Best soundstage other than Sennheiser HD 800s

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hawthorne403, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. hawthorne403

    hawthorne403 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm in the market for audiophile quality headphones .
    Which headphones offer the deepest and widest soundstage, next to the Hd 800s.
    I've read great reviews on HIfiMan Sundara, Focal Clear, and Mr. Speaker Aeon Flow, but i'm
    willing to consider any other headphone maker.

    The reason I ask is that I like the soundstage of the HD800s, but not the tonal quality.
    Please. advise.
  2. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Sao Paulo/Brasil
    I have STAX SR-007A + driver unit SRM 007 TA and I really like it!
    Try to listen, you may like it!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2018
  3. hawthorne403

    hawthorne403 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    thanks I will check these out.
  4. I feel the same about the HD800.

    What amp do you have or plan to use? Amp choice will make a difference for which headphones are suitable. Amp choice will also play a role in how deep and wide the soundstage will be with a particular headphone. As an example, the Audeze headphones are typically described as having a somewhat flat and narrow soundstage, but with the right amp they can do a reasonably deep and wide soundstage. Not as deep and wide and open as the HD800, but deep enough and wide enough to make me happy. But it takes the right amp.
  5. I'd second the Stax - try the old Lambda Nova Signature (my favourite of the Lambda series), or the in production L300, L500 or L700 or even the SR-009s with the valve energizer. The SR-007 is a bit too inefficient for the SRM-007 amp - it, like the fabulous Stax Sigma Pro (my all time favourite Stax), needs a higher powered amp, such as the Blue Hawaii or Mjolnir Audio models to do it full justice, when it becomes a final choice for headphones - Sennheiser $50000 electrostatic model be damned.
    Also, maybe have a listen to the newer Sennheiser HD800s model - it is supposed to be a less bright version of the HD800. Maybe try the HD820 set for a closed phone?
    Nascimento Brasil likes this.
  6. PJC68

    PJC68 Forum Resident

    Liverpool UK
    Stax all the way
    I bought a pair of vintage SR5N with matching energiser and bought a new pair of earpads from audiocubes in japan, they sound better than my akg k240 sextetts and even better than the k240 DF i used to have
    Everything sounds unforced and detailed, you can listen to them for hours, the newer ones are supposed to sound brighter than the originals
    They show things up so you need good equipment, They are not ideal for bassheads because they dont exhagerate the bass
    Dont forget to play music through them for 5 minutes to charge them up before listening
    Ken rockwell does good reviews on them and sent his 800,s back after listening to stax
  7. Nascimento Brasil

    Nascimento Brasil Forum Resident

    Sao Paulo/Brasil
  8. muckyfingers

    muckyfingers Well-Known Member

    I have the Aeon Flow Open headphones and love the tonality of them, a warm smooth sound. The soundstage is nothing like the HD800. While the Aeons do have some depth, they are not wide at all. More of an intimate room feel.
  9. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident

    United States
    I'm not a headphone guy, but I did recently audition a pair of Audeze LCD-3 cans, which I thought were silky smooth and rich. I liked them a lot more than the Senns, which were somewhat pinched in the midrange. That seems to be the typical "Senn" sound other than the 650s.
  10. The Stax sound is very nice. Very good. But you have to accept that the sound is going to be more angelic and ethereal than energetic and impactful. Very suitable for classical, choral, jazz, and similar music. Less suitable for electronic dance music, doom metal, metal, and rock and roll.

    If you find the HD800 to be bright the SR-009 is also going to be bright. I find both the HD800 and SR-009 to be too bright for my preference. Both are like face tweeters. I also find the SR-007 to be too laid back in the treble and midrange. My ideal Stax headphone would be somewhere between the SR-009 tonality and SR-009 tonality. Soundstage depth depends a lot on the amp. The Stax headphones can have nice depth, but the amp has to have the right style of sound to make that soundstage depth happen. Just because a Stax amp is expensive doesn't mean it will have good depth. I've heard the Blue Hawaii at meets with both the SR-007 and SR-009. I don't consider the Blue Hawaii to have good depth. It is actually rather flat considering its price and reputation and use of tubes. I've heard Stax compatible amps that have more depth than the Blue Hawaii. If you're after soundstage depth and width with Stax headphones choose the amp carefully. Because mistakes in choosing the wrong amp will be expensive.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  11. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Have you listened to any of the vintage Sennheisers? Just curious, ie: HD-414-SL, or HD-420-SL, how do these compare to HD-650?
  12. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Sprucegrove Canada
    Sennheiser 600. Actually I prefer them to the 800's.
  13. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Hifiman 1000V2
  14. PJC68

    PJC68 Forum Resident

    Liverpool UK
    Beyer DT880 (600 ohm) are supposed to be excellent headphones as well, but you need an amp with enough voltage swing to drive them
    cjc likes this.
  15. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    Well....I believe the Denon AH-D7200 are some excellent cans with a very nice sounds stage.
  16. adamaley

    adamaley Well-Known Member

    I will recommend Hifiman HE-1000s v.2s which can be had used for ~$1500. General consensus is that they have as wide of a soundstage as the HD-800s. I used the version 1s on a DNA Stratus SET amp for years and loved the sound. The HD-800s may give the illusion of having a wider soundstage simply because they are more ethereal and images are not as solid. Be aware that the build quality of the Hifmans leave a lot to be desired, which is the reason I eventually sold my pair, however, the sound is immense.
  17. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Beyerdynamic T1 maybe?
  18. hawthorne403

    hawthorne403 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    i currently own the Senns HD455, which sound just ok. I play them through my iMac. I'm new to the headphone set-up.
    What I can expect to hear with much better phones, just asking. Nirvana, or just an upgrade?
    I do prefer a warm sound, as I'm used to a a tube preamp.
    I listen mostly to sixties and seventies recordings, which can be a bit bright.
    I need a phone which will make these sound their best.
  19. Fregly

    Fregly Well-Known Member

    Available super cheap used as well. Wonderful phones I enjoyed for years.
    tmsorosk likes this.
  20. fuse999

    fuse999 Forum Resident

  21. Bern

    Bern JC4Me

    I have the HD800 and use Sonarworks (I have ref 3...they are on 4.1 now) correct it to my liking. Sonarworks offers a free trial period. I owned the HD600, but it didn't have much sub-bass and did not respond well to EQ in that area. (To my liking that is). The HD800 handles EQ well. My 2 cents.


    edit...I will agree that without EQ...I would prefer the HD600 over the 800.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  22. cmndrums

    cmndrums Forum Resident

    The new semi open back dynamic headphones, ZMF Autuer.
  23. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Sprucegrove Canada
    I enjoyed mine for many years too, then I gave them to a SHF member.
  24. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 with an SPL Phonitor sounds nearly as nice as the Stax Lambda Nova Signature through an SRM Monitor (diffuse field equalization on). Got the Stax and Phonitor amps as absolute bargains. Neither phones were as good as the Stax Sigma Pro, but the Sigma Pros go for $2000 used (unbelievable for an over 40 year old headphone).
  25. hawthorne403

    hawthorne403 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    if you want your music to sound liquid, do you have to use tubes?, in the Head amp?
    I currently have a class A amp that I own, and want to duplicate the sound as much as possible.

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