A couple of weeks ago I received mritt400's Alessandro MS1 headphones and have been meaning to make a review thread since then, but have been busy with school (it was the end of the semester, and I had a failing grade or two). But, I have finally found some time for the review, so here goes.
This is going to be my first review thread, so bear with me!
*All ratings are based on my own personal experience and preferences, so YMMV
When I received the package with the headphones in it, I tore it open and - like I do with everything I receive in the mail - just looked at it for a while. My first observations were that there was a lot of plastic on it. I knew the driver casings were made of plastic ahead of time, just from threads I've read on here, but I was nonetheless surprised after seeing it in person.
That said, the build quality of the HP's were overall respectable. I don't think they'll have any issues with loosening up over time, as the parts holding the cups to the headband seem strong. And, since Mritt has had them for, well, however long he's had them, what little concern I had was assuaged.
I like the cable in terms of feel/quality, but I have a few issues. The first is the length. It's a rather awkward cable in that respect. It's a little too short (IMO, of course) for home use, but too long for mobile use. If you'd even want to use it for a portable setup lol! Also, the Y-connector that splits the cable for the dual entry can setup bothers me. It seems to me that the cable is squished to get out of the connector to go to the headphones. It's probably nothing, but it seems like an improper way to treat a cable.
While made of plastic, all the parts seem sturdy and more solid than I'd have thought. The cable is thick and sturdy, but an awkward length with a quirk or two. I think a 7/10 is fair, but I can be rather critical of build quality. So take my rating with a grain of salt. Moving on!
Comfort and Fit
After listening to these for a total of ~4 hours in the two weeks before today, I didn't get much time for checking the comfort over time. However, today I've got a total of 4 hours of non-stop listening in, and I must say that these are the MOST comfortable headphone's I've had the pleasure of listening to. As long as the "comfies" are on, anyways. I find that the L-cush pads that I got with these made my ears start protesting after around 30 minutes. It's a shame, as I preferred the sound of the L-cush pads over the comfies. But I digress. More on that later.
Overall:10/10 w/comfies and 4/10 w/L-cush
Moving on to the reason you're all here,
*All music listened to was either 320 kbps MP3, WAV, or ALAC. I used my home-made Cmoy amp for this test.
When I first listened to the MS1's, one phrase pervaded my thoughts: Where's the bass?
However, after listening for a while I realized that my ears had been corrupted by the mid-tier Sony earbuds I'd had for portable use for around 3 months. After breaking free from the sound I was used to, I had a moment of clarity. THIS is what bass should sound like! It's there and it goes deep, but it has a beautiful subtlety to it. Bass guitars have a nice slap, drums don't overpower the rest of the song. What was anemic before is now well-defined. A particular example of the awesome sound these 'phones give drums is "Frank Sinatra" from Cake's "Fashion Nugget" These HP's should suffice for anything I listen to except perhaps the occasional Lil' Jon banger, when I want to be overwhelmed by bass, haha.
Going past the bass, I feel I should probably mention other aspects of the sonic signature
I will admit that the first thing I thought about the sound before listening was fear of over-bright treble, as I've experienced in one of my friends pairs of SR-60's. But, I was pleasantly surprised after listening. It appears that Grado toned the treble down for these. It has a wonderful character to it, crisp and clear with very little (if any) sibilance. I love the sound of hi-hats through these! I would say that they are a bright enough to sound right, but not so bright that they have sibilance problems. Think Goldilocks
I have some mixed feelings about the midrange. In most songs they are fine. Not extravagant, but definitely adequate. There's no "velvet" here, mainly (what is to me) accurate reproduction. In certain songs, however, they can be a bit recessed. For example, "Wildflower" by Cee-Lo Green seems like he's behind a veil, which isn't a problem on his other songs from "The Lady Killer." Another song was "Kids With Guns" by Gorillaz. The mids just didn't seem assertive enough to me. I could be imagining it, though.
These headphones are worth their price tag. Even if I hadn't gotten this pair for free (courtesy of Mritt's generosity), I'd be willing to pay upwards of $150 for these. They offer solid highs, lovely lows, and mostly acceptable mids. These will stay with me for a while, at least until I decide it's time to pass the goodwill on.
And, for those who own pair of or have heard some AKG K141s, these sound quite like them but the bass is IMO less bloated and are more suited to listening than the AKG's, assuming you like well-formed bass over quantities of bass.
Hopefully this review was helpful to someone, and you can all look forward to future reviews when/if I upgrade my earbuds.