Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › ITT: We rediscover old favourites.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

ITT: We rediscover old favourites.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So, I've had my HD650 for a few weeks now and am absolutely enamoured by it. I just love the enveloping lushness of its mid-range and the complex layers that can fill up its spacious soundstage. I find its full range extension to be incredibly balanced, providing a transparent window into whatever I choose to listen to. This is a quality that I consider to be a great strength, and not a weakness to be labeled as "boring". To me it is clearly superior, at least technically, to the other cans I've spent time with and hold in high regard (Alessandro MS-1i and ATH-M50).

 

The Alessandro MS-1i was my gateway drug into good headphones and it was a profound experience. Other than at live venues, I had never experienced music like that and so began the descent. Despite my love of the Alessandro the Head-Fi bug soon bit, and I sidelined the MS-1i for the ATH-M50 to see what all the fuss was about. I spent a few weeks with the M50 but thought the sound wasn't for me, although I could acknowledge that the hype was perhaps merited. Regretfully I decided to sell the M50 but the upside was that it helped me to acquire the HD650.

 

Some recent posts have prompted me to dig out an old friend from its signature pizza box resting place. It's been a while since I've spent some time with the MS-1i and I was curious to see if my fondness of it still held up. To my surprise and relief it was just like listening to them for the first time. My exposure to other cans and my current affair with the HD650 had done nothing to diminish the qualities I loved so much in the MS-1i.

 

The energy and attack that Grados/Alessandros are renowned for was the first thing to engulf me and it was like a homecoming. The rediscovered familiarity was almost overwhelming and I don't care if I'm swimming in hyperbole at the moment but it boggles my mind that these cans are hardly mentioned on this forum. Although it lacks in the sub bass, it has a great mid bass punch with great body and an engaging, forward, in your face presentation. This sound signature is versatile as well. Rock, indie, alternative, pop, hip-hop, folk, Americana... whatever, is so vibrant, soaring and emotive.

 

Seriously, I'm flabbergasted at how these headphones draw me into the music. Listening to some Richard Ferreira at the moment and I simply cannot fathom how any headphone can top the emotion that's being conveyed here.

 

So there it is. This thread is about rediscovering an old favourite, a headphone that makes you forget about the silliness that we all engage in on Head-Fi, and just brings your absolute love of music to the fore. Please share your experiences.


Edited by olor1n - 1/3/11 at 4:29am
post #2 of 12

Nice

Everytime I've spended time with a new can and go back to my SR225, I rediscover how great those Grado's are. There's just something about that sound that no other brand has, and that's not only about forwardness, it's more then that.

 

I have to try Alessandro, didn't ever heard them.


Edited by Proglover - 1/3/11 at 4:04am
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I normally use comfies but I'm using quarter modded HD414 pads at the moment and I think it may have made the bass more distinct. The upper mids are certainly more forward with the exposed grills, but it's still not harsh or fatiguing. It's sort of what I imagine an actual Grado headphone to sound like. Acquiring an MS-Pro or RS1i will be the next step I think.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

So, I've had my HD650 for a few weeks now and am absolutely enamoured by it. I just love the enveloping lushness of its mid-range and the complex layers that can fill up its spacious soundstage. I find its full range extension to be incredibly balanced, providing a transparent window into whatever I choose to listen to. This is a quality that I consider to be a great strength, and not a weakness to be labeled as "boring". To me it is clearly superior, at least technically, to the other cans I've spent time with and hold in high regard (Alessandro MS-1i and ATH-M50).

 

The Alessandro MS-1i was my gateway drug into good headphones and it was a profound experience. Other than at live venues, I had never experienced music like that and so began the descent. Despite my love of the Alessandro the Head-Fi bug soon bit, and I sidelined the MS-1i for the ATH-M50 to see what all the fuss was about. I spent a few weeks with the M50 but thought the sound wasn't for me, although I could acknowledge that the hype was perhaps merited. Regretfully I decided to sell the M50 but the upside was that it helped me to acquire the HD650.

 

Some recent posts have prompted me to dig out an old friend from its signature pizza box resting place. It's been a while since I've spent some time with the MS-1i and I was curious to see if my fondness of it still held up. To my surprise and relief it was just like listening to them for the first time. My exposure to other cans and my current affair with the HD650 had done nothing to diminish the qualities I loved so much in the MS-1i.

 

The energy and attack that Grados/Alessandros are renowned for was the first thing to engulf me and it was like a homecoming. The rediscovered familiarity was almost overwhelming and I don't care if I'm swimming in hyperbole at the moment but it boggles my mind that these cans are hardly mentioned on this forum. Although it lacks in the sub bass, it has a great mid bass punch with great body and an engaging, forward, in your face presentation. This sound signature is versatile as well. Rock, indie, alternative, pop, hip-hop, folk, Americana... whatever, is so vibrant, soaring and emotive.

 

Seriously, I'm flabbergasted at how these headphones draw me into the music. Listening to some Richard Ferreira at the moment and I simply cannot fathom how any headphone can top the emotion that's being conveyed here.

 

So there it is. This thread is about rediscovering an old favourite, a headphone that makes you forget about the silliness that we all engage in on Head-Fi, and just brings your absolute love of music to the fore. Please share your experiences.


It's quite ironic - I'm actually doing almost the exact inverse myself right now!  I've had a pair of HD 600s for the last six months as I've been forced to be away from my speakers for that period of time, and I've just gotten a pair of MS1is as a more portable and easier to amp headphone to compliment them.

 

In short, I'm actually stunned at the level of performance that only $110 will bring - perhaps it's just the newness to me, but the level of detail of the Alessandros sounds on par with the HD 600s, and the sound signature is (IME) closer to the HD 600 than anything else I've listened to, just a bit more "exciting" sounding.

 

What I'm most surprised about is that the Alessandros don't seem bright in the least - I was bracing myself for that, but it never came.  There's certainly more of an emphasis on the upper mids and lower highs - and bass (leaving the low mids standing out slightly in the HD 600, relatively speaking) - but it's not fatiguing like I found the Beyer DT 880 to be.

 

The most notable difference (beyond the price) may be the soundstage, of course.  The Alessandros are narrow, less precise, and closer sounding than the Sennheisers - I don't want to imagine how a K701 or HD 800 would A/B in comparison.  It's not horrible when just listening to them, but as soon as I went back to the HD 600 for the first time, I was astounded at how much more enveloping they sounded.  I guess some like the Grado presentation more (perhaps those who've never heard truly great speakers), but I can't say I'm one of them.

 

Oh, and the other downside: Comfort.  The comfies are much better on my ears than the bowls - which are uncomfortable immediately upon putting on, and hurt after just a few minutes.  Still, I'm finding that after an hour or so my ears hurt a little from even the comfies.  I've stretched out the headband a little which has helped somewhat, although they weren't that tight to begin with and I kind of like not having the band touch my head at all.  Anyway, all the popular over-ear open headphones I've tried, including my HD 600, are way more comfortable.

 

So, sorry if I'm distracting from the intent of your thread, but I thought my experience went hand in hand with yours.  I guess I do have a "rediscovering old favorites" story here, about coming back home after four months away, and listening to my speakers for the first time since then.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing that BlackbeardBen, it doesn't distract from the intent of this thread at all. If anything it reinforces most of what I stated in the OP about the MS-1i's presentation.

 

I do also agree with you about the soundstage and comfort. There's no denying the MS-1i's lack of soundstage, especially compared to the Senn's (I did state right at the start that I felt the HD650 was superior technically). But considering the Alessandro's forward presentation and the way it's able to convey emotion with its energy (and not just in fast rocking tracks), I don't feel it's a deal breaker.

 

Comfort-wise I also found stretching the headband helped immensely, but I still need to rest my ears after an hour or two (perhaps not such a bad thing for the hearing).

 

So it's certainly far from perfect, and to compare it to the HD650 is unfair, but the detail and immersion is fantastic and the music just shines through imo.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

Thanks for sharing that BlackbeardBen, it doesn't distract from the intent of this thread at all. If anything it reinforces most of what I stated in the OP about the MS-1i's presentation.

 

I do also agree with you about the soundstage and comfort. There's no denying the MS-1i's lack of soundstage, especially compared to the Senn's (I did state right at the start that I felt the HD650 was superior technically). But considering the Alessandro's forward presentation and the way it's able to convey emotion with its energy (and not just in fast rocking tracks), I don't feel it's a deal breaker.

 

Comfort-wise I also found stretching the headband helped immensely, but I still need to rest my ears after an hour or two (perhaps not such a bad thing for the hearing).

 

So it's certainly far from perfect, and to compare it to the HD650 is unfair, but the detail and immersion is fantastic and the music just shines through imo.


You know, I did a little experimenting with MS1i.  I think that perhaps a custom ear pad (like the one that uses Bayer pads) that angles the drivers back like the AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD 800 and Beyerdynamic T1 could hugely improve the sound.  I angled the cups and cupped my hands around the back part that was open - the difference in soundstage is huge!  It's hard to tell without more testing, but already I think it sounds at least as good (in a different way) as the HD 600 - perhaps far better.  There was little impact on the sound signature otherwise - minor differences that perhaps could be compensated for if necessary by using different materials.

 

The problem is getting or making pads like that.  As far as I can tell there's nothing, although there are the circumaural Grado pads for the G1000.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post


You know, I did a little experimenting with MS1i.  I think that perhaps a custom ear pad (like the one that uses Bayer pads) that angles the drivers back like the AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD 800 and Beyerdynamic T1 could hugely improve the sound.  I angled the cups and cupped my hands around the back part that was open - the difference in soundstage is huge!  It's hard to tell without more testing, but already I think it sounds at least as good (in a different way) as the HD 600 - perhaps far better.  There was little impact on the sound signature otherwise - minor differences that perhaps could be compensated for if necessary by using different materials.

 

The problem is getting or making pads like that.  As far as I can tell there's nothing, although there are the circumaural Grado pads for the G1000.


It might be a bit expensive just to make a blind DIY stab at it, but you might start with those pads and cut away some of the part that goes over the front of the ear so that the pads are thicker in the back than the front. To form the seal the cups would swivel and drivers would be forced to fire at an angle back into the ear canal. I have zero skill at this sort of thing, and I imagine it would be maddening to do a close enough job on both pads so as to keep things as symmetrical as possible.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post


You know, I did a little experimenting with MS1i.  I think that perhaps a custom ear pad (like the one that uses Bayer pads) that angles the drivers back like the AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD 800 and Beyerdynamic T1 could hugely improve the sound.  I angled the cups and cupped my hands around the back part that was open - the difference in soundstage is huge!  It's hard to tell without more testing, but already I think it sounds at least as good (in a different way) as the HD 600 - perhaps far better.  There was little impact on the sound signature otherwise - minor differences that perhaps could be compensated for if necessary by using different materials.

 

The problem is getting or making pads like that.  As far as I can tell there's nothing, although there are the circumaural Grado pads for the G1000.


It might be a bit expensive just to make a blind DIY stab at it, but you might start with those pads and cut away some of the part that goes over the front of the ear so that the pads are thicker in the back than the front. To form the seal the cups would swivel and drivers would be forced to fire at an angle back into the ear canal. I have zero skill at this sort of thing, and I imagine it would be maddening to do a close enough job on both pads so as to keep things as symmetrical as possible.


I'm not sure that they're thick enough to maintain the distance from the ear once trimmed that I'm envisioning as of now.  Perhaps I could cut some out of a block of the right foam.  Hmmm, I doubt I'll want to spend the time to make a hack-job like that.

 

Maybe I should just try the G-Cush pads by themselves.  That would certainly increase the distance, and perhaps I might find it more comfortable as well.


Also, I shouldn't really say that the sound doesn't change much when angling the MS1is backwards and cupping my hands around the gap - it is a noticeable difference that is of course very dependent on positioning and what exactly is covering the gap.  But, like I said before, experimenting with materials could minimize any changes or perhaps even improve them.


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 1/6/11 at 9:23am
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

What about the MS1000 mod, but instead experimenting with angled distancers to achieve the desired effect?

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

What about the MS1000 mod, but instead experimenting with angled distancers to achieve the desired effect?



That sounds like an easier means to the same end.  Hmmm....

 

Well, I'm not sure how well it would allow me to try to place the drivers in front of my ears - not just angled.

post #11 of 12

I've heard mixed results with using the bagel pads on Grados that weren't designed with them in mind. There's definitely a wider soundstage, but I've also read that the treble and sibilance can become unbearable.

post #12 of 12

 

Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

I've heard mixed results with using the bagel pads on Grados that weren't designed with them in mind. There's definitely a wider soundstage, but I've also read that the treble and sibilance can become unbearable.


That was my initial experience with the GS1000.  I liked the sound, in many respects, but felt the sound was too sibilant.  That was before I got a decent amp, at which point, the added bass shifted the tonal balance.  Because of increased ear/driver distance, and because of the wider area of dispersion, the jumbos bring out the HF in airy abundance.  But as with the SR325, if the sparkle overshadows the bass, the presentation will sound sibilant, especially on certain tracks.  What you need is an increase in airflow, so the drivers can deliver sufficient bass to maintain tonal balance.  I found several ways to fix this issue.  One was to use an amp sufficiently powerful to push that bass.  Another was to cut back a little on the pads, to decrease ear/driver distance.  A third way, on the lower Grados, was to vent the driver back, which made it easier for the drivers to produce bass off an unamped portable device.  There is, however, a limit on how much bass the Grados can handle, using that particular gauge of Mylar.  The smaller diameter of the sub-1000 designs (patterned after the PS1 and RS1) allows a certain efficiency that can get squandered with jumbo pads.  Contrary to popular belief, the pads don't just "create a room for your ears" and add a level of comfort.  The soft sides of the cushions are semi-porous, allowing a certain amount of sound to escape.  The paradox of pad design is that you need a good seal to get good bass but the moment you seal in the sound pressure, you end up with more resonance, more treble reflected about, and a cannier top end.  That said, I didn't have the same sibilance issues with my PS1000 or the SR60s I modded.


Edited by Bilavideo - 1/7/11 at 7:01am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › ITT: We rediscover old favourites.