The Official Headphone Thread 2.5: We're Making WAVs and Catching FLAC

Dec 8, 2008
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Miami, FL
The Noble X impressions on Head-Fi aren't exactly inspiring to be honest.
Huh. I had ordered then cancelled my pre-order on Friday. Just not sure I can justify that spend on IEMs which I've never enjoyed wearing for long sessions. I'll definitely be paying attention to the responses when people start getting their Massdrop orders in mid December. I would like to upgrade from my old UE Triple Fi 10vi's.

https://www.audeze.com/products/lcd-collection/lcd2c

$599, much lighter, suspension headband, pre-fazor tuning, oh shit.
Finally, an actually wearable lcd2.
Definitely getting this day1, might replace my x00 and might make me stop eyeing the Atticus.
$600 is an amazing price considering they're charging $200 to buy that headband separately. Making me wonder why I'm considering the LDC-Xs for 2x the price without the better head band now.

Can someone remind me of what the issues with the LCD-2's audio was? I like dark, but I feel like I read that they had middling imaging?
 
Dec 1, 2007
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I've honestly read a bunch of impressions where people found the EMU Teak compared favorably to various LCD headphones so I gotta question the value of them when the market has gotten so competitive.
 
Dec 8, 2008
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Miami, FL
I've honestly read a bunch of impressions where people found the EMU Teak compared favorably to various LCD headphones so I gotta question the value of them when the market has gotten so competitive.
It's really disappointing that all of these products can't be readily found and demo'd. How are we supposed to evaluate the value proposition to even make this sort of pronouncement without relying purely in second hand information? I remember when I was deciding on my D7000s, I bought the 5000s and 2000s and made my decision with my own ears and how much I valued the D7000 sound over the other 2. Am I going to have to buy 3 pairs of Audezes, 3 ZMFs and some Teaks to make a good decision? I can if I have to, I'd just rather not.

I do appreciate that Audeze has a no-strings 30 day return policy, so if I'm not completely impressed, I can just send their shit back. Maybe I'll buy the LCD-2Cs, LCD-Xs and LCD-4Cs or whatever and send back all but one? But even that requires you to at least invest/tie up hundreds or thousands for some period of time.

Not being able to hear and evaluate things for myself is more frustrating than the price tags. I just want a really nice pair of opens with bass performance that makes me not miss my D7000s, but without recessed mids, and a stage that meets the expectations of an open experience.

Maybe I need to give Mr Speakers a call too. But every time I read something good about their Ether Flows or Aeons, someone mentions wishing they had a little more bass and I'm like, nope. Sigh. I got a really good impression of the LCD-3s and was hoping the LCD-Xs were similar, but people here are down on those too. Further, a lot of the reviewers are using rock as their reference point for music and bass. That's not my primary genre so it makes me anxious as their expectations for bass and mine as a hip-hop and Jazz fan are going to differ greatly.

If you like a lush, liquid signature, I can't recommend the EMU Teaks enough.
I've heard this before, but given that they are based on the same Fostex/Denon platform, I have no reason to believe that they have solved the midrange recession problem that Fostex and Denon have both failed to do lifetime to date.

A/B testing with a local pair of LCD-3s with my D7000s was a revelation. It showed me I could have good bass and mids where the vocals didn't seem to be far behind the instruments. They are a clear upgrade over my D7000s in a way that no other cans I've heard have been, which is why the 3's and on sale X's are on my radar. But now I feel like I need to find a way to hear the ZMF cans. But how, you know? Frustrating.
 
Aug 9, 2014
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Seattle, WA
Anyone decently knowledgeable about dacs and optical audio to help me out?

I've been brainstorming a way to streamline all my audio hardware into functionality similar to the astro mixamp which I can have multiple sources through my headphones so I was wondering if this would work.

I'll put up some cheap options for a very baseline example for what I'm thinking.
Headphones(Phillips SHP9500s) <---[3.5mm]--- DAC(Takes Optical) <---[Optical]--- Optical Audio Matrix

Now what I'm looking for is multi audio so I can for example, play and hear console games while listening to PC discord, but my PC now, unlike my old one, doesn't have an optical out anymore. So, I'm not sure what options I have to either find an adapter cable or find a different functioning dac.

Where:
Matrix Port 1 <--- ???--- PC
Matrix Port 2-3 <--- Optical <--- Consoles
 
Sep 14, 2006
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Looking for some wireless headphones now that I've upgraded(?) to an iPhone 8 and don't want to hassle with the lightning-to-headphone jack.

Seeing a lot of love for the Backbeat Pro 2 in this thread, and in numerous reviews. Saw it was on sale today at Best Buy (here in Canada) and almost picked it up, but I wasn't able to try them on, and apparently Best Buy up here has a "no returns on opened headphones" policy.

As someone who I guess has a smaller head and finds some headphones a little loose, I'd like to know how these would work for me. They would likely be used for commuting (lots of walking plus transit). I tried the following for comparison if it helps:

- Bose QuietComfort 35 (seemed to fit OK on the tightest setting, was leaning towards these or some cheap model to tide me over)

- Sony MDRXB650BT (these seemed pretty snug and felt good, although didn't have the noise cancellation which I never knew I wanted until trying the Bose earlier this weekend)

- SkullCandy (tried the Grind, Uproar, and Crusher, and they all seemed OK as well, although only one had the noise cancellation, and not a fan of the styling)

The one main concern I had was they did have a BackBeat Sense sample to try on, and it seemed a little loose, although that might just be due to the construction of that model - it seemed pretty lightweight and flimsy in general. Wasn't sure how the Pro compared.

Are the BackBeat Pro 2s pretty snug for most people?
 

LQX

Member
Dec 18, 2008
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Anyone decently knowledgeable about dacs and optical audio to help me out?

I've been brainstorming a way to streamline all my audio hardware into functionality similar to the astro mixamp which I can have multiple sources through my headphones so I was wondering if this would work.

I'll put up some cheap options for a very baseline example for what I'm thinking.
Headphones(Phillips SHP9500s) <---[3.5mm]--- DAC(Takes Optical) <---[Optical]--- Optical Audio Matrix

Now what I'm looking for is multi audio so I can for example, play and hear console games while listening to PC discord, but my PC now, unlike my old one, doesn't have an optical out anymore. So, I'm not sure what options I have to either find an adapter cable or find a different functioning dac.

Where:
Matrix Port 1 <--- ???--- PC
Matrix Port 2-3 <--- Optical <--- Consoles
The Astro should have regular headphone/MP3 out which you can just connect to the PC headphone jack and use the optical for your console no?

That's how I do it on my Turtle Beach DSS2. I have the optical connected to my TV/consoles and can use the aux to connect it to PC, phone, etc.
 
decided to go with the KEF LS50W in the end. got the Isoacoustics Aperta stands to go along with it.
(went down to the shop to audition it (also tried Q-Acoustics, NAD, LS50 Passives, Dynaudio, etc. but the wife-to-be decided that the LS50W sounded better and hoped that an AiO would not tempt me to upgrade individual component parts).

loving the sound (the bigger soundstage, better imaging and clarity and it does sound fuller too). the same song doesn't sound as nice as it did at home than at the shop but I suppose the LS50W needs some breaking-in.

trying to get my placement right... somehow the right speaker sounds louder than the left :/

(part of me wonders if I should have imported the set... since the warranty is 1-year either way but oh well)
 
Sep 30, 2016
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Massdrop Plus Universal IEMs becomes available tomorrow at 6am pacific tomorrow.

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-plus-universal-iems

It's $299 and I have that shopping urge. I heard the fit is incredible for universal iem. Is this deal as good as $199 6xx? Sucks that I have to pay tax on Massdrop items. :(

Edit: Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 is back up with another 80 left.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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decided to go with the KEF LS50W in the end. got the Isoacoustics Aperta stands to go along with it.
(went down to the shop to audition it (also tried Q-Acoustics, NAD, LS50 Passives, Dynaudio, etc. but the wife-to-be decided that the LS50W sounded better and hoped that an AiO would not tempt me to upgrade individual component parts).

loving the sound (the bigger soundstage, better imaging and clarity and it does sound fuller too). the same song doesn't sound as nice as it did at home than at the shop but I suppose the LS50W needs some breaking-in.

trying to get my placement right... somehow the right speaker sounds louder than the left :/

(part of me wonders if I should have imported the set... since the warranty is 1-year either way but oh well)
Congrats :)

BTW, those Isoacoustics Aperta kick ass. I use a pair with my Genelecs and the improvement is real, like really real :p
 
Congrats :)

BTW, those Isoacoustics Aperta kick ass. I use a pair with my Genelecs and the improvement is real, like really real :p
I really considered hard on the LS50 Passives + Schiit Vidar. but I guess the WAF comes in!

trying to get my placement right even with the Apertas :/ can't seem to get it right. hope I didn't get a lemon set
 
Mar 19, 2010
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I really considered hard on the LS50 Passives + Schiit Vidar. but I guess the WAF comes in!
Whatever makes you -and your soon to be wife- happy :D

trying to get my placement right even with the Apertas :/ can't seem to get it right. hope I didn't get a lemon set
Did you swap your speakers in order to determine if it has to do with the speakers themselves or the room or maybe the source?

Also, I guess they are under warranty, right?
 
Jan 11, 2015
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Seattle
Sorry if the wrong thread for this but what are people using today for playing their music on their PC? Is it still foobar?

I've been using physical media for ages now but with the purchase of a new DAC, I want to build up a digital archive but I'm at a loss as to which audio player to use.

Which do you prefer?
 
Nov 7, 2013
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Ohio
Sorry if the wrong thread for this but what are people using today for playing their music on their PC? Is it still foobar?

I've been using physical media for ages now but with the purchase of a new DAC, I want to build up a digital archive but I'm at a loss as to which audio player to use.

Which do you prefer?
There's a whole lot of them out there and IMO it is personal preference on what you like. Download some and use them and figure out what you like. Personally I use Clemetine, it's open source, and the best one I found with the features and look I was looking for.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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Sorry if the wrong thread for this but what are people using today for playing their music on their PC? Is it still foobar?

I've been using physical media for ages now but with the purchase of a new DAC, I want to build up a digital archive but I'm at a loss as to which audio player to use.

Which do you prefer?
MusicBee, is amazing. It looks great too.

https://www.getmusicbee.com/

Foobar is another extremely popular one but the interface looks like it was designed by an engineer, it's horrible & so boring (I'm an engineer btw).

Winamp always will live in my heart :p, but MusicBee kicks in the ass so hard that it's not a fair comparison.

So, MusicBee, yeah.
 
Mar 1, 2013
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Malaysia
If you've got the money to spare, the K10 drop is a no brainer. You'll either:

1) Fall in love with Noble's tuning and keep these forever.

This is what happened to me.

-or-

2) Sell them for a small profit. Trust me, I've bought and sold a lot of TOTL iems and K10u's move fast.
 
Sep 30, 2016
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If you've got the money to spare, the K10 drop is a no brainer. You'll either:

1) Fall in love with Noble's tuning and keep these forever.

This is what happened to me.

-or-

2) Sell them for a small profit. Trust me, I've bought and sold a lot of TOTL iems and K10u's move fast.
Eh, won't make much of a profit. Still gotta pay tax on my end. They sold out anyways, so that's good for me. Sucks that I have to wait 9 weeks more for Massdrop Plus
 
I think the more important thing to consider is whether the signature actually suits you. The K10 has a syrupy, romantic, and polite sound to it. It's a good all rounder I guess, but I wanted more edge and presence/extension at the extremes so as such, I can think of quite a few phones that I'd take over the K10 (some costing far, far, far less) just as how Sirap sold a bunch of phones before axing his K10.

Myself? I just ordered the MD Plus since I've been chasing a UERM like signature with actual sub bass extension. The UERM is one of the only phones I've personally heard that reminds me of electrostats, so to have that degree of clarity and general ease to the signature with the benefit of non anemic bass is something I've wanted for a long time. Sucks about that wait time tho.
 
You ever thought about the AAW 500 or 900? I believe the 500 is a basshead phone, 900 is more neutralish but still elevated. 900 is supposed to be one of the very best hybrids out there. Heard very good things about Forte as well, although the price for that is stupidly, insanely expensive. There's also the Tralucent Ref1 I guess. Not too many options if you're gunning for a TOTL basshead phone that I can think of.
 

Antiwhippy

the holder of the trombone
Mar 28, 2010
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Aaw 500 is definitely an option, if anything it's the only realistic option. :p

Not in any rush though. I was hoping to see if any of the other big ciem companies will have a basshead flagship in the pipelines.
 
Whatever makes you -and your soon to be wife- happy :D



Did you swap your speakers in order to determine if it has to do with the speakers themselves or the room or maybe the source?

Also, I guess they are under warranty, right?
Swap my physical speakers? haven't yet. the cables make it a whole chore and mess (tmy USB cables aren't long enough).

When using my Magni3 as a pre-out for my KEFs, the sound distorts when the song peaks (i.e. Adele's Hello).

There's no way I can use my Mimby and pre-out to both my Magni3 (for my headphones) and KEF LS50Ws at the same time right? via a splitter?
 
Mar 19, 2010
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Swap my physical speakers? haven't yet. the cables make it a whole chore and mess (tmy USB cables aren't long enough).
Yes, to swap them physically, but it looks like the one with all the connectors is always the RIGHT one.

When using my Magni3 as a pre-out for my KEFs, the sound distorts when the song peaks (i.e. Adele's Hello).
Hmmm, be sure to put the Magni 3 gain switch in the LOW position, also... maybe you'll need to play with the volume level of both Magni & the KEFs (they have a volume control right?)

There's no way I can use my Mimby and pre-out to both my Magni3 (for my headphones) and KEF LS50Ws at the same time right? via a splitter?
I think it's doable, you will be sending a lower signal to each device (Magni and KEF) which would translate into a lower volume, but besides that, I don't see a problem.
 
Yes, to swap them physically, but it looks like the one with all the connectors is always the RIGHT one.



Hmmm, be sure to put the Magni 3 gain switch in the LOW position, also... maybe you'll need to play with the volume level of both Magni & the KEFs (they have a volume control right?)



I think it's doable, you will be sending a lower signal to each device (Magni and KEF) which would translate into a lower volume, but besides that, I don't see a problem.
thanks for the help! seems like I'll be getting a Schiit SYS for that (apparently they work in reverse as well as long as I max the volume knob on the SYS).

yea I played with the volume on both the Magni3 and LS50 together... seems like the Magni3 can only be at 3pm - any higher will result in distortion. KEF volume doesn't seem to affect.
 
Jan 20, 2009
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If Massdrop had half decent lead times I would be impulse buying shit every second day. Instead I just never buy anything after looking at the ship date for 90% of their stuff.
 
Apr 3, 2007
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Any recommendations for good headphones for gaming? I would think preferably closed/sound cancelling. I liked the headphones I tried at comic con but the threads I’ve found here had people losing their minds at the idea of someone buying a gaming headset so looking for alternatives. Thanks!
 
Jun 15, 2014
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Any recommendations for good headphones for gaming? I would think preferably closed/sound cancelling. I liked the headphones I tried at comic con but the threads I've found here had people losing their minds at the idea of someone buying a gaming headset so looking for alternatives. Thanks!
Any reason why you think closed/sound cancelling is best for you? Does your environment that you game in require this?

Genuine questions, hope I'm not coming off mean. I don't intend it.
 
Apr 3, 2007
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Any reason why you think closed/sound cancelling is best for you? Does your environment that you game in require this?

Genuine questions, hope I'm not coming off mean. I don't intend it.
I have open ear X1’s that I currently use for everything but being in a city I get a lot of background noise. Plus I kind of want to have something to use on the train if possible but not mandatory. I just really liked how quiet it was playing on the comic con floor and how well I could hear the audio. I see most people recommend open though which I found surprising.
 
Nov 21, 2012
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Any recommendations for good headphones for gaming? I would think preferably closed/sound cancelling. I liked the headphones I tried at comic con but the threads I’ve found here had people losing their minds at the idea of someone buying a gaming headset so looking for alternatives. Thanks!
Typically, closed headphones will have a smaller soundstage than open backed headphones. for example, if you're playing a FPS, you'll be less accurate in detecting enemy footsteps on closed headphones. And sound canceling tech in headphones usually results in poorer quality sound, but if you've never used a good pair of headphones before you may not be able to tell.

If you're going to be playing games in a noisy environment, then closed headphones may be the best bet for you. But if you're playing games at home and are worried that the leakage from open headphones are going to bother others, it's actually not going to be that bad.

If you are fully committed to getting a headset and not a headphone/clip on mic combo, then just get a pair of HyperX Cloud II.


edit- I see your new post:

I have open ear X1’s that I currently use for everything but being in a city I get a lot of background noise. Plus I kind of want to have something to use on the train if possible but not mandatory. I just really liked how quiet it was playing on the comic con floor and how well I could hear the audio. I see most people recommend open though which I found surprising.
Most people recommend open (including me) because we want the best possible quality of sound for what we are paying for, and most of us usually play games on a PC or console at home. If you're going to be on a train or other public transportation and playing games there, then go for a pair of portable headphones and not the full size ones (unless you don't care about looking weird in public with big headphones on).

Check out Audio Technica ATH-M30, Beyerdynamic DT235, Sennheiser HD238, AKG K430, Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9A. You typically want to avoid the gaming branded stuff, sound and build quality are usually not as good as brands like AKG or Sennheiser.

If you're not playing online MP games, then get a pair of JVC HA-S400. When I lived in Japan, I took public transportation frequently and used these for music and sometimes on my Vita.
 
Apr 3, 2007
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Which headset did you try out?
Not 100% but so think it was one of the razer ones. They were all green but mine was black so not 100%. The other ones at the monster hunter world booth I can’t figure out.

Edit: Other headset seems to be an Astro one from the dial and side of it. But sure how different cans look.


Even at home it’s not as nice since I’m in a low floor in a city so I get sirens, honking, and people talking and other random city noises from time to time.
 
Most quality iem's can be converted into customs, no?
Not the SE846. There's this crazy acoustic wave guide technology to eke out more sub bass from the armature drivers in the shell. I've not heard any of the vented BA drivers before (like what's in the MD Plus) but the Shures had impressive extension for armatures. Their major shortcoming was the treble extension was really rolled off so the stage felt kind of claustrophobic cause compared to other TOTLs. The new wave of a TOTL hybrids should easily match and beat the 846 in bass w/out any compromises to treble/staging
 
Dec 8, 2008
72,323
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Miami, FL
Not the SE846. There's this crazy acoustic wave guide technology to eke out more sub bass from the armature drivers in the shell. I've not heard any of the vented BA drivers before (like what's in the MD Plus) but the Shures had impressive extension for armatures. Their major shortcoming was the treble extension was really rolled off so the stage felt kind of claustrophobic cause compared to other TOTLs. The new wave of a TOTL hybrids should easily match and beat the 846 in bass w/out any compromises to treble/staging
TOTL hybrids? What that, yo
 
Aug 21, 2011
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Read somewhere that Audeze buy chinese OEM drivers and just stick em into wood rings they make themselves, for the LCDs. Is this true?
Rather get zmf orignals instead if that's the case. Zach actually puts in the work.
 
Dec 8, 2008
72,323
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Miami, FL
Read somewhere that Audeze buy chinese OEM drivers and just stick em into wood rings they make themselves, for the LCDs. Is this true?
Rather get zmf orignals instead if that's the case. Zach actually puts in the work.
I've never heard anything like that, but who knows, really?

Only thing I know about Audeze is that they sound nice but are prone to driver failure. Or, used to be.
 
TOTL hybrids? What that, yo
IEM tech utilizes a number of different driver technologies but the most popular are balanced armature and dynamic drivers. They both come with pros and cons and limitations owing to design and bandwidth limitations. Dynamics can sound more natural due to the way that notes decay at a slower rate (this can also be a hindrance, i.e. muddy sound), but treble can be erratic and they can be subject to bass distortion, BAs on the other hand are more overtly detailed but can sound unnatural due to their quicker decay, and less tactile presentation, they're also subject to erratic treble and bandwidth limitations at the extremes.

Hybrid IEMs combine both dynamic and BA based drivers in an attempt to blend the best attributes of both technologies however this more often than not results in an unnatural sound due to the different characteristics of the drivers clashing. Some of the better hybrids are seamless in their sound blending but more often than not, the resulting sound tends to be U shaped. There's only maybe a handful (if that) of hybrid phones that offer neutralish/reference sound I think.

Oh and it should also be noted that TOTL usually pertains to phones in a certain price bracket as I've found that price rarely shares any correlation to actual performance, at least where IEMs are concerned.