Well, I think you guys are done eating each other alive, so now it is time for my review ;)
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)
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.
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.
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.
Slightly bright, but I don't think the treble is pronounced above all, it is just a lack of bass.
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.
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.
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.
- Classic Rock
- Alternative Rock
- Progressive Rock
- Small arrangement classical
- 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)
- 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.
- Mid detail
- Lushness without distortion
- Warm tone
- Treble detail (in certain cases, see treble section)
- Bass quantity could definitely stand to be larger
- Bass extension
- Treble got smeared with heavy bass accompanyment
- Weight (these things weigh a ton)
- 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