Originally Posted by bhazard
You're entitled to your opinion, and they may be more enjoyable to you, but I think the exact opposite of the M90 to the HE-500. It's not even a contest. The HE-500 is far better in every aspect, and I was never 100% thrilled with my HE-500.
The Mikros bass under 100hz trails off far before the HE-500, to the tune of -10db or more, and the HE-500 bass isn't even that pushed. HE-500 low level detail is much better than the Mikros when paired with an amp that can give each channel 2 clean watts or more.
The HE-500's midrange is light years better in all aspects of detail. The slight push Hifiman is known for is not neutral, but it is appealing. The Mikros does compare really well here, as I prefer the more neutral sound, but...
The Mikros 90 spikes and dips quite a bit after 2k. In no way is it as neutral, and the HE-500 has its own issues here. Changing the cable alone on the Mikros produces a largely noticeable change in the DB level of cymbals, meaning a lot of this is lost in stock form. Levels that could barely be heard lifted back to where they were supposed to be. This is just from a cable swap, something that shouldn't be required on a $200 MSRP headphone.
Tonal purity, low level detail, overall neutrality, measurements... its not even close.
I'm starting to really wonder about the overhype here. I'm ok with hyping the sound quality for the price, but saying it is better than the HE-500 is borderline absurd. I've been burning these in 18+ hours straight hoping that they somehow get better, because they do not sound anywhere near as good or neutral as they are being hyped as. Good yes, but better than HE-500 good? Ridiculous. That just took the hype way too far and starts to kill credibility on what the Mikros actually is.
Martin Logan has a hard enough time producing a speaker that can test neutral in a wider than 3ft measurement area head on. They didn't just magically learn to do it on a discontinued headphone.
Don't even remember anyone saying they're better than the HE-500. pataburd likes them more than the HE-6 (with his expensive setup, and fancy cables ), which is totally different. I haven't heard the HE-500 so I don't know. One thing you mustn't do is try to stop the Mikros hype train so abruptly. These people are a little…passionate.
For the price of $100, these cans are an actual steal. People like to throw that word around, calling something like the DT880 at $200 a steal, or something like that a steal when the price shouldn't have been that high to begin with. Against the WS99, FC300, M500, etc, the Mikros wins in the midrange and treble. They do however loose out to the MDR MA900 in soundstage, which is reeeeeeealy important. The Mikros will pull out a ton of detailes, and give you a nice timbre, accompanied with an OK soundstage (acceptable). The MA900's soundstage is so large, you have to hear it to understand it.
Bass- 3.5/5- Great in quantity, only slightly lacks in extension and size or realism. This is because of the small design.
Mids- 4.5/5- Defeats the mids of any and every closed can I've heard. Vocals do well, but are too forward.
Highs- 4/5 The lower mids were already mentioned. It only acts up on certain tracks, and is veeery volume dependent. The upper highs could be raised more to introduce more air.
Soundstage- 4/5- great depth, but it's not very wide.
Fiio X3, stock cable, no mods.
Now compared to $100 headphones, its a 5/5 all the way through.