I recently got to spend some time witht he L3000. Bear in mind the following may be a little skewed as they are balanced with APS cables, and I am using an APS XLR --> 1/4" adaptor with my GS1. I wrote some impressions which may be useful here:
The L3000 is very difficult to assess for a number of reasons. Firstly, I (and others) have many preconceptions. And unlike many other headphones which get tested by a large portion of the Head-Fi community (e.g. K701, HD650, DT880), the L3000 usually gets talked about by a select few....and most of those who comment are often experienced with excellent ancilary equipment. In other words, their judgement holds more weight than the "average Joe" reviewer or review
My impressions so far:
- where is the "monstrous" bass people talk about? Could it be the GS-1's iron grip taming it? It is certainly phenomenally tuneful, accurate, quick, and most significantly - delineated. I listened to a lot of songs which I always thought has a singular bass line, realizing that they actually have multiple "themes" of bass running through them. The bass is textured and clean.
- pretty laid back but even keeled / balacned...I was expecting it to be more up front like the AD2000 or W5000....I think they got it almost spot on - some songs can have an excess of instrument information enveloping the vocalist which should take center stage
- it sounds balanced, in that everything seems to be coherent. Detail more than ample, dynamics there when you need them, amicable soundstage that is neither compressed nor too "infinite"
- female vocals are a bit of an oddity though...many songs sound phenomenal....but some sound thin, lacking some warmth/luxury. Might be the GS-1's neutral tone but doubt it - the owner of this pair had similar experiences with his Apache and his HP-4. It is a quirk as it may be the same artists, same album, with some song glorious and others not. I have a sneaking suspicion that AT made headphones that do not work optimally with amps other than their offerings on which they have most likely hard encoded some EQ. As may have been noticed, each of their flagship offerings has a specific AT amp as well.
- very comfortable....a big issue in big-ticket cans and something I have not had much luck with in AT headphones, with my small/narrow dome. Zero fitment issues here, no squeeking, no over clamping, no falling off or swaying on head. However I feel the driver sitting right on the ear can be troublesome after a while. I think that, much like the AD2000, it would benefit greatly from the phatpad mod.
- the way the details are so well presented and the speed of the bass is giving me flashbacks of the HE60/SRM-717 combo. It is just flashbacks though....the Baby Orpheus was more magical, and sweeter. It also got the vocals spot on with virtually everything I tried.
- Overall I do think it is the best AT I have heard. It is not my favorite, but the best - its extraction and portayal of detail; the (I must say astounding) speed of its bass is great. Pretty neutral especially for an AT.
As mentioned though it is not my favorite - that remains the W11JPN I used to own. It was certainly a colored, a little euphonic and warm, perhaps even a bit rolled off. But it was the most musical AT can I have ever had the joy of listening to. Again, it was tough assessing these due to preconcetions....I keep on thinking "where is the monster bass, and what is the occassional but odd wrinkle in the mids".
A final word of that engima of a word - value. You won't find it here, period. That said, you won't find it in ANY of the upper-tier, statement headphones, and especially in limited production cans like the L3000. No doubt that exclusivity adds both a certain appeal and a big bump in asking price. $2500 worth - no; but neither (I doubt) are $6k MDR-R10's or $2k PS-1's or $1k CD3000s. IMO though it would probably outperform any of the modern $1k-$1.5k contenders, which is about what I think they are actually worth.