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The Grado HF-2 Review/Comparison Thread - Page 25

post #361 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd View Post
HI All,

The HF-2 headphones are shipped to me in 2 batches a week. I get approx 22 on Wednesday and 28 on Friday. The headphones are not shipped in any numerical order. Some of the headphones received on the Wednesday shipment have been the higher numbers for the week with the lower numbers arriving on Friday. We send them out as fast as we can to the first orders. SO the order numbers will not correspond to the headphone number BUT they will arrive and were shipped in the order we received your orders.

I hope this clarifies the order number/ headphone number question.

Todd
Thank you for the clarification, Todd.

While I would have liked #144, because my wife thinks my headphone expenditures are "gross", #136 is sounding great.
post #362 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenzip View Post
Thank you for the clarification, Todd.

While I would have liked #144, because my wife thinks my headphone expenditures are "gross", #136 is sounding great.
Loved it...LOL
post #363 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by astroid View Post
You mention the soundstage as being wide with good depth, can you put this finding in context with other cans?. The reason i ask is that the 225 , 80 and 60i i have do not have much of a soundstage at all and the RS-2 i heard didnt have much either.
I'm a regular (as in every day) user of HD650 and HFI-780 (ALO-modded) cans, and the soundstage of the HF-2 is at least as large and credible as either of those. I'm also the owner (and fan) of a pair of HD600, which, before I purchased the HD650, I used every day for a few years. I can also say that the soundstage of the HF-2 is as large and credible as that of the HD600. I was an everyday user of stock SR225 from 2002 - 2007, and am now a frequent user of a pair of ALO-modded SR225 since 2007. I did not find the stock SR225 to be as soundstage-challenged as I frequently read posted. The main difference between the SR225 soundstage and the HD600 soundstage that I heard was the placement of the listener within it. With the HD600, the listener is in the audience of a musical performance, somewhere in the 20th to 50th row. With the SR225, the listener is onstage with the performers. With the SR225, I still got a very good hearing of where the various voices were in relation to each other and to me, the listener. With orchestral recordings, and the SR225, I got the sense that I was in a large, major-city concert hall, sitting in the audience (30th row) listening to the performance of an orchestra (a listening experience that I regularly enjoy). The spatial presentation of the HF-2 is more similar to the SR225 than to the HD600, but, with the HF-2, the musical voices are spread over more space (width and depth), and the placements of the musical voices and events around the listener are more credible. For instance, when I hear a faint voice (on the recording) that sounds like it is coming from behind me, I take off the phones to check whether a family member is at my door calling for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post
Glad you're enjoying them. Any chance that I could persuade you to give the HF-2's a listen with your KICAS amp? I've been planning on using mine with the KICAS and was wondering whether it will pair well with the Grados.
I'm not expecting the same type of magic that the Mapletree is said to have with them, but I'm hoping they're still a decent pairing...
The HF-2 paired with a KICAS Caliente provides a well-more-than-decent listening experience. Compared to the pairing of the HF-2 with the Mapletree,
the only aspect of the listening using the HF-2 with the Caliente that is not on par with that from the HF-2 paired with the Mapletree is the spectral balance, which is heavier in the bottom end for my OPTIMAL enjoyment, but well within my "lots there to enjoy" level of enjoyment. I do NOT find the Caliente paired with either HD650 (often described as a "dark, bass-heavy" phone) or the HFI-780 (a phone noted for its strong and competent bass) to be too heavy toward the bass end. My take on this is that, so far (with less than 48 hours of use), the quality of the bass from the HF-2 is less transparent (with the Caliente) than that from either of the HD650 or HFI-780 (both with hundreds to thousands of hours of use). If, with more use, the bass end with the Caliente becomes more transparent and the spectral balance becomes more in line with that with the Mapletree, I'll update my impressions to include that, along with the number of hours of use at which that happened. Now, take that same pair of HF-2 (same number of hours of use) and pair it with the Mapletree - the bass is more transparent, and the balance of its presence and impact in the spectral mix is at my ear's optimal enjoyment point. Similarly, take that same pair of HF-2 and pair it with an iBasso D10 (opamp-rolled with a pair of Class-A Biased OPA350 in L/R, and a pair of EL8201's in the buffer sockets), and the spectral balance is spot-on optimal to my ears and tastes, but with a smaller (but just as competent) soundstage as with either of Mapletree or Caliente.

For a pair of phones with the capacity for subtlety and competency of expression as the HF-2 is showing itself to be, I'd expect that I won't really be hearing them as they ought to be heard until they have hundreds of hours of use on them. At under 48 hours of use, what is described above is how I hear them. If there had been any changes in the sound from the HF-2 during that period (other than the usual clarifying of their sound and increasing their effective sensitivity), I would not be posting this (it would be too early to post reliable observations). Seeing that this is my fourth Grado, and given the consistency of sound (along with consistent improvement with use), I thought that another description of their sound would be a good addition to this thread at this point.
post #364 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbulack View Post
I'm a regular (as in every day) user of HD650 and HFI-780 (ALO-modded) cans, and the soundstage of the HF-2 is at least as large and credible as either of those. I'm also the owner (and fan) of a pair of HD600, which, before I purchased the HD650, I used every day for a few years. I can also say that the soundstage of the HF-2 is as large and credible as that of the HD600. I was an everyday user of stock SR225 from 2002 - 2007, and am now a frequent user of a pair of ALO-modded SR225 since 2007. I did not find the stock SR225 to be as soundstage-challenged as I frequently read posted. The main difference between the SR225 soundstage and the HD600 soundstage that I heard was the placement of the listener within it. With the HD600, the listener is in the audience of a musical performance, somewhere in the 20th to 50th row. With the SR225, the listener is onstage with the performers. With the SR225, I still got a very good hearing of where the various voices were in relation to each other and to me, the listener. With orchestral recordings, and the SR225, I got the sense that I was in a large, major-city concert hall, sitting in the audience (30th row) listening to the performance of an orchestra (a listening experience that I regularly enjoy). The spatial presentation of the HF-2 is more similar to the SR225 than to the HD600, but, with the HF-2, the musical voices are spread over more space (width and depth), and the placements of the musical voices and events around the listener are more credible. For instance, when I hear a faint voice (on the recording) that sounds like it is coming from behind me, I take off the phones to check whether a family member is at my door calling for me.


The HF-2 paired with a KICAS Caliente provides a well-more-than-decent listening experience. Compared to the pairing of the HF-2 with the Mapletree,
the only aspect of the listening using the HF-2 with the Caliente that is not on par with that from the HF-2 paired with the Mapletree is the spectral balance, which is heavier in the bottom end for my OPTIMAL enjoyment, but well within my "lots there to enjoy" level of enjoyment. I do NOT find the Caliente paired with either HD650 (often described as a "dark, bass-heavy" phone) or the HFI-780 (a phone noted for its strong and competent bass) to be too heavy toward the bass end. My take on this is that, so far (with less than 48 hours of use), the quality of the bass from the HF-2 is less transparent (with the Caliente) than that from either of the HD650 or HFI-780 (both with hundreds to thousands of hours of use). If, with more use, the bass end with the Caliente becomes more transparent and the spectral balance becomes more in line with that with the Mapletree, I'll update my impressions to include that, along with the number of hours of use at which that happened. Now, take that same pair of HF-2 (same number of hours of use) and pair it with the Mapletree - the bass is more transparent, and the balance of its presence and impact in the spectral mix is at my ear's optimal enjoyment point. Similarly, take that same pair of HF-2 and pair it with an iBasso D10 (opamp-rolled with a pair of Class-A Biased OPA350 in L/R, and a pair of EL8201's in the buffer sockets), and the spectral balance is spot-on optimal to my ears and tastes, but with a smaller (but just as competent) soundstage as with either of Mapletree or Caliente.

For a pair of phones with the capacity for subtlety and competency of expression as the HF-2 is showing itself to be, I'd expect that I won't really be hearing them as they ought to be heard until they have hundreds of hours of use on them. At under 48 hours of use, what is described above is how I hear them. If there had been any changes in the sound from the HF-2 during that period (other than the usual clarifying of their sound and increasing their effective sensitivity), I would not be posting this (it would be too early to post reliable observations). Seeing that this is my fourth Grado, and given the consistency of sound (along with consistent improvement with use), I thought that another description of their sound would be a good addition to this thread at this point.
Wow, thanks for the review, Sbulack. Your comparisons to the HD650 are very helpful since that is the headphone that I have the most experience with. I can't wait for my pair!
post #365 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbulack View Post

The HF-2 paired with a KICAS Caliente provides a well-more-than-decent listening experience. Compared to the pairing of the HF-2 with the Mapletree,
the only aspect of the listening using the HF-2 with the Caliente that is not on par with that from the HF-2 paired with the Mapletree is the spectral balance, which is heavier in the bottom end for my OPTIMAL enjoyment, but well within my "lots there to enjoy" level of enjoyment. I do NOT find the Caliente paired with either HD650 (often described as a "dark, bass-heavy" phone) or the HFI-780 (a phone noted for its strong and competent bass) to be too heavy toward the bass end. My take on this is that, so far (with less than 48 hours of use), the quality of the bass from the HF-2 is less transparent (with the Caliente) than that from either of the HD650 or HFI-780 (both with hundreds to thousands of hours of use). If, with more use, the bass end with the Caliente becomes more transparent and the spectral balance becomes more in line with that with the Mapletree, I'll update my impressions to include that, along with the number of hours of use at which that happened. Now, take that same pair of HF-2 (same number of hours of use) and pair it with the Mapletree - the bass is more transparent, and the balance of its presence and impact in the spectral mix is at my ear's optimal enjoyment point. Similarly, take that same pair of HF-2 and pair it with an iBasso D10 (opamp-rolled with a pair of Class-A Biased OPA350 in L/R, and a pair of EL8201's in the buffer sockets), and the spectral balance is spot-on optimal to my ears and tastes, but with a smaller (but just as competent) soundstage as with either of Mapletree or Caliente.

For a pair of phones with the capacity for subtlety and competency of expression as the HF-2 is showing itself to be, I'd expect that I won't really be hearing them as they ought to be heard until they have hundreds of hours of use on them. At under 48 hours of use, what is described above is how I hear them. If there had been any changes in the sound from the HF-2 during that period (other than the usual clarifying of their sound and increasing their effective sensitivity), I would not be posting this (it would be too early to post reliable observations). Seeing that this is my fourth Grado, and given the consistency of sound (along with consistent improvement with use), I thought that another description of their sound would be a good addition to this thread at this point.
Very much appreciated. I was surprised by your comment about the HF-2 paired with your D10. I am expecting a D10 myself shortly, and had assumed that the KICAS would be a superior match. Granted, my D10 is coming with the stock opamps, but at least I know that it is up to the task. These portable amps must have come a long way.

I know that there's said to be something magical about Grado's and tubes, so I'm not surprised to hear that this is the case with the HF-2.

You mentioned that this is your fourth Grado. I'm not sure whether you've owned an RS-1 (or better), but I am curious where you'd rank the HF-2 compared to those you've previously owned.
post #366 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post
... You mentioned that this is your fourth Grado. I'm not sure whether you've owned an RS-1 (or better), but I am curious where you'd rank the HF-2 compared to those you've previously owned.
First Grado: SR60
2nd Grado: stock SR225
3rd Grado: ALO-modded SR225 (hardwood cups and 18 AWG Jena recable)
4th Grado: HF-2

As expected, the ALO-modded SR225 and HF-2 are at the top of my ranking of my Grado phones. I would rank the ALO-modded SR225 and HF-2 right up there with recabled HD650, recabled HD600 and ALO-modded HFI-780. In that top ranking, the differences are pretty much that: differences - these are all fine listening instruments to be applied to the listening session at hand according to the particular strengths of each phone, its synergies with the equipment I'll be using, my mood du jour and the pieces of music I intend to listen to. The price of the HF-2 is at about 50-70 percent the price to me of my other top-ranked phones. Physicians have more than one stethoscope for the sonic/spectral characteristics of the condition they are assessing, musicophiles do well with more than one musicoscope for the different characteristics of the pieces of recorded music which enrich our lives.

I've never heard an RS-1, RS-2, GS-1000, PS-1, PS-1000. From the descriptions that I'd read of their sounds (from fans and otherwise), I arrived at the decision that I would rather put an equivalent amount of purchase funds (for Grado phones) into enhancing the SR225, and now, into this differently constructed (and priced to be one whopper-of-a-value) step up from the SR225/SR325.

At its price and sonic competence, my assessment is that the HF-2 really is an act of generous giving on the part of the folks who have made it available to us Head-Fiers.
post #367 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfourc View Post
Wow, thanks for the review, Sbulack. Your comparisons to the HD650 are very helpful since that is the headphone that I have the most experience with. I can't wait for my pair!
When you get your pair, be sure to post your impressions of them and comparisons to other already-known phones as well. The more descriptions that there are from different listeners, the more useful they will be to others either waiting for an ordered pair or trying to decide whether to attempt an order or to scout out a used pair.
post #368 of 1528
Has anybody compared the HF-2 to the Alessandro MS2? I am wondering just how much better they sound and the main differences. From what I have read they seem to have better bass impact but are the highs smoother and overall detail better as well?
post #369 of 1528
The HF2 is the smoothest grado except the HP1000, and likely Joe's other phones as well. I haven't heard the Allesandro MS-pro, but I imagine these are smoother, because they are made with magic butter driver glaze, and the MSpro is based off the RS1, which doesn't have it.

It's not the bowl pads that cause me discomfort, I washed them, and they're ok. it's the grills that my ears rest against.
post #370 of 1528
Tonight I gave the HF-2 a listen with flats, and they are much better to my ears with flats than with bowls/reverse bowls both comfort and sound wise.
post #371 of 1528
Thanks for that reminder, Mr.Sneis. All of the observations of the HF-2 I posted a few posts up were made using TTVJ Flat pads, in place of the stock bowl pads.
post #372 of 1528
Here are a few things I wanted to say about the HF-2, but I don't want to start an uproar

HF-1 : I still like the HF-1 a lot, it has some serious nostalgic value to me. I would describe the sound of the HF-1 as really laid back when compared to the HF-2, it is almost as if the driver feels older and slower. The HF-2 also carries a much weightier sound with much more excitement and energy in what I am hearing. I like the HF-1 particularly for Stevie Ray Vaughn type of music.

RS-1i: Here is where I am afraid to say that I still feel that the RS-1 is still the superior headphone. In terms of what I would describe as accuracy, level of details, and bass response I think that the RS-1i still trounces the HF-2. I have read quite often that the HF-2 are very well balanced sounding in comparison to the rest of the Grado line-up; while I might agree to this in some regards I liken the situation to HD650 vs hd600 ~ it's a matter of personal preference. The bass to me feels more real with the RS-1, whereas with the HF-2 it is on the very edge of becoming bloated or exaggerated albiet still very enjoyable. What the HF-2 does really well is that it tones down by a considerable amount the overall brightness present in other Grados. I would like to say that I only found this when using the Flats, the bowls threw this finding completely out the window. This might also be an indication that my ears may be a weird shape or size (I'm normal I swear!). Another one for me is soundstage. I would say that the RS-1 has slightly better soundstaging than the HF-2; a Grado is still a Grado however so both phones have terrible SS and a very emphasized bright sound when compared to Senns and AKGs. As for music, with the RS-1 I really like Shiny Toy Guns Season of Poison.
post #373 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd View Post
HI All,

The HF-2 headphones are shipped to me in 2 batches a week. I get approx 22 on Wednesday and 28 on Friday. The headphones are not shipped in any numerical order. Some of the headphones received on the Wednesday shipment have been the higher numbers for the week with the lower numbers arriving on Friday. We send them out as fast as we can to the first orders. SO the order numbers will not correspond to the headphone number BUT they will arrive and were shipped in the order we received your orders.

I hope this clarifies the order number/ headphone number question.

Todd
Thanks for the update!

Now here is praying that I can get serial number #255.
post #374 of 1528
Great comparison Mr Sneis.
post #375 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Sneis View Post
Here are a few things I wanted to say about the HF-2, but I don't want to start an uproar

HF-1 : I still like the HF-1 a lot, it has some serious nostalgic value to me. I would describe the sound of the HF-1 as really laid back when compared to the HF-2, it is almost as if the driver feels older and slower. The HF-2 also carries a much weightier sound with much more excitement and energy in what I am hearing. I like the HF-1 particularly for Stevie Ray Vaughn type of music.

RS-1i: Here is where I am afraid to say that I still feel that the RS-1 is still the superior headphone. In terms of what I would describe as accuracy, level of details, and bass response I think that the RS-1i still trounces the HF-2. I have read quite often that the HF-2 are very well balanced sounding in comparison to the rest of the Grado line-up; while I might agree to this in some regards I liken the situation to HD650 vs hd600 ~ it's a matter of personal preference. The bass to me feels more real with the RS-1, whereas with the HF-2 it is on the very edge of becoming bloated or exaggerated albiet still very enjoyable. What the HF-2 does really well is that it tones down by a considerable amount the overall brightness present in other Grados. I would like to say that I only found this when using the Flats, the bowls threw this finding completely out the window. This might also be an indication that my ears may be a weird shape or size (I'm normal I swear!). Another one for me is soundstage. I would say that the RS-1 has slightly better soundstaging than the HF-2; a Grado is still a Grado however so both phones have terrible SS and a very emphasized bright sound when compared to Senns and AKGs. As for music, with the RS-1 I really like Shiny Toy Guns Season of Poison.
Thanks for posting your impressions. Trying to get a feel for a headphone you haven't yet heard is a funny thing. You end up using logic to try to extrapolate based on the observations of others.

Although it runs contrary to popular opinion, I suspect my perception of how the HF-2 compares to the RS-1 will be similar to your own. I'd be curious to know how you would further break down the idea of 'accuracy' into it's component qualities. I suspect you're describing things like imaging and resolution, but am unsure because accuracy is a fairly wide conceptual umbrella.

Before it was released, I found it hard to imagine John Grado releasing a headphone that would be clearly superior to the RS-1 at the HF-2's price point. I realize that's a personal opinion and I may change my opinion once I get a chance to hear it.

I can't help but think that both the HF-1 and HF-2 have achieved some of their status because they tone down the characteristically 'hot' Grado treble.

I have a theory that the HF series has revealed that the average Grado user prefers the darker sound. This makes me question whether the preference for the HF-2 is more a reflection of this preference in sound signature, rather than a response to a qualitative difference in sound quality.

A lot of people who have said they prefer the HF-2 have said that they like it for it's tone. When asked to compare it to the RS-1 along other sonic dimensions, such as soundstage, imaging, resolution, etc... the comparison becomes less clear. Almost as though the preference for tone overrides any other consideration.

I'm glad to hear that the HF-2 is a little more exciting than the HF-1.
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