JH13 vs: Beyerdynamic T1 and Sennheiser HD800
Music used for this comparison:
- Julia Fischer - Bach Concertos - Concerto for Two Violins in D minor - "I. Vivace", "III. Allegro"
- Katie Melua - Piece by Piece - "Shy Boy"
- Symphony X - Paradise Lost - "Set the World on Fire", "The Walls of Babylon"
- Trifonic - Emergence - "Transgenic"
Equipment was the same as before (noted in post #1), with the same source and headphone amp.
"Diffusion" is a word I use to describe the separation of musical elements from each other that some headphones do, like the HD800 and T1, among others like the Sony SA5000 (and Qualia 010) and AKG K701. These headphones "peel apart" the music so you can hear everything going on and the more "peeling apart" that's done, the more "diffuse" they sound and the more they lose the picture of the musical whole (so it's not really a good thing when it's overdone, but a little of it can be nice). With this definition in mind, I would call the JH13 the least diffuse of the three, followed by the T1, and then the HD800. To put it another way, the JH13 had a very "integrated" type of sound with minimal separation of the musical elements - but still enough to hear everything distinctly. The T1 spread everything out more and the HD800 even more than the T1.
"Clarity" is a completely separate concept and for me refers to how "clear" everything in the music sounds. "Clarity" is a concept that really needs context IMO, as in order to truly understand it, one should really hear a wide variety of headphones. My top reference for clarity in headphones is the Qualia 010, followed by the SA5000. The HD800 had the most clarity of the three, followed by the T1, and then the JH13. The differences though were not as much as when comparing diffusion - while I thought the JH13 was barely diffuse at all, it still had very good clarity, just not as much as the T1 or especially the HD800.
Soundstage is another concept and in this aspect the JH13 outclassed the other two, revealing more differences in soundstage span and depth, and reacted accordingly with different recordings. Both the T1 and HD800 had an imposed soundstage, with the T1 positioning instruments further away and out to the sides more, and the HD800 even moreso. The T1 and HD800 also both had a fair amount of "air" injected into the music while the JH13 had none. By "air" I refer to the perception of "acoustics" in the musical space and how "open" it seems.
The JH13 was also considerably faster in impulse response than either the T1 or HD800 and correctly translated the speed of very fast sequences of notes without blurring anything. It also exuded a more powerful and fast bass with a tight, accurate hit, more similar in style to the Audio-Technica AD2000's type of bass response than either the HD800's or T1's. It was low and very fast and recovered instantly from large-quantity bass impacts, while the HD800 and T1 were just a bit plodgy in comparison.
I wouldn't necessarily call the JH13 the best of the three as that's subjective but for me it was the most satisfactory across multiple genres of music.
Edited by Asr - 10/11/10 at 11:18pm