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Revisiting some classic cans

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

It's been almost 3 years since last time I used most of my cans. So after unboxing I listened to them for at least 8 hours at day in continuous back and forth with all kind of music during two weeks. I thought I should share some impressions as I always loved posts from people talking about different gear in the same context. I won't be discussing other cans I have abroad at the moment (OmegaII, HE60, HD800...). Only the ones I used extensively during these two weeks before going back to the boxes.

 

Orpheus: Maybe the best all-rounder. Everything sounds amazing on them with great wow factor. Such amount of euphonic sound starts to get a bit syrupy after several hours, though. They go way deeper than most people think, making it the best headphone for organ music (due low bass plus airiness plus vertical soundstage).

 

R10 (#1xxx): Exceptional for most classical music. Great horizontal soundstage. Best violin solos ever. Very pleasant, quite euphonic and relaxing sound. PRaT could be better. I often find them not that engaging. What makes them extraordinary is that airiness for a closed can and being so detailed and "soft" at the same time.

 

Qualia: Amazing detail and imaging. And great soundstage, but more record-dependent. Not perfect for all occasions but when they do it right they are truly something. Tone is a tad bright and cold, even with perfect fit (very fit dependent). Very very fast and sharp. They are excellent cans for most electronic music.

 

SR-Omega: A HE90 and a Qualia walk into a bar... The perfect transducer? A more neutral and detailed HE90 with wider soundstage. The only can that can beat R10s for classical music. They beat them in vocals too. I just wish a bit fuller sound, like the HE90, but it might be the HEV90 against the 717. A tad fatiguing after hours.

 

K1000: Just like the Qualias, a bit frustrating that they are not perfect in every occasion because sometimes they beat every other can out of an EAR V20. Very punchy and dynamic with amazing soundstage. I love them for symphonic rock. Tip: In bed with a soft pillow you get way fuller sound even fully opened, keeping soundstage.

 

L3000: So underrated lately. Best speaker-like, realistic bass ever. Very detailed for such a warm sound. And you thought Grados were fun... Amazing PRaT. They get "closed" and tonally weird as you turn them up (some can get used to it). But almost perfect and so seductive at low volume levels. Great for rock, pop and jazz.

 

PS-1: Best tonal balance on any can. They sound tonally "real" in highs and mids. Unfortunately the bass region mess this. And it is not that real low bass (try organ). On tracks with heavy bass presence they could get annoying but without it they sound absolutely right, even without giving much detail. Very fun and great PRaT.

 

HD650: Why not? Still a classic. Not huge detail. PRaT is not that great and can be a bit boring for some (Zu Mobius can mitigate that). But sound is very pleasant and laid back. Also have very good soundstage. And they really are amazing value. They scale very well. You can be care-free and even go to sleep with them.

 

The winner? Live music, of course. I'll keep going to lots of concerts for as long as I can. I can't recommend this enough to people who have the opportunity to do it. There is nothing like live music. Regardless of the style. Go. You will learn to appreciate all kinds of music. By far (far, far, far), the best way to get into new styles of music is by going to concerts. And the more types of music you can appreciate, the more master pieces you get to enjoy.

post #2 of 14
Welcome back!

That is quite the collection and I'm glad you're giving them some head time. I agree about the K-1000 in bed - that's a great way to enjoy them.

And thanks for dropping the HD-650 into the mix. It has been and still is an incredible value.
post #3 of 14

WOW... What a collection...

 

You seem to like the L3000s. Could you describe them a bit more? How are they with vocals and how is the soundstage on them?

post #4 of 14

Nice write up!

 

I agree on enjoying live music, but I don't think it always beats good headphones/speakers, simply because sound quality at live music events (depends heavily on which kind of events off course) is in many cases mediocre at best, regrettably.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Welcome back!

That is quite the collection and I'm glad you're giving them some head time. I agree about the K-1000 in bed - that's a great way to enjoy them.

And thanks for dropping the HD-650 into the mix. It has been and still is an incredible value.

 

 

Hey! You are still here! And a moderator now! Cool! Yes, the HD650 are a great value. We should all be grateful for them.

So are the amazing K1000, considering the fact that you might already have a suitable amp for them on your speaker setup.

Sometimes we get blinded by expensive options when actually an H650, RS1 or K1000 are absolutely top choices for some cases.

I'll go further... some big boys would have trouble taking on a humble SR225 for rock and some others on a humble K501 for classical.

 

 

Very good point Proglover. You can enjoy pretty good ones if you carefully choose venues and bands, but you get the odd bad one too.

Same with records. Groups like The Go Team or albums like Californication are so bad recorded... And there is the dynamic compression...

 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

WOW... What a collection...

 

You seem to like the L3000s. Could you describe them a bit more? How are they with vocals and how is the soundstage on them?


The L3000s are not easy to describe. I saw you asking around if they are the ulitimate basshead can. I guess that depends on your concept of basshead. If you are talking about pimped car bass I'd go for the PS1s. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean offense. I love the PS1s and I think they are amazing. Heck, I have two! Just that the (mostly mid) bass can be too prominent sometimes. A pity as they do so many things right...

 

The L3000s are more about rich bass that goes low but integrates nicely with the rest of the spectrum supporting it instead of replacing it. It's the closest thing to a speaker bass you can get in headphones these days (disclaimer: didn't try orthos yet). Some people say it is sloppy or whatever. They should try them with the right amp. Also, who said that every single bass sound has to be fast, sharp and mega-tight? Sometimes it's not. I even heard that they produce mid bass and no low bass. Not true at all. If you want to test the bass of a system you don't just play drums or bass guitar. You play some organ (BWV 721, 727...).

 

But they are not perfect. They are a bit colored at low volumes. And as soon as you turn the volume up they get worse. It's like if with mid to high volumes the reverberation control starts to losing it and the sound become more "closed" and tonally weird, affecting especially the mids. But even so, you ear can get used to it after a while. And for some, that coloration is even welcomed as the RS1 one can be. I'm not fond of it and a fast swap from an open can to the L3000s at mid/high volumes can be quite shocking for me, in a bad way.

 

Sound is warm and rich and surprisingly detailed for that warmth. PRaT and slam is exceptional and are very fun cans to use. Very engaging. Soundstage is ok. It is there but it is kind of intimate. Good for chamber music or small jazz ensembles but forget about symphonic halls. Sound is pretty forward and front-row, grado-like. Voices are very nice, but many top cans are better for that. Even the W2002 is arguably better for female voices.

 

If you know what are you signing for and you know how to use them, they are really (really) good. But they have its (serious for some) flaws. I suggest you to try them first. Unfortunately, a brief audition is likely to give you a wrong  and negative impression of them (unless you like the coloration and enjoy the bass right off the bat). You need to give them a bit of time to appreciate them and see if you can work around its flaws in order to enjoy its many strengths.

 

If that accounts for anything... I have quite a few cans and it is the L3000 the only one I keep unboxed. But it is not just about sound. It is about convenience, comfort, lack of hearing fatigue, the fact I use it at low volumes, the fact that DHA3000-L3000 might still well be the ultimate bedroom setup... I even keep a spare L3000G, just in case. Hope this helps.

 

 

post #7 of 14

Welcome back, Nomad.  Nice to see you around again!  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the HD800 vs. these classic cans -- I'm liking them quite a bit, almost as much as some of the more expensive headphones you've listed, but would love to see what others with similar experience may think :-)


Edited by akwok - 9/20/11 at 2:06am
post #8 of 14

I think the fact the favorite previous can was the RS-1, could be why I see no problems with the L3000 at all.  And out of the DHA3000, I don't get that closed in feeling especially when my Mac is set to 24 bit.  

 

Nice to see this list up.  

post #9 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post




The L3000s are not easy to describe. I saw you asking around if they are the ulitimate basshead can. I guess that depends on your concept of basshead. If you are talking about pimped car bass I'd go for the PS1s. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean offense. I love the PS1s and I think they are amazing. Heck, I have two! Just that the (mostly mid) bass can be too prominent sometimes. A pity as they do so many things right...

 

The L3000s are more about rich bass that goes low but integrates nicely with the rest of the spectrum supporting it instead of replacing it. It's the closest thing to a speaker bass you can get in headphones these days (disclaimer: didn't try orthos yet). Some people say it is sloppy or whatever. They should try them with the right amp. Also, who said that every single bass sound has to be fast, sharp and mega-tight? Sometimes it's not. I even heard that they produce mid bass and no low bass. Not true at all. If you want to test the bass of a system you don't just play drums or bass guitar. You play some organ (BWV 721, 727...).

 

But they are not perfect. They are a bit colored at low volumes. And as soon as you turn the volume up they get worse. It's like if with mid to high volumes the reverberation control starts to losing it and the sound become more "closed" and tonally weird, affecting especially the mids. But even so, you ear can get used to it after a while. And for some, that coloration is even welcomed as the RS1 one can be. I'm not fond of it and a fast swap from an open can to the L3000s at mid/high volumes can be quite shocking for me, in a bad way.

 

Sound is warm and rich and surprisingly detailed for that warmth. PRaT and slam is exceptional and are very fun cans to use. Very engaging. Soundstage is ok. It is there but it is kind of intimate. Good for chamber music or small jazz ensembles but forget about symphonic halls. Sound is pretty forward and front-row, grado-like. Voices are very nice, but many top cans are better for that. Even the W2002 is arguably better for female voices.

 

If you know what are you signing for and you know how to use them, they are really (really) good. But they have its (serious for some) flaws. I suggest you to try them first. Unfortunately, a brief audition is likely to give you a wrong  and negative impression of them (unless you like the coloration and enjoy the bass right off the bat). You need to give them a bit of time to appreciate them and see if you can work around its flaws in order to enjoy its many strengths.

 

If that accounts for anything... I have quite a few cans and it is the L3000 the only one I keep unboxed. But it is not just about sound. It is about convenience, comfort, lack of hearing fatigue, the fact I use it at low volumes, the fact that DHA3000-L3000 might still well be the ultimate bedroom setup... I even keep a spare L3000G, just in case. Hope this helps.

 

 


Thanks a lot! That was very helpful. I'm definitely thinking about the L3000 now, but ATH 50th anniversary should be coming up. Maybe they were release another anniversary headphone so we'll see.

 

post #10 of 14

It's time someone to mention k701. After many years of oblivion I'm back to them. I love their open sound, smoothness and silky highs. I've never heard a dynamic headphone with so natural mids and highs. But I've noticed a BIG difference between some k701s. Earlier pieces (mine are # 3xxx) have very different sound signature - better soundstage, instrument separation + more bass quantity. And some good equalization (yes, there is such a thing :) ) can make the k701s an excellent all-rounder.


Edited by brat - 9/23/11 at 10:55pm
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by brat View Post

It's time someone to mention k701. After many years of oblivion I'm back to them. I love their open sound, smoothness and silky highs. I've never heard a dynamic headphone with so natural mids and highs. But I've noticed a BIG difference between some k701s. Earlier pieces (mine are # 3xxx) have very different sound signature - better soundstage, instrument separation + more bass quantity. And some good equalization (yes, there is such a thing :) ) can make the k701s an excellent all-rounder.


Yup, imo K701s are still great, probably the one out of the three old flagships that I would keep if I could only choose one after upgrading to the LCD 2s, HD800, etc. IMO, the beyer dt880s are another nice classic that should be added.

 

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks akwok. Good to see some familiar names after all this time.

 

The HD800 is promising but I can't comment much on them as I only heard them from a Earmax Pro Anniversary Edition, being my only amp in Spain at the moment. I'd say they almost sound better from the headphone output of a Rotel integrated amp. Still, I was expecting a bit more. I think I prefer the HE60 to them. I wish Senn was reissuing their electrostats.

 

I like the K701 but they can't compare with the K1000 IMHO. I loved the K501 and the K1000 and I'd love to see the old good AKG back. The DT880 is a great pairing with the EMP Ann Ed and I like them very much.

 

The L3000s sounds closed especially at loud volumes (where the padding won't keep up) while switching back and forth to open cans. On its own is much less noticeable as your ears adapt to it very quickly and you end just for a very enjoyable ride. I don't have high hopes for a 50th anniv. as AT had trouble selling the L3000s, being more comfortable in the "woody price band", as an AT sales representative told me years ago. I hope I'm wrong, though.

post #13 of 14

Welcome back Nomad.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post


The HD800 is promising but I can't comment much on them as I only heard them from a Earmax Pro Anniversary Edition, being my only amp in Spain at the moment. I'd say they almost sound better from the headphone output of a Rotel integrated amp. Still, I was expecting a bit more. I think I prefer the HE60 to them. I wish Senn was reissuing their electrostats.


It was a lot of fun to compare the HE60 against the HD800 with the Senn reps here.  I even crippled the HE60 a bit by using an old SRM-T1 without even bothering to check the bias etc. but even still they were a bit uncomfortable with the comparison.. tongue.gif

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