Yo! Planar upgrades!

It’s been a minute but hi! Coming back into the fold with my old 4XXs which are actually falling apart so, now’s as good a time as any to look at an upgrade. Currently running a Modi3+ and Asgard3 for my DAC/amp combo, and I’m interested in another planar set. Something warmer than the 4XXs, but still having great detail retrieval and staging. I’m mainly looking at Audeze LCD-2, or Ether CXs, while tangentially having looked at HE6SEV2, and LCD-2C. Any suggestions would certainly be recommended!


I don’t think the Ether CXs are what you’re looking for if you want a pair warmer than the HE4XX. As a big DCA fan, I would say look to the Aeon lineup if you want warmth from DCA. I like the Ether CXs, but they border on austere in their presentation at times. Something like the Aeon 2s have that warmth to them.

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I had a bad experience with 4xx so its been a long time since I heard them and probably biased against them lol but

  • DCA Aeons, Hifiman XS, Ananda Nano

I’ve heard good things about Aeons as well, though I haven’t not looked deeply into them. I’m curious on Edition XS, and I’ve never heard of Ananda Nano before! On the other hand, I take it the Audeze aren’t particularly a good choice based in my parameters?

Nano is the newest version Ananda came out like 2 months ago alongside the Arya Organic
I personally haven’t experienced any Audeze’s yet (still waiting for a couple I pre ordered) but from what others have said their house sound tends to be warmer

Verum1 mkII with superlux hd 681 pads, hard to beat

Dan Clark Aeon open x or Rt is what you want

Interesting suggestions! I’ll keep them in mind while I keep shopping around!

Audeze LCD-2C are warm and forgiving. They’re not detail monsters. You need to move up to the LCD-X 2021 in the Audeze line to get warmth and detail.

I second the recommendation for Dan Clark Aeon Opens. The only concern is the heavy clamping force. They crushed my big dome, and the Nitinol headband cannot be bent. Always bounces back. So, I had to sell them. But they sounded nice!

HiFiMan Edition XS have very good detail and soundstage for $500. But they’re clinical, not very warm. And like many HiFiMan’s, there’s not a lot of note weight. The sound is thin throughout the spectrum. Shoddy build quality also is more of a concern with HiFiMan than Audeze, and definitely more than with Dan Clarks, which are built like tanks.


This surprises me. I find the Aeon line to be one of the most comfortable headphones series out there in no small part because of the fact that the clamp is quite light. I’m not at all saying your wrong as we all have different heads. I just don’t think I’ve heard anyone mention the clamp force on the Aeons as being too strong before.

Edit: FWIW, I have a big head too. I wear a 7 3/4 in fitted hats.

They killed me, and I’m a Grado owner, so I know pain! :slight_smile:

My Aeon 2 Closed gave me a headache after about 30 minutes due to the clamping force. Plus DCA’s require a tight seal with the ear cups to get good bass – part of their design. So, combine the clamping force, tight seal on the leather pads and closed backs, and the pain in my inner ear and temples distracted far too much from the nice sound signature.

Definitely a “me” thing, not universal.

This talk on the Aeon 2 Opens seems very promising, they may be the ones that I ought to look at and see if I can get a demo, or blind buy. I’m fascinated by the prospect of the LCD-X being more what I’m looking for in that range- I always came away with the impression from other reviewers that the 2 would be the warmest of the bunch, and that the X by comparison was very clinical.


In any case then, would you say there are any pther options in the sub $1k range that may also do the job? I actually spent time with a set of Airpods Max, and while I had fun with their significantly warmer sound, I realized I’d certainly prefer something more neutral than what I initially expected.

You could also look for a used pair of Hifiman HE-500s. They have some warmth to them and they’re considered a classic for a reason.

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Try to find a used pair of LCD-X 2021. You can find them for around $750-800 USD. I think those will hit your sweet spot.


Hmm, I did some number crunching and I have made a mistake
I think I could barely afford LCD-X even used so, back to the drawing board! You know I heard Sundaras are a great option to my 4XXs. Despite my grievances with how beat up mine are I still love their sound. Otherwise I’ve had plenty of other folks that I’ve asked suggest Sennheiser 6XXs instead. Either way I’m leaning heavy on the formers so maybe I’ll gear up to grab those instead!

Aeon 2 Noire or 2 Closed with the old perforated pads (pre summer/autumn 2022, the squishy ones) if you want more ear gain / more upper mids than Audeze.
If you can stretch your budget Diana v2 bass ported (comes with a little bit of shout as well, but you can select how warm it sounds - easily worth the monies imo)

Sundaras are quite bright though. Too bright for me. If you’re looking in that price range, grab a pair of HE560s.