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My search for great thrash metal headphones - Page 7

post #91 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by uriz3n View Post
Hehe, I will keep burning then.
@ Pfillion: nice avatar I have ESW9, but they lack bass for metal. Otherwise I like them alot (prog rock/trip hop + ESW9 = awesome), hope that ESW10JPN are even better.
I have not heard the ESW9 but I can tell you that the ESW10JPN have enough of bass for metal music.
post #92 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaZa View Post
Of course bass is important in metal, its the backbone of the music anyway. But too strong bass is a hinderance as it easily covers subtleties of the main instrument, guitars. Worst case scenario: Nothing is worse than indoor gigs where some deaf and retard mixer has boosted up the bass and treble to maximum ending up unfathomable boomy mayhem and sharp splashy distorted noise. So personally I think a headphone with sharp midrange and balanced but punchy bass is about perfect for metal.


Black metal? For fidelity, who cares. Just pick your poison how you want to color it, bright or warm. BUT a headphone with big soundstage can make fuzzy, distant and layered wallofsound black metal sound reaaallly nice. Bigger the soundstage, the better.


By the way, have you listened Grado headphones?
Definitely agreed. Hah, I've been to too many shows with crap sound quality.

Soundstage is definitely key for the wall of sound stuff. And actually, although I don't have a ton of experience with Grados, the soundstageing was one of my bigger complaints. It's great for the less texturally involved metal, but felt a little too compressed with a track like, say, Hypostasis of the Archons by Secret Chiefs 3, which is messy and busy as all hell. And I like my metal busy. (I also probably focus on rhythm sections a bit more than usual, especially for a guitarist. At least when it's suitably interesting.)

Highs were also a pinch too strident for me on the Grados I tried (I think they were SR80s). I dunno, maybe I should go try some more, it's been a while.

My 650s aren't perfect, of course, and they utterly fail at metal of all kinds when underpowered, but right the through the duet there's a certain (perceived) flatness that works really well for all kinds of subgenres (and other genres; my allegiances ain't only to metal) and I'd have a hard time giving it up.

I could see where slightly more forward mids would do something great for a lot of decent extreme metal, but everything else that I tried was just a bit too forward to sound right for me. Which is just a matter of personal taste/ears I suppose.

Hell, now I want to try some higher end grados. Hell of a time to get laid off from work.
post #93 of 225
Quote:
Soundstage is definitely key for the wall of sound stuff. And actually, although I don't have a ton of experience with Grados, the soundstageing was one of my bigger complaints. It's great for the less texturally involved metal, but felt a little too compressed with a track like, say, Hypostasis of the Archons by Secret Chiefs 3, which is messy and busy as all hell. And I like my metal busy. (I also probably focus on rhythm sections a bit more than usual, especially for a guitarist. At least when it's suitably interesting.)

Highs were also a pinch too strident for me on the Grados I tried (I think they were SR80s). I dunno, maybe I should go try some more, it's been a while.

Yeah, I usually recommend Grados to more straightforward metal like Thrash or Death. I was just interested of your experiences on Grados as you are a guitarist and I particularly like how Grados reproduce guitars. The treble spike is bothersome at the times but overall they sound great on distorted guitars, quite life like IMO.

Oh, and all Grados have a treble spike. As much as it annoys it is part of their sound. Some models are quite warm sounding (like RS1) but the spike prevails. Soundstage is also small in all models except GS1000 and 99.9% surely PS1000 thanks to bigger cups and longer distance between the drivers and your ears.
post #94 of 225
Thread Starter 
Guys, thanks for all the great comments.

I am definitely, without a doubt, going to check out the HD800's and PS1000's for speed and bass. I'll try and use the same songs as I've used in past reviews.

I'll be bringing a few Megadeth CD's, since the remasters have such good sound quality, plus the "Peace Sells..." album on vinyl, if anyone wants to give a listen to that. It's the Capitol Records reissue, so it's nice and fresh. I'll also bring my Sony SA5000s, my Valab DAC, my custom balanced amp, and maybe my new Cambridge DacMagic (maybe!). If you wanna hear any of that stuff, see if you can find me. If they're allowing backpacks in there, I'll have it with me to carry all this crap, since I never got a table. It's a black Targus bag with silver and gray stripes. Sorry, I have no idea what I'll be wearing tomorrow

parhelictriangle, "Master of Puppets" sounds OK on my setup here. When I checked out some faster thrash metal with my friend's HD600's, I noticed that the lead guitar parts would be clean and clear, but the rhythm guitar would be... mashed potatos. A mess. Kinda sounded like your description of flubby, splashy, and nasty, to me...

"Master of Puppets" sounds lot better than "Ride the Lightning," at least. THAT album sounds like it was recorded in a tiled bathroom.
post #95 of 225
About Master Of Puppets quality, yes the original CD version sucks big time as it suffered from the "baby diseases" of the whole CD format. But there is a DCC gold remaster that rivals the vinyl in sound quality. Improvement over original version is HUGE. Its quite costly nowadays (those damn collector leeches) though, if you want to have it as CD.
post #96 of 225
Thread Starter 

Can Jam quick impressions

First and foremost, thanks to all of the members and vendors who shared their gear with me today! You have my gratitude

I didn't have a chance to listen to everything on my wish list, but there's always tomorrow. So here were my strongest impressions with some select gear:

Sennheiser HD 800 Speed: I'd say it's on par with the Sony SA5000 in the speed department. There was no more, or less, detail to the rhythm guitar portion of the "Mechanix" solo, compared to the SA5000. This could be due to the fact that they suppress very little outside noise, which there was quite a bit of. Given that the SA5000s are quite fast already, I think it will be enough for most people.

Bass: There was more, and better textured, bass when compared again to the SA5000. Quite a bit more "thump" when it was called for. Most of the pairs I tried were single ended, but Ray Samuels did have a balanced pair hooked up to an Apache amp of his. There was a single ended pair right next to it, hooked up to a Raptor. Balanced mode did certainly increase the quantity of bass, but beyond that, I couldn't directly compare how sound quality was affected. I'm listening to this one again tomorrow, for sure. As an aside: I found Mr. Samuels to be a very friendly guy.

Everything Else: The soundstage is very big on these headphones, as is the earcup itself. If you prefer your metal more in-your-face, you might not appreciate the presentation of the HD 800. I'll investigate this some more as well. You can spend a bit of time moving them around on your head to find the right balance of soundstage and bass response. Moving your ears towards the front of the cans made more of a wall of sound, further back seemed to make a bit more bass.


Ok, the Grado PS1000 next. I heard these at Moon Audio's table.
Speed: A smidge slower than the HD 800, in my opinion, but still quite fast. This could be because the bass was in greater quantity. The PS1000's are significantly warmer than the HD 800, and it sounds quite pleasant. I didn't think they have a huge soundstage, however. They were nice, a little heavy, and quite a contrast to the HD 800, actually. These were hooked up to a Cary Xciter amp, which produces an incredible amount of power--and heat. It sounded great though.

Stax Omega 2 MK1 / MK2: I actually liked the MK2 set up with it's matching amp. I also tried the MK1 and MK2 with the Blue Hawaii, and the MK2 with Woo Audio's electrostat prototype amp. These had the most speed out of anything I tried, save perhaps the Jade electrostats. The "Mechanix" solo was portrayed the clearest I've ever heard it, but it wasn't a huge difference from the best dynamics. There was more bass slam than I expected as well. Certainly more than the SA5000s, probably on par with the single-ended HD 800. I have to give them more of a listen to really form more of an opinion on them, but as catscratch said, they are finicky. I happened to get a really good fit while wearing them at Whiplash Audio's table, and I was about ready to proclaim a king of thrash metal headphones. Just a few problems with the sound bugged me (like snare drums sounding funky), so I'll be back with more on these later, for sure.

Ultrasones: I was unfortunately disappointed with most of these. Heard the HFI-780s, Edition 8 several times, and Edition 9s, though the Edition 9's were balanced.
HFI-780: not bad, but didn't wow me. I'll try them again.
Edition 8: don't bother.
Edition 9: These were also at Whiplash Audio, hooked up to a Little Dot MK VI. Sounded very high end, with good bass and natural sound.

JVC DX1000: These had a weird hollow coloration that I didn't like at all. Comfy, though. Like putting two giant marshmallows on your head.

That's all I can remember for now. Going earlier tomorrow to reaffirm some things I'm holding back.
post #97 of 225
You still gotta find a balanced akg k1000 and test! I would like to know what you think of it compared to the ps1000/hd800 as I have no way of hearing them(until November at least) and we both like similar/fast music.
post #98 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris19 View Post
First and foremost, thanks to all of the members and vendors who shared their gear with me today! You have my gratitude

I didn't have a chance to listen to everything on my wish list, but there's always tomorrow. So here were my strongest impressions with some select gear:

Sennheiser HD 800 Speed: I'd say it's on par with the Sony SA5000 in the speed department. There was no more, or less, detail to the rhythm guitar portion of the "Mechanix" solo, compared to the SA5000. This could be due to the fact that they suppress very little outside noise, which there was quite a bit of. Given that the SA5000s are quite fast already, I think it will be enough for most people.

Bass: There was more, and better textured, bass when compared again to the SA5000. Quite a bit more "thump" when it was called for. Most of the pairs I tried were single ended, but Ray Samuels did have a balanced pair hooked up to an Apache amp of his. There was a single ended pair right next to it, hooked up to a Raptor. Balanced mode did certainly increase the quantity of bass, but beyond that, I couldn't directly compare how sound quality was affected. I'm listening to this one again tomorrow, for sure. As an aside: I found Mr. Samuels to be a very friendly guy.

Everything Else: The soundstage is very big on these headphones, as is the earcup itself. If you prefer your metal more in-your-face, you might not appreciate the presentation of the HD 800. I'll investigate this some more as well. You can spend a bit of time moving them around on your head to find the right balance of soundstage and bass response. Moving your ears towards the front of the cans made more of a wall of sound, further back seemed to make a bit more bass.


Ok, the Grado PS1000 next. I heard these at Moon Audio's table.
Speed: A smidge slower than the HD 800, in my opinion, but still quite fast. This could be because the bass was in greater quantity. The PS1000's are significantly warmer than the HD 800, and it sounds quite pleasant. I didn't think they have a huge soundstage, however. They were nice, a little heavy, and quite a contrast to the HD 800, actually. These were hooked up to a Cary Xciter amp, which produces an incredible amount of power--and heat. It sounded great though.

Stax Omega 2 MK1 / MK2: I actually liked the MK2 set up with it's matching amp. I also tried the MK1 and MK2 with the Blue Hawaii, and the MK2 with Woo Audio's electrostat prototype amp. These had the most speed out of anything I tried, save perhaps the Jade electrostats. The "Mechanix" solo was portrayed the clearest I've ever heard it, but it wasn't a huge difference from the best dynamics. There was more bass slam than I expected as well. Certainly more than the SA5000s, probably on par with the single-ended HD 800. I have to give them more of a listen to really form more of an opinion on them, but as catscratch said, they are finicky. I happened to get a really good fit while wearing them at Whiplash Audio's table, and I was about ready to proclaim a king of thrash metal headphones. Just a few problems with the sound bugged me (like snare drums sounding funky), so I'll be back with more on these later, for sure.

Ultrasones: I was unfortunately disappointed with most of these. Heard the HFI-780s, Edition 8 several times, and Edition 9s, though the Edition 9's were balanced.
HFI-780: not bad, but didn't wow me. I'll try them again.
Edition 8: don't bother.
Edition 9: These were also at Whiplash Audio, hooked up to a Little Dot MK VI. Sounded very high end, with good bass and natural sound.

JVC DX1000: These had a weird hollow coloration that I didn't like at all. Comfy, though. Like putting two giant marshmallows on your head.

That's all I can remember for now. Going earlier tomorrow to reaffirm some things I'm holding back.
Chris, it was my pleasure to meet you!! After you left, I pulled out some of my "heavier" stuff and I do really enjoy comparing other cans with that type of music. I have always used classical or jazz based on their perceived recording quality. However, I believe you have someone thing here since how do you really test your rig??

Great conversation today and the reason why CanJam is a success!

Craig
post #99 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyriel0 View Post
You still gotta find a balanced akg k1000 and test!
Should not be as hard as all K1000's are balanced (4-pin XLR), unless modified with TRS plug...
post #100 of 225
Chris, can you do a quick sound signature comparison between SA5000 and HD800?

Comparison to PS1000 would be nice too, do they still has that forward Grado sound that suits rock so well?
post #101 of 225
Chris, did you try the Grado HF-2 ?
post #102 of 225
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, getting ready to leave in a minute.

Couple points: I will do my best to borrow someone's K1000's and give them a listen. There was quite a bit of waiting time to be done with the higher end stuff. But your wish is my command...

I saw a ton of pairs of the HF-2 floating around, so I'll give those a try today too. I put them on for a second, but man, I can't get used to how Grado's feel on my head.

The PS1000 is a very full sounding can. Lots of upper bass that the HD 800 does not portray. I played "Set The World Afire" off of Megadeth's "So Far, So Good... So What?" album, and really liked what I heard. Not much soundstage compared to the HD 800, but I think that's actually beneficial with thrash metal. There was a fullness to the guitars that I hadn't heard from other cans so far. I will try these again.

SA5000 vs HD 800: I'll give a critical listen today, but the HD 800 soundstage is so much bigger, it makes the music sound different. Less intimate I suppose. I have to stuff foam into the back of my SA5000 earcups to eliminate some echo from the plastic in there, but with the HD 800, there was no such problem. I have to agree with others who say the HD 800 is an extension of the K701, but with more bass and soundstage. They had a similar sound signature to my ears, but hey, I liked them both!

Grawk said he would be recabling his Koss ESP950s last night, so I will hopefully (fingers crossed) be able to listen to those as well.

Last thing: Craig, it was great meeting you and your dad. It was a lot of fun! Hope to see you again today!
post #103 of 225
Thread Starter 
Just got back from the meet. Lots of fun, and thanks again to all of the generous vendors and members (especially the guy who won the Audio-GD Reference 1 and let me hear it!)

OK, let me try and give some impressions, starting with the K1000 vs the HD 800 and PS1000:

I thought the K1000's were very interesting. They had a clean, not-too-shrill sound and, again, speed similar to that of the HD 800 and SA5000. Very revealing, but not the best I've heard; it's like 90% of the way there on the "Mechanix" solo, compared to the Stax Omega MK2. Bass is the K1000's weakness, but I found that if I raised them up above their natural position on my head, I felt more "oomph" from the drivers. I feel like I could play with the speaker positioning forever, though.

The PS1000 are like the K1000... if the K1000 took a U-turn during development somewhere. Still fast, yes; not quite as fast as the K1000 and HD 800, but say another 5% slower than either of those. But these things have a ton more bass presence than treble. Warm, warm sound here; very rich and musical. Lots of weight to the guitars, but at the expense of hearing the cymbal splashes or highest notes of a guitar. A more intimate soundstage is found here, but overall the PS1000 reminds me more that I'm listening to a recording and not a live performance, probably due to a lack of treble sparkle. Still, they sound very high end. If you're sick and tired of the K1000, maybe you'd welcome this change.

If you've ever heard electrostats, you might associate the HD 800 with them because of the slightly hot treble. The K1000 did not have that same "zap" on cymbals, but were brighter overall than the HD 800, simply because of the lack of upper and mid bass (not to mention lowest bass). They both sound very accurate, but I think the K1000 did a little bit better with electric guitar distortion. A lot of the electric guitar in thrash metal is based on square waves; a great example of this is any Megadeth album, or any Metallica thrash album. You get the low, grinding tone harmonized with the higher tones to form a note. The K1000 sounds a bit smoother, and at the same time, a bit fuller on the low end of each distorted strum than the HD800 managed. However, the HD 800 has more low-end bass, i.e. bass guitar and kick drum hits, especially when it's balanced. I did prefer the HD 800's soundstage/headstage presentation, though. It really grew on me over the two days I listened to it. It felt like a sphere, where the sound was actually presented by tiny performers a foot in front of my face. It was like a private concert just for me, and the only time I felt like headphones had some depth. The K1000 is more traditional, left-right placement, even with the speakers pushed forward so that both ears could hear the opposite speaker. Neat effect, and makes you feel like you're in the sweet spot of a stereo system. But I didn't get the same "private concert" feeling.

I am personally happy with the sound from any of these headphones. If you have the K1000 and you're happy with it, then relax until you get a chance to demo the HD 800 and the PS1000. If you're looking for bass, and um, comfort, you'll have to decide what's more important to you. Ask yourself: are you looking for the fun, powerful, rich bass you've been missing at the expense of some top end, or do you want a sprinkle more bass here, a big step forward in bass there, and another unique headstage?
post #104 of 225
Thread Starter 

Grado HF-2

Next up, the Grado HF-2! These are pure Grado in styling. The pair I tried out already had flat pads on them; I didn't have a chance to hear the bowls, but if you buy these and hate the bowls, I doubt it's going to be hard to put on a pair of flats. They are also quite a bit heavier than their plastic and wooden brothers (sisters?). They might sit down pretty low on your ears, but show them who's boss and prop them right up where they should be.

Long story short: The HF-2's are what I had HOPED the SR325i would sound like. If they did, I would not have sold the SR325i.

Pressed to describe the HF-2, I would say they are toned-down, little-brother PS1000's. They had the same overall tonal quality; very warm, bassy cans, but with less perfection than the PS1000. I'd describe them as a little bit slower, a little bit more distorted, a little less bass, a little smaller soundstage... and a lot more sensible. They were great with System of a Down. I put them on expecting an extension of the SR325i, but I was definitely surprised to find myself immediately thinking of the PS1000 instead.

If you've been reading up on PS1000 impressions and you want 'em, but know you can never afford 'em, well, here's your chance to come real close. If you've never tried on some Grados, it would be tough for me to recommend them all out at $429, simply because of the sound signature and fit. But if you like Grado sound, go for it. Become a Head-Fi member and post with us, if you haven't already.

Hey, $40 goes back to this great site anyway, right?
post #105 of 225
Nice, Chris.

I folded and ordered some HF-2s before you posted that-- they sound right up my alley and you're helping me avoid buyer's remorse. From your impressions, they sound like they might be the Grado's I've been after and a nice (but not excessive) contrast for my Senns. Ok, maybe the PS1000s are the ideal, but I'll save that purchase for better days. Haha.

Cheers.

I should probably add some flats to the ttvj cart, non?
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