Hi guys. I’m tumbling down a well and I need your help to grab on to the sides. After trawling forums like this one, and watching approximately 10000 hours of reviews, comparisons and opinions, I decided that my (hopefully) endgame headphones would be the LCD X. I put in an order and waited (not especially patiently) for the store to get them in stock for me. In the meantime I decided to visit the place to take advantage of their headphone listening area to try out some other cans and gaze at some of the incredible equipment in there.
The first set of headphones that the guy happened to mention was the Arya. I asked him if I could demo them, and tried them alongside the LCD 3 and the HEDDphone. I fell in love a little bit - they have the detail and resolution of my DT1990s but without the scrunching-up-foil sharpness and brightness, and there’s an airy scale and verticality to their soundstage that makes them feel open and unimpeded. I bought them right then and there, despite having the LCD X on the way (which are also now sitting in front of me).
In the store, I demoed everything on a Benchmark DAC3 HGC, this one here: https://www.hifonix.co.uk/detail/benchmark-dac3-hgc-dac-with-headphone-amp?color=black
Getting the Arya home, I found that the sound was very similar to in-store, but not quite the same. The soundstage is a little smaller, but primarily, bass doesn’t hit with quite the same impact and SLAM that it did when I tried them on the Benchmark. I currently have a THX AAA 789 paired with a Modius, having upgraded from a Magni/Modi stack. I’m now reading all the things that people say about the 789 being analytical and dry to a fault, and I can hear it now - I love how detailed and precise everything sounds, but there’s a warmth and a fullness to the low-end that’s missing.
Now, I don’t particularly want to go out and spend 2500 big ones on a Benchmark DAC3, but nor do I want to stick with the 789 if I could do these headphones more justice by improving my source equipment. Where do I go from here as far as upgrading my AMP? The Topping A90/D90 stack is appealing, but I haven’t read enough to convince me that I won’t just be swapping one clean and clinical setup for another. I want a balanced set up that has power, precision, detail, but also that full, sweet warmth to the low-end. The Rebel Amp came to mind, but it doesn’t seem like that would have enough power to drive the Arya - they take medium gain at 12 o’clock on the THX. I’ve also thought about the RME ADI-2, but again, I don’t know if that’s not just another measurement king that’ll produce a clinical sound.
I’m open to ideas. I’ve got the Arya, LCD-X, DT1990, E-mu Teak, and the 58X Jubilee. Balanced cables from Periapt are on the way for the first two.
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks guys.