So, I am looking into buying my FINAL pair of Headphones for a very very long time, this Hobby is getting too expensive when this isn’t my only Big Hobby, so I have been doing a TON of research for about a month now.
I love Open-Back Headphones the most as well, and soundstage and clarity is very important to me, I would love to find a headphone like the 58X but just better in every way. I game on them as well.
I own the Schiit Jotunheim and the SMSL SU-8 Dac.
My Current Headphones include:
HD 58X Jubilee (Love these)
Audio Technica AD1000x (Too bright for me at times)
Neumann NDH20 (Don’t really like them, sending them back)
On my list of Maybe Purchasing:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 (Leaning toward these atm)
Sennheiser HD 800 S
I listen to Pop, Rock, EDM, Electronic, and most modern day music. No classical, or orchestra music.
The music is very alive, with no crazy brightness like my AD1000x to fatigue my ears. Everything sounds very clear, and nothing is really overpowering anything else, except maybe the bass thump it has. Makes your feet start tapping sometimes.
Focal Elex, Focal Clear, HD800s especially if you get an OTL or other tube amp they shine on tubes.
Or the LCD-X!
Or if you don’t mind waiting I highly recommend giving ZMF an email and see if they have any B-stock Aeolus available they are my new top headphones…until the Verite arrives!
For reference I have HD800 (SDR mod), Clears, selling Elex, had 58x sold, and a couple of planars, I also have the Foster Purple Hearts, and Campfire Audio Cascades.
Aeolus, HD800, and Clears are my top three favorite. I’ve done reviews of the HD820, LCD-X, Cascades, and a couple others. But based on your preference to the 58x I recommend the Elex, Clears, or HD800/s. But if looking for a quality almost heirloom level and can get b-stock or willing to pay the premium my recommendation is the Aeolus with Suede universe pads along with stock universe pads.
Hope that helps, and didn’t add to much more to your plate.
Mostly because you stated you didn’t like overly bright headphones…which Beyer is notoriously bright, but I’m not you, so I recommend if you can find a demo unit at a store or meetup to give them a whirl.
Also what is the intent analytical or enjoyment? Or a mix? I went with my preference of being a mix. The Focal are more mix of enjoyment and analytical. HD 800 are more analytical but if paired with a tube amp lean toward enjoyment. The Aeolus by ZMF is just a joy while also being very detailed, plus it is a looker and honestly a showcase headphone with the handmade work and extremely well crafted overall look of it. Check out the Aeolus thread I posted some pictures there. Plus others have posted impressions. Also Z-reviews did a glowing review of it.
My problem and concern with the Aeolus, one is the wait time, two is, since I can’t demo them, if I get them and don’t like them, them i’m SOL. And I’m not sure about soundstage and all in them. Main concern is, If I buy those, I’m stuck with them, no matter what. And for $1.2k, I’m not about that. Their Return policy is strict as all get out as well, whereas on Amazon lets say, I got 30 days to fully replace or refund them no questions asked. I also have no place close to demo any headphones, so I have to go off of research, reviews, etc…
I like your style on “knowing is half the battle”. I don’t care for huge bass cans, but I do like a little bit of a thump, just not the AD1000x that have like, no bass. Soundstage, clarity, and imaging are the most important to me. Honestly, even after all the headphones I have owned, I don’t know the difference between laid back or analytical.
I liked all of the ones I mentioned out of the Jotunheim =) very capable amp. Not familiar with the SMSL SU-8 in that I haven’t heard it personally but it is on my radar as a nice balanced DAC under $300.
I think anything you choose will pair well with those two (more for power than anything else) I’m intrigued to find out what you end up with =)
Nice, hopefully you like them, I am always blown away by the soundstage and imaging on the HD800. If you don’t want to pay the premium on the HD800S new…you could always pick up a used HD800 and apply the SDR mod to it… probably save upwards of 50% the cost of a new pair of HD800s… but if you don’t like it then you would have to deal with selling them on the used market. Or look for a refurbished HD800s/or open box of one from a certified Senn dealer so you can still get the warranty/return policy.
if you dont like bass cans but you like the 58x you should consider the bass cans that are the Aeolus’s… but with suede pads… (takes a lot of the focus off of the bass having the technicalities of the headphone come through more clearly) i have both cans and the Aeolus with suede pads are like super 58x’s, i dont have much of an analytical reviewer ear but thats the impression that i’m left with anyways. the Aeolus’s are so much more alive then the 58x’s
do you feel like the Clears could be a good sidegrade for the Aeolus’s? i imagine the Clears to have somewhat better technicalities, idkwhy i just do. And what are the soundprofile like on those relative to the Aeolus’s?
I actually did a comparison post over on Head-Fi.com, and cross posted it on Forum.headphones.com ZMF thread. I’ll post the link here…if the admins don’t approve feel free to delete or let me know to edit the post to remove the links.
Also this was before the Aeolus was completely burned in, but close enough for comparison sake =)