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Mid-fi Shootout - HD600 - HD598 - Focal Spirit One - Philips Fidelio L1

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Introduction:

As a nearly 10 year member of Head-fi.org, this is my first review of any kind. As such I feel an introduction is due. I am 30 years of age (as of March 20th), a luthier of violins (restoration, adjustment, repair) for 12 years, apprenticed, violist for 21 years (user name is shortened form of MaximumViola, generated in my high school days), and have been interested in quality audio/video since I can remember. My father always had a humble home theater setup and enjoyed listening to LPs and hobbyist recording with his Akai reel to reel. My first hi-fi headphones were the Sennheiser HD580 as I excitedly, and youthfully exclaimed here. I then tried a Gilmore Lite amp, with which I seemed to find no difference. This turned me off of Head-fi for a few years with spotty interest until I returned with a Little Dot MKIII and Shanling PCD300A, which was an immediately noticeable upgrade. Following that was a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, Little Dot MKVI, HD600 balanced setup. After a couple years I picked up the Hifiman HE-6, that I did not like much at all. It was then I discovered, through some cheap MEElectronics M9s, the wonders of IEM 3D soundstaging. My next move was the Hifiman RE262 as a placeholder until RMAF 2011 where I picked my customs of choice, the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor. In the last 2 months I've quit computer gaming entirely and Head-fi and other audio sites now consume most of my free time. In that spirit I've changed my ways significantly, going from a one headphone, one amp, one source user, to an explosion of 5 full size headphones, 4 purchased within the last month.

My philosophy regarding audio gear has always been to buy the best I could afford and sell the rest to fund that purchase. This philosophy extends to any items of quality; watch, television, computer, even non-technical items such as musical instruments, furniture, pens, etc. Items I purchase are those I find that mix the highest quality with a minimum of diminishing returns. If it is an item I can't currently afford, I will patiently save up until I get it. I do not compromise and purchase a cheaper option in all but the rarest cases. I live life on a cash only basis, so I have no credit cards and currently owe no money to anyone, and thus I carefully consider exactly where my money is going when I make purchases. In that vein, I am probably one of the most boring people on the planet because I am logical to a fault. My highly analytical nature has benefits when it comes to judging audio, but I have problems getting past this phase and into enjoying the music. I consider myself what I define as a true audiophile, someone who is obsessed with quality of audio of any kind. I am not a music lover. For me, music is a tool to judge gear, and to enjoy when I can. You might be thinking 'poor guy, can't enjoy his music', but this isn't it at all. My thrills come from hearing what the gear is capable of, responding to all of these different combinations of instruments and effects. There are certainly times where I kick back and just listen to the music, but this isn't regular. I could say I feel sorry for those who are music lovers but don't really enjoy the fine details of sound production, but I realize everyone has their own approach, so please understand my perspective, but don't judge or pity me because of it. I'm still the only person I know of who goes to Head-fi meets with a notebook and pen and takes notes for every rig he listens to. Analytical listener or not, I still don't understand why people don't do this.

My priorities are center focus by far the most important. What does that mean? When a singer is present, the voice should be directly in front at a 12 o'clock position if you were standing on the face of a clock. It should never sound like it is coming from a range of 11 to 1, which I call fuzzy to varying degrees, and absolutely should never come from both 10 and 2 with a gap in the middle. This is horribly distracting and I cannot listen to the rig even if everything else is touched by God himself. Next is the balance of the spectrum and if it is seamless or not. This is somewhat personal taste in how much of what I want, but it being seamless is not. One range should not bleed into the next or overpower to the extent where it completely covers another. Far lower in the priority are things like texture, bass presence, extension, detail, soundstage depth and width, and imaging (excepting center focus, which is technically a part of imaging, but I make a special category). These last several are not in any particular order, but are much less important than the first two.

To see further examples of my preferences, click the links in my signature for reference headphones you can use to align yourself to my judgments.

The Shootout:

Despite owning two headphones most would consider above mid-fi, I still consider myself and my rigs as a whole, mid-fi. This shootout is sort of a capstone of my experience in mid-fi land, something I felt I could be completely sure of in every respect, and something I felt would benefit the community. Very soon I will begin my journey, in earnest, into summit-fi land.

What do I expect from mid-fi? In general I expect real extension from 20hz-20khz or very close, and at clearly audible levels. I expect a moderate level of clarity. Claps should sound like claps, even if they are slightly dull or lack some resonance. Treble should have minimal harshness and sibilance. The headphones should have good to great build quality and be comfortable with respect to their intended use. Headphones intended for home should be light feeling, not touch the ears in any way, and have low to medium clamp. Headphones that are intended for portable use can be circumaural or on ear, with moderate to high clamp, but be adjustable to a degree where comfort can still be found. Headphones that bridge those uses, as with the Philips Fidelio L1, will be under heightened scrutiny since they are marketed to fit both roles. I expect mid-fi headphones to have quality cables and plugs so that an immediate re-cable is not necessary to get good sound or improve durability or usefulness (such as flexibility). I expect headphones of this price range to be able to handle many if not all genres equally. For most audiophiles this price range is their first large price step into headphones so they should be able to listen to most of their collection with this selection. This is the high end of mainstream, but as prices climb beyond this point most headphones have tendencies towards specializing in certain genres or presentation preferences. The winner of this shootout will be the best all around performer in my opinion.

Test System:

Foobar through ASIO bitperfect > Coaxial > Schiit Bifrost > Woo Audio WA6 w/Sophia 247b (switch flipped to 100-600 ohm for Sennheisers, L1 and Spirit One on low setting)

Brief notes about gear used: Schiit's Bifrost is an excellent mid-fi DAC with a neutral signature and impressive clarity and extension. Woo Audio's WA6 is completely silent when no music is being played, even with very sensitive IEMs. It's signature seems slightly on the euphonic side of neutral, and is a hair slower than some solid state amps I've tried. On the whole it is an excellent example of a quality mid-fi amp.

A note about power needs:

Despite different resistances and efficiencies, all four headphones performed at a similar volume level (within an hour of each other, by ear) at the same setting on my WA6. The Focal being the easiest to drive, and HD600 being the hardest. The Fidelio L1 in particular has low resistance and decent efficiency but gets almost identical volume as the HD598 on the same knob position. On my Droid Incredible, maximum volume is barely sufficient to drive the L1 to satisfying near-live levels, while on my flash based Zune player a setting of 16 of 20 is plenty loud.

Test tracks:

My taste, as someone who is not really a music lover, is, as you might expect, eclectic. I chose 11 tracks from wildly different genres in order to throw the most varied combination of sounds at these headphones. You will note I am not cherry picking esoteric artists recording in pristine environments with only natural instruments and produced by the best engineers money can buy. These are regular commercial tracks typical of a budding audiophile. I've added youtube links where possible for samples.

01. David Arnold - Godzilla Soundtrack - Opening Titles and Looking for Clues - Bass extension and impact, epic choir and orchestra, dynamics, imaging, decay (epic classical)
02. Emerson String Quartet - Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor 2nd Movement - Detail, clarity, imaging, tonality, complexity (chamber classical)
03. The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - Hotel California - detail, clarity, imaging, bass, vocals, immersion with crowd (classic rock)
04. Beck - Sea Change - The Golden Age - detail, clarity, vocals, texture (alternative rock)
05. Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb - Everything Went Numb - Complexity, separation, speed, clarity of vocals (ska)
06. Red Molly - Love and Other Tragedies - Is the Blue Moon Still Shining - Detail, clarity, texture, tonality, vocal separation (acoustic folk)
07. Katy Perry - One of the Boys - I'm Still Breathing - vocals, imaging, lushness (pop)
08. Kobukuro - Answer - Toomawari - Tonality, vocals, soundstage depth, imaging, clarity (Japanese acoustic rock/folk)
09. Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder - Take Me - aggressiveness, slam, complexity, separation (rock/metal)
10. Warren G - Regulate.. G Funk Era - Do You See - Bass cleanliness, bass musicality, vocals, imaging (hip-hop/rap)
11. Gemini - Fire Inside (Ft. Greta Svabo Bech) - Bass impact, extension on both ends, clarity, complexity (electronica)

Meet the Contenders:

300 #4 - Focal Spirit One ($275 new)

Just released to the market, we have our last place, the Focal Spirit One, or FSO. Build quality is very good. The metal looking pieces are actually plastic, but they are well formed and feel strong. The black on the cups and top of the headband is a slick rubber material that feels expensive. The pads seem to be pleather, but are very comfortable (considering their intended use) and take quite a while to heat up my ears. The headband pad is a little odd in that it has a kink in it from the curve of the headband. This could be an issue with just my sample. Still on the headband pad, it is probably the only part of this headphone that is mildly annoying. It is small and stiff leading to you really feeling it there. I haven't had it cause me any discomfort, but it doesn't disappear like the pads do. The Spirit One being a portable headphone, it has significant clamp, more than the other three. Headband adjustment is easy and secure. It sits very much on ear and after a few hours I have to take them off due to the pain from my glasses being pressed into my skin and the back of my ear. With normal use, I doubt these would be on anyone's head for more than an hour or two while on a bus or train, or simply showing off at a friend's house. The cable is wrapped in woven cloth and is fairly short. It is removable from the left earcup (and is single entry) and includes an iPod remote and similarly styled 1/8 plug that also includes a screw on 1/4 adapter. The threads on this screw are not well made so I worry about long term durability with repeated putting on and taking off. The cups are sealed and according to the manufacturer boast greater than 20dB isolation. As the only fully sealed cans in this comparison it is easy to see these have the greatest isolation, a significant amount over the Fidelio L1 which is partially closed, which again is a significant amount over the HD600 or HD598 which are both fully open. The earpads are glued or double sided taped to the baffles, so not an ideal setup for easy DIY mods. The supplied carrying case is well made and fits the headphones easily. Nicely done. I would also like to see the addition of an extension cable like the L1 includes as the only cord provided is intended for portable only use. Getting the best seal and thus the best sound takes a bit of adjustment, but is not annoying.

On that note, the sound of the Spirit One headphone is somewhat balanced in signature. Bass is most prominent, with slightly recessed mids, and forward, slightly peaky treble. Treble detail is good overall, but these headphones are significantly veiled, in my opinion. They sound similar to a Sony XB500 in that everything sounds distant and muted. Bass is not well controlled and extends the least of this group. Bass volume is good, but the lack of control leads to one note bass and unremarkable performance overall. The mids and highs are smooth and relatively clean, but can sound compressed easily with complex music. This headphone sounds the slowest of this group. In my listening tests it placed 4th in all but 2 samples, where it placed 3rd both times. When the treble is not busy it sounds quite nice, but that changes easily with complexity into a harsher less coherent sound. Vocals in the Streelight Manifesto track, in particular, are blurred and nearly unintelligible. The soundstage is the smallest of the group, though imaging is at least tied with the Philips. Center focus is good, but not as clearly centered as I prefer. It is certainly good enough to listen to. These headphones don't do anything remarkably bad, but overall they are not up to par with their price or their competition, even against other sealed headphones. I do prefer them over the Beyer DT1350 (by memory) as I found those to be almost worthless. Their performance reminds me more of the Shure SRH840 (overall performance, not frequency balance) which are $199, but I think both would compete properly at the $100-150 range based solely on sound. The build quality of the FSO is worthy of it's price for sure, but the sound is not. Burning in for about 30-40 hours did not improve it's veiled sound. These headphones performed no better or worse for different genres.

300 #3 - Philips Fidelio L1 ($299 new)

Also new to the market, but available through the Apple store exclusively for the last month or two is the Philips Fidelio L1, the flagship of Philiips new lifestyle line of headphones. Build quality is standard setting. These are built like tanks and I expect them to last many many years without problem. If all of the leather were real I would expect this level of parts and build quality on any top of the line headphone from any company. It's really spectacular. Real leather on the headband, pleather pads, real metal on the parts taking the majority of movement. As with the FSO, the headband adjusts easily and stays in place. One trick the L1 knows that the FSO doesn't, however, is there is a 'ruler' of sorts marked on the inside of the band showing through a port hole to make matching adjustments on each side a breeze. The fit takes a bit of adjustment in a fashion comparable to Ultrasone Edition 9s. It is just barely circumaural for me and I have average size ears. The pads will touch the back side of your ears, but shouldn't be uncomfortable unless you can't take any contact at all. Comfort is very good with less clamp than the FSO, but more than HD600 which has more than HD598. I wore them for several hours without my ears heating up or feeling discomfort due to clamp. The interesting cord setup on this headphone includes a short segment dangling from the headphone that is direct wired, but with a 1/8" jack on the free end. There are 2 cord options included, one with and one without the iPod remote, both are of the same length, I believe meaning you can daisy chain them together for a double length cord. The cord is very similar to the FSO, a woven cloth with stress reliefs well done on all plugs. Overall the cord quality is just slightly better on the L1 than the FSO. The included case, or bag, really is a nice material, but I prefer the stiffer case of the FSO. This is entirely personal preference, though, so I didn't include it in any judgments. The box is simple and usable for easy access storage even for daily use if you want to be extra protective. Leakage is remarkably low. Turning the volume up quite loudly and placing the headphones pads down against a table yields noise I wouldn't hear easily on a bus, and quietly played music in a library would be near silent to anyone sitting nearby. The pads do not seem to be removable, but I cannot see what is holding them to the cups.

The L1 is absolutely a bass-head can. Most bass-head cans have bass bleeding into or entirely covering the mids, but that is not the case with the L1s. The treble and mids are not quite as good as a Thunderpants, but the bass is bottomless, textured, and has excellent punch just like a bass boosted Thunderpants. I would recommend these as 'Thunderpants Jr." for those who want an off the shelf and cheaper version of those headphones. Make no mistake they are not as good in whole, but the bass is comparable. I find the L1 to be veiled in a similar manner as the FSO, but not quite to that degree. The highs are rolled off but still highly detailed. I would say these drivers are of similar speed to the HD598 and HD600, just with a different voicing. Tonality is often questionable, especially vocals. The soundstage can be quite large with some recordings, but overall is of medium size. Imaging is excellent and center focus is almost perfect. These cans sound best on heavy bass tracks with little to no vocals, so I can easily recommend them for electronic music or epic style soundtrack scores. The hit or miss nature of their vocals makes them both good and bad for overproduced pop. The pop track in my list above sounded very good with the L1, but the hip hop track did not fare as well despite being bass focused. I do not recommend them for acoustic music such as the Red Molly track or aggressive vocal based music such as the Papa Roach test track, the 2 last place finishes for the L1. For the recommended genres, this was the best headphone of this group. The bass is completely satisfying and the mids and highs do well enough to keep it together. If you prefer a very dark headphone, such as the LCD2, you may enjoy the L1s for more genres than I do. The L1s have no significant peaks that lead to fatigue. Excellent headphones if your music needs match up, but not a very good all-around headphone, in my opinion.

300 #2 - Sennheiser HD600 ($399 new, $200-250 used)

The veteran of the group is the Sennheiser HD600. Having been on the market for nearly 20 years (1996), it's seen it's share of competition and then some. Evolved from a special run of the HD580 named the 'Jubilee' it has been a staple of headphone audiophiles ever since. At first use, the build quality appears very good, typical of German engineering, however, as many people have found over the years, the headbands are prone to cracking and snapping in half, as mine has through normal use. In my case the headband pad holds it together so that I am able to listen normally, I just have to handle them carefully. The clamping force of course is completely gone, but when I replaced my HD600 with another I found the sound to be identical with or without clamp so I've kept these around for reference. For this reason I've rated the HD600 as lowest for build quality. The circumaural pads on the HD600 are velour so they are very comfortable and breathable, they do like to attract dust and small hairs, though. The pads are easily removable for cleaning or replacement. The HD600 is the only dual entry headphone in this comparison. I don't find advantage in single or double entry for the user experience. Being an open headphone, there is little isolation, and leakage is quite loud. The cable is very long and terminated in a 1/4" jack showing Sennheiser's clear intentions for home use. The cable uses two thick cable segments that are each the size of the other headphone's total cable size. The cable is plainly finished. Being completely circumaural and having less clamp than the L1 and FSO I placed them second in comfort, though given the intended use of the other two headphones, the difference is minimal. Headband adjustment is simple and secure as are all of the competitors.

The popular belief on Head-fi is that the HD600 is a neutral take on an audiophile curve. I agree with this completely. Frequency response extends in both directions better than the other three headphones in this group. The extension of the L1's bass is as good or slightly better, but the treble extension is unmatched by the others. Sub bass volume is a weakness of the HD600, but extension to that range is not. Frequency response is more or less flat through bass, mid bass, mids, then the audiophile curve adds it's effects by tapering off the treble response leading to a relaxed, yet detailed presentation. Detail is best on this headphone and it excels at imaging and tonality. Soundstage is tied with HD598 for largest of the group.This is a headphone that can be used as a reference it is so close to real. What I find lacking is engagement to the music. It is a polite headphone trying it's best to be accurate, yet pleasing at every turn. The lack of sub-bass volume is another more-forgivable problem, for most music. If most of your library is classical, especially chamber music, this is your headphone of choice from this group. It was the winner on tracks such as Emerson String Quartet, Beck and Kobukuro because of it's clarity and tonality, and even Warren G because of it's clean, musical bass. This is a good all-around headphone in it's own right, but not the best of this group.

300 #1 - Sennheiser HD598 ($250 new, $150-200 used)

Not quite a rookie, but also not a veteran is the Sennheiser HD598 which debuted a few years ago. Build quality is very good despite the entirely plastic construction and lack of removable cable, the only headphone in this group without removable cables. (edit: the cord is removable) The clamping force is the least of the group and it weighs the least. The velour pads are very large so nothing touches your ears. For these reasons I ranked the HD598 most comfortable, even when factoring in use intentions of the more portable cans. The 1/4" terminated cable is long and plain looking, however the material used has a slick feeling to it that is nice. The pads appear to be removable, but fairly strong pulling did not pop them off and I didn't want to risk damage. (edit: they are removable) The color scheme, cream and coffee, and overall graphical appearance of these headphones (plastic wood grain paneling) leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion, but as I would only wear them at home, it doesn't bother me. Headband adjustment is easy and secure.

When it comes to sound, the HD598 shows how being the best at nothing but being bad at nothing can make you the overall best. The HD600 bests it in detail and extension. The L1 bests it in sub bass volume and impact, FSO bests it in.. OK, well, nothing (oh! Isolation...). The few things the HD598 does best are engagement with the music, fun but balanced frequency response, and smooth, dead center vocals. I consider the HD598 an upgrade over the HD600 and HD650, a natural evolution from detailed but polite to still quite detailed, but fun and involving. It performs acceptably with every track in my test list, never ranking worse than second. The losses of first place were only to the HD600 on acoustic or precision friendly tracks, and the L1 on the bass heavy electronic track. Tracks it won include the epic symphonic work, Hotel California, Streetlight Manifesto and others. The Sennheiser HD598 is the best all around headphone from this group, and likely in it's price range, and is thus our winner.

Track, comfort and build quality rankings and point calculation (Click to show)
01. David Arnold - Godzilla Soundtrack - Opening Titles and Looking for Clues - Bass extension and impact, epic choir and orchestra, dynamics, imaging, decay (epic classical)
HD598 > HD600 > L1 > FSO

02. Emerson String Quartet - Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor 2nd Movement - Detail, clarity, imaging, tonality, complexity (chamber classical)
HD600 > HD598 > L1 > FSO

03. The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - Hotel California - detail, clarity, imaging, bass, vocals, immersion with crowd (classic rock)
HD598 > L1 > HD600 > FSO

04. Beck - Sea Change - The Golden Age - detail, clarity, vocals, texture (alternative rock)
HD600 > HD598 > L1 > FSO

05. Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb - Everything Went Numb - Complexity, separation, speed, clarity of vocals (ska)
HD598 > HD600 > L1 > FSO

06. Red Molly - Love and Other Tragedies - Is the Blue Moon Still Shining - Detail, clarity, texture, tonality, vocal separation (acoustic folk)
HD598 > HD600 > FSO > L1

07. Katy Perry - One of the Boys - I'm Still Breathing - vocals, imaging, lushness (pop)
HD598 > L1 > HD600 > FSO

08. Kobukuro - Answer - Toomawari - Tonality, vocals, soundstage depth, imaging, clarity (Japanese acoustic rock/folk)
HD600 > HD598 > L1 > FSO

09. Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder - Take Me - aggressiveness, slam, complexity, separation (rock/metal)
HD598 > HD600 > FSO > L1

10. Warren G - Regulate.. G Funk Era - Do You See - Bass cleanliness, bass musicality, vocals, imaging (hip-hop/rap)
HD600 > HD598 > L1 > FSO

11. Gemini - Fire Inside (Ft. Greta Svabo Bech) - Bass impact, extension on both ends, clarity, complexity (electronica)
L1 > HD598 > HD600 > FSO

Build Quality
L1 > HD598 > FSO > HD600

Comfort
HD598 > HD600 > L1 > FSO

Listening:

HD598: 4 3 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 3 3 - 39
HD600: 3 4 2 4 3 3 2 4 3 4 2 - 34
L1: 2 2 3 2 2 1 3 2 1 2 4 - 24
FSO: 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 - 13

Build (double track weight):
HD598: 6
HD600: 2
L1: 8
FSO: 4

Comfort (double track weight):
HD598: 8
HD600: 6
L1: 4
FSO: 2

Total:

HD598: 53
HD600: 42
L1: 36
FSO: 19

Thank you for reading and thanks Head-fi for nearly 10 years of headphone audio enjoyment.

Chris
Edited by Maxvla - 3/21/12 at 1:20am
post #2 of 68
Great write up and review!
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
You are a fast reader wink.gif
post #4 of 68
I read it twice! biggrin.gif



Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

You are a fast reader wink.gif


 

 

post #5 of 68

Read every word. Thanks for the nice comparisons. HD-598 is not technically as good as my other headphones, but it's very fun and engaging to listen to and still quite forgiving of bad tracks.

That amp and DAC must be a very good match for the HD-600 because I feel the HD-598 has the slight edge (with my setup) in soundstage size compared to the HD-600. Not even a close one for me.

 

My HD-600 seems to have a slight peak in the upper mids. Some graphs don't seem to show this and others do. Very strange. With stock cables I find the HD-580 more fun to listen to than the HD-600. Just has a little more bass and more forward mids. Perhaps a more colored sound, but I don't care too much. Love my HD-600 with a DHC cable and it's a closer match to the 598 when it comes to how engaging/fun it is. HD-600 with stock cable kind of makes me...sleepy. I know it's nonsense to some, but that's what I'm hearing.

 

I also agree about the sub-bass on the HD-600. I personally don't care, but it's an interesting fact. I don't find the 598 to have all that much less bass than the HD-600 honestly..

 

I've also noticed that the HD-600/580 benefits more from a nice amp/DAC than the HD-598. I haven't noticed any major changes with the 598 when switching amps.

 

BTW the HD-598 cable is definitely removable. I think nobody has found a working replacement for it though. The pads also pop off and on. I've done this many times and luckily they don't go flat as easily as the HD-600 pads.

 

 


Edited by tdockweiler - 3/14/12 at 9:01pm
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that info on the HD598. I tugged on the cable pretty strongly, but didn't want to risk damage. It wasn't budging at all so I assumed it was not removable.

Edit: Figured out the cable requires a twist to unlock it.
Edited by Maxvla - 3/14/12 at 9:03pm
post #7 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Thanks for that info on the HD598. I tugged on the cable pretty strongly, but didn't want to risk damage. It wasn't budging at all so I assumed it was not removable.
Edit: Figured out the cable requires a twist to unlock it.


What's funny is that I owned the HD-598 for 6 months before realizing the cable was removable! biggrin.gif

I guess I don't read boxes or manuals.

 

Too bad it's not a standard jack and you can't change the cable easily. I believe you'd have to connect any DIY wires to the stock plug by soldering them together.

post #8 of 68

Nice review!

post #9 of 68

Nice review the poor FOS seems to have gotten slaughtered in the shootout. At least the L1 put up a decent fight. Any plans to add other cans to the review later down the road?


Edited by DigitalFreak - 3/14/12 at 9:08pm
post #10 of 68

Read every word. I agree especially with your review on the HD600. Even though I have the HD650 (I still love that headphone with all my heart despite listening to the LCD-2, HD800, T1, K1000, and HE-6), I still loved the sound of the HD600. There was more resolution and layering seemed a lot better, which can be said for the soundstage, as the width depth, and overall spaciousness are better than the HD650. However, I find them to be almost the same when amped (properly).

post #11 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalFreak View Post

Nice review the poor FOS seems to have gotten slaughtered in the shootout. At least the L1 put up a decent fight. Any plans to add other cans to the review later down the road?

Probably won't be adding any to this review, but I may expand on it keeping 1-2 phones from this and bringing in 2-3 new contenders for a new review.
post #12 of 68

Great review!!

post #13 of 68

Nice review!  I like the format and your style.  You spent an almost equal amount of time setting up the review with your background and preferences, which to me are as important if not more important than the review itself.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

...I'm still the only person I know of who goes to Head-fi meets with a notebook and pen and takes notes for every rig he listens to. Analytical listener or not, I still don't understand why people don't do this.


This sort of surprises me too.  It's rare to see this- I've only seen it once.  Human auditory memory is quite bad, especially when comparing things that to most people are essentially the same.  I sometimes take notes on my iPad which I can also use as a source for portables and familiar material.  

post #14 of 68

Excellent and thorough review. I really like how you describe your listening methodology and everything from the beginning, as it makes it really easy to see where you're coming from. I also like the very mathematical way you rank them, it makes it easy to follow, though I suggest that it may not be the most accurate as far as the numerical scores go, especially if it's a close match-up. 

Also, can you post prices for these just for easy reference? Overall though, an excellent review, and one that probably deserves front-page coverage.

post #15 of 68
Thread Starter 
Cleaned up a bit. Moved the rank and name along side the image to save some scrolling. I'll add prices.

Yes the mathematics aren't the final say really, more of a guide for myself. This is partly why I put them in a spoiler tag.
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