Today, I decided to pop down to a friendly headphone store near my place to try out a couple of headphones that are possibly the "flagships" of the various popular headphone brands. In this exciting new journey, I briefly listened to the following headphones and thought that maybe I could give a short to provide some brief impressions of how they sound.
First and foremost, I have to explain that I only used approximately 15-20 minutes on each headphone and thus could only provide a brief description of the sound signature of each headphone. In this case, I would only like to highlight what was my first impressions of these headphones in this short listening session.
Secondly and most importantly, this is the first time I am attempting to write an impression so do go easy on me!(:
Comparing the different headphones, I would definitely say that W3000 is by far the most comfortable headphone that I have worn. The design is so exquisite that it provides just the right amount of clamping force and sits nicely on your head without needing to adjust the sometimes overly stiff headband. That's because it doesnt have an adjustable headband which is the best part of it.
Next up would be the T1/HD800. I would rank them both equally in terms of comfort with the T1 having a slightly tighter clamping force then I would have liked and the HD800 being too large such that it tends to slip down as I try to wear them.
The last would be the LCD2 which I find having too tight a clamping force and fitting awkwardly on my head. It feels as if the headphone pads are just compressing on the edges of your ears to make them sit there. The adjustable headbands are also hard to adjust since it has these metal hinges that needs to be pushed manually.
W3000: Having only these headphones on my head for a brief 15-20 minutes, the first word I have for it is amazing. But I think the word amazing does not really suit head-fi lingo. So in another word, I have the say that it sounds very detailed and analytical. It is able to push the details of each song to a 3-dimensional space surrounding you. It does not have a very wide sound stage like some of its fellow flagships but it does produce a very good sense of space around you. In a way, I would say that the instrumental separation is very very good as it is able to retrieve the details of each song and bring them "closer" to you.
In a word, I would say that it is a mid centric and slightly bright headphone. Although it is not overly bright (coming from grados). I feel that it has just the right amount of balance in the mids and the highs to complement each other.
In the bass department, I feel that it does not sound anything like a dynamic headphone. The bass is impactful and accurate (for a lack of a better word). In the realm of IEMs, it feels closer to a BA type of bass then a dynamic type of bass which has plenty of sub-bass and bass quantity. However, it is precisely because of this reason that it does not have the bass quantity and depth of the LCD2s.
On the whole, it produces the whole frequency spectrum in a very balanced manner in which no range of frequencies overwhelm the whole song. (Ie. Not overly bright or dark) Which to me is extremely important since I like to listen to all the instruments in the song at the same time and at the same volume. However, I have to say that it does not come across to me as a neutral headphone. I find it slightly colored with the mids and highs being just slightly forward and the bass being quite prominent.
HD800: As I put the HD800 on my ears, I immediately noticed that the HD800 sounds harsh and overly bright for my tastes. As for the level of detail, I believe that it is on par with the W3000 or maybe even more analytical. However, because I find it overly bright, the treble and high-mids tend to stand out more then the low mids and the bass. In this area, I had to listen attentively in order to pick out the micro details in the lower frequencies department which is tiresome so to say. The HD800 is also able to produce a very good sense of space and has an extremely wide soundstage. However, I feel that it seems more like sitting in a large concert hall and listening to a live performance as compared to the W3000 where you are sitting in a indoor lounge where there is a slight sense of intimacy and the music is flowing to you from all directions in a 3-dimensional space.
LCD2: Initially I wanted to try out with the LCD3s but sadly, the headphone shop that I went to didnt have the LCD3. It was at another outlet on display. So I had to settle for its little brother. When I first put on the LCD2, the first impression I had was that it was extremely planar or linear. It has a relatively larger soundstage as compared to the W3000 but the music sounds very linear to me. Instead of having a 3-D type of instrumental separation, it has a planar instrumental separation in which you can feel that the instruments are far from you but does not create that sense of space or airiness.
However, the LCD2 has a very deep bass which is their utmost strength I would say. The bass is also very impactful but not as accurate and crisp as the W3000 from my ears.
T1: Lastly, I tried to T1. Honestly, the T1's sound pretty close to the W3000 in the sense that it has a similar sound signature that is mid-centric. It is also quite detailed but I would say slightly less than the W3000 and the HD800. However, I found that it has a very dynamic type of bass typical of a dynamic headphone. It also does not have an extremely wide soundstage nor is the instrumental separation phenomenal. All in all, I think that it seems to have a very beyerdynamic type of sound signature which is pretty balanced and mid focused but does not have any overwhelming strength that makes you so fondly addicted to it unlike the above 3 flagships. At least it didnt made me addicted. Needless to say, it is also a very excellent headphone, just that it didnt suit my taste!
After trying these headphones, I think that it really boils down to personal preference. To be honest, I was so set on buying the LCD2 initially but as I heard the W3000, it immediately made me change my mind. I cant possibly describe the sense of space and uniqueness in its presentation that made me so addicted to this headphone.
I really want to recommend the W3000 to you guys out there but since there are only 2000 of these in the market, I DO NOT recommend them to ANYONE! (Until I have saved up enough money to get one of them of course!)
Cheers and hope you enjoy the read! Feel free to pop in on any comments!(: