Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict
I am burning in these HF-2 finally, which got about 24 hours of burn-in at CanJam. After listening to them on my Woo WA6 for a while today, my vote is that these are a must own Grado IF you cannot afford an APS V3 cabled RS-1 for the extra detail and soundstage (or a woodied re-cabled HF-1). You'll spend about the same as a used RS-2 for them, and enjoy them more.
With bowls the HF-2 have the rich inviting mids of the RS-2 without sounding as dull/rolled off or too forward like the RS-2. They have the bass of an RS-1 with flats and it's not overblown like the PS-1000 or PS-1, and the bass is also better than my old SR-325i. The bass detail needs work, and I suspect burn-in will help there - there is still a slight "bass cloud" over the music, since these are so fresh I think. The vocals are beautiful with these, and the re are no glaring colorations that I would like to banish yet with a re-cable or mods.
I had posted that at CanJam that I liked the HF-2 probably as much as a stock RS-1 but said that didn't have enough time to compare. But here at home my APS V3 RS-1 do have more extension, detail and transparency (with flats) than the HF-2. The soundstage is still smaller than the RS-1 as well, despite flats on the RS-1. I was not as impressed with my RS-2 or SR-325i when I had them as I am with these fresh HF-2 right now, although I thought the woodied recabled HF-1 with flats were closer to the RS-1 than any other Grado (Blutarsky now has those in partial trade for his Stax O2 Mk1).
I can imagine just how much better the micro-detail and transparency on these HF-2 would be if I have them re-cabled like all my other headphones, but I am planning to leave them stock for a while first.
After waiting with baited breath for early HF-2 reviews during CanJam, this is the first review that I feel starts to paint a clearer picture of where these cans fall in the greater Grado lineup. Thanks-
In terms of your impressions, the only thing that surprised me a bit was the comments comparing the woodied/re-cabled HF-1's to the RS-1.
Personally, I didn't find that the modded HF-1's were that close to the RS-1, and in fact I ended up feeling that the modded HF-1's were one of the poorer values in the Grado lineup from a cost/performance perspective.
I'm not surprised to hear that the HF-2's have a greater bass emphasis than a stock RS-1. Also, I remember that my HF-1's bass tightened up quite a bit with burn in, so hopefully you'll find the same thing with the HF-2's. From your description, it sounds like they do share the same familial sound signature. I definitely heard the "bass cloud" that you mentioned with my fresh HF-1's.
My dilemma is whether to look for a used pair of RS-1's or to go for a pair of HF-2's. I will probably wait to hear more reviews that compare the two, but as I'd anticipated, it's likely to be a tough decision, with both cans being in the same ball park in terms of overall quality.
I could see myself liking the bass of the HF-2's, but I fear that they might lack refinement compared to the RS-1.