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Picked up M-Audio Q40 - WOW

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 

I just got these but I already felt like having to write something about them. 

 

These are what I'd call "refined" basshead headphones. Big punchy well controlled and accurate bass that's well separated from mids. The mids and highs are very neutral sounding except for a slight peak around 8kHz or maybe aprox 3~4dB or so. 

 

The soundstage is unexpectedly large from a fully closed design with drivers sitting so close to the ears. I'd say soundstage size is slightly better in comparision to imaging which is about average, they aren't as "in-your-face" sounding as I expected, the HTF600 and XB500 for example are slightly more so but they aren't "distant" sounding either, pretty much in-between or a bit closer to "in-your-face" / forward sounding stage.

 

Build quality seems very good to me, I spot metal hinges thank god. Clamping is a bit above average but despite the shallow pads which are unfortunately low quality pleather pads (I don't think these will have any probs with sweating though so that's a plus) these aren't that uncomfortable to me and this brings fairly good (not superb) isolation, about average from a closed can and certainly blocks out people talking (or higher frequencies) nicely. 

 

What I wanted to try almost instantly was to put some paper towel piece underneath the pads to make the distance to the driver further away from the driver, it turned out that a half piece of paper towel per side were about adequate. I also noticed the pads actually have holes on the underside so I also thought this would tame the just very slightly bright area around 8kHz and I was right, it did, the outermost circle of holes were left uncovered but the middle and innermost were covered and now it sounded more along the lines I wanted it to as well as possibly doing slight good change to soundstage as well (less in your face sounding, bigger). The bass respone also got a bit stronger as the fit got better now too thanks to the paper towels acting a bit like "suspension" and according to a FR curve it should have roughly 11dB boost in the bass at its highest peak which I didn't quite hear before the mod but after doing the mod this sounds pretty much about right.

 

I haven't let these burn-in and I still like the way these sounds like, will obviously see if it changes anything with burn-in.

 

Comparision before - after (click to zoom in)

 IMG_0758.jpgIMG_0757.jpg

 

EQ settings before padmod:

q40-before.png

 

After padmod:

q40-after2.png

 

UPDATE:

 

Now after having thinkered with it some more / burnt in a bit: 

q40-after3.png

= No EQ needed! (brings no improvement at all)

 

UPDATE 2:

 

Changed my mind:

q40-after5.png


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 12/23/11 at 10:54am
post #2 of 104
Thread Starter 

As I've burnt in them more I don't think it needs any EQing at all after doing that mod, it seems to sound best if left EQ disabled which would be a first for a EQ maniac like me that has always thought I'd need to EQ a bit to get that exact sound I like as I'm a bit of a perfectionist. :P

 

Slight warm, bassy, full bodied, but detailed sound with a slight crisp texture in the highs. Very nice! 

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/30/12 at 7:44am
post #3 of 104
Thread Starter 

I'm still going back and forth between the Panasonic HTF600 and M-Audio Q40 deciding which of these I find more enjoyable to listen to, the differences are:

 

Q40 (street price: ~100 EUR / ~$120 USD) has:

- Slightly better bass extension

- Slightly stronger bass (after stuffing paper beneath the pads)

- Slightly more textured bass

- More neutral sounding mids (less warm, more clearly defined, sharper) and highs

- Better extending highrange & resolution

- Less "in-your-face" soundstage

- Better build quality

 

HTF600 (street price: ~35 EUR / ~$35 USD) has:

- More "immersive" sound

- Soundstage is more "in-your-face" & engaging but still surrounding you well

- A bit better imaging/positioning

- More natural reverb

- Warmer sounding

 

So even if Q40 technically wins on most points and has the sound of a higher quality headphone I still enjoy very much listening to these HTF600 due to the soundstage and more engaging sound overall. That's what I like about these HTF600, their ability to produce such a musical enjoyable sound even if technically they aren't spectacular in most aspects.

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 12/21/11 at 9:54pm
post #4 of 104
Thread Starter 

I'm really starting to love these headphones, at this point I can clearly say I prefer the Q40 sonically over HTF600 as well as appriciating the build quality. Besides sound quality improvement I've got those things I've longed for, better isolation and no problem with hot/sweaty pads at all.

 

I really think more people needs to try these out, they are basshead cans with great amount of detail thanks to very neutral sounding mids and highs (8kHz peak needs to be tamed down a little before it could be called that). Very even in the whole response range except for the boosted bass and the slight peak around 8kHz which will be fixed with burn in/mod. 

 

My final EQ settings looks like this:

Q40-alternative.png

 

And ZO2v1 usually set to level6 for thumping bass but well balanced sounding frequency range. 

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/30/12 at 7:44am
post #5 of 104

I just got these as well, and I had the same impression. The bass is pretty orgasmic. I wonder why these aren't talked about or aren't as suggested as, say, the M50s.

post #6 of 104
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tseliottt View Post

I just got these as well, and I had the same impression. The bass is pretty orgasmic. I wonder why these aren't talked about or aren't as suggested as, say, the M50s.

 

Yea I feel these are seriously underlooked headphones, I might have to write a review on these soon. Very good bassy pair of headphones for the money as they have no really huge flaws, the soundstage/imaging is possibly its weakest link but it still beats M50 clearly in this regard and it's probably because it's slightly vented, opened it up to check. Compared to M50:

 

- A lot stronger bass that's even more defined, controlled, accurate sounding, no bass bleed

- More neutral mids & highs

- Better soundstage

- No comfort/sweat issues, can wear for as long as I want without either of those becoming a problem

 

Did you try the simple mod to stuff something underneath (I used a half piece of paper tower per side) the pads, I'd say try it, it makes it even more balanced sounding with slightly better soundstage. 

 

IMG_0771.JPG


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/22/12 at 2:41am
post #7 of 104

Couple of used pairs for 50 USD on Amazon, should I spring?

post #8 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobpwner View Post

Couple of used pairs for 50 USD on Amazon, should I spring?


Well if they would be in good condition you'd get a really good deal as I concider sound quality wise these are ~$150 stock and at least 170~$185 with the simple pad mod/minimalistic EQ (+1dB at 500Hz and 1kHz and 31Hz).

 

post #9 of 104

Do they sound ok without an amp?

post #10 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobpwner View Post

Do they sound ok without an amp?


OK = yes but they do respond well with amping to get more dynamic/forward sounding and bass response improves (I saw another review commented the same and I agree with it), so without amp they are just a little more neutral and "lifeless" sounding but they are very detailed though. On Realtek HD onboard chip I'm at 41~43% volume without amp for example. Basically they get more "fun" with amp.

 

I very much recommend the Q40 users grabbing my custom tweaked foobar2000 Dolby Headphone config as it brings such a nice improvement to soundstage (basicly it turns from avg closed headphone soundstage to a very excellent closed headphone soundstage) and starts sound more engaging (a bit similar effect as amping them). 

 

http://www24.zippyshare.com/v/7434039/file.html - Check this thread for more details http://www.head-fi.org/t/555263/foobar2000-dolby-headphone-config-comment-discuss


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/22/12 at 2:50am
post #11 of 104

You will be very hard pressed to find a pair of headphones that reproduces bass better then the M Audio Q40s.I tried in vain.

post #12 of 104
Thread Starter 

I've had a little funny issue lately though, I think it's cuz of the cold/dry air inside now during winter as it wasn't a problem earlier and it's been very cold for like a week here (around -15C daily). Every now and then I get literally zapped by the right headphone driver. I searched around and it seems to be a rather common phenomenon though. But weird that it's only happened from the right driver though and it hasn't ever happened with other headphones for me.

 

Searching around the net suggests cold/dry air, the extra layer of clothes etc you're wearing during winter contribute to this. I usually only use T-shirt inside but now it's been getting slightly too cold inside to only wear T-shirt so have had to use a sweater so I suppose the cold weather + clothes are making me extra "static". xD


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/30/12 at 8:00am
post #13 of 104

I'm guessing the cable goes into the left ear cup as is standard with most headphones?

post #14 of 104
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow419 View Post

I'm guessing the cable goes into the left ear cup as is standard with most headphones?


Yea it does.

post #15 of 104

Do you mean a shock? I don't remember getting that kind of pleasure from mine.basshead.gif

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