Hello, after experimenting with audio for the past 2 years I’ve learned I like really fucking wide soundstage for whatever reason. A lot of the headphones I’ve been looking at for under 1500$ either are lacking in soundstage or have super wide soundstage and a slew of other problems. I already have a decent amp and dac so that’s not a problem. Any recommendations for 1500$ more or less?
Hi! Welcome to HFGF!
What does decent amp and dac mean?
I’d say HiFiMan Arya or used HE1000, but they are a bit amp picky.
well for now I’m using a magni 3 but my magnius should be arriving in a week or so. I forgot exactly what my dac is but it’s some dac from topping. I can check what it was exactly when I get back home but iirc the reviews for the arya have been a bit mixed. I know Joshua Valour really loves them but Zeos said they weren’t worth the price and I think dms said in one video they were a b tier headphone.
Gotcha. The Magni(us) is not an ideal match for one of the big HiFiMans. What headphones are you using right now and is there anything beyond soundstage that you like/dislike or are looking for?
With my experience with the HE1000, I feel that it scales like crazy. I can see how using an entry level amp and DAC will seriously limit its performance.
I was using a DAC and amp that was worth thousands each and still felt like there was room to keep on going. I think it is a serious investment to have the HE1000 running at its potential.
Well if that’s the case I could honestly just return the magnius and get a different amp if the hifimans are what I’m looking for. Wide soundstage and a decently accurate imaging are the big musts for me. besides that I’m not really sure. Maybe something more on the bright side but sometimes the treble becomes annoying to listen to for me if it’s too bright. Honestly I’m just trying to see what my options are for headphones with really wide soundstage and go from there.
I probably wouldn’t go for the high end Hifiman unless you plan on extending your budget higher than $1500. As mentioned, HEK will still sound good, but will live up to its potential with an equal value amp and DAC. The Arya sounds like it will be too bright for you.
You may want to try Nighthawks which are much more forgiving or HD800s with a better amp.
The 1500$ budget is only for my endgame headphones. I’m willing to spend good money on an amp and dac in the future. With that said are high end hifimans my best bet for really wide soundstage at this price point?
You have to be a bit careful targeting a single aspect of a headphone, HD800 throws a really wide sound stage, BUT it’s not the easiest headphone for most to live with.
And there is more to stage than just width, I personally don’t mind narrow stages if the headphones separate well.
Again I’m just trying to see what options I have for wide soundstage then I’ll go from there
I’m going to tell you how to get exactly what you want, and then some, and still come in under your budget. Here’s what you need to do. Buy a used Audeze LCD 3. You can find several on Head-Fi for around $1100.00 - $1200.00. Then order the new Audeze earpads that cost $80. I recommend the vegan/protein leather over the real leather for tonal/frequency response reasons. Swap out the old pads for the new. There is a video on the Audeze website that literally shows you how to do it. It will even show you how to install the new spacers as well (which are included with the pads). The new pads dramatically improve the frequency response of all their headphones but especially so with the LCD 3. And I’ve always felt that the 3 has the widest soundstage of the line.
What will you end up with? An amazing sounding headphone that doesn’t even require EQ that will also sound detailed, without sibilant treble (which the older pads create around 10K), have bass thump and presence, and a soundstage that is capable of being very wide. And just so you know, I own a Verite and have owned the 800S twice. So I know what a wide soundstage sounds like.
Listen to me, seriously, do this and you will have the best value on the market for the sound that you get. The only caveat is that you need a decent amp to power them properly. They are planar and they have an impedance of 110 ohms. So don’t try to run them with a Fiio or Dragonfly bull crap. And you get all of that for less than $1400.
@cabbagesoup following up on Polygon’s point is that good separation can create the illusion of more space too. But, to achieve that you’re gonna need something more than the Magnius. The Magnius is based on similar tech to THX and Topping amps designs that really flatten and at times blend the spatial presentation.