you can get and there are a million around.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I tried the HD 800S at DJs the other day. They don’t sell them (only one in stock was display) and they’ve never sold an HD820 due to price. They sell a lot of momentums. 
 

I listened to the 800S through the sennheiser amp through the headphone out jack of my AK240. I didn’t think it was 5x better than the HD6XX.

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On 28/11/2019 at 10:29 PM, Bengineer said:

Why would it be 5x better :P

 

Ferrari isn't 20x "better/faster" than a modified Supra :P

Good point. Not 2x better?

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Point of diminishing returns, for the average entry audiophile, I would think is around $500-750 for headphones, and maybe a touch less for Amps/DACS.

 

HD800s is a significant step over the HD650, clarity alone is huge difference. But you're also comparing a $250 remake of a $600 headphone, that ranked, and still ranks, very highly as a $600 headphone. So it closes the gap a bit I guess.

 

I have the HD6XX, its enjoyable. Don't A/B them against higher end cans though, you quickly realise how "muted" or "vieled" they actually are. But I like them all the same, smoother, easy, dark.

 

Comparing to Overseas pricing at the moment, Australia is getting some very good deals on the Sony MDR-Z1R and Focal ranges, especially with the BF sale. The Z1R is like 1800 pound or something in the UK still, and its down around $1400 AUD at the moment here. Crazy.

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1 hour ago, Bengineer said:

Comparing to Overseas pricing at the moment, Australia is getting some very good deals on the Sony MDR-Z1R and Focal ranges

That’s nice for a change. I’m guessing Focal sells the most. They’re all over the internet. 

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Yeah. They are a solid package. I tried, but I can't get into the Focal house sound. Just sounds weird to me, unnatural almost. And the very solid, stiff feel of their design doesn't suit my head.

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