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Shootout: 114 Portable Headphones Reviewed (Xiaomi Mi Headphones added 04/21/2015) - Page 105

post #1561 of 4545
Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Audiohead View Post

I read all of this to figure out what the prize was, and still no answer :(



if you guess the prize you get to win a second prize!

 

zzzzzzzzz

post #1562 of 4545
Joker, a quick question about something you posted earlier...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

Actually I am 95% sponsored by my own wreck of a wallet so I am free to do whatever I want with this thread tongue.gif
Did you pay MSRP for all the MEE products? eek.gif
I would imagine they would sponsor you after all the publicity you've given them. biggrin.gif
post #1563 of 4545

Well, not all the publicity was positive. What makes Mike great is that he tries to be the most objective he can be and the reviews show. 

post #1564 of 4545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

Well, not all the publicity was positive. What makes Mike great is that he tries to be the most objective he can be and the reviews show. 

I agree, but simply giving publicity is a big difference. Meelec could have easily become the second hippo if Mike didn't take the time and review all of their products. Especially on headfi, where we are typically fairly exclusive about which reviews we trust.

It is fairly difficult for a typical consumer to spend the money and time to adjust to a whole new product, let alone the entire new lineup of Meelec. I think majority of us would agree that we would have passed on the new lineup if Mike didn't take the time to review the lineup, so I thought maybe Meelec would throw Mike a bone for once. wink.gif
post #1565 of 4545
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post

so there was a trick" kinda.

 

Joker i had a lot of fun here! thank you.

 

and now that we know the upcoming reviews, I cant wait to read some of them, the ultrasones, the ATH, the sonys and the infamous 428, idk what to think about the streach, the MJ5 looks classy btw!


Well I certainly hope that your original question has been answered... in fact you probably have the entire list committed to memory now tongue.gif. And thanks everyone, this was fun for me as well. Perhaps there will be a round two once my inventory refreshes (or if I think of something else).

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

so what's the prize? :P


I don't think revealing the prize would serve any purpose. I believe that when I originally (half-jokingly) proposed this 'contest' to James I said it would be a modest IEM, and it will be. It is not up to me to reveal it though of course if Hayang wants to come back and post it, I won't have any issue with that.

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by Aflac View Post

Well... now that that's over, maybe this thread can return to normal tongue.gif

 

Joker, I recently picked up an ESW9 and an HD25. I like the HD25 for its isolation and velour pads, as well as its detail, overall balanced sound and punchy bass. What I don't like is its very narrow and closed soundstage, it really bothers me and it gives me the impression of pushing the mids forward. I like a sense of space.

 

On the other hand, the ESW9s are a gorgeous pair of headphones. I really like the way they do mids and, if a little sloppy, the bass. The soundstage is acceptably good for a portable and they are pretty comfortable. However, they don't isolate all that well for portable usage, and the high end is smeared and shimmery. I listen to a lot of rock and metal so I really nitpick about my cymbal reproduction. The ESW9 doesn't do cymbals well at all - they smear them and add a lot of "shhh" sibilance-y sound.

 

Given my preferences, how much do you think I would like the MS400? They sound like they'd be extremely comfortable (I love the consumer-oriented soft soft pleather, like the kind Bose uses). The pleather looks like they would isolate well, too, but I guess that all depends on the clamping force. I've been reading your review but I'm still not sure if I have a sense of what the MS400s sound like. Above all I value detail in the high end, as long as it isn't "shimmery" and "low-quality/smeared" sounding. Ya dig?

TIA!

 

EDIT: I feel like I should add that I think my taste in sound is similar to yours. I really really like the RE0s, although I wish there were a little more impact. I also agree with you on a significant portion of things you've reviewed that I've heard before (although not everything). This is why I value your opinion smile.gif


I don't think the MS400 is a good fit for you - accurate reproduction of cymbals requires a headphone that is committed to treble reproduction whereas the MS400 is definitely committed to the bass and midrange. It's not all that isolating, either, because the pads aren't *quite* large enough to seal around the ear (for me at least). I don't think the MS400 will ever be called 'shimmery' or sibilant but it doesn't have the treble crispness or detail of the HD25, either. I do agree with you that isolation is everything on the go which is why I quite like IEMs... I think the DBA-02 would be a good fit for you with a proper seal though I'm sure you have reasons for wanting a portable instead.

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Audiohead View Post

I read all of this to figure out what the prize was, and still no answer :(



if you guess the price you get to win a second price!


biggrin.gif. That's almost awesome enough for me to go along with.

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by mootookang View Post

Joker, a quick question about something you posted earlier...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

Actually I am 95% sponsored by my own wreck of a wallet so I am free to do whatever I want with this thread tongue.gif


Did you pay MSRP for all the MEE products? eek.gif
I would imagine they would sponsor you after all the publicity you've given them. biggrin.gif

 

In answering that particular question I was referring to this thread specifically and not the IEM thread. I do get a good number of entry-level IEMs for review (or I'd still be hovering around the ~100 mark). For Meelec specifically,  I did buy all of the early Mee products myself (SX31 all the way through the original M11), which until recently were the ones I liked best anyway (well, my old M9 and M6 were...). I think the M11+ was the first one they offered to send me. The current Mee IEM lineup I probably wouldn't have bothered with but Mee is located here in SoCal and they let me borrow a lot of the pre-production models for trial/review quite early on. Some of them I got to keep (ones with botched logos, experimental paintjobs, etc) , some of them they replaced later with production ones for photos, etc. According to them I have the only white+gold M21 in existence, for example. So no, I did not pay for the more recent Mee products, for which I am very thankful (not that the HT-21 costs a whole lot next to the P5 or Crossfade LP) but I am always upfront with manufacturers about posting only my own (honest) impressions of how something sounds. 

 

Besides, this is head-fi and we have the audio police (Pianist, etc)  who will tell me exactly what I should or should not be hearing tongue.gif

post #1566 of 4545

Lol audio police, Mike you better be giving those FX700s a 10/10 because otherwise you're biased, those wooden drivers guarantee a "real" sound otherwise you're biased.....I kid lol....

post #1567 of 4545
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post


Quote:

Originally Posted by Aflac View Post

Well... now that that's over, maybe this thread can return to normal tongue.gif

 

Joker, I recently picked up an ESW9 and an HD25. I like the HD25 for its isolation and velour pads, as well as its detail, overall balanced sound and punchy bass. What I don't like is its very narrow and closed soundstage, it really bothers me and it gives me the impression of pushing the mids forward. I like a sense of space.

 

On the other hand, the ESW9s are a gorgeous pair of headphones. I really like the way they do mids and, if a little sloppy, the bass. The soundstage is acceptably good for a portable and they are pretty comfortable. However, they don't isolate all that well for portable usage, and the high end is smeared and shimmery. I listen to a lot of rock and metal so I really nitpick about my cymbal reproduction. The ESW9 doesn't do cymbals well at all - they smear them and add a lot of "shhh" sibilance-y sound.

 

Given my preferences, how much do you think I would like the MS400? They sound like they'd be extremely comfortable (I love the consumer-oriented soft soft pleather, like the kind Bose uses). The pleather looks like they would isolate well, too, but I guess that all depends on the clamping force. I've been reading your review but I'm still not sure if I have a sense of what the MS400s sound like. Above all I value detail in the high end, as long as it isn't "shimmery" and "low-quality/smeared" sounding. Ya dig?

TIA!

 

EDIT: I feel like I should add that I think my taste in sound is similar to yours. I really really like the RE0s, although I wish there were a little more impact. I also agree with you on a significant portion of things you've reviewed that I've heard before (although not everything). This is why I value your opinion smile.gif


I don't think the MS400 is a good fit for you - accurate reproduction of cymbals requires a headphone that is committed to treble reproduction whereas the MS400 is definitely committed to the bass and midrange. It's not all that isolating, either, because the pads aren't *quite* large enough to seal around the ear (for me at least). I don't think the MS400 will ever be called 'shimmery' or sibilant but it doesn't have the treble crispness or detail of the HD25, either. I do agree with you that isolation is everything on the go which is why I quite like IEMs... I think the DBA-02 would be a good fit for you with a proper seal though I'm sure you have reasons for wanting a portable instead.


Thanks for the quick response. Yes, I was afraid that this would be the issue. I'm actually not sure if I've ever heard a headphone with a "downards sloping response" (as opposed to a V-shaped response in many headphones or the "upwards sloping" one found in the K701). Therefore I'm not sure if I want accurate reproduction of cymbals, or if I want to AVOID not-accurate reproduction of cymbals. I guess I'll look out for a good chance to try them out sometime.

 

As for IEMs, I have had the itch to try the DBA-02, but I've never gotten expensive IEMs before. I'm just more familiar with full-size and portable headphones. I've also had a history of comfort issues with IEMs (particularly with my iM716), where my ear canal would start to be irritated after an hour or two. IEMs are also a big hassle to take out and put back in if you meet someone on the way to class or something and want to chat. So basically my preference for portables boils down to convenience and comfort... although I think I'm going to try out the Sunrise Xcapes v2 soon. It would be great if you could review those tongue.gif

It's too bad, because I love the sound and value of the iM716, but the comfort kind of blows. I'm hoping Etymotic can come out with something that doesn't look like it will stick out like Frankenstein bolts but still has their nice house signature.

post #1568 of 4545

Shucks...My guess of HD 438 was pretty darn close.  After seeing all those sennheisers rejected, I knew it had to be 4x8, but I just thought youd like velour ear pads better!

 

Congrats Hayang!

post #1569 of 4545

wow, congrats dude!!! Perhaps, you should just roll out one headphone for us to guess next time. Most of players( including me) get 10/11 without any works, and that might not be fair for those previous guesses. Moreover, as we can see, 1 is hard enough rightdeadhorse.gif

post #1570 of 4545

ljokerl, I really appreciate and enjoy reading your reviews. Tremendously informative and helpful. If I may tap into your portable / IEM knowledge ... I am in search of headphones to use at work.

 

Currently I am using PortapRos and Klipsch S4s with my Samsung Fascinate. Since most of the time I am not actively listening to music, the sound qualities of these are more than acceptable. PortapPros are easy to take off -- when somebody comes in my office, all I have to do is slide one of the cans off my ear. But they don't shut out the external noise much. S4s are great at shutting out external noise, but they are a bit cumbersome to take out. I have to twist and pull, and it takes a few seconds. It can be annoying to have to gesture to people to wait, take the IEMs out, then say "Sorry, what were you saying?" multiple times a day.

 

So I am looking for either portables or IEMs with great isolation, and ease of removal. I would like to keep the size not much bigger than the PortaPros. Sound quality upgrade from my current phones will be welcome, of course. My budget is $150, but for truly great phones, I will go higher.

 

I use K701s at home and really enjoy them -- wide soundstage would definitely be a plus. When using PortaPros, I EQ the lows down a bit. With the S4s, I EQ the lows further, and also the lower mid. I hope this gives an idea of the sound I like.

 

Thanks in advance. And of course, any other Head-Fier's help will be appreciated as well.

 

post #1571 of 4545

Well, if you are a detail freak and you like the piercing crash of a cymbal, then I completely understand how the treble on the esw9 will disappoint you, with or without an amp. I don't have too much experience with headphones, but with my three sets, I can immediately tell that the ultrasone pro 900 is the most detailed. In fact, it probably has the most detailed treble and midrange of any headphone I've ever listened to. Sometimes the midrange detail is too much for the recording, which can cause them to sound somewhat grainy. However, they aren't very portable, as they need an amp and are quite large, so I guess I can't recommend them. On the other hand, I would recommend looking into the Hfi series of Ultrasone, they might be exactly what you're looking for. From what I've read, the Hfi-780 seem to have the most detail of the bunch, but they also have the least bass (not little by any means :P). The soundstage is also supposed to be impressive for a closed headphone.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aflac View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Leander7777 View Post

I also have the Audio technica esw9 and I think you should give them another try with a good amp. Amping them with my Headstage Arrow amp works wonders. The bass is tighter, the mids and highs are more detailed. The transparency is vastly improved and the headphone sounds a lot more refined. I think the highs are very nice actually, they are detailed, but don't extend far. This causes the highs to sound more plucky rather than sparkily. Makes for a very emotional presentation, that contrasts well with my polar opposite Ultrasone pro 900.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aflac View Post

Well... now that that's over, maybe this thread can return to normal tongue.gif

 

Joker, I recently picked up an ESW9 and an HD25. I like the HD25 for its isolation and velour pads, as well as its detail, overall balanced sound and punchy bass. What I don't like is its very narrow and closed soundstage, it really bothers me and it gives me the impression of pushing the mids forward. I like a sense of space.

 

On the other hand, the ESW9s are a gorgeous pair of headphones. I really like the way they do mids and, if a little sloppy, the bass. The soundstage is acceptably good for a portable and they are pretty comfortable. However, they don't isolate all that well for portable usage, and the high end is smeared and shimmery. I listen to a lot of rock and metal so I really nitpick about my cymbal reproduction. The ESW9 doesn't do cymbals well at all - they smear them and add a lot of "shhh" sibilance-y sound.

 

Given my preferences, how much do you think I would like the MS400? They sound like they'd be extremely comfortable (I love the consumer-oriented soft soft pleather, like the kind Bose uses). The pleather looks like they would isolate well, too, but I guess that all depends on the clamping force. I've been reading your review but I'm still not sure if I have a sense of what the MS400s sound like. Above all I value detail in the high end, as long as it isn't "shimmery" and "low-quality/smeared" sounding. Ya dig?

TIA!

 

EDIT: I feel like I should add that I think my taste in sound is similar to yours. I really really like the RE0s, although I wish there were a little more impact. I also agree with you on a significant portion of things you've reviewed that I've heard before (although not everything). This is why I value your opinion smile.gif


 


I do most of my critical listening at home, on my SSMH (which, supposedly, by mid-fi standards, is a pretty great amp). The HD25 just handily beats out the ESW9 in the highs, it's not even close. This, along with my preference for the K701s over many other sets, is why I consider myself a detail freak. I don't even listen to the details, I just like being able to hear them. I can tell the ESW9 is excellent with trebles like strings and violin, but they just don't perform  well on cymbals, and cymbal performance makes or breaks headphones for me.

That said, I only want to use these portables straight out of an iPod when on-the-go anyway. That's the whole point of a portable, right? I don't want to carry around a portable setup just to listen to music, when even the slightest outside noise pollution means that the sound quality is worsened anyway.

 

post #1572 of 4545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leander7777 View Post

Well, if you are a detail freak and you like the piercing crash of a cymbal, then I completely understand how the treble on the esw9 will disappoint you, with or without an amp. I don't have too much experience with headphones, but with my three sets, I can immediately tell that the ultrasone pro 900 is the most detailed. In fact, it probably has the most detailed treble and midrange of any headphone I've ever listened to. Sometimes the midrange detail is too much for the recording, which can cause them to sound somewhat grainy. However, they aren't very portable, as they need an amp and are quite large, so I guess I can't recommend them. On the other hand, I would recommend looking into the Hfi series of Ultrasone, they might be exactly what you're looking for. From what I've read, the Hfi-780 seem to have the most detail of the bunch, but they also have the least bass (not little by any means :P). The soundstage is also supposed to be impressive for a closed headphone.


The only ultrasone I've tried is the Pro 650, which disappointed me in the mids and "closed" feeling. They also had a little TOO much treble energy. I imagine the HFI-580/780 is similar. S-Logic is weird, too, and I don't think I could live with that for long periods of time. I've been interested in trying out the open Pro models, though, if only because they should eliminate the resonances I heard in the 650.

 

Anyway, I got a new pair of HD25s today, to replace the ones I sold. The treble detail is definitely noticeably better than on the ESW9. However, it still sounds a bit rolled off... the cymbal shimmer kind of only sounds like it's half there. At least, that's what I think it sounds like...

 

bah! I may have to go to IEMs after all. damn you head-fi

post #1573 of 4545

You should never make the mistake of thinking that all Ultrasones sound similar. I have auditioned the pro650 and was quite disappointed. Another important factor is burn-in, no other headphone headphone company, that I know of, benefits as much from burn-in. The treble smooths out a lot, the mids come forth, and the bass tightens up.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aflac View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leander7777 View Post

Well, if you are a detail freak and you like the piercing crash of a cymbal, then I completely understand how the treble on the esw9 will disappoint you, with or without an amp. I don't have too much experience with headphones, but with my three sets, I can immediately tell that the ultrasone pro 900 is the most detailed. In fact, it probably has the most detailed treble and midrange of any headphone I've ever listened to. Sometimes the midrange detail is too much for the recording, which can cause them to sound somewhat grainy. However, they aren't very portable, as they need an amp and are quite large, so I guess I can't recommend them. On the other hand, I would recommend looking into the Hfi series of Ultrasone, they might be exactly what you're looking for. From what I've read, the Hfi-780 seem to have the most detail of the bunch, but they also have the least bass (not little by any means :P). The soundstage is also supposed to be impressive for a closed headphone.


The only ultrasone I've tried is the Pro 650, which disappointed me in the mids and "closed" feeling. They also had a little TOO much treble energy. I imagine the HFI-580/780 is similar. S-Logic is weird, too, and I don't think I could live with that for long periods of time. I've been interested in trying out the open Pro models, though, if only because they should eliminate the resonances I heard in the 650.

 

Anyway, I got a new pair of HD25s today, to replace the ones I sold. The treble detail is definitely noticeably better than on the ESW9. However, it still sounds a bit rolled off... the cymbal shimmer kind of only sounds like it's half there. At least, that's what I think it sounds like...

 

bah! I may have to go to IEMs after all. damn you head-fi

post #1574 of 4545
Thread Starter 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by Aflac View Post

 

As for IEMs, I have had the itch to try the DBA-02, but I've never gotten expensive IEMs before. I'm just more familiar with full-size and portable headphones. I've also had a history of comfort issues with IEMs (particularly with my iM716), where my ear canal would start to be irritated after an hour or two. IEMs are also a big hassle to take out and put back in if you meet someone on the way to class or something and want to chat. So basically my preference for portables boils down to convenience and comfort... although I think I'm going to try out the Sunrise Xcapes v2 soon. It would be great if you could review those tongue.gif

It's too bad, because I love the sound and value of the iM716, but the comfort kind of blows. I'm hoping Etymotic can come out with something that doesn't look like it will stick out like Frankenstein bolts but still has their nice house signature.


To be fair to Fischer the angled-nozzle design of the DBA-02 is not nearly as ear-penetrating as that of the average Ety or Lansing iM-series earphone. I have an Xcape rev2 on the way.. somewhere.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shinnbone View Post

ljokerl, I really appreciate and enjoy reading your reviews. Tremendously informative and helpful. If I may tap into your portable / IEM knowledge ... I am in search of headphones to use at work.

 

Currently I am using PortapRos and Klipsch S4s with my Samsung Fascinate. Since most of the time I am not actively listening to music, the sound qualities of these are more than acceptable. PortapPros are easy to take off -- when somebody comes in my office, all I have to do is slide one of the cans off my ear. But they don't shut out the external noise much. S4s are great at shutting out external noise, but they are a bit cumbersome to take out. I have to twist and pull, and it takes a few seconds. It can be annoying to have to gesture to people to wait, take the IEMs out, then say "Sorry, what were you saying?" multiple times a day.

 

So I am looking for either portables or IEMs with great isolation, and ease of removal. I would like to keep the size not much bigger than the PortaPros. Sound quality upgrade from my current phones will be welcome, of course. My budget is $150, but for truly great phones, I will go higher.

 

I use K701s at home and really enjoy them -- wide soundstage would definitely be a plus. When using PortaPros, I EQ the lows down a bit. With the S4s, I EQ the lows further, and also the lower mid. I hope this gives an idea of the sound I like.

 

Thanks in advance. And of course, any other Head-Fier's help will be appreciated as well.

 



For great isolation you want IEMs over portables but the Klipsch S4 isn't really that difficult to put in so I'm not sure what you could replace them with. In terms of portables you would probably like the ESW9A as it has one of the wider soundstages I've heard out of a closed supraaural phone. If you just want added isolation over the PortaPros there's always the PX200-II and K430.. I don't think you'd need to EQ the bass down on either of those though I don't know how the rest of the signature will sit with you. The Q460/K450 sounds a bit better than those to me but it has poorer isolation for some reason.

post #1575 of 4545

ljokerl, thanks a ton for the input!

 

Yeah, taking out the S4s doesn't take that much time -- a couple of seconds or so. But it adds up. I guess I'm just lazy.

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