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Alessandro Music Series MS1 FAN CLUB!

post #1 of 3107
Thread Starter 
For the love of GOD, my MS-1 is here!!!! the pain and the frustation of waiting is over!

I received her, already broken in for over 600hours from her previous Head-Fier owner (Young&Wild) when he decided to move on to MS-2i. I just could not contain the fact how lucky I am to receive a used MS-1 which has received much love from her previous owner and spared me the enduring Burn In ritual Not to mention a price tag that kills any bargain offer I have come across to date.

Impressions? OMG!!! this is exactly what I am looking for!!! ABSOLUTELY perfect for Synthpop, Electronica, Rock, Metal, Indie & even Industrial, the fun factor of SR60, the bass impact of SR80 and finesse of SR125, fun yet analytical, sterile yet not fatiguing......but the best part? the Highs! yesss I finally found the cans that have exceptional control for my collection of peaky and "noisy" songs. Now listening to Garbage's "Why Do You Love Me" no longer hurts the eardrums, GODFLESH's Christbait Rising sounded so real and engaging amid the euphoria of Drum Machines rumble and stinging guitar riffs. Depeche Mode's Everything Counts(LIVE) puts me there in the crowd near the front stage digesting the spectrum of sounds........

For now I am listening to my MS-1 in stock form with stock comfies, but already HD414 is ready at hand. And in a few days time a full recabling work will commence - simply to satisfy my morbid passion for modding and personalization. My OPA2134PA CMOY is doing a fair job right now pumping juices for his new partner, but I did sensed a hint of slowness in certain track - time to upgrade my CMOY to 18V operation hahaha

In contrast, the MS-1 exceeded my expectation in every aspect, trouncing my Kramer Modded PortaPro by quite a margin in the analytical department (the PortaPro remained a top contender for fun cans) and I was glad that I held back my insatiable desire to purchase SR60, SR80 and SR125 - because I find them to be a bit too bright for my liking. I needed some refinement and now I have found them!

I am putting up this thread so that we can do a roll call for all MS-1 lovers. Kramer did put up an appreciation thread sometime ago, but now that he has sold them the thread has become somewhat moot.

For the benefit of all, I include some of the popular searches for MS-1:

The MS1 Appreciation Thread http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...preciation+MS1

MS1 for electronica? http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Alessandro Headphones http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
I got my MS-1 aswell: Questions! http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Alessandro MS-1 (My first 30 minutes) http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Grado sr60&sr80&sr125 vs Alessandro ms1 http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
If I think my MS-1s are too dark, what pads should I get? http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Alessandro MS-1 and ?? http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Sampling my first Grado [well, Alessandro]... what should I expect? http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
Just how uncomfortable is the MS1 (or other Grados)? http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
which pads you prefer to use with MS-1 http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1
It Hath Arrived : Alessandro MS-1 http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...&highlight=MS1

The much awaited parcel!

The infamous Grado Pizza Box - Travels all the way from US -> Australia -> Malaysia

My New Found LOVE:


Within the last 24 hours, I just could not hold back my insane craving for mods - oh well this is how my MS-1 looked like and more mods to come!

The 3.5mm Stereo Jack (Japanese) converted into Dual Mono:

Further Imprerssions after modded:

I have been a great fan of Canare StarQuad, without any hesitation I yanked off the StarQuad from my PortaPro and started converting them into Dual Mono cable. Pretty easy because I have been tinkering a lot with DIY Interconnects. That done I began the most difficult part of installing 3.5mm stereo jacks into each driver enclosure - even trickier is the part converting those stereo jacks into Mono for 2 channel operation but somehow I got away clean. Uber careful solder work is paramount here because I would not want to sacrifice any Sonics when I am done. The most difficult part was to get the driver enclosure opened. Based on guides from HeadWize forum, the Spoon Wedge method worked well for me. And then came the heart wrenching part of cutting a sizable about of gap for the Stereo Jack to fit in. A lot of knife work and filing work have to be done to get a perfect fit - not for the faint hearted - to see my precious MS-1 all cut and scraped. But thank God it all ended well and the surgery was a great success!.

Now that I have them all fixed, I plugged them in to my DAP directly without any amp. As expected, my ears told me that my MS-1 sounded even more reserved now - an attribute introduced bt 21AWG Canare StarQuad. Next, tests with my CMOY Amp.........Call it Placebo or whatever you like, but I swear that the sound is a lot crisper and sterile now, with amplification the overall timbre/tonality has escalated to a new depth - chimingly musical and relaxed yet sterile. I was a bit dissapointed tough that Soundstage has not improve much if there's any at all.......then came another insane idea,

I reopened the driver enclosure and grabbed a pair of Plantronics holed foamies, trim them nicely and snugged them in to the inner chamber of the enclosure - seal them back again and another marathon of tests (the very idea behind this is to introduce dampening of sound emitted from the rear of the transducer)

How it fares? LOVELY!!!. Despite the look the foamies did not interfere with the openess that is a trademark of all Grado cans, but the most apparent result is that there's abolsutely no ill sounding resonance and reverb - what was already a clean sounding cans now sounds heavenly (on the neutral side that is). There's no chance at all for bass to overwhelm the rest of the sound spectrum because the foamies damper will absorb all stray "after effect" efficiently - it's a very-very tightly controlled bass in all area now - this mod spells bad news for Total Basshead. And yes, the foamies has also took the sound slightly out of "in your head" feel and a certain degree of Soundstaging is apparent now. Overall I would rate my MS-1 as a very mellow Grado if compared to the Prestige Series. This mellowness is perfect for analytical marathon listening. Before the mods, it's like being in the studio with the musicians standing beside them, after the mods it's like standing 3 feet away - which is very appealing to me.

Circling trough my favorite tunes, I am still awed by the prowess of Grado cans with guitars. Sonic Youth's twin guitar attack (different guitars each channel) never sounded sooo good, and Kim Gordon's vocals is drug to the ears! Churning through New Order's Bizzare Love Triangle & Shell Shock brought synthpop experience to another level with musically accurate synthesizers and percussions reproduction - there's no BOOM in your face kind of experience here - just plain liquid electro pleasure, I could not ask for more For the ultimate test, I played the heaviest tune I have in store - GODFLESH's Anything Is Mine from Selfless album - this tarck is so heavy laden with chunky bass attack that it will distort almost all of the cans I ever listened to them before - but my MS-1 handled that very well, there's still the sign of slight distortion but it does not interfere with the song anymore.

On the other hand, now that my PortaPro is naked without cables, I recabled her with the Grado hahahaha. Another surprise there, now my PortaPro runs very well unamped and drivability has become somewhat Gradoey LOL! - easy and effortless. In contrast, my recabled MS-1 will not drive well without an amp - so if you plan to use your Grados with direct DAP and no amps, avoid using Canare StarQuad. I have to move up the volume up 2 notch to match the same level of volume before recabling.

Here's my Gradoed PortaPro:

Upcoming mods:
- HD414 Pads (once I am done dying them hahahaha)
- 75OHM Resistors?
- Extended Barrel?

Stay Tuned!!! and keep the Roll Call running.
post #2 of 3107
congrats, i havent heard the ms1 yet but I am definitely in the alessandro fan club
post #3 of 3107
Very cool, i got my ms-1's about 5 months ago. I love them, beats my akg 501's
by a wide margin for rock. Just all around great cans
post #4 of 3107
Sign me up as a charter member!!

Truly a great set of cans!

Since receiving my MS2i I've been letting the Wife use my MS-1s for her computer, but since I can't use the MS2i on my computer, I have to steal the MS-1s back any time I need cans on my computer! One of the first things she did was try the MS-1s on her Zen, of course I had to give a listen....they sound great even un amped! That caused me to check out the difference between the Zen and my PCDP and I was again re-amazed at how good these phones really sound! Now I find that I am using the MS-1s on the portable more often than I did before I got the MS2i! I love my MS2i for really serious listening, but there is something so friendly about the MS-1s lighter weight and comfort and stability with reversed 414s, that I almost look foreward to a stint with the portable rig! They're just so darned much "fun"!!
post #5 of 3107
long time MS-1 member here..

can't tell you how much better these phones have made my commutes and walk ins/outs from work over the years, superb cans for clams no doubt
post #6 of 3107
how good are these unamped, out of an ipod 4g. I'm tinking of getting these if I like my ms2's wich are comming in soon
post #7 of 3107
Originally Posted by exphy
how good are these unamped, out of an ipod 4g. I'm tinking of getting these if I like my ms2's wich are comming in soon
The MS-1s excel at producing great sound out of normal equipment..this includes portables, DM, iPods, etc..

I think you would be best suited in owning an MS-1, as the resale value is solid in case you demo them and find there style not for you, altough they are amazing cans.
post #8 of 3107
Maybe I'll get these than. 2nd handed are they not much more expensive than a set of iGrado's, but they look so much more sexy
post #9 of 3107
They're great cans... my personal fave at the $100 mark. As a portable, socket modded HD414s were my preference, at home bowl pads with an earmax was my preference.

Comfy pads sound kind of muddy, but not all-together terrible IMHO.
post #10 of 3107
Count me as a MS-1 fanboy. Love these things.
post #11 of 3107
Love my MS1 for rock and treblish music, but they are just wrong for rap...still love them when they are used in the right way.
post #12 of 3107
Yep, I really like mine too.

I should mention something though. I found them a little too harsh before, so I recently got an equializer plugin and did the following changes: a bit of a boost in the bass, and bit of a dip around 2kHz, 3.5kHz, and 7kHz with a parametric equalizer. This took away their grating sound quite a bit and made them sound much more natural and nice to listen to (especially with the crossfeed plugin). The important part though is that it didn't take away any of their Grado qualities, in my opinion anyway. They rock even more
post #13 of 3107
Originally Posted by luidge
Love my MS1 for rock and treblish music, but they are just wrong for rap...still love them when they are used in the right way.
Try Wyclef Jean - The Carnival...

That is the kind of rap/hip hop that excels on the Aless cans..the MS-1's in particular. The MS do not accentuate or project the deep marks in FR as well as it articulates the marks in the mid bands..which falls into the natural bass overtones, and marks from instruments like guitars, Djembres, etc..

Not for too short, but definately for tribe called qwest..
Not for Dr Dre, but definately for Public Enemy with Anthrax..

etc, etc
post #14 of 3107
To be honest i try them the most with Mf Doom since i got is complete discographie lately and it is true that MF is much more in the dark deep bass rap than accoustic drum. But still for doom this go from god blessed to my ears when i listen with my K240S and K81DJ to some bad noise when i put the MS1 on. But for listening to jazzy hip-hop they sure doesn't sound that bad. But still when i am listening to rap music i need my AKG. But ill try some other beat to find my MS1 rap record.
post #15 of 3107
im so incredibly tempted to buy these headphones
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