My listening tastes are all over the map and include real country, jazz, rock, punk, pop, electronic, rap, a little metal, and some classical. Most of the time I listen to rock and electronic.
My current favorite headphones are the Alessandro MS1 and the Ultrasone HFI-680.
The MS1 does kick drum attack really well, and it produces a good amount of low end bass, just not with much detail. The midrange is detailed and forward and treble is sharp, fairly detailed, and sometimes a little on the sibilant side. It does electric guitar tones exceptionally well. If there's a lot going on, sometimes it turns into soup. A really, tasty, satisfying soup. There's no sense of true soundstage.
I also have the AKG K 702. Its instrument separation is pretty insane. It doesn't seem to matter how cluttered the mix is, you can pick out everything, across the entire spectrum. Midrange is very detailed, enough that in rare instances, it'll make a distorted electric guitar come alive in a way that my other headphones can't. It's very unforgiving of hot treble in a recording. Bass is very detailed, but too lean IMO. Soundstage comes across as very wide, not too 3D. These are cans that I greatly admire, but I'm not sure if I'll keep them.
The HFI-680 is somewhere in the middle. It manages electric guitar with more control than the MS1, with about as much detail, and a touch less body, but certainly more than the K 702. Its bass extension and control are quite good. There's a lot of impact and it's capable of hitting low, almost to 25Hz. Treble isn't as detailed as the K 702, but it sounds very clean and smooth, with smooth decay. With my desktop amp a lot of sibilance is reduced, so it actually has the smoothest treble of the three headphones. Instrument separation is very much between the MS1 and the K 702. It's good, but this is an area where the K 702 just seems to excel. Soundstage is interesting. Often it's still wide, but narrower than the K 702. With some recordings I can pick out depth of stage better than with the K 702.
Originally Posted by Naglfar
Can I ask what kind of music do you guys listen to with your Ultrasones? I've been reading the other thread (best cans for thrash metal), and the Pro 900 comes out highly recommended. I am looking for a pair of cans for listening to metal and guitar-heavy music. The Pro 900 is a little over my price range, though I guess I could stretch my budget a little.
I guess my question would be would the HFI 780 (or even 680?) be a good pair of cans for rock and metal? Is the price of the Pro 900, which is 2x the price of the HIF's, justifiable for the sound quality that it can produce? I am using the 702 which is not a great headphone for guitar-heavy music. When listening to metal, the 702 sounds very congested, and the bass is a little thin, though very well controlled. I am looking for something that can maintain good separation for metal music, fast enough to keep up with frantic guitar solo and palm muting, and can reproduce the heavy guitar distortion the way it is meant to be heard - fat, thick and chunky.