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jskupe
6
Nov 26, 2017
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Mine arrived today and I have them plugged in to a warmed-up Schiit Valhalla listening to some Mozart (Vilde Frange) on Tidal MQA. Completely un-broken in , they sound very good. Gonna let 'em run overnight plugged into my pre-amp's headphone jack. No more or less comfortable than my Sennheiser HD600s, although I think a little more sweat-inducing. So far quite pleased.
Nov 26, 2017
Heefty
1329
Nov 26, 2017
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How are the mids on them? That's my main concern based on the freq response curves... Can you compare them to the hd600s?
Nov 26, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 26, 2017
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These are quite lovely. Mids are clear and sweet. Mine have been only being run-in for about 16 hours and they are very pleasing. Having been into the Audeeze'rs for years, thought I'd try HiFiMan's offerings and I am not disappointed at all, thus far.
The presentation is fairly different from the Senns, as these are magneplanars and the way the sound is produced differs physically. Mags tend to be more distortion free, and often are described as having a very clear and fluid-y quality to them across the range. Dynamics often have a bias, each unique to the manufacture and build style. Think Senns' reputation for being more bass-centric, once you get above the HD 600 and 650. And the 650 is more bassy than the 600. Beyerdynamics TEND to be more clinical. And on and on.
I like these quite a lot already, will be running them off the Schiit Lyr/Valhalla stack, the O2 dac amps, and the Woo WA7.
A winner. The rep is much deserved.
Nov 26, 2017
Heefty
1329
Nov 27, 2017
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Thanks for the feedback. The frequency response suggests that the mids are a little recessed. Any thoughts on that? It's not necessarily a bad thing unless it's too much.
Nov 27, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 27, 2017
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Not sure yet. We're not yet done with the run-in.
I do believe that I am hearing a modest V to the sig... but a nice sounding V. So many sweet sounding 'phones have a tiny bit of a V, and we all have to decide if we like that V. I don't think that I am appreciating a BAD, too-much-V.
I, myself, TEND to prefer flat sigs. I prefer to be presented with the music that was recoded AS it was recorded, and use EQ to adjust, if I so desire.
We also know that graphs don't always represent what each person's ear hears very accurately, we don't always hear what the measuring gear hears. And different musics represent the different ranges differently, with mixing bringing this voice or that to the fore. One can only decide, ultimately, for oneself, if one likes a set of cans.
Even with this bit of a V that may be audible, the way the music presents, with clarity and sweetness, (but not syrupy), I can attest that these cans meet the expectations put up by the HiFiMan rep. They definitely sound every bit as nice as headphones that cost far more.
The build quality is wonderful too; comfort and class. Easy to spend long listening sessions, not as heavy as the LCDs. Pretty foamy though, I bet some folks do find them rather toasty. We'll see how they fare after proper run-in. I can only imagine that they will get better.
I might go ahead and toss up a review here, if anybody would like. Did photos of unboxing, so it's a do-er.
Nov 27, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 28, 2017
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Okey doke. Final hours of run-in this morning/afternoon..... we'll get set up and listening this evening after dusk.
Oh. In the interim...Let me tell you about a GREAT set of musics, which I HIGHLY recommend, to check out just what a set of headphones can do; -Jonn Serrie space music. He wrote much of this stuff for planetarium shows.... it has all the ranges covered, from an almost inaudible deep range rumble to these very high nearly inaudible ear-tickling sounds....almost like whistling or tuned metal, or what you might hear if crystals could sing. Clicking and rattling and "spiral-y" sounding stuff....MUCH of these passages is rather fast, crisp, and tricky; stuff that tells you just exactly what your cans can do and keep up with, presenting all the detail that's in the music. The music is digital so it's tonically pure. It's also kind of relaxing. His "Thousand Star" album has some of the best ear-teasing high stuff I've ever heard.
YES YES listen to your own preferences too. That's the stuff your cans will be doing for you anyway. I am just letting people in on some of the stuff I feel tells you just exactly what your gear can really do.
Layterz, review to come. Probably will post up the unboxing first.
Nov 28, 2017
Heefty
1329
Nov 28, 2017
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Convenient that you posted that. I was just getting on to ask when you were going to post your impressions.
Nov 28, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 28, 2017
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Yep. Just like to have them TRULY run in and "tamed" before putting up stuff that others may use for purchase decisions. I've always appreciated it when other folks have been so helpful for me, especially when I might lay out, oh, say, >$150 for gear. ;)
Nov 28, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 28, 2017
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Okay. Here is Unboxing;
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a simple, pragmatic package;
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nice build, clean appearance, hand-stitched headband solid yet comfortable;
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plush cups, thickish "veil" over the speakers, and a right angle plug- that's a 1/4" adaptor over a min-pin ;
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Size comparison with dt800's I was listening to before these arrived;
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Cable ports ;
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Ready set go!
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Impressions/Review will follow this evening! :-)
Nov 28, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 29, 2017
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PREAMBLE,(which remarks always go ahead of a review because the process is always the same, so you may have already read this somewhere else, and, if so...feel free to SKIP IT.) :
Let's start with a brief set of remarks about my reviewing process. I have a Set List of musics that I ALWAYS use as my 'test music', because it provides me with a consistency of sounds that demonstrate the capacity of whatever the item is, track-to-track and side-by-side comparison value. It's stuff I have some essential familiarty with, since I think it's tricky to say much about what music is doing inside of headphones or source components if you don't really understand how that music works and what's good or bad about how you are hearing it. When I am comparing two or more components, I will listen to them side-by-side, track-by-track, so that I can have a distinct sense of how the components differ in their production of the music. It's hard to say how one set of headphones sound differently from another if you don't well remember what was going on in the first song because you listened to too many things before picking up the other set of cans. If it's headphones I am evaluating, I use the exact same source components. If it's source components, I use the exact same sets of headgears, and sample them all identically. I usually don't post up graphs and spec sheets; the readers can look up that stuff for themselves, and my assessment of how stuff sounds is more to the point of why we review anyway- while you can read masses of data, for free, you can't always get your hands on a set of headphones, certainly not cheaply, so having another person who has experienced a set of gear tell you their impressions in an accurate and rather clinical way one can help steer decision making on expensive purchases. Graphs and stats don't aways translate well into what our ears are appreciating, they tell us the physics of what the component is doing to make the sounds. MY BRAIN ISN'T INTERESTED IN THE MATHS WHEN I AM TRYING TO DECIDE HOW I LIKE THE MUSIC I'M HEARING. Remember- this is all subjective. we all have different ears and brains and will always hear music a bit differently from our neighbour, and will always have something that differs in our preferences. Where some prefer warmer sounds, others will favour analytic reproduction... I tend toward production that is ACCURATE, neutral... and offers a more honest repro of the recording. I'm not always going to agree with somebody else's appraisal of what's being heard, and others won't always hear things the way that I do! And that's cool. :) Now...... on to it! Kind of Music chosen; (Yes, I copied this list from the other reviews, because it's THE SAME LIST I ALWAYS USE),Lots of classical with much strings, voice, Beethoven through Bernstein and Glass. Lots of electronic music a la Wollo, Boddy, Roach, Serrie, etc. Much Leo Kottke guitar happiness, with some Bluegrass and Appalachian schtuff tossed in. Classical piano. Silk Road Ensemble. Popular and Rock, from Joplin to Foo Fighters to Neil Young to classic Santana, to The Killers to Maroon 5 and so on. Jazz and Blues , Muddy Waters, early Severin, Puente. I don't really do Rap, Dub, or Hip-Hop, although I did run a little Black Eyed Peas and Outkast through it. Source Components; Production- iTunes and Songbird lossless and FLAC music files from my iMac out to DACs and amps listed below iPod Classic 5th gen. with the Wolfson, upgraded to 128 gig, amped as listed below. A Denon 1940CI SACD/DVD player. DACs- From the iMac only, as the iPod needs no DAC....I am using either a Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies purely as a DAC, or also as a DAC/Amp, the Schiit Modi 2, and the Schiit BiFrost, Finally, JDS LabsThe Element, a DAC/Amp. Amps- Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies. Woo WA2, Woo WA6, The JDS labs The Element, JDS O2, Schiit Lyr.


* The Review will follow- Trying to get schtuff up asap for folks, going with the "Builds Anticipation" model, starting with The Eye Candy.....
Nov 29, 2017
TiffanyPoodleslide
1291
Nov 29, 2017
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....so here we go!
I'm going to try to stick to talking about JUST these headphones, as they are pretty much their own thing. I will leave comparisons pretty much out of this as much as is possible,( except to provide a frame of reference), I'm also reminding everybody that these impressions are just that, IMPRESSIONS, they are subjective, they are MY opinions. For math, go look at the graphs.
To begin.... out of the box, these are a very well built, fairly comfy set of headphones with a nice tactility and a rather "high-end" appearance having a nicely stitched headband and leatherette-over-foam cups. The dark matte colour scheme is elegant. The overall construction is sturdy without being tank-like. They aren't too heavy,(my LCDs can be), and, once the clamp effect loosens up, these will be one of the most comfortable headphones to wear for long listens. I love that they are open-backs...if they weren't I sense that these could be very dampy and dark and claustrophobic. (Yes. There are closed back magnaplanars, btw, I just don't like how they sound, in general.) I think the cable might be about 6 inches shorter than I like, but certainly this isn't a deal breaker. One could always have another cable built for them. Some folks might find them warm,(as in sweaty), as they are pretty cushiony and the pads are foam-stuffed leatherette.
The sound is LOVELY; If you have read my reviews, you know that I am a big fan of neutral/flat sound sigs. These are not that. But they are very pleasantly not, a modest V sig that doesn't put the mids very far back at all. There is an airy, almost sparkling character to them, it's a very non-fatiguing sound. I have had NO issues of sibilance or stridence in the highs and mids, and the bass, while most definitely present, is NOT at all overwhelming or exceedingly forward. They are pretty transparent! And there was no detectable mudiness or loss of clarity, instead these are light, airy,(yes, again), articulate and warm, with just the right amount of punch.* " Nimble" is a good descriptor for the bass presented by these.
The upper and mid ranges are very very nice. As a listener of a great deal of classical music, this is very important to me. I would describe the sound here as lively and lucid. The very highest is not at all strident or harsh, I never found the need to turn down the volume, which is usually the sign for me that the highs are TOO. MUCH. The balance is pretty exquisite. There's a reason that the HiFiMan HE line gets very high marks, and I've heard headphones that cost way more that don't really do it better.
Musical performance; I listened to a LOT of the aforementioned Jonn Serrie "Thousand Star" album, over and over, just to see how agile these headphones really are at the high range. WOW. They didn't lag even a little bit, and the repro of the 'crystal singing metal spirally whistling stuff' was as good as just about any I have heard. Again, absolutely CLEAR and CLEAN with EXCELLENT transparency is a good phrase to describe how these do. Bass was distortion free, even the very lowest rumbly bits. Acoustic and vocal musics are presented cleanly as well and the organicity that MUST be present is very much there. Fast finger-style guitar, violins, percussion and keyboards are all happily managed... STAGE is excellent. The head space provided by those nice wide open backs is very very good.I would say that there were several times in which I experienced that out-of-head sense of the music that one seeks from a set of very good headphones. I don't usually get that so early on in listening to new, fresh-from-the-box gear, it seems to take longer to get a new set of cans there. To be fair, many of my headphones, by virtue of being more clinical, are probably a tad less forgiving... ....not saying that these are FORGIVING, as in crap into them is transfigured into magical music miracles, or that I really ever run crap music into headphones.... it's just that they present music quite beautifully pretty much right away.
Optimal gear; I really REALLY,(yes, again), like these when played on my Schiit Lyr, which is often described as a golden pairing with magnaplanars... I got it for the Audeeze LCD headphones line and it has been absolutely peachy with these HE4XXers. BUT. These sound very nice from the JDS Labs, both The Element and the O2. They are also nice with the Woo, but the Woo might "over-sweeten" the sig just a tad. Not much, but these are NOT clinical cans and a really NOT clinical tube amp could be a little over much "sweet" on them. The ONE Woo that I think is SPECIAL with these would be the WA7 Fireflies. It's Just Right. I guess I am saying that I don't think you will need to run out and buy a special amp for these, certainly not a very expensive one. The O2 price-point is right on reasonable and will do these well...until you decide to move up and out and have gear that supports these and other nice headphones too. I even have a little HiFiMan EF2A tubie headphone amp that runs these pretty sweetly... it's fun with them and heck, it's made by the same folks, so, why not?
The take-away; These are a nicely priced,(especially here on MD!), set of magneplanar headphones with a beautiful, fairly transparent, and agile sound that comes in a pretty comfortable and very well-built package that will perform WELL pretty much any music that you might choose them for. They are low enough impedance to not require a towering powerhouse of an amp,(but will be the better for a GOOD one), and the listen is effortless. You can spend a bunch more before you find a better sounding set of magnaplanars. I'd have paid more for these. The few Cons; The cable could be a bit longer. I found myself working a bit when reaching around the counter-top while listening and tying to get the cable to reach. These clamp. As with other clampy cans, I have found that they loosen up over time. But right now, the clamp-effect shortens my listening time. I think I would prefer a velour covering for the pads over the leatherette, as, I bet these do get sweaty during hot weather! There isn't a case for them, not even a soft bag. NOT a deal breaker or even significant, I have PLENTY of them about. It just seems like it would have been keen for them to toss in a dust-cover bag or something to help prevent scuffing when I don't have them on my head.
Which won't be all that often.**



* I don't do anything remotely bass-head. So I might be missing something that fans of The Bass would find negative or detracting in these headphones.
** No. I am not tossing my beloved Beyerdynamics over for these, nor my Grados, nor my Senns, and not the LCDs either. Not even the Fostex. But I sure do like these for every day listening, especially when I want something non-fatiguing or that doesn't need full-on attention to enjoy what I'm listening to.***
*** Like when I'm typing headphone reviews.
Nov 29, 2017
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