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Paulc135
1
Sep 16, 2018
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Could someone compare the sound of these to the Hifiman Edition X and the Oppo 2, both of which I am currently using? Many thanks Paul
Sep 16, 2018
AudioFaze
194
Sep 17, 2018
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No can do. You need to determine a preference for either Dynamics vs Planars vs Electrostats. I‘d suggest heading to a local can jam to listen to the HD800s and Stax L500/L700 for starters
Sep 17, 2018
Paulc135
1
Sep 17, 2018
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Thanks audiofaze. I did make a determination when I went from dynamic drivers to the planar hifiman Edition X and the Oppo 2. I’m asking the experienced audiophiles what I can expect from the Koss electrostatics in comparison. Will it be as dramatic a difference as dynamic to Planar? I‘m a professional musician and listen mostly to classical orchestra and chamber music. Thanks in advance for everyone’s comments !
Sep 17, 2018
SpeleoFool
289
Sep 17, 2018
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I can't give you a complete answer since I have no experience with planars, but as one who has jumped into the deep end of the pool on both electrostats (Stax L700) and dynamics (Focal Utopia), I can offer that both technologies scale well into the range where it's difficult to find any points to nitpick--just pure listening bliss. However, my personal preference is that for orchestra and chamber music, electrostats are ideal (I'd be reach for my Stax first). As a professional musician, I'd assume you're conditioned to critical listening and would appreciate the superb detail recovery and imaging that electrostats can deliver. What the Stax do best is to reproduce instruments as distinct, individual sound sources in the track, and that's exactly what I'd want to hear out of an orchestra.
Where I'm personally unsure is where to set my expectations for comparative sound quality for this drop / this price point. However, as an entry into the world of electrostats, this looks extremely compelling (especially given that it includes an energizer). It's easy to spend someone else's money for them, but I'd say that if you can justify the expense (and the wait), then this drop seems like it would be a good match with your stated listening preferences.
If you do decide to jump, it would be interesting to hear your answers to your own questions in the form of a review. Cheers, and good luck with your decision!
Sep 17, 2018
djfluffkins
138
Sep 18, 2018
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@SpeleoFool you sound like the right person to answer this question then. I'm thinking about either this (joined drop, but could drop out), the Focal Utopias since they're on sale and Upscale Audio has some ridiculous w/DAP deal, or finding some combo of Stax 300 Limiteds and some driveramp.
I'm not saying that I couldn't do this and the Utopias at the same time, but I've also gotten some recommendations that going all in on Utopias seems worse than potentially getting Ether Flow Cs + ZMF Auteurs.
Any thoughts?
Sep 18, 2018
SpeleoFool
289
Sep 18, 2018
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@djfluffkins, I'll do my best. :-)
I do not have a great breadth of experience with higher-end headphones, so I can't offer any comparative thoughts on Utopias vs. Ether Flow Cs + ZMF Auteurs; I've not heard either of those. However, that deal with the DAP sounds pretty incredible.
If there's one significant drawback of electrostats, it's lack of portability. In general, you can't because of the energizer, and even if you could you maybe shouldn't because of dust / humidity. Electrostats are great for a quiet, dedicated listening area.
I've taken my Utopias with me on the go with an AK380 DAP (thanks, Massdrop), and that combo is heavenly. It feels game-changing to take a top-end HiFi listening experience out of the house and share it with other people. I probably annoyed a lot of friends and family by subjecting them to impromptu listening sessions and evangelizing about quality audio, but I have thoroughly enjoyed blowing minds and watching reactions. :-)
That said, the Utopias are extremely open and bleed audio both to/from your surroundings. Yes, they're portable, but I wouldn't listen to them on the bus.
If I had to choose between the Utopias and electrostats, well, I wouldn't. To me, they're complementary. The Utopias are, as an overall package, my favorite headphones I've ever listened to. They're a bit heavy, but that's really the only nit worth picking. Sound quality is the real deal; overall presentation is as close to perfect as anything I've ever heard.
I feel that the L700s still have better detail resolution and clarity, but I'd have to dedicate some serious time to A-B them against the Utopias to find good examples of where they're clearly better. What I notice while listening to the Stax is how cleanly every sound fades out into infinity, and how distinctly I can make out every pinpoint source in a track. What I notice while listening to the Utopias is how natural and refined everything sounds.
At the end of the day, comparing the Utopias with electrostats feels a lot like comparing a chef's knife with a santoku. Both can do any job in the kitchen. Each has slight advantages that realistically boil down to nuance and preference. You could be perfectly happy with either. But there's no rule that says you can't have both.
Not sure if that helps or if I've just fueled your indecision further, but that's my take. Everything you've named sounds like a winner. I love the Utopias, I've given a serious look at the L300 limited (which supposedly has the same drivers as my beloved L700s), and I can't stop browsing this discussion because I'm dying to hear the 95X on my Stax energizer.
Sep 18, 2018
AudioFaze
194
Sep 18, 2018
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That's an excellent write up. Thanks for sharing!
Sep 18, 2018
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