A long time ago, at an audio meet far, far away...I'm talking decades ago in Audiophile years, way back in early 2008! I passed on the chance to hear the JVC Victor DX1000, I really hadn't thought much of it due to the astronomical price tag. Giant wooden headphones that looked like a radar dish on the persons head who was demoing them. Now, I've attended an Art Institution for the past 10 years or so, I am absolutely a true master when it comes to drawing still portraits, I've practiced for years and years. Here is my rendition of that listeners face while he was listening to them, it took me hours to shade this image. I will never forget his face, here is a link to the finalized version of his portrait.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The DX1000 is the Headphones equivalent of a Unicorn prancing idiotically through the Forrest. Something that causes you to say to yourself "Hey, gosh that looks silly but I just can't stop looking at it...am...am I having a seizure of some type? ". Majestic, elusive...something you strive your entire life to find and when you actually to capture the beast, you don't really know what to do with it. You sit there staring at it, with a blank look on your face. Unsure of what the hell you are supposed to do now that you own it. " I'm yours now, do with me as you please, just be gentle and never let me go, never let me go my love." Temptress...HARPY! Violator of thine ears, I shall smite thee! If you get one thing out of this review are or just too lazy or busy to read beyond this point, know that the DX-1000 is freaking awesome and is That One headphone I've wanted my entire life. You can leave now if you wish, for those are interested in reading further, please proceed in an orderly fashion to the elevator to your left, pick up your ray guns and be prepared to fight off the Mantis Men on the lower levels of the building. You'll know when the test starts...
This headphone retails for upwards of $1200US. I can buy a small car for that price that will likely explode if a leaf landed on its hood the wrong way, maybe a 2 night stay in a really nice hotel or loft where I can seduce attractive women into staying the night. Well, not if I am wearing most any of the Audiophile grade headphones out yonder. Always attractive when you have a small Moon on your head that has its own gravitational pull. Sure, its expensive. But your happiness is priceless...just ask my X girlfriend and she'll tell you! I'm cheap. I really don't think any headphones are worth more than $300 or so. Any more than that, regardless of sound quality and I just feel dirty all over. But, thankfully we are all absolutely 100% insane and are willing to shell out the gold coin rings to afford our gear. The DX1000 is worth every penny to me and more. I took a trip to Italy about two months ago after a headphone blew up on my face and caused some hearing loss and damage. I cried for days and decided to take a much needed vacation before I jumped off a bridge. I met another Head-Fi'er who invited me to his place, which was absolutely...sadistically beautiful, and ended up hearing the DX1K for the first time. I sat there for a solid 20 minutes not moving, not saying one word as my new friend did some business on the phone. I had forgotten I actually existed and was a real boy, once reality came back to me I also realized I had my Hisound Studio V with me and immediately booted the old gal' up. The Flying Sequence, via John Williams amazing score off the Superman the Movie soundtrack began to play. My face went flush and everything around me blacked out for a few minutes. Nothing else existed. I knew right there I had to have this headphone, it was everything I've ever wanted. So the quest began, I mounted my lv 64 robot dragon and searched Midgard ( Head Fis for sale forums ) for a used DX1000. I solicited and pestered nearly everyone I could find who owned one. I found one amazing fella willing to sell me one for pennies compared to everyone else. I jumped on the offer.
Overall Clarity via the Apex Butte and Fiio E10
Its important to know that the stock version I owned came with a nice fabric laced cable with a stunning wooden adapter plug. While it sounded and felt great, it was just too damned long for me ( lol...)
so I contracted a hired assassin who happened to have a business for modding headphones. BTG Audio was the only recabler and modder who didn't try to screw me like Jabba screwed Han. I highly recommend contracting Brian to mod your gear. He does amazing and beautiful work, absolutely stellar job. After some email exchanges we both agreed Silver cabling would be detrimental to the upper regions of the DX1000 experience. They are super smooth and silky and any change would ruin it. Silver usually makes it more sharp, more defined and a tad brighter in my experiences. So I opted for a braided copper detachable cable that uses Sennheiser plugs. Epic. I am in love. Sorry, Megan. You are out, the DX1000 Recable is in. Please pack your things and leave, we are getting married soon and you are not invited.
Clarity is very good, not amazing. Its on the level of the Denon D7000 after some modding. There are sets half the price in the Orthodynamic area that are more clear across the frequencies. This set is fatigue free, everywhere. Clarity takes a side seat to the high musicality factor, you don't really care much. Unless you are a super audio snob and only care about clarity and NOTHING else, skip this set, you have my pity. The Apex Butte sells for $499 over at TTVJ. Its super cute and tiny, yet packs a serious punch. This is a heavyweight, by no means something to skip over. Sound staging is excellent, clarity is excellent and near the level of its big brother the $1000+ Arte'. Dynamics and depth are exceptional for this price tier and via the DX1000 you really get a sense of center staging unlike most of the recent expensive headphones. This is a forward sounding amp with good height and width, excellent depth and decent separation.
Clarity Via the Bottlehead Crack
Absolutely on par with the Butte. This guy sells for around $225 with potential upgrades. The downside is you have to build it yourself or pay a large fee. Make friends with your local bloodbank or hospital, you might need to sell some plasma or a kidney if you want the Speedball upgrade and have them build it for you. This is a seriously tough call to make, which one sounds more clear? Neither, its a total draw. I've sat here for hours while my chair permanently indents itself into my butt ( how will I explain these marks to my girlfriend? ) trying to figure out which has the edge in clarity. I've decided they are twins, blood brothers in arms. I can't hear more clarity out of either. This amp is noticeably more distant and I understand why people like it for the Sennheiser house sound, its ideal for a mid range locality and presentation, wider than tall by a smidgen and again has excellent depth. Both of these amplifiers have excellent sound staging and belong up there when talking about great big sound in amps: The beta22, the Bijou ect ect. These two should also be included. They both outperform all of the Schiit amps in sound staging, this bottlehead stock version with no Speedball is much nicer in depth and width than the Asgard which is Schiits largest sounding amp.
Clarity via the Hisound Studio.
I am having trouble believing my ears. Clarity is nearly on par with both and could be considered " in their league ". This isn't even a true amplifier, its a portable DAP with a secondary amplifier function. The hisoundaudio Studio Rocoo V is an amazing player that sells for nearly $390US. Its noticeably less clear than both amps mentioned above, but my god if its not one step down from them. Amazing.
The Butte definitely has the most potent, deep and powerful bass of all. Its super smooth and extends very well on my Hisound Live earbuds and the Golden Crystal IEMs. Funny, how most Audiophiles think earbuds can't be Hifi. You are all wrong. The Live earbuds are insane and perform immensely well out of proper amplification, the sound staging qualities are ridiculously awesome. The DX1000 bass is moderate in toxicity, but super smooth, very relaxing. As most others who own it often say "it just just bass so well". And it really does. Highly musical and on the warm side, it compliments the mids and highs perfectly. The Butte offers a stronger low experience than I would have guess and ends up being slightly less than what my Fiio E10 offers with its Bass Booster active. Via the line out on the E10 > the Butte, the DX1000 low experience is strong and deep.
Noticeably less strong but not by much, less solid sounding, more relaxed and spacious, thinner, equally as clear and responsive as the Butte. Offers excellent experiences when listening to live recordings like Sebastien Giniaux newest Album boasts. Very aired out, very musical and not overbearing in the slightest. What a great song, by the way.
Via the Rocoo V
Very light and airy. This dap offers a lack luster bass experience in terms of quantity, but quality is again stellar. The notes responsiveness in the lower bowels of the bass regions are exceptional. They just are not solid or potent like the other two full size amps. This is how Hisound apparently designed it, a more balanced experience I guess. The "P" version has much stronger bass but noticeably less clarity. The DX1000 performs very well despite the lack of bass right out of the Studio V, so good in fact that I paid BTG to recable them with a 3.5ft cable. I often sit outside in my secluded area and was tired of the giant cable. The DX1K is super easy to drive, yet with the already potent Rocoo studio V, it is a well fed BEAST.
The DX1000 has one of the best mid ranges I've ever experienced and could certainly compare to the Audeze LCD2 and similar sets known for amazing Mids. Its slightly dry but retains just enough color to be considered musical yet also natural sounding. Due to the forwardness of this headphone, the vocal experience is top notch and scary good at times ( as are my Hisound Golden Crystal Iems which pretty much nobody owns, again I pity ). The are exceptionally clear and realistic depending on the track and handle nature sounds and scapes insanely well. Yes, better than all the Orthos I've owned and tested. Outside of the Stax, the mids on this set are my favorite. I would look to no other headphones in existence if I wanted to hear someone sing. Since the Bottlehead is more distant sounding than the Butte, I tend to gravitate, gyrate and jiggle away from the Bottlehead and into the Buttes loving arms. Once again, the Rocoo V isn't far behind but I would definitely take either larger amp over it.
The DX1000 is super smooth and relaxed up in the clouds, I am sure Odin would agree. They extend so high and are so forgiving and responsive, it takes my breath away sometimes. I don't like pokey sound, I prefer something I can enjoy no matter what the track offers me and sometimes, due to poor gremlin trolling audio mixers, the tracks can get sibilant. Thankfully, the pain is drastically reduced with the DX1K, I couldn't be happier. They are far from bright and far from neutral, I call them dry and natural. Monitor sounding they are not! This is extremely rare in Summit Fi.
The Bottlehead seems to offer a slightly recessed highs experience, Hendrix told me so, who am I to argue? Via the Butte, they are more potent and lively, noticeably brighter but equally as clear. The studio v actually is the most bright of trio. Sometimes it can be too much, lets face it our ears crave Bass and with the lack there of in the V, our ears notice the brighter and less clear highs very easily. Like a deer in the headlight...they are not bad but I would not place them into the category of the super smooth highs the Bottlehead and Butte offer. Its noticeably less " Hifi"
Well, well, congrats on reading this far without skimming. Outside of the Audio Technica WX5000 and 3000 special edition, The Victor DX1000 is the largest sounding closed back can in existence. Its absolutely breathtaking if you are not prepared for it. Excellent height, excellent depth, excellent width, excellent separation. Again do to the forward natural presentation, everything is so lively and intimate that it becomes strikingly hard to go listen to another hifi headphone. Makes me cringe at my Orthos, I don't really want to use them anymore, they just are not as musical and fun to use as the DX1000 is. Phenomenal. If you want the biggest soundstage in a closed back can, this is for you. Its much more coherent and dynamic than the Denon D7000 even after mods to my ears. The Bottlehead Crack offers the most all around sound, its big and tall, wide and deep. Excellent imaging qualities and good separation. The Butte only 1upped the Crack in the depth department, its got stellar depth and imaging. But the real star of the show is the Rocoo V. Its on par with both AGAIN for some qualities, and even trumps both in others. The Rocoo V easily has the best sound staging in the entire portable dap world, nothing comes close and it alone with the DX1000 does them justice. Incredible. The HM801, Colorfly and Ibasso DX100 don't even come close in my opinion. Spaciousness and imaging is 10/10, its noticeable lighter and airier than both the Crack and the Butte. However, width and height is also noticeable less. All three are amazing and should be spoken of more. All three are sound staging kings that mesh well with the JVC DX1000.
Thats another thing I should mention. LIVELY, FUN, WARM LOW END? IN HI FI? WHAT! LIES! Nope. Its true. This is an expensive audiophile grade headphone that is warm on the low end, its easily driven and requires little voltage compared to nearly all the other expensive headphones, its a woodie, the earpads are literally the softest I've ever used and best the Lawton Denon Customs, the set is immensely comfortable and has very little clamp and actually can be worn for a long period of time without pain. Yes, its big and a bit heavy but its balanced out perfectly and hard to notice, much like the Hifiman HE500 is. Despite their heft, they are very comfy. All in all this is my new favorite set and I could not be happier to own it. I love it with all my heart, its my one set.
Edited by swbf2cheater - 6/13/12 at 10:00pm