Favorite Planar Magnetic Headphones under 2K

Seems like there is a lot of love for planars over 2k like the Rad-0, LCD-4, Susvara, etc.

I’d love to hear the community’s opinions on planars with the following parameters:

  • Less than 2k new
  • Assume that you don’t need to worry about the headphone amp (or speaker amp) or DAC, just the headphones under close to ideal conditions (like not a 20k setup, but a good one).
  • Regardless of price-to-performance as a factor (as long as it’s under 2k).

Just for fun, no wrong answers!

I have used ZERO of these, though I am considering a similar question and will say that these are the three I would probably most closely look at with a $2k hard stop.

  • Arya
  • RAD-0 used
  • Thekk used
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I think Arya ($1600) is the best planar under $2k. The first material step up from Arya, depending on your preference, would be Rad-0, Empyrean, or HE1000se, all of which cost considerably more. In that respect I think Arya punches objectively well above its weight and represents great value.

Alternatively, if you don’t like the Hifiman sound signature then the answer is probably LCD-X(C).

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Sendy Audio Peacock.

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Audeze LDC X or XC according to use and needs.
If you can stand the weight and the need for some EQ/tube rolling I believe they are a good choice.

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Interesting! I don’t know much about Sendy Audio or the Peacock. Not many reviews out there. What do you like about them?

I wrote a full review on head-fi. Look for the reviewer, hifiearspeakers. Here’s the link:

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This is a great review! Thanks for pointing it out, I don’t think I would have found it otherwise. I’d love to hear a headphone with such great soundstage.

So you have it over the he6 now?
How much do they weigh?
Do you eq them?

They weigh 578 grams and are very comfortable. They use a similar headband system as ZMF. They’re 2nd tier comfortable to me. But not as comfortable as the 800/800S or Empyrean, but then what is?

I do not use any EQ, because I prefer a smoother/less bright signature, and they have that in spades. You could certainly EQ up a few decibels in the upper mids and treble if you prefer more of a Hifiman and/or Focal signature.

So the HE6 is the only Hifiman model I haven’t heard (not counting their e-stats). I’ve owned almost all of their other models from the 400i, 560, Sundara, Ananda, Edition X V1/V2, Arya, HEK V1/V2/SE, and Susvara.

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I have a spending limit of $1,200 on all of my headphone purchases. So, my favorite headphone under $1,200 is the Monoprice M1570.

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I’ve only heard the few planars I’ve had, HE-4XX, Edition XX, Mobius, and got the Arya v2 a few months ago. The Arya is one of the few non-ZMFs that I plan to hold onto. For me they’re very comfortable, lightweight and are really so open I feel like there’s basically zero blocking of external noise which I like for a change from more cozy headphones. I do worry about there being problems but none after 4 months and I had no problems with my other HiFimans. I like them having an HD800-sized wide soundstage, which I actually sold once I got the Arya and took me about 30 seconds of listening to decide which one had to go. It seems every bit as detailed but just much more full sounding even aside from the greater bass quantity.

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LCD-3 for Jazz, R&B, and a few other genres
HE6se for soundtracks, orchestral, and quite a few others. Especially if modded and powered well.
LCD-X for a wide range of things.

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LSA HP-1 at $1200. Bought them in early Aug and to me they sound better than HE6SE v2.

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A lovely range of headphones from Audeze. Alas the weight of these headphones are a killer on the neck😔

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Everything has its negative point. I have a trained neck and I haven’t great problems with Audeze headphones but their weight is really important and it is something that stops many people from using them.

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For me it’s not Audeze’s weight on the neck but their side pressure on the jaw. Regardless of the sound, it’s hard to enjoy headphones when you experience constant pain when using them.

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Yeah I’ve had headphone pain before on the jaw and it is the worst.

I’ve found the Audeze LCD-2 to be heavy, but not uncomfortable, but I trained on the OG Eikon for a while before I ever got them :joy::joy::joy:

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The Ananda did that to me. I’m told the Arya is better because the cups swivel, but I’d have to try it to believe it.

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For me it’s OG HE-6, then Arya, then LCD-X 2021, then HE6se V2. I could be forgetting something in there.

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Out of curiosity, have you tried the LCD-3?

I’ve definitely heard good things about the OG HE6, but it seems like a difficult headphone to get ahold of.

I’d love to try out the Arya as well.

So many headphones, so little time and money :joy: