Aeolus vs LCD2C vs Elex

Hello everyone,

2 years ago i started buying more valuable Headphones like Sennheiser HD 650, M1060C, DT1990 pro and many more it became a bit of an addiction to find a sweet spot.
In the end the last Headphones that i bought were the LCD2C, ZMF Aeolus and the Focal Elex. I use them on the SMSL SP 200 THX AAA888,
Schiit Jotunheim and JDS Labs Element.

I only want to keep 1 Headphone and sell the rest but i just cannot decide which one i should keep. I was thinking about selling the LCD2C because they are just not comfortable after a few hours but they have the best bass.
Im also torn apart between the Elex and Aeolus. I feel like the Elex sounds much more clear. I think?
But since im Treble sensitive i find myself switching to the Aeolus from time to time. Im using the Perf. Uni. Suede Pads for the Aeolus and i bought a Pilot Pad which was a godsend for comfort.

So i was wondering if there is solution to get something like the Aeolus but with more “clear;Details”, i dont know how to explain it.
I saw Videos from Zreviews and metal571 about an Headphone called Auteur which sounds a bit like that Headphone.
If anyone has experience and knows what i could do/buy i would be happy if you could help me.

Greetings Lukas B.

Welcome to hifiguides Lukas!

You’re in a familiar predicament. But it sound like you have some nice headphones for the right reasons.

I want to get some clarification, you want to get one headphone to “rule them all” and just have that one, right? not necessarily choose from the ones you have to fit that role?

also what Dac are you using? That can have an impact, ive found, especially on treble.

I think a lot of things about the Elex might contribute to this and you may not find it in many other places. The Elex doesn’t ever sound warm to me and comes across as “crisp.” Some of it might be the Aelous is smoother than the Elex I believe (correct me if I am wrong). Also could be the unique stage of the Elex which some describe as 360 degree although not very wide. To me, I personally find that it never sounds completely in my face and intimate. Rather even when the vocalist is center and forward, it isn’t in my face. Everything always sounds just right there in it’s proper place ready for you to pay attention to it. Idk if that made any sense.

(I own the Elex but not the Aelous)

Maybe a less analytical, warmer or darker chain could be all you need? Maybe the Focal Clear if you like clarity although you will have to get someone else’s input if that will be better for treble sensitivity.

Hey Grant thanks for the Answer,
yes i was hoping to get that one Headphone. I feel like i’m getting closer and closer.
My DAC’s are D50S Topping and my JDS Labs Element and Jotunheim have a built-in DAC. I chose the Basic DAC for the Jotunheim AK4490 and not the more expensive Multibit DAC.

Hey Sumeet,
yea i also thought about the Clear.
I jumped on the Elex since so many people were praising it.
DMS ans Zreviews even called it the best Headphone 2018 under 1000$ and the Aeolus the best Headphone around 1000$.
I thought could get the change i wanted if i pay a little more into a warmer Headphone.
I tried to use Analytical Headphones before like Beyerdynamic and i always felt like they were way too Harsh in the Highs.
If the Clear is more forgiving even more than the Elex i would be happy to pick it up.

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I like the recommendation for the clear. I’m actually selling a pair. One thing to know, and this is probably the same with the Elex, is they all seem to have creaky headbands. That bothers me a bit, may not bother you though. It’s not enough that it makes them a no go as I’ll still have a pair of clears in my stable. The fact that they extend deep and are punchy makes them a really nice all rounder. Their ability to render detail is something quite amazing. They also scale really well.

Another option might be to get warmer source gear. Maybe a Modius dac with that Jotunheim would really balance out a brighter headphone.

This may be blasphemy to some but Elear pads could be an option if you want less treble. The only difference between the elex and elear are the pads and with the Elear pads you will get a couple db decrease to everything above 7k but you will also get a db or two dip between 4k & 5k. You will also get an increase in bass as well by a couple db.

So i’ve read a bit about the difference between the Elex and the Clear.
Some people say the difference between them is subtle but everyone seems to agree that it yields more detail and is just well “clearer” hence the name i guess.

I also read about the ZMF Auteur which has more detail because of a different driver.

So i have 2 Headphones now that interests me:
Clear and Auteur.
Did anyone compare those two before?

Wait that means after putting the Elear Pads on the Elex i’ll get an Elear and If i would put Elex Pads on an Elear i would have an Elex?
Theres not even any difference in tuning or anything?

That would be the cheapest solution though.

Correct, when I’m off work I will post at least one link explaining that. The pads are the tuning.

The elex is nothing more than an Elear with clear pads but the Clear is completely different using a different driver.

Even with elex pads on the elear they are not the same headphones from my experience. The elex either way is more dynamic than the elear, and also imo the elex has a bit more control and a bit more capable speed and detail wise than the elear (not a massive difference though). The pads indeed do adjust the fr but there is more at play than just the frequency response imo

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I haven’t tried the LCD2C. I used to have an Aeolus, Elex, and an Auteur. I still have a Clear. If you have problems with the Elex, I don’t think the Clear will solve any issues with treble sensitivity. Though if you want detail, I felt that the Elear to pads sucked out the energy and resolution when I briefly tried it, but it indeed changed the sound. If that is what you are looking for, I’m not going to get in the way, but it was hard for me to enjoy with those pads.

Going the other direction, I really liked the Auteur, it provided the detail that was still competitive to the Clear (not quite as resolving) but still had that natural and warm ZMF sound, plus they take to pad changes extremely well to fine tune your experience. The Auteur had a little elevated bass without the treble roll off the Aeolus had.

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People say that occasionally but the guy who owns the company has gone on record multiple times saying the difference as well as others. They even measure the same with each other’s pads. No offense but I believe the owner and facts over people’s “feeling” of a difference especially when they don’t have both in front of them. Edit: I have heard them both as well and end even with their own pads the difference was minimal with one being clearer up top and one being bigger down low from what I remember hearing.


At 49 seconds it starts but it is recommended to watch the entire thing. There are also countless other videos and measurements of each all over easily found with Google. The only difference is color and pads. That’s it.

M0N is by far the member that has a bigger audio knowledge in this forum. And an audio gear collection the rest of us only can dream. Don’t let the fact that he uses “IMO” confuse you.

I would expect this, the pad affects the fr a decent amount. But there is more than frequency response to a headphone

I heard both side by side when doing this testing. Wasn’t anything super scientific though. I agree it wasn’t a massive difference with elex pads on the elear, but just from what I heard I don’t think they are the same headphone. They share many similarities but I think there are differences that do set them apart regardless of pad

Regardless, it doesn’t sound like another focal is what @Lukas00 is looking for from what has been said so far imo

It’s just my opinion, nothing more nothing less. It’s just my experience, that’s about it. Please don’t take anything I say as more than just a single individuals opinion

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Hey M0N thanks for helping out,
the Auteur is getting more and more interesting. I should have checked more Headphones from ZMF before buying the Aeolus in Impulse.
Well i said the thing about my last 3 Headphones but im getting closer :smiley:

The auteur is pretty nice. I would also look at the eikon if you wanted something a bit more fun tuned than the more neutral auteur, both are great.

The eikon is the closed Version right? I liked semi-open/Open Headphones a lot so far. Something inbetween my Headphones would be great.
Metal571 even said he needs the Aeolus mid and Treble and auteurs Bass but i dont think im as sensitive as he is.

Maybe the Auteur is the chosen one.
Maybe it’s finally the Endgame i was thinking i had 5 Headphones ago ;D