2) Burned-in performance with RSA Predator
Both have now well over 100 hours of listening, so I consider them to be burned in to make some judgements.
In short words: the longer I have it, the more I like it. Predator's overall dark sound signature is IMO a nice match to ES10's bright upper section.
I make regular trips to a few local headphone/portable hifi stores, to do some extended listening tests of various combos (i.e. pairing my Predator with other cans, or plugging my ES10 into other portable DAC/Amp combos), and I must admid that (until very recently) I haven't been able to hear a combo that I would like so much as to consider switching.
The only combo that I hear and really liked was... RSA Predator with Sony R1.
There was a lot to like more in ES10 in the SQ department:
- better bass extension, and overall better bass control;
- nicer overall sound dynamics (attack, decay)
- more pleasant "texture"
- better blended sound between highs, mids and lows
however, there are two areas where R1 was a clear winner: soundstage and wearing comfort.
- soundstage: R1s give a much greater sense of soundstage width, and slightly better depth. Compared to R1, ES10 sounded clearly narrower. I don't know what attributes to it more: larger and deeper cups of R1, or the fact that drivers are positioned slighly angled forward in R1, but they do sound much closer to open-back cans, than ES10.
- wearing comfort... This is the area where R1 simply tear ES10 apart. It is amazing how Sony managed to make such comfortable cans in still a very portble folding package.
It's a pity that ES10, which in fact have slighlty larger drivers (53mm vs 50mm in R10), but have smaller earcups, being supra-aural, and frankly, after an hour or more of listening (my typial scenario, onboard an airplane or on a train) it becomes quite painful and sweaty.
R1 have larger-diameter earcups, and on my ears they become fully circumaural. 20 minutes uninterrupted (the longest I had in R1) showed they are absolute winners in wearing comfort field.
So I am seriously considering getting myself a pair, of course, not to replace, but to nicely complement my still beloved ES10.