After being disappointed at first with how Verums sounded out of Cavalli LCX, I discovered that switching the LCX to high gain made a whole lot of difference and resulted in great listening experience (you can read my comments in this thread: Verum 1 Amp Pairing Help - #60 by MinalanSpellmonger). I have since pimped up my head-fi rig: iFi iPurifier 3 USB on the SMSL SU-8 DAC I use (arguably, it makes more audible difference with Topping D30 which I have in my hi-fi system, but I keep it in anyway), iFi AC Purifier in the socket nearby (sort of housekeeping), XLR interconnects from Sommer Cable, Chi-fi USB cable… hell, I even bought a linear PSU and fancy power cables, also Chi-fi. Periapt headphone cable is on the way.
The setup sounds really, really… I mean really good. A ‘master’ version of L.A. Woman streamed through Tidal is simply amazing, so are records by Billy Idol. Hell, just yesterday I was thoroughly enjoying tracks by Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Somehow when I bought the Verums I labeled them ‘electronics’ headphones, to listen to Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus, synthwave and the like… But they perform well with all the music I throw at them.
Well, this was the intro, apologies if a bit long.
So, now that I have everything set up and enjoying the music, of course the thoughts of what next come in. I think I am clear in terms of the gear: first I want to try the new Topping D30 Pro DAC, and then check the Singxer SA-1 amp out. But what about the headphones? I don’t have much of a reference framework, but I guess I am beginning to feel why so many people praise the Verums. What will be the audible step up? I really want that ‘wow’ effect… to be blown away… Not sure if only the step up in class can do it, or if maybe something ‘different’… In terms of budget I am prepared to spend EUR 600, maybe go as far as EUR 700 if the deal is good. I will probably go used to get a better deal, and this is partially why I am raising the question well in advance - so that I could keep an eye on the classifieds in case a good comes up.
Should I go for a pair of Audezes? Some reviewers have mentioned that Verums have an Audeze-like signature, so I suppose it could be a safe bet, but as I mentioned, I am also open do a different sound. LCD 2 Classic can be had for EUR 700 used here in Germany. Dan Clark? Focal?
The other headphones I own are Meze 99 Noir from Drop - these are my go to cans for watching movies, videos on the internet and while on the move. I also got into tubes with Feliks Echo and HD650. Echo+HD650 SE A/B with LCX+Verums XLR from SU-8 was, to my surprise, not in favour of the first. The stock tubes are too clear and the LCX is tubey I suppose, so the sound character was very similar - they sort of meet each other halfways. Bass has more power on Echo+HD650, but it’s more controlled, tight with LCX+Verum. And there’s this… hmm… grain… in Echo+HD650… is this the HD650 ‘veil’ people write about? Mullard tubes arrived yesterday, they are supposed to be more warm/tubey, so I will do a next round of A/B, but so far Echo+HD650 is not what I expected. This is it, this is my reference framework.
Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.