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My budget is ~750$ for everything I need; however, I would prefer spending <500$. ATH-AD700s and an ASUS Xonar DG sound card are all I have in regard to audio equipment (bought in October 2011) and, while I am content with their performance, I feel it is time to upgrade.

My musical tastes include metal, rock, jazz, and classical. I am questioning the relevance of my musical tastes, however, as I am not certain whether I would prefer a headphone that is "good" with any specific genre(s), or a more neutral headphone. Simply put, I lack the experience with headphones to make this call: the ATH-AD700s were my first venture into "audiophile" headphones and I have not had a chance to try others. I am basically a noob, if you will pardon the term.

One thing of which I am certain is that I am looking for more bass than the ATH-AD700s offer, but I am absolutely not a "bass head". I am thinking of getting closed headphones, as I do occasionally use my headphones in locations other than my room and would like to avoid the sound leaking everywhere (as with my ATH-AD700s), but it is not essential. I will not be using these headphones "on-the-go" or anything of that nature, though I would not oppose the option (I may get another, cheaper pair for "on-the-go").

With the myriad headphones available, varied reviews, and, obviously, the subjective quality of sound, it feels a daunting task to pick a specific headphone and be confident that you have made the appropriate choice. I am posting in hopes of being enlightened and informed by erudite audiophiles such as yourselves.

I live in Ohio, US, and will be ordering online: I care not whence. I live in a very inconvenient location and do not drive, thus complicating any attempts at "testing" headphones at stores. It is unfortunate, but that is the state of things.

I am considering the ATH-A900x (most notably, among others), with the Schiit Modi/Magni DAC/AMP combination. I have also been looking at the HiFiMAN HE-400, but these are quite a leap. Any advice? recommendations? questions?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenfitz3 View Post

My budget is ~750$ for everything I need; however, I would prefer spending <500$. ATH-AD700s and an ASUS Xonar DG sound card are all I have in regard to audio equipment (bought in October 2011) and, while I am content with their performance, I feel it is time to upgrade.

My musical tastes include metal, rock, jazz, and classical. I am questioning the relevance of my musical tastes, however, as I am not certain whether I would prefer a headphone that is "good" with any specific genre(s), or a more neutral headphone. Simply put, I lack the experience with headphones to make this call: the ATH-AD700s were my first venture into "audiophile" headphones and I have not had a chance to try others. I am basically a noob, if you will pardon the term.

One thing of which I am certain is that I am looking for more bass than the ATH-AD700s offer, but I am absolutely not a "bass head". I am thinking of getting closed headphones, as I do occasionally use my headphones in locations other than my room and would like to avoid the sound leaking everywhere (as with my ATH-AD700s), but it is not essential. I will not be using these headphones "on-the-go" or anything of that nature, though I would not oppose the option (I may get another, cheaper pair for "on-the-go").

With the myriad headphones available, varied reviews, and, obviously, the subjective quality of sound, it feels a daunting task to pick a specific headphone and be confident that you have made the appropriate choice. I am posting in hopes of being enlightened and informed by erudite audiophiles such as yourselves.

I live in Ohio, US, and will be ordering online: I care not whence. I live in a very inconvenient location and do not drive, thus complicating any attempts at "testing" headphones at stores. It is unfortunate, but that is the state of things.

I am considering the ATH-A900x (most notably, among others), with the Schiit Modi/Magni DAC/AMP combination. I have also been looking at the HiFiMAN HE-400, but these are quite a leap. Any advice? recommendations? questions?
are you anywhere near these locations? Xtend Technologies has a headphone demo station.

http://xtendav.com/locations/
 

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the headphones you really want are the Audeze LCD-2 but the Grado SR-225i are a good choice. there are so many DAC and Headphone Amplifier choices under $500 now. Grado headphones sound really good with tubes. there is a used HiFiMAN EF5 Hybrid Tube Amplifier sitting on Amazon for $299.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

the headphones you really want are the Audeze LCD-2 but the Grado SR-225i are a good choice. there are so many DAC and Headphone Amplifier choices under $500 now. Grado headphones sound really good with tubes. there is a used HiFiMAN EF5 Hybrid Tube Amplifier sitting on Amazon for $299.
The LCD-2 look very, very nice, but they do not fall into my budget. May I ask why you recommend the Grado SR-225i? I have heard that Grados are a bit "coloured" (as in, not neutral -- am I using the term correctly?); is this true for the SR-225i? Have you heard them? I'll read some reviews in the meantime and see if I believe these will suit me.

They certainly fall within my budget, but would it not be better to spend more on the headphones than the rest? Does it not matter? A quick explanation (or a link to one) would be appreciated.
 

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The SR225i's are the least colored Grado probably..

The Audeze LCD-2 doesn't make any sense because even if you got the headphone used in that budget, you won't have any money for a DAC/AMP and that would make the headphone a dumb purchase alone.

How much bass are you really looking for?

If you're not too into bass, but want a little bit more than AD700s, the DT880 is a good headphone. It's very neutral. Good mids and highs. Good sound stage. Cheap in price. Way under your budget and you can buy a DAC and amp for it.

The HD650s are darker headphones, but do well for all of your genre's except metal. They're too slow for metal.

HE-400s are good...they do metal well, they do bass well, they do soundstage well...they do mids all right, but the highs suck. You can try to tame the beast with good EQ though. Instrument separation on these is good. You'll get better sibilance on the DT880s though. DT880s do metal all right as well.

All in all, I wouldn't use your full budget until you KNOW exactly what you want and have invested more time and finances into the hobby.

I would get DT880s and a DAC/AMP right now.
 

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the Audeze LCD-2 is a world class headphone. the only headphone better for rock and metal is the Audeze LCD-3. both headphones are good with jazz even classical to a degree. you can buy a used pair for $750-850 but you won't have enough for a DA converter and Amplifier unless you increase your budget to about $1200.

no headphone is truly neutral. I own the Grado SR-325i (look in my Computer specs). the Grado SR-225i are considered the best value in the line. the more expensive models get outclassed by the orthodynamic headphones.

I own quite a bit of headphones.. if I could do it all over again I would of just bought the Audeze LCD-2 to begin with.
 

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I don't think any of the Beyerdynamics are good with rock or metal. depending on which model you get the midrange is going to be recessed, sibilance or boomy bass. Grado SR-225i, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMAN HE-500, Audeze LCD-2, Audeze LCD-3 is this order.
 

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HD600 doesn't have enough bass IMO, but is a great choice if you're not wanting a ton of bass. He-500 is definitely fast for metal. Good mid range but is perhaps too good of a headphone for metal.

LCD-2 is too expensive for him and the LCD-3 is 3x his budget.

The DT880s, HD600s, HD650s (if you want more bass and a warmer, less neutral sound) are the headphones to go with. While the Grados are good, I don't think they're the upgrade he's looking for.
 

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These are all mostly neutral, but some tend towards being bright or dark. No idea about grados or ATH-A900x

Going from brighter to darker -->
AKG K702, Sennheiser HD600, Beyer DT880, Sennheiser HD650, Shure SRH840/940/1440 (monitor series so very neutral), HE-400, Denon D2000

AD-700 are some of the most bass light headphones out there, but if you want a bit more bass look at the Shure and down.
 

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you don't need that kind of bass. $750 tells me he is serious about his music and maybe just needs a little convincing. if he can save up $1200, $1300 he should go for it. I would of saved money if I bought the Audeze LCD-2 to begin with.
 

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$750 for ~everything~ tells me he has $750 dollars to get ~everything~ and would prefer to spend less if possible because he's unsure he even wants to drop all this on audio.

I also think your Shure's are more neutral than the HD650s meaning the HD650s are darker than the Shure's for sure.

I don't think someone should jump from AD700s to LCD-2s. That and the LCD2's aren't neutral. The highs aren't there and he has no money for a DAC or AMP and if we're pushing to 1200 then why not another 500 for the LCD3's and then another 700 for DAC and amp.
 

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Audio Technica M50 Anniversary Edition $160 MSRP
Sennheiser HD558 $250 MSRP
SR-325i $329 MSRP
Denon AH-D5000 $700 MSRP

if I sold all those headphones I would be lucky to get $650 back lol

whether you keep the headphones or sell them, you lose money when you upgrade. buy a used pair of Audeze LCD-2 and a $500 integrated DAC and Headphone Amplifier like the ALO Pan Am and be done with it.
 

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$100 for M50s. $115 for 558s. $200 for 325is maybe, D5000s will probably fetch you 325. That's about $740.

Then shipping you lose some >_> 12 each...so..yeah around 650 you keep after paypal.
 

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I am going to agree with simca about the budget. Personally, I think what the OP sound focus on is getting a better amp (the schiit magni is still a great DAC no matter how you look at it) and get cheaper headphones now, and then later down the road the OP can move up to the LCD2 or even 3.

No matter how you slice it, the LCD2 is going to sound like garbage without the proper amp and dac.

My end point is that the LCD2 is the right choice, but it is certainly not the smart choice.

I would think that the Schiit Valhalla and the modi for the gear and the AKG Q701 for the headphone would be a great choice. The Q701s don't have the head shaking bass, but they do have more than the AD700s and the OP stated that he was not a bass head, so I think he will be happy with the bass. The highs are why I like these headphones for rock, and the mids are fairly neutral. I also think they are cheap enough that when the OP does upgrade, he won't be loosing too much of his investment.
 

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you guys are crazy
tongue.gif


ALO Pan Am is a proper amplifier. it has great synergy with Audeze headphones and it's on sale for $499. the one you want from Schiit is the Lyr but it cost $449.

the Schiit Valhalla and Audeze LCD-2 are not a good combination. if he buys the AKG Q701 and Schiit Valhalla he will have to sell both if he wants to upgrade to a orthodynamic headphone.

Edit: Valhalla
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

you guys are crazy
tongue.gif


ALO Pan Am is a proper amplifier. it has great synergy with Audeze headphones and it's on sale for $499. the one you want from Schiit is the Lyr but it cost $449.

the Schiit Valhalla and Audeze LCD-2 are not a good combination. if he buys the AKG Q701 and Schiit Valhalla he will have to sell both if he wants to upgrade to a orthodynamic headphone.

Edit: Valhalla
why do you say that? I tested the LCD2 on the valhalla and the lyr. Both worked fine. Obviously they sounded different, but I actually liked the valhalla more. Of course the lyr had rolled tubes, so I did not hear it in its 'pure form'. Of course for all I know the valhalla might have been rolled as well. You just never know what you are going to get when you got to a head-fi meet
tongue.gif
 

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the Valhalla cannot drive orthodynamics.
Quote:
Can Valhalla drive my orthodynamic headphones?
Being polite: not a chance. Although Valhalla can deliver large voltages into high-impedance headphones, it cannot supply the current needed for low-efficiency, low-impedance orthodynamic headphones. If you have Audeze or HiFiMan headphones, look at Lyr. LCD-2s, HE-400s, and HE-500s are also efficient enough to be used with Asgard, if you'd like an all-solid-state option.
http://schiit.com/schiit-faq/valhalla-questions/
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

the Valhalla cannot drive orthodynamics.
http://schiit.com/schiit-faq/valhalla-questions/
.......Then how did they work on the valhalla? (and by work, I mean - work well).

Obviously I will take your word on the lyr, but now I am really curious, because I did indeed listen to the LCD2 on the valhalla without any issues.
eh-smiley.gif
 

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Quote:
Looking at Schiit's specs, the Valhalla's most efficient power transfer occurs at 300Ω. There it makes half a watt. Figuring I'd hit its sweat spot with my 400Ω-rated Sennheiser HD800, I advanced to 2:00 on the dial to match the Raffinatos. Slam and grippiness increased. What also snuck in was a completely unexpected drier demeanour and a faint sense of associated brittleness. beyerdynamic's 600Ω T1 wanted 3:00 on the control to match levels. Now warmth increased but I felt sibilants on brighter Pop fare were slightly overcooked (that's mostly how they're recorded - again no leading lady soft focus). AKG's K-702 pushed the dial to 4:00, the planar magnetic Audez'e LCD-2 pretty much maxed out available power and started to fray around the edges. As I turned up the thumb screws-by using headphones that turned out to be less than ideal loads-things got glassier and more tiresome.
 
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