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hi all,

 

I currently have a HD6xx and love it. But just looking for something new I guess.

 

I mostly listen to music with female vocals, instrumental (acoustic, piano and strings), Jazz, some classical, and bit of RnB.

 

I've decided to treat myself to an upgrade.

 

I will try to arrange a day to go Minidisc to try out some headphones.

 

Currently ones I am considering below (higher preference to the left):

 

Sennheiser HD800S, Audio Technica ADX5000, Focal Clear, Hifiman Arya, Beyerdynamic T1

 

So what headphones would you recommend?

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Ok just an update, I drove to the store early this morning around 8am but was stuck in traffic and ended up taking 2 hours to get to Minidisc, which did not give me a great amount of time to audition

Well now that my mate @Bengineer has tagged me in it, will share my opinion . Yes I like to comment when not asked to     Well:-   TOP HEADPHONES (then will come to your li

Out of those, I'd prefer the Clear. Just depends if you're a fan of the Focal house sound, which is tilted towards the higher end of the frequency spectrum. 

2 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

Sennheiser 700s. 

Interesting, did not expect someone to recommend these.

 

Seems they are discontinued and bit hard to find now.

 

You own/heard them I presume? What is your opinion of them? Any comparisons to others?

 

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2 hours ago, bruc3 said:

Sennheiser HD800S, Audio Technica ADX5000, Focal Clear, Hifiman Arya, Beyerdynamic T1

 

Out of those, I'd prefer the Clear. Just depends if you're a fan of the Focal house sound, which is tilted towards the higher end of the frequency spectrum. 

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6 hours ago, bruc3 said:

Sennheiser HD800S, Audio Technica ADX5000, Focal Clear, Hifiman Arya, Beyerdynamic T1

Have the HD800s and great headphones, if you have the HD6xx might not be your sound though.  Hated the Focal fit, clears were ok for sound quality.  

 

What about ZMF either the Aoelus or Auteur, ZMF are amazing. 

 

Audio Tech meant to be good, Arya good except the QC is bad for the price, Bererdynamics have a decent following.  You may want to add you system setup as headphones will depend on this as well. 

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If you plan to replace your HD6xx, I recommend Focal Clear.

Clear has similar tonality with significantly better dynamics and resolution.

Its mid is less lush than HD6xx though. 

It looks great for Zoom meeting though :)

 

But if you want to complement HD6xx, I think HD800s is a good choice.

Its bright, better resolution (even better than Focal Clear) and big soundstage.

Dynamics is still lacking though.

Also if you already have tube amps for your HD6xx, you can use it for HD800s too.

 

 

Edited by lycos
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1 hour ago, sly_bastard said:

Have the HD800s and great headphones, if you have the HD6xx might not be your sound though.  Hated the Focal fit, clears were ok for sound quality.  

 

What about ZMF either the Aoelus or Auteur, ZMF are amazing. 

 

Audio Tech meant to be good, Arya good except the QC is bad for the price, Bererdynamics have a decent following.  You may want to add you system setup as headphones will depend on this as well. 

 

ahhh...am not familiar with any of  those ZMF either the Aoelus or Auteur, will check it out.

 

Ive got a not so great sound blaster amp/dac setup at the moment, its sounds ok but I am intending to purchase a new amp/dac soon. I have put some WTB in the classifieds and checking daily, currently I am keen to get a Burson Conductor 3, just hoping that would come to reality soon.

Beyerdynamic T1 is by far the cheapest out of the bunch I am looking at, but not sure how it stacks up against the other ones. Guess I really need to go to a store and have a proper listen.

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10 minutes ago, lycos said:

If you plan to replace your HD6xx, I recommend Focal Clear.

Clear has similar tonality with significantly better dynamics and resolution.

Its mid is less lush than HD6xx though. 

It looks great for Zoom meeting though :)

 

But if you want to complement HD6xx, I think HD800s is a good choice.

Its bright, better resolution (even better than Focal Clear) and big soundstage.

Dynamics is still lacking though.

Also if you already have tube amps for your HD6xx, you can use it for HD800s too.

 

 

I dont mind having a complementary headphone to HD6xx, cause I dont think I can let my HD6xx go. Its been the only headphone that wow'd me in 10 Years, and the only other headphone that wow'd me was the original Audio Technica AD700 (purple ugly one, but this was coming from gaming headphones prior).

Hence, HD800S is still highest on my list now and its likely one of the more comfortable headphones; with comfort being equally important to me as sound.

 

In regards to tube amps, I have been keeping my eye out for the Bottlehead Crack which is suppose to be end game pairing, just waiting for 1 to pop up on classifieds.

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29 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

 

Ive got a not so great sound blaster amp/dac setup at the moment

It probably wont sound nice with the HD800s, the sound will probably be too thin.  The HD6xx is probably covering up a lot of your setup short comings.  I think the ZMF is a all rounder and you can improve the rest of the system around it, you cant do that with the HD800s, they are very picky on systems...trust me I found out the hard way.  You can EQ them but that can take a lot of effort.  Not sure about the rest of the headphones apart from the Clear which also can be picky and has a low impedance of 55 ohm so you have to be careful with tube options. 

 

24 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

Bottlehead Crack which is suppose to be end game pairing

Not end game but would be decent, very liked in the community.  I have a Feliks Audio amp which pairs nicely.  The crack also should pair nicely with the HD6xx but won't work with the Focal Clear as the impedance wont match.  

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8 minutes ago, sly_bastard said:

It probably wont sound nice with the HD800s, the sound will probably be too thin.  The HD6xx is probably covering up a lot of your setup short comings.  I think the ZMF is a all rounder and you can improve the rest of the system around it, you cant do that with the HD800s, they are very picky on systems.  Not sure about the rest of the headphones apart from the Clear which also can be picky and has a low impedance of 55 ohm so you have to be careful with tube options. 

 

Not end game but would be decent, very liked in the community.  I have a Feliks Audio amp which pairs nicely.  The crack also should pair nicely with the HD6xx but won't work with the Focal Clear as the impedance wont match.  

 

I definitely intend to replace the amp/dac very soon.

 

Focal Clear seems a bit heavy, although I have not tried it so just judging by specs so currently not to high on my list since comfort is very important to me too.

 

Wow, always been curious about Feliks amps, but bit hard to come by in Australia.

 

Yes, I am aware of the tube amps and low impedance headphones mismatch. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, sly_bastard said:

I have a Feliks Audio amp which pairs nicely

Which one do you have?

 

57 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

In regards to tube amps, I have been keeping my eye out for the Bottlehead Crack which is suppose to be end game pairing, just waiting for 1 to pop up on classifieds.

Have you considered Darkvoice 336SE ?

HD6xx sounds like a different headphone with a tube amp :)

 

 

  

27 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

Focal Clear seems a bit heavy, although I have not tried it so just judging by specs so currently not to high on my list since comfort is very important to me too.

 

If you somehow have right head shape so the headband weight can be distributed evenly, it should be okay.

Otherwise, there will be a point pressure on top like what happened to me.

I had to wrap the headband with a thick racket grip.

 

Edited by lycos
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14 hours ago, bruc3 said:

hi all,

 

I currently have a HD6xx and love it. But just looking for something new I guess.

 

I mostly listen to music with female vocals, instrumental (acoustic, piano and strings), Jazz, some classical, and bit of RnB.

 

I've decided to treat myself to an upgrade.

 

I will try to arrange a day to go Minidisc to try out some headphones.

 

Currently ones I am considering below (higher preference to the left):

 

Sennheiser HD800S, Audio Technica ADX5000, Focal Clear, Hifiman Arya, Beyerdynamic T1

 

So what headphones would you recommend?

 

well, if you have them for so long I think it would be difficult to jump on other brand and be equally happy, there's something about those Senns you won't find anywhere else, or I didn't and I tried really hard especially if you like the type of music (I love emotional female vocals) , there's something about that higher mid ranger lower treble, slightly emphasise which is shared across all Senns starting with HD598

I settled on HD599 due to their balanced performance and slightly forgiving character (not as analytical as 700/800) and easier to drive than HD600/650,  pretty much from anything including mu iPhone 

If I'm in your shoes HD660S would be on my list   

 

here you can check what to expect from hundreds of phones including entire range of Senns 

 

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tools/compare/sennheiser-hd-650-vs-sennheiser-hd-660-s/245/816?usage=9287&threshold=0.1

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9 hours ago, lycos said:

 

 

Have you considered Darkvoice 336SE ?

HD6xx sounds like a different headphone with a tube amp :)

 

 

 

I have considered the 336SE, but think I will see if I can find used one when it pops up.

 

To be honest, I have actually owned an OTL tube amp in the past for a very short time the Woo WA2 but it had pretty high buzzing noise which actually kind of put me off tube amps.

I said I would only go solid state going forward, however lately I have been tempted to give tubes another try.

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3 hours ago, kukynas said:

 

If I'm in your shoes HD660S would be on my list   

 

here you can check what to expect from hundreds of phones including entire range of Senns 

 

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tools/compare/sennheiser-hd-650-vs-sennheiser-hd-660-s/245/816?usage=9287&threshold=0.1

 

Thanks for that, I have looked at the HD660S, but was not sure if its enough of an upgrade from the HD6xx.

Sometimes, I am unsure why I am trying to upgrade the HD6xx. Maybe I want more soundstage, or a bit more clarity or resolution I guess.

I guess the HD800S really intrigues me as I want to experience this so called massive soundstage people mentioned.

 

Its real funny though, I actually bought the original HD800 used a few Years ago but at the time had a really weak amp that had to turn up the volume real loud to get it audible and so was not enjoyable and sold it off. I did not have the funds at that time to get a descent amp. Kind of regret not giving it a real go back then.

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10 hours ago, lycos said:

Which one do you have?

I have the Feliks Audio Echo with upgraded tubes, picture in my avatar.  Benjet has heard it and I personally find it a really enjoyable amp.  Matches both the ZMF and Sennheiser, although I find myself gravitating to the ZMF sometimes but the HD800s is comfort king.  I still need to upgrade my DAC though. 

 

30 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

Woo WA2 but it had pretty high buzzing noise

Could have been the tubes or the headphones may have not matched it.  My Feliks has zero background noise, absolutely zero hum but I do run 300ohm headphones.  

 

I am planning to get one of the higher level Feliks Audio amps at some point. 

 

In terms of the Focal stuff it can be severely uncomfortable, the cups dont move, the cup fabric can get hot, the band is also fabric on top which can degrade and is not replaceable. I found the cups too small for me and the angle of the cups uncomfortable over time.  They can perfectly fit people but not me.  The Utopia fixes a few issues but comes with a price tag. 

Edited by sly_bastard
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With the WA2 was likely the tubes used, as I was pairing them with my HD6xx and beyer T1 Gen1 during that time. Buzzing could be heard on both the headphones on moderate listening levels.

 

Currently, still sounds like HD800S might be my best bet, seeing as it seems to usually be considered really comfortable too and will definitely give me the soundstage I desire, however I suspect it will lose out on vocals vs the HD6xx.

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4 hours ago, sly_bastard said:

I have the Feliks Audio Echo with upgraded tubes, picture in my avatar.  Benjet has heard it and I personally find it a really enjoyable amp.  Matches both the ZMF and Sennheiser, although I find myself gravitating to the ZMF sometimes but the HD800s is comfort king.  I still need to upgrade my DAC though. 

 

Excellent choice! It's one of the tube amps that i would love to try.

Have you ever compared it with Crack?

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22 minutes ago, lycos said:

 

 

Excellent choice! It's one of the tube amps that i would love to try.

Have you ever compared it with Crack?

Not in a A/B comparison with similar gear.  I listened to some nice DIY tube amps and some Woo Audio ones at the last Brisbane meet but its hard when you they not only run different gear but also different tubes.  I know the crack is meant to be nice but it also needs some upgraded tubes to get it's full potential out as with most tube amps. 

 

 

 

What I can say, the standard tubes on the Echo are decent and didn't have a problem with them but the upgraded tubes opened the amp up so much in terms of quality and sound.  

1 hour ago, bruc3 said:

seeing as it seems to usually be considered really comfortable too and will definitely give me the soundstage I desire, however I suspect it will lose out on vocals vs the HD6xx.

I would say the HD800s are some of the most comfortable headphones at a semi un/reasonable price you can get.  Nah the vocals are amazing on the HD800s especially female vocals but you need the right amp and DAC to complement it, the issue you have to work around the HD800s by getting an amp and DAC combo which is detailed but still warm.  This may then make the HD6xx warmer and more lush overall but then probably loss detail but would be great for certain music.  What can happen and why people don't end up liking them, if you get a very clinical amp and DAC (say a sabre DAC and something like a THX amp) it becomes very treble heavy and lacks a lot of bass and maybe a little unnatural.  I have a sabre DAC and it is good with a warm amp but it was terrible with my thx amp on the HD800s. 

 

I would recommend the ZMF as they are easier to work around but the HD800s do bring something no other headphone can bring to the table. 

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2 hours ago, bruc3 said:

Currently, still sounds like HD800S might be my best bet, seeing as it seems to usually be considered really comfortable too and will definitely give me the soundstage I desire, however I suspect it will lose out on vocals vs the HD6xx.

 

vocals are great on 800s, no worries...

 

in every case I would try as many cans as possible to make sure you didn't missed opportunity 😉

 

27 minutes ago, sly_bastard said:

the issue you have to work around the HD800s by getting an amp and DAC combo which is detailed but still warm.  This may then make the HD6xx warmer and more lush overall but then probably loss detail but would be great for certain music.  What can happen and why people don't end up liking them, if you get a very clinical amp and DAC (say a sabre DAC and something like a THX amp) it becomes very treble heavy and lacks a lot of bass and maybe a little unnatural.  I have a sabre DAC and it is good with a warm amp but it was terrible with my thx amp on the HD800s. 

 

very true... hence my recommendation on 660s as they are considered little brother of 800s but easier to drive and not so demanding, if amp/dac combo isn't an issue and money allow 800s are no brainer  

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38 minutes ago, sly_bastard said:

I would say the HD800s are some of the most comfortable headphones at a semi un/reasonable price you can get.  Nah the vocals are amazing on the HD800s especially female vocals but you need the right amp and DAC to complement it, the issue you have to work around the HD800s by getting an amp and DAC combo which is detailed but still warm.  This may then make the HD6xx warmer and more lush overall but then probably loss detail but would be great for certain music.  What can happen and why people don't end up liking them, if you get a very clinical amp and DAC (say a sabre DAC and something like a THX amp) it becomes very treble heavy and lacks a lot of bass and maybe a little unnatural.  I have a sabre DAC and it is good with a warm amp but it was terrible with my thx amp on the HD800s. 

 

I would recommend the ZMF as they are easier to work around but the HD800s do bring something no other headphone can bring to the table. 


I think I will just go with the HD800S then, sounds like it may best suit me as an upgrade if not at least a good complement to my HD6xx.

 

So that being said, whats a good warm solid state I should look at pairing with HD800S?

 

I am looking at <$1.5k for amp/dac, but if I have to may push to $2k. Also opened to purchase used/2nd hand, as can get much better value.

I still prefer to avoid tubes if I can, as I don't like the fuss of tube rolling (I know many people enjoy this) but I like simplicity of solid state more.

 

Im not sure if anyone here has heard it, but I may get a chance to buy a used Burson Conductor 3 Reference and wondering if that may be a good pairing?  Apparently it is a warmish ss amp/dac.

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5 minutes ago, kukynas said:

very true... hence my recommendation on 660s as they are considered little brother of 800s but easier to drive and not so demanding, if amp/dac combo isn't an issue and money allow 800s are no brainer  

 

I have spoken to my boss (the wife) and she has approve me spending pretty much up to $4k (or probably could push to $5k) for headphones and amp/dac.

Besides I just sold off my speaker and integrated amp setup and got some extra funds from that too.

 

I live in apartment, so decided I will stick with headphones exclusively for now (but you know these things always change haha...)

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21 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

I live in apartment, so decided I will stick with headphones exclusively for now

Depending on what volume you listen to music, the HD800s leak so much sound so might want to consider that.

 

24 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

I am looking at <$1.5k for amp/dac, but if I have to may push to $2k.

Violectric make a great solid state amp which can come with a DAC, extreme power with a bit of warmth.  People love the Taurius, even the Questyle maybe, there is always the IFI or even try a SPL.  There are opinion, maybe walk into A2A and try some combos out they should have some HD800s to test there as well I would assume.

 

If you went the other way, could get a R2R DAC which should be a warm DAC and add a cheap clinical amp like a Drop or SMSL SP200.  

 

Saw the Cyan Halo looks interesting as, maybe check it out. 

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Based on your listening preferences and wanting something different I highly recommend you check out some decent planar headphones, clarity,  and resolution come to mind..

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$4-5k gets you a lot of gear.

 

The HD800S is an impressive headphone. To me, a one trick pony. To many, end game headphone. It smashes Classical, but I personally don't find it engaging and enjoyable for much else.

 

BUT your music selecation is a lot of what the HD800S will excel in. So for $1500 or so, I think a no-brainer for you.

 

Keep the HD6XX.

 

Buy a Bottlehead Crack, pairs phenomenally with both the HD6XX and HD800S.

 

Denafrips Ares II DAC.

 

Then a clean nuetral solid state amp. Auralica Taurus if you can find one. I'm not a fan of the THX ones or the other spin offs, prefer a Class A type.

 

HD800S - $1500

Bottlehead Crack - $700 (+$300 for some nice tubes)

Ares II - $1000 used mint

Taurus  or other Class A type SS - $1000

 

$4500 !

 

Spending other peoples money is fun.

 

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7 minutes ago, murrmax said:

Based on your listening preferences and wanting something different I highly recommend you check out some decent planar headphones, clarity,  and resolution come to mind..

Vaggguuueee haha.

 

Nothing Planar will compete with HD800S for Classical/Piano etc. Closest competitor would be the Arya at over $2000, then you're sitting on a $2000 time bomb that is Hifiman of late.

 

Blow the whole budget on a Final D8000 Pro and run it off your phone.

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59 minutes ago, sly_bastard said:

Depending on what volume you listen to music, the HD800s leak so much sound so might want to consider that.

 

Violectric make a great solid state amp which can come with a DAC, extreme power with a bit of warmth.  People love the Taurius, even the Questyle maybe, there is always the IFI or even try a SPL.  There are opinion, maybe walk into A2A and try some combos out they should have some HD800s to test there as well I would assume.

 

If you went the other way, could get a R2R DAC which should be a warm DAC and add a cheap clinical amp like a Drop or SMSL SP200.  

 

Saw the Cyan Halo looks interesting as, maybe check it out. 


I consider myself to be a a moderate to low volume listener, even on my current crappy sound blaster rarely go past 50% on some quieter classical tracks.

 

I have looked at Violectrics, but they are definitely very pricey, unless I come across one one the classifieds probably going to past for now.

 

I have also consider the Questyle, specifically the CMA400i, but reading Headfi seems to indicate they have extremely poor after sales support and many QC issues it seems, particularly related to USB use.

 

R2R Dacs do intrigued me, since people seem to say they give that so called "analogue" sound.

 

Cyan Halo, actually I never heard of it, but having a brief look it appears to be a very capable AIO unit, and only about $2k new here. I will read more about this. Thanks.

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39 minutes ago, murrmax said:

Based on your listening preferences and wanting something different I highly recommend you check out some decent planar headphones, clarity,  and resolution come to mind..

 

I dont know why, but I feel safer sticking to dynamic headphones since its what I am familiar with  (I have actually never heard a planar headphone before). Thanks for the suggestion though.

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33 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

$4-5k gets you a lot of gear.

 

The HD800S is an impressive headphone. To me, a one trick pony. To many, end game headphone. It smashes Classical, but I personally don't find it engaging and enjoyable for much else.

 

BUT your music selecation is a lot of what the HD800S will excel in. So for $1500 or so, I think a no-brainer for you.

 

Keep the HD6XX.

 

Buy a Bottlehead Crack, pairs phenomenally with both the HD6XX and HD800S.

 

Denafrips Ares II DAC.

 

Then a clean nuetral solid state amp. Auralica Taurus if you can find one. I'm not a fan of the THX ones or the other spin offs, prefer a Class A type.

 

HD800S - $1500

Bottlehead Crack - $700 (+$300 for some nice tubes)

Ares II - $1000 used mint

Taurus  or other Class A type SS - $1000

 

$4500 !

 

Spending other peoples money is fun.

 

 

Yes, I have pretty much decided on HD800S as my headphone now.

 

I am definitely considering a Bottlehead crack also, as I only have read rave reviews about it pairing with the HD6xx/HD800s. If one pops up on the classifieds again, I will scoop it up for sure.

 

Taurus seems interesting, may look into this (and I have seen your ad on classifieds).

Thanks.

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The THX amps. And this extends to the D90 and Magnius etc. Have a very dry nuetral sound. Many love it. They find it "transparent".

 

To me, it sucks the life out of the headphones.

 

A big heavy amp, like a Taurus or Audio GD or Flux or Phonitor or or or (list goes on and on) can still be transparent and nuetral without that dry quality. 

 

That's personally what I'd aim for.

 

Heaps of value in the THX / opamp little amps, but they can't shake that quality, to my ears.

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Denafrips Ares II - Best value R2R.

 

Questyle CMA400i can't use external DAC. CMA600i you can. Killer headphone amp stage too.

 

Violectric V281 is a lovely amp. And the other variants that use the same amp stage. Do recommend, pricey though. 

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Just now, Bengineer said:

Denafrips Ares II - Best value R2R.

 

Questyle CMA400i can't use external DAC. CMA600i you can. Killer headphone amp stage too.

 

Violectric V281 is a lovely amp. And the other variants that use the same amp stage. Do recommend, pricey though. 


Its a pity CMA600i has been discontinued, I did speak to another SNA'er about purchasing one from him a while ago but he mentioned he felt bad selling it as the USB port was faulty.

 

Violectric V281 definitely gets the rave reviews and looks like an end game ss amp, however too pricey for my budget at the moment.
 

I guess, I will keep checking classifieds regularly, something will pop up soon enough I can feel it.

 

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DACs worth considering, all come up regularly.

 

Ares II

RME ADI-2

Bifrost 2

D90

 

SS Amps that don't suck

 

Taurus

Phonitor

V220 / V281

CMA600

AGD Master

Flux Labs

 

Tube

 

DarkVoice (with right tubes, cheap)

Bottlehead Anything

Lyr 3

Feliks Audio

 

Obviously heaps of other options, but more and more uncommon. Like the Holo Cyan or a Soekris, no-one has them

 

 

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Thanks @Bengineer, everyone has been real helpful so far.

 

I think I have enough amps/dacs to consider now. Its now just a matter of either waiting for one to come up on classifieds or if I cant wait any more splurge and buy something brand new.

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I see you're in Sydney, make the trip to MInidisc and rule out the bull-dust,  I've demoed heaps of headphones there and come home much wiser, its a playground for us.

Original HD800 was my choice but sometimes with a little EQ decrease right on 6K.

If they weren't amped properly when you owned them before you didn't hear them correctly.


 

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D8000 has a wider soundstage than D8000 pro hence suits classical better than D8000.

Being planar, it does have a certain fluidity that works beautifully well with classical.

Also D8000 has mid-high love similar to Utopia.

 

For Classical (ranked):

 

  1. HD800s - cant be beaten, dont try, just go home and cry
  2. Audio Technica AD5000x veryyy nice
  3. Final D8000 - fluid, organic. Beautiful instrument imaging and air
  4. Utopia - Last coz of the narrowest soundstage i have tried in any top tier headphone

@Bengineer

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2 minutes ago, peppy said:

Audio Technica AD5000x veryyy nice

@Bengineer


I personally have really enjoyed the Audio Technica phones I had in the past (I previously had AD700, R70x and AD2000x),  and although many dont like the winged headband design, I actually loved it and still is the most comfortable headphones I've worn.  Sometimes I wonder why I sold the AD2000x and have thought about buying it again even.

But I feel AD5000x is priced a bit high and does not come with accessories such as a balanced cable vs HD800S which has better package and price.

 

Honestly, if they were priced <$2k I think they would sell much better, and would be more suitable price to compete.

 

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