What should I buy next?

So, what I currently own and have owned in the past:

Sennheiser HD 280 pros
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

and my most recent purchases to get to the “next level”:

Audio-Technica ATH-AD1000X (got these for the highs and definitely enjoy them and couldn’t justify spending twice the price for used 2000x or 500 more for new.) Truly enjoy these headphones but they can definitely get a little bit muddy.

Philips Fidelio X2HR (got these for their rumored great sound stage and decent bass response and they weren’t that expensive… they are ok… not as enjoyable to listen to as my 1000x)

So in terms of music I listen to artists in virtually every genre.

Budget: I prefer to remain in mid-range for quite some time to really explore my options.

Style: Over ear is preferred and open back or closed is fine.

I had the Hifiman Sundaras in mind but I am not sure if they will be “different” or “better” enough from what I already have. What do you guys have in mind?

And I currently use FX-Audio DAC-X6 for both… considering getting a JDS Labs Atom Stack or a Schiit Stack but on the fence on which one to get and wondering if it will be a major improvement to what I already have.

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I mean compared to your current collection and what you liked about the 1000x, it would be a pretty reasonable choice imo. Would you say you like things on the brighter or more airy side of things?

So I do think that getting a nicer dac and amp would be pretty worthwhile, it would depend on what headphones you want to consider though imo

I definitely would appreciate that sound. I guess I am interested in planars in general since I don’t own a pair and haven’t even listened to one… Thieaudio Phantom… Sundaras…Monolith M1060 have all intrigued me. I definitely plan on getting some Nighthawks soon as well so I don’t necessarily have a preferred sound. I think different things will excel best with certain types of music.

Even without a new headphone purchase would you think I’d see a benefit over what I have now? Would you suggest the schiit or jds atom?

personally I would say so. the 1000x ar ea pretty nice pair of headphones with good detail retrieval. I think you would benefit from an amp that has a lower output impedance than the fx audio dac x6 and a new cleaner dac would be a noticeable change as well. whether or not to go with the schiit stack or jds stack is up to you personally I think have my attention on the new cheap topping stack as both measurements and overall power numbers are much more impressive on those than either stacks your currently considering especially with the currently somewhat lacking modi 3 which really needs a refresh.

What would be the model you are speaking about? As far as I know the jds atoms numbers are really impressive and doesn’t color the audio in any way. and despite being made of plastic is looks really nice :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you have any personal recommendations for headphones?

Personally out of that list I would prefer the sundara for its higher refinement and capabilities over the m1060, and for the phantoms I also prefer the sundara unless you heavily mod them and even then

Very true for sure

So yes but not massive or life changing. Generally with what you have, if you wanted something brighter neutral but still pretty resolving the jds atom amp and dac stack is pretty sweet. For something warmer smoother and thicker, the earmen donald dac with the monolith liquid spark is a good pick. And for something neutral and clean but with a hit of smoothness the magni 3+ with a topping e30 or a topping l30 + e30 would be pretty solid imo

Of course this might change depending on what headphones you decide to go with

How would you personally compare the sundara with the 1000x… are they even comparable? I’ve even read the sundara just sounds similar to my x2hrs with no bass response which would be meh since the mids are lacking I find on those.

monolith would be on the table if their dac wasn’t out of stock haha. topping isn’t something I’ve read a lot of reviews for. Will have to look into them.

more talking about the l30 and e30 stack but a nice mix and matched schiit heresy and say like a topping dac would be a better value buy than the atop stack due to the heresy’s inherent power which also measures , sounds, and performs very similarly to the atom just with more power. unfortunately the modi like I said before is lacking in the current entry level audio market. I dont have any headphone recc’s currently cause I also think the sunadara would be a good direction if you wanted to try planars out.

In some ways yes, both are a bit brighter more airy sound signatures with a bit of detail forwardness, but they differ in spatial recreation where the sundara is more large and spacious where the ad1000x is going to be more intimate and close sounding. The midrange and bass on the sundara is way more linear and neutral, whereas the ad1000x has a more crafted midrange focusing on upper mid forwardness and then a bit lean of a bass response. The 1000x is a bit smoother at times but the sundara isn’t really harsh. Detail wise I think they might be similar for treble detail but the sundara has better midrange and bass detail. The sundara also has more impact and speed as well. Generally different headphones for the most part but both are going to be brighter focused and detail forward

I would highly disagree, imo the sundara is pretty different from the x2 in most ways besides potential soundstage width, but the sundara has better depth and more accurate spatial recreation. These really aren’t that similar

The dac hasn’t been released yet unfortunately for the monolith lol. The topping is something decent, neutral but smooth, pretty solid overall although imo might be lacking a bit of life regarding the l30

in terms of presentation maybe? but sound they are very different, the sundara while yes leaning to a more neutral bright sound is pretty opposite to the bassy smooth sound of the fidelios. the sundara while not peaky is leaning towards a brighter presentation I say the mids sound more natural, and the treble is clean and detailed without being harsh. its wide sounding and the separation and layering is an improvement over the fidelios.

So should I forget about the HE4XX/other hifiman planar models and just go with Sundaras? I think that is what I am going to get next. With that in mind any further input on stack combos?

I think it might be worthwhile to go with the sundara as you get a way more refined experience imo, generally I think taking that step over the 4xx worth it

I mean if you don’t mind a bit more on the price, the asgard 3 with a earmen donald dac is a pretty great pairing for the sundara, something that gives more natural timbre and body while keeping resolution and clarity, with great punch as well, and good spatial recreation

I’m not sure if I am ready for nuanced equipment pairings but someday I will concern myself with that. I guess I am not too concerned on “power” either since most headphones I have an interest in are reatively easy to drive.

I guess I am mostly just looking at the stack from the perspective of aesthetics and flexibility with anything I decide to use it with. Can I really go wrong with the jds atom or does a topping pairing have it beat to an unquestionable merit?

While the headphones you currently have are somewhat easy to drive, the sundara does appreciate more power to get to where it likes to be

For the asgard 3 if you have to have the stack they do have the modius which is pretty nice

You can’t really go wrong with either, but if you go for the sundara I might prefer the extra oomph of the topping (the l30 + e30)

Yeah I am seeing the l30 is 240 alone… I was trying to stay in the realm of 100 each for dac and amp. The jds is powerful enough for the sundara right? Isn’t it a sensitive headphone in general?

Hmmm really shouldn’t be, should be 140. You might be seeing it bundled with the e30 for that price, but alone the l30 should be 140 and the e30 should be 130

So it will run off most stuff yes, but it won’t really sound engaging or correct on something with low power. They can get loud on something lower power but that doesn’t mean it will sound good on lower power. In general I do think the jds stack will drive the sundara well, but I slightly prefer something a bit more powerful with more headroom. But realistically I don’t think you will have many complaints

Yeah you’re correct I didn’t see that it was a bundle price. Alright time to look into topping products more.