Headphone upgrade from HE4XX or HD58X?

Hello all. I have enjoying my setup for a while now:
Amp: Atom
DAC: D10
Cans: 58x, 4XX

I am getting the itch to spend more money on some new headphones since the ones I have are considered “budget”, and i want something a little more expensive. I was looking at the Sundaras and the LCD -1, and i thought i would ask here. I like the sound of the 4xx the most, so that is what i will base my sound on. Does anyone have any recommendations? My budget is around 400 i think. Let me know yall

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Your budget is a little too low for a solid upgrade. I’d have recommended Koss ESP/95X or Focal Elex but they are above your budget.

Sundara is a good choice but personally, it’s more of a side-grade with more refined sound, better mids arguably, and less bass impact.

Honestly, 58X is so good that maybe ZMF gives you a sense of true upgrade imo.

For that budget I think the most direct upgrade to the 4xx would be the sundaras.

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If closed back were of interest, you can get the Elegia (discontinued) from Adorama for $399 right now if you’re in the US as they clear out inventory. Otherwise, I’d say Sundara or LCD-1 are pretty good options. Sundara is more of a direct upgrade with a slightly different signature to the 4xx, but is the only one mentioned (including 58x and 4xx) I haven’t owned. The LCD-1 is nice for it’s compact size and portability, and while retaining some of the Audeze house sound, is more on the neutral end of Audeze’s spectrum. Bass is present but neutral, mids slightly pulled back, and highs are back to neutral and pretty crisp. Elegia is pretty linear and transparent with just a touch of mid forwardness, and is probably the most dynamic of the three and probably my favorite.

hmm the koss are on sale for 450 right now, but i’ll need to watch some reviews first because i have no idea what an electrostatic is. I have always wanted a focal elex but idk if i can pull the trigger yet.

And what is ZMF? is that a specific headphone or a brand

I dont have any closed backs right now so im not opposed to looking at them. I’ll take a look

do you have anything slightly outside of the budget?

Hard to say maybe the focal elex? The sundaras already hit beyond their price point

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oof okay i guess i gotta make a decision then lol. thanks

You may be able to find something like a Hifiman Edition XX for a little above your range. That’s generally going to be a bit warmer leaning with a larger presentation than the Sundara (based on feedback from others here, as I haven’t heard them). You could also likely find a Dan Clark Aeon RT (Open or Closed) or Aeon Open X. New, they run $499. They’re good, but are a little compressed in dynamic range. Audioquest Nighthawks (only available used pretty much) would be another good option in your range if you can find some.

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ZMF is the brand, that they would be easily double your budget, even used.

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Just curious, what makes ya say that ZMF would give a sense of a true upgrade? As someone who likes the 4xx, what would you recommend as a step-up from their lineup? Or, because it’s the 4xx, you’d have a different set of cans in mind?

Electrostatic headphones compress the sound so you get more details, but the intensity of the sound is less. I don’t know if you could hear the intensity difference between HD58X and HE4XX but to my ears, HD58X/HD660s have better dynamic range than a lot of headphones. People rarely talk about it though.
Also, you can’t use electrostatic headphones without the energizer. Koss’ headphone port is different from Stax so you’d need an adapter if you want to buy another energizer.
And there’s timbre issue with electrostatic headphones which some people believe they sound artificial, but some people (like Zeos) like that a lot.
Koss is more of a different experience than a direct upgrade.

Elex however, is a dynamic headphones with even better dynamic range than HD58X, and you don’t have to be worried about the energizer.
The QC is a big problem with Elex, though. You can check 1 star reviews to see almost all of them are about failed unit.

ZMF is a brand. ZMF Aeolus is about $1200 and Auteur is $1600. That’s why I said HD58X is so good.

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For example, Auetuer. The bass response is so flat that gives the sense of Planar bass. The timbre is natural and it’s not compressed (unlike electrostatic) but you get all the details. Details of the whole frequency range and not something you’d get with overly sharp headphones like HD800 or I dare say, many Beyerdynamic headphones.
And the impact of dynamic headphones are there, too.
It’s like the best of planar, electrostatic and dynamic headphones are combined together.
I don’t own them but have heard them several times. They’re expensive, yes. But to me, they’re a steal compared to HD800s which costs almost the same.

Zeos can shill them a lot better than me lol.

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Ah okay, so i guess its either a Sundara or an Elex then lol

A lot of people have had just that dilemma lol.

Hi Hamed,

I own 58X and I agree that it is very dynamic, fun and intense. I also own 6XX which is much less dynamic but easier on the ears. I am curious how you found ZMF Aeolus in terms of “dynamics” ? Does it slam like 58X or it is more flat like 6XX ? Thanks.