HifiMan Ananda, Audeze LCD-2C or Focal Elex/Clear?

Well… The SendyAudio Aiva is waiting for me for Christmas, but the 2 runner ups are still haunting me and I know, that when I get my bonus for 2019 I will buy the Ananda or the LCD-2C.

…that is I am also kind of keen on the Focal Elex and the Clear as well. So still being new to this hobby, I am curious to hear YOUR recommendations re wich is the best. I know these 4 headphones are not the same, but they are in the price range I prefer and the quality I prefer.

I mainly listen to pop/rock and electronic music, but also a lot of soundtracks. I don’t have a specific sound I prefer, but I like high detail. Getting more of what I already have doesn’t make sense, because then why do it… So I am looking for something different.

My current setup is:
Beyerdynamic T5P 2nd Gen.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Sendy Audio Aiva
Monolith by Monoprice THX Dac/Amp
Xduoo TA-10 tube Dac/Amp

And then I am also aiming at a dac/amp combo with eihter SMSL, Schiit or Rupert Neve in the near future.

I my mind, I have this ranking currently (I haven’t heard any of them):

1 - Audeze LCD-2C
The Bass, the comfort and the many positive reviews makes me see theese as the #1. They are from Audeze and the reputation the company got made me think, that it can’t be a bad choice. I can get them from a reknowned online retailer, so if anything is wrong I can easily get it fixed.
My price will be $1000

2 - Focal Elex
At this price and the reviews, especially from users, they sound like a no-brainer buy. High build quality and looks and with a sound way above other headphones in this price range. But, they are sold by Drop, so I will get a hefty tax and delivery cost on top of the $700. (And if something is broken, then it’s a “Houston we have a problem” kind of situation)
My price will be $950 (estimate)

3 - HifiMan Ananda
I like the shape of the cups as I do have a large head and ears. So this would fit me better than most other round headphones. I only hear positive things re HifiMan re sound, but mostly the opposite re build quality, which so far has steered me away from these. But they are currently available at a very low price for a new set, so I am really interested.
My price will be $900

4 - Focal Clear
My first headphone love and I would really like to have these, but I think they are too close to the Elex to justify the extra cost.
My price will be $1300

I will be a happy owner of either of the 4,but which would you recomend regarding both sound quality, build quality and price?


I think if you want a warm and relaxed sound that’s a bit darker but with great deep bass, the LCD 2 classic is for you

If you want a more large sound with great layering with interesting presentation, but a bit brighter signature, the ananda is for you

If you want a fun yet overall balanced/neutral sound that’s overall very refined, the elex is for you

And the clear is an upgrade from the elex but a bit more neutral but at the same time needs a better quality amp than the elex does

Just summing it up


Ananda is a great headphone, but bit bright in my opinion. Though source has some impact too - i have found my experience with the Anada greatly improved with the audio-gd r2r 11 dac/amp. Gotta love some R2R magic.

And if you are quick and live in the EU then check out the https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-koss-esp-95x-electrostatic-system-eu as well. Currently on sale for a ridiculous price.

Mon, this was your summation of the Ananda?

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Ah, thanks I didn’t notice I forgot to say ananda lol

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I’m not trying to be a nit picker. :smile: I’m genuinely interested in your take on them.

I really like them, but at that price you might be able to find an HEX v2 so I would personally go for that

I honestly don’t know if I would call the bass on the LCD 2C that great, honestly. I had the LCD2C for a while as my primary headphone, and comparing them to both the NDH 20s, and Clears, it’s unrefined and a bit bloaty in comparison.
The NDH20s even emphasize the bass more, but manage to stay leaner and tighter overall.
IMO, If I had to define “Great, deep bass” out of these options, the Clears/Elex win in that regard. They extend deep and sound refined.
LCD2C is definitely the darker more relaxed sound signature, though. Vocals still sound great on the LCD2C.


I will agree that the bass isn’t as controlled compared to the clears, but the fun and the layering on the 2 classic makes the bass great to me. It’s more of a chill out and enjoy bass that you don’t get on the clears or the ndh20. It’s also got better impact and a more flat extension that’s pretty pleasing. Most people after the warmer and more relaxed signature it offers will be a fan imo. You just have to like the sound sig and understand what it’s going for. Also to me the ndh20 has a bit bloated and unrefined bass, but that’s just me

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Yeah, at least from my sources, it didn’t sound quite as layered to me. I owned them as my daily drivers and I was pretty accustomed to their sound. Fun, sure, but it lacked definition to me (relatively). I went back to them quite a few times, comparing them to the NDH 20s and Elex when I still had them to decide which headphones to keep and they just didn’t make the cut. And there are build quality issues too, with the leather strap stretching fairly easily over time and eventually making contact with the metal headband piece.
I will give you that they definitely are good as a more chill out and enjoy bass type of experience… but I’m not entirely convinced they achieve 100% of what they are going for… to me they feel a bit more like a mix of compromises made by Audeze to compete in the lower-tier (now more popular) planar headphone market. But to each his own. =)

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What amp were you running them out of (just curious)? I feel like from what you seem to enjoy, you would actually prefer a fazored lcd 2 a fair amount more than a 2 classic

Also yeah it was audeze’s attempt at a midrange headphone (when it was like 600 dollars lol)

For most of the time owning them, I ran them out of the 788 dac/amp from monoprice. More recently, I gave them another shot, but not quite as long when I traded the Elex away to my brother for his LCD2C after upgrading to the Clears out of the SP200 for a bit. So definitely not as good of sources as you have.

Honestly yeah, I feel like I would prefer the fazored as well… or LCD X. I’ve been an Audeze fanboy for years so I really did not want to give them up… but they just kept sitting on their stand, not getting much use. Definitely do not feel they are worth the $800 price… but $600 and under then definitely, depending on what you are wanting to go for.

The LCD X is pretty sweet imo, pretty nice. Currently I have traded all my audeze for a LCD 24 and that’s the best audeze I have heard lol

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Guys… you are definitely not making this easier! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
The price IS of importance and I know the LCD-X is better, but the price isn’t. I have to pay $1500 and then we are at a price point, where I really need to get it right.

The Focal’s are nice, but out. And now I am looking even more towards the LCD-2C and thinking of selling one of the kids to get the LCD-X…

Interesting, why is that?

I clicked on the link and read: OUT OF STOCK
But thanks, they have been under consideration, but I was very insecure whether or not it was something for me.

I say just go for the LCD2C if you’re really interested in it. You may very well love it. (Buy it somewhere with a good return policy) I personally don’t think you should push your budget too hard.
When it comes down to it, we are debating relative performance differences… they are all great.


Yeah I wouldn’t really stretch the budget too much. You could look into the used market as well to see what’s out there

The “balanced/neutral” comment got to me, I like the “warm/chill out” remarks better and I think planars are the right thing to try out.

Well, looking at your lineup of headphones, you do seem to have prominently brighter leaning headphones, so that may make sense to try out something alot thicker tuned

Have you considered any ZMF headphones at all?