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I was wondering the same thing. Stax are more expensive though.
If you want a system from STAX with comparable performance, you're looking at the SRS-5100 system, https://staxaudio.com/system/stax-srs-5100
We have samples of several STAX systems at the office and A/B'd them through the course of developing this collaboration. Even at the SRS-5100 level, we found the low-end response less engaging than the ESP/95X. YMMV etc, but IMO, this is the best overall headphone system you can buy for $500 all in.
I'd take this over a 6XX + CTH personally.
Hm, I see. Thanks for the response Will. I'm going to do some research, these are very tempting though haha.
I've been really contemplating a set of Audeze LCD-2 fazor, used... Never heard e-stats, how would you compare these two??
Just when I thought I was at endgame.... The only thing that I told myself I needed was an electrostatic for a good deal. Also, is this because I joined and then left the ksc75X drop twice because I was trying to be good and wait for a ksc75 wireless? Well played.
If you're going to get an Audeze, go for the LCD-2C. It was our collaboration project with Audeze that we spec'd and designed based on the same feedback process we use for all of our collaborations. They decided to take the design and sell it themselves (an unfortunate choice, but theirs to make), but it's the best combination of all the LCD-2 itterations. You don't want a fazor pair... most credible reviewers agree that exasperated the "planar wall" (a traditional resonance issue in planar designs).
Far as this system vs an LCD2 Fazor goes... this system is going to be better on every dimension sound-wise (only caveat being the "planar slam" bass characteristic, that's a preference call) and way more comfortable. People tend to miss the weight spec on planars but the LCD2 Fazor comes in around 500g (they don't list the weight on the page... wonder why...) vs the 95X which weighs ~270g (both of these are measured without the cable).
I find it pretty impossible to wear Audeze headphones for a long period of time.
It's also important to understand your ampliciation for the LCD2. I don't know what the community fav amps are for that these days, but I'd be surprised if the recommended amps start under $500.
Were I in your shoes, I would take the 95X, especially considering the lifetime warranty vs ~2 years with Audeze.
Wow, that's interesting about the collaboration...
Yea it's one of the risks of our process. The only recourse is legal action, and overall I'd prefer to focus on making the best products for our community, even if that means making some of the best products for other brands accidentally.
Gotta say though... they could have changed the pattern of perforations on the headband. We designed it to match our Amp/DAC cases but I didn't see anybody pick up on that so /shrug.
Apologies for the total ignoramus question, but could the Sennheiser HDVD-800 work as the DAC part or else what would be your recommendation? I have the money, not necessarily the brains :^)
Hah always a struggle. It would work, but you'd have to buy an adapter and if you're buying it just for the DAC portions there are better ways the spend your money. Are you looking for a DAC just for this or are you fitting something into a broader system?
Primarily for this, but I also wouldn't mind something more flexible, though I don't have a plan for a system. Source would be from a Windows PC.
The Topping D50 would be a good choice and affordable, and you can find it on Massdrop for the best price when available.
You've got a lot of options at the ~$1500 price point (based on the HDVD800), but you don't need to spend that much to get the best price to performance combination with the ESP95X.
These days the community is focused on discrete R2R DACs.
This is our R2R DAC, it'll be available again soon (hit the request button to get notified)
And here's another option that's well regarded by the community:
Both are around $350, so plenty of room in your budget for a great dynamic/planar oriented amp and headphone.
Can't say I'm happy to hear that an Audeze was within the grasp of the community here, only to be snatched back.
I really don't like waiting around for collaborative products honestly, but there are some things that are worth the wait. I'm really disappointed that Audeze decided to remain lofty to the Massdrop community.
Well I mean, the product is available for purchase exactly as we designed it (new headband, headband dot design, OG connector sockets, and no fazor) :
Granted, they're selling it for $100 more than we had planed to, but you can still buy it if you want to know what the Massdrop x Audeze LCD-2 would have sounded like.
Well I had no doubt they would be selling it for more, regardless of the actual price, but what I meant was... they decided to abstain from interacting with us here or being a part of the community and instead took the product and sold it as their own.
I think that really says something about them as a company, especially after going through the process of designing it with you guys... I'm driving at more than just where you can obtain the headphones.
Regardless, thanks for trying to make it happen.
Thanks, appreciate the pointer.
looks more like Stax SRS-3100, Stax SRS-5100 look a tier better with better amp.
Wow, just thinking of buying the lcd-2c. But I think I’m quite dissapointed of how they treat you as collaborator. I think it reflects who Audeze is as a company, because a company is its people, and people is the company. Really planning to buy the isine20 next month, but I guess I‘d rather choose this as I also do really want to try some e-stats. But the thing is, the tax (customs) will be so expensive here in Indonesia if the product is more than 100 USD, about 30-50 percent of the product price, it’s crazy. unless the value of this product can be under-declared, it would really hard to get this cost wise.
I'm unfamiliar with popular opinion around the 5100 vs 3100, but I find the difference in the lower end STAX systems (sub 007 and 009) to be more preference based or linear. For me it's like HD6XX vs HD58X vs HD600 than obvious superiority. That's on the headphone side at least. The STAX amplifiers have a stronger progression IMO, and I feel estats in general react strongly to different amplifiers and sources.
Salamat pagi, I dont think our experience with the LCD2C project should impact how you choose to experience the hobby. If you feel strongly about that, you could focus on buying a pair via the secondary market. IMO this supports the community and the product more than it does the company, and you could avoid import tax by buying from someone domestically.
What part of Indonesia are you from? I lived in Yogyakarta for a couple years as a kid.
On that note, I thought CeeTee mentioned potentially offering a Stax converter to use with their energizers. Any more info on that?
Nothing new to report, hopefully we have an update before launch.
Alright, maybe I can try to find a secondsry market for the lcd2c. But what I meant about my concern of the tax is when I buy the esp95x from massdrop, or anything above 100 usd from massdrop. The customs here is so expensive of you can not under declare the value of the product, it’s such a pity because I do really want to join a lot of drops. I asked the community once whether it is possible to under declare and the answer I got is that it can not be done because it is illegal. Anw, I live in Jakarta, but was living in Purbalingga, Central Java since I was born until high school, then move to jakarta.Really? Didn’t expect you to have ever lived in Indonesia before?! Hahaha. Why’d you live in Indo when you were a kid?
Hah yep, lived in indo for ~4 years while growing up. My parents work took us there, specifically my mom was writing some academic work on the difference between how Indo approaches Islam and how most of the middle east approaches Islam. It was a crazy time to live there (we moved in at the start of 1998, just after the collapse) but I'm always glad for the experience of living in such a beautiful country and diverse culture. We used to go to Pacitan for family vacations, and I'm hoping to visit again soon.
Far as declaring, yes, we cannot declare something below the value we sell it for. Many of our overseas members work with freight forwarders in the US to reduce the costs associated with shopping internationally.
Hmmm quite an interesting work you mom had. Wow really?!?! In 1998?!?! It was a really crazy and frightening time for people on that year, especially the May riot. Thankfully you're still fine until now and here you are, creating the most awesome community ever. Without you, maybe Massdrop will never be created. Btw, just curious regarding audio, what do you think is the best tube amp under 800 USD? Because right now, I'm really considering to buy tube amps.
Yea it was a pretty crazy time, but it seems normal when you're a kid. The riots were pretty consistent, I remember it being something we'd have to casually factor into driving times, "better leave an extra 30 minutes ahead because of the riots". We were never the target of any violence and I didn't see too much violence, it seemed like despair was a stronger force than anger in those riots. May was another story... but the past is the past.
Massdrop would probably exist without me, but it would be a very different Massdrop. We started with Audiophile as the first community after we got banned from all the Audi forums because I knew the community well. I registered on Head-Fi when I was 11 or so (HD555 was my first decent headphone). Then we got banned from Head-Fi for years, but no need to waste time rehashing old stories.
Tube amps under $800 huh? Lots of good options, but I'd go for an upgraded Bottlehead SEX. It's a great amp to begin with, but you've got room in your budget to shop ebay and other secondary markets (sorry if you're more limited because Indo) for an upgraded one with nicer wood work.
All this 'Audeze story' stinks so bad. Not only it seems they were dishonest with Massdrop, but obviously also with us, headphone fans (and the Massdrop community). Truly horrible; l am perplexed and absolutely put off. Never will l buy an Audeze product again.
Wow, I can't believe they actually pulled this. I was eyeing the LCD2, and in no way will I now buy it. Thank you for sharing this story.
Are the R2R DAC much better than the Massdrop LCX Amp/dac? If so why.
Hi Will, just want to say thanks again for this thoughtful and insightful advice... Audeze had a year end sale on the LCD-2C and I took the plunge. I was hoping maybe you could elaborate more on the background behind the 2C design since you mentioned your involvement. I'm a dork for these kind of things and just love reading about design of audio equipment. Specifically, I heard the goal of the 2C was to recreate the original LCD-2 sonic signature; is that true, and what were the key aspects of that sound in terms of frequency response and hardware? Interesting to me that the 2C intentionally ditches the fazor element since Audeze touts it so much! Is there a transient or phase response characteristic that it interferes with, in terms of the original LCD-2 sound? Thanks again for your thoughts!! :)
i just purchased these as my first foray into headphones. The power supple replaces the need for an amp; I just need a DAC, right? Or do I need both still?
Jumping straight into electrostats huh. You need a dac , no amp since electrostats use an energizer.
“Jumping straight in” ... should I have buyer’s remorse? Either way, Any DAC recommendation? I don’t see many on here sans amp?
No buyers remorse haha. Most people( or at least me) don't start the headphone hobby with electrostats. You will go down the rabbit hole and get stax probably. But I use a JDS labs el dac at the moment. There are many options out there.
@Briankan no buyer's remorse here. They sound great.
Dac wise, I don't know. Heard them on a Schiit Yggdrasil dac with Stax SRM1-Mk2 amp and it was amazing.