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Changing to Headphones

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I am in the process of changing my entire system. For a number of reasons, I am trying to simplify my system down to a computer, a headamp/dac, and a nice set of headphones. I will be able to audition the full line of Audeze headphone and have two possible head amps: Moon and Naim. If anyone has any experience/recommendations for specific Audeze headphones or the head amps I'd would love to hear it. I'll be trading in my Wilson's on the new equipment so my budget should be 3-4K.


2012 MacMini 8G ram -> Audirvana + 3.0 -> Mcintosh MHA 100> Nordost > Audeze LCD X

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I am in the process of changing my entire system. For a number of reasons, I am trying to simplify my system down to a computer, a headamp/dac, and a nice set of headphones. I will be able to audition the full line of Audeze headphone and have two possible head amps: Moon and Naim. If anyone has any experience/recommendations for specific Audeze headphones or the head amps I'd would love to hear it. I'll be trading in my Wilson's on the new equipment so my budget should be 3-4K.

 

I would like to give you some advice. Never was a headphone guy, have a pretty decent system as my main system and for a variety of reasons have been using headphones more and more.

 

The two headphones I would try are the LCD-X and the Sennheiser HD800s. I have both and like the latter better albeit with the system I am going to recommend the LCD-X are so good that I am likely going to hang on to them instead of selling them which I was going to do.

 

One reason to look at the LCD-X is because of the impedance and sensitivity which can be driven by anything, however, you will still want a decent system to drive to get the best sound out of them. Regardless of what people may say to truly get the best out the HD800s you need a decent head amp.

 

If you can stretch your budget a little more the system I am currently listening to is the new T&A DAC (4K) with the Cavalli Liquid Carbon headamp (599) with either the LCD-X or the HD-800s (both go for 1699 each but include balanced and SE can cables). This system is by far the best I have heard my LCD-X sound.

 

If you want to spend less, I would recommend the Chord Mojo (599) with the Cavalli Liquid Carbon. I had the Chord HUGO and like the sound of the Mojo better and it is more portable and can easily drive either headphone, alhtough will drive the LCD-X better by itself. However, with the Cavalli the HD-800s is better.

 

So if you can swing it, the T&A as a DAC is a remarkable product.

 

If you want more portable and still have a great DAC the Chord Mojo.

 

If you choose the Mojo route, the LCD-X will run direct from the MOJO, but either the LCD-X or HD800s will sound better still with the Cavalli leaving you still with a portable system if you want. If you are going to go the Audeze route I highly recommend the LCD-X.

 

Just my take

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I have no argument with any of Priaptor's recommendations, however, if you looking at the Audeze line you'll also undoubtedly be checking out the LCD-3 as well. I've never heard the LCD-X but I have extensive listening experience with the LCD-3 which is a joy with a few caveats. The first caveat has to do with the Audeze phones in general as they are physically heavy headphones if you're sensitive to that sort of thing. The weight may be fatiguing with extended listening sessions. Second, the Audeze line is known/renown for it's "fun factor" when listening to Pop music. If you like bass then Audeze is for you. If you listen to mostly classical music then the Sennheiser 800s is the way to go. The Sennheiser is also lighter to wear and more comfortable. Also, keep in mind that the Sennheiser HD600 is the value sweet spot in the Sennheiser line and better suited IMHO to satisfying listening with all genres of music.

 

For a DAC/amp I would strongly suggest giving the Mytek Brooklyn a listen. No, it's not a Cavalli amp but the Myteks in general fare well with headphone listening, plus the Brooklyn gives you up to DSD256, up to PCM 24/384 and also is MQA ready.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Esau

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I have alway owned an Audeze since 2011, initially LCD-2, then LCD-3, now LCD-X.

Also previously owned Senn HD800, Ultrasone ED8, AKG 701.

 

LCD-3 was my favourite (and endgame) headphone , though unfortunately my experience was that it was incredibly unreliable.

The drivers failed 6 times (plus several other issues). Between breaking down, it could last a couple of hours, sometimes 10 months.

The average MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) was about 6 months. While I loved the sound, it was the worst reliability that I have experienced in audio.

 

LCD-X ... I have now had this about 10 months. Reliable, easy to drive, even from an iDevice.

I feel the mid range is slightly better on the LCD-3, though the LCD-X has slightly better treble.

LCD-X also has better bass (the current LCD-3 is now a bit rolled off).

 

DAC/Amp is an Auralic Gemini 2000 (cost about 2K).

2W Class A from the balanced headphone output, up to DSD128.

It is a lifestyle product, though I found a nice tweak & significant upgrade by powering it with a HDPlex 100W linear PSU.

 

While I am very happy with my setup ... esimms86 & Priaptor make great recommendations, they provide good advice.

 

John


Speaker : iPhone 6S Plus > UpTone Audio USB Regen (x2) > Benchmark DAC1 Pre > Pass Labs INT-30A > Focal Micro Utopia BE

Headphone : Auralic Aries > Auralic Gemini 2000 > Audeze LCD-X

Power & Tweaks : Heaps of Balanced & Isolation Power supplies, Dedicated Line, Vinnie Rossi MINI PURE-DC-4EVR, HD-Plex LPSU, iFi Audio DC iPurifiers, DIY Resonance/Vibration platforms using Townshend Audio Seismic Isolation Pods

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For headphones I would suggest trying everything out. If you like Audeze sound then great, but there are other great options like the Mr Speaker's Ether, HD800S, and Hifiman. The Ether and the HD800S are markedly lighter and more comfortable than Audeze. Within the Audeze line the LCD-3 and the LCD-X have different sounds and people tend to have a strong preference for one over the other. I went to a dealer expecting to purchase the LCD-X and left 3 hours later with the LCD-3.

 

 

If you like the sound of your Ayre equipment, then consider the Ayre Codex. As far as I can tell there is no better dac/amp at this pricepoint ($1800) or really anywhere close. In my system it replaced an Ayre QB-9DSD and I think it is better as a pure dac than the older and more expensive sibling. I have a nice (~$2k) tube hybrid amp and I like the sound out of the codex direct as well as or better than through the amp (which I may soon sell.) The only caveat is that you need to use the pono-style balanced outputs so either a custom cable or an adapter cable is needed. The Codex synergies with the sennheiser HD800 exceptionally well. So well that I am trying to pick up a set as a change of pace to go along with my Audezes.


Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

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

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LCD-3 was my favourite (and endgame) headphone , though unfortunately my experience was that it was incredibly unreliable.

 

And your experience, unfortunately, is not unique. Read forums, look at the number of units with repaired drivers and it is mind boggling. The LCD-3 and LCD-2 are probably the most unreliable headphones you can buy. Great sound, but... I would never purchase them as I don't want to roll the dice and deal with the down time of sending them in for repairs.

 

Now, I have not read much about issues with the LCD-X, so Audeze may finally have sorted things out, which is great news for fans of the Audeze sound.


Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | Sablon 2020 cabling, PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

 

Desktop: IsoRegen | Eitr | Chord Qutest  | Aesthetix Calypso pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Scansonic MK-5 | Elac S10 sub

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I am in the process of changing my entire system. For a number of reasons, I am trying to simplify my system down to a computer, a headamp/dac, and a nice set of headphones. I will be able to audition the full line of Audeze headphone and have two possible head amps: Moon and Naim. If anyone has any experience/recommendations for specific Audeze headphones or the head amps I'd would love to hear it. I'll be trading in my Wilson's on the new equipment so my budget should be 3-4K.

 

I purchased a new Sennheiser HD280 Pro Headset a few years ago. It has < 100 hours on it because it's been in storage since then, but I pulled it from storage recently.

 

Now that I have decent kit to drive it with, it's better than I thought, There's much better kit available now, however.

 

I'm currently considering the reasonably priced Sennheiser HD 380 Pro or the HD 650 because either of these allow for the continuance of uninterupted expansion of my music collection.

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And your experience, unfortunately, is not unique. Read forums, look at the number of units with repaired drivers and it is mind boggling. The LCD-3 and LCD-2 are probably the most unreliable headphones you can buy. Great sound, but... I would never purchase them as I don't want to roll the dice and deal with the down time of sending them in for repairs.

 

Now, I have not read much about issues with the LCD-X, so Audeze may finally have sorted things out, which is great news for fans of the Audeze sound.

 

Blake,

 

Apparently the saga of QA continues with the LCD-4 as well so I am not sure if things have totally been worked out. I have never had an issue with my X, but I am one person.

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One more point to consider: I bought my HD800 about a year ago (800S wasn't yet out). At the time I had compared them to the LCD-2 and 3. Sound wise the 3 is probably slightly better than my Sennheiser, but the LCDs are significantly heavier. I find I can wear my HD800 for hours without discomfort, not sure the same would be true for the Audeze.

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One more point to consider: I bought my HD800 about a year ago (800S wasn't yet out). At the time I had compared them to the LCD-2 and 3. Sound wise the 3 is probably slightly better than my Sennheiser, but the LCDs are significantly heavier. I find I can wear my HD800 for hours without discomfort, not sure the same would be true for the Audeze.

 

I would be careful saying they are "better". I truly have no dog in this fight as I currently have both. When I got my first HD800, which I quickly sent back, I too thought the LCD-X was "better". However, I was driving the HD800 with my HUGO only, so I can to the conclusion that the LCD-X was better.

 

Once I got a dedicated headamp like the Cavalli Liquid Carbon it was a game changer. The better went to the HD series, in this case the HD800s. However, then when I got the T&A for demo, all balanced with the Liquid Carbon, the playing field even out once again, although I still give the nod to the HD800s although the LCD-X are fantastic as well.

 

The point is the LCD, in my case, the X are much easier to drive than the HD series and will indeed be "better" with things like HUGO/MOJO, other smaller dedicated units, etc compared to the Sennheiser which really needs a decent headamp to drive them.

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One more point to consider: I bought my HD800 about a year ago (800S wasn't yet out). At the time I had compared them to the LCD-2 and 3. Sound wise the 3 is probably slightly better than my Sennheiser, but the LCDs are significantly heavier. I find I can wear my HD800 for hours without discomfort, not sure the same would be true for the Audeze.

 

Musicophile, your comment brings up an interesting point. I would imagine that, with the 800s on the market and getting favorable reviews, the 800 could likely be gotten for a good price on the used market.

 

Both the 800 and 800s excel (some say to the point of exaggeration) in the area of soundstage. In truth, they are undisputed kings of soundstage.

 

In regards to Audeze, the company is known to make small tweaks/modifications to their headphones without announcing the changes to buying public. I would, therefore, be sure to check in with your dealer regarding when their Audezes were manufactured before making a buying decision.

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Thanks for the info on the Audeze as well as on head/amps. I would love to try the Senheisers, but I don't believe my dealer carries them and I'm committed to working through the dealer (who is an absolute gem) in case of any problems. I have read the Audeze has excellent customer service, but my dealer is a know quantity. Will try the LCD-2 and 3 along with the X, and will check manufacture date. I used to have a pair of Magnepans which I dearly loved, so the idea of planar headphones is fascinating.

 

The head amp/dac might be something I would look elsewhere for. I had never thought of this as being a major factor probably because my headphone listening occured at a time when you simply plugged into the back of your receiver. Don't ask how many years ago please ;-). I love the Ayre sound and the codex is in price range, I will have to research the cable issue.

 

What are your opinions on a headamp/dac that would be a good match with Audeze? Simpler the better. I don't want to mess with drivers for the dac at all. I want a really simple set up.

 

Thanks again for the suggestions etc.


2012 MacMini 8G ram -> Audirvana + 3.0 -> Mcintosh MHA 100> Nordost > Audeze LCD X

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Thanks for the info on the Audeze as well as on head/amps. I would love to try the Senheisers, but I don't believe my dealer carries them and I'm committed to working through the dealer (who is an absolute gem) in case of any problems. I have read the Audeze has excellent customer service, but my dealer is a know quantity. Will try the LCD-2 and 3 along with the X, and will check manufacture date. I used to have a pair of Magnepans which I dearly loved, so the idea of planar headphones is fascinating.

 

The head amp/dac might be something I would look elsewhere for. I had never thought of this as being a major factor probably because my headphone listening occured at a time when you simply plugged into the back of your receiver. Don't ask how many years ago please ;-). I love the Ayre sound and the codex is in price range, I will have to research the cable issue.

 

What are your opinions on a headamp/dac that would be a good match with Audeze? Simpler the better. I don't want to mess with drivers for the dac at all. I want a really simple set up.

 

Thanks again for the suggestions etc.

 

I would enthusiastically sign on to Priaptor's Mojo/Liquid Carbon recommendation, but ... I head a prototype of a forthcoming one-box solution from Schiit a few months ago, and it's so going to the worth the wait.


Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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I would enthusiastically sign on to Priaptor's Mojo/Liquid Carbon recommendation, but ... I head a prototype of a forthcoming one-box solution from Schiit a few months ago, and it's so going to the worth the wait.

 

Is the Schiitt going to be a "one box" portable or large box?

 

There are so many good combos and really hard to make a bad choice. I am so impressed with the T&A upsampled to 512, balanced into the Liquid Carbon balanced to either the HD800s or LCD-X. My feelings about the SQ is hard to put into words. However, I personally, have never heard a headphone system sound as engaging as this combo; first to admit I haven't heard as much as most headphone people and just referencing to my reference system. I can't imagine any headphone not sound amazing with this system. I haven't even tried the T&A headphone jack yet, LOL

 

I took the liberty to order the Cavalli Liquid Gold discount offered because I purchased the Liquid Carbon. Now I can't wait.

 

I look forward to seeing what the one box solution is from Schitt. So many great choices in the headphone world.

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You really need a better dealer mate. There are lots of choices out there & you seem to be tying yourself to a dealer whose after-sales service you may just come to rely on because of his only stocking Audeze. Madness to me, but it's your money.

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I am in the process of changing my entire system. For a number of reasons, I am trying to simplify my system down to a computer, a headamp/dac, and a nice set of headphones. I will be able to audition the full line of Audeze headphone and have two possible head amps: Moon and Naim. If anyone has any experience/recommendations for specific Audeze headphones or the head amps I'd would love to hear it. I'll be trading in my Wilson's on the new equipment so my budget should be 3-4K.

 

You owe it to yourself to audition the Microzotl 2.0 headphone amp with Audeze of your choice... at $1100 its a steal and hard to better without spending $3k


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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You owe it to yourself to audition the Microzotl 2.0 headphone amp with Audeze of your choice... at $1100 its a steal and hard to better without spending $3k

 

+1 I have a dear friend (who is a reviewer) who has owned or heard dozens of high-end preamps and considers Mark's Microzotl 2.0 the best he's ever heard (which includes $20k list preamps). Mark confirmed that I will be field testing the remote-version in a few weeks. I can't wait.

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+1 I have a dear friend (who is a reviewer) who has owned or heard dozens of high-end preamps and considers Mark's Microzotl 2.0 the best he's ever heard (which includes $20k list preamps). Mark confirmed that I will be field testing the remote-version in a few weeks. I can't wait.

 

Hi. Any idea when the version with remote will be on general sale and how much?

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Hi. Any idea when the version with remote will be on general sale and how much?

 

I think he wants it out by end of summer; no idea if price will increase or by how much. I'll know more in a couple weeks. He is still testing 3 different remote technologies so as to inflict zero sq pain. Interesting stuff.

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To be fair and transparent, I should add that although Teajay said the magic was clearly there with the stock tubes (pair of 6SN7s and 12AT7s) he rolled a pair of Sylvania 12AT7s and an expensive pair (my old ones) of Tung Sol round plate black glass 6SN7s. With that combo, he is proclaiming perfection. I will not have such esoteric tubes to roll (unless I commit to the unit) but will report on what I find.

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I am in the process of changing my entire system
I move along the similar path, with only difference that I am looking for even simpler/budget solution. I am very much interested which headphones will work well with ifi micro iDSD? I am looking for rather light (both weight and cost) solution, and I am listening mostly to classical and jazz. Thank you.

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+1 for 800S (I have auditioned the 800) and the LCD-3F & X (prefer the 3s by a little margin)

For me to have the best headphone system one should have both 800(S) and 3F(X)!

About headamps the best combination with the 3Fs I have auditioned in realworld prize(beacouse I have auditioned them with the VIVA behemoth too) is the m2tech Marley with its power suply (the system was completed with the Young DSD also)... This system YoungDSD/Marley/VanDerGraafPS/LCD-3F is a dream head-fi system for me. For sure the LCD-3F can be driven heavenly by more expensive combos but from what I heared the above system is making serious music and it does not demand an arm and a leg... I wish I could afford it... the PS is essential though for both DAC and AMP!!!

 

I also have heared the Sennheiser DAC/Amps witch are great too! Especially for Senn cans I supose


Mac Mini with JRMC26 or Audirvana  / Raspberry4B_4GB(GentooPlayer_LMS) / Raspberry Rpi3B+: Allo DigiOne(GentooPlayer) - M2Tech Evo DAC Two Plus/iPurifier2 - Schiit Vali 2 - Densen DM20pre/30pwr amps - Spendor SP2/3E, Sennheiser HD600 & HD25Aluminum - Audeze Sine

Cables: Vovox, DIY, Furutech. 

Portable sources: iPad, DELL Laptop with JRiver MC26

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I move along the similar path, with only difference that I am looking for even simpler/budget solution. I am very much interested which headphones will work well with ifi micro iDSD? I am looking for rather light (both weight and cost) solution, and I am listening mostly to classical and jazz. Thank you.

 

I think that you should consider HD600(650)!!! Have in mind that they can sound much better if you upgrade your source/amp in the future...

The micro can drive even the 800(S) but they cost much more...


Mac Mini with JRMC26 or Audirvana  / Raspberry4B_4GB(GentooPlayer_LMS) / Raspberry Rpi3B+: Allo DigiOne(GentooPlayer) - M2Tech Evo DAC Two Plus/iPurifier2 - Schiit Vali 2 - Densen DM20pre/30pwr amps - Spendor SP2/3E, Sennheiser HD600 & HD25Aluminum - Audeze Sine

Cables: Vovox, DIY, Furutech. 

Portable sources: iPad, DELL Laptop with JRiver MC26

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+1 for 800S (I have auditioned the 800) and the LCD-3F & X (prefer the 3s by a little margin)

For me to have the best headphone system one should have both 800(S) and 3F(X)!

About headamps the best combination with the 3Fs I have auditioned in realworld prize(beacouse I have auditioned them with the VIVA behemoth too) is the m2tech Marley with its power suply (the system was completed with the Young DSD also)... This system YoungDSD/Marley/VanDerGraafPS/LCD-3F is a dream head-fi system for me. For sure the LCD-3F can be driven heavenly by more expensive combos but from what I heared the above system is making serious music and it does not demand an arm and a leg... I wish I could afford it... the PS is essential though for both DAC and AMP!!!

 

I also have heared the Sennheiser DAC/Amps witch are great too! Especially for Senn cans I supose

 

I wish I could afford the 800S, but the 650 seems the better product.

 

BTW, are you referring to the Sennheiser kit that's currently bundled with the 650?:

Sennheiser HD 650 Apogee Groove - Audiophile Kopfhörer HiFi-Stereo

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