Bring Back the HE Audio Jades!
(but with better build quality)
I actually tried to buy the Jades a while back and sadly I got this message from Head-Direct:
this product is discontinued, we will refund it to you. there will be successor electrostatic headphone, pls kindly wait.
Head Direct/HiFiMAN shipping Dept.
I've heard rumors of a Jade II, but it looks like that may not proceed. Since then, I've been able to acquire a pair of used Jades. Although certain members of the STAX mafia have opined that the Jades sound like garbage, many other people who do own them or have actually heard them feel that they sound pretty darn good. This is not to say that the original Jades were perfect or did not have issues (their construction was suspect - my pair are currently being held together by screws and glue). I do feel that more choice is always better, especially for the electrostatic headphone arena: perhaps an updated model with better quality construction.
You can read David Mahler's opinion of the Jade here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-50-headphones-compared#user_JADE
Here is also an except from how I subjectively experienced the STOCK Jades:
BTW, just in case you didn't know, these are electrostatic headphones.
I've heard these before at an earlier meet and liked them somewhat. These remind me of the HD800s, especially in the treble. The HD800s have always been hard to describe for me. They kind of have a split personality. Sometimes the HD800 can sound lush or laid back, but other times they can sound brittle and bright. The bass on the HE Audio Jades extends down fairly well, but it's restrained. It will hit the low notes, but it's not explosive. The HD800s hit slighter harder and just as low. By no means is the Jade bass lite, unless you are a basshead.
The HE Audio Jades have less of the HD800's split personality. They don't have that sometimes laid-back nature of the HD800. They sound more neutral, but with a tip upward, with the same brittle hardness of the HD800 (can you say 6k peak?) Like the HD800s, they have a bit of energy from 6k onward, although it doesn't sound like there any major resonance modes, it does seem hot around 8k. Maybe some mods can correct this? I have some ideas already and will experiment.
EDIT: Now that the diaphragm has had a chance to charge up for a few hours, there's moar bass and lushness. (Have 007s nearby to make sure it's not brain burn-in.)
BTW, these headphones look extremely DIY. They do extract low level information extremely well. Better than the 007mk2.5. [at least with my upstream gear]
Measurements are below. It should be noted that the dips at 5k and 7k are really peaks in disguise (yes these odd measurement artifacts happen in speaker measurements too.)
Edited by purrin - 11/2/12 at 2:15pm