Help me curate my modest HP collection

Howdy again,
First order before we get down to business; I’ve been posting a lot a questions past couple of days. Community helped without hesitation. I want to express utmost gratitude for that. I do feel like I owe an explanation though. I’ve been researching, learning, and formulating opinions for months now. This is the only forum that didn’t A: start bickering like children, B: Throw measurements at me with no regards to real world experience, C: No condescending attitude. Thank you!

Now the fun stuff. I currently own and LCD-GX, 6XX, Elex (ordered, but not arrived, can still cancel). iSine 20. Stack is a Heresy/Modi 3+ with a lyr 3/BF2 on order as well. I want a collection that includes planar and dynamic phones. I’d like engaging “hey listen to me!” collection and a more relaxing kick-back pair as well. I also need a daily driver for casual, non-competitve gaming. Priority for this would be exciting with a decent sound stage but immersion is more important than soundstage width.

6XX: Does the Elex make this redundant? I like the idea of a high ohm HP to pair with a pure tube amp in the future. I have an opportunity to sell this right now for a decent price to a friend that doesn’t want to wait for drop.

LCD-GX: I’m thinking of swapping this for an LCD-X or an Arya. I want to keep a planar in the collection. I also like slamming hp, but also a large soundstage. This in particular has me thinking I’ll need an Audeze and the Arya. Am I nuts? How is the low-end of the LCD-X compared to the GX? I also like slamming hp, but also a large soundstage. This in particular has me thinking I’ll need an Audeze and the Arya. Am I nuts? Arya seems to have a very large stage, but I can’t remember who, said they hate it for gaming?

Elex: Did I cut a corner with this purchase? Should I have gotten the Clear instead? I liked the idea of $50 pads and more engaging than the clear, not to mention being a third of the cost right now.

The only future purchases I can foresee, that I’m not ready to do now is possibly a ZMF HP and maybe a pendant amp or another good tube amp. BTW, ZMF has a few b-stock autuer and Aeolus right now…would you throw them in some where?

I hope this was cohorent. I’ll edit as necessary. This was a very “stream of thought” post.

Thanks again!!!

P.S: I’m already typing up my experience of going from looking for gaming headset to replace a shp9500 to …wherever the hell I am right now :slight_smile: . If nothing else, it will be a self-reflection piece I’ll appreciate.


I can’t speak for GX in comparison to other Audeze cans but I do have an Elex and HD 600, imo Elex does NOT play well with Tube amps… I find even totl tubes make Elex have an uneven bass response and really exaggerate it’s flaws

I enjoy Elex the most on Solid State, now the flip side is the HD 600 actually improves quite a bit on the very same tubes that throw Elex into dis-array

The issue is if your splitting your funds between both the Tube and solid state system your going to have two Good systems rather than one GREAT system.

That and you’ve opted to go for a Hybrid Tube amp which I don’t think will compliment Elex as much it will HD 600… in fact I have a Lyr 3 and it’s a LOT of fun with HD 600!

Still, if I were in your shoes I might sell all three headphones you have to have more funds on hand to invest into a single ZMF Auteur, that model was one of the strongest all around great headphones in the ZMF line up and I think it’ll out shine all three models.

An rather than buy second hand or B-Stock reach out to Zach to see what combination of Wood and Pads will best suite your tastes for your Headphone

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Make your friend wait. HD650/6XX is a curious headphone in that once you find a chain that pushes through the “veil”, it transforms from a “yeah, that’s pretty good” headphone to a “holy WTF awesomesauce is this?!?” headphone. Like Bifrost 2 > ECP T4.

No. I think the Elex is interesting, but it can bite you. Fun, but it’s like an agressive dog. You gotta keep a constant eye on it, and some days you just don’t want to risk putting it on your head.

No clue, haven’t heard the GX. I don’t care for HFM and most Audeze. HFM tuning doesn’t suit my preferences, and Audeze is usually some degree of an ergonomic and/or sonic mess. So, I’ll shut up now.

If financials are a hurdle for Aeolus, then sell everything you have now and get these. Go now. Don’t stop at red lights. (Only partially kidding…) If not, these are the ZMF gateway drug. They pair well with just about any chain. With Aeolus pads, they probably slam harder than anything you have now. With Universe Suede Perforated pads they take on a more neutral oriented sound that still has the ZMF house sound musicality. They scale with great tube amps. They are comfortable. These are a no brainier in my book.

It was a lot easier to recommend the Pendant when it was $1700, or however much it was. It’s $2k now. Still, it is an amazing amp with the right tubes. Nabbing those will run you another $400-$600. Zach’s NOS tube selection isn’t bad either, and are far better than the new production JJs. (Join @MRHifiReviews on YouTube stream this Friday for his thoughts on Pendant.) With that said, you can occasionally find DNA Starletts and EC ZDS amps on sale used for under $2K, and frankly those are just way too good to rule out.

DAC upgrades… Honestly, Bifrost 2 is just too good not to put into a developing endgame chain. Are there better DACs? Sure. Are those DACs anywhere close to $699? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: No.

Hope that helps.


I really like ZMF Headphones on the DNA amps, much more than even the Pendant

Really with what’s been said here I think maybe getting a ZMF would be smart to pair with your Lyr 3

An at some point you can upgrade to a nicer tube IF you’d like. Personally I’m not a fan of the Pendant at that 2k mark… around $1500 second hand MAYBE but even then your getting dangerous close to second hand DNA prices… the EC amps are also pretty fantastic but I wouldn’t buy one simple because getting it serviced isn’t easy these days VS the better customer support imo from well DNA

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That’s solid. I can get behind that. @TylersEclectic and quite a few others here can probably attest to that pairing, if you have questions @Morgrim.


Well, this changes my formula a lot. I kinda expected ZMF would be endgame, but I figured it would be the verite so I never really did much digging. If the Autuer is good enough I’m open to spending that money now. I know good enough is relative, so I’ll need comparisons between Auteur and Verite. Back in the dark ages (before I joined this community and was much more naive, not that I’m not now) Autuer wasn’t in DMS or Joshua headphone tier list, but the Verite was. It’s my bad for ignoring that.

Regarding the b-stock, it seems to be fully customizable with pads, is it the preselection of the wood that is bad? I’m just trying to save a bit lol.


If it were me I’d pair a harder wood with Lyr 3 and BiFrost2

Verite certainly improved on Auteur but not enough to merit the BIG difference in cost imo, overall I found Verite had a touch more air on top and was overall faster with slightly better detail, so mostly “technically” better in terms of music enjoyment Auteur’s slightly fully bass might be more pleasurable for your tastes

That said I still posted this review after hearing Veritie a few dozen times at shows…

Wow…I’m really digging this idea lol. I think I may look more into the b-stock because I like the wood color more, but we’ll see.
Only concern I have is the practicality of a zmf being a daily driver and used for gaming. It seems below it’s stature lol.

So consensus seems to be ditch the Arya idea and grab an Aeolus. I won’t have a planar unless I keep either the X or GX. Oh well…

Honestly game on something like a AKG K701/Q701 K812 work super well for gaming

That thread is a gold mine, but lot’s of good options that are great for gaming and maybe not as ideal for just music,

Tho tbh I’m also am “immersion” guy over FPS style gaming headphones and I feel a hardwood Auteur would do plenty fine for immersion. It sounds quite balanced not too too much of anything to really throw you for a loop

Tho I game on a some what dry sounding Ether CX for a closed back and then the polar opposite a Koss 95X [with slight mods] for an open back

Both are equally immersive and while I did not have 95X when I had Auteur they both strike me as being well balanced, with Auteur having better bass and overall dynamic contrast

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I’m curious why you feel you have to have a planar? I have a planar. I’ve owned lots of planars. Just curious.

There is the Mobius, I guess. It ticks the game checkmark.

I game with my music listening headphones. Auteur does well enough for me.


Elex actually ended up being my second favorite headphone on the Feliks Echo. It was in top spot until the Aeolus arrived. Just needs gear leaning warm not having OI so high that sound gets too thick.:wink: Focal will also show off the Utopia on the Euforia OTL. Jsim grabbed one for his Empyrean, a planar! I think it’s always good to email the people you’re thinking of buying from to check synergy.


Okay. First of all, Lyr 3 + Bifrost 2 is going to work out pretty well for all the stuff ya’ got. I love that amp. It’s very kind sounding drawing you in with little hints of holographic character. Just a bit here and there to make everything coherent. You have awesome headphones capable of scaling way up, so I’d look at the Lyr as a point to help decide what you want to lean into more.

No! Both are great headphones for different reasons. Couldn’t convince me to sell either one, especially after finding an agreeable OTL. Can only imagine how things will be moving up later down the road

MrPhotography is actually going to be doing a comparison between the Elise and Pendant soon. He goes by Marcello Rostagni on Youtube. Recently live-streamed with Zach from ZMF! :grin:


Summary: Thank you all for the discussion! Looks like I’ll be getting a ZMF and likely selling the LCD. I’m kinda glad so many hps survived the culling…my wife not so much. At least now I can say “see? the internet guys agree with me! Matter of fact, they said I need another one!”.

Anyone got a spare couch? I’ll tube roll for free