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Is it true that modded T50RP's (specifically LFF's Paradox mod) is comparable to high end... - Page 9

post #121 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

I enjoyed the HD650's sound a lot.. it's unique.. and obviously not neutral.. but I tend to judge phones for their individuality and cohesiveness more than how they perform relative to other phones.  As far as the HD650 veil, it became more apparent with lower quality sources & amps.  Driving the HD650 with more able & carefully matched source gear & amps, the veil really wasn't a factor.  There is no 'veil' to speak of with the Paradox.  In fact, it's the most 'anti-veil' phone I've ever heard.. haha.  While I can appreciate the HD650's sound on it own terms, I enjoyed the Paradox much more.  Not just for it's more neutral signature (a personal preference), but for it's technical abilities as well.

 

The HD650 is noticeably more forgiving than the Paradox.  LFF tuned the Paradox for neutrality & for it to stand up to the rigors of mastering work.  It will reveal the shortcomings of poorly recorded music with incredible ease.  Feed it well recorded music, drive it well, and you'll hear just why I (and other Paradox owners) praise it at every given opportunity.  There's virtually no coloration so the sound you hear is remarkably faithful to the original recording.  It's highly transparent quality offers the ability hear 'deep' into recordings, sources, and amps.  I've heard many phones which boast excellent transparency, speed, and instrument separation.. but there's a certain effortlessness & cohesion with which the Paradox pulls all that off that separates it from most everything else I've heard.  Also notable is the soundstage: both the width & depth is fantastic.. you'll be quite surprised to hear such a spacious sound coming from a closed phone.  Imaging, too, was extremely impressive in its accuracy.

 

The LCD-2 was a very enjoyable phone for me as well.. again, it's not the most neutral. nor does it aim to be.. but it certainly provides a unique flavor that's executed with precision and cohesion.  After a fairly extended period of A/Bing, I preferred the Paradox to the LCD-2 r.1 as well.  I kept coming back to it's addictive clarity, neutrality, and ability to simply 'get out of the way' and leave me with just the music.

 

This brings me to the HE-500.  It has long been one of my favorite headphones.  It's delicate, natural coloration makes it a lot of fun to listen to.  While impressively linear through the bass region all the way up through the midrange, I find this area a little too forward/aggressive at times.  The HE-500 puts you a few rows closer to the stage while the Paradox positions you seemingly at a perfect distance.  Not too far to where everything sounds distant.. but not so close as to fatigue your ears.  I recently converted the HE-500's stock, silver cable to banana plugs so I can drive it from a speaker amp (and feed it oodles of current in the process).  It did a lot to neutralize the overall sound, as well as bring excellent control and clarity.. but, I still find myself drawn to the Paradox more often.  The HE-500 is more dynamic (thank in part to the larger driver/magnet structure), but the Paradox has a smoother, more natural, inviting sound to my ears.  It's neutrality is wholly relaxing and engaging at the same time.  Some might equate neutrality with 'boring, sterile, clinical, or uninvolving.'  All I have to say to those people is.. you obviously haven't heard the Paradox!  It's a little difficult to explain what a phone that, essentially, sounds like 'nothing'.. one that aims to present the music with utmost honesty.. 'sounds' like.  What you're left with is supreme clarity, tonal accuracy, and resolving ability that's seemingly only limited by your source component quality.

 

tl;dr?  I preferred the Paradox' sound & technicalities over that of the HD650, LCD-2r1, and HE-500.  The HE-500 offers a very nice sound that complements the Paradox quite well, to my ears.. and that's part of the reason why I still own them.

 

Setting aside the controversy surrounding the gear, I highly recommend pairing the Paradox with the Objective 2 amp (and ODAC).  LFF tuned the Paradox with the Objective2.. and when I heard the combo for the first time, I was utterly floored.  There's an uncanny synergy at play here that is sure to wow.  I'm sure there are better amps & DACs to throw at the Paradox, but for those on a budget, I can't recommend this combo enough.. as the creator himself used it to perfect the Paradox.

 

I hope that helps you with gaining some perspective on the Paradox.  I'm obviously a big fan & there's quite a few other, well respected listeners here that can provide additional thoughts.  I'm actually in the process of writing/finishing a review of the Paradox.  I've been obsessing over getting the review right so it's taken a lot longer than originally expected.  I've lent it out to some studio buddies and musicians who had nothing but praise for it (so much so that I had a hard time getting it back .. haha).  It's pretty well road tested, in my eyes, and passed with flying colors.

 

PS.  Did I mention they're ridiculously comfortable?  Suspension headband FTW!

 

Really good mini review.  I agree on what you have stated here.

post #122 of 284

FlySweep, that was awesome! Thank you. Can't wait for your full Paradox review. And now, I'm experiencing the classic head-fi problem: that O2+ODAC sounds really appealing too...


Edited by ab_ba - 8/10/12 at 6:49am
post #123 of 284

^ that is what I use all day every day at work, Paradox from o2 and odac from foobar full of flac. 

 

Productivity definitely goes up when they're on :D

 

-M

post #124 of 284

I received my stock T50RP's this morning. Something I wasn't expecting is that they sound really good as-is! Detailed and analytical, although not as lush or engrossing as my 650s. Surely a fantastic headphone for under $100. Of course, this only makes me more curious how they'll sound after mods... 

post #125 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

The HD650 is noticeably more forgiving than the Paradox.  LFF tuned the Paradox for neutrality & for it to stand up to the rigors of mastering work.  It will reveal the shortcomings of poorly recorded music with incredible ease.  Feed it well recorded music, drive it well, and you'll hear just why I (and other Paradox owners) praise it at every given opportunity.  There's virtually no coloration so the sound you hear is remarkably faithful to the original recording.  It's highly transparent quality offers the ability hear 'deep' into recordings, sources, and amps.  I've heard many phones which boast excellent transparency, speed, and instrument separation.. but there's a certain effortlessness & cohesion with which the Paradox pulls all that off that separates it from most everything else I've heard.  Also notable is the soundstage: both the width & depth is fantastic.. you'll be quite surprised to hear such a spacious sound coming from a closed phone.  Imaging, too, was extremely impressive in its accuracy.

 

PS.  Did I mention they're ridiculously comfortable?  Suspension headband FTW!

 

I agree with most of your impressions. The Paradox does reveal shortcomings to an extent, but it's not the "brutal truth" the way some other headphones and some studio tools are. You know the flaws are there, but it doesn't spotlight them with a thousand watt floodlight. I find many of my moderate quality albums to sound quite good on the Paradox, whereas other "high-end" headphones can make them pretty unpleasant. It helps that the Paradox has no treble boost. Overall the tonal balance is superb - this is what neutral actually sounds like. Many people mistake cool, dry, clinical sound for "neutrality" - it isn't.

 

Where I think the Paradox is most impressive is in the mid-bass region. The bass is there when its on the album, and it can be pounding when called to be so, but these aren't what I'd call bass heavy at all. They are right down the middle. It's the mid-bass that's the standout though, because SO MANY sealed headphones have sucked out mids, and they all begin rolling heavily in the mid-bass. The Paradox has no midrange suckout, and thanks to that you can actually hear the bass guitar.

 

I would say the soundstage is moderate in size overall. They go out of the head a bit, and depth at the edges is decent though the center image is somewhat narrow. Treble detail is good but not incredible, and there's a lack of air and effortlessness to the highs that you get with the best electrostats, but that's going to be the case with any ortho - they trade treble for bass with electrostats.

 

At its price level the Paradox is astonishingly good, and as a sealed, isolating headphone I don't think it can be beaten at any price.

post #126 of 284

It was really valuable to hear your comments and impressions, folks. Thanks. I'll be ordering my Paradox mod once the components all arrive. I'll add my impressions when the time comes.

post #127 of 284

ab_ba have you gotten your paradox?

post #128 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiinippongamer View Post

ab_ba have you gotten your paradox?

Nope, not yet. I've been focusing on improving my existing gear lately. Just got my JH-13's refit, and I decided I want to move up to a 24-bit DAC. Gotta wait for funds to replenish (and I want to spend some time with these upgrades) before diving back in.

post #129 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab_ba View Post

I received my stock T50RP's this morning. Something I wasn't expecting is that they sound really good as-is! Detailed and analytical, although not as lush or engrossing as my 650s. Surely a fantastic headphone for under $100. Of course, this only makes me more curious how they'll sound after mods... 


Really? You like it? I find my stock t50rp sound very weird... I don't use it at all, I'm waiting to get them modded too, either mad dog or paradox




And can anyone compare the paradox with sennheiser hd800 or have a more detailed comparison with the mad dog?
Edited by reddragon - 9/23/12 at 12:57pm
post #130 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post


Really? You like it? I find my stock t50rp sound very weird...  

 

 

Yes. I thought it was one of the worst headphones I'd ever heard; I actually preferred a pair of Senn 201s. After a long, hard listen, I decided they weren't worth modding and sold mine.

post #131 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post


Yes. I thought it was one of the worst headphones I'd ever heard; I actually preferred a pair of Senn 201s. After a long, hard listen, I decided they weren't worth modding and sold mine.



LOL don't want to give a chance to the mad dog or paradox?
post #132 of 284

If someone wanted to demo me a Paradox I'd certainly be in it. I'm just saying that the stock unit sounded such a sow's ear I couldn't believe I could ever make it into a silk purse. If others can, I'm more than happy to sample the fruits of their labour.

post #133 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

If someone wanted to demo me a Paradox I'd certainly be in it. I'm just saying that the stock unit sounded such a sow's ear I couldn't believe I could ever make it into a silk purse. If others can, I'm more than happy to sample the fruits of their labour.


So many people say they are good and I don't have reason to not believe them but I would agree with you that without actually listening and reading peoples reviews, judging by my stock t50rps sound its hard to imagine it will transform into a top tier headphone
post #134 of 284

Right on, brother.

post #135 of 284

The Paradox is, to me, an entirely different headphone than the stock T50RP and the other mods I've tried. Not sure what kind of forbidden magicks LFF used to conjure up that kind of sound, but it's a profound change. As someone who approaches this hobby from a collector's mindset, owning some 200+ pairs of headphones and earphones, I try to keep my perspective on things baseline: I can acknowledge when a pair of headphones I like isn't necessarily a good pair of headphones, and I try to refrain from hyperbole and needlessly hyping things.

 

If someone told me the Paradox was an $1200 headphone, I wouldn't bat an eyelash. Not sure if that says more about the Paradox or the current state of the headphone industry, but there you go.

 

The other T50RP mods I've heard were good, but not impressive to me. I honestly don't hear what the fuss is about with the various clay mass loaded, filled cup, and felt based mods. All these mods, despite offering different flavors, have similarities to my ears. They all use the same underlying approaches. I'm guessing that whatever LFF did is fundamentally different in key respects from all the other approaches "discovered" thus far, and is ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the mods. I'm not knocking those other efforts---many of them are better than anything I came up with modding my own T50RP. However to my ears they (including my own) don't come close to the Paradox. Of course, that is also dependent on what one is looking for. If you don't want something ruler-flat, then it's not going to be for you.

 

I can also fully understand the reluctance to buy them blindly. If the chance to give them an audition comes up however, I whole heartedly encourage people give it a try and hear for themselves.

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