Which headphone would you choose for Lina?

I’m using a Lina stack (all 3 components) and have Focal Utopia.

Looking to add another pair of headphones and wondering which you all might have feedback on or real world opinions of…

Spirit Torino Pulsar
HFM Susvara
Dan Clark Stealth

Others?

Thanks!

The Stealth are great but benefit from more power (I use the Bartok APEX).

The Meze Elite are simply fantastic with dCS! And you see them paired a lot at shows.

Everything I’ve read about the Susvara leads me to believe they could be good but also benefit from more power (more than the Stealth).

Each of these will sound different. At this level they are all fantastic, but each in their own ways.

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Meze Elite seconded here - I have a pair and they’re just sublime and supremely comfortable to wear - I can walk around for hours with them plugged into my A&K SP3000.

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If you have a problem which needs solving you won’t do it by throwing a lot of money at it and hoping the result will be magic. Decide what it is about the Utopias ( which version?) that you want to improve on. That should give a rough idea of the type of headphones that may interest you.

What type of music mainly interests you? Headphones are often voicced to enhance particular genres. For example, those having pronounced “V” or “smile” frequency responses are not likely to appeal to, say, classic jazz or classical music listeners.

Finally, real life experience suggests that SQ is not necessarily the final arbiter. Comfort is. That depends on your head and ear shape which none of us can comment on. Basically if uncomfortable, no matter what they cost or what five star reviews there are, after the novelty has worn off you will simply not want to use them. This makes buying unheard risky. It is often, however, the only buying option available.

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Audeze LCD-5: The stock tuning can be divisive but the LCD-5 accepts EQ better than any TOTL headphone.
ZMF Caldera: Great headphone that can be tuned by rolling pads. If looks matter the Caldera is available in a variety of woods and finishes.

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Appreciate the feedback. Not trying to solve a problem, simply looking for a second set of ‘phones that will be markedly different in sound from the Utopias but that I might still enjoy for their unique approach.

I’d describe my listening as any and all genres of music. So versatility is good but so too, is a pair that works best for a specific genre(s).

I look at this like I look at my speakers. There were others I liked as much as the ones I chose but if room allowed, I’d have a few pair :smiling_face:

But with headphones, I can accomplish this. Maybe one pair I love for hip hop and jazz and another suits my preferences for classical and country… or something like that :slight_smile:

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I tried the Susvaras using a Bartok headphone output and they weren’t very happy. The Lina might work better.

I’m still very happy with my Stax SR-X9000, however these require a decent Energiser to make them work.

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Susvara: ultra confortable, for long listening sessions, the sound is classy, never fatiguing, a pleasure, every time.

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The Utopia has a relatively small soundstage which can become fatiguing at times. With the Cardas Clear Beyond HP cable it becomes much wider and it sounds like the 18 speaker surround sound system in my car with the vocals not as much in my face anymore. The Lina adds more texture and a lush sound to it that the DAC in my car cannot produce. For more clarity and detail I added the Cardas Clear Beyond XLR interconnects. I get the benefits of other TOTL headphones with the punchiness and dynamics of the Utopia. It’s sounds so good that as a second HP I bought another Utopia22 when a dealer needed to clear stock and offered it at a steep discount brand new.

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My Susvaras and Lina amp are a magnificent combo. Rossini Apex DAC at 6V out, Lina on high gain, and I never need to go beyond 11 o’clock on the Lina.

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I have a similar closed-back requirement in the bedroom and ended up digging out my Oppo PM-3s. These only cost $400 back in the day but with a smidge of parametric EQ above 1kHz I too couldn’t be happier.

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I had Susvara on full Lina stack. Sounded good, but I eventually upgraded the Lina amp to a Riviera aic10. Nothing better than Susvara off tubes and speaker taps imho.

I’m not a fan of the Stealth and Pulsar as headphones, so cannot recommend them.

For awesome synergy with the full Lina stack, with a different flavour to your Utopia, I would recommend auditioning: ZMF Caldera, Meze Elite and the Erzetich Charybdis (hidden gem!).

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Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for! :slight_smile:

Erzetich Charybdis - never heard of these! Will have to learn more about them.

Me either! https://audiolifestyle.pl/audio-video/erzetich-charybdis/

So I got the Meze Elite and after a few hours of listening, I feel like they are exactly what I was looking for.

Different from the Utopia in many ways but also exceptional.

Of course, only time will tell, but as of now I am super happy to have them to complement my Utopias :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for the ideas and suggestions.

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Care to comment on the differences (says an original Utopia owner since 2018).

Is your Utopia the original or mk2 version (which I suspect I would not like based on what I have read)

Mine are the newer Utopia. I’ll share some longer thoughts in a few days once I’ve had a chance to truly dig in.

That said, the 2022 Utopia vs the Meze Elite is, to me, truly clinical vs no muss/no fuss enjoyment.

The Utopia allow every nuance to be heard and have a meticulous way of detailing things. In an enjoyable way, if such listening is enjoyable to you.

The Meze are more “sit back and enjoy the show”. Deep bass, fuller sound, details be damned in a few instances as compared to the Utopia but they are more “fun”, if a subjective word can be used.

I love the differences between the two and can see using my FU’s (I had to, lol) to listen to jazz and classical and acoustic etc. while my Meze would be more suited for Pop and hip hop and anything of the like.

That’s my initial thoughts, anyway.

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Glad you’re enjoying the Elites.

I listen to mine (ambient, space, electronic) and the DCA Stealth (acoustic guitar, piano) in basically the same way you listen to Elites and Utopias.

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Thanks for the follow up!