Reccomendations going into midfi/highfi

Hello Everyone!

So my current setup is a Elex & a CTH+SDAC. So far it has suited my need perfectly for the 2+ years I have had it since I was one of the original massdrop buyers. (For the record I had no clue what I was doing and they looked nice and sound great, guess I just lucked out)

My main complaint about my current system is that sometimes after I listen for several hours the Elex feels uncomfortable. Perhaps I want a better suspension system/light headset? I can’t do speaker since I have roommates whom I respect and will not wake them up by playing music into the night.

Anyways now, I am looking to upgrade my setup.

I listen to:
30 % Classical (Opera+Symphonies+Soli Pieces),
25% EDM though not as much,
45% Pop (OSTs and some J/K pop), and some rock.

I will not listen to Jazz or Country.

I like having “details” and want the music to be not altered as much as possible in a classical setting, However, anywhere else I like a warmer and richer sound with some bass emphasis.

I have seen the 789 amp being reduced in price and i think that might be great for what I want in classical sense however I am not sure what to pair it with.

Budget wise… I am looking at a hard cap of max $2000 for everything, and preferably something lower than that. I feel that I have went down a rabbit hole with this hobby ><

Gimme suggestions!

Thanks in advance,

Edit: I replied to a comment down below but felt like it could be better used up here as well:

I think I would like something warmer. Better bass for Pop and Edm. Light or has a better system since this headset seems to compress the sides of my head (bones behind my ears) after 3-5 hours which feels awful and i have to take them off.

I am willing to try at this point: Zmf Auteu from M0N/others , LCD X (leather pads) from Dago

Some Recommendations for AMP/DACS (from M0N/Dago/Others)

Dac: Bifrost 2, hagerman labs tuba or cayin ha-1a mk2
Amps: Liquid Plat

Well, what do you like about the elex and what would you want to change?

I don’t have issues with the clipping that other people have with the Elex. I don’t listen to music that loudly so that’s fine.

I think I would like something warmer. Better bass for Pop and Edm. Light or has a better system since this headset seems to compress the sides of my head (bones behind my ears) after 3-5 hours which feels awful and i have to take them off.

What do other people use for listening to classical?

Hmm, that gives you lots of options, are you opposed to buying used?

Rather than recommending specific gear I would suggest doing quite a bit of research, watching youtube reviews, going to a local headfi meet, going to a local hifi shop, and be willing to buy used. I’ve purchased almost everything 2nd hand or 3rd hand off headfi for < 50% of MSRP. Try it out if you don’t like it re-sell it and take a small loss but be on your way.

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No though I would like warranty on my products.

And the headset doesn’t necessarily need to be lighter. I think it has to do with Focal’s design than anything else since I ve listened to a 6xx at a friends and did not have this problem. I did not like the 6xx for classical though since the sounstage felt compressed to me.

I been considering that. Just wanted to narrow down some choices at this point and then make decisions. Good point.

Gotcha, personally I am inclined to suggest something like a zmf auteur, it’s neutral and natural and very enjoyable, great timbre and also great punch from the driver, very refined. It doesn’t have the best spatial recreation but imo it makes up for it in other aspects

Why do you say that over the Aeolus? I have looked at both recently and they have very good reviews.

And then Amp/Dac? I don’t necesarrily need anything else for my Elex but perhaps it’s time to get something new for those as well

So personally I am not a fan of the aeolus, I think it lacks detail for the price and is overly smooth to the point where it’s a bit too much imo. Also soundstage and imaging are just ok personally, it’s real strengths are its timbre and really pretty much just chill sound. I think the autuer is easily more resolving and impressive in those terms, and personally I think it’s the more natural sounding headphone from zmf. Something else to consider might be an audio technica adx5000, but that might lack a bit of warmth for you perhaps

Yeah personally I would suggest you upgrade that as well. Assuming you get the auteur used for around or under 1.2k USD, I think something like a hagerman labs tuba or cayin ha-1a mk2 are good pairings with the auteur. Dac wise I would just suggest you use your sdac for the time being until you have more budget to upgrade later on.

He’s got the Elex, think having him look at a planar (works great for EDM and classical IMO). What would be a good bassy planar to look at? Also, with that budget Campfire Cascade?

Given your budget and exposure, I would figure the sound signature you want first. As soon as I hear desire for good bass I just say multibit/R-2R. But when doubt, M0N’s recommendations are solid.

Thank You,

I think I should head to a event but with everything canceled and closed it’s been difficult to say the least.

Why would you get a amp first over a dac?

Personally I don’t think that would be my pick for classical (a bassy planar), I would personally want something more neutral. I think some planars to look into might actually be the hifiman arya, as imo they will do well with both classical and edm and pop, good all rounders. Amp wise, I think you could grab a liquid platinum and for the dac look for a used bifrost 2 imo

Personally imo I think the amp would be more important of getting more out of the headphone, but the dac is also important but something I would say you would want to get down the line when you have more budget

LCD X with leather pads IMO fit the sounds profile. Honestly I assume it’s a preference thing base on on what I see with people comparing the LCD X (2019+) and Arya. Bifrost 2 is awesome and a B-stock Asgard 3 without an internal DAC. But that’s my two cents. If not desiring the greatest detail and going cheaper, LCD GX has some good feedback (worth researching before pulling the trigger, Metal571 and someone else did a great review of it).

Personally I would suggest looking for an lcd 2 fazor if you wanted to go that route over the gx imo, I think it would be a better deal

I still want to try that LCD 2.2 pre-fazor you rave about.

It’s not the most refined, but it’s just a really relax and enjoy headphone, pretty sweet but they seem to not pop up used that often anymore (at least the 2016 2.2 pre fazor)

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OP You’re welcome! it’s been listed for awhile so negotiate the seller down to $1750 and enjoy.