Originally Posted by 563
PCF - would love to see a detailed review of one of your modded HPs. I'm still not getting a good read on how they actually sound vis-a-vis the unmodded versions. I'm also still not clear as to what Joe has really tweaked to 'improve' them. I guess the only way I'll really ever find out is to hear them myself.
I wonder, too, how many modded HPs are out there overall. It can't be that many, if this is a one man operation? Also, are the mods consistent with each "i" that Joe Grado has worked on? Seems like that would be hard to accomplish, no?
I will let the op take the lead in giving a comprehensive comparison, but I'll leave some very short to the point impressions below. I have owned 5 sets of hp1000 since my time here at headfi, so I feel I have a pretty good grasp on their sound stock. Ive always used flats. Impressions are with the new flats.
The first thing that jumped at me were the dynamics, specifically contrasts and how clear they were. I am a choir director, so I use primarily choral recordings both professional and amateur ones of my own choirs, due to their uncompressed format, diversity in acoustic venues on recordings, and mostly midrange content. Because of my familiarity with the voice, choirs, and choral literature, I am able to make some quick yet accurate assessments. Dynamic shifts and gradations became noticeably more vivid, the uncompressed nature of this kind of music makes it obvious.
The next thing I heard that was a pretty noticeable change was in the level of detail and resolution, specifically what I call inner resolution, this ability to highlight detail from within the recording presenting it in a natural way, versus exaggerating high end treble to give the illusion of increased detail. In choral recordings you can hear it in the focus and precision within the inner voices, specifically the tenor and alto lines. With the hpi they simply are more audible and more in focus. Another thing that was obvious was the difference I heard in the coloring of the acoustic venue. With modded it was way more obvious hearing how the venue colors the overall timbre of the choirs, and you can really pick up on how wet or dry the hall was, and I could even pinpoint the level of reverberation pretty well, which the stock never really brought to my attention. Pretty impressive detail retrieval, without brightness or etch.
Soundstage is a tricky one. I wouldn't say it's bigger or that the actual depth of stage has changed, the hp1000 has always been kind of mid-front row like maybe 10 rows back and that hasn't change. But there is a bit more clarity and focus within the imaging for sure.
Pcf captured for me the bass presentation pretty accurately in describing the bass as leaner. I find it simply to have less congestion and distortion than stock, which makes it hit harder and cleaner, and much easier to follow and delineate specific bass lines.
The highs have a little more detail and focus but not that different than stock, I've always loved the sweetness in the top end with all of my hp1000's.
Overall, IMHO it is still the generally same tonal signature of stock, but simply a more refined, sophisticated version of it. I have always loved the hp1000 (this is my 6th set after all) for its organic tonality, the naturalness of its presentation, it's fantastic bass, and near perfect midrange quality. The hp1000 has always sounded very "right" to my ears. The modded simply seems to bring more of that goodness out by removing some of the congestion in the bass to lower mids while bringing some much needed focus and clarity everywhere else.
Is it worth the 1250-1500 that's being asked? Can't answer that for you. For me the money wasn't necessarily the issue but the time. Sent in January, received in August, was originally told 2 weeks. I've read similar arguments between the audeze lcd3 and lcd2 but I can't comment as I havent heard the lcd3. Compared to other expensive vintage headphones I'll take the hp1000i over the l3000, ps1, r10, qualia, k1000 (stats are another ball game). However I probably still take a stock hp1000 over those too, maybe not the l3000 or ps1. I say if your happy with stock no worries. If you have cash to burn, have a lot of time and patience, and have come to the conclusion like me that this is your desert island phone, go ahead, it gets better. If you are not a fan of the hp1000 sound I don't think the modded changes your impressions.
I have no idea how much of the above can be attribute to the new pads or other joe Grado voodoo things. Don't bother asking me to a b between pads because honesty I Just don't care that much, and I am just happy to have these back after a long wait. I've never doubted joes quality of work or consistency that is for sure. Overall I'm happy I did it but in my situation it was truly low risk, and I'm really enjoying them as we speak.Edited by recstar24 - 8/21/12 at 8:32pm