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The T50RP Paradox | reviews, discussion, & mini-tour impressions (index in second post) - Page 4

post #46 of 721

I'll get the Paradox back from linux and listen to just the Paradox and reevaluate my impressions accordingly. Who knows, you might see me ordering a pair of paradox and putting my magnums up for sale. (I don't think so, but hey)

*edit*

Still not ordering a pair of paradox, but I have a renewed interest in the t50rp modding scene. If I can get a pair close to the paradox, I might let go of my magnums. I think I'm just ready to move on to a more neutral sound signature (shockingly, I was pretty hooked on the grado/magnum sound for forever).


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 11/9/12 at 1:50pm
post #47 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

 

Oh boy. I mostly used an O2 to drive them. The gain was sufficient for all but very quiet tracks. I don't really feel comfortable giving impressions on them, but I will say that I preferred the tonality of the magnums. The Lamdas were too detailed on the high end and too bright. They sounded kinda wonky and unnatural to me.

 

If you think that the Lambdas are "kinda wonky and unnatural", it may be understandable that you think the Paradox are "unnatural and kinda wonky".

 

That said, relative to the Paradox and any Stax product, the Magnums appear to have a bit of emphasis on the mid-bass and the entire tremble and high mids regions (FR). Therefore it is surprising to qualify Lambdas as bright coming from Magnums. 


Edited by ultrabike - 11/1/12 at 12:15am
post #48 of 721

Paradox is in the house for 2 days now - considering that I bought burnt-in pair, I think that's enough for the first impression.

 

In two words they are "space" and "clarity" - it impressed me from the first seconds how good they are in terms of details and 3D feeling - definitely better than my HE-500. And that's sealed phones! Maybe there're kinda nano-equalisers inside them, I don't know, but that's just no contest between HE-500 and paradox in these aspects.

 

Their tonal balance is definitely brighter than HE-500 - superb for classics, not disturbing on rock and metal, IMHO, but for jazz etc. maybe too bright. Vocals to me as good as with HE-500.

 

The most controversal part of their sound for me is bass. I don't know how can it be, but on some tracks the amount of bass is on par with hifimans, while on the others there's definitely much less (I want more on these records). The coolest part, though, is that the bass of paradox never ever affect mids, while on hifimans the sound can become a little bit blurred on complex music with a lot of instruments.

 

Paradox is much less forgiving - crappy records sound like crap, especially high freq.

 

So, in my experience, Paradox and HE-500 are very different, but both headphones are good in their own way on my schiit setup (Bifrost+Asgard). I'm waiting for Anedio D2 to come, so, if everything's fine with the parcel, I'll make another comparison using it.

 

P.S. Now I have just HE-500, but I had Denon D2000 and AKG K550 - Paradox is much better in every aspect, just higher league.

P.S.S. Sorry for bad english :)


Edited by remilio - 11/1/12 at 3:16am
post #49 of 721
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Remilio.. looking forward to your impressions with the Anedio D2, too.. that's a fantastic DAC.

post #50 of 721

Remillio, most likely you need wait for Anedio DAC/AMP and then make a final cinclusions. I beleive that HE-500 on better amp, than Asgard, will show self for 50% better or more.

Don't sell a HE-500 until you'll get an Anedio. Maybe you will want to sell a Paradox after that biggrin.gif

post #51 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by danik97 View Post

Remillio, most likely you need wait for Anedio DAC/AMP and then make a final cinclusions. I beleive that HE-500 on better amp, than Asgard, will show self for 50% better or more.

Don't sell a HE-500 until you'll get an Anedio. Maybe you will want to sell a Paradox after that biggrin.gif

 

While I agree with this statement, 50% better is a bit much.  However,  having a brighter tonal balance (not sure what this is) than the 500s may not be a good thing, as the 500s can get a little hot up top.  Also details and vocals (Female vocals) IMO is where the 500s shine.  I'm more of a 5LE person opposed to a 500 person anyway.  

 

I didn't have my 500s or the 5LEs at the same time I had my Paradox.  My Paradox is on its way back home from Luis.  I can't wait to put them to the test.

 

I'll compare the Paradox and the 5LEs on the βeta-22.  I'll compare the Paradox and the 500s on the M^3.  Lets see how versatile the Paradox are.


Edited by preproman - 11/1/12 at 4:34am
post #52 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

I'll compare the Paradox and the 5LEs on the βeta-22.  I'll compare the Paradox and the 500s on the M^3.  Lets see how versatile the Paradox are.

Cool! I'm interested in how much will be the difference with better amplification.

post #53 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by remilio View Post

Cool! I'm interested in how much will be the difference with better amplification.

Second that

post #54 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post

 

If you think that the Lambdas are "kinda wonky and unnatural", it may be understandable that you think the Paradox are "unnatural and kinda wonky".

 

That said, relative to the Paradox and any Stax product, the Magnums appear to have a bit of emphasis on the mid-bass and the entire tremble and high mids regions (FR). Therefore it is surprising to qualify Lambdas as bright coming from Magnums. 

*sighs*
 

I don't like headphones that measure flat. They don't sound right to me. If I was going to blindly pick a pair of headphones based on graphs, I'd pick the one that wasn't flat. It might be time for me to check off this website. I'm pretty happy with what I've got, and I don't really have much to contribute any more.

The magnums don't have more treble, they are on par with the paradox and less than the stax, IMO. However, there is a very different quality to the treble. It makes cymbals sound like real life cymbals instead of just being boring dry high frequency noise. INB4 a graph showing me some aluminum magnum has a weird, jagged high-end... 

*edit*

So, uh.. Gonna eat my words right now, in a big way. I'm pretty happy with how these "flat" headphones sound. 

The magnums do have more treble.. or at least, colored treble that makes cymbals and highs pop.

I still think the Lambdas sounded kinda wonky. But, I'd have to hear them again to give good impressions.


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 11/9/12 at 1:53pm
post #55 of 721

Why is everyone being so defensive and confrontational in this thread? It seems to me that so far in reality all of you have been in agreement on pretty much everything, but you keep responding to perceived attacks that don't exist and projecting your own thoughts and fears onto the words of others. redface.gif

 

measurements  preferences

 

preferences  neutrality

post #56 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Okay, now I'm really intrigued. For those of you comparing the Paradox and Lambda series:

 

-What about comfort? If there's one thing I really like about a vintage Lambda, it's the very light clamping force. Could wear them for hours on end because of that...but I still haven't tried a stock T50RP, let alone the Paradox. (Yet.)

 

-How about soundstage and imaging? I know that's a Lambda series strong suit, but I don't know if the Paradox can compare there just because of the T50RP housing it's still using, which doesn't seem too open. (I just want it to be spacious and "3D" enough to bring out the cues with CMSS-3D Headphone, Dolby Headphone, etc. so that it feels like I'm there.)

 

-Have any of you had experience with the Normal bias SR-Lambda in addition to the Lambda Pro when making your Paradox comparisons? The latter's said to have more bass and treble extension, but a really recessed midrange, and I wouldn't like it if it's anything like the SR-202 where the vocals suddenly start taking a back seat.

 

Comfort on both are superb, with me preferring the Paradox because of the cushy pads. The Lambdas have weirdly-shaped pads that don't fully enclose my ears the way the Paradox does. Both of them have a suspension headband, so they feel fairly weightless when worn. The stock T50RP with the rubber headband isn't nearly as comfortable.

 

Lambdas win out in soundstage for the virtue of being open-backed, but the Paradox sounds surprisingly open for a closed headphone. It's been a while since I heard the Lambdas, but I'd give them the edge in imaging, but the presentations are different. The Lambdas are supremely airy and spacious, while the Paradox have a denser, more liquid presentation characteristic of all orthos (I think I saw someone earlier mention it as a "wall of sound" effect). 

 

I believe the Lambdas I heard were the standard bias ones, which were the only pair I heard. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

 

 Yeah, I should probably have given them some more head time before handing them off to linux.. Maybe I'll grab them back from him and only listen to the paradox for a while. Don't get me wrong, the paradox wasn't unlistenable or anything.. It was just vastly different from my magnums which are my day to day can and they suite my preferences pretty well. Also, all magnums vary a good deal, I don't know what magnums you have heard, but they weren't my specific pair. The drivers vary and the cup material and size varies. Both can affect the sound quite a bit IMO. 

I'll agree that the paradox are more even, I just don't like the sound. I think maybe kick drums not sounding right has to do with your cups. The type of material (aluminum and the different types of woods) and the chamber length matters quite a bit. Drums didn't sound right to me with aluminum magnums, the limba cups fixed that for me. Basically, no one has any business including DIY magnums in an impressions thread, but they are my go to can.. so, I had little choice. If I had a different pair like, say HD650, I'd be more comfortable comparing the paradox to it. The magnums are more airy, the paradox is faster. Maybe that smoothness is what turned me off, too smooth is bad to me. I don't agree that one or the other is better from a fidelity standpoint, I would call it a tie. In fact, I picked up bass details in my music a bit easier on the magnums, I swear. That could easily be blamed on the mastering engineer though :)

 

What were you driving the Lambdas with? I thought they were a bit more than slightly bright, but that might have been due to driving them with an O2. They were definitely more bright than my magnums.

 

Nothing wrong with not liking the sound. We're all entitled to like what we like. 

 

Regarding the Magnums -- that's true that they can vary based upon build. I think the only Magnum we should use as a reference are the complete builds direct from Rhydon, which neither of us have. For what it's worth, mine are in Cabillas sapelle cups, the same cups as Kojaku's pair featured on Inner Fidelity (just to give everyone a frame of reference): http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/grado-diy-project-starving-student-audiophile-gives-new-meaning-music-page-2

 

I was driving the Lambdas with vintage receivers I had at the time, mostly a Marantz 2230 which is on the warm side. The low-bass roll-off and the characteristic impotence of e-stat bass probably contributes to the Lambdas perceived brightness. I do find the Magnums brighter though due to the peaky treble.

post #57 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

*sighs*
 

I don't like headphones that measure flat. They don't sound right to me. If I was going to blindly pick a pair of headphones based on graphs, I'd pick the one that wasn't flat. It might be time for me to check off this website. I'm pretty happy with what I've got, and I don't really have much to contribute any more.

The magnums don't have more treble, they are on par with the paradox and less than the stax, IMO. However, there is a very different quality to the treble. It makes cymbals sound like real life cymbals instead of just being boring dry high frequency noise. INB4 a graph showing me some aluminum magnum has a weird, jagged high-end... 

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not liking headphones that measures flat. In fact, if the Magnum's FR signature is what you like, I would not look into the Paradox or Stax headphones any further, as they will not deliver the same experience that you are looking for (based both on FR graphs, and my own experience with some of those cans.) If you are looking for an improvement, given your preferences and priorities, you might want to take your chances with something with similar FR to the Magnums, but with perhaps with less distortion and smoother FR... If that is available, was bothering you, or was just curious about it.

Furthermore, if you are fully satisfied with what you have, then by all means congrats! beerchug.gif

 

I however disagree that you "don't really have much to contribute any more." Your impressions and experience are valuable IMHO.


Edited by ultrabike - 11/1/12 at 11:01am
post #58 of 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Questhate View Post

 

Comfort on both are superb, with me preferring the Paradox because of the cushy pads. The Lambdas have weirdly-shaped pads that don't fully enclose my ears the way the Paradox does. Both of them have a suspension headband, so they feel fairly weightless when worn. The stock T50RP with the rubber headband isn't nearly as comfortable.

 

Lambdas win out in soundstage for the virtue of being open-backed, but the Paradox sounds surprisingly open for a closed headphone. It's been a while since I heard the Lambdas, but I'd give them the edge in imaging, but the presentations are different. The Lambdas are supremely airy and spacious, while the Paradox have a denser, more liquid presentation characteristic of all orthos (I think I saw someone earlier mention it as a "wall of sound" effect). 

 

I believe the Lambdas I heard were the standard bias ones, which were the only pair I heard. 

 

 

Nothing wrong with not liking the sound. We're all entitled to like what we like. 

 

Regarding the Magnums -- that's true that they can vary based upon build. I think the only Magnum we should use as a reference are the complete builds direct from Rhydon, which neither of us have. For what it's worth, mine are in Cabillas sapelle cups, the same cups as Kojaku's pair featured on Inner Fidelity (just to give everyone a frame of reference): http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/grado-diy-project-starving-student-audiophile-gives-new-meaning-music-page-2

 

I was driving the Lambdas with vintage receivers I had at the time, mostly a Marantz 2230 which is on the warm side. The low-bass roll-off and the characteristic impotence of e-stat bass probably contributes to the Lambdas perceived brightness. I do find the Magnums brighter though due to the peaky treble.

I prefer the Lamda's for comfort. evil_smiley.gif I find the paradox a little heavier than I'd like. The Lamda's felt almost nonexistent, I really liked their fit!

Are those cups finished on the inside at all? or bare? Mine received a few coats of tru-oil, and then were wet sanded with tru-oil.. It's like a cross between the bare wood and the oiled cups. I really like these cups :) I kinda wish I had a spare set that I could send around and let people try out. Or just a complete spare set of headphones. Also, besides the finish, I have never heard sapelle. Only full aluminum, bloodwood, mahogany, cocobolo, and limba.

I think the lambas would sound best off vintage receivers :) I liked them off of linux's tube amp. He actually almost bought and kept those Lambda's!

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not liking headphones that measures flat. In fact, if the Magnum's FR signature is what you like, I would not look into the Paradox or Stax headphones any further, as they will not deliver the same experience that you are looking for (based both on FR graphs, and my own experience with some of those cans.) If you are looking for an improvement, given your preferences and priorities, you might want to take your chances with something with similar FR to the Magnums, but with perhaps with less distortion and smoother FR... If that is available, was bothering you, or was just curious about it.

Furthermore, if you are fully satisfied with what you have, then by all means congrats! beerchug.gif

 

I however disagree that you "don't really have much to contribute any more." Your impressions and experience are valuable IMHO.

I'm interested in the totl stax still :) I hear they are colored differently than the lamda's. In fact, totl stax is about the only thing still on my radar at all. The paradox caught my eye because it's DIY, and just kinda has an inherent awesomeness factor. 

Thanks, I was just being.. grumpy :)

post #59 of 721

Well, I think you guys are done eating each other alive, so now it is time for my review ;)

 

Intro

Well, for a little background, as of the time of this writing, I own, or have extensively tested, the following:

  • Sennheiser HD 595 (main headphone)
  • Denon AH-D1100
  • Koss Pro DJ100
  • Grado SR-60i
  • Chris's Magnums
  • Stax SR-Lambda Pro
  • Fostex T50RP (stock)
  • Probably a few more I don't remember

I find this to be important, and I think ultimately, I don't have too many preferences where sound signature is concerned.  In my opinion, different sound signatures are for different genres of music.

 

Sound (working my way up from the bottom)

Bass

Well, as much as I wanted to like the bass on these headphones, it was honestly quite disappointing.  I didn't find the bass particularly deeply extended or punchy.  They feel as if they had about the same amount of extension as Grados or Magnums, just without the midbass hump.  Now I am not saying they can't produce deep bass, I am saying they can't produce it at any sort of level that is actually usable.  For example on the song Bass Head by Bassnectar, whenever there was a bass drop and nothing else, you almost can't hear anything at all.  I mean you can hear it a little, but that is straining yourself to do so.  I feel as if the original T50RP had better bass, but it has been a while since I have listened to it so I can't say with certainty.  I can say though that theses have significantly less impact than the originals though.  That I believe can be traced back to the different pads and incredible amount of dampening in the Paradox.  If you are buying these headphones for the bass, I'd say you haven't done much research.

Mids

As disappointing as the bass was, the mids were amazing.  They have beautiful ortho mids.  Complete liquid mids that pour down your ears.  This might be one of the few places where I can use the following two words in the same sentence: lush and detailed.  Yes, lush and detailed.  They have among lushest mids I have ever heard and NO grain.  I also said detailed, so I ought to give the details on this ;)  Anyway, the mid details are definitely comparable (yet a little less) than the Stax Lambda Pros.  These drivers are definitely capable of some amazing things.  For example, every click in Koop's Waltz for Koop can be heard amazingly well, even as the music is playing.  Vocals, both male and female, sound completely amazing on these bad boys.  Also, drums (I consider theses for the most parts to be mids, if you have a problem with that, suck it) are amazingly realistic, probably the most real sounding of any headphones I have ever heard.  The only thing I can complain about (and this is really a preference) is that there isn't any tactile impact to accompany the hits of the drums.

Highs

Detailed again.  Cymbals sound amazingly realistic.  They don't have the extended crash of a pair of Grados, but are extremely detailed.  Now all this being said, the treble detail doesn't hold a candle to the Stax Lambda Pros.  Not even close.  By itself, treble sounds great and detailed, but with a lot else going on in the background, it struggles.  For example cymbals seem to get a bit smeared in System Of A Down's Attack.  I think this is due to the bass being in the background.  There isn't much airyness either, but these are closed headphones so I won't count that against them at all.

Overall

Slightly bright, but I don't think the treble is pronounced above all, it is just a lack of bass.

Soundstage

Well, surprisingly good for a pair of closed orthos.  They are definitely an intimate pair of headphones, without being "in your face."  The soundstage for a pair of closed headphones is medium, yet very coherent which I have always believed orthos struggle with.  Imaging is pretty good for a closed headphone, but the problem is that I have a pair of Denons (if you see any irony in this, comment.)  Compared to the D1100s the Paradox certainly doesn't have a comparable soundstage (although it doesn't FEEL like the Paradox has an edge where it FEELS like the Denons have one.)  It doesn't have quite the directional imaging either.  However, the laying, unlike the D1100s is correct.  I tested all this with Jazzanova's Funkhaus Studio Sessions.

 

Comfort

This is slightly hit or miss.  I like the AKG-esque headband, and that was a nice touch, however that doesn't solve the problem that these are some extremely heavy headphones.  It wouldn't surprise me if these are at least double the weight of the original T50RP.  The pads are also nice and comfortable, with some of the best leather I have ever felt on headphones.  However, the inside of one pad is vinyl(?) and the other is the same leather as the rest of the pad.  They have the slight tendency to want to fall off your head if you look down, so I can't say these are going to be the best headphones for rocking out or on the go.

 

Conclusion

They are a great melding of both ortho sound and electrostat sound.  Following I will list what musical genres they are good, ok, and bad with.

Good

  • Jazz
  • Classic Rock
  • Alternative Rock
  • Progressive Rock
  • Vocals
  • Instrumental
  • Small arrangement classical

Okay

  • Orchestral and philharmonic classical
  • Metal (would be higher if only for less treble smearing in complex passages, I feel it should be between good and okay)
  • Electronic (without bass)

Bad

  • Dubstep
  • Rap
  • Any type of electronic that has heavy amounts of bass.

 

I am going to sum up the pros and cons, but I also am adding a third category of neutral.

Pro

  • Mid detail
  • Lushness without distortion
  • Warm tone
  • Treble detail (in certain cases, see treble section)

Con

  • Bass quantity could definitely stand to be larger
  • Bass extension
  • Treble got smeared with heavy bass accompanyment
  • Weight (these things weigh a ton)

Neutral

  • Comfort (comfortable, but the weight pulls this down to neutral)
  • Soundstaging and imaging

 

Edit: I forgot about amping, the answer is yes and I will leave it at that.


Edited by linuxid10t - 11/5/12 at 12:16pm
post #60 of 721

Wow, I was expecting to hate your review Linux, but it was actually really on point. Good job man.

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