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Moving on up from HD 58X

pwjazz

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#21
I used to own the HD58X and LCD2C. I still own the HD58X but sold the LCD2C. Switching between the LCD2C and HD58X, the Audeze's missing upper mids are obvious and annoying. I think if you only listen to music on the LCD2C and never use more normally tuned headphones or God forbid speakers, it's possible to get used to their tuning and enjoy their other qualities, but that wasn't my situation.
 

Fluffy

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#22
I used to own the HD58X and LCD2C. I still own the HD58X but sold the LCD2C. Switching between the LCD2C and HD58X, the Audeze's missing upper mids are obvious and annoying. I think if you only listen to music on the LCD2C and never use more normally tuned headphones or God forbid speakers, it's possible to get used to their tuning and enjoy their other qualities, but that wasn't my situation.
I have the LCD2C exactly because they have that dip in the upper mids-low treble. It's fantastic for overly produced or compressed music (like modern metal or current pop), because it dims down the harshness. Plus, they have the deepest and tightest bass ever, though not elevated in level. Coupled with an EQ low shelf that boosts several DB at 100 hz and below, they deliver earth shaking bass drops. They literally go down to 15 hz if it exists in the music (most music don't).

But yeah, definitely not for female vocals.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #23
I have been on a similar search looking for that next headphone, trying to stay in the Mid-Fi range ( < $700 ) I rolled through a few of them, I like intimate vocals, blues, rock, Alternative/indie and step into some classical one in whiles.
  • AGK 712 earlier headphone;
  • Hifiman
    • HE 4xx Drop,
    • HE-560,
    • Ananda $699 at Amazon and Headphones.com; <- just made a list with a price drop.
  • Sennheiser HE-6xx;
  • Focal Elex <-
  • Dan Clark Aeon X (an alternative is Aeon 2 note is above my mid-fi range @ $899)
Right now, I have XD05 Plus DAC/AMP with 1W @ 32 Ohms paired with it AK4493 DAC. For a portable solution, it plenty of power to support any of these headphones.

In this space of mid-level headphones, I say look at the headphones above; I would say Focal Elex or Hiifiman Ananda would fit your needs. They are both very good headphones that are easy to drive but open up with more powerful amps. There are both great with female Vocals, Piano, Bass, and Guitar.

Focal reaches higher and still has excellent bass Extention with a wider, more full stage. Electric Guitars like on AC/DC "Ride On", just seem to have little more detail and are tonally correct to that Marshell sound, (I play the guitar with Marshall JMP 100 and JTM45 amps) One beautiful thing the Ananda and Elex use the same headphone cables so you can interchange them.

Ananda is a little darker, the treble is not as rich and bright as Focal, but the Ananda has a very good reveal of bright instruments like triangles, both have great midrange, great bass. They are very complementary.

If you want something warmer but even more intimate but with excellent instrument separation good staging, and deep bass. I have been enjoying the Aeon X, but be prepared to get an upgraded amp; if it were a new purchase, I l would look at AEON 2. This super comfortable headphone that is easy to listen to for longer sessions. Now I would get Ananda or Elex before Aeon. But has something different when playing Vocals with a darker background.

Tracks I have have been using to test female vocal are which get you a few more instruments as well ; )
  • Diana Krall " Fly Me to the Moon"
  • Christina Aguilera "Beautiful"
  • Lana Del Ray "Blue Jeans"
  • Elia Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong "Summertime"
  • Jefferson Airplane "Lather" and "White Rabbit"
  • Telepopmusik "Breathe"
  • Berlin Philharmonic, Mirella Freni, Herbert von Karajan, Luciano Pavarotti, Elizabeth Harwood, Rolando Panerai, Gianni Maffeo & Nicolai Ghiaurov. "La bohème, Act I: "Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì". ( Note I prefer the Aeon for this piece)
Two tracks I like for testing Male Vocal is John Lee Hooker's "Jesse James" and Sonny Boy Williamson "Bring It Home."
Thanks a lot for so long a reply! I will go through the list. The songs you listed are in my cup of tea too :)
Today I've been reading review about Massdrop x Focal Elex ($580 with the new user coupon). The thing with Drop is the warranty issues should anything go wrong with the cans. Buying something expensive from there is risky IMO.

As for the amp, I've been looking into SMSL SP200. As I said I have a D10 DAC, don't think I would hear much of difference going up, it's simply clean, maybe something which could give more than 2 V? I think it's plenty still...
 
OP
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Thread Starter #24
Thanks.
Unfortunately, it's a very aggressive equalization based on a single measurement. I've made a new preset for you that takes both oratory's and Rtings' measurements into account, only making adjustments to problems they both agree on. It's a lot more subtle, but it won't make anything worse.
Download: https://mega.nz/#!t9xCxATT!tKuMJNW6Z9_WMygMUvubt5U7sQ4twGK7L8wGwPRDXYM
Or if you want to do it manually:
Filter 1: Peakfilter, 19 Hz, Gain 6 dB, Q 1
Filter 2: Peakfilter, 230 Hz, Gain -1 dB, Q 1.5
Filter 3: Peakfilter, 4500 Hz, Gain 3 dB, Q 12
Preamp: -6 dB
Note that the preamp is 0.5 dB lower than the oratory EQ, so you will have to lower the preamp of your current EQ to -6 dB if you want to do an A/B comparison.
I've tested your preset. I've come to find it somewhat more closed/veiled than the one from Oratory. When I switch back to his, it opens up, cleans up. I don't know words about sound...
 
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#25
Thanks a lot for so long a reply! I will go through the list. The songs you listed are in my cup of tea too :)
Today I've been reading the review about Massdrop x Focal Elex ($580 with the new user coupon). The thing with Drop is the warranty issues should anything go wrong with the cans. Buying something expensive from there is a risky IMO.

As for the amp, I've been looking into SMSL SP200. As I said I have a D10 DAC, don't think I would hear much of difference going up, it's simply clean, maybe something which could give more than 2 V? I think it's plenty still...
Remember there now Focal that you can buy that similar outside of Drop. HIfiiman Ananda is still a great Headphone.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #26
Remember there now Focal that you can buy that similar outside of Drop. HIfiiman Ananda is still a great Headphone.
Hm, I can't buy them from Drop.com. Doesn't ship to my country. Also I googled and didn't find any eshop that would sell Focal Elex :(
 

solderdude

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#29
I would say try to audition some headphones (listen to them) as one can get a thousand different recommendations from a thousand different folks.
They may not hear similar to you, the headphones they may recommend may be great to them but crap to you.
Comfort for person A may be a horror nightmare for another and vice versa.
Some are bothered by weight, others by clamping force, others by certain types of pads, on-ear/over-ear/in-ear
Some want to drive from their phones others like desktop.
Some hear 'depth' others do not.
Some reviewers find this or that great where others say it is crap. Sometimes there is some agreement.

LCD2: great bass and mids (better/different than HD58X) less clarity
HD58X: decent bass, good mids, more clarity

LCD2 = heavy in weight and the pads kind-of 'suck' to your head when putting them on and off. Leather feels different than velours.
HD58X = lighter in weight. Pads can be a pit 'prickly' when new. velours feels different on the head than leather, clamping force could be highish but can be lowered.

These headphones differ more than they are the same and would be more logical to own both than replace one with the other unless it is exactly what you want.
Audition (wear a few hours) before you buy.

Thomann ships to your country, sells Audeze as well and you can audition and return stuff.
 
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flipflop

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#30
I've tested your preset. I've come to find it somewhat more closed/veiled than the one from Oratory. When I switch back to his, it opens up, cleans up. I don't know words about sound...
Thank you for your feedback. The difference you are describing is caused by the filters boosting the treble in oratory's EQ, which I couldn't justify using in my own, because corresponding treble dips aren't found in the Rtings measurement (except for the one at 4.5 kHz). It's possible you prefer oratory's preset because your unit resembles his more than the one measured at Rtings.
 
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#31
Sadly, they too don't ship to my country (Czech Republic, European Union) :(
I am sorry to hear that, hopefully, Europe as see the discount on Elear. Lovely Country, it been a while since I was last there. Need to bring my family over on next European visit

I did see Thoman's has Focal Clear's discounted, which would be step up from the Focal Elex. Normally I think Thoman is for Guitars and Pro Gear, but a great dealer. I tempted to flip my Aeon X and Elex to get these.
https://www.thomannmusic.com/focal_clear_professional.htm. $1,159 €1,043.70. These are now discounted from what I am seeing in the US of $1499. Little more info on them https://www.focal.com/en/pro-audio/monitoring-speakers/professional-headphones/clear-professional

I agree trying different headset is a good idea, but you are now colored by Senhiesier experience, Here when A/B headset they are closest will be the Focal but with more.

Audeze, Dan Clark, HiFiman are all good headphones, what sets them all apart is how they color and present the sound differently and what they do and do not reveal. It more like spices for a meal to me now after demo a different number headset.

But remember your source material ( Records, CD's, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Roon, Qobuz) also adds it owns color or sometimes mediocrity to signal chain. Next, the device you are listening back from ( aka what does your signal chain look like) Is Andriod or iPhone or will put DAC/AMP in the chain can affect even existing cans you have more.

It is also good to get to know your headset electrical characteristics to understand how best to power them. AEON FLOW/X is an excellent example of a headset on paper you look at should be easy to drive with it's 13 low impedance. The next number pops up, AEON FLOW/X Closed is 92 dB Closed and the Open is 94 dB of sensitivity. Looking at the AEON X Open with the combined 13 Ohm impedance and 94 dB of sensitivity, it creates the strongest current load of all the headphones above to get to the same listen to level volume. The real issue with this Headphone is some playback devices will current limit before they even reach the point they sound reasonable and at a pleasurable listening level. Side effects are they will sound hollow, muddy or worse clip.

Another can like this is Hifiman HE-560 41 Ohms Impedance with 90 dB sensitivity, which sounds glorious on a proper headphone amp. It has attributes I like over the Ananda, the upper register is more open more like Focal Elex. But again specialty headphone since it is a beast to drive.

On Audeze LCD-X is sonically the closet can to the above, but it still has its own signature soundscape, but you can find them for about the same money as Focal Clear now.
 
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sejarzo

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#32
I have the LCD2C exactly because they have that dip in the upper mids-low treble. It's fantastic for overly produced or compressed music (like modern metal or current pop), because it dims down the harshness. ...
Interesting observation, as I too have found that using Oratory's EQ for the HiFiMan 400i that EQing out the ca. 4-6kHz dip tends to make most current pop/rock music sound more congested rather than clearer. If I A/B that same EQ versus bypass with levels matched on well done minimally miked classical recordings, the impact isn't as substantial.
 

Fluffy

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#33
Interesting observation, as I too have found that using Oratory's EQ for the HiFiMan 400i that EQing out the ca. 4-6kHz dip tends to make most current pop/rock music sound more congested rather than clearer. If I A/B that same EQ versus bypass with levels matched on well done minimally miked classical recordings, the impact isn't as substantial.
Just so I understand you correctly, you said that with the 400i, when you raise the 4-6khz range using eq, it gets more congested when listening to pop music?

If so, it makes perfect sense. These are the parts that relay presence and brightness. It also contains the sibilant sounds ("s", "sh"), so raising that part on an already over-processed and often compressed music, especially pop vocals, will naturally accentuate all those parts and make it too bright. Producers tend to boost those frequencies on pop vocals to make them cut through the mix. And on rock, these are the upper harmonics of distorted guitars, that can get out of proportions if boosted too much.

In classical recordings it also would make since that it wouldn't be as impactful, but not because it's "minimally miked" (vocals are miked with only one microphone and still can get sibilant). It's first because classical instrument just doesn't naturally produce that much sonic energy in that range. And second, because those recordings are never as intensely compressed and aggressively mixed as pop/rock recordings. So there is no initial abundance of energy in that range to get over boosted. I suppose it could even help bring up clarity and harmonics in some instruments.

There's a reason pop-oriented headphones like Beats boosts lows and lowers highs, and "audiophile" headphones that target classical music do the opposite.
 

sejarzo

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#34
In classical recordings it also would make since that it wouldn't be as impactful, but not because it's "minimally miked" (vocals are miked with only one microphone and still can get sibilant). It's first because classical instrument just doesn't naturally produce that much sonic energy in that range.
Agreed, I should have put that as "properly miked and EQed." I do have some classical recordings in my library that do sound congested in that range that happen to be poorly miked to begin with.
 
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