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Love the sound of ESW10JPN... Open Full-sized can with similar but better sound?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Currently I'm in the midst of deciding between the JH13, the ESW10JPN and a comparable full-sized can. I'm putting this thread out to help me decide on what full sized cans I should seek out to audition.

Basically I love the sound of the ESW10JPN. The sound signature is everything I'm looking for. A nice balanced even sound, with every part of the sound spectrum (lows, mids, and highs) adequately reproduced. Details are there in abundance. Nothing pushed forward. Just a natural sound. I guess you know what I'm talking about.

Thing is, I don't need portability or isolation if I can achieve a higher level of sound quality. Keeping this in mind what open, full-sized cans would you recommend that I audition?

So far where open, full sized cans are concerned, I've tried the HD600 (loved the lush sound, but details were lacking sometimes), the DT880 (great tight bass and open airy and clear sound but sibilance was a problem for me at that time) and the GS1000 (tried this out of a really high end setup so I might not be able to replicate the sound within my means but I really loved it, the sound was excellent, lush engaging and musical).

Budget wise, I'm looking for something in the HD600/DT880/K701 range. Let's try to keep it under $500 since I would probably need to get a proper amp to driver them.
post #2 of 9
Grado RS1

If you listen to both briefly, you will definitely find them quite similar. Although after longer periods, you will realise there are some areas of each headphone that really make them differ.. I will never mistake one for the other.

I'll start with the ESW10. It's a very good can, having a decent soundstage for a closed can (though not as large as the circumaural Denons I have tried - D7000). Musicality and transparency is definitely there. A balanced sound from top to bottom, you never feel like it's thick at the midrange or top-heavy etc. I've never been good at telling PRaT, but the RS1 is definitely quicker, and more energetic. Slightly too slow for some classical pieces.

The RS1 headphone has been around for a very long time. If you really are interested in a pair of RS1, trying to get them used is a fantastic idea. The retail price is really too high.

To say the RS1 sounds like an open version of the ESW10 is not completely wrong. There are a few things that contradict this though. With bowls, the soundstage is much airier than the ESW10. There is a very pleasing echo and "twang" that the RS1+bowls produces on acoustic/electric guitars that I have not heard any other headphone produce. However with bowls you will get the feeling that the music is a little upper-midrange/treble heavy compared to the ESW10. It tends to lack the body that comes in the lower midrange. Separation is better than ESW10 due to more air in the soundstage. Do note that soundstage is airier but not necessarily bigger. This is because the RS1 is definitely more forward sounding than the ESW10, and it's quite a contradiction to have both a forward sound and yet a big soundstage.

Midrange is the RS1's biggest strength, singers sound like they're singing to you and you feel like your onstage with the band. This is also the biggest reason why some do not like the RS1. Too forward mids and the lack of a huge soundstage cause it to be quite genre specific, especially large scale classical pieces. For acoustic/vocal orientated music, I have not found a better headphone to my liking yet.

That extra treble energy and quicker bass (not necessarily lighter) gives the RS1 a very "electric" feel, making it excellent with both rock and fast jazz. It excels on slower music like acoustic/vocals as well.

The pads used on the RS1 is really up to your personal preference. Bowls vs flats is pretty much a pointless argument. For me, flats collapse the soundstage to almost 2D. The drivers are resting very close to your ear and that's what happens. The midrange, however, is even more intimate than with bowls and the texture is amazing. Treble energy is controlled, and you're less likely to get listening fatigue with flats. Bass is noticeably more than with bowls too. Normally RS1+flats go well with a neutral SS amp like Gilmore Lite, iQube etc whereas RS1+bowls go well with a warm SS/tube amp like Earmax Silver, Mapletree Ear+ HD, EC/SS etc.

Personally, I prefer the latter option because the lack of a decent soundstage is not something I'm willing to sacrifice. Try both out and see which you prefer. There's always the option of reversed bowls, HD414 pads etc.

RS1 definitely scales better than ESW10 from what I hear. The ESW10 is THE best portable can I have ever heard, and I prefer it to many circumaural cans (including the K701, DT880, DT990). However, it remains as good as it's purpose - for portable. The RS1 is a step above the ESW10 when properly amped. I believe that RS1 should be paired with a nice amp that controls it's treble energy and at the same time giving it more lower midrange for the body. It's the most recommended "best headphone unamped" but I disagree. Pair the RS1 with something warm and musical and you will get a intoxicating combination. Detail retrieval is definitely good on both phones, slightly better on the RS1 with some microdetails.

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 9
I'd like to hear some suggestions here myself.

I also happen to own both RS1 and ESW10JPN, but personally I don't think they're similar enough to be mentioned in same breath, even with bowls (it's not similar at all with flats of course). I can see the general similarity overall, but there are too many factors that sticks out as different. The upper mid forwardness of RS1/bowls are much more peaky than the ESW10JPN which IMO has more of a balanced midrange (this does give RS1 more attack, and more "fun" factor). There's also more treble energy with RS1 compared to ESW10JPN, and slight more weight in the bass section with the AT's. If I had to give the biggest physical example of why they're different; I can listen to ESW10JPN for hours end without fatigue, but I cannot listen to RS1/bowl combo for any longer than 10 minutes due to their peaky upper mids/treble causing fatigue. This is all compared when RS1 is amped with my WA6 though, so perhaps unamped, they're more similar.

What I'd actually kill for is a bigger circumaural version (open or closed, doesn't matter) of ESW10JPN. I love the 10JPN's sound a LOT, but with them being compact and supraaural it's not the most comfortable for extended home use.
post #4 of 9
Of what I remember, I would say that the Audio Technica W5000's, but of course you will need a nice amp.....
post #5 of 9
FWIW, totally did not like the W5000 while I love my ESW10. Maybe it's something with the fit, but it sounded very light to me. Try first.
post #6 of 9
The problem you had with the HD600s is that they don't go well straight out of a MacBook. I'd suggest putting up a WTB for a pair of Grado HF-2s, though all things considering, I'm not sure they would necessarily be a great deal better straight out of your computer. They did sound surprisingly good straight out of an iPod when I tried them, however.
post #7 of 9
Originally Posted by GuyDebord View Post
Of what I remember, I would say that the Audio Technica W5000's, but of course you will need a nice amp.....
No even close. I have both at one time ESW10JPN and HA5000/W5000 combo, while I love both but I find ESW10 is much more fun listening to and it can power by almost anything.
post #8 of 9
Uberburger has given an accurate description of the 2 cans IMO. I agree with his views with the 1 exception - I don't find the ESW10 slower than the RS1.

Whilst there are obvious differences in the sound, I feel that they are of the same "type" - fast, dynamic, forward and with a small soundstage. You will of course prefer 1 over the other, but there's no mistaking them for the DT880 or HD650.

For me, the ESW10 serves as my portable can. When paired with my iBasso D4 Mamba on-the-go, it gives me the same aural pleasure as my RS1 through the Mapletree HD250SE back home. Each has its merits, and I will not part with either.

One last thing, if you love rock, nothing I've heard does electric guitars better than Grado. Take your favourite electric guitar rifts when you audition the 2 cans and you'll see what I mean...
post #9 of 9
I heard the AT AD2000 at a meet recently, along with the ESW10's. I've owned the ESW10's previously, so I know their sound pretty well. I didn't get much time with the AD2000's, but did find an open version of the house AT sound. If open cans worked for my situation, I would most certainly be taking a closer look at these. They seem to be $499 right now at several on line retailers, including Amazon.
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