Thursday, December 5, 2013

Audio Technica AD2000x


Audio Technica AD 2000xX
______________________________________



Prelude
Big thanks to Head Fi Member Asr for allowing me to give these a listen! I already own a DT 880 that I enjoy for at home listening; non the less it’s great to hear the high end Model for Audio Technica’s AD Series!

Pros: Organic and lush sound. Fantastic highs
Cons : Lack luster bass, 

Build [4/5]
Feels sturdy, I again miss the wing system that’s implemented on my W1000x, but the  quality is top notch. The metal head band has a nice snap to it. Overall a well built headphone. Sadly though, after a few hours the AD2000x began to clamp a little to tightly against my ears. They began to get uncomfortable after a while. 

Presentation
The box was very nice, a simple design though. A lot less… showy than some of the lower priced headphones I’ve gotten. Non the less, simplicity is always a plus!

Specs
Type Dynamic Open Back
Driver Diameter 53mm
Frequency Response 5-45,000
Maximum Input Power 2W [2,000 mW]
Sensitivity 103dB m/W
Impedance 40
Weight 265g
Cable 3.0m
Connector Detachable 1/4”

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [5/5]
Very comfortable, as an open back headphone they do not isolate. With regards to the fit, they do fit nicer than the AD 900X, which had a tendency to slide around me head a little. These have a touch more clamp and fit very nicely.

Price to Performance : [3.78/5]

Sonic Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> AudioGD NFB 10ES2]

Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Balanced Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.

Sound
           
          Sound Signature- Smooth and relaxed sound. Good clarity and sense of depth and space! 

Dynamics- Tight and transient. 
Timbre- Natural, with a   slight colored warmth. 
Speed-  Quick, good sense of speed, very enjoyable with quick paced music. 
          Sound Stage: Nice width and depth, depth slightly veiled by forward mids. 

Highs-  Spectacular, nice sense of energy and detail. Neither forward nor recessed. Very natural timbre! 
Mids- Slightly forward, with very organic body. The mids also have a great detail retention and speed! 
Bass- While the bass like the mids, have a great organic body. Yet I find it lacking in deatil, the speed is good but again... it lacks a sense of tightness. 

Compared to the DT 880, I felt the AD2000x really failed with the bass. It was too relaxed... not overly forward or exaggerated but just to organic for me. I prefer'd the drier tighter more aggressive bass on the AD900X 

While is was not my preferred sound signature, aside from the bass, I really enjoyed the AD2000x. It has great mids, and a very nice spacial presentation. Additionally, the organic sound is complimented by wonderful details and a nice spacious sound.   

Amplification Need or Suggested – I enjoyed the AD2000X with my Audio GD Amp. When used with my HM801 I noticed a similar amount of detail as well, although I did prefer the AD 2000x with a very clean and lean amp! 

Metallica [Master Of Puppets] Welcome Home (Sanitarium) {16bit 44100hrz sample}
        Metal

The AD2000x is very awesome with metal. Again nice snap on the highs, and the forward nature of the mids combined with the speed results in a very taught and tactile guitar riff!

Speed-. Sufficiently quick!
Highs-  Starting to sound a tad recessed, yet smooth with a nice edge on them. As well a nice air.
Mids-  The shining star here,  good tactility on the guitars and vocals!
Bass-  Sufficient, pretty middle of the road presentation in this track.

I do like the DT 880 presentation here, there’s an equal amount of tactility to the mids, but with more crunch and edge on the guitars. In addition the bass has a nicer body and a little more impact on the DT 880.  The drier sounding DT 880 suits this metal track a little more nicely in my opinion.

Matisyahu- [Live At Stubb’s]- Exaltation
          Live Reggae –listening for the little bits of extra noise that are often present in live music [detail retention]

I enjoy the presentation; mids are slightly forward so the guitars stand out nicely. Bass response is good as well, taught and punchy with plenty of body and good decay.  Vocals have a nice body as well, and the drums have a nice snap to them. Although the drums do from time to time feel a little drowned out, although ironically the high hats are excellent, smooth, airy and with a great attack.



Highs-  The highs have are excellent, great energy and nice air.
Mids- Slightly forward, vocals take center stage with the guitar fleshing out nicely behind the vocals.
Bass- Very taught, with a nice touch of organic body and good decay.

Compared to the DT 880 is a little un fair, the balanced DT 880 has better mirco details, and an overall balanced sound. Still mirco details aside. Both headphones show a nice level of clarity, with different presentations. The DT 880s has a drier sound, with the AD2000X a little more organic. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Logitech UE 6000











A Head-Fi member recently asked me what I thought about these headphones, and so seeing as he was intently interested in them I decided to purchase them and give them a listen first hand! There are known to be very bass friendly as well.

I have found with the Active Noise Cancelling Circuit On, the UE 6000 has a better sound quality… quiete literally everything “opens up” as compared to the sluggish and muffled sound of the UE 6000 with the ACN Off.  Comparisons will be made against my w1000x. 

Pros:  Easy to Drive,  adjustable sound 
Cons : needs batteries, active noise cancellation lack luster 

Build [5/5]

I love the build quality on these, very sturdy. Nice metal hinges for the folding mechanism in addition to  a very nice sturdy feel to the entire headphone. The ear and Head pads are nice and comfy!

Metal Hinges
Presentation [5/5]

I love the looks of the headphone! And the packaging was excellent! These came in two boxes!

The first box is simply the product display.

The second a very classy smaller Black Box with UE in silver Ink.


Inside the smaller simple black box, was the headphone in a small UE Mesh Carrying case.



Specs
Type - Around the Ear
Driver Diameter- 40mm
Frequency Response- 20-20k
Maximum Input Power Un specified
Sensitivity 97 db Spl
Impedance 50ohm
Weight Un Specified [But very light imo]
Cable ~2m
Connector 3.5mm

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
They look great, and are very comfy. The passive isolation was… rather sub par. Very easy to use non the less, despite being “around the ear” they do fit over and or around my ears very easily! Additionally, as mentioned before they are very comfortable!  How ever, after about 4-5 hours these start to hurt my ears a little. 

Price to Performance : [5/5]
For the price, the Logitech UE 6000 offers an awesome sound for a great price! It's best feature is the on board amplifier, which allows the UE 6000 to offer 2 different sound signitures! Fun when you want it, and balanced when you need it! 

Complimentary Genre:  Works well with most!


Sound [4/5]

The UE 6000 offers a complimentary sound signatures  with the ACN off. You get a smooth balanced sound. Nice details and a good sense space. Additionally, with the ACN on, the sound changes to a more V shaped. The detail retrieval is a little better with the ACN on due to a slight increase in the treble. Either way, the UE 6000 offers a great sound, regardless of the ACN the sound stage has a nice sense of width and depth. 

However, the one draw back of the UE 6000 is that is does not scale well with more expensive audio gear. I tested it with both my on board PC dac, and my fully balanced Audio GD NFB 10ES2. With each the detail retrieval and sound stage where very similar  I didn't notice much of a difference! Again, in my opinion, this is due to the use of the on board amplifier! 




Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hifiman HE 400 Balanced Revist



The Balanced HE 400, 

Mine has a  Toxic Cable Hybrid Silver/Copper 4pin XLR cable and Lambskin Leather J$Pads on it.

Some back story, I was the happy owner of a Beyer Dyanmic DT 990 for the longest time, the 990 boasted clean, clear and open sound with some killer bass! Well guys, the HE 400 is literally the spiritual successor to the DT 990! It took all of it's flaws and improved each and every one of them! While maintaining the sound style of the Dt 990. A deep heavy hitting bass, high energy and detailed highs, with mildly recessed upper mids. The biggest improvement of the HE 400, is the Sub bass and 3D imaging! 

The build quality is really top notch! I am a big fan of the leather on metal construction here!

Comfort is nice as well, although to be fair the after market ePads make a big difference. The real lambskin leather is soft and not prone to sweat. It also diffuses some of the pressure form the head band.

The Sound [4/5] 

Movies [4/5]

The open back design give you a great sense of imaging. A very 3D sound. For viewing movies it's very satisfying and very cool. The OrthoDynamic design means the bass is very clean and fast, which is totally cool when you experince a super tight impactful explosion from behind your head! Again the 3D sense of the sound and bass response are very cool for movies! I do find that for vocals, it's not m favorite. As voices can be a little recessed at times, scenes with a lot of gun fire might not be the most understand able. Again, all those super realistic direction GUN SHOT sounds will skew the voices. Non the less, these really immerse you into any scene! 

Music [4/5] 

To start with the tonal balance is one of contrast, a nice deep bass and low mids contrast a slightly emphasized treble and recessed upper mid. For my tastes there are magical with any variant of Electronica, House or Dub Step. Once again, that deep tight bass really delivers a very real sense of bass impact! The treble too is emphasized  which I like. The additional treble gives a nice snap to high hats and percussion, not to mention adding a nice level of detail to the headphone. Still some may find it over bearing, I how ever do enjoy it.   Jazz and Hip Hop are also pair nice with the headphone. I enjoy hearing a little more of Percy Heath in my listening of The Modern Jazz Quartet, I also enjoying the nice layering of the headphones. Again the 3D sense of the music is very nice, the immersion is very cool.  Hearing the trumpets to your left and right, the bass in the background. A piano right in front of you, again the 3D imaging is great. Going back to the balance though, these are not my favorite with rock or vocals. The lack of upper mids leaves female voices a little dry and guitars a little too edgy. Still, any one with a EQ can easily over come these issues! 

Amplification

Recommended 

These do not need an amp, they achieve a nice listening volume even out of my Cell Phone believe it or not. Non the less I do recommend an amplifier for them! I find that my 10ES2 [a fully balanced Amplifier] really adds a great sense of focus to the headphones, granted I'm running about 4w+  into 50ohms, non the less a powerful amp will add a nice sense of focus and clarity to these already wonderful headphones. Additionally, for those that miss the upper mids, a Hybrid Tube amp might really add a nice richness back to the upper mids and smooth out the treble for those who feel it's too bright. 

Conclusion 

All in all, while my Dt 880 get's the majority of my listening. Any MAJOR Dub Step or Techno fans will love this headphone. While I'm not listening to as much Techno as I used to, any time I have the urge these are my favorite headphones to listen on! Also, from time to time I do enjoy a nice action movie with these! Nothing like a good Shoot Em Up flick with near perfect linear bass response. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Audio-Technica AD900X [Big Thanks to Mr. Frank Doris of Audio Technica U.S., INC





Audio Technica  ATH AD900X {$180 Used} {$299 New}

Personal Back-Story  

I recently emailed Mr. Doris a Public relations professional with Audio- Technica U.S., INC. I would first of all like to thank him for allowing me to do this review as well as for his great communication with me! Non the less, I’ve been doing reviews for about a year now and wanted to apply my trade toward a great cause and do a more professional review.  So I emailed Mr. Dorris to see if I could do a review for Audio-Technica U.S and he graciously agreed. My interest in the ATH AD900x is rooted in my love for open back headphones, as a happy owner of the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 I was curious to see how the Audio Technica open back within the DT 880 price range performed, and I was not disappointed.

Pros: Spacious airy sound, fantastic bass, sound stage and imaging
Cons : Slides a little, to little decay, aggressive,

Build [3.8/5]
Not the toughest headphone ever made, a lot of plastic. But it feels very sturdy, and has a good weight in the hands. Visually is very well made, a very attractive headphone to look upon.

Specs
Type Open Air Dynamic
Driver Diameter 53mm
Frequency Response 5-35,000
Maximum Input Power 1,000mW
Sensitivity  100dB/mW
Impedance 38ohm
Weight 265 g
Cable 3.0 meters

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
Very comfy, the clamp is wonderful the only issue I have with them is the wings. While the wing system is implemented very nicely, the wings themselves has slightly less padding than the A900x and W1000x… making the headphone slide around a millimeter or so if you’re moving around. While this does not have a bearing on sound, it is a little distracting at times.

Price to Performance : [5/5]
Compared to the DT 880 which is in the same price range, I’d say that the AD900x like the Dt 880 is a fantastic bargain! The sound is very detailed and spacious, and over all the mix of elements on the headphone are wonderful for it’s price range!

Complimentary Genres:  Metal EDM and Classical   

Sonic Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]

Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.

Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.

           In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances
Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage
Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone
Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact

          Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks
          Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging
          Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks
          Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real
          Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra-fast tonal shifts
Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]


Sound
           
          Sound Signature- Very neutral but with an aggressive tight bass, very spacious and quick natured. Detail presentation and imaging are fantastic, as is instrument layering and separation.  Lean, mean and airy
Dynamics- Super quick, sometimes a little to fast
Timbre- Very real, great timbre on the highs and mids, yet the bass can be a little too lean… a little mechanical in nature.
Speed-  VERY fast, even the bass is super tight and very quick!
          Sound Stage: Great sound stage, a nice sense of air throughout.  2D and 3D imaging are nice as well, could be slightly deeper though.  Instrument separation though is wonderful!

Highs- Wonderful sense of air and detail, very spacious with a surreal extension and energy.
Mids-  On the aggressive side, not forward but with a great edge and crunch to them, very punchy. Yet with a delicate enough body for vocals and classical.
Bass-  VERY tight sub and mid bass, pairs magically with EDM, Classical and Metal,  but a little too lean for other genres. The decay is a bit too short, timbre is a little mechanical. Still a very tight and enjoyable bass, in addition the bass is presented ever so slightly forward… a nice mix of elements really, overly lean yet slightly forward bass… works very well for the headphone!

Amplification Need or Suggested – These do not need an amp, but they would sound fantastic with a nice hybrid tube amp!   


In addition comparative notes will be in italics and only included in the full Head Fi review and mentioned in the Video Reviews.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sound Magic Hp 100




Sound Magic HP 100 ($165 Used)  

Personal Back-Story  

In the search for a can with the dt 880 sound and the isolation of a closed headphone I came across the sound magic hp 100!

Pros: Comfort, isolation, carrying case, detachable cord, clean sound, wonderful sound stage

Cons : lack of lower mids and upper bass [easily fixed by the w1000x Pads], also needs to be modified for bass improvement

Build [5/5]


Specs
Closed operating principle
Driver: Dynamic 53mm Neodymium Drivers
- Frequency range: 10Hz30KHz

- Impedance: 32Ω (±10%)
- Sensitivity: 95dB/mW @ 1KHz (±3dB)
- Maximum input power: 100mW
- Cable length: 1.2m (3.5ft) coiled
- Connection: 3.5mm gold plated plug
- Weight: 288g

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4.5/5]
Perfect, fit’s like a glove. The comfort is wonderful and the isolation is impressive!
Price to Performance : [5/5]
For the price it performs just as well as the K550, not to mention a New Sound Magic costs the same as a Used K550. Either way it’s a great bargain!

Complimentary Genre:  None, works equally well with all genres

Sonic Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]

Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.

Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.

           In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances
Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage
Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone
Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact

          Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks
          Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging
          Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks
          Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real
          Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra fast tonal shifts
Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]


Sound
           
          Sound Signature- Very clean, a slight tilt towards the central and upper mids. A very nice Sub Bass extension, but lacks a little mid bass. Overall very crisp clean headphone with nice mids.   Very Lean yet Lusher than Neutral
                             Again, adding the W1000x Stock pads, add a little meat to the sound, giving you fuller mids and bass with a slight increase in sound stage width and height!

Dynamics- Excellent, quick and effortless
Timbre- Very accurate, but a slight lack of mid bass… leads to an overly tight bass and mids. Low end sounds lack weight, leading to a leaner than life like timbre… but still very accurate. Not fake nor thin.
The addition of w1000x Pads leads to a slight boost in the Mid bass, giving the bass a much more real timbre!
Speed-  Very lean and quick, plenty of speed for metal! Yet lacks a little weight behind it’s speed.
          Sound Stage: 2D  image is very nice, instrument layering is good, nice sense of air in between instruments, how ever can get a little over whelmed with grandeur or elaborate tracks, anything featuring upwards of 8 or so instrumental layers. Lacks slightly in 3D space as well. 

Highs- Excellent, great airy presentation and energy, very detailed as well.
Mids-  Very smooth and detailed, vocals are silky smooth, yet very detailed, Guitars maintain a nice rich sound as well, although acoustic instruments can be a little too lean at times, still very pleasing.
Bass- VERY Deep and tight sub bass, mid bass lacks ever so slighty but still has plenty of attack, just needs a little more body.

[Modified with ATH w1000x Stock Pads] {+$50}
          Modification Improvements- The Stock W1000x Pads bring;
1)    a little more focus to the entire sound stage
2)    improved 2D and 3D imaging and instrument spacing
3)    Slightly forward yet magically delicate mids
4)    A gentle boost to mid bass body and attack  

Amplification Need or Suggested – These do not need an amp, but they pair nicely with a warm solid state or hybrid tube.  

Check out the full review with song by song impressions here at head fi

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Review




Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 600ohm (With ZXAC Fully Balanced Recable) [$235 Used]

Personal Back-Story  

I recently re-purchased my Beyerydanmic Dt 880’s back! And this time I made the upgrade to the 600 ohm variant.


Pros: Airy sound, delicate mids, speed, sense of openness, sound stage and layering. Timbre

Cons : no isolation,  bright [I like bright cans but some don’t] lacks intimacy, bass for some may not be heavy enough

Build [5/5]

Classic Beyerdynamic Build quality, although these are a tad more fragile than my pro series headphones, the adjustment device is located outside of the head band, as opposed to the pro series which feature the extension mechanism within the head band. In addition the head band itself is not as well padded. The headphones are very well built and comfy like the pro series.

Very Sturdy

Specs
Semi-Open  Back Dynamic Operating Principle
600 Ohm Impedance
96 db Sensitivity
5 - 35,000k response

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4.5/5]
Simple and to the point, extend the head band and slap em on! There is no isolation due to the semi open back design, and the fit is very simple and straight forward. Despite being the Premium Model, it’s almost as comfy at the Dt 990 Pro, yet the DT 990 Pro is still my most comfortable headphone!

Price to Performance : [5/5]
          Top notch, versatile enough to handle any genre, and tough as nails.

Sonic Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]

           In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances
Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage
Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone
Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact


          Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks
          Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging
          Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks
          Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real
          Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra fast tonal shifts

Sound
           
          Sound Signature- Very clean, a slight tilt towards the upper mids and treble, although the headphone features a lower mid resonance which adds a nice touch of body to the lower mids and upper bass.  The headphone is also very quick, and light on its’ feet.  Over all an incredibly balanced and airy sound, filled with many details and excellent 2D and 3D sound stage.  Brighter than neutral

Dynamics- quick and effortless
Timbre- very real,  mids are life like, treble how ever may be slightly brighter than natural but is not fake or exaggerated
Speed- very quick, shows quickness with all genres

          Sound Stage:  A  wide sound stage, great instrument separation, and good 3D  and 2D placement of instruments.

Amplification Need or Suggested –for the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Premium an amp is required, as a 600 ohm headphone it requires an amp with a large voltage swing, OTL tubes pair nicely with the  Dt 880 600 Ohm 

 Highs- airy with a touch of bright sweetness, great energy. Brighter than neutral

Mids- very real, a delicate sense of weight, good timbre tone and body. Not intimate 

Bass- VERY deep and tight, great impact and solidity. Too lean for EDM without eq 


In addition comparative notes will be in italics and only included in the full Head Fi review and mentioned in the Video Reviews.

Recommend Genre ; Jazz 




Friday, September 6, 2013

The Review Process

To my readers I'm sure some of you wonder how I review, just as a quick reference I'll post some basics I may not have shared before 

My Beyerdynamic Dt 880 is my one and only reference can, past reviews have featured a used of multiple cans, but seeing as I own the Dt 880 again [I had it in the past] it is my standard. That said the review of it will not be compared again'st any other headphone. In addition the Beyer Dt 880 is currently the most, balanced and detailed can that I own! Making it really a true reference headphone! 

In addition here is a picture of the Eq that I use in FooBar, and while I try to avoid using Eq's I do find that the fun of EDM is the color we add to it! Also pictured is the spectrual analyzer that I use when I listen to music, the Spectrum graph helps pin point sound to their respective frequencies, like a cheat sheet to help my ears ;3 




Additionally,  I take pictures with my Samsung Galaxy Exhibt 2, which hopefully will soon be replaced. So that you all can enjoy some higher quality photos!

The song's I listen to are also songs that I have enjoyed for many years, so I take note to have a copy of those songs with my no matter where I am, I even listen to [the same 7 seven songs] as I drive around, My old song list was comprised of about 10, but I've then thinned it down to 7.

Last, I would love to hear some suggestions from you guys! I'm always open to a little change in how I type up my reviews.

Lastly I write and edit my reviews in Microsoft Office Word 2010, I keep them saved as hard drive as well as in the cloud!

As always thank you guys for reading, and look forward to the start of my Video Reviews soon!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beyerdynamic Shoot Out [880 vs 990] Quick OverView



Inversion is a nice way to look at the Beyers, this powerful combo of the Fully Open Baced Dt 990 and Semi Open Dt 880 will literally turn your whole music experience inside out! Revealing details you may not have heard before, giving you as it where a whole new way to listen to and enjoy your music! 

My new Beyer Dt 880 Premium 600 ohm [Re-cabled] is here, to start off this exciting week, a quick mini review on the differences between the two headphones! 


The weighty mids of the Dt 990 and it's increased sound stage and clarity are nice for Classical , but the bass really takes away from vocals and guitars in reggae and jazz. The Dt 880 on the other hand having a touch less bass, allows the bass, drums, vocals and guitars to be enjoyed all together. Making it ideal for Jazz and Reggae. 

Nu Jazz songs, or songs with both Classical Jazz and Electronica elements, perform equally well on both cans! An example of one such song is posted below.





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Audio Technica A900x



Ath A900x [$93 used]

Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0  [w1000x Akg K550/+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]

Will be enjoyed at face, no comparisons to be made considering the price.

As always gain and volume are adjusted for each headphone. [To ensure each has equal volume levels, despite gain.]

7/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion and Kidnap Kid-Animaux  do feature an EQ added by me. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.]

Personal Back-story  

I recently sold my old Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Pro 250 ohms, and since then I've been in search of something that captured it's sound! I think I may have found just such a can.


Build [5/5]

A little more plastic than I'm a fan of. But overall well built. Feel's sturdy.

Very Sturdy

Specs
Closed Back Dynamic Operating Principle
32 Ohm Impedance
100 db Sensitivity
42 Ohms
5 - 40,000k response

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
The clamp is very strong, and the Wing system adjustment is seamless for my head. Very easy to put on, the sound does not change to much with fit because they really only fit on your head one way. It may be my big ears but there's only one comfortable fit for me, as opposed to the AKG K550 which slides around a little more with it's fit, changing it's sound as a result.

In addition, these cans actually isolate very well! Much more so than the w1000.


Sound Signature and Character

          Sound Stage:  A  wide sound stage, good instrument seperation. Lacking slightly in 3D sense of space.
           
         Sound Signature-  A more fun sound over all, the mids have good attack, as do the highs. Not entirely neutral, but the coloration is mild and leaves the can with a pleasant sound!


Sound [4/5]

Treble [5/5]- Awesome highs, great attack and air with good decay as well.

Mids [4/5]- Good tone, has a nice attack. Body is good but could be a touch lusher.

Bass [3.8/5] - Maybe a matter of preference over technicality, but for me the bass has a nice body to it. Very full, yet I'd like a little tighter bass. Still more natural and wooden bass tones where lovely!        And honestly, this can needs no eq for a kicking EDM experience!

For $100 used there's not to many options that compete with this wonderful headphone!

 Check out my full review [with song by song break down] at head-fi! 


Saturday, August 17, 2013

AKG K550



AKG K550 [Price $160 Used]

Test Process

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0  [w1000x Akg K550/+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]

Will be compared again'st my w1000x and my Beyer Dt 990, since I intend to use this headphone as a portable, with all genres. I want to see how it does against my two "specialists" Specifically, the Dt 990 will be compared only with Classical and EDM [I got lazy and only did classical and Dub Step] genres. Songs 2 and 7.

As always gain and volume are adjusted for each headphone. [To ensure each has equal volume levels, despite gain.]

7/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion and Kidnap Kid-Animaux  do feature an EQ added by me. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.

          In addition, from this review and out, italic text will contain comparisons against my reference headphones. In addition, comparative points of interest will be included in Head Fi review posts, with all Blog Posts reaming more simple and to the point!

Personal Back-story  

I recently sold my old Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Pro 250 ohms, and since then I've been in search of something that captured it's sound! I think I may have found just such a can.


Build [5/5]

I am impressed, the headband is metal with a nice extension feature. Nice physical feel in the hands, not as tough as the Dt 990, but not nearly as fragile as the w1000x. A solid build! Still these are composed of more plastic than metal. Yet the plastic has a nice look and finish to it!

Very Sturdy

Specs
Closed Back Dynamic Operating Principle
32 Ohm Impedance
114 db Sensitivity
32 Ohms
12-28.000k response

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
People complain about the fit, and the lack of clamp force and sadly I did not experience any of this, I put them to 4 on each side slapped em on, pressed them in ever so slightly and enjoyed. I will mention that they sound DRASTICALLY changes depending on how far from the front of the pads the front of your ears are. Essentially for me, the closer the back of my ears are to the back of the pad the Thicker the lower mids are, the closer the front of my ears are to the front of the pads, the thinner the entire can sounds!

In addition, these cans actually isolate very well! Much more so than the w1000.

But still these are STILL easier to put on my head and adjust than the w1000x, yet a little more fickle than the Beyer Dt 990!

Sound Signature and Character

          Sound Stage:  A very wide sound stage, good instrument seperation.

The Akg K550 is fickle with it's sound stage, with vocals it really shines and widens. Not as initimate with vocals as the w1000x, yet with pianos and wood instruments it's not quiet as wide as the w1000x or the Beyer Dt 990, how ever my w1000x is Modded so it's... well much tighter than stock.
           
          Sound Signature-  Easily the most neutral balanced headphone I have heard to date. The bass is tastefully tight and deep, the mids are warm and delicate, with good punch. The treble as well is smooth and very refined! Although it still retains some of the Closed Back sound.

Sound [4/5]

Treble [3.8/5]- Very neutral, which isn't always my cup of tea. I miss the energy of slightly brighter cans. Not to mention the lack of air.

Mids [4.2/5]- A beautiful tone to mids, with the right mix of body and a touch of weight to be enjoyed with all kinds of music.

Bass [5/5] - Excellent bass all the time.               

Conclusion- $170 used, a great closed can for at home or portable! Much more practical than the w1000x and half the price, not to mention the difference in sound between the two is almost negligible [seeing as I had to Modify my w1000x to be better than the k550 stock]  


Friday, August 16, 2013

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250ohm

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 


Beyerdyanmic Dt 990 Pro 250 ohm [Price $190 New]

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0 /+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]

The Beyer Can, having a higher impedance reaches it's optimal sound at 18 gain, volume is adjust accordingly

Compared against modified Audio Technica w1000x [Stock $350 Refurbished-After mods $500] and for the last 2 songs, a AKG K550. It came into my home as I was finishing this up <3

8/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion does feature an EQ by my self. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.

My second primary headphone. I've had it for around 6 months now, and shame on me for not posting a review sooner. It was so wonderful, I suppose it didn't need me to explain it self.  Non the less, it's time the silence be broken!

Build [5/5]

Like a tank, I've dropped them a few times sadly, sat on them once and lugged them around in a book bag for months. Unlike the fragile w1000x, the Beyer headphones are the most well built I've worn to date. Truly tough headphones!

Specs
Open Dynamic Operating Principle
250 Ohm Impedance
115db Sensitivity
5-35,000k response

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
The comfort is amazing as well, the open dynamic driver and the velour pads are great together! The open back of the can let's any heat flow away from you, while the velour's make sure your ears aren't too cold! I wear them for hours daily! The clamp how ever may be to strong for some.. Still the fit is easy to master, and unlike the fickle angled drivers of the w1000x, these remain consistent!

Sound Signature and Character

            Sound Stage:  Wonderfully, wide. Instrument separation is flawless and sounds effortless on the part of the headphone. The width does take away from the depth of the sound stage however.
             
            Sound Signature-  There's actually feature a rather prominent mid bass hump, yet they remain fairly balanced. The mids are very real, sufficient warm and wonderful clarity and punch. A brighter, lighter and tighter sound signature. I find it suits Classical, Classical and Nu Jazz, and EDM. The bass is to much for rock, and the mids not intimate or lushly beautiful enough to all vocals.

Sound [4.2/5]

Treble [5/5]- Airy, well extended and awesome details!

Mids [4/5]- A beautiful tone to mids, not lush enough for vocals but perfect for delicate upper and lower mid instruments!

Bass [3.5/5] - Excellent bass in some songs, in others it's so much it ruins them.                 

Conclusion- For $190 new and around $150, it's one of my favorite all time open cans! Great sound for almost all kinds of music and the bass lovers will enjoy it with everything! Good dynamics and fantastic build quality. A must have for any one getting into Audio Phila! 


Amplifiers! The Salt and Pepper of Headphones.

There are two basic kinds of head phone amplifiers. Solid States and tube amps! Each amp brings out a different characteristic to your headphones, and a good amp will squeeze the last bit of potential out of your headphone allowing it to shine at 100%. Some headphones even require amplifiers to sound their best. There are even Hybrid Tube Amps, which utilize Transistor [Solid State] Power amps and Tube Pre Amps!

Simply put though, I'm going to cover just a few basic differences between the two!

A 12ua7 Millet Max Hybrid Tube
Matrix M Stage- Solid State Amp


Power Differences

Most low impedance headphones require more current than they do voltage. In this case a solid state or Hybrid Tube amp is optimized for that current out put. So lower impedance headphones will benifit greatly on a solid state or hybrid tube! Low impedance headphones are most of what the average consumer market sells. Headphones like Sony and Audio Technica for example.

Tube amps, have higher voltage swings and not as much current, this allows headphone with high impedance [resistance to voltage] to be driven better due to the abundance of voltage. Again hyrbid tubes offer the current needed for low impedance cans and the voltage swing of tubes. In addition there Single Ended and Push Pull Tubes. Single ended are more limited in their power output but retain amazing details, where as Push Pull OTL tubes offer more variance in their power outputs but lack the detail of a Single End/

Now that being said, there are always exceptions. There are DOZENS of Tubes that can be used with an OTL Tube. Each of these having it's own combination of strengths and weakness.

Practicality 

A Solid State tube amp is most often harder to repair and replace parts for, where as a OTL and Hybrids pin some cases] are simple'r and easier to modify, repair and replace parts for. So for some one interested in the possibility of building their own amp, once again the are pros and cons to each.

In addition, going back to the huge selection of tubes. There is a more hobbyist approach to tube amps. As one amp can boast a variety of sound and detail levels, through multiple tubes! Almost how one Gas Top Stove can use a variety of different pots. In this food analogy, the Solid State amp would be like a Griddle. It does many things but only with one surface.

Sound
The key differences are tubes are more lush, as they produce more second harmonic and less odd 3'rd, 5'th ect harmonics. As we know sound travels in a wave, and as it's amplified these waves peak and trough differently. Ultimately even numbered harmonics, found in abundance in Tube Amps, sound more beautiful and natural.  So the tube amp has a beauty to it, yet in contrast it can tend to loose instrument separation as well as sound stage imaging.

A Solid State, in contrast, does not offer as many of those natural harmonics but rather un rivaled detail and imaging. Solid States often contain better dynamics and positioning of sound. These are terms that describe how sound moves, how it changes.

So tubes offer a lusher softer, warmer sound. Where as a Solid State is a little more colder, better detail and a tighter punchier sound. As always, pros and cons, and a hybrid tube amp tries to combine the best of both worlds.

As a side note, bass has more impact with a solid state and more bloom a gentle'r kick with a tube. Depending on your own personal preference, bass can be enjoyable on both!

So, when using headphones that are more neutral  Headphones that are know for detail, clarity and accuracy in imaging and dynamics, a tube will often add the warmth an beauty that may be missing, where as with headphones that boast lush mids, and smooth airy treble a solid state would improve the accuracy and detail of that can.

Personally, I use my Solid State for my beautiful lush Audio Technica W1000x, and I use my hybrid tube with my more open and spacious Byerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm.