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MuppetFace's TakeT H2+ Thread - Page 4

post #46 of 76

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post #47 of 76

I've been intrigued about this headphone for sometime but nothing recent has been discussed apart from Jude's video review.  Looking forward to your review MuppetFace, especially since you have an extensive collection of headphones and amps to benchmark it against.  Would it be possible to talk a little about their strengths and weaknesses with different music genres?

post #48 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TIMITS View Post

Would it be possible to talk a little about their strengths and weaknesses with different music genres?


 

Most definitely; I plan to speak at length about that in coming impressions.

 

One of the principle cliches for any review is discovering one's music collection anew, so when I say that I've been doing just that, it's not without a slight sense of embarrassment. In the case of the H2+ however it's not so much about experiencing new details in music (the Qualia or SR-009 is best for that), but rather newly experiencing the music itself. The H2+ present music in a way that is truly unique and utterly intoxicating I'm finding.


Edited by MuppetFace - 1/19/12 at 2:32am
post #49 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post


 

Most definitely; I plan to speak at length about that in coming impressions.

 

One of the principle cliches for any review is discovering one's music collection anew, so when I say that I've been doing just that, it's not without a slight sense of embarrassment. In the case of the H2+ however it's not so much about experiencing new details in music (the Qualia or SR-009 is best for that), but rather newly experiencing the music itself. The H2+ present music in a way that is truly unique and utterly intoxicating I'm finding.



You know, when one looks at the vast array of equipment you use and have experienced first hand it is hard not to find your thoughts compelling when it comes to sonics and comparisons with other headphones.
Most, like myself have to use memory to compare or to remember sonic characteristics where as you have a vast library at your disposal to be able to make instant comparisons. It makes your findings all the more valid I find, very much looking forward to more thoughts on these extraordinary headphones, Oh how I wish you would snatch those Senn's up... The ultimate comparison!
post #50 of 76

subscribed.  btw MF, i liked your "vertical vs. horizontal" analogy.  

post #51 of 76
Thread Starter 

Days Two and Three

 

 

Before delving into impressions of how these actually sound, I wanted to take a moment to mention two developments since "day one."

 

1.) I've noticed a slight defect in the construction of the H2+. On the right side, the hinge looks a bit scuffed and there's a slight gap between the assembly arc and the prongs that hold the earcup. This is the location of a swivel mechanism, but on right side it's looser and swivels with less resistance. If I hold the earcup in my hand I can wiggle the whole thing, and on the left side it's secure with no looseness to speak of. It's going to be an area to watch for sure. Thankfully, with the one year warranty, I could probably get a new arc assembly if need be. The cups are modular and detach, so replacement wouldn't be difficult I imagine.

 

2.) My comments about ergonomics seem too generous having lived with the H2+ for a few days now. I find myself sitting bolt upright, rigid as if fearing the ruler of a passing nun. The slightest movement sends the H2+ wobbling unsteadily about on my head, regardless of the position or level of clamping from the adjustment sliders. Leaning forward is totally out of the question. That being said, the weight of these things is astonishingly light. Upon reflection, I think this may add to the problem: their lightness further compounds their lack of staying-power.

 

Having said this, I can now move on to the heart of this post which is my first set of listening impressions. To start things off, I'd like to present a quote from a recent review of the H2+ and TR2:

 

"It has a physicality to it--- a tactility to it--- that no other headphone I've heard has. You've heard headphones that have tactile bass, a sense of solidity down there, but it must be particular to the driver type: it conveys physicality, tactility across the audio band. So in the mids you've got human vocals and it's like a voice is there physically with you."

Jude, from Head-Fi TV Episode 010

 

This succinctly captures one of the biggest appeals of the H2+ to me.

 

Now, we all have priorities when searching for our ideal headphones. Perhaps it's a mental list of areas in performance and sound signature that we value most. Of course, most people would tell you they want it all, but we [hopefully] realize that, realistically speaking, no headphone is going to satisfy such all-encompasing parameters. Thus we prioritize. And we all have divergent sets of priorities I would imagine. For me, one of the most thrilling areas of performance is difficult to measure and define with any level of precision. It's Dasien. The term is borrowed from Heidegger, but I use it in a playful sense devoid of any philosophical underpinnings that the original non-bastardized use of the word entails. In its most basic sense it means "being there." This seems straightforward enough. Upon closer scrutiny however the difficulty in ascribing to it any precise definition becomes apparent. It's a phenomena that includes imaging, soundstage, detail retrieval, tone, and more. All of these things ultimately add up to produce a sensation of the music's presence. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

The H2+ imparts a certain physicality to music, to borrow Jude's descriptor, that I have never before experienced in a headphone. It's uncanny. I would say the most accomplished headphone in this respect that I had heard prior to the H2+ was the Sony Qualia (and to a lesser extent the SA5000). The Qualia had an almost eerie ability to render voices and instruments in such a way as to make them seem present in the room with you. To my ears the Qualia sounds a bit synthetic however. In contrast, the Stax SR-009 sounds much more realistic but doesn't impart quite the same sense of body to music. That seems to be a stereotype of electrostatic headphones, doesn't it? Their sound lacks weight. I find such claims to be a bit exaggerated but not without a ring of truth. Where does that leave the H2+ then? To my ears it has the haunting presence of the Qualia and then some; unlike the Qualia however it doesn't sound overly synthetic or artificial.

 

This begs the question: is the H2+ a neutral headphone? Returning to the previous comparison, the SR-009 is perhaps the most neutral headphone I have ever heard. It presents the music as it was intended: nothing more, nothing less. It extracts just about every bit of information without adding anything substantial of its own, the proverbial "window" through which one experiences the unmitigated truth in their recordings. Compared to the SR-009, the H2+ is not what I'd call neutral. The biggest difference is in the lower end of the spectrum. As I eluded to during my previous impressions, the H2+ has some serious, serious BASS. So serious I feel compelled to type in all capital letters. This isn't just a matter of bass quantity though; the H2+ does bass in a way that is unique to it. Noticing a pattern? Since I'm invoking so many cliches as it is, one more isn't liable to do any harm: the bass sounds almost like a speaker's bass. Perhaps that has something to do with the Heil-type driver it uses. It's certainly not a function of piezoelectric technology, and in fact a lack of bass is one of the piezoelectric hallmarks.

 

There are those who might say this is a case of over-compensating then. I've certainly read my fair share of impressions citing too much bass as a short coming of the H2. The latest of these came from Jude, who said that he used equalizer settings to tone it down. As for myself, I personally don't feel a need to mess with equalization in any way. The bass is indeed massive, but I happen to love it. I'm finding these headphones are exceptionally well suited for beat oriented genres such as various flavors of electronica, dub, and hip hop as a result. Sub bass response is nothing short of astonishing, plumbing the depths of a given track with clarity and finesse. Mid bass has tremendous gusto but remains surprisingly well behaved with nary a sign of hemorrhaging into the midrange of the sonic spectrum. This tremendous but well articulated low end is what prevents me from labeling the H2+ as truly "neutral." I feel it's important to clarify that it only manifests on tracks that call for it; in other words, it's exaggeration but not misplaced exaggeration.

 

The rest of the sonic spectrum seems quite linear to my ears. The midrange is neither recessed nor overly forward in character and is beautifully but accurately rendered with an almost tactile physicality as previous described. The effect is especially striking (and pleasing) with vocals. I would say that, overall, detail retrieval lags behind the SR-009 a bit but seems comparable to the SR-007mk1. Imaging and instrument separation are exceptional. During complex passages the H2+ never gets muddled or bogged down, keeping pace with a delicate precision that I've rarely heard in a headphone this hard-hitting. The upper end of the sonic spectrum is fully present but not at all harsh or sibilant. There's a certain smoothness that I'm accustomed to in darker headphones, but the H2+ is by no means dark itself. The treble is fast, fast, fast and incredibly accurate. It seems effortless. Perhaps some of this is due to the dedicated super tweeters.

 

Really, I've been enjoying the H2+ with all genres. It's abyssal slam and low end authority make it a true champion for electronica, hip hop, and pop as far as I'm concerned. The linear, detailed, speedy, and delicate mids and highs make it well suited for complex instrumental passages in jazz, metal, and avant rock. The almost tactile quality unique to the H2+ make it THE headphone for vocals now in my collection. Ambient and atmospheric tracks are well served by a moderately deep and wide (but not artificially so) soundstage. Returning to imaging and instrument separation for a moment, said soundstage is filled rather evenly and manages to eschew presenting instruments in clusters of "blobs" as is sometimes the case in certain headphones. The versatility of the H2+ is further enhanced by their somewhat forgiving nature. It seems counterintuitive that an exceptionally detailed headphone should play nicely with poorly recorded tracks, but from what I've heard so far this seems to be the case. Faults are still obvious, and nothing is done to mask them, but the H2+ doesn't seem to accentuate them as an exceptionally analytic pair of headphones might.

 

It should be fairly obvious by now that I'm in love with the H2+. Perhaps it's a textbook example of a honeymoon period at work. Whatever the case may be, I will say quite readily that they aren't going to be for everyone. First and foremost, they require a major commitment: these are the type of headphones one builds a system around, not the sort to readily fit into a pre-existing system. I've found they are quite sensitive to a quality source and amplification. You'll need a decent speaker amp to use in conjunction with the TR2 if you wants to even begin to get the most out of these. Ideally, one would have a dedicated amp built (such as the Alio by Byon Laboratories). Secondly, I can foresee some head-fiers thinking the bass is too overwhelming. While experimenting with different sources and amplifiers, I found that the bass was affected more readily than just about any other aspect of the sonic spectrum. Using a cheap HLLY T-amp for example, I found that the bass was significantly diminished. In particular the slam was absent. According to other reports, the opposite can occur with poor synergy as well: the bass can become too bloated and swell into the midrange. Ideally then you need an amplifier that exercises control over the bass without squelching it. Thirdly, I think for some ears the H2+ might seem dark. As I said above I don't personally find it to be so. The highs are fully present, extended, and quite capable, but they aren't aggressive and perhaps lack a bit of bite. This may lead to a perception of the H2+ being somewhat dark. Fourth and finally, these headphones are incredibly awkward to use. If you prioritize isolation and snug fit then these will never be acceptable unless heavily modified.

 

Me? I think the H2+ and I were made for each other. In the next set of impressions I plan on discussing my experience with the super tweeters. As I indicated in the previous installment, I do hear a difference when the doors are opened on the sides of the earcups. Whether this difference is placebo or not will hopefully be answered when I conduct a blind test. I plan on closing my eyes and having my partner place the headphones on my head with the doors either opened or closed randomly. I'll then play the same tracks and try to deduce whether there's a genuine difference or not. Not the most methodologically sound experiment, but it's better than nothing I gather. I'll also be changing out the thick pads for the thin and documenting any effects on the sound this has, as well as any differences in comfort. Finally in the coming weeks I plan on doing a track-by-track comparison between the H2+, LCD-3, and SR-009.

 

 

Tune in next time.

 

Same BAT[pure] time, same BAT[pure] channel.

post #52 of 76

Perhaps consider adding foam around the wire wings or stretching a membrane across or perhaps cantilevering both sides together.  Maybe some sort of attachments that can be linked to the wire wings across their span to do the same.  The main issues seems to me to be limited traction and points of contact rather than weight.  Though weight is a factor wrt PSI there simply is not enough suitable 'SI' for the limited 'P' to work.  One needs to figure out a way to increase the number of points of contacts to increase traction on your head.  Since the number of PoC are already so low, any mod however miniscule could have a profound effect due to the stock configurations already low value.


Edited by Anaxilus - 1/20/12 at 9:36am
post #53 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Perhaps consider adding foam around the wire wings or stretching a membrane across or perhaps cantilevering both sides together.  Maybe some sort of attachments that can be linked to the wire wings across their span to do the same.  The main issues seems to me to be limited traction and points of contact rather than weight.  Though weight is a factor wrt PSI there simply is not enough suitable 'SI' for the limited 'P' to work.  One needs to figure out a way to increase the number of points of contacts to increase traction on your head.  Since the number of PoC are already so low, any mod however miniscule could have a profound effect due to the stock configurations already low 



Good suggestions. I'm looking into a tip from Duggeh on using the headband from a Sennheiser HD212, which can supposedly be modified to work with the H2+.

post #54 of 76
As much as the sound seeming very captivating, the build and the comfort doesn't seems on par with like SR-009. If what you said is true, using a headband from a terrible £10 headphones yields better comfort than the stock one, I have many doubts. The HD201 is not what people call comfortable, compared with like the SR-009, while feeling extremely solid, hefty but still comfortable and light on the head, this seems a far cry.

The question is, does it's sound worth all the hassle? rolleyes.gif
post #55 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ra97oR View Post

As much as the sound seeming very captivating, the build and the comfort doesn't seems on par with like SR-009. If what you said is true, using a headband from a terrible £10 headphones yields better comfort than the stock one, I have many doubts. The HD201 is not what people call comfortable, compared with like the SR-009, while feeling extremely solid, hefty but still comfortable and light on the head, this seems a far cry.
The question is, does it's sound worth all the hassle? rolleyes.gif


 

You have to keep in mind that while Stax is a small company, TakeT is even smaller. It's pretty much one guy and his assistants. You're never going to have the level of quality of the SR-009 or HD800 or what-have-you in that case. It goes with the territory. Honestly, I'm impressed by how WELL the H2+ is constructed for the sort of operation TakeT is. Stax has been doing what they do for a long time now by comparison.

 

To answer your question of whether the sound is worth the hassle, it most certainly is. For me.

 

Whether it's worth it to anyone else is obviously up to the individual. I've certainly seen "only sound matters" chanted here on head-fi enough times, so I'd imagine there are at least a few who might feel the same way. The H2+ is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorite sounding headphones.

 

 

post #56 of 76
Thread Starter 

I'll have some pictures of the pad changing procedure in the next set of impressions. These are really unusual in that the pads aren't attached to the earcup, but rather they attach to the frame itself and the earcups modularly slide in right up next to them. It's just a matter of four screws to detach and reattach the pads. Weird, but much less of a headache compared to the SR-007.

 

I think I prefer the thick pads.

post #57 of 76
Thread Starter 

Days Seven, Eight, and Nine

 

Not too much to report in this set of impressions. The main focus will be the difference between the thick and thin pads. Before I begin offering any comparisons, I thought some might be curious to see pictures of the pad change. These headphones are extremely unique, and that quality carries over into the way the pads are mounted.

 

IMAG1404.jpg  IMAG1406.jpg

 

As you can see from the images above, the design of the H2+ is quite modular. The two driver units slide off of the frame with a bit of pressure, as they're mounted onto either side by a set of grooves. Once dismounted, one is left with the bare headband frame. The two pads are actually attached to this frame instead of the "earcups." They're held in place by four screws.

 

IMAG1407.jpg  IMAG1408.jpg

IMAG1410.jpg  IMAG1419.jpg

 

Changing the pads is simply a matter of screwing in the new ones and then sliding the driver units back into either slotted side. Easy peasy. So how do the thin pads compare? Aesthetically, they're certainly less bizarre, possessing some semblance of headphone normalcy. The thick pads by comparison have to be oriented properly with the dip in the ridges facing front on either side.

 

In terms of comfort, I'd say they work for me equally well. The thick pads feel a bit strange by comparison, but neither is bothersome. After a while I start to forget the H2+ is on my head thanks to the lightness (only to be reminded again when it goes wobbling helter-skelter at any sudden movement). Neither pad isolates particularly well. But then, that's not the point of these headphones.

 

So how is the sound effected? I find the explanations offered by the TakeT website is pretty spot-on. With the thick pads the sound is a bit more distanced vs. the thin pads, which offer a more up-close or forward sort of presentation. The difference is, to my ears, not subtle. With the thick pads I definitely get a more well defined exterior soundscape. The thin pads are much more intimate in presentation, and almost a tad claustrophobic for my taste. On certain tracks however the effect is enjoyable.

 

The interesting thing is, I don't notice much difference in sonic signature itself with the two different types of pads. The bass is largely unaffected as one might expect with different pads. Really, with the H2+ the difference seems to me to be mainly in presentation. Perhaps that has something to do with the Heil-type driver again, which I believe gives the H2+ it's characteristic mammoth bass.

 

post #58 of 76

These are pretty neat, I haven't heard about them since reading Duggeh's piece on them several years ago. The headband really looks interesting too; like a union of a lambda frame and audio technica wing/claw things. The top bar looks like the primary culprit for the cans not sitting still; they took out any clamping force and just used a width adjustment system instead.

post #59 of 76

 

Looking forward to your views on the Fostex TH900.

 

post #60 of 76
Thread Starter 

Thanks, kiteki. Did you see my TH900 thread? http://www.head-fi.org/t/595683/fostex-th900-impressions-discussion-thread

 

I was told by PriceJapan that they'd likely be stocked "end of February." So hopefully impressions will be soon to come.

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