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MrSpeakers Mad Dog (T50RP Mod)

Posted

Pros: Great soundstage for a closed headphone, planar magnetic drivers

Cons: Size, weight

Hello Head-fi!

 

For my first review I'm taking a look at the Mad Dogs from Mr. Speakers. In a word, surprising.

 

First of all, I made a video review of these headphones, if you're interested then feel free to check it out below:

(I'm still new to this, sorry if I used the wrong terms or something like that.)

 

As a quick summary:

The Mad Dogs are constructed very well, and have a premium feel with the leather Alpha pads and comfort strap

They are somewhat heavy, a little bit more than I could use for extended periods of time (I work standing up). They are, however, very comfortable.

They have a dark(er) sound, but great soundstage for a closed-back headphone

Dan is really awesome and put up with me being a total annoyance. Thanks Dan!

 

In the end, they weren't for me (I needed something lighter and brighter), but my case is probably different than most people's. Don't get me wrong, I think these are excellent headphones, as long as you aren't me. For the price they're definitely worth looking into, and all of the hype that they get is well deserved.

Posted

Pros: Midrange, Comfort, Depth of Stage

Cons: Stereo Imaging Width, Separation Qualities

Copied from my original review on Headfonics.  If you would be kind enough to post a comment after reading my review, I would greatly appreciate it. 

 

 

MD6

 

Every once and a while, the Audiophile universe manifests something that is truly worthy of praise in the highest regard. Something to be revered and able to strike with sufficient power far beyond it’s own weight class. I believe that the Mad Dog by Mr.Speakers happens to be one of those rare gems. I don’t want to bore you with information in the beginning of this review, so I will start off with the Conclusion first. You can read the details afterward. That is just how I roll…#likeaboss

 

 

The After

 

 

There have been many attempted revisions, remastering’s and modifications of the Fostex T50RP over the years. Some have succeeded in the endless pursuit to squeeze the life out of the T50RP for all its worth, others have ended in absolute disaster after being strapped to a rocket ship and blasted off into space, never to be heard by human ears again. My heart goes out to any aliens who might stumble across them floating somewhere out there in the void, tumbling forever in the vast emptiness that eventually coalesced with other rejected T50RP mods, creating an autonomous-sentient life form hell bent on the destruction of all things. Thankfully, MrSpeakers has spawned an incredible modified T50RP in their Mad Dog. With great pleasure, I would like to say this headphone has made it into my top 5 favorite headphones of all time. Dare I even say it is one of the best closed back headphones ever produced. It is highly engaging, mid forward and boasting incredible value in terms of well-roundedness. From multimedia usage with movies and gaming, to classical and back again . The Mad Dog is one of very few headphones out of dozens I’ve played with over the past few years alone that I wish to keep for myself…and that is really saying something considering the recent wave of Planar Magnetic Masterpieces that were released in recent times. This headphone is not a specialist, it does everything well. In terms of overall price to performance, it is one of the highest ranking headphones ever produced in my humbled opinion.

 

 

MD2

 

 

The Gear

 

MrSpeakers Mad Dog ( A Fostex T50RP Modification )
Hifiman HE-500 / Audeze LCD-3 / JH16
ALO International / Burson HA160 / Schiit Lyr
iBasso DX50 / Cowon J3 / Hisoundaudio Studio V
Cables by Moon Audio

 

 

The Lows

 

Planar Magnetic driver designs typically output a more solid wall of bass with a liquid like texture. The stock, unmodified T50RP was lean on the low end bass experience and did not respond very well to Equalization. The Mad Dog responds very nicely to low end EQ via Foobar2K’s Real Bass Exciter DSP ( which is a simple, free downloadable add on for the Foobar software that offers a much greater bass output than the stock EQ function ). With this, you can really test what is possible with the low end of your headphone or speakers. Shockingly, with light toggling of the bass output switch you can alter the Mad Dog from a generally intermediate low end quantity headphone into a bass-heads delight. The bass is capable of becoming very tenacious, very solid and weighty with proper amplification and a bassy source. This headphone is more dependent on source low end quantity than high voltage output, but still remains a fairly inefficient set of headphones that require a high gain voltage. Via just my ALO International and iBasso DX50 combination for example, the low end experience is heavily lacking but still well within the realm of being lean even on high gain. Due to the exceptional bass output potential, I’d suggest a Cowon product to better achieve a sturdy low end. In Dac mode, the International really doesn’t have the low end to even remotely begin to do the Mad Dog bass quantity justice, so that is where the Real Bass Exciter DSP becomes a high value component to the setup. With just a minor increase in bass output, you get enveloped in a yummy but firm low end experience. Truly remarkable in terms of the way the bass is portrayed and exuded, so very solid, smooth and powerful without being overly baring or snappy. Gotta’ love that Planar Magnetic Bass. So tasty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The Addicted To Bass LP is naturally a bass heads dream come true that mostly focuses on heavy Dubstep, fast

  pounding bass and a beautifully scenic vocal experience. Definitely something you’d want to check out if you are

  into the Dubstep scene. Tracks like Take My Breath Away, for example, really make this headphone shine and

  reveal it’s true nature: something geared for a highly musical, fun and addictive experience. So satisfying and

  never upsetting on the low end.

 

 

 

 

The Mids

 

 

I am impressed by how realistic and well defined the mids and vocals are in this Mad Dog. Well defined in regards of body, weight and overall presence. Most other headphones in this price tier will bow before it’s vocal experience, I can’t name a single headphone in the sub $500 world that can touch it in terms of both clarity and how well the vocals are physically reproduced inside the stereo image. Exceptional definition and forwardness. This is not a relaxed, laid back headphone. Instead, the forward presence of the mid range excels in overall engaging qualities. Due to excellent stereo image height this headphone offers, vocal experiences within the Mad Dog are extremely intimate, more like sitting near the artist instead of a front row experience in headphones known for a wider sound stage. Stereo-image height is very important to the mid range experience, in my opinion. Of course, the mid range is not as clear as something like my Audeze LCD-3 for example, nor are the mids as physically definable in the void of the stereo image, but they are sure good enough to cause the overall value of the LCD-3 and Hifiman Planar Magnetic’s to drastically depreciate in value.

 

 

 

 

Cynthia Harrel’s Snake Eater ( Camouflage Version ) is an exceptionally forward and spacious track off the Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater OST and happens to be one of my favorite songs. The experience via the Mad Dog is visceral, highly dynamic and eerily spacious in stage-depth. The entire album is jam packed with excellent recordings and highly dynamic vocal experiences that really make the Mad Dog Shine. Also Check out the Essential Michael Jackson Collection if you are into Pop Vocals. This collection is composed of restored hits from the King of Pop that sound beautiful in comparison to their original CD releases, shining brightly via the Mad Dog’s phenomenal mid range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus: Borderlands 2 is rare in the video game industry and highly regarded for its phenomenal

sound production.  This game caters to Audiophiles and whoever lead the sound design team needs to be praised and given an award of some type. ( Perhaps a free high end headphone for their excellent work, but not my headphones. I’m super stingy and will defend my audio gear to the death! ) This game is heavily dependent on sound-scape and staging qualities but is also highly centralized on character voices and interactions. The overall quality is unprecedented and something to not be missed if you are an Audiophile Gamer. With the Mad Dog, the entire Borderlands 2 pilgrimage is simply gorgeous. Truly, this game is an Audiophiles Playland. From Bullets to character interactions, the experience is heavily reliant on stereo image and sonic depth of field. Summed up, The Mad Dog is one of the best multimedia and gaming experiences in it’s price tier.

 

 

MD1-Title Image

 

 

The Ups and Downs

 

If this headphone has one flaw, it would be the upper region. While not particularly amazing, it certainly isn’t lacking either. I consider it to be a tad out of place with the rest of the headphone in terms. For my tastes, its a bit bright and snappy with cymbal high hats and fast piano key strikes. Treble heads look elsewhere if that is your thing, but know that the Mad Dog’s upper regions are still highly engaging and fun. I find them to provide a smooth experience so long as the track isn’t fast paced. Cymbals and piano keys in a faster genre seem to bleed and fuse together a bit too much for my tastes. I consider this to be a small gripe due to the original unmodded T50RP upper region boasting a noticeably inferior upper area experience. Mr.Speakers properly dampened the drivers, something that was sorely lacking on the original Fostex T50RP.

 

 

Takehito Yamada’s Kingdom Hearts Piano Collection is by far my favorite instrumental album along with the Final Fantasy X Piano Collection. Both are absolutely stellar, but one of my favorite tracks off either album would beDearly Beloved. A highly vibrant but slow, emotional track. It breaks my heart that this track is only just over two minutes in length due to showcasing the type of upper regions the Mad Dog works best with. Slow paced piano key strikes have an excellent and realistic sonic decay rate, in turn providing a deep, fatigue free experience. The Upper region of this headphone is indeed a bit bright as I’ve mentioned, which seems to get a bit smeared during a fast paced jazz piano track for example. However, slow to moderately paced listening tracks in the classical or jazz genres will suit this headphone nicely. Screaming guitars also are highly engaging, as are violins and flutes. Once again, the Mad Dog is showcasing it’s well roundedness by handling most genres nicely.

 

 

MD4

 

 

Sound staging and Comfort

 

Combined with a spacious amplifier like my Burson HA-160, the Mad Dog performs on a grand scale with regard to the stereo imaging depth. That reach out and touch the artist value is high on this headphone and to my surprise ended up testing extremely well with online gaming and FPS shooters. Borderlands and Battlefield are video games that are extremely immersing and engaging in the sound staging departments. Bullets whizzing by, characters speaking from a distance, sneaking enemies just around the corner are easily placed and spotted, even if they are not visible and happened to be hiding, unseen behind a wall hoping to take you out by surprise. No need to worry about those sneak attacks of your best friend trying to stab you in the back, the Mad Dog has excellent spacial placement of sounds. You will hear them coming. I believe this headphone to have one of the best, if not the best sound stage depth in its class, excellent height and average width. The experience seems set up for those who enjoy intimacy in their presentation qualities.

 

The Alpha pads are very plush and comfortable, offering a great deal of physical give and an excellent feeling of your ears sinking into the lambskin pads themselves. Comfy and cozy. The Mad Dog provides a very good airiness to the presentation with decent instrument separation. Scalability is phenomenal. Going from my International in Dac mode to something like my Burson HA-160 is quite a step up in dynamics, adding a fantastic and very needed warmth to the low end over the closer to sterilized feel of the low end via the International alone.

 

 

End Credits

 

Is this the end, or just the beginning? MrSpeakers has a new model coming out very soon called the Alpha Dog. Promises of a superior product over the Mad Dog seems absolutely insane and excites me greatly that there is even more potential goodness to squeeze out of the T50RP drivers. If MrSpeakers says they can do it or have already done it, I have no trouble blindly trusting them and placing my pre-order immediately if that option were available. I’ve not been this impressed with a headphone in a very long time and I can’t find any problems with it. The headphone is great to lounge around the house with and enjoy movies and gaming, as well as high quality music of almost any genre. Not many headphones out there can boast such qualities, yet one that costs only $299? My goodness, no question about it. The Mad Dog is my favorite mid tier closed back headphone of all time. Highly musical, highly engaging, highly responsive and useful in multiple media applications. Coming in a variety of cable options, the Mad Dogs scores a rare 9/10 Value.

 

Thanks for reading.

-24bit

Posted

Pros: Sound Quality, Build Quality, Price, Comfort, Detachable Cable

Cons: Requires good sounding equipment, brass sliders

This Review is based on the Mad Dog 3.2 w/ Alpha Pads.

 

Sound: 

Probably one of the best things about these headphones is the sound. I absolutely love this sound signature, and I must say I would have a really hard time switching back to a dynamic driver headphone. I may be stuck in the planar magnetic headphone world for ever. I love how quick these headphones deliver sound and it restrains it from producing over pronounced sounds. For instance while the bass quantity is far from a bass head phone (which is good for me) the quality of bass far exceeds pretty much any headphone I have ever heard (though I do have a limited experience). The bass produces a quick snap, and a incredibly satisfying punch. I listen to a wide variety of music, and Metal is one of them. Within Metal songs lately have a lot of emphasis on the double bass pedal of the drums, and these headphones are a blast to listen to when the drummer is whacking a way on the pedals. The presentation of the music is incredibly pleasant to my ears as most headphones either have too forward of vocals or too forward of instruments which often causes one to drown out the other. However these phones balance both perfectly to my ears, and allows me to hear the intricate details of both vocals and instruments. Techno music and rap/hip hop (sorry I do not listen pop) are a mixed bag for these headphones. Either the bass picks up really well and there is a clean sounding melody throughout the song or there is a bland sound with a lack of bass. One album it particularly excels in is Get Lucky by Daft Punk. I hated this album, as I found quite boring. However when I started playing these through the mad dogs it became musical bliss and strangely What is Love from the A Night at the Roxbury soundtrack is a blast to listen to. I will not comment on the sound stage as my current gear is too limiting for it but I have heard the potential and it quite good. Acoustic based music is amazing through these headphones. I do not listen to much classic music (not that I hate it, just not entirely my thing), but I do listen to Apocalyptica. Their Cellos harmonize so well and create a soothing sound that draws me in every time I listen to them. Other songs like Broken from Seether (w/out Amy Lee) and the Bleeding Acoustic version from Five Finger Death Punch also sound very very very good.

 

Overall this sound signature is probably THE sound signature I have been in search for quite some time.

 

Amplification/ Source Gear:

I think people over emphasize how much gear you need with this to have a good sound. Now I am not saying that these don't scale with gear, quite the opposite. I just think that people over emphasize what the minimum requirement you should have. I do agree you NEED an amp if listening out of an ipod. As if you are looking to run these unamped its doable but nothing special and you should probably look elsewhere (MD1R1, Momentums, K550, etc.). However I had good luck with using a FIIO E17 and driving these to a respectable level. I am currently using an E12 and I find these headphones incredibly enjoyable even with the added warmness of the amp and the small sound stage. I do not find the extra warmness to be that bad, but perhaps it is because I am used to a high end warm sounding sound system. What I find the most annoying is the closed in sound stage. I have heard glimpses of what it could be and I gotta say I want the extra sound stage and separation. I also hear remnants of what it could be on higher end gear and I gotta say it is incredibly enjoyable, hence why I am going to seek out either a Colorfly C4 or Ibasso DX100. These headphones WILL bring out weaknesses in your recordings or source gear.

 

In conclusion though I do not find that you need the best of the best to get an enjoyable sound, but I find that the better the gear the better these scale. If you are on the almighty budget buy the E12 over the E17. These headphones will eat all the extra power it can get. I do get a bit of sibilance on the E12 on 16 gain around the 3/4 point on the dial but that is pretty loud and do not recommend listening to those volumes anyways. I listen to them consistently on the half way point of the volume knob.

 

Build Quality:

Probably the only thing that Mr. Speakers has not changed. I find these to be very solid. However I do not like the brass sliders as it is hard to keep your cans in the same place use after use, and sometimes one slider will tilt to one side leaving an awkward headband appearance on the top of you head. I also find the ball like joints between the sliders and the cups to be a bit wobbly when extended out to far. Over all though it is an amazingly solid headphone at any price. I am happy that Mr.Speakers is now painting on the logos now instead of stickers (I hate stickers).

 

Comfort:

I could just leave this as BEST COMFORT EVER, but I wont. I find the alpha pads to be incredibly soft and squishy and incredibly comfortable with amazing isolation. The clamping force is perfect and can be adjusted. The comfort strap is quite comfortable in the way it distributes the force on my head. However the leather strap made my head kinda itchy. I came across another person who claimed that and some people suggested that the person either had a fine leather allergy or the length of my hair may be interfering with the strap. Either way I picked up the replacement/upgrade headband off amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00862522A/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it fixed all my problems with adding a bit of extra comfort (impossible I know). The replacement does not fit perfectly as the band is too wide, but it works well even with only a few clasps clasped. I did need to readjust the band otherwise the pads pinched my head a bit. It took about 5 min to readjust and I am more than happy with the results.

 

Isolation:

My one requirement for headphones is that it must isolate. These Isolate very well and I wear them at college all the time (while looking like a dork, I don't care Ill make the sacrifice). I am never in an area where I don't have extra noise plowing into my headphones or where I would be bugging other people. I get that people don't want to listen to my music and I respect that. If I had a good place to isolate my self. I might have sought out the HE series instead or maybe even the HD650s but I don't and that is probably why my end game headphone is somewhat limited at this point. My end game is most likely the Alpha Dogs, overall sound endgame is definitely the audeze LCD 3 but without Isolation I just can not buy them.

 

Conclusion:

Overall buy these headphones if you need an isolating headphone and you like the neutral sound signature of an planar magnetic headphone.

 

Kudos to you Mr.Speaker for actually creating an amazing sounding well isolating headphone. I really hope you change the headphone world from a near fully non isolated headphone high end to a few extra options for us that need isolation. I do understand there are a couple solutions but they are not perfect (too high of a price for sound, or should isolate better).  I can not wait to hear the alpha dogs. 

Posted

Pros: Bass, Mid, Treble, Soundstage, Detail, Comfort, Build Quality, PRaT

Cons: Heavy

I've searched for a long time now for a pair of phones that do it all. These do. They have tank-like build with little complexity, and the sound is amazing. Big soundstage with accurate placement.

 

For acoustic tracks, this headphone absolutely nails it. Like being there. The electronic tracks sound amazing as well - tight, controlled bass, rich mids, and detailed highs WITHOUT sibilance, something  to which I'm very sensitive. The Beatles sound rich and full, and I can hear every breath and sniff.

 

I can't find a thing wrong with them. Take the comfort of the K550s, the detail of Beyerdynamic DT1350s, the musicality of Momentums, and the fun factor of Grados. Then add awesome bass.

Posted

Pros: Sound, comfort, isolation

Cons: Cable is easy to break when removing

This review has been removed because it's very outdated. Mad Dogs have seen a lot of work since this!

Posted

Pros: Special mids, good depth, very comfortable

Cons: Not for bass heads, soft clamping force, tricky to get a fitting jack for recabling

This review will only talk about comparison between the MD with Dog Pads and the previous MD (with Shure SRH-840 pads).

I found each version has their own unique sonic characters. So it's more to your preference. But it took me 3 hours of sitting down and thinking hard, before I finally made the purchase of the Dog Pads version. Here's why...

The 840 version has a more forward and brighter sonic, thus making the midrange (especially for vocals) very special. However it fell short in the bass section. There is bass, but just adequate in amount, which to the broader audience translates into lacking bass or thin. The Dog Pads version has an improved bass response. I noticed improvements in bass body and punch. However the overall sonic is darker than the 840 version. An inevitable trade off, I presume.

The midrange is still special in a darker way. The depth is very good, instrument placement is clearly noticable. Layering is also good, I didn't notice any sound bleed to another. Comfort with the Dog Pads is better than 840 pads for a long listening session. Isolation is great and leak is also minimal. However, it is still not a bass head headphones. The Mad Dog is also not a forgiving headphone, so mind your music's recording quality.

The Mad Dog with Dog Pads will still benefit from amping. For me, I prefer a warm sounding solid state amp paired with a smooth analog sounding DAC. It did not perform as well on tube amps (tried on Crack and Pan Am).

That's all, folks! smily_headphones1.gif
MrSpeakers Mad Dog (T50RP Mod)
Description:

Modified Fostex T50RP orthodynamic/planar magnetic headphones. Introduction from MrSpeakers's website: "We want your expectations to be unrealistic. And we hope we'll exceed them. When we built the Mad Dog headphone, our goal was to deliver a sparkling, musical and immersively realistic listening experience at a price many people could afford, without breaking the bank. We believe the Mad Dog blew our goals away. The Mad Dog is a really fun headphone and we hope it will make you want to rediscover your music library, over and over. Each headphone is hand modified and tuned to: Be super-fast and ultra-revealing Deliver exceptional channel balance with broad and spacious imaging Increase bass extension, while keeping it tunefull and tight The tech specs don't really mean much for headphones, but here are the not so gory details: Frequency range from 16-22KHz Efficiency: 92dB/mw Impedance 50 ohms MrSpeakers' Mad Dog headphones can be driven by most personal music players, including iPads, iPods, iPhones, laptops, PCs and other devices. It should be noted that we've come across some tier-2 brand phones and media players that really can't provide enough power to really drive this headphone adequately. To make the most of the Mad Dog headphones, MrSpeakers recommends the use of a good (or great) amplifier, DAC or DAC/Amp with at least 100mW per channel. The great thing about these headphones is that the better the source components the better your headphones will sound." The headphones had very good reception in the 2012 New York Spring Head-Fi Meet. It has been said by many who have heard both that the Mad Dog are a more neutral headphone than the Thunderpants, a popular T50RP mod.

Details:
DetailValue
Driver TypeOrthodynamic / Planar Magnetic
Impedance50 ohms
Additional InformationPrice: $299
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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