Looking for an Upgrade or Change in Headphones

I am looking into buying another pair of Headphones, not really a price limit, as long as it is under $3k.

Kind of looking at planar headphones since I have never used them and are intrigued by them.

Currently have:
HD 58X
ZMF Aeolus

Amp: THX AAA 887
Dac: SMSL SU-8

Currently main my Aeolus and love it but looking for something else to mix it up, any advice?

So mainly what type of sound are you looking for? There are a ton of options in this range

That is my problem, been browsing recently and I have no clue, enjoy the Aeolus, but don’t really know where to go from here, or really what I want. Just want something different.

Gotcha, so are you looking for something more different that you don’t really have in your collection? I mean, I think that if you wanted something warmer and smoother, a lcd 2 does seem like a good choice, but that might get too similar to the aeolus in some ways. I think trying something like a hifiman ananda or edition xx (ananda is brighter and the edition xx is more warm ish) would give you a good example of what a larger planar could do with it’s impact, large sound, and layering.

Yeah, that sounds more along the lines of what I am looking for, a sound signature that is very different to what I currently have that people love. LCD 2 I have looked into before and ended up getting the Aeolus instead. Don’t want something similar.

Yeah I was thinking that you might want something that just pretty much just emphasizes the benefits of planar, and that’s a great choice in that regard. Would be very interesting. While this isn’t a planar, I would also consider the elex as that would be very interesting and also not too similar to what you have

hmm, could always look into Aeons whether its the massdrop version or the new ones… More laid back V planar signature with a rolled off treble and wide warm sound stage. One of my favorites personally. Also nighthawk carbons since they are one of the better Dark signature headphones

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I was tempted to buy the Elex before but figured there was something similar to it that was better. Since I tend to just buy the best of something if I can and be done looking for anything else like it. Big down payment, but lasts forever. Do you know of anything better than the Elex or Ananada?

I mean yes, but at the same time I wouldn’t go much higher than the 1k mark if you don’t know what you are looking for imo

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What about the Arya? I have been reading/hearing how great they are, even though they are double the price.

I think if you jump from the Elex/Ananda to Clear/Arya, you may benefit from an improved source chain. But the Elex and Ananda should both do very well off your current setup

It’s pretty great, I’ve enjoyed mine, it’s a direct step up, you can find them used in the 1k range, so I guess that would still be reasonable to try out if you were unsure

I agree with @Onaha here, you would want to up the quality of your electronics first imo, and that would also help out your other cans too. You can buy the headphones first, but you might not get an accurate representation of what they can actually do without the source chain upgrade

What do you mean upgrade my chain of electronics? I figured the AAA 887 would be good enough for any headphone ever, and I figured after research it is the best amp under $1k.

So, the 789 is fine with more mid range tier headphones, but once you get to the more high end headphones, it kinda falls apart. It’s got too many flaws that become apparent with higher end gear, and really limits what they do from my experience imo


I don’t have the 789, I have the 887. But I know they are similar. Then what do you recommend above it? Would it improve my current Aeolus?

My bad, misread that, they are very close sounding amps though.

So actually for your aeolus, something like a hagarman tuba is a great match imo, real nice stuff. Improves timbre, makes the headphones a fair bit more spacious, and just more natural overall imo with more detail. For the arya, that violectric v280 deal is pretty sweet on massdrop atm, that would be damn sweet (also again more detail). Crazy good control throughout the power range, very nice soundstage and imaging, and great timbre to boot. Dac wise, going for a bifrost 2 if you wanted something a bit more relaxed or an ares II for something more energetic would be great imo. Both would improve presentation, give better timbre, and do an excellent job at reducing harshness and also more accurate sound


Don’t really like tube Amps. More into solid state amps.

What tube amps have you tried? There is a fairly large difference between stuff like the tuba vs a darkvoice

Unfortunately, those THX get a lot of hype with phrases such as so much power than it will be the last amp you will ever need.
Just because it can power your headphone, does it make it necessarily good or what you are looking for. You may want an amp that is more musical, dynamic, or natural sounding. As an analogy, just think about your PC or a sound card able to power your headphone. Just because it can, doesn’t make it good. I hope that helps.


Just the Darkvoice. Had to Tube swap and still didn’t like them.