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advice: sound of lcd-x, comfort of hd800?


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I'm in the market for a nice pair of headphones for home listening. Yesterday I tried both the LCD-X and the HD800. I loved the sound of the LCD-X, but hated the fit on my head and found it uncomfortable. I felt like it was going to fall forward off of my head the whole time. The HD800 sounded great in its own right to me, but it was far more comfortable. I felt like I could wear it all day long. The HD800 sounded better to me when powered by the HDVA600 in balanced mode, but I would like to avoid having to buy an amp to make such a headphone sound more pleasing to me. I'm open, though.

 

What are some alternatives to check out? -- A high end headphone under $2k that does well for rock but can still handle jazz, but not as heavy/awkward feeling as the Audeze?

 

Some stuff I listen to frequently - new and old prog rock (Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree), some more modern folky stuff (Wilco, Fleet Foxes).

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For a start, you could check out Mr. Speaker Mad dog/Alpha dog, Beyerdynamic and Oppo has a magnetic planar headphone that is just started selling a day or two ago. The Oppo looks to be light and a little more efficient/easier to drive, what it sounds like..who knows.

 

I'm with you, go for comfort first.

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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I was able to try on a Beyerdynamic T-1.. Think I found what I was looking for. It's got the right balance of fit, comfort, and sound. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

While I was listening to phones, I also tried on a HifiMan HE-500, and found it uncomfortable and a little dark. I also tried a Grado GS-1000 and found its sound too u-shaped for me. Never listened to Grado before, and was turned off.

 

Out of the box, it's sounding good on both my Exasound DAC and my Moon 350P preamp.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 5.55.11 PM.png

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I was able to try on a Beyerdynamic T-1.. Think I found what I was looking for. It's got the right balance of fit, comfort, and sound. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

While I was listening to phones, I also tried on a HifiMan HE-500, and found it uncomfortable and a little dark. I also tried a Grado GS-1000 and found its sound too u-shaped for me. Never listened to Grado before, and was turned off.

 

I haven't gotten to listen to the Beyerdynamics but they are well loved by the owners. I am hoping to give them a try searching for the next upgrade.

 

Looks like you have a good pairing going on in the photo...enjoy!

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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These are doing pretty well at the Moon 350P, though it has to work harder than my DAC does. The good news it, analog sounds great on these headphones. Alan Parson Project / I, Robot - I love this album, and it sounds fantastic on these headphones.

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It sounds like you found a headphone that works well for you.

 

Just a comment, but with a headphone like your T1 or any of the others, you really should consider a dedicated amp. I don't know anything about the headphone sections of your DAC or preamp, but it would be pretty unusual for those to really have anything more than a mediocre amp section for the headphone outs. Something like the JDS O2 ($130), iFi iCAN ($260), or some of the Schiit offerings are relatively inexpensive.

 

The HD800 is famously difficult to match with an amp, the HD700 is much cheaper and isn't nearly so finicky. It does almost as good a job at soundstaging as the 800 and is generally more forgiving. So if the "big and open" sound is part of what you liked about the HD800, then the HD700 would be worth listening to.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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I like the HD800s. They sound good of course but they are the most comfortable headphones I've had apart from Jecklin Floats - look it up!

 

The ear pieces are big and cover even my big ears, and they don't crush the head like some. If anything they might be a touch loose so if you like to shake your head when listening they may not be appropriate.

 

I also agree with Kelly. If you are spending this sort of money on headphones you should budget for a headphone amp. The headphone amps in most amplifiers are add-ons to fit a price and so are often compromised. Having said that there are some amplifiers that are noted for good headphone sockets (I still have an old Audiolab 8000A which was one). Some DACs too have surprisingly good headphone sockets (the TEAC UD-h01 for example).

 

Matching headphone amp and headphones is another fun journey! Buying balanced headphone amps or spending the same money but on a single ended amp is another debatable issue. And there are after market headphone cables (a recommendation for Toxic Cables if you want to explore this area).

 

It never ends!!!

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No doubt -- The H800 is the best head-fit and feel of the sets I tried. They're light as a feather and unobtrusive on the head.

 

I know what you mean about amping. My DAC powers these pretty well. My preamp, not so much. It would be nice to have a dedicated head amp to have a consistent volume across sources.. and have power to spare.

 

For now, my T1s are sounding fantastic for both digital and analog, and I can "get by" w/o an amp for the time being.

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You probably already know this, but just in case.... As your T1's are 600 Ohms, if you do end up buying a dedicated amp for your T1's make sure the amp is specifically designed for high impedance headphones, so you don't end up with a big impedance mismatch between the amp and the T1's.

 

Otherwise, you will not be hearing the T1's at their very best.

 

Congrats on the purchase. The T1's are very nice cans.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Aesthetix Calypso pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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