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New headphone recommendations

gitaarwerk

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Hi all,

Previously, I was thinking of selling a lot off, but I wont. In the mean time, I still would love a good headphone.
I am looking for something to upgrade from a Sennheiser HD650. I'm not unhappy with them, but I miss a wide soundstage. I do like the sound of sennheisers in general, but then again, they differ per application. I use the 650 mostly for gaming and late night making music. Not for mastering/mixing of any sorts.

But what I would like, is a headphone that I would like to put on in a dark room, sit in a comfy chair and close my eyes. So for longer listening sessions (2h approximately).
The things I find important, obviously, is a good quality headphone, not much distortion. Immersion, wide soundstage, details and depth. I want to feel that I'm not in a room. That's more important than a good thumpy base.

I don't mind EQing at all. I usually just stream with a Spotify Premium sub (sorry, not Tidal; and I can't be arsed ripping my collection to FLAC).

I don't like closed back headphones at all. I want my ears to breathe a little. The headphone shouldn't leak overly much, but of course accepting the concept of open back headphones :)

Also, I don't got a huge head, (usually have my glasses a little bit smaller than average). So shouldn't be -too- big. That's why not sure if I should take a look into the drop-shaped Hifimans...

The list here is a little outdated.. so I made a bit of a selection. I would like to ask for some tips. Perhaps some to take off, some to put on instead. I want to limit the selection to 2 or 3 otherwise, chasing down shops to go listen to that have them all is going to be difficult :p

So my list:
Sennheiser HD-800S
Audeze LCD-X (2021)
Audeze LCD-3 (dont see a lot of measurements, but get good comments? also, I like the wood finish)
Audeze MM-500 (this is an oddball, low impedance, can be driven a lot easier, but not entirely sure how closed off they are)
Hifiman HE1000 v2

I don't got an amp or dac yet, but ill find it out myself. I don't mind a slightly bit extra for some looks too :) after market cables are not an issue if bad quality comes inside the box, or just looks cool & being comfortable (not stiff). As long as I can switch them out, or make them myself either way.

DAC/Amp probably, depending on the impedance/force to drive them could be an RME ADI2, a topping or schiit combo; the streamer I would program/build myself with some Pi and arduino-stuff :)

Thanks in advance.
 

Dunring

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The HD800s is the only upgrade from an HD650 you'll likely be happy with, others will be a side grade. I've had several hd650 and hd800s and soundstage is a big difference.
Low budget option is the Drop hd8xx on ebay and remove the upper and lower decals to get closer to the hd800s tuning. Pair with a JDS Atom + amp dac combo and call it a day.
Credit card melting option is Hd800s retail and Topping A90/D90 which I've had and another stack of these on the way Sunday. The A90 has a bigger soundstage than many amps and aesthetics. The Audiophileninja on Etsy or Hart cables will make it look great. Both are excellent quality and pick the custom look/color.the
 
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gitaarwerk

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Thanks for the reply! Had to sink in what you said. Was eyeing the planars to get something different, but as you mentioned, I think its more of a sidegrade. Perhaps if there are some good deals and my budget allows it, a cheaper planar and a Senn hd800s. For both different styles. 800s would indeed matches most of my listening styles, just rock and metal a simpler planar could work better. Just need to check what to get as stack if I want to buy a planar later (not need everything at once)

Im still doubting if I even should get a DAC atm; as a apple dongle, no streamer and just use my mobile phone (battery powered players have in general very low noise too ;)). And get a Topping as you mentioned indeed. Nog entirely sure if I should get the A90 because of the pot. But I could mod it indeed. Also, the new Topping L70 could be a winner. But perhaps for a dac, bot sure yet. The L70 have a r2r volume too, cheaper than the A90 or A90 discrete; also gets a good review. Or,.. If I decide not to get both headphones, I could match the 800S with an RME and a apple camera kit cable for now :)

I also checked the dude who creates all eq settings for headphones and did his single most rated review list. The hifiman i mentioned get anhigh rating (mich higher than the sennies); altho not sure if he considered the EQ settings. The build qualities of hifiman seems not always right; and for the money, I could indeed just focus on the 800s
 
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gitaarwerk

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I have listened and my wallet replied. I've just ordered a webshop return. I hope to receive the Sennheiser 800S in a short while. In the meantime, I will wait for a cyber Friday / Monday for a Topping A90 Discrete. I like the discrete-part of the topping. It's not all discrete as far as I know, and I can live with the minor THD and SINAD decrease.

In the meantime, I need to find out what I want to do regarding a dac... The topping D90LE looks good, but perhaps an all-in-one home built can be interesting. Ian canada stuff is expensive, but my earlier experience with that is for the same money, I can built everything, and also brings me some joy in doing that. I think the D90 may be a bit over-exaggerated price wise. Its top of the line, but am I going to hear this? (an apple headphone adapter can be fine too as it got my built-in streamer in the phone, haha.. battery powered, low noise (as much as it can). It will suffice to power a dac too probably from my iphone, so the money is not wasted on just texting :D ). That's my next step. I like to spend my money unfortunately, but I have to be wise. Perhaps can also do with a topping L30II if my transport is just RCA. It has its own quirks, but perhaps its just as acceptable, a Topping L50 or the new L70 if I want relay but pay less.. but need to wait for some review. The A90 D is preferred by many for its spaciousness as you @Dunring mentioned this as well, but I don't need all those options. So perhaps just a bit of waiting and in the mean time, working on my streamer ideas (probably going to mod Volumio or Mooode and build my own interface and add a dumb browser instead of a whole GUI to the OS, compile it and make it open source...sounds so easy, but will take me some months :D )

Anyways, thanks again @Dunring :) if you got any tips for my other struggles, I'm happy to receive them. Cheers!
 

LTig

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I would not invest more than $ 200 for a dac/amp combo to feed the HD800s except the RME due to its large feature list. The HD800s is a light load and easy to feed and does not require a beefy amp to sound good (other than you often read on the internet), just enough voltage output.
 
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gitaarwerk

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I would not invest more than $ 200 for a dac/amp combo to feed the HD800s except the RME due to its large feature list. The HD800s is a light load and easy to feed and does not require a beefy amp tosound good (other than you often read on the internet), just enough voltage output.
Thanks for the reply. I have no doubt about that. I'm just wondering if I should get something beefier because I -may- want a planar later on, perhaps an IEM (but I guess not, as I don't like the feeling of "plugs", I have small ears) , and just have something that can handle a lot. The question is of course if I would ever buy another expensive headphone again, IEM/Planar or else... use the hamp as preamp. So thats a consideration. For most of my music, the 800S would be suited in character.

What I like about the A90D is the ladder. I like that the channel matching is a little better than on an analog pot. But there are cheaper options like the new L70, but not measured against the A90/A90D yet.... ; Also don't need a lot of options really. The r2r just costs a lot more, which is fair. And perhaps I'm willing to pay that. A amp/dac combo (also like RME) that have a digital output control can also work well; I'm just not a fan of cheap pots. But as mentioned earlier, I could upgrade them myself with a tiny stepped volume control which I can solder. Also balanced is a nice addition, altho for short lengths, its not interesting. + I don't like the look of a lot of amps. The look definitely plays a role. So those are a bit of my considerations regarding amp. Dac combos im not sure yet, as I may want to make my own player with either integrated dac or external. Depending on the money I want to spend or time spent on another project.
 
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gitaarwerk

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Pff; I got it in, didn’t open te box,.. I may send it back. It’s just too expensive. Tje topping stack is cheap and better probably. Missing the EQ, but that’s then for the rPi or getting an android phone as Spotify Player instead oof using my iphone,…

Also, Schiit looks pretty cool; but measurements may now vary due to the changed Modius. I used to have a r2r gumby; wasn’t unhappy, just too expensive for what it cost (was half the price they are now,..).

Oh wel, i may just wait a little longer,..
 
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gitaarwerk

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G5 and 800S are in. Playing from my iphone via bluetooth. The experience is pretty new,.. i know quite some older headphones and high end speakers,.. but the detail is astonishing, but the “soundstage” is weird,… tok far out. And yes, definitely need EQ. Which is a challenge using iphone. So Raspberry pi it is. The G5 is excellent in terms of volume,…

So far, the things I found sounding well on other systems dont sound as great on this; electronic sounds better than expected. Weid,.. :) need to give it some time and add some EQ later. It’s a keeper for sure, just not for every style/recording (without EQ at least).
 
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gitaarwerk

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Qudelix 5K is your ticket to systemwide EQ on iOS.
Also plenty loud enough for the HD800S via 2.5mm Bal.
Plus a lot less bulky than the G5.
Hmm,.. I just got it in, mot changing it anytime soon, but it was nice to know earlier . But I’ll go the long route, using the Pi. I’m impressed by the G5’s. I don’t mind the bulkiness; as I am not taking it on the road anyways. It’s a bit of my in-between before I decide a larger stack with a listening spot where I dump these :)
 
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