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Opinions on the ATH-ES88?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Long story short, I've been looking for some nice portable headphones.  Originally, I was looking for circumaural headphones, but feedback on the forums confirmed my suspicion that portable circumaural headphones aren't particularly common, and have decided that a comfortable set of supraaural headphones will have to do.

 

While looking at headphones that fit into my budget, I found the ES88.  I've seen some comparison of the ES88 to the ES10, which seems like high praise given the review of the ES10 in the 102 portable headphones review on this site (apparently the ES10 sounds great and is comfortable).  As the other headphones I'm currently considering, the HD25 and the DT1350, have been described as having a strong/painful clamp, I've gained some interest in the ES88; being part of the same line as the ES10, perhaps it is equally comfortable (and hopefully good sounding)?

 

I haven't been able to find much in-depth discussion of these headphones though.

 

What I've seen so far:

http://www.whathifi.com/review/audio-technica-ath-es88

The only full length review I've seen, which unfortunately doesn't seem to be quite so in-depth as most reviews I've seen on head-fi.  It seems to get praise despite the bass being described as "swampy", which is the last word I'd want to hear used to describe any frequency range of a headphone, so I'm not sure how seriously I can take this review either way.

 

Other than that, I've seen comments here and there - I'll post links, but will not copy the actual comments here to avoid creating a massive post, except in the case that it may be inconvenient to find the comment:

 

http://www.earphoneguru.com/2012/05/13/ces-2012-audio-technica/

(Comment is regarding the non-ES88 headphone being discussed)

"What a disappointment I wanted to see better stuff from AudioTechnica like the ath es88 or something worthy of an upgrade because while these are nice, they are not leaders in the $200-300 range like Beyer dt1350 or senn amperior or vmoda m80, so why would we wana go cheap? I rather get a used ath-es7 or hd25."

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586013/some-advice#post_8018829

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/3585#post_8069834

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/3585#post_8069839

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/3585#post_8069855

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/3585#post_8069859

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1200#post_7963941

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1515#post_7986643

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1515#post_7986738

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1530#post_7989420

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1560#post_7992095

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/571081/the-diary-entries-of-a-little-girl-latest-memoir-o-pn-u/1185#post_7963828

^Is counterfeiting an issue?

 

Anybody have experience with the ES88 they'd be willing to share?  I'm interested in any information I can get on them, as I think I'll be making a decision between the HD25, the DT1350, and the ES88.  While other form factor headphones have caught my interest, such as the Yuin clip-ons and the Clarus clip-on earbuds, I'm still leaning towards one of these three; maybe I should make a thread regarding the others later.

 

Thanks for any info or advice.

post #2 of 6

very underrated. got one. loving it

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marlonmarabe View Post

very underrated. got one. loving it

 

Hey marlon, thanks for your input. I recognize your user name from one of the posts I'd seen on these headphones - it's good to see you still love them after half a year.

 

If you're willing to indulge me in some further questions:

 

Could you elaborate on your comparison of the ES88 to the ES10?

Do you feel they share the same sound signature? Is the sound quality of the ES88 close to the ES10? How would you say the two headphones differ in sound?

 

Also, one review I saw praised the mids and the highs, but described the bass of the ES88 as "swampy"; does that seem accurate to you?  How would you describe the bass?

 

I noticed you mentioned you were using a Fiio E10 with the ES88, do you feel a headphone amp offers a significant improvement, or is a necessity to enjoy these?

 

Also, one of the big questions for me, how comfortable are these headphones? How many hours do you think you could wear them without discomfort?

 

One last topic - how is the build quality of these headphones? Have they held up well during the time you've had them? Is there any part of their construction that seems like it could be easily damaged?

 

Thank you again for your knowledge!

post #4 of 6
Quote:

Could you elaborate on your comparison of the ES88 to the ES10?

Do you feel they share the same sound signature? Is the sound quality of the ES88 close to the ES10? How would you say the two headphones differ in sound?

 

Yes they share the same sound signature but differ in presentation. I would say the es88 are around 80% of the es10 just without the slamming bass the es10 possess. The biggest difference between the two would be the mids. I like the es88's mids more the the latter. It is more forward and less recessed. The highs share the same signature. So do the soundstage and instrument separation. Id give the bass to es10. Its one of the best bass slams ive heard in a portable. The es88 is still excellent in its own right though.

 

Also, one review I saw praised the mids and the highs, but described the bass of the ES88 as "swampy"; does that seem accurate to you?  How would you describe the bass?

 

Swampy? I beg to disagree. The bass is very good. Quality and quantity wise. Goes deep when it needs to and doesn't intrude the sound.

 

I noticed you mentioned you were using a Fiio E10 with the ES88, do you feel a headphone amp offers a significant improvement, or is a necessity to enjoy these?

 

Amping always has its benefits. Say when compared to driven directly out of a dap to amping it through an lod of an ipod. The difference is clearly noticeable. Therefore amping these is a must to take the sound to the next level and maximize the potential of its drivers. I use mine with a jdslabs c421 (ad8620) and it is miles better than running it unamped.

 

Also, one of the big questions for me, how comfortable are these headphones? How many hours do you think you could wear them without discomfort?

 

At first the clamp was kind of uncomfy for long listening sessions. I just had to bend the middle part of the headband and it made a world of difference. It became less clampy, more balanced sound, and way more comfortable. Should be around 3-4 hours max

 

One last topic - how is the build quality of these headphones? Have they held up well during the time you've had them? Is there any part of their construction that seems like it could be easily damaged?

 

The build is amazing. Very sturdy and built like a tank. Flat cables are a plus too and I treat my gears like a baby so i don't see any problem in the build quality.


Edited by marlonmarabe - 7/22/12 at 7:39pm
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for taking the time to make such an in-depth post!

 

Your description of the ES88's sound is in line with what I am looking for - I wasn't really sure about them before, with the lack of information available, but now I'm giving them some serious consideration.

I'll take your words on headphone amps into account as well, amps being something I've considered in the past, but never really looked into.

 

Again, thank you, marlon.   I really appreciate the information you've given me.  When I started this thread, I half expected it to get no replies, because there was quite little being said about these headphones.  Thankfully I turned out to be wrong in that. :)

post #6 of 6

Hey smily_headphones1.gif

How is the timbre of the sound compared to the esw9a's? Are they both similar in the midrange being smooth and syrupy?

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