For my first post, a small experience I've had yesterday evening when I visited the Earphoneshop
in Hyehwa, Seoul. I discovered this store two days ago, and was very excited to visit it as they let you sample most every headphone there, including the big ones.
I went there last night with my girlfriend, and after walking around the "average" section with the more common Sennheisers, AKGs and even Beats and Skullcandy headphones, I asked one of the store employees where the Beyerdynamic T1 was. I heard great things about it, and had sadly never been able to try these kinds of headphones. He guided me to the "hifi" corner of the store that I had somehow failed to notice before, with a wall covered with the big names; Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, T50 and a few others, Denon's D7000 (and D5000 and D2000), Audio Technica's ATH-W3000anv and a bunch more. What's even better is that you can use *any* of those with your own audio source, or any of the amps they have sitting out there in front of the headphones.
While my girlfriend was trying a few of the 1.2m (~$1100) IEMs, I sat down and had my first experience with the Beyerdynamic T1s. Wonderful. I brought my own Thunderpants to compare, and it was almost shocking how different the sound is. I've owned the Thunderpants for maybe about a month or two now, and while it sounds fantastic (and a very obvious step up from the Sennheiser HD380Pro I used until then), it's character is not a perfect match with me. I guess I prefer less bass and perhaps a bit more breathing space for the higher tones. Forgive my layman terms, I'm still rather new to the whole "describing what I hear" stuff ;).
While I went on to test Denon's D7000, one of the store employees asked me if he could try my Thunderpants. Curious what those were, he had been eyeing them for a while now. Apparently he had never heard of them before, which is not all too surprising. I don't think he was familiar with the Fostex T50RP either (or Fostex in general), but he did recognize the LCD-2 pads I have on mine. He sat down and used a Beyerdynamic amplifier with his mp3 player to try them out. It was interesting to watch him do his thing, holding the Thunderpants with his hands while he sat there, slightly bending forward with his head down and eyes closed, clearly analyzing what was being spoken into his ears.
The D7000 really seemed to fit me well. While I'm still getting rid of the left-overs of a cold which in part leaves my ears sort of foggy, I'll leave my final decision for my next, cold-free, visit, but my initial impressions leave me to think they (or perhaps the D5000, I wasn't able to try those due to time constraints) might be my next pair. Even compared to Audio Technica's ATH-W3000anv, I couldn't help but wander back to the D7000 sooner or later.
Switching from one pair to another, I asked my girlfriend every time what she felt. She, too, liked the D7000 the most. She somehow has a knack of being able to describe very clearly what she hears and why headphones suit her (or a specific genre) better or less so. Even though she personally likes Beats a lot due to their heavy bass, she can appreciate these headphones for their character and quality, and recognizes the clear difference in audio quality, too.
Of course, the tracks I used to try these call for headphones with a more honest and clear sound, rather than the what I would describe as murky sound of Beats or similar. The track I used most often for my girlfriend was "Gabriel's Oboe" from the album "Yo-yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone". I personally used it, and a few others, from Lester Bowie's The Great Pretender to Zbigniew Preisner's Lacrimosa (from Requiem For My Friend) to Lightning Risked It All from Songs:Ohia's Ghost Tropic to the somewhat wilder Love Like A Sunset from Phoenix' Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
I did not make any photos during my visit, unfortunately, but will try to do so next time if they allow me. This time I was too busy enjoying an eargasmic experience.