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The Grado HF-2 Review/Comparison Thread - Page 36

post #526 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
Having had the HF-2's on hand for a couple of weeks and having had the opportunity over the last few days to get in a lot of listening, I think I'm ready now to start posting about them, though I will post formal impressions in the next week or so.

To me, I feel they are refined 325i's (the previous i's not the ones with the new cable). I think that the driver used is very close to the 325i's where the sound literally jumps off the driver. I think I read Aaron (immtbiker) felt that they were as hard hitting as HP-1000's with excellent, powerful bass and mids. I concur with this. Where I always felt the 325i's fell short was in how upfront the sound was and how the highs sounded after an extended listen. The 325i's helped over the 325's but next to the RS-1's or PS-1's at the time, I would always go for those over the 325i's despite them being more dynamic to my ears.

The HF-2's retain the dynamic punch of the 325i's but with better highs and a richer and more linear sound. These headphones are dryer than my vintage RS-1's, PS'1s or PS-1000's but they are more liquid than the 325i's that I remember.

I'll have a chance to directly compare in a couple of weeks when Beagle and I get together and I get a chance to listen to his 325i's as well as the 200's for comparison.

In terms of headspace, the HF-2's have a big soundstage but a narrower headstage where the music is still very up close and personal, yet the notes can trail off into the distance with easily audible effect.

For me, comparing as I have against the PS-1's and PS-1000's, I don't know that I would call the HF-2's baby one or the other. I would rather say they are nearly perfected 325i. The HF-2's don't have the space the larger cupped Grados possess. They aren't as liquid sounding as the very retro RS-1's, PS-1's or PS-1000's but are more liquid than current RS-1's and GS-1000's (no idea on GS-1000i's).

They are very fast phones too but the bass isn't anaemic by any standards which seems to be the tendency with responsive headphones that are defined as fast (Etys, Qualia, Stax).

The most defining sound for me is the unreal palpable snap to the notes, particularly bass and mid to lower midrange. The sound is so lively and jumps right at you but in a non-exaggerated way. By that I mean it doesn't sound fake. This to me is very reminiscent of high efficiency horns, where the dynamics are a distinguishing factor and one where many a listener becomes so addicted they won't settle for any other type of speaker.
When I initially read your review, I was somewhat discouraged that the can the HF-2 most closely resembled was the 325i. I think that colored my perception in an unfair way and caused me to frame your following observations in a negative light. It wasn't that I felt it was an unrealistic representation, but rather that any comparison that started with the 325i as a starting point meant that I was unlikely to enjoy the HF-2.

After re-reading your comments, I find that your review is easily the most naturally intuitive and consistent of those I've read to this point. I think my hope had been that the HF-2 would be most comparable to either the RS-1 or PS-1. Therefore, when you mentioned the 325i, I was left with an overall perception that the quality level of the HF-2 was competing at a lower level of refinement than I have been hoping.

However, it seems that it's a more complicated picture than my initial assumptions would have led me to believe. The way you describe it, it almost sounds as though the HF-2 succeeds at blending the relative strengths of both the Grado woodies and the aluminum chambered housings.

The bass weight and mid-range seems like it has characteristics I more closely associate with the wood chambered Grados. Yet the speed of attack suggests that the bass retains the metal characteristic...or at least the speed that I associate with the 325i's. It's easy for me to forget that the 325's actually do a lot of things well.

I'm still a little unclear about the difference in the quality of the highs between the two phones. I am very relieved to hear that they're not as bright as the 325i's, but that doesn't necessarily say anything about their relative quality. Are they as extended as RS-1 highs? Etc...

Also, the soundstage issue is still something I'm unclear on. I've read some people mention that they believe the soundstage is a product of a recessed mid-range (in comparison to other Grado's). I've got high hopes here, but am a little nervous that I'm setting myself up to be disappointed. I'm hoping they're more like RS-1's than what I associate with the lower end Grado's.
post #527 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post
When I initially read your review, I was somewhat discouraged that the can the HF-2 most closely resembled was the 325i. I think that colored my perception in an unfair way and caused me to frame your following observations in a negative light. It wasn't that I felt it was an unrealistic representation, but rather that any comparison that started with the 325i as a starting point meant that I was unlikely to enjoy the HF-2.

After re-reading your comments, I find that your review is easily the most naturally intuitive and consistent of those I've read to this point. I think my hope had been that the HF-2 would be most comparable to either the RS-1 or PS-1. Therefore, when you mentioned the 325i, I was left with an overall perception that the quality level of the HF-2 was competing at a lower level of refinement than I have been hoping.

However, it seems that it's a more complicated picture than my initial assumptions would have led me to believe. The way you describe it, it almost sounds as though the HF-2 succeeds at blending the relative strengths of both the Grado woodies and the aluminum chambered housings.

The bass weight and mid-range seems like it has characteristics I more closely associate with the wood chambered Grados. Yet the speed of attack suggests that the bass retains the metal characteristic...or at least the speed that I associate with the 325i's. It's easy for me to forget that the 325's actually do a lot of things well.

I'm still a little unclear about the difference in the quality of the highs between the two phones. I am very relieved to hear that they're not as bright as the 325i's, but that doesn't necessarily say anything about their relative quality. Are they as extended as RS-1 highs? Etc...

Also, the soundstage issue is still something I'm unclear on. I've read some people mention that they believe the soundstage is a product of a recessed mid-range (in comparison to other Grado's). I've got high hopes here, but am a little nervous that I'm setting myself up to be disappointed. I'm hoping they're more like RS-1's than what I associate with the lower end Grado's.
x2

Zanth you are the master of the Grados on this forum as everyone knows.
In terms of quality where would you rank the hf2s? I know it's difficult to rank of course but like your review on the gs1000, where would you put your ranking for the hf2?
post #528 of 1528
Thoroughly enjoyed the review, Zanth. I thought I was going to get a "refined HF-1", which left me a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I love my HF-1s. I just was hoping for something different. Your review got me excited again about auditioning the HF-2s. The waiting was becoming a little stagnant, but now my anticipation has been renewed. Thank you.
post #529 of 1528
Here are some photos:





I'm working on my impressions, I'll post it either tonight or tomorrow night
Enjoy!
post #530 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by That dude View Post
Here are some photos:





I'm working on my impressions, I'll post it either tonight or tomorrow night
Enjoy!
I will say that the etching is pretty good on the F1 versions

I'll bet these sound luscious with the DV you have there, nice PIX!

.
post #531 of 1528
Wow, today is the first time I have even heard of these, I haven't been here for a while. I am proud owner of an HF-1 #11. I just checked TTVJ and don't see the HF-2 listed on his site anymore. Is the HF-2 still for sale? If so, where and how much is it? Any info would be appreciated. These threads are monstrous.
post #532 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean H View Post
Wow, today is the first time I have even heard of these, I haven't been here for a while. I am proud owner of an HF-1 #11. I just checked TTVJ and don't see the HF-2 listed on his site anymore. Is the HF-2 still for sale? If so, where and how much is it? Any info would be appreciated. These threads are monstrous.
Nope. All 500 have been sold already. There's no more waiting list for cancelled orders anymore as well.
post #533 of 1528
Hey I just canceled my order so the next person on the waiting list is in luck!
I seriously don't think they will outmatch my RS-1 let alone standing a chance against the PS-1 or PS1000.
post #534 of 1528
Thanks for the kind words guys. I hope I didn't discourage anyone by my initial impressions. When I mention perfected 325i's I don't mean to say they are merely improved 325i's but rather, in my mind, they are what I would view as nearly perfect 325i's. There are plenty of people over the last few years who have wanted extra this that or the other as well as tamed this or less of that other thing from any given headphone. Many people who tended to gravitate towards the 325's be it the older version, first i or the recent i version, thoroughly enjoyed the slamming sound, excellent detail, popping dynamics, hard hitting bass etc. Some even didn't mind the very upfront sound nor the seemingly tipped highs. Others though enjoyed the major pros but were distracted or completely turned off of what they felt were cons.

The HF-2's seem to retain the great aspects of the 325i's but curb what many found were faults or completely eliminate them, introducing a new sound from Grado. Not novel per se, but new, fresh and refined.

I haven't tried the PS-1000's yet with any pad besides the large bowls but I will do so as when I was listening two nights ago much of the slam and dynamics I was hearing were very similar albeit muted compared to the HF-2's. In this way, because of the distance from the ears, and different signature, the sound does come across distinct enough that I found myself immediately comparing to what I remember of the 325i's rather than the PS-1000's after an HF-2 mega session.

What I don't find is that they sound like PS-1's. There are similarities, just as there are similarities across the entire line of Grados, that includes the Joseph ones to boot. Perhaps after a swapping of pads on the PS-1000's I might find that the HF-2's, all things being equal (save for the driver) that perhaps yes, they really are baby PS-1000's, but given the smaller sound field, primarily based on the cup dimensions, I would tend to evaluate them and consider them an excellent bridge between the Prestige series and the Reference series, with some of the traits better than RS-1's of any vintage (just like the 325 and 325i's have some better traits) while also falling short in my opinion based on other traits (just like the 325/i's).

Still, at the $400 mark, I would be hard pressed to find another headphone I prefer for that price. Plenty of people would easily forgo the RS-1's at nearly $300 more for the sound of the HF-2's, particularly given their more linear sound.

They are a very special headphone in this regard and the fact that they are a Head-fi direct/specific headphone makes them all the more interesting and collectable.

Regarding the highs, yes, they are not as bright as the 325i's but they are more forward than my vintage RS-1's, and seemingly more forward on first impression to the last release of the RS-1 and 2's (haven't tried the i versions yet). They are extended but I haven't tested them in a concrete way. I will do so, but the music I was listening to for my initial impressions wasn't exactly known for spectacularly extended treble. I will do a formal test with classical music heavy in the highs as well as test discs I have with frequencies played etc. I won't do that for a little while yet, but once I get myself some free time I'll try to formally evaluate them against the PS-1000's, PS-1's and a slew of other Grados. This won't be for another couple of weeks, not until I get to hear the 325i's again and the older SR200's with Beagle.

He and I are exceptionally simpatico in our listening preferences and we tend to use the same words when describing sound so it will be fun and informative to bounce things off of him when I hear his other Grados, as well as his HF-2.
post #535 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
snip
Thanks for the write-up

Do you find the HF-2 with bowls to have more forward hights than vintage RS-1 with bowls, or are you comparing HF2+bowls and RS1+flats?
post #536 of 1528
bowls with bowls
post #537 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by That dude View Post
Here are some photos:
Wonderful pics! Thanks.
post #538 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
Thanks for the kind words guys. ... The HF-2's seem to retain the great aspects of the 325i's ... that perhaps yes, they really are baby PS-1000's ... an excellent bridge between the Prestige series and the Reference series ... for the sound of the HF-2's, particularly given their more linear sound. ...
Thanks for your sound descriptions.
I would like to get the baby PS1000 version instead of the 325 ultra.
post #539 of 1528
Nitpick pet peeve alert:

I just don't get the logic.
The damn cable is too short!!! I don't like to be leashed to my components. It's makes it really hard to play air guitar.
post #540 of 1528
Thread Starter 
Zanth, would like to ask you something. Could you try the HF-2 with jumbo pads (salad bowls) and tell me how they sound in comparison to the PS1000?
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