Originally Posted by Dan the man
How do the Grado Statement vs Ultrsone Ed 9 also compare to the AKG 701s?? If price no object, which is the best all around soundiing headphone? Should I get the balanced version of the Ultrasone????
That's a very loaded question, and there are all kinds of things to consider. On an 'overall' level of "audiophile" performance, both the GS1000 and the ED-9 outclass the K701 by a remarkable amount. But that doesn't end it, nor does it answer your question.
The ED-9 is one of the sickest cans on the market. The bass impact, definition, speed, color and texture are out there... there isn't a can that can perform hip-hop or electronic insturments better (that's not named the L3000).
The GS1000 isn't a can that you can just plug into any system and make it sound good.. oh no. the GS1000 needs a system built around it's sound signature and needs to be only "part" of a very good chain of components to sound good. at the top, I personally think that it is far better than the RS-1, however doesn't show it until you hook it up with the right stuff.
On a sound level the GS1000 has a very wide soundstage, has a laid back (if not distant) center (so voices can be a little far), and has by far the best resolution, control, impact, and "neutrality" of any of the cans on your list.
The K701 is probably the best "all around" headphone in the hobby. It doesn't make any mistakes when it comes to reproducing sound, but it doesn't leave the listener as engaged in the music either. The K701 can be adapted to a high number of differing systems and still sound good.
The thing you might consider (if you truly love the K701) is not upgrading. Balancing the K701 (on a GSX or Headroom) has yielded some of the best results I've heard to date. I can't stay that it "scales" as well as the Sennheiser cans, but it certainly does wonders for the K701 and brings it up to the level of the single ended GS1000.