Headphone Upgrade Advice

Hi, first time posting here so forgive me if break any rules.I’m looking to upgrade from my Sennheiser HD598. I have been using these headphones for 3 years and now is the right time for me to invest in something in another price range. As I am only a light hobbyist, I don’t really have much experience in other brands other than Sennheiser so I would like to listen to some oppinions of people that are more experienced. Unfortunately there are no stores near me that have sells high-end headphones so I cant try these headphones myself.

I’m currently using the FiiO E10K as my DAC/AMP along with my HD598. I mainly use them to listen to music like (Hip-hop, R&B, Pop, Singing vocals, Electronic) and for Gaming.

I was leaning more towards the Drop THX AAA 789 Amp or the Drop Liquid Carbon X + SDAC as my potential upgrade but I would like to hear oppinions and suggestions of other combinations of Amps and Dacs as well.

For the Headphones, after looking at some reviews, the HD800s / ATH-ADX5000 / Focal Elex caught my eyes so i would like to hear some oppinions on them as a potential upgrade but am open to suggestions and reccomendations as well. However i do not like closed back headphones and would prefer something that is comfortable with glasses. My Budget is around $2000

Cheers and Thanks in Advance

Hmm, well I think you would be better off getting something like a smsl sp200 and a smsl su-8v2 for your dac so you can have a really good dac and amp and more budget for the headphones. This will give you excellent performance for the dollar and plenty of features.

What type of sound signature do you prefer? What do you like with sound and what do you dislike? And how much does comfort and build matter?

Also with headphones like that it would be a pretty big step up, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a great idea right away (but it depends on how you feel in the end). You might want to experiment a bit in the 500 dollar range with a few different headphones to see what you really like so that bigger headphone purchase will be more to your tastes.

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for hip hop , r and b, pop . electronic I would personally stay away from the 800s , the air series or anything Bright and neutral. and would look for something more warm has more body to the sound like a aiva , anight hawk , or a LCD2C

Well, I would think that would depend on what you prefer tbh. I feel that some people do enjoy a more airy sound even with stuff like electronic/rap/r&b

yep not gonna fault them for that and if OP is into that great lots of great options but I also feel it would be amistale to spend all of 2 grand right now and not at least expirement a bit and explore different house sounds and such


I agree, I think it will be more fun hobby wise in the long run and help them better figure out what they really want when they step into that range. You just don’t understand and appreciate the sound as much if you just take the jump off the bat with no experience

Thanks for the advice Rice and M0N, yeah you’re right I probably should be experimenting more first before going into that price range. I don’t really know how to describe sounds but i will read more into it. I do know that i like the improvements that I got when i upgraded from the Sennheiser HD439 to the HD598. The Dac and Amps suggested looks great, will check them out. In that case, how is the Focal Elex? Is it a suitable upgrade? Thanks again.

I think the focal elex is a very suitable headphone imo. I think it really doesn’t do anything wrong in my mind and has actually decent price to performance (which is surprising for this price range lol). Overall I think its a really great headphone that is very agreeable for the most part. It does not immediately wow you, but after some use you can really appreciate it. It will be a vary large step from your current headphone for sure. That being said, you would still be taking a pretty high step up relatively blind

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I see. In your oppinion, what would be a nice upgrade that isn’t too high? Preferable sounding different from the sennheisers to experience different sound signature.

Not sure about electronic but the airy sound is AMAZING for R&B and hip hop in particular

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Hmmm, I think something to try might actually be to pick up a pair of he4xx or he400i and a pair of dt880 600 ohm. These will help you really figure out what you enjoy and what you don’t. You could pick up a 4xx for 130 right now and a dt880 600 ohm for about 190 usd. You could get these too and see how you feel. If you bought a pair of 400i from amazon and the 880 from amazon, you could return the one you don’t like as much. These would be an upgrade in sound quality and help you really dial in what you like and what you don’t.

You would want to get an amp and dac though, so you could pick up the sp200 and su8 at the same time if you still had plans to jump to higher end pairs later on, although these would be overkill for just the 4xx or 880 alone.

Get the sp200 and the su8 and the Elex. The Elex is awesome. Blew my mind. cant go wrong.

Maybe im wrong but Elex is perfect to start off with. balanced, detailed awesome. The 4xx is muffled i heard. and if your coming from the Sennhieser 598 and you got a 2000$ budget i would think youre ready for it

the su8 is on sale right now, but it may take a while to get it since its Drop:

the Sp200 is in sale at amazon for 260$

Sometimes the Elex goes on sale for 600$ might want to want for monday

But idk, you got 2000$ im of the school that says get the most you can, less worries later. If you spend 260$ on a amp and 170 on a dac that leaves 1500$ of your budget. you could get something better than the Elex.

You could get a:
Audeze LCD-X: $1200
ZMF Eikon: $1400
ZMF Atticus: $1100
ZMF Aeolus: $1200
ZMF Auteur: $1600
Fostex 900 Sapphire: $1500
Klipsch HP3: $1200
HD 800 S: $1600
Focal Clear $1200

Do you like Treble? do you like Bass? Midrange? Wide or Close Soundstage? Warm or Cold headphone? Exciting headphone or more Relaxed?

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Woah…:star_struck: those are good looking do you own a pair how do they sound?

I just ordered them. you should see the limited ed. they look amazing:

imagine thos with a brass grill. you can choose the grill you want

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wow the LTD is even better looking :star_struck::heart_eyes: Thats going on the list of things I can’t afford but want lol