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Dynamic headphones recommendations please


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I'm thinking of going back to dynamic headphones from my current Woo/Stax system.

 

I have the Woo GES amp with Stax 007s.  There are two inputs at the back, selectable by means of a toggle switch.  Now that I have an internet tuner, I find this arrangement rather inconvenient.  That's why I'm going to try dynamic phones again - nothing to do with SQ, as they probably won't be as good as the Stax.

 

I have a MicroZOTL 2 preamp/headphone amp with three inputs on the front that I can use.  My budget for dynamic headphones is $1500 to 2000.  I mainly listen to ambient/electronic and alternative music.  I am way out of touch with what's available or well-regarded and the only brands I'm really familiar with are are Sennheiser, A-T and and AKG, but I've noticed that a lot more have sprung up over the last few years.

 

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.  I don't need really accentuated bass.  Detail and tone are more important to me.

 

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Focal Clear. Can close thread now.   Check they work well with that amp though.   Heaps of options in that price range.   I should clarify. Heaps of options in that price

I used to be in the “not a fan” camp about the HD800. Their biggest weakness and also strength is that they are so revealing that they will lean heavily on the rest of the system. Get it wrong and you

Well, depends what you want....   TH900 is a bass slamming monster. King of sub bass. Thump thump.   LCD3 is sort of opposite to a set of STAX. Also weigh as much as a clay brick a

Focal Clear. Can close thread now.

 

Check they work well with that amp though.

 

Heaps of options in that price range.

 

I should clarify. Heaps of options in that price range, but the Focals will overall get the most votes. They are excellent, no doubt about it. 

Edited by Bengineer
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AKG 701 are good. But they are good $300 headphones. They aren't good $2000 headphones.

 

HD800 (and or s)

Focal Clear

Sony Z1R

Beyer T1 Gen 2

 

They are all good $1500-$2000 headphones and worth having a listen.

 

OP - By Dynamic do you mean Dynamic, or you just mean not Stax?

 

If the later. Then also LCD2, LCD3 used, LCDx, Ether Flow, Ether C Flow, some Hifiman models.

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11 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

AKG 701 are good. But they are good $300 headphones. They aren't good $2000 headphones.

 

HD800 (and or s)

Focal Clear

Sony Z1R

Beyer T1 Gen 2

 

They are all good $1500-$2000 headphones and worth having a listen.

 

OP - By Dynamic do you mean Dynamic, or you just mean not Stax?

 

If the later. Then also LCD2, LCD3 used, LCDx, Ether Flow, Ether C Flow, some Hifiman models.

I mean non-electrostatic.

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Open or closed, or no preference?

 

Closed would be between Sony Z1R (bassy but enjoyable amount) or Ether C Flow (much leaner)

 

Open would be Focal Clear, HD800/s or one of the many planar options. HD800 changes a lot with amps, so match it well.

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I heard that a lot of people did not find anything in  sound quality that would justify the HD800's premium price. I would suggest looking at Beyer Tesla T1s.  I am very happy with my DT990s and looking into T5 or T1 as a future upgrade. 

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Well, depends what you want....

 

TH900 is a bass slamming monster. King of sub bass. Thump thump.

 

LCD3 is sort of opposite to a set of STAX. Also weigh as much as a clay brick and a roll of duct tape.

 

How do you want them to sound?

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Stax. Fairly nuetral. Very quick. Airy.

 

Best bet is HD800 I'd think. Wide soundstage, detail for days, nuetral, super light and comfortable.

 

Clear also fairly nuetral. Different overall tone, less clinical than HD800, still very detailed.

 

LCD3 and TH900 aren't the choices.

 

Ask @Benjet , he had Utopia now HD800.

 

And @Suopermanni had the LCD3.

 

@Rickus Has the Clear, Utopia, Empyrean, LCD2 and SR009/7 to compare too. And every other headphone man ever created.

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1 hour ago, Bronal said:

If possible, I want something that approximates the sound of my Stax.

That's a big ask.  I really like the Utopia and Empyreans, also HD800S with the right amplification, but the SR-007A and SR-009 with Mjolnir KGSSHV definitely have qualities that the dynamic headphones don't.

13 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

 

@Rickus Has the Clear, Utopia, Empyrean, LCD2 and SR009/7 to compare too. And every other headphone man ever created.

@Bengineer  😛 

 

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I had hd800, th900 mk2, and he1000 v1, 

 

I would say he1000 a bit closer to Stax.

hd800 i always find have not enough bass and a bit too wide for soundstage.

 

for me i used all 3 headphone for different type of music

Hd800: Classical, live

Th900mk2: R&B, Rock, K-pop, J-pop.

He1000: pop, jazz, (basically can cover every type of music) 1500~2000 you can get the v1, you may get the v2 if you are lucky.

 

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On 12/09/2019 at 8:52 AM, Bronal said:

If possible, I want something that approximates the sound of my Stax.

If you want that, then TH900 AND LCD3 should NOT be on your list. The LCD3 are totally not like STAX and will do nothing for you if you love the STAX sound. I happen to like the Audeze house sound so they do something for me.

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What the others have already said. However nothing will approximates the sound of Stax. I remember hearing Wink's Blue Hawaii with Stax SR-009, SR-007 a few years ago. It's crystal clear and Pink Panther never sounded better though that is not my type of song.

 

HD800 probably is the closest. For a bit more punch, dynamics and more body tone, try Focal Utopia or ZMF Verite. LCD-3f which I bought from Suopermanni is a nice variation but it's more about the bass.

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I'd agree with Focal Clear recommendation if acoustic music was a priority. It's one of the rare headphones that doesn't need EQ. But for your leanings I'd go for the Grado PS-1000e. 

 

Stay away from the HD800 - like all Sennys it's coloured and rather clinical at the end of the day. 

 

Edited by was_a
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I'd agree with Focal Clear recommendation if acoustic music was a priority. It's one of the rare headphones that doesn't need EQ. But for your leanings I'd go for the Grado PS-2000e. 
 
Stay away from the HD800 - like all Sennys it's coloured and rather clinical at the end of the day. 
 

I used to be in the “not a fan” camp about the HD800. Their biggest weakness and also strength is that they are so revealing that they will lean heavily on the rest of the system. Get it wrong and you’ll pay the penalty. Get it right and you’ll have one of the best sounding rigs around IMHO. I’ve owned and heard plenty of cans and the HD800 are the ones I’ve settled on and I’m very happy with my decision.
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I guess I'm the opposite of you! I used to be an HD800 fan - and even upgraded to its 'bigger brother', but there's a 'plastic' quality to the midrange that, in my opinion, pales in comparison to Focals, or Grados - the latter in particular more 'electrostatic' sounding than any other dynamic design.

 

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I guess I'm the opposite of you! I used to be an HD800 fan - and even upgraded to its 'bigger brother', but there's a 'plastic' quality to the midrange that, in my opinion, pales in comparison to Focals, or Grados - the latter in particular more 'electrostatic' sounding than any other dynamic design.
 

I hope by “bigger brother” you don’t mean the HD800s. I’ve had both and in my opinion the second generation isn’t a patch on the first (of course I’m referring to a well modified pair). Maybe there are some modifications to bring up the “s” version, but as they are, they never sounded cohesive to me IMHO.
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On 11/09/2019 at 9:54 PM, Bengineer said:

AKG 701 are good. But they are good $300 headphones. They aren't good $2000 headphones.

 

HD800 (and or s)

Focal Clear

Sony Z1R

Beyer T1 Gen 2

 

They are all good $1500-$2000 headphones and worth having a listen.

 

OP - By Dynamic do you mean Dynamic, or you just mean not Stax?

 

If the later. Then also LCD2, LCD3 used, LCDx, Ether Flow, Ether C Flow, some Hifiman models.

Listening to the headphone you require is a must.  Potential telephone number budget's aside, it seems obvious

that there is a rather nice $1700.00 saving, by defining if there is sufficient difference between a AKG701 , and

others being recommended. Finding out if there are such marked audible differences would be good for other forum members to know as well. 

 

Generally from experience price is not necessarily any measure of audio quality, in fact it can be the exact opposite.

therein a topic in itself, perhaps for another thread.  

Edited by stereo coffee
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Yes/No.

 

1. He is on a audiophile forum, he is part of the 1% that place important on reproducing audio better

2. He gave a budget, obviously wants the best option up to that point

3. You can't define the law of diminishing returns without knowing what he hears and finds enjoyment.

 

$300 AKG701 are good. I like them. But when I listen, I know I don't enjoy them as much as the Focal Clear, or HD800.

 

So is a headphone costing 5x more "worth it"?

 

Is it 5x better? No.

 

Is it worth 5x the price, or worth $1200 more? Yes, to a lot of people on these forums, easily. To most normal people, no.

 

And we aren't recommending expensive headphones just for the sake of it. HD800 can be had near new $900. Focal clear came on special for $1600 the other day. I think there is a lot of value in those options, especially in a used market.

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Sure, all good points regarding budget. Except I don't agree with the Focal Clear / HD800 recommendations for electronic music - the OP's preferred genre. I personally use the Grado SR325e cans for 'studio' music and love them. If this genre was my main priority and I had $4K to spare, the Grado PS2000e would be a no-brainer. But the PS1000e is no slouch and that would be my recommendation to Bronal. (Where are you, Bronal, still with us?).

 

Edited by was_a
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20 hours ago, was_a said:

Sure, all good points regarding budget. Except I don't agree with the Focal Clear / HD800 recommendations for electronic music - the OP's preferred genre. I personally use the Grado SR325e cans for 'studio' music and love them. If this genre was my main priority and I had $4K to spare, the Grado PS2000e would be a no-brainer. But the PS1000e is no slouch and that would be my recommendation to Bronal. (Where are you, Bronal, still with us?).

 

He has left. Jebaited us.

 

I haven't heard a Grado since the Alessandro MSPro. And it was kick arse rock n roll for sure. Rebrand of a Grado.

 

Also @was_a , what Grado you run now? Sell your 2000e?

 

The MSPro was a RS1e rebrand I think. Super uncomfortable with glasses on. Be better with the big pads.

 

Few reviews slam the PS2000e. I feel like Grado in general are a love / hate sound signature.

Edited by Bengineer
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Still a bargain. Trade in any shitty pair, get $800 off.

 

Can't lose really, excellent value at $1400 as far as high end cans go.

 

Only thing I don't like about the Focal design is the headband seems hard/impossible to replace, and its a nice alcantara/suede too.

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On 15/09/2019 at 1:39 PM, was_a said:

Where are you, Bronal, still with us?.

Yes, I'm still here!  I've been following the discussion with interest, but there isn't much I can add to it, as I've had only only pair of headphones for the last few years (Stax SR-007 IIs) for a good few years.

 

On the basis of the various comments made, and a number of online reviews. I'm veering towards the Audeze LCD-Xs.  The only negative I've seen about them is that they are heavier than most other headphones, but again some reviewers have also said that that doesn't make them uncomfortable for extended listening, as they are also very comfortable.

 

Frankly, I doubt whether any dynamic/planar headphones in my price range will be as good as the Stax so I'll probably end up keeping both systems.

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High end headphones isn't about what's better. They are all mostly really good. It starts to blur and becomes more what you find most enjoyable. 

 

If you're keeping both, don't get something as close as you can to the STAX in my opinion. Get something complimentary. Go try in store and borrow as many models as you can.

 

Stax sound is what you're used to, but maybe it isn't even what you'd find the most enjoyable. Then again you don't seem too invested in your own thread, so go do you bud. LCD X might be your jams (I've seen people say it's a ...boring almost). Or you might be surprised and love the slamming TH900, nice change from the Stax.

 

Good luck and go try for yourself first.

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I enjoy Stax at work and Utopia/Empyrean at home though the new Kii Three speakers are getting a bit of a workout right now.  A change is as good as a holiday :) 

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2 hours ago, Bengineer said:

If you're keeping both, don't get something as close as you can to the STAX in my opinion. Get something complimentary. Go try in store and borrow as many models as you can.

That's the problem.  I live in Canberra and there is only one store with a variety of phones to audition.

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