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Omega II or HD800


arnesto
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I was able to listen to both of them for about 30 minutes and I thought they both sounded good.

I think they are both in a similar league of headphone, being the best in each category. They are also around the same price.

I guess the HD800 has an advantage of having more amplifiers available to be used with it.

Has anybody had to chance to listen to both?

What are your impressions as far as detail, being musical, or other preferences?

I'm leaning towards the HD800, can anybody convince be that the Stax are better.

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At that level of price I think you should try to get some extended time with both, nothing anyone here says will be able to account for you personal tastes and preferences and ultimately you need to decide for yourself as to which will suit you better.

Having heard the 800 I would say personally I'd hit the O2 but that's just me.

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Having heard both seriously under-amped (the HD800 by my portable AE-2 and the OII by the SRM-1 MKII), I would recommend neither, they were both disappointing! :P

Or, to be serious, you should hear both for yourself - the HD800 ideally amped by some solid-state type (B22, BUDA, GS-X?) and the OII by the BHSE, WES, KGBH, KGSS, or SRM-717.

I would also recommend that if you're serious about headphones at this level, you should get a Serious Source first, if you don't have one already. Crap in, crap out!

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I have both and if I were forced to choose I would definitely keep the Omega II. While I do not have the BHSE, yet, I have heard it many times with my Omega IIs and this is my favorite headphone set up. With my KGSS I still prefer the Omega II but the margin is not as large as the HD800s do very well with the Balanced M^3.

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I happen to have both in my place right now, the O2 fed by a SRM717 and the HD800 mostly with a Beta 22, using the same sources. Forced to choose, I'd keep the O2. While the HD800 are excellent phones, probably the best open dynamics in current production, the O2 are more natural and "sounding like music" to my ears. However the HD800 have almost no burn-in, I got them 15 days ago and I've been away for 6 days, so they've been in use for less than 25 hours. Maybe the sound won't change very much, but my opinion might evolve eventually.

I think it's very important that you spend quality time with both, being sure you're using good sources and proper amps. Regarding overall cost, both would be about the same, good amps for the HD800 don't sell for peanuts and you could try getting a SRD-7 (pro or mk2) for the O2, which is a good way to drive them if you own a speakers power amp already.

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Is that balanced? I don't have much experience with the stock 1/4". Balanced sounds pretty amazing to me, though.

No doubt the hd800 sounds good mine is SE. When I listen to them I can tell something is missing but I'm still trying to quantify what that is.

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I think both need serious amping and serious sources to be worth owning. I agree with the thought that both are rather meh otherwise. IMO Lambda Nova Signatures are a far better listen with the big Stax amps (and possibly other lambdas, though I haven't tried yet), and arguably better value than what it would cost for a good amps + HD-800s. If you put Herbies tube dampers on the tubes in a 007t, you'll wonder why people think that Lambdas don't have bass. However, the HD-800 do have that soundstage-to-die-for if you listen at medium volume. You're looking at $1k or just over for a LNS + 717, 007t or T1 from Japan, and possibly 2.5x to 3x that or more for HD-800 and amp. Then there's a DAC. I'm a member of team "Your DAC is Never Good Enough For Stax" too.

My Stax rig with LNS, if I wasn't borrowing the 007t: $2.5k approx. all up, including cables.

My dynamic rig with HD-800's (same DAC): $4k approx. all up.

Crap, I just thought about how much I've spent in the last year. :palm:

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Both are good. In my system, the O2 is smoother and more refined, while the HD800 has a larger headstage/soundstage and has a bit brighter sound, which to me sounds more neutral and natural. Both have excellent details, among the best I've heard. I would guess the O2 might have a slight edge, but it's really very close and difficult to assess and may be reversed in other systems.

I really like the HD800's soundstaging. It's very coherent and everything is nicely layered and well-spaced in good proportions. The O2 has a small headstage/soundstage and all the sound images are smaller. But those images are superbly detailed and precise, you can almost imagine that you "see" the definition along the edges of each note.

An O2 + KGSS or an HD800 + Zana Deux are roughly in the same price range. I would probably pick the HD800 system. Some other dynamic amps, including balanced, could be options.

But if given the choice between an O2 + Single Power ES-1 or the HD800 + ZD, I would probably pick the O2 system. A better, balanced amp for the HD800 might shift the equation back, but that's outside the range of my experience.

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I'd never guessed that I'd say this, but listening to symphonic music with large dynamic swings, I'd say the the O2 fed by the 717 have an edge over the HD800/B22 portraying the "brute" impact of the orchestra when going full throttle.

Overall the O2 seem more refined and subtle, but the HD800 are still on low burn-in status, even for non believers less than 30 hours isn't enough to loose mechanically the drivers suspensions. Or not, who knows :cool:

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for me it's a no brainer, the HD800 wins. purely for comfort reasons. :)

This was the first reason why I just sold my O2 mkIs

Willing to bet it is cheaper to get The Absolute Best out of the HD800s than it is to get The Absolute Best out of SR-007s... so on that basis if you are not wed to electrostatics, I'd go HD800...

The second reason. I was always going to lust after the BHSE which I would never be able to justify buying. (No I have not heard one nor did I ever plan to for this reason.)

Both are good. In my system, the O2 is smoother and more refined, while the HD800 has a larger headstage/soundstage and has a bit brighter sound, which to me sounds more neutral and natural. Both have excellent details, among the best I've heard. I would guess the O2 might have a slight edge, but it's really very close and difficult to assess and may be reversed in other systems.

I really like the HD800's soundstaging. It's very coherent and everything is nicely layered and well-spaced in good proportions. The O2 has a small headstage/soundstage and all the sound images are smaller. But those images are superbly detailed and precise, you can almost imagine that you "see" the definition along the edges of each note.

An O2 + KGSS or an HD800 + Zana Deux are roughly in the same price range. I would probably pick the HD800 system. Some other dynamic amps, including balanced, could be options.

But if given the choice between an O2 + Single Power ES-1 or the HD800 + ZD, I would probably pick the O2 system. A better, balanced amp for the HD800 might shift the equation back, but that's outside the range of my experience.

I've spent a little time writing up my HD800/Zana Deux experience but haven't posted because Elephas you've actually captured 99% of my impressions. The O2 is very detailed and precise but sounded distant. The soundstage of the HD800/ZD beat out the O2/717 for me. I have only really experienced the bright treble of the HD800s on a couple of recordings so I think the music/recording matters there. Add all this up with how the HD800 fit and it was a no brainer for me.

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I would also recommend that if you're serious about headphones at this level, you should get a Serious Source first, if you don't have one already. Crap in, crap out!

Only one?! ;)

I have both the O2 and the HD800 at the moment. My plan is to keep both for a while. Soon I will have a B22 and a KGSS DX in the hizzouse and I think that should provide for some interesting head-to-head notes. However, if pressed right now to choose just one, I would choose the O2. I love that headphone. It's got magic in there.

But I like the HD800 very very much. By far my favorite dynamic can. And I can only assume that I will view it even more favorably once I get the B22.

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Only one?! ;)

I have both the O2 and the HD800 at the moment. My plan is to keep both for a while. Soon I will have a B22 and a KGSS DX in the hizzouse and I think that should provide for some interesting head-to-head notes. However, if pressed right now to choose just one, I would choose the O2. I love that headphone. It's got magic in there.

But I like the HD800 very very much. By far my favorite dynamic can. And I can only assume that I will view it even more favorably once I get the B22.

I think you'll love the HD800 with the B22, it has the "brutally revealing" character of the O2. I could live just with that.

What amp are you using with the O2 now? It will be very interesting for me knowing how fares the KGSS against it and other amps you may have tried.

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It will be very interesting for me knowing how fares the KGSS against it and other amps you may have tried.

You and me both! Right now I am Stax ampless. But so far I've used the 007tii and the SRM1/mk2 with my O2. Of those, I much preferred the 007t. In fact, I quite liked the 007t. I thought it did a nice job with the O2, but an even better job with Lambdas. With the O2, I could tell it was not pushing them hard enough.

At meets, I've heard the O2 out of the Woo GES, and while that was also very nice, it just wasn't powerful enough. Similar to the 007t. Whenever I've heard the O2 out of a KGSS, I end up saying, "oh yeah, THAT's how they're really supposed to sound." Of course, then I heard a BHSE and I realized, "oh..." But one does have to make mortgage payments, right? :palm:

Anyway, to end my rambling, I will definitely post my impressions.

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