Today I got the chance to listen to go down to Portland to their shop and demo a pair of the 1964 Ds. I wanted to listen to the Triples but they were not available. They were just moving their office into a different location, their lab is literally the size of a very small apartment, and they have a small office area they just moved into a few doors down where I was able to demo the Ds. I don't mean to insult the company in any way, I'm just amazed that this international organization can be run with such small facilities.
The staff was very nice as well. Someone from the labs (Which is where my GPS guided me to) walked me over to the office where I was greeted by Anastasia, and then Alex (Alec maybe?) helped me with all of the questions I had as well as getting the demos to fit fairly well. I had some of "the usual" questions like Where do I get impressions? How long do they last, ect. He answered all of my questions, and as I mentioned, even let me borrow an ALO Amplifier.
I also asked Alex about getting the B2s re-shelled and adding a Westone cable (For the record, I asked and he said they use the same cables as Westone but they're direct from the manufacturer) and I was surprised to find he answered all of my questions, and even said that if I got them reshelled, he would talk to the lab about taming the harsh treble by using different filters. I was surprised by the fact that he wasn't just pushing to get their customs, but sounded like he genuinely wanted my business whether I was there for a dozen Quads or just custom shells. I also came down to buy an IEM cleaning tool for my B2s, avoiding shipping costs, but they gave me 2 for free. They're genuinely very nice people!
Now on to the actual audition.
My "reference" IEM for the demo was the Brainwavz B2, which I'd listened to for a few hours earlier today. I used my iPod classic 6g and an objective 2. I listened briefly to an ALO audio amp of some sort to see if there was channel imbalance on the O2, but it was just the seal that was affecting the "center" of the soundstage.
First thing I listened to was "Sandman" By America. Why? Because it's one of the first songs on my iPod. First thing I noticed was that the timbre of the guitar was as good, if not a bit better than the B2. I personally believe that headphones leave a "footprint" in your head for how you listen to music. For example, after listening to the very sibilant B2 I notice the cymbals on the drum set more. So YMMV. Just my personal opinion though.
I've always thought that the instruments were a little more pronounced in the B2s than the actual track, but I think the vocals are much more balanced so that the soundstage is shared better between vocals and instruments.
Next thing I noticed was the excellent bass. It was very tight and the rolloff was minimal. I noticed bass lines I was unable to hear before, such as on Steely Dan's "aja". Also, the Ds were forgiving with source material. And I'm not talking about low bitrate MP3s, all I have is ALAC, but rather with songs where there is a lot of background noise and the lyrics are harsh. Compared to the B2s, there seems to be a bit more noticeable background noise, but poor mastering still sounds great.
The bassline in Awolnation's "Sail" was also excellent. As alex said, "the musicians they cater to wanted more bass... so they added more bass. These aren't flat reference monitors."
The final type of Music I tried was J-pop. I was expecting it to sound the best out of the 3 genres that I tried. While the bass was definitely better, especially for J-pop, I left the building feeling dissatisfied with the female vocalists in the fact they didn't sound as lively as they do on the B2s. Getting back home I realize that was just the fact they weren't shredding my ears with harshness and I do think they will sound great when I hopefully get them.
Final point of discussion: The soundstage. It was about as good as the B2s, maybe a bit smaller but it would be hard to tell specifically without AB'ing them. As far as build quality goes, I obviously can't say much as these were just demos.
Now, since I was unable to listen to the 64T's, which is sort of what I was hoping to listen to, I'm not sure where to go from here. Coming back home and listening to the B2s just sounds like pure torture in the treble department. With a removable cable, the reshell would be $235 plus a modest $25 for impressions. Only $90 less than the Duals. Which are only $75 less than the triples. Are the Duals worth $90 more than reshells? Are the Triples worth $165 more than the remold? I was planning on buying the HD600s first before going into customs territory, but now I'm not sure... so many choices!!!
Edited by mechgamer123 - 7/3/12 at 8:05pm