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The Grado HF-2 Review/Comparison Thread - Page 9

post #121 of 1528
They are not really on the same level. The HF-2 is closer than I would have thought but it still has a ways to go to catch up to the HP-2. Still a great headphone and one that I like better across genres than I did my RS-1s.
post #122 of 1528
As I would have expected. The HP-2 is just wonderful. It is on my long term list of phones I hope I get the chance to own, and I am really jealous that you have 2.
post #123 of 1528
so you would sell your rs1 to keep the hf2??
post #124 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpivinylspinner View Post
I am procrastinating now to avoid some work I need to get done so I thought I might write down some thoughts/comparisons for this thread as it seems a bit bare.

As I have been working at the computer most of the weekend I have spent a good amount of time listening to what amounts to a small Grado collection out of my new Ultra Micro stack I won at CanJam.

I have the Ultra Micro DAC running straight out of the Mac via Optical and I assume it is upsampling all of my iTunes Lossless files as there seems to be no way of turning it off. The crossfeed on the amp was engaged.

My Grado collection consists of a couple pairs of HP-2s, a vintage SR-60, my first headphone ever from about 1995, and now the HF-2s. My listening consists primarily of Jazz, Folk, Classic Rock and a bit of Classical.



I have switched back and forth between flats and bowls for the HF-2s and I believe I will stick with bowls as I am not one to get excited about copious amounts of bass and with flats the HF-2s can get a bit bassy. The bass is typically well controlled but not nearly as tight as that presented by the HP-2s with flats.

When comparing the HF-2 and HP-2s the difference are fairly obvious. While the HF-2 is certainly not as tilted up as I remember my old RS-1s being they are certainly much brighter than the HP-2s. Actually pick up quite a bit of extra detail with the HF-2s that is missed with the HP-2. The song "Days is Almost Gone" from the new Derek Trucks Band album has quite a bit of distortion in the recording that is very obvious with the HF-2s and much less so with the HP-2s. I suppose the HF-2 is still firmly planted in the John Grado side of the family but is much closer to the old Jo stuff than anything else I have heard from modern Grado.

As far as genres go I actually like Jazz through the HF-2s quite a bit, especially the closely miked audiophile stuff. While the HP-2 captures the venue and instruments better, I have to give the micro detail retrieval to the HF-2s. Neither would be a bad choice for Jazz but if I wanted to be wowed I would actually go for the HF-2s as they do many of the audiophile things very well when listening to small ensembles. For a more realistic presentation I would choose the HP-2s as they just seem to get the music right and get out of the way.

Stuff like Alison Krauss, etc. is once again very good on the HF-2s. Guitars are wonderful as are female voices. Once again the HP-2s give the instruments and vocalists a bit more body and realism but the micro details might actually be a bit less.

When switching to rock I cued up a group called Cross Canadian Ragweed and some SRV Little Wing. As I have never been to a meet where I did not hear Little Wing once I will start with this. Preference between these two will come down to whether you are a leading edge person or a tone person. The HF-2 hits the leading edges of the notes with far greater authority than the HP-2 but the tone of the guitar and the decay is handled much better by the HP-2s. The kick drum that comes in is also much more realistic from the HP-2s but more dramatic with the HF-2s.

The ragweed cover of Neil Young's Needle... is one where the guitarist seems to be angry at the strings in the opening notes and this sounds natural with the HF-2s but is not as sharp with the HP-2s. This is a live recording and it actually does well in providing spacial cues of the bar this was recorded in. The HF-2s actually have better soundstage than I remember any other Grado having when restricted to small venues/ensembles. The HF-2s did very well at portraying the hole in the wall at which this album was recorded.

For classical I used a Royal Scottish recording of Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War. I like my classical a bit angry/dynamic. The HP-2s handled rather complicated passages at loud volumes a bit better than the HF-2s. It also showed better delineation of bass notes from some of the tympani. The hall reverberation also seemed a bit more realistic with the HP-2s but better on the HF-2s than I would have imagined based on my previous use of modern Grados. The RS-1s always seemed to be off when listening to large ensembles in large halls to me.

The HP-2s while dramatically heavier, are more comfortable to me as the weight is distributed across the stuff head band while the HF-2s seems to put a lot of the weight right on my ears. Flats are much more comfortable on the HF-2s but I think they are inferior to bowls in my pair. Not bad but after a few hours I could certainly feel it with the HF-2s.

I started out comparing these with the SR-60s but it became immediately obvious that while holding sentimental value, these 60s have no business even being compared to either of the other headphones. Night and day difference.
Very nice review - I think it will be helpful to many people.

PS: re-cable your HP-1000 and they will really improve in the details and leading edge. It really does make an impressive difference.
post #125 of 1528
Very nice review
post #126 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpivinylspinner View Post
I am procrastinating now to avoid some work I need to get done so I thought I might write down some thoughts/comparisons for this thread as it seems a bit bare.

As I have been working at the computer most of the weekend I have spent a good amount of time listening to what amounts to a small Grado collection out of my new Ultra Micro stack I won at CanJam.

I have the Ultra Micro DAC running straight out of the Mac via Optical and I assume it is upsampling all of my iTunes Lossless files as there seems to be no way of turning it off. The crossfeed on the amp was engaged.

My Grado collection consists of a couple pairs of HP-2s, a vintage SR-60, my first headphone ever from about 1995, and now the HF-2s. My listening consists primarily of Jazz, Folk, Classic Rock and a bit of Classical.



I have switched back and forth between flats and bowls for the HF-2s and I believe I will stick with bowls as I am not one to get excited about copious amounts of bass and with flats the HF-2s can get a bit bassy. The bass is typically well controlled but not nearly as tight as that presented by the HP-2s with flats.

When comparing the HF-2 and HP-2s the difference are fairly obvious. While the HF-2 is certainly not as tilted up as I remember my old RS-1s being they are certainly much brighter than the HP-2s. Actually pick up quite a bit of extra detail with the HF-2s that is missed with the HP-2. The song "Days is Almost Gone" from the new Derek Trucks Band album has quite a bit of distortion in the recording that is very obvious with the HF-2s and much less so with the HP-2s. I suppose the HF-2 is still firmly planted in the John Grado side of the family but is much closer to the old Jo stuff than anything else I have heard from modern Grado.

As far as genres go I actually like Jazz through the HF-2s quite a bit, especially the closely miked audiophile stuff. While the HP-2 captures the venue and instruments better, I have to give the micro detail retrieval to the HF-2s. Neither would be a bad choice for Jazz but if I wanted to be wowed I would actually go for the HF-2s as they do many of the audiophile things very well when listening to small ensembles. For a more realistic presentation I would choose the HP-2s as they just seem to get the music right and get out of the way.

Stuff like Alison Krauss, etc. is once again very good on the HF-2s. Guitars are wonderful as are female voices. Once again the HP-2s give the instruments and vocalists a bit more body and realism but the micro details might actually be a bit less.

When switching to rock I cued up a group called Cross Canadian Ragweed and some SRV Little Wing. As I have never been to a meet where I did not hear Little Wing once I will start with this. Preference between these two will come down to whether you are a leading edge person or a tone person. The HF-2 hits the leading edges of the notes with far greater authority than the HP-2 but the tone of the guitar and the decay is handled much better by the HP-2s. The kick drum that comes in is also much more realistic from the HP-2s but more dramatic with the HF-2s.

The ragweed cover of Neil Young's Needle... is one where the guitarist seems to be angry at the strings in the opening notes and this sounds natural with the HF-2s but is not as sharp with the HP-2s. This is a live recording and it actually does well in providing spacial cues of the bar this was recorded in. The HF-2s actually have better soundstage than I remember any other Grado having when restricted to small venues/ensembles. The HF-2s did very well at portraying the hole in the wall at which this album was recorded.

For classical I used a Royal Scottish recording of Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War. I like my classical a bit angry/dynamic. The HP-2s handled rather complicated passages at loud volumes a bit better than the HF-2s. It also showed better delineation of bass notes from some of the tympani. The hall reverberation also seemed a bit more realistic with the HP-2s but better on the HF-2s than I would have imagined based on my previous use of modern Grados. The RS-1s always seemed to be off when listening to large ensembles in large halls to me.

The HP-2s while dramatically heavier, are more comfortable to me as the weight is distributed across the stuff head band while the HF-2s seems to put a lot of the weight right on my ears. Flats are much more comfortable on the HF-2s but I think they are inferior to bowls in my pair. Not bad but after a few hours I could certainly feel it with the HF-2s.

I started out comparing these with the SR-60s but it became immediately obvious that while holding sentimental value, these 60s have no business even being compared to either of the other headphones. Night and day difference.
Nice comparison and impressions. Your post has reminded me that I have a pair of HF2's on order, and I'm beginning to feel excited about it. To also find that they are well suited to jazz is a huge bonus as this is mainly what I listen to.
post #127 of 1528
x2
post #128 of 1528
Thread Starter 
Updated one more little review. C'mon guys who already own them, post some reviews here...
post #129 of 1528
Hey Bullseye, I'm guessing that I'm not the first person to do this but thanks for creating this thread, and for diligently posting the impressions of people who have had the opportunity to listen to the HF2's. It's very much appreciated.
post #130 of 1528
Thread Starter 
No problem man. Just trying to organize everything a bit. I hope people start making extensive reviews and put them here. Lets keep the thread clean then, till they start popping.
post #131 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpivinylspinner View Post
I suppose the HF-2 is still firmly planted in the John Grado side of the family but is much closer to the old Jo stuff than anything else I have heard from modern Grado.
Wow, if that's not a cause for optimism for the HF-2 purchasers, I don't know what is!

BTW, excellent review and comparison. Thank you for posting that for us.

Keep the comparisons coming folks!
post #132 of 1528
can anyone compare them to a non Grado headphones?
i mean they cost 400+ almost twice as much as K702 or HD650,are they twice as good?or just better?
plus i i hated the RS-1, but liked GS-1000,do they sound closer to GS1000 or RS-1?
thanks.
post #133 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpivinylspinner View Post
I am procrastinating now to avoid some work I need to get done so I thought I might write down some thoughts/comparisons for this thread as it seems a bit bare.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I started out comparing these with the SR-60s but it became immediately obvious that while holding sentimental value, these 60s have no business even being compared to either of the other headphones. Night and day difference.
Nice impressions. Just a quick question, how neutral are the HF-2s tonality-wise?
post #134 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoYouRight View Post
reviews of bass? I know atleast 5 people have them that posted in here.
That's my main concern before I order a pair. The PS-1s are easily my favorite Grados because of the quick, succinct and deep visceral bass. If the HF-2s were at all close to that, I'd gladly pick up a pair. I did see a cursory comparison to the PS-1 in one of the reviews but I need a little bit more information. Would the HF-2 fall somewhere in-between a 325 and the PS-1 in terms of bass quantity?
post #135 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiGHFLYiN9 View Post
That's my main concern before I order a pair. The PS-1s are easily my favorite Grados because of the quick, succinct and deep visceral bass. If the HF-2s were at all close to that, I'd gladly pick up a pair. I did see a cursory comparison to the PS-1 in one of the reviews but I need a little bit more information. Would the HF-2 fall somewhere in-between a 325 and the PS-1 in terms of bass quantity?
Yes. My SR-325i had enough bass when they were fairly new, but the bass lessened with burn-in until it was less than I wanted after a couple hundred hours. The HF-2 with over 250 hours have not lost any bass, but it has noticeably tightened up and become more controlled yet more powerful than the 325i were. The PS-1 with bowls has the right amount of bass as well, while with flats it was too much for the rest of the frequency spectrum (to my ears). The HF-2 with bowls has more bass than RS-1 with bowls, and is similar to RS-1 or HF-1 or HP-1000 with flats, but it feels like it does go deeper. I have not tested that last part yet with test tones (will try it when I return to town in a couple of days).

At CanJam I thought the PS-1000 bass with donuts was about like the PS-1 with flats, and more than I wanted, while the HF-2 were closer to just right. I don't know how well the PS-1000 were burned-in, but I think they were pretty fresh like the HF-2 and HD800 there at CanJam.

I think the HF-2 are one of the best phones from John Grado, and I like them best with bowls. It seems to combine the rich vibrant mids and intimacy of the RS-2 with bowls, and the bass of the PS-1 with bowls, and the larger soundstage of RS-1 with bowls, with better detail and liveliness than the RS-2. But, the highs with bowls do not seem to be too bright either. They are the first hi-end Grado that I have not given a thought to re-cabling yet.
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