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There's Something About Ultrasone…

post #1 of 5935
Thread Starter 
(Original thread title: "Ultrasone PROline 750, 2500, or HFI 2200 ULE?"

Dear Reader,

This thread has evolved substantially since I started it as a simple newbie request for information about what was then a little-known and oft-misunderstood brand of headphone, at least within the confines of Head-Fi.

In the interim, the thread has developed into a sort of free-wheeling communal blog discussing all things Ultrasone. While it can often veer in many different directions seemingly at the same time, there is a wealth of information to be found covering a truly vast scope of impressions and ideas, if one is willing to dig through and/or follow along.

However, please be forewarned that many of the posters here are playful and fun-loving enthusiasts, and as such, do not necessarily subscribe to some narrower views of what makes a thread "useful". In other words, things that might initially appear to be frivolous or "off-topic" more often than not contribute enhanced value to the thread experience as a whole.

So please feel free to strap on your sense of humor and let's check intolerance at the door. )

And be sure to check out The Missing Manual: A User’s Guide to Ultrasone, also contained here-in. It's a continuously evolving wiki/FAQ distilled into a one-stop post discussing many potentially relevant topics of interest to Ultrasone owners.


Hello!

I feel that the time has come for me to step up from my Sennheiser HD590s to something a little more interesting.

Reading through the threads here, I have become quite captivated by the concepts behind the Ultrasone range. Their S-Logic decentralized driver positioning seems like just what I'm looking for.

Since my Hi-Fi loudspeakers are quasi-omnidirectional, I am already quite accustomed to a broadened soundstage and a more diffuse presentation as opposed to standard directional speakers.

So the question for me is: which one to choose?

The consensus seems to be that the 750s are slightly more forward than the 2500s with regard to the treble. And that the HFI 2200s are a little softer and more forgiving than their PROline counterparts with the stiffer titanium drivers.

From everything I've seen, the 750 and 2500 are entirely identical except that the 750 is closed. Are the ear pads different on the 750 also, in order to complete the seal?

The reason I'm interested in this aspect is that I've been thinking about the possibility of purchasing the 2500s and then modifying them to accept a removable cover for the rear of the cups on either side.

Theoretically, then, I could enjoy the sonic advantages of open cans when I'm alone in a room, but also retain the option of closing them off when Mrs. Dex is around trying to watch the telly.

The best of both worlds, or a fool's errand?

And then there are the HFI 2200 ULEs with their retrotastic, chocolicious good looks, not to mention being significantly less expensive. I could try out the same mod if I were to choose these beauties.

So I'm looking for any thoughts or impressions from folks who have heard or own any of these Ultrasones.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers, Dex
post #2 of 5935
A bump for your thread since I'm interested, too. I've been looking hard at the 2500 since I prefer open headphones. I considered electrostatics for the next phase of headphone listening, but I think I'll get a pair of these first. If there are any Ultrasone owners out there, please post!
post #3 of 5935
the Ultrasone rep for Canada will be at the TO meet on the 11th, wait for impressions!
post #4 of 5935
Of the PROlines the 2500 is my favorite, basically they share the same drivers, so the only difference is that one is closed and another open, and small differences here and there, but basically the same signature, not sure about the 2200, but I absolutelly love the 2500, my only complaint is that they are open, and for bed listening is a problem with my wife, other than that, l strongly recommend them...non fatiguing at all, and very natural sounding, the bass is tight and very good, and goes very deep...

As for closing and opneing them, email Ultrasone for an answer, BTW Evan is a member of this forum, and he could answer that, but be careful, the cups are caculated with the drivers in mind and position and space is critical inside, and any mod will ruin the soundstage, I tried to do some mods and ended on square one again, as it failed miserably....
post #5 of 5935
I finally heard the Proline 2500 yesterday (apparently at the National meet I only heard the 2200ULE's). Using a Meridian G08 source & Rudistor NX-33 amp run together in a balanced configuration, the Ultrasones sounded horrible - completely muddy throughout the bass & midrange FR's and no highs. Unlistenable to these ears, and easily bested by Sennheiser HD600 and Beyerdynamic DT880's, both of which cost less.

Do yourself a favor, look elsewhere. Anywhere.
post #6 of 5935
Make sure you try them for yourself, Dex. Nobody can tell you what you are going to like.

Check the link in my sig for the HFI2200 if you want to see what I thought of them in comparison to the HD595.
post #7 of 5935
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies thus far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller
As for closing and opening them, email Ultrasone for an answer, BTW Evan is a member of this forum, and he could answer that, but be careful, the cups are caculated with the drivers in mind and position and space is critical inside, and any mod will ruin the soundstage, I tried to do some mods and ended on square one again, as it failed miserably....
The mod I had in mind is entirely non-invasive, and would not affect anything on the interior of the 2500s whatsoever. I was simply thinking about finding a way to attach something to the exterior of the cups, effectively sealing them off like a closed headphone, so the sound wouldn't disturb others in the room on those occasions when the family is about.

My initial thoughts were to have a circular piece of plexi that would strap onto velcro at a few critical points around the perimeter of the outside of the cup. So it would be easily removable whenever I desire to listen al fresco, as it were.
post #8 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg
"....I originally planned to do more listening this time than usual, but that really didn't happen. Here's a few tidbits from my mental notes though:

Sony R10 - It's been a while since I've had some listening time with these. This pair was a late-production (high serial number) with plenty of lush bass. The MicroZotl amp powering it kept it from getting out of hand. Not always the last word in high-frequency extension (and sometimes I crave more), the R10's excel at creating one of the most (of not the most) 3-dimensional soundstage of any headphone. I don't know how Sony did it with a close headphone *shrug*!

Sony CD3000 - After hearing some wonderful things out of the R10's, I tried these again hoping for the best. Other than the similiar plush physical comfort, I'm afraid these share nothing with its wooden sibling sonically. Boomy undefined bass, peaky highs, scooped out midrange - and this out of a Meitner source and Zana Deux amp. Next!

Sony 010 - The TOTL headphone of the how defunct Qualia brand, these provide a crystal clear view of the music. The total opposite of the R10 in form and function, yet both are stellar. They would be terrific compliments to each other (albeit with differently tuned associated gear).

Beyerdynamic DT880('03) vs. Sennheiser HD600 vs. Ultrasone 2500 - These were compared using a Merdian G08 and Rudistor NX-33 amp ran in a balanced configuration. The Senns, cabled as balanced, were polite but a tad warm for my taste. The Ultrasones were extremely muddy & basically unlistenable, not to mention uncomfortable. The Beyers were spot-on and the winner by a longshot. The Rudistor amp was pretty nice, btw!




I'm bringing this post here, as it is more or less what you said above about the PROLines, but also include another opinions that I would like to use as an example on how different opinions could be in a given topic, and nothing wrong on that. One more time, I always tell the new guys, that we need to hear by ourselves to arrive to our own conclusions, and try to find our holy grail....from some time on, I never trust any others ears, just this pair of rusty, clothy...and old ones...

After reading these (and others from another members as well) in the NYC meeting impressions thread, we couldn't disagree more, and it shows how diferent we hear...

Just to give the OP an idea of how different opinions in a given topic could be, I do feel that the CD3K is IMO the closest headphone to the R-10 in sound, and presentation among the ones I have heard, having the R-10 a better bass, but I feel the rest pretty close, and I'm not alone on that, and I have heard a few headphones, and that is the main reason I keep two pairs around, as I can not afford the R-10, even if I find one.

OTOH the HD600 and DT880 sound like a joke IMO, in comparison to the PRolines, at least in single ended mode (I have not compared all of them balanced configuration side by side)

But if you heard that difference, maybe the PROLines do not benefit at all from the balanced topology, maybe due to the particular design they have...Also are you sure that the PROLINES were wired as balanced, i mean wires from both cups down??? I'm asking as the NX-33 sounds different in Balanced, and in SE mode...if you heard the HD600 and DT880 in balanced mode, and later the PROLines in the SE jack, even at the same time, you are not hearing them in the same setup, the sound is different in both jacks, (but in the worst scenario it should never be as you described it with the PROLines)

My sugestion ot the OP, is to listen them by yourself, specially the Ultrasones, also consider that they need time to get used to them...


BTW at least we agree on the comfort part (they are not comfortable headphones as the CD3K/R-10 are)....
post #9 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dexdexter
The mod I had in mind is entirely non-invasive, and would not affect anything on the interior of the 2500s whatsoever. I was simply thinking about finding a way to attach something to the exterior of the cups, effectively sealing them off like a closed headphone, so the sound wouldn't disturb others in the room on those occasions when the family is about.

My initial thoughts were to have a circular piece of plexi that would strap onto velcro at a few critical points around the perimeter of the outside of the cup. So it would be easily removable whenever I desire to listen al fresco, as it were.
Not sure and better contact them, but IIRC the 750 has some openings inside the front panel of the cups (some big holes), that fire some of the back sound of the driver to the inside of the cup, and are covered by some material that do not block them completelly (working like an apperiodic port in an speaker or so) while in the 2500 the front panels are completelly covered....I'm not 100% sure, and I could be wrong so please again ask them but I think that one size fit all, is not posible, but asking will not harm...and if you get that answer just gimme a shout that could be my solution as well, and it is simpler than what you think, IIRC is only a matter of getting the ring from the 750 that covers the vents on the back of the cup, piece of cake, and if it is possible, of course...
post #10 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by sovkiller
Also are you sure that the PROLINES were wired as balanced, i mean wires from both cups down??? I'm asking as the NX-33 sounds different in Balanced, and in SE mode...if you heard the HD600 and DT880 in balanced mode, and later the PROLines in the SE jack, even at the same time, you are not hearing them in the same setup, the sound is different in both jacks, (but in the worst scenario it should never be as you described it with the PROLines)
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in both of my prior posts, but the Utrasones & the Beyers were both using their stock cabling with the 1/4" plug. Only the Senns were cabled balanced. So the Beyers I preferred over the other two were playing under the same conditions as the 2500's.

Also sorry if we continue to disagree so vastly on our sonic preferences too, Alberto. But I find the CD3k's barely listenable, and not even close to being worthy of the cult status they now enjoy after being discontinued. I really wanted to like the Ultrasone Proline 2500's, and had every hope for the best until I put them on my head. The headband is completely inflexible, with little padding on the top. The earcups are not as large as either the Beyer's or the Senns, and also not as deep, so they are not as comfortable as either. Sonically they were like mud.

I could have blamed the associated gear, but the Senns and Beyers sounded fine. Not to mention the Meridian is a well-regarded source, and the Rudistor amp was provided by you. Can't blame the Grace 902 like you did at the National meet.

I do a pretty thorough job of qualifying my opionions as just that - my opinions. And of course it was under meet conditions. But I think this test had a fair amount of controls and references.
post #11 of 5935
You are entitled to your opinion, based in your experience, I have no right to be the judge, but at the same time I tell the new guys to take any opinion as a grain of salt, yours, and mine, and any other, and listen by themselves...

BTW if you want I could quote your whole post, and I'm including that part now, but honestly it is too long indeed, you can mod as your discretion later on (given your moderator priviledges) but as a side note, most of the topics are not even related to the main topic here, I will try to edit it a little bit, removing whatever is not relevenat IMO, but you cna do a better job later on if you like.....

BTW I do love the R-10, IME the best sounding heapdhone ever made, and the best sound you can possibly imagine, from a heapdhone, if this makes us to share something in common, so be it...

Well the main complain IIRC, at the past meeting, not sure if you agree on that, was that they were too bright sounding (weird soundstage appart as that takes time to get used to) but IMO they were listening the Grace with them (mainly) but, I also listened them in the other Rudistor amps we had there, and the sound was not so bright, it was OK to me. We all know that with some heapdhones the Grace tend to sound bright, the main reason I never got it for my CD3K, as two brights don't make a right, and despite the gorgeous look, (even I mimic that look in my PPA, so I like the Grace's at least the look, and feel, it feels solid in your hands, but not the sound) nothing against it, for other heapdhones of choise, it will be the holy masterpiece, but not for mine, the CD3K...... now they are not bright, according to you, all the opposite, so the amp IMO plays a roll there as well....Not sure how it was connected or used, but I have them here, and they sound right to me, even straight of the recent CT-SL570 I purchased from audiolaw, from that jack, they sounded pretty darn good, I listened them yesterday the whole night, no amp...
post #12 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by sovkiller
Well the main complain IIRC, at the past meeting, not sure if you agree on that, was that they were too bright sounding (weird soundstage appart as that takes time to get used to) but IMO they were listening the Grace with them (mainly) but, I also listened them in the other Rudistor amps we had there, and the sound was not so bright, it was OK to me. We all know that with some heapdhones the Grace tend to sound bright, the main reason I never got it for my CD3K, as two brights don't make a right, and despite the gorgeous look, (even I mimic that look in my PPA, so I like the Grace's at least the look, and feel, it feels solid in your hands, but not the sound) nothing against it, for other heapdhones of choise, it will be the holy masterpiece, but not for mine, the CD3K...... now they are not bright, according to you, all the opposite, so the amp IMO plays a roll there as well.
I only heard the 2200ULE's out of the Grace at the National meet earlier this year. The 2200's were not bright, and I have never heard the Grace sound bright, whether being fed digitally or analog. Therefore I reasonably conclude that it would not be the Grace's fault if any headphones sounded bright. It would be the headphone.

While amps make a difference in performance level of headphones, they will not make that drastic a difference in the basic sonic signature of the can. Sorry, I don't believe in this "all things are relative, your ears are different than mine, you can never compare setups" philosophy. If you can describe what you are hearing specifically, and your preferences separately, we can have a conversation though.

But, hey, let these other members find out for themselves and listen with their own ears. I'm just trying to save them a few bucks and time.
post #13 of 5935
So now the Grace is a warm sounding amp??? Really??? Humm, well it seems that I need to do my homework again, and will try to find more acurate info then, as that was not the idea I had, not what I have read here along this years, and not what I heard out of that jack...


Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg
But, hey, let these other members find out for themselves and listen with their own ears. I'm just trying to save them a few bucks and time.


I was saying that in all my posts....Amen to that...
post #14 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller
So now the Grace is a warm sounding amp??? Really???
Absolutely. Especially when using it's own internal DAC. Even AKG K1000's sound pretty tame out of it.
post #15 of 5935
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg
Absolutely. Especially when using it's own internal DAC. Even AKG K1000's sound pretty tame out of it.
I have to agree. As an amp, it is slightly warm, but the internal DAC tips the scale a bit further toward warmth.
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