Apr 15, 201965 views

Metal Music + Hi-Fi/Audiophile

Hi everyone, just looking for a little advice, but mostly discussion!   TL;DR Any advice or comments for someone interested in getting into higher end audio, that listens primarily to modern aggressive music, that is not always well recorded? What direction should I go?   I am someone who has just started to develop a strong interest in the world of Hi-Fi/Audiophiles, but has yet to really go "high-end". However, one thing I have noticed is that the vast majority of people in this hobby/industry listen to and evaluate different gear with primarily soft, easy listening music e.g jazz, classical, acoustic etc. Now, I have nothing against these genres of music at all, but as someone who listens to mostly metal, hardcore, rock; subjective reviews and opinions on gear are often not relevant to me.    So basically, what I'm asking is, does anyone have any advice on what direction I should go in order to find a great headphones (or speakers) for modern metal music? Sound signature wise, I want speakers/headphones that have hard hitting bass, that make bass drum kicks sound like a jackhammer,  incredible mid range that makes guitars scream and decent treble that is fast and detailed without being sibilant or splashy/tizzy sounding. When I'm listening to metal music, I want to have my teeth kicked in, I want to feel the bass in my bones and be blown away, I certainly don't want to be completely relaxed or lulled to sleep with something that is too smooth, neutral or laid-back sounding.    Currently, I almost exclusively use a fairly budget headphone-based setup. With a Fostex TH-600, a Schiit Modi 2 DAC, and an Objective 2 Amplifier. But looking for a stereo speaker setup and/or a higher-end headphone setup in the not too distant future. I just joined the SMSL SU-8 drop and I'm also looking to join the next THX AAA 789 drop as well. Metal-heads! Let's talk audio gear!
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LCD 2 Classic is excellent for sure! An I think it'll be what your looking for, the ZMF stuff is also nice for metal. Eikon particularly if you need a closed back
I'm rocking Wage War's Stitch as I type. I'm definitely something of a metal head. Current rig is Shanling M3s balanced out (SE out sounds like shite for some reason) to my Focal Elegias. Honestly I haven't found anything these cans don't do well, but I think for heavier rock genres I actually prefer my HD 6XX with a solid amp (MDxTHX 789 is a great choice if using balanced out). It's very forgiving of recording quality, where my Focals are great at picking out every detail, including those that are not intended to be there. The thing I think I like most about HD 6XX is that it brings the vocals closer where they are typically recorded somewhat recessed. If I'm listening to someone screaming at me, I want it to be in my face! Odd preference maybe, but it works for me. I suggest you take some tracks to your local stereo shop and put some HD 650s on your head for a bit. I can't argue with the rumble that comes from the Elegia though. You can't quite match that on the HD 6XX. It's high end can be a bit overbearing on heavily distorted tracks though. As far as speakers go, I have no great advice. I've always been a headphone junkie.
I honestly prefer my metal on speakers but the DT990, Elex and Grado sr325e probably get the most metal play of my headphone collection. I think the HP amp and DAC you are looking at will be a good step up. How much are you budgeting for your stereo rig, it's not as cheap to get into as headphones.
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The elex isn't bass light IMO, it's not bass boosted either and it's bass extension is almost unparalleled for dynamics in it's price range. Another advantage is I can get pretty similar performance from the Elex with just about any of my sources... from my LG v20 to my Cayin iHA-6 and everything in between. Grado I also wouldn't classify as "bass light" as it does have a boost in the bass frequencies but falls off hard after about 60-70 hertz so it isn't for tracks with deep bass content. Grado does guitars unlike any headphone I've found before or since. Grado is not super comfortable for the long haul and I wouldn't recommend it as one's primary HP unless you just really love the Grado sound. 10k is more than enough if you are talking a HiFi (stereo, not surround). Honestly I've not found a Klipsch south of $2.5k a pair that I liked and at that price there are other speakers I like more. KEF, B&W, Revel, Dynaudio and Elec Adante would get my money before Klipsh or JBL. When it comes to speakers buying will be different, you will probably get a better deal going to a dealer in person. I know a dealer with a standing offer for the Revel Performa3 F208's for $3500 (retails for $5k per pair). If you can find the same that will leave you 6.5K for pre-amp/amp and sources... you could also skip the pre-amp if you don't want to add a lot of analog sources and just go integrated DAC from PS Audio, Mytek or Benchmark. You need to tailor the amp purchase to the speakers as some will require monstrous amounts of power and others will be easily driven by a 30 watt Prima Luna tube amp. My towers aren't super efficient (sealed design) and can take 500 watts RMS, I run them with 400 watt monoblock amps but that would be extreme overkill for something like Klipsch.
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ElectronicVices
Thank you very much for your insight. It definitely seems like I need to go and audition some gear. Too risky to buy something so expensive blind.
Well Recorded: LCD2 Classic (probably the best all round), Amiron Home (wired) Poorly & Well Recorded: Meze 99, Vmoda M-100, DT 770, Argon, Night Hawk (really, really dark, but my favorite for bass heavy metal), TH-X00, TH-900. With out a budget it's hard to recommend specific headphones...You could be between $5k and $200 and find something enjoyable to listen to metal on. Ultimately I think the LCD2 Classic is the best place to start, maybe the TH-900 if you want to focus on bass cannons.
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You should really try the TH-900 then, but you'll most likely have to EQ the treble down. Another good option is the ZMF Eikon, and that shouldn't require any EQ at all. "Mid-fi" is such a nasty term, what it should really be called is the point of diminishing returns.
Keth
Thanks. Yeah I definitely need to try out the TH-900, I'd love to try the ZMFs but they don't exist anywhere here in Australia in-store. I understand what you mean about "mid-fi" I just meant it's pointless to keep spending money on more headphones that would just be a "side-grade" to what I already own.