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The Grado HF-2 Review/Comparison Thread - Page 31

post #451 of 1528
I switched over to some flats to see what differences they would make. Pretty much, my findings mirror the change with other Grados (RS-1, HF-1, HP-2).
The soundstage compresses, and the bass becomes more dominant.
Since the bass is too loose and dominant at this stage of maturity on the HF-2's, I don't see any uses for the flats at this time. If the bass tones down a bit and becomes more refined later on, I'll give them another try.

I have done side by side comparisons with my HP1000's using my Luxman and DV-50, trying harder rock and both traditional and modern Jazz, and it's not easy to compare.
They are completely different beasts. I have always used my HP1000's with aggressive rock, due to the slam and unique soundstage, but until the highs tone down and the bass chills a bit, the HF-2's are not doing rock any justice.

Also, there is a strong presence of reverb in the mids of the 2's and since most '70's rock recordings are lacking in that area, it is amplifying that trait.
post #452 of 1528
You're making me want to reclaim my hf2s from loan so I can see if I still disagree with what you're saying
post #453 of 1528
It depends. Which part are you disagreeing with?
post #454 of 1528
Here is my review. I will keep it short and simple, because I cannot stand long-winded reviews with nothing but fluff.

I have a classic RS-1 (Thank you, Afrikane... I will never stop thanking you ) with a few hundred hours or so on them as reference. That, to me, is THE headphone for metal, so all other headphone comparisons are meaningless to me. By comparison, my HF-2 has about one hour of play time, so it is brand new. Here we go:

Build Quality: First things first: I have always hated part of Grado's cables after the "Y" split. They are cheap and the crimping by the "Y" looks bad (also a place for wire failure). As much as I dislike their classic cables, their "i" cables are worse. I can appreciate making them thicker, but the PVC sleeving is too big and tends to crimp badly when bending. I have never had problems with this with my RS-1. In addition, the crimp job by the "Y" is terrible. Since I am not going to sell mine, I applied liquid rubber to the crimp to keep that part from bending and to give it a sort of stress relief. I did this to my RS-1 as well, and it works perfectly.

Other than that, I have no problems with the cups, and the aluminum is flawless on my pair with regards to scratches and nicks. The leather headband is not quite as thick as my RS-1. The glue job joining the aluminum and mahogany cups together looks fine to me, and the slight glue overspill by the drivers does not bother me

Lows: I am not as sensitive to bloated bass as some others, but I can see where they are coming from. The bass is a tiny bit undefined for me, but nothing that cannot be remedied with repeated use. It is not the deepest bass in the world, but that is what my speaker setup is for. Right now, I believe my RS-1 has a bit deeper bass as well as having more definition, but also keep in mind that they have more use as well.

Low Mids: This is the part I hope changes. It is a bit recessed, and vocals and lower guitars are not as strong and powerful as on the RS-1. The RS-1 has them beat in this area easily.

High Mids: The higher guitars sound great but a bit harsh. If they tame a tiny bit here, I will be very happy. They also tend to drown out vocals a bit as well.

Highs: Not bright at all to me. I believe they are more tame than my RS-1 in this area, so the higher guitars tend to stick out more. They are still very detailed though, so cymbals still have that zing, but there is no sibilance to me.

Fun: God, Grados are a fun headphone. I had so much fun listening to music last night. My wife made me go to bed. They have huge impact and always get me into the music. If the music is intense, Grado will knock you on your ass and still sound good, and that is the way I like it.

Well done Grado. I am very satisfied with the sound. You have mastered the fun headphone, now fix your damn cables. May I suggest some Canare Starquad and some heatshrink?
post #455 of 1528
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
It depends. Which part are you disagreeing with?
From memory, I thought the bass, tho it didn't go quite as low as the PS1, was controlled and impactful, not flabby at all, from both the balanced m3 and from the duet headphone jack. Mids and highs were just like I like them. They weren't detail monsters, but were all around very good headphones. The HF2s so far are my favorite grados.
post #456 of 1528
I just tried the flats on them.. really didn't do anything except make it confusing and too far forward for me.
post #457 of 1528
regarding the tone of the HF2, it is definitely the darkest out of the Grado's i have. to give an example, it's like turning the tone knob on the guitar/amplifier. the HF2 tone is setting the tone knob all the way down to like 1-2. 325i's tone, the knob is at around 7-8. RS1i falls in between with its tone the most organic (HF2 being 2nd most organic). i place the tone of RS1i around 4-5.
post #458 of 1528
Originally Posted by iggy-starnuts View Post
How is discussing how they sound in a review thread OFF TOPIC????

He said they sounded "absolutely awful." Most people don't seem to say that. Then he indicated that he believed in burn-in and that if they did burn in, it would "prove" burn in was real (which of course it wouldn't). And you call me off topic?

Confusing the issue even more, other people now write in to say their experience "agrees" with mtbiker's. They say that their HF-2s sound better now "after some play time." But mtbiker didn't say that. He basically said they sounded like crap. So what part is keyid agreeing with? Did they sound like absolute crap at first to keyid, also? What is going on with this headphone? That's all I'm trying to find out.
Chill, dude. All I was saying was that discussion of the reality of burn-in is a bit off topic here, and that debating the headphone's need for burn in based on the opinion of someone who hasn't burned his in yet is irrelevant. I was trying to get back to the topic of how it sounds for those who have spent a good bit of time with them.
post #459 of 1528
Sorry that I started this mess. My main point was that I don't like the way they sound out of the box (as with most of my acquired treasures) and that I have faith that they will sound better with time.

The posts should be left alone because they have a small amount of consistency and semblance with my mini-review, but uglyjoe is right (even if he is ugly). I haven't heard them burned in yet, and it was pure speculation.
I also apologize to stiggy-arnuts for calling him dense.

Let's let it lie still right here and go back to our regularly schedule program.
I will report back in 100 hours of playtime (not in dog years).
post #460 of 1528
I'll be very concerned if I feel that the HF-2's are awful out-of-the-box. While I do expect that they improve with burn-in, I doubt that their basic character is going to radically change. I know that the "bass cloud" of the HF-1 improved over time.

I mentioned this earlier in the thread, but I've got a working theory that 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. They tone down the characteristically 'hot' Grado treble.

Right now I feel kinda torn over whether the HF-2, which will cost me at least $500, would offer better bang-for-the-buck than the mod service Rhydon is offering that takes an MS-2i and mods it into a fully aluminum enclosure. That would cost around $600, so they're in the same $$ ball park.

If I had to guess, without having heard either the HF-2 or the modded MS-2i, I would predict that the modded MS-2 will be the better headphone. I've heard Rhydon's thought process about the mods (although it was many years ago) and it definitely offers a lot of potential. His basic mod philosophy conforms to my own opinion that the driver enclosure is more determinant of sound quality than the driver itself with Grado's.

I'm still curious about how much experimenting he's done modding the drivers themselves. If it were to come out that he's been able to reach HP1000 driver levels through his driver-specific mods, that would cinch it for me in a hurry.
post #461 of 1528
Maybe you should also consider the return policy or demand in used market of both HF-2 and modded MS-2i just in case?
post #462 of 1528
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
the sound of these (and most good headphones) sound pretty crappy out of the box, and that if people say these sound really good, then I'm eager to hear them after some time has been put on them. I have 15 hours so far and the highs are too painful for me and the bass is strong but all over the place. The mids are hiding behind the bass.

For those who are getting good results right out of the box, I see 3 possibilities. 1- They never heard a really good headphone (which I doubt is the case). 2- It's going to sound really incredible to them later on if it sounds good now. ...and 3- I received a pair that sounds really bad.

I can either leave them alone and bring them to local Head-Fiers to give a listen, or let them run for a week.
I feel the exact same way Aaron. I've always been a huge Grado fan and was very eager to receive these, especially after all the glowing reviews from some of our very experienced long term members, however my impressions mimic yours completely. I was really confused by all the "these are really dark and smooth Grado" impressions because mine are terribly bright and the mids are definitely not the kind I'm used to from Grado. They are there but just not as present as normal.

I gave mine about 50 hours of burn in and put them back in the box for storage. The HD800 has spoiled me too much and I just don't really care to bother with them anymore at this time. From the options in your scenario above I'm convinced that I somehow ended up with #3. It's the only solution I can come to when what I am hearing is nothing like what I've been reading.
post #463 of 1528
This does not bode well. Is there a serious possibility that there is significant variation in the sound from the same model headphone? I'm not disqualifying the possibility, but it strikes me as very unlikely.

The part about the recessed mids is especially disconcerting.

It's a bizarre thing to have watched the reviews trickle in with these cans. I don't remember a headphone release that received so many reviews that are totally inconsistent with each other. There seems to be no reliable consensus to be reached without first-hand listening. Frustrating for a buyer relying on reviews to make a determination.
post #464 of 1528
The HF2 definitley changes with burn in. It's the first time I've ever noticed it, it's pretty severe. Unless my ears are full of wax or something. The seem to still be changing, smoother and smoother
post #465 of 1528
interesting these were really bright, forward, fun, and super clear when I heard them. They were really impressive. The bass is slightly bass shy but it was there, tight, and defined.

I was wondering how these compare to AT's higher end models
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