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Multitest headphones – Headphone Heaven Fieldtrip

Prijs: € 3500

Multitest High End Hoofdtelefoons

Level 2: ‘die Tausender’


Multitest High End Hoofdtelefoons

We’re moving to the next category. Four headphones priced more or less the same. Your editors were already looking at each other when the first of this series was set up: “Woooooooooowwww!” This is a huge step closer to “headphone heaven.”

Audeze LCD 2 classic

Audeze (pronounced ‘Odyssey’), which originates from California, has not been around very long, namely since 2008. The brand specializes in planar headphones that look tough and chic. Beautiful materials, finish ditto.

We hear a really beautiful soundstage coming out of the Audeze LCD 2 Classic. Where headphones usually make the sound around the head, the Audeze succeeds in putting the sound in front of us. Wow. We hear music with punch, which is special for open planars. It will be because, although it is an open system, the membrane is somewhat closed off from the outside world. This can be tested by moving our hands to and from our ears. In very open systems, the sound changes even when the hands are a centimeter or 30-40 from the ears.

The Audeze LCD-2 Classic had that to a much lesser extent. One point of attention is the weight. It’s the toughest of the bunch and that’s a problem for some. It is also striking that Audeze nowhere mentions the weight of the LCD-2 Classic. We didn’t have any scales at hand, but estimated it at 550 grams clean on the hook. If you are considering purchase, make sure that the weight of the Audeze does not cause problems in wearing comfort even after a long listening session.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

We see a neat response. A rich mid and mid / low with a nice open high. Distortion is very low. Right from the start. Very handsome. We’re seeing minimal distortion towards the -80dB, which is insanely low. Striking is the dick at the end around 8kHz. This is also the case at 16 kHz (2nd Harmonic). Maybe a reflection or a rupture. But know that this is still at -60dB, which is 0.1%. Pulse behaviour is under control, but not as good as the better dynamic models.

Specifications Audeze LCD 2 Classic

Type Open Back
Driver Planar
Sensitivity 101 dB
Impedance 70 Ohm
Weight N.b
Cable length N.b
Price 799

Mr Speakers ÆON Flow Closed

We have also looked at this American before; you can read our review here. The first thing you notice is the weight. Certainly in comparison with heavy-weight Audeze we are dealing here with welterweight: 340 grams. In this class we expect an excellent finish and the ÆON Flow Closed certainly does not disappoint. The low weight and pleasant materials ensure that these headphones fit like a comfortable jacket. The manufacturer is the only one of the four ‘thousands’ to supply a number of filters that we can put in the auricle. These make a real difference, especially in soundstage/neutrality. Without a filter we hear some more dynamics. With filter, the frequency midrange dominates more; for lovers of acoustic music, classical chamber music or solo instruments this will be a welcome option. We already wrote it with the Final Sonorous III: accent on the mid frequencies leads to a more nuanced timbre.

The acoustic filters make a real audible difference. For a closed planar we would expect more punch/bas.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

We see equal performance here. An excellent distortion behaviour – low distortion – which does not reach the level of the Audeze in the low, but performs better in the high weather. Pulse behavior is tight. We can’t measure the response completely because of the lack of closure. However, the middle area shows a good response with a nice high-extension.

Specifications Mr Speakers Aeon Closed

Type Over-ear Closed Back
Driver Dynamic
Sensitivity 92 dB
Impedance 13 Ohm
Weight 340 grams
Cable length 2 metres
Price 899

Hifiman Ananda

The Ananda was recently launched by Hifiman as the successor to the Edition X V2 and is also in line with the new naming of Hifiman’s models; from numbers and letters to Sanskrit. The (of course) planar Ananda is intended to bridge the gap between high end music experience without necessarily needing a headphone amplifier. The names Hifiman gives to his products have a meaning. That’s why we searched for the deeper interpretation of the word Ananda for you:

Ananda refers to a joy that “changes and dances themselves in many ways to enthrall your mind and keep your attention occupied and interested forever.”

Back on the Alpha-Audio earth we hear the Ananda as a headphone somewhat similar to the MrSpeakers ÆON Flow Closed, but even more balanced. There’s a little more peace and quiet and overview. And in terms of sound signature beautiful family of the Hifiman line. A clear step forward compared to the Sundara, and by sober use of materials not as exclusive as its higher priced brand counterparts.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

A typical Hifiman curve, shall we say. A relaxed tuning. But read the review: open, beautiful imaging… fine balance. Technically a fine model, but technically not the high-flyer, although we are talking about marginal differences. Whether the distortion is -38 or -40 dB at 20 Hz you will not hear. And -70 or -72dB certainly not. It’s striking that Hifiman has it better under control high up than Audeze. We don’t see any breakup. Handsome. Pulse behaviour could be better.

Specifications Hifiman Ananda

Type Over-ear Open Back
Driver Planar
Sensitivity 103 dB
Impedance 25 Ohm
Weight 399 grams
Cable length N.b
Price 999

Campfire Audio Cascade

The Campfire is the only non-planar we test in this class. The driver is from Berylium, a material that a brand like Focal also uses in its top models of speakers and headphones.

In a short period of time (about two years) Campfire has built up a name with in-ears that are striking in terms of materials and design. The Cascade is the only over-ear headphones in the series. As it should be with conventional drivers, it has no problem with control. The Campfire is very sensitive compared to the other planars. The umpteenth proof that specifications have a very limited value, because the impedance and sensitivity of the Campfire Audio Cascade should match the Hifiman Ananda on paper. No, it’s not.

Very bassy, lots of punch. It fills our heads with sound. This is an ideal device for outdoors, on the road, on the smartphone or audio player. Headphone amplifier you don’t need, is not even desirable because then it just doesn’t sound pleasant anymore. These are in-ear headphones for those who don’t want in-ear/can’t tolerate/ugly.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

Yeah… not a high-flyer from a measurement point of view. Responses are not completely jolly because of the closure (he tends towards an on-ear which never ends well at Harriette). But the curve is going crazy towards the high, which is audible as well. We also see some restlessness in the impulse behaviour and the distortion is high in the lowlands – which is audible. Are you looking for neutral and clean… this isn’t your headphones.

Campfire Audio Cascade Specifications

Type Over-ear Closed Back
Driver Dynamic
Sensitivity 100 dB
Impedance 38 Ohm
Weight 383 grams
Cable length N.b
Price 849

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