I have always preferred the delivery of headphones headphones to what IEMs provide, but about two months ago I bought the FiiO FH3 and it ruined everything. It hasn’t left my daily driver position since I got it. I own Klipsch HP-3s and for awhile was quite certain they were my endgame… I have tried to go back to them, repeatedly, but no, they aren’t cutting it for me any more. These IEMs that retail for roughly one tenth of the price have dethroned them.
What I find so intoxicating about the FH3 is the low end. It’s abundant, but it’s so damn clean, and so damn fast. I want MOAR.
So now, of course, I want to find that quality in a headphone. I want bass cannons with quantity that can rock my skull while avoiding quality drops at the same time. Closed or open, doesn’t really matter. I don’t like dark signatures, I like sparkle in the high end, I’m rarely negatively affected by treble and often elevate it, so if something can’t deliver that in stock form, it should at the very least be able to take to EQ well.
I realize that I’m basically asking for a V shaped headphone, probably one of the most common things on the market, but it’s the quality that has got me all hyped up here.
For what you mention you like and what you have already, I think the next reasonable step really might be a th900 mk2 for sure, excellent bass impact/slam while reaching really deep, while still having great control. Forward but not overly aggressive, fun v shape, lots of depth in a more intimate stage, really good treble detail with lots of sparkle
I totally forgot about the Cascades, those were actually on my short list when they came out. I’ll have to revisit those and read up on some impressions. The th900s are interesting, they seem to be really polarizing and it looks like they rarely drop into my price range. The struggle of not being able to try out headphones without committing…
I actually own a set of these. You’re right about being able to crank the bass to stupid levels. The rest of the sound is where they’re lacking for me. It’s hard for me to pinpoint what it is but they just sound kinda… Rough? I guess? I can appreciate them for a bit but I always end up putting them back down.
They’re perfect for my electric drum kit though so I’m glad I have them.
@M0N’s suggestion re: TH900mk2 is a good one. You could also go Emu Teak and Lawton mod it. I Lawton’d a TH-X00 with Lawton’s Purpleheart cups and the bass is just nuts. The treble can be bright and sparkly or more laid back and smooth, depending on your amp and dac stack. Read about it here.
Here’s one that’s pretty new, you could try and shoot for 1k offer. If you keep your eye out you can find them for 1k mark semi frequently. I do think you might have to go around or above 1k to really get what you are after and get something significantly a step up from what you have imo
I’ll keep an eye out but I don’t see myself going over the 1k mark. I don’t need a significant step up. Really hard to justify spending that much when these comparatively cheap iems get so close to what I’m looking for.
My two recommendations are typically Nighthawks for headphones and Hyla Sarda for IEMs. Both are a bit harder to find nowadays, but can be purchased under 1k. Best of luck with your search. I think you will find a new level of addiction when you experience that bass can have a lot of texture for the first time.
Purple heart modded E-MU Teaks (E-MU sells purple heart cups for abot $150) are your best bet under $1000 new. If you are ok with used get the TH-900 mk2 if you can find a deal.You could also Lawton mod the Teaks like @WaveTheory said.
To sum up, the consensus of the forum so far is get something with a Fostex biodyna driver and go from there. Those drivers are pretty incredible. They dig deep, hit hard, and rumble aplenty. And they do it with pretty good control and pitch definition to boot.
Makes sense why @Veritas threw the Nighthawks in because they are a biodyna also. Tuning is a lil’ different on the Hawks though. Highs are still very present, just not pushed forward, but they can definitely bump on the low end with the right amp. Hawks are usually my go-to for electronic music because I can crank them up to really feel the bass and the rest of the sound is not fatiguing. Also, a source with a legit bass boost can be pretty fun at times. The Elegia can really rumble (like physically vibrate) with XBass engaged on my Hip Dac. I know you mentioned that the Zen Dac pumped through the Asgard 3 gave a similar but even better experience.
Yes and that just hit me while I was working on something else. A second option is to find an Elegia (mostly available used now) and an iFi product with bass boost. Zen DAC + Asgard 3 amp + Elegia also pretty well covers all the basses. I haven’t heard the combo yet but I imagine the Zen CAN amp with bass boost enabled will also turn the Elegia into bass cannons and then you can use whatever dac you want. Thanks for the reminder @Mr_Makua.