Need some headphone advice / opinions

Hi everyone,

This is my first post but I’ve been reading for a while. I was curious to get some of your opinions about my desktop setup I’m planning.

Basically, my wife and I are moving and getting all new furniture, electronics, etc. for our new place and I’m going to have my first dedicated office. I’ve set aside around 3,000 for headphones and another 3,000 for electronics and speakers. I wanted to cover a spectrum of sound signatures with my headphones. My plan is;


Burson Funk for Class A and an integrated amp for my speakers

Bottlehead Crack with the Speedball for a tube amp

Geshelli Eirish for a balanced amp

Schiit Bifrost 2 for a DAC


Meze Neo for a dark headphone (also 1 closed back would be nice)

LCD 2C for a warm headphone

HD 6xx (owned) for a neutral warm headphone

Elex for a neutral headphone

Ananda for a neutral bright headphone

Dt 880 600 ohm for a bright headphone

and a Zeus for a more V shaped headphone (plus they sound like a lot of fun to game on)

I’m open to any input if you think I have headphones with an overlapping signature or would suggest I change out a headphone. I’m also open to suggestions in changing electronics. The only thing that I have my heart set on are the 1TDs and I already own the HD 6xx’s. Any and all input is welcome.


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Welcome, and that looks like a pretty solid setup you’re planning. Though I’ve not heard for myself, the Bifrost/Crack combo is said to have pretty great synergy, and especially with the Senn 6 series.

For the price you’re likely to pay for the LCD 2C, you might also consider looking for a used LCD 2 prefazor, which is kinda what the 2C is supposed to be based on, but the original performs better.

I might ask, what experience have you had outside of the 6XX. What are you currently running the 6XX on? What do you like about it and what would you want to change?

The reason I ask is that if you already know your preferences pretty well, you have a pretty good chunk of change to focus on fewer, but higher tier pieces to get the best synergy out of your chain to meet your preferences.

No speaker or amp expert here. But if I may input on the headphones.

I would really attempt to go for an Arya. Maybe ‘combining’ the Ananda and Elex into one?
It’s a monster of a headphone, for superior to the Ananda, an amazing soundstage and imo the best gaming headphone I’ve had to chance of playing with yet :smiley: (you know. Also mainly amazing outside of gaming but since you mentioned the Zeus… This is next level)

As for DAC, see if you can compare the BF2 with the Ares II?

Hi, thanks for replying.

I’ll look into a prefazor LCD 2. I haven’t given much thought to other Audeze’s since they go up pretty quickly after the 2C.

So, as far as my experience goes I’m pretty new with this. I currently live in South Korea so getting hifi gear isn’t easy. But my “rig” is a magni/modi and then my mixture of mp3s and some flacs. I haven’t heard any planars, but I’ve heard a dt 1990 pro and I owned some Shure 215 IEMs. I liked the clarity of the 1990 but didn’t listen long enough to know if it got fatiguing or not.

That’s part of the reason I’m going with this shotgun approach of buying a bunch of sub 1,000 dollar headphones. Haha

As far as what I like and don’t like about the 6xxs. I like it’s warmth and how it does vocals. But I want a bigger soundstage. The headphone is great with mellow indie rock or acoustic stuff but with orchestral music or post rock I want to hear some big soundstage.

So, I’m not sure about sound signature but I do know I want a headphone or two that has some soundstage to it.

See, that is something I’ve thought about to. Just say, getting a set of Clears and Aryas and living with those two. I just, you know, want to hear all the headphones.

Thanks for the suggestion. Since I don’t have experience with that class of headphone at all it’s nice to get input about it, potentially, “combining” some lower level gear.

I’m much more of a headphone person, too. Not that I have experience with hi end headphones. I just enjoy listening to them more than I do speakers. However, I enjoy DIY stuff and that’s why I got my heart set in the CSS 1TDs

Hmmm I see your point. But I’m afraid you’ll end up finding a favorite and using the others less. And it seems like you might as well spend some money on tha favorite :stuck_out_tongue:

What kinda music do you listen to? Do you wanna watch TV shows or movies too with headphones? What kinda games?

Which version? If both are 3+, you may not get as much improvement as you’d like from the Erish. If you do have you sights set on any Focal headphones, I’d strongly recommend an RNHP, which similar to the Crack has great synergy with the Bifrost 2.

This may be somewhat remedied by the Crack, as tubes do help to expand the stage for the 6XX. The 880 600Ohm should also be very good on the Crack and has a much wider stage, and though I don’t game, I’ve heard it’s pretty great for gaming.

One consideration related to some of the planars, especially something like the Arya, is that they require quite a bit of current to be driven properly. They would not respond well to the Crack, and things like the Erish, Magni, and even RNHP to an extent would be that you won’t get the most out of some planars. There are a few exceptions, such as the LCD-X on the RNHP. I unfortunately didn’t have the RNHP and LCD-2 PF at the same time to comment there.

I do think it’s a good idea to find your preferences before a big investment on a high end headphone, but hopefully you can do it incrementally so each purchase can be informed by the previous, and for stuff you don’t like hopefully you can sell to help fund the next purchase.

Enjoy the journey!

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Yeah, you’re right. If I were to guess I’d want at least one headphone with big soundstage and one intimate. Since I already have a 6xx I have intimate covered. From a sound signature perspective I’d like something that is on the neutral side and something that is on warmer side. So, I don’t know where the Arya falls on the scale for sound but your description if soundstage has me very intrigued.

Music is a loaded question haha. I like a wide variety. But my most listened to genres would probably be post rock (Like Godspeed you Black Emperor or Explosions in the Sky), Jazz (Coltrane, Monk, Hubbard and modern like Avishai Cohen or EST), and Prog (Yes, Pink Floyd, Return to Forever, Mars Volta). I don’t care too much about watching TV or Movies through the headphones. I’m sure I will occasionally but it isn’t a priority.

I’m a pretty avid gamer but not on the competitive side. I mean I do play League and Overwatch. But my favorite games are the FromSoft games (Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne), Metal Gear, and Supergiant games (Bastion, Hades). So, I’m definitely not a “footsteps” person. I think any sound signature in these classes of headphone will translate well to what I want for gaming.

No, they are the 2 uber versions. I got them back in 2016 I think and haven’t really had an opportunity to upgrade since then. So, my original plan for electronics was to get the RNHP because so many on this forum are enthusiastic about it and it’s gotten great reviews most everywhere. Along with it I was planning on getting a more linear / clean amplifier with preamp capabilities (Magnius / El Amp ii) to go to a power amp and then my speakers. However, the Funk has gotten great reviews and I’ve seen comments in the reviews talking about how the headphone amp sounds similar to the soloist or conductor and I thought that could kill two birds with one stone (be my main HP amp instead of the RNHP and be my pre/power amp for my speakers). The Geshelli was more because I wanted to play with balanced and hear a more linear amp sound.

That, again, was were the funk would come in. It’s got 3.5 watts at 16 ohms 2.5 at 32 and so on up the ladder. Not the most powerful amplifier but I think good enough to get the job done. I’m not sure how it would do with the dt 880s but everything else I’m confident in it.

Thanks again for the advice. Just between you and toruc_macta I’ve got a lot to think about and that is half the fun of this. I won’t be pulling the trigger on anything until September (that’s when we move). But I’ve been doing research for a while and finally felt confident enough to ask for advice. Thanks!

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I don’t think you can go wrong with an Arya for soundstage. As for tonality they follow the Harman curve almost spot on. Little less sub-bass (as seems to be a hifiman thing?) and a little richer midbass (100-300hz). So I’d say neutral with maybe a teeny tiny bit of warmth? Add a cheap tube hybrid pre-amp or a warmer dac (BF2 or Ares II?) and I think these will be that lovely ‘tiny bit warmer than neutral’.

Honestly for what you summed up i think the 6xx and Arya would be a fantastic combo. Even if you’re not into it, try some orchestral on the Arya… It’s so huge (modern or classiccal)

Sounds Arya to me. The Beyer 800 is more fo a foodsteppy one. The Arya is more of an ambience one.

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I really like it the overall setup from the dac to the amps and headphones. The overall setup makes sense to me. You’ll enjoy the 6XX and the Elex on that crack.

Strongly recommend for the bottlehead these three tubes:

A lot of people in the crack community like the RCA clear top

These are mind blowing [E80CC’s fit in 12AU7 sockets and they’re so sweet]

The old Svetlana for that mid range magic. Cheap and outstanding performance.

I can’t find these on Dekoni’s site but these preserve the 6XX sound signature whilst improving the comfort memory foam etc

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You’re really convincing me to get the Arya. Honestly, with my budget as I set out and the sale price of the Clears right now I’m thinking I’ll get the Arya’s and the Clear’s and call it a day. Using the 6xx’s on the Crack, the Arya’s for orchestral music (I do like classical, a lot. My original major at university was Classical Trumpet performance) and most things that aren’t rock, pop, or hip hop and gaming. The Clears for Rock et al. I think that’ll be a pretty sick set up.

How powerful of an amp do you think the Arya’s need? The Burson Funk has about 2.5 Watts at 32 ohms. Do you think that would be enough? I’ve seen some amps recommended that go higher that at 32-35. Also, what is your opinion on the Ares II vs Bifrost? I’m leaning Bifrost because of the warmth people say it brings and I like Schiit’s whole … thing.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Oh man, thank you so much for the tube recommendations. I’m a total noob when it comes to that stuff. The only tubes I’ve messed with are the ones in my guitar amp. I’m surprised you said the Elex would sound good. I was under the impression only high impedance headphones work well with full on tube amps. I’m thinking about going up a tier and getting the Clears instead. Do you think they would play well with the Crack? Regardless, I’m super excited to build a Crack, get some of these tubes, and plug my Sennheiser into it! Thanks so much!

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Hey no worries anytime I’m tube obsessed they really are magic. The elex does… Sound rather bloated in the bass it just fun to hear the added bass bump. Either Elex or clear are excellent.

Tubes do work a lot better over the 100 ohm hill 60-80 can still work. KPH30i’s with the right tube combo sounds excellent.

Speaking of which that’s actually the last headphone you’re missing the Koss KPH30i and you should listen to that one last after you’ve bought the rest :crown: you’re in for a shock

You’re gonna love the crack with the 6XX for me it transformed the headphone such a great combo and with the bifrost 2 that’s too easy great synergy.

I recommend this as well some sort of tube pre-amp for your speakers into your amp/receiver. You get the benefit of the input stage of your tubes [the soundstage] and output of solid-state [bass impact and delivery]. for me on most speakers I’ve tried this synergy with it just opens them up like the 6XX it’s an incredible change and one of the biggest apart from setting up your speakers using new record days setup this was a game changer:

One last tube recommendation the RCA 6AS7 black plate this will go well with either driver tube:

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Arya and Clear are both great. Both are neutral bright tuning, and both are pretty picky on source AFAIK, but with different requirements. I don’t know much about the Funk, so can’t say if it’d have good synergy with either. Neither would be well matched to the Crack.

Yeah, I’m thinking about getting some different amps and then diying my own power amp for my speakers. Is there an amp you suggest for them? I know people love the RNHP around here and I’m really leaning towards getting that for the Clear. But what about the Arya? Preamp functionality would be nice but isn’t a requirement.

Arya needs a bit more current. Something like a Questyle CMA400i, 600i, or 800i might be nice if budget allows and you can find one. You might also consider something like the LCD-X or LCD-2 Predator instead of Arya. Not quite as grand a presentation, but still good soundstage width and depth, stronger bass, and pair pretty nicely with the RNHP as well. Arya is just more inefficient and harder to drive even though they’re all planar.

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Thanks again! Sorry, I worded that poorly. I was saying that I was leaning towards the RNHP for the Clears and then asking for a recommendation for an amp in addition to the RNHP. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. I’m still planning but I did pull the trigger on the Clears for 990. I thought it was too good a deal to pass up.

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Gotcha, I guess what kind of budget range are you thinking for the second amp based on what else is already planned? There’s a Liquid Plat on the Buy/Sell thread for $325 right now that would be a good match for hard to drive planar like the Arya.

I’m thinking in the 500-1,500$ range. I’ve been seeing the MLP recommended a lot on here for the Arya’s. So, I think an RHNP (for the Clear), an MLP (Arya) and Bottlehead Crack (HD6xx) is a really solid set up. But if you have some other recommendations I’m open to anything. Thanks again for all the help!

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