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Lawton Audio LA2000 impressions - Page 3

post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post
Every one of those shows as out of stock. So basically they don't exist. Good luck getting it at those prices.
post #32 of 55

FIRST IMPRESSIONS ABOUT LA7000

Hi,
I'm a newcomer from Paris, France
I'm interested in Hi-fi (with loudspeaker, I had many in the past) for about 15 years now but I'm interested in the headphones for about one year only;
I 'm not talking about the LA2000, but about it's big brother, the LA7000;
Hope it interested somebody.
If you have question, please be patient for the answer: there is time difference between US and France, and writing in English is hard for me!


FIRST IMPRESSIONS ABOUT LA7000 PHONES WITH BUBINGA CUPS


I beg your pardon for my bad English, while I’m trying to write exactly what I think.

Conditions of the test

My Hi-Fi system consists of a Musical Fidelity M1 turntable, a Cary PH302 phono-preamp, a Cary CAD300SEI amp. The cartridge is a Lyra Dorian and the analog cables are Cardas Golden Ref.

My headphone of reference to compare is a Grado GS1000, a reference phone for me!
Here in France, sadly phones like the JVC HP DX1000, Audio-Technica AT-W5000 and others are not distributed!

I listen to classical jazz and new tango.

It’s my first impressions because my LA7000 is not burn-in, I have only about ten hour of listening with it; so the sound must change and evolve.


Workmanship

I removed the pad and unscrewed the cups to see the phone even on the inside!
But it’s not an easy operation to do and I’ll dismantle only if must do it!
You have to take care when you screw to not do it too high because you can easily break the thread in plastic!

The stock Denon phone is very deceptive, made of bad parts, a lot of plastic, I expect better things from Denon! It’s Chinese made in it’s cheap and bad way! The only excellent part is the Fostex/Foster drivers.

The Mark parts make a contrast as they are excellent one:
The Markl mods
The Bubinga cups are beautiful pieces of craftsman made, single pieces of art that you proudly keep for life
The Jena Labs cable is very carefully terminated on both sides, using glue to seal them and prevent oxidation. The Furutech plug is the best plug I see!

The sound

First of all, I invite all people interested in this phone to go to a place where they can listen to the stock Denon D5000 (I do) or better, the D7000 because the sound must be in the same family: if you love this kind of sound but you want it executed better, then go for the LA7000! But don’t forget that you listen to the phones AND the Hi-Fi system!

Grado GS1000
I use the Grado for about one year, so the burn-in is made and I’m familiar with this phone.
This phone is light weight, very comfortable.
It have a really huge soundstage which is especially deep. This phone is free of long-listening fatigue at careful volume adjust. The bass is tight with good details; to sum up the sound that this phone produces is very natural.

The GS1000 use mylar diaphragms while the LA7000 use microfiber ones: that difference is the reason why I was curious to listen to the Denon phones.

LA7000
The LA7000 is more heavy, and larger than the Grado; the comfort is different, with the leather-like pads.
So I feel it much more on my head, but it’s not tiring or uncomfortable for the listening sessions, it’s just a different feeling than the Grado.

This phone has a well-balanced frequency response, with wide bass: it need an amp that have a good control of the bass to avoid it to be excessive.
With my Cary 300SEI, there is more bass than on the GS1000: it’s more possible to hear the resonance chamber of the instruments, their body.
This bass is here when there is bass on the record; the instruments are more defined with more body, so they appear more real.
With the good records, the bass are wide, readable; with other records, the bass are here but imprecise: you hear what is on your record.

The LA7000 give more information on the scene where are the musicians (outside, in a theater,…): the listener is more “here”.
The LA7000 have a more seductive sound, better tone with luscious midrange.

But this is so well done, the LA7000 is not too analytical or bright: it’s done in a natural way that permits you to have long listening without feeling hardness in your ear (always with careful sound volume adjust!).

There is one part where the GS1000 is better: the deep of the soundstage.
But the LA7000 in spite of this got an excellent soundstage: you don’t feel anything is missing.
With the GS1000 it’s like you are in the middle of the rank of the spectator, while with the LA7000 you are more near the musicians, in the first rank of the spectator: you hear a less deeper soundstage but with more information, more richer sound, instruments more define with bass well extended (and the bass, for me, are essential to the music, you miss a lot without!)


Conclusion

At this time I prefer the LA7000 over the GS1000

I think that the experience that Mark have in the headphones is the key that’s why he’s the good man able for producing one of the best-sounding phone and he done it! Good job Mark! You are in the good way!
post #33 of 55
very interesting read....the LA series seems almost legendary according to this thread
post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by struts View Post
Henmyr,

You know, if it meant I could finally get to audition all the 'phones I am dying to hear: Ed 9s, D7000s, R10s, Qualias, L3000s etc. (not to mention all the headphone amps) that wouldn't be a bad idea!

mrarroyo,

I'll see what I can do.

Andrew_WOT,

Nope.
I might take a weekend in Stockholm for that and could bring most of what's in my sig.
post #35 of 55

LA7000

dum656 say:
HTML Code:
very interesting read....the LA series seems almost legendary according to this thread
Thanks, dum656

I'm not thinking that the LA7000 is almost legendary, as the Sony R10 is because only time will tell to us for the LA;

For me the LA7000 are excellent headphone that everybody searching for a high level phone must consider;

For the sound I prefer the LA7000 over the GS1000 (and I prefer the GS1000 over the Senheiser HD595 I have), this is my opinion with my taste in my Hi-Fi system

My only complaint about this phone is about the build quality because of the Denon parts, the Grado and the others are far better than the Denon!, so this is the only problem I have with it.

But if Mark can make entirely the LA phone, then this phone can be...almost a legendary!!
post #36 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thanks ldidierc! An excellent write-up which completely shames me into writing up a more detailed report on my impressions of the LA2000s. And your English is excellent, I at least have no trouble at all in following your thoughts.

Thank you for taking the time to share your impressions.
post #37 of 55
Thread Starter 
Hey nc8000,

Would be great to meet up if you can make it, although I want to stress this won't be a canjam, I'm not intending to hire a room or anything. We'll just agree to meet up somewhere at or around the show and maybe go for a beer afterwards. If there is enough interest maybe we could look at organizing a small canjam sometime in the future.

I would really love to hear your L3000s but it would rely on me somehow being able to get the kids out of the house. Let me see if I can come up with something...
post #38 of 55
Thread Starter 
-
post #39 of 55
The proposed weekend in february I'm unable to come but perhaps some other time. I would love to compare the L3000 to the LA2000 and HD800.
post #40 of 55
I enjoy Marks products! I have a balanced MD5000 w/ Jena cable and have a LA2k with V4 cups on order. I wimped out and am using a SE cable from a 7000...but Expenses had to be managed when the HD800 became available.
post #41 of 55
Thread Starter 
So, as I said above, shamed by ldidiercs superb review of the LA7000s and comparison with the Grado GS1000s I thought I would try to do a more objective piece on the LA2000s.

To provide some structure (and allow for repeatability if anybody wants to try to replicate my findings) I concentrated on a handful of test tracks listed below, although I also listened to a much broader range of material including choral and chamber music, indie rock and bebop. Most of the material is stuff that I am intimately familiar with and forms part of the standard array of test tracks that I use to evaluate any new system. I should also mention that although all the tracks below are ripped at 16/44.1 from CDs I listened to quite a lot of hi rez masters at 24/88.2 and 24/96. I thought impressions based on tracks widely commercially available would be more helpful.

I listened to each track on my LA2000s with Mahogany cups, now with about 50 hours on them, and my AKG701s which have been re-cabled with dual-entry Moon Audio Black Dragon and are fully burned in (several hundred hours on them, I’ve stopped counting). The system was a PC playing FLAC files via a Lynx L22 card connected to my Grace m902 amp [Note: the K701s required about 7 extra notches of volume to produce the same perceived loudness as the LA2000s, so if I was listening to the LA2000s at 65 on the “LO” gain setting I would need to crank it up to 72 with the K701s]. The order in which I listened to them varied (although of course I always knew which phones I was listening to) and sometimes I swapped back-and-forth to make specific comparisons.

My impressions were pretty much consistent across all the tracks, I preferred the LA2000s on every track and by a considerable margin. The strengths compared to the K701s were principally:
  • Transparency. The LA2000s provide an unrivalled sense of transparency and immediacy. Substitute your own favourite analogy here, cleaning windows, removing veils, like listening to a radio in the next room, etc.
  • Detail. Again, I could go on at length about the little details I have discovered through these phones I have never heard before. I thought long and hard about that. I mean I regularly listen through the K701s, Moon or APS re-cabled HD650s and Ultimate Ears UE10 Pros, none of which are bad cans. So why the difference? The best analogy I can come up with is that with the other cans it is like watching a film, but the edges of the screen are all dark, only one part is at the proper brightness. The detail is all there but because it is not properly lit you just don’t notice it. Through the LA2000 it is like the whole screen is at the proper brightness.
  • Bass. The bass with the Lawtons is simply phenomenal. Here it completely wipes the floor with the AKGs. The LA2000s have better extension, better weight, great detail and texture and a superb tunefulness. This is juicy, round, bouncy bass, not the buttoned-up repressed bass of the AKGs.
  • Soundstaging. Again, the best I have heard from cans. A very spacious soundstage with (on some tracks) alarmingly precise positioning and separation of instruments.
  • Balance. Whenever my attention is drawn to a particular area (e.g. the bass) I immediately begin to wonder if the treble is somehow not to the same standard, but then I listen and I realize it is. At their elevated performance level the LA2000s have an incredibly well rounded character and I can’t find any area of obvious weakness. Sure, cymbals and snare drums can have such biting attack that they make you flinch, but they do that in real life too!
Some specific notes:
Ella Fitzgerald “Love For Sale” from The Best of the Songbooks. Ella’s voice sounds huskier through the K701s and the dynamics sound flat by comparison with the LA2000s. The LA2000s give a sense of immediacy which is lacking with the K701s. The latter sound like one is listening to a second-generation recording, like someone has played it back on a really good system and recorded that. The detail and instrumental texture is also far superior through the LA2000s. The brass really “bleats” through the Lawtons.

Leftfield “Afro-Left” from Leftism. The separation between individual instruments and voices is incredible through the LA2000s, the best I have heard. The bass is phenomenal, it has detail and texture lacking with the K701s and it “bounces” to a completely different degree. The voice sounds incredibly present, like when someone speaks so close to your ear that you can feel their breath on it. Uncanny.

Lyle Lovett “Penguins” from I Love Everybody. Wow! I have never heard that snare bite like that before, the attack is so sharp and the detail on the hi-hat is incredible. More lovely, juicy, bouncy bass. The separation between instruments again grabs my attention and I can follow each of them at will.

David Roth “Pearl Diver” from Pearl Diver. The sense of the placement of the two guitars is absolute, as if they are nailed into space. The voice seems huge though, as if his head is twenty feet wide.

ABBA “Mamma Mia” from Thank You for the Music. Quite a surprise. This is a horrible recording and the Lawton cans let you hear just how horrible. That awful “tinny” snare is really spotlit in the mix and the splashy indistinct cymbals make me cringe. But what is that? A wood block! I never realized it was a wood block being struck before, but through the Lawtons I hear it clear as day, and completely distinct from the synth line. And bass, wow! Where did that tune on the bass line come from? Haven’t heard that before!

Some other observations:
  • Comfort. I find the LA2000s extremely comfortable. Although they are quite large and ungainly they are not overly heavy and sit lightly on the head with a comfortable degree of “clamp”. The over-stuffed ear cups are extremely comfortable and my ears don’t get warm at all. Unfortunately the AKGs just don’t suit my shape of head. The grey band presses down on the tip of my dome to a degree that is noticeable after a short while and is becoming painful after half an hour-or-so. This is not a criticism, just an observation. Maybe someone else might find the LA2000s uncomfortable, I don’t know.
  • Build Quality. The Denon AH-D2000s (what is left of them) appear to be well-made phones and the overall feeling of quality is fine if not super-luxury. The Lawton wood cups are gorgeous and nicely finished. It seems that some care has been taken with grain matching, both pattern and direction. The Jena cable is extremely evenly braided and all the terminations are very neat. I must admit to being less than enamoured of the salmon pink so I took the optional black sheathing, a $50-or-so extra.
Conclusions:

I am immeasurably impressed by these ‘phones. Not only are they the best I have heard, but they best all my other cans by a margin that is quite ridiculous in the context of the law of diminishing returns of the high-end. Even in the context of my bigrig (Boulder/Verity Audio) I struggle to remember a component change that has had this level of impact on the listening experience. My hat off to Mark for a supreme achievement in audio engineering. My mind keeps wandering back to the old Quad marketing slogan: “The closest approach to the original sound”.

Five strutses out of five, with a bullet!
post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by struts View Post
So, as I said above, shamed by ldidiercs superb review of the LA7000s and comparison with the Grado GS1000s I thought I would try to do a more objective piece on the LA2000s.

...snip...

Conclusions:

I am immeasurably impressed by these ‘phones. Not only are they the best I have heard, but they best all my other cans by a margin that is quite ridiculous in the context of the law of diminishing returns of the high-end. Even in the context of my bigrig (Boudler/Verity Audio) I struggle to remember a component change that has had this level of impact on the listening experience. My hat off to Mark for a superb achievement in audio engineering. My mind keeps wandering back to the old Quad marketing slogan: “The closest approach to the original sound”.

Five strutses out of five, with a bullet.
Great review.
post #43 of 55
Struts, I'm glad you're enjoying the LA2000.
But as a Lyle Lovett fan, I noticed a typo. Isn't the title of that album "I Love Everybody", instead of "I Hate Everybody"?
post #44 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiemen View Post
Struts, I'm glad you're enjoying the LA2000.
But as a Lyle Lovett fan, I noticed a typo. Isn't the title of that album "I Love Everybody", instead of "I Hate Everybody"?
Unforgivable! Now corrected. Thanks!
post #45 of 55
There's a freudian slip if I ever saw one.
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