Let's talk high end headphones for lossless digital

It’s been a long time since I forked out $'s on high end headphones … last time it was a pair of Denons that broke the bank, Realistically I’ve spend many thousands on various “things”, but nothing with a big fat cable that plugs into a dedicated headphone amp.

What are Rooners using for high end private listening?



Sennheiser on a Musical Fidelity amplifier for living room use and Grado GW100 on Bluetooth. We are moving and packed the Sennheisers. So I can’t tell you what they’re called. We bought them some years back at roughly $400. Grado makes awesome headphones. These use Bluetooth Aptx, which uses lossy compression. So not exactly fitting your need for high-end. Still very good, though.

Audeze LCX-2 and Focal Elegia

Sennheiser HD800 with Chord Hugo 2

My kit, Meze Empyrean + Benchmark HPA 4

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Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Closed back.


Excellent choices.

Same as mine. :grinning:

With the Hugo 2, I also use a pair of closed headphones when needed - Audeze LCD XC

Stax SR-007A / SR-009 powered by a HeadAmp BHSE fed by the Mola Mola Tambaqui.


Have my eyes out for a 2nd pair, potentially Utopia or the empyrean when funds allow…

Not in the high end category, but an aspirant - Focal Clear.

Next purchase will be something from ZMF plugged into this -

Focal Clears are high-end by almost any objective measure. They are great headphones. I think they are a better value proposition than many more expensive pairs I’ve heard, and are virtually unbeatable at their price.

Within our niche subculture the price is on the “upper-middle” end, but it’s twice as much as anything someone could walk into most retail stores and buy.

Just trying to put this in perspective :slight_smile:

I tend to find nirvana in a headphone and use it for years.

After 8 years of loving the HD800 from an ECP audio L2 amplifier, I heard the RAAL-Requisite SR1a and lost my mind. They’re the most detailed headphones I’ve ever heard and I adore them.

I’m currently running mine from a Schiit Jotunheim R amplifier while I wait for ECP to design something that can drive them. My DAC is an RME ADI-2 FS, hooked right into my Roon server with a USB cable like I’m an ape.


I hate using ‘high end’ as a label :face_vomiting:

I really enjoy my (low end?) Jabra Elite Active 75t bluetooth earbuds just as much, in different situations.

Now I got that out the way :grinning:

I have Focal Utopia (open back), new Focal Elegia (closed back), Sennheiser HD800S (open back) and Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire (closed back).

Soon getting the new Focal Celeste (closed back).

Cans are driven by Chord Hugo2, RME ADI-2 FS DAC (V2) and Merging Anubis interface, in different locations.

My absolute favourites are the Focals headphones.

Subjectively, I find the entire Focal lineup (including Elear and Clear which I had previously) are all ‘punchy’ (to my ears) in ways I’ve not heard from any other headphones for some years now. Like punchy speakers. And I love them for that. I’ve demo’ed all the popular cans.

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Here in Oz Focal Clear Pros go for about $AU2K … I think that compares favourably to say AKG Masters at almost double that! … and I fell out of love with AKG as a brand a decade ago.

I’ll be nervous to step up to anything exotic like Meze as I doubt my 60+ year old ears would appreciate the difference though they are a thing of beauty!

Big Focal fan here. My current set up is a pair of Focal Stellias driven by Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 DAC and Asgard 3 amp. Great combination!

My headphone listening includes:

Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier and Power Supply feeding:
Focal Clear open back and
Dan Clark AEON X open back

Away from home I use:

AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt feeding:
Sony WH-1000XM3 closed back, noise cancelling

Also, I can recommend Corpse Cable headphone cables.

I hate things in my ears … I often have my Aftershokz on as I can listen at a modest volume and still hear what’s going on around me.

I’d call them “low end” :slight_smile:

So, you like them?

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