Sub-$1000 Hi-Fi Headphones Gauntlet

So, as I'm happy to be on the Focal Elex, two headphones have jumped on my radar and now I can't make my mind, heh.

So I'm soliciting opinions on:

Focal Elex
Denon AH-D7200 (+$100)
Audeze LCD2 Closed Back (+$200, newly announced model)

I can't afford all three or two else i would not be asking 🙂

So should I stay on the Elex drop? Should I upgrade to either the Denon or Audeze?
100% upvoted

Jul 23, 2018
ZMF Ori > any Audeze in my opinion - similar sound but without the nasty upper mid/lower treble recession that butchers all realism for vocals and many instruments especially piano, creating an odd veil impossible for me to ignore. I prefer the ZMF Ori (and Blackwood) to even the LCD-4 which I owned a few months ago.
Similarly I think it destroys any Denon in every way, though if you prefer recessed mids with bass/treble that bleeds over them then you might prefer Denon.
Focal Elex is different than all of those, should win for classical music and jazz but I'd choose the HiFiMan Sundara over it.
Jul 20, 2018
What amp are you planning on using to power these headphones? The LCD2-CB is a power hungry monster.
Jul 21, 2018
Interesting. I guess it makes complete sense the lower the the output impedance the easier is for the cans to draw juice from. And I agree with you you can have the perfectly specd setup and your ears might not be impressed with it. I'm a big fan of the warmish and fullness sound tubes give. Given I have those two amps, and the 6xx and elex I can match each pair with an amp and that sounds best to me.
While the author is slightly controversial the content on this one is good:
I wanted tubes and low output impedance so I ended up with a Lyr (gen1). It's not the best with sensitive IEM's because of the gain but it works with just about every non-iem headphone I own. To get everything to play nice with my Cayin I have to use a balanced connection (.3 ohm output). The Gustard H10 is truly a jack of all trades with low output impedance and -12 to +12 gain options. I don't have experience with the LCD-2 line but I do own an HE-500 and I definitely prefer amps with 1w+ at it's 38ohm impedance.