Hi everyone, so I finally took a trip to a high-end headphone shop and listened to a bunch of headphones. I will write a quick summary below if anyone is interested:
Headphones I demoed:
Audeze LCD2C, X
Focal Elegia, Clear, Stellia
Hifiman Sundara, Ananda, Susvara
Fostex TH-610, 900
Campfire Audio Cascade
Final Audio Sonorous VI
Lamb of God - Blood of the Scribe, Broken Hands
Gojira - Toxic Garbage Island, Esoteric Surgery, Wolf Down the Earth
Death - Crystal Mountain, Spirit Crusher, Symbolic
Pig Destroyer - The Diplomat
Coheed and Cambria - Welcome Home
Between the Buried and Me - Mordecai
Nasum - Scoop
Sikth - Pussyfoot
The Black Dahlia Murder - What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, I’m Charming
Trivium - Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Sugar Coated Sour
Pantera - 5 Minutes Alone
August Burns Red - Marianas Trench
Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us
All That Remains - Whispers
Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
At the Gates - Blinded By Fear
Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God
Listening was done through a Simaudio Moon 430HA
Preference based purely on sound quality:
Focal Stellia > Clear > Elegia > Susvara > Cascasde > TH-900 > TH-610 > Ananda > LCD-X > LCD2C > Sonorous VI > Sundara
The Focal Elegia and Campfire Audio Cascade stand out the most for their incredible value. The difference between the Elegia and the flagship Stellia was so subtle and minuscule that I can’t imagine ever being able to justify buying the Stellia, at four times the price of the Elegia.
I have to point out that the Audeze’s were very, very disappointing for me. Not that they were bad, I can definitely see why people love them so much. But going back and forth between the LCD-X and the Clear, it was just so apparent how much clearer (no pun intended) the Clear was in comparison. Yes, the Audeze had a bit more bass, and if you prefer a smoother, more “laid-back” sound, you will prefer the Audeze. But if you want your metal to sound “ballsy”, “aggressive” and “in-your-face”, then the Focal is where it is at!
The Focal Elegia is probably what I’m going to buy. It was dynamic, punchy, forward/aggressive, superb mids, nice, non-sibilant highs etc. All of the people claiming that these sound thin or bass-light are insane! This is coming from someone who currently has a Fostex TH-600!!
The bass is definitely slightly set-back and could definitely use some more quantity overall, but it’s still very good! Please check out the Focal line if you haven’t already. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was.