Best Headphone under 1k$?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by thomaskong, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    [​IMG]

    I had enjoyed using SoundMAGIC E11C while out of town for 3 weeks on May.

    [​IMG]

    But I also got HIFIMAN SUNDARA from Amazon 10 days ago to compare it with SoundMAGIC E11C .

    Although I will keep SoundMAGIC E11C for travel, I enjoy the sound from HIFIMAN SUNDARA much better.

    It sound open and balanced.

    I use Chord Dave to drive it.



    Now my question is whether there is any headphone under 1k$ which will sound significantly better than HIFIMAN SUNDARA.

    I wish to get transparent and open sound out of it with just enough tight bass.

    Of course, if it provides wide and deep soundstage, it will be better.

    I do not wish to get bright sound.



    Can anyone recommend best headphone under 1K$?

    thanks in advance

    Thomas
     
  2. Clay B

    Clay B Forum Resident

    Slow Sunday?
     
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  3. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Yes it is slow.

    People want to get relaxed on Sunday evening
     
  4. cjc

    cjc Forum Resident

    I like my Audeze LCD-2F. Can't see spending any more than this for headphones.
     
  5. JoshM

    JoshM Forum Resident

    Focal Clears can usually be had for less than $1k during sales.
     
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  6. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I consider Audeze LCD 2 classic.

    Could you explain the difference between them?

    thanks in advance
     
  7. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I heard that Focal Utopia is a very excellent one.

    Focal Clear is one of candidate to audition.
     
  8. Mmmark

    Mmmark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    If you're going to limit your budget to that extent, might as well go with Beats...
     
  9. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    :crazy:
     
  10. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Will Beats sound better than HIFIMAN SUNDARA ?
     
  11. Maybe have a look at Audioquest's Nighthawk or Nightowl run outs.
     
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  12. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
  13. Compared to a Stax Lambda Nova Signature out of a Stax Monitor, the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 out of an SPL Phonitor has the bass down a little and the treble up a little, but still a nice sounding headphone. Note it is 600 ohm impedance, so you aren't going to be playing it from an iPhone - it's best from a dedicated headphone amp. Personally, I love it and both the phones above reside at Casa Buchanan. At that price, an absolute steal.
     
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  14. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Will that work with Chord Dave?
     
  15. I'm guessing it would sound wonderful.
     
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  16. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks John for your kind input.

    I am tempted to audition this one.
     
  17. No dramas.
     
  18. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
  19. All good. We all hear things differently.
     
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  20. The question you should be asking is what are the best $1K-ish headphones to use with Dave, rather than asking what are the best $1K-ish headphones in general.

    Some headphone amps pair better with low or medium impedance headphones. Other amps pair better with high impedance headphones. Most people with a Dave seem to go for low or medium impedance headphones (less than 100 ohms) rather than higher impedance headphones. Sennheiser HD800 are a highish impedance headphones (300 ohms with a bump up to almost 700 ohms). The Beyerdynamic T1 is a very high impedance headphone (600 ohms with a bump up to almost 1400 ohms). I don't know if Dave is really optimized to drive a headphone like the T1.

    Most people with Dave seem to migrate to headphones like Focal Utopia (80 ohms) or Audeze LCD-4z (15 ohms) and some similar quality sub-100 ohm headphones. I'd take that as a hint as to what headphones are more suited for Dave. Save the high impedance headphones for amps really designed for high impedance headphones.

    The Focal Utopia and Clear are very nice. And good for classical music, which you seem to like. Utopia is crazy expensive at MSRP. However, used they have less sting. Still not going to be in the $1K range though. The Clear are less expensive and can be found on sale for something more comfortably close to $1K. The big difference is that Utopia is more resolving than Clear. If you've got a very resolving DAC like Dave there is a good argument to go for the Utopia over the Clear.

    I'm a big fan of the Audeze LCD series headphones. The planar soundfield and flat impedance combined with their planar sound combines to make them very appealing for what I'm after in headphone sound. It all combines to have a sense of imaging and 3D (when used with a very good amp), the ability to hear the size and sound of the recording room, the ability to do a "you are there" style of sound. All of that is what I'm personally after. I love them for what they do. But I also know they have some sonic quirks. There is no free lunch.

    One challenge with the LCD-2 and LCD-3 is that they are power hungry. My rule of thumb is that an amp should do 2W at 60-70 ohms to have enough headroom for those headphones (it's not a hard rule, tube amps can get away with less, and good special sounding SS can also get away with less). Dave is "only" 1.4 W at 32 ohms. I don't know if Dave would have the headroom I like to have in an amp for the LCD-2. But again, my 2W rule is not a strict hard rule. The LCD-4z is 15 ohms and has reportedly done well with Dave (but it's also a $4K headphone). The LCD-4 is a 200 ohm headphone. I would want to have around 500 mW or more at 200 ohms for the LCD-4. Dave "only" does 154 mW at 300 ohms. Not going to have the power necessary for the 200 ohm LCD-4.

    I really like planar dynamics, but I've also not really been impressed with HiFiMan. I've tried several of their older headphones. And I own a HE560. None of them have done the style of imaging depth and sonic holography and "you are there" sound that I'm after. I've come to the conclusion that the HiFiMan house sound and the sound they are after is not the same planar dynamic sound that I'm after. So I've largely ignored HiFiMan planars. I have tried the Ananda ($1K), HE1000 V2 ($3K), and Susvara ($6K) and my opinion of the HiFiMan sound hasn't changed. I'm much more in the Audeze house sound camp than the HiFiMan house sound camp.
     
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  21. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    Focal Utopia is $4000 retail. The DAVE is $13000. The Clear seems a good alternative about $1500.
     
  22. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks a lot for your kind input.

    Actually I like the Sundara very much.

    But before the deadline of Amazon return, I wish to explore the possibility of significantly better sound under 1k$.

    It seems that Audeze LCD2 Classic sounds more dynamic.

    After trying HIfiman 800 silver, I will also consider auditioning Audeze LCD2 Classic.


    HiFiMAN Sundara Around-Ear Open Planar Magnetic Headphones Page 2

    In the real world, the Sundara's natural competitors are the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open and the Audeze LCD2 Classic, both of which are $300 more expensive. Well, the Sundara surely holds its own in this company. While the LCD2C has quite a bit more dynamic punch and better tonality through the presence region giving voices more heft, it's also got some missing energy 4-8kHz and can sound somewhat muted or dull as a result. By contrast the Sundara sounds light and soft with it's cool tilt, but also more more balanced and even overall, giving me a better impression of the music as a whole. The MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open is clearly the more colored headphone with its overly warm upper bass/low midrange emphasis, but it's also smooth as butter with a lovely, musical, smooth treble response.
    Read more at HiFiMAN Sundara Around-Ear Open Planar Magnetic Headphones Page 2
     
  23. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I heard good things about Focal Clear but this time I try to limit my budget to 1K$.

    After getting more experience of a year or two, I may go for top headphone above 2K$.

    I have 41 years of high end audio history but newbie to high end headphone.

    Thus I need time before getting to know what I want with headphone.
     
  24. ti-triodes

    ti-triodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    I’m a ZMF guy. For a very different take on a planar headphone, the Ori is a great choice. They also have the best customer service in the business.
     
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  25. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    It looks interesting.

    But with lead time of 6-8 weeks, I can not consider it since I have only 15 days to decide whether I will keep Sundara or return it to Amazon.
     
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