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where are the "Ear-speaker" type cans?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I've been bitten by the headfi upgrade-itis bug after nearly a 6-7+ year hiatus... and wow has this place changed in a lot of ways.

 

One things still kind of the same though is that the "ear speaker" kind of design still remains relatively high end.  When I was last active here I had considered the K1000 and Qualia the epitome of that extreme-open kind of design.  Sony had the MDR-F1 at about that time (a can that I always thought was under-appreciated on HF)... but thats pretty much it at the affordable end of the spectrum.  And to my surprise many here still find the K701 to have the broadest sound stage image in this price range.

 

So are there any ~$300 ear-speaker, extreme-open headphone designs today in 2013?  Has it been tried / failed in my absence?

Sony has the MA900 with 70mm (!!) drivers thats got my attention, and might make for an interesting shootout with the K701.

 

thanks!!


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/16/13 at 5:04pm
post #2 of 8

About the only thing you'll find in that price range is the old Sony PFR-V1.

 

Then again, I don't even know of any "earspeaker" designs aside from that, the AKG K1000, and the Stax SR-Sigma, where they mount the drivers in front of the ears instead of beside them.

 

I consider open-back headphones just that, not earspeakers, hence why I don't apply the term to non-Sigma Stax models even if that's how they'd prefer me to describe the Lambda and Omega variants, and I certainly don't apply that to things like the AKG K701/K702/Q701 or the Audio-Technica AD series.

 

If you're just looking for a gigantic soundstage and not specifically for that "two speakers in front of your head" experience, then your options open up considerably, though it would help if you could get that budget up to $400 or even $500.

post #3 of 8

Maybe the hifimans? They definitely leak like earspeakers :P

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

So I've been bitten by the headfi upgrade-itis bug after nearly a 6-7+ year hiatus... and wow has this place changed in a lot of ways.

One things still kind of the same though is that the "ear speaker" kind of design still remains relatively high end.  When I was last active here I had considered the K1000 and Qualia the epitome of that extreme-open kind of design.  Sony had the MDR-F1 at about that time (a can that I always thought was under-appreciated on HF)... but thats pretty much it at the affordable end of the spectrum.  And to my surprise many here still find the K701 to have the broadest sound stage image in this price range.

So are there any ~$300 ear-speaker, extreme-open headphone designs today in 2013?  Has it been tried / failed in my absence?
Sony has the MA900 with 70mm (!!) drivers thats got my attention, and might make for an interesting shootout with the K701.

thanks!!

I think open-air is pretty much dead atm; the MA900 was discontinued fairly quickly after launch (hence the massive price cut). There's a review floating around somewhere by swbf2cheater, the discussion in that thread touched on them against the F1 - from what I remember he said they were better extended and more neutral/dryer/monitor-esque sounding, but I haven't tried them out personally. They're supposed to be more comfortable too (they actually weigh LESS than the F1 (if you can imagine that)).

There's plenty of used options, like the F1, MDR-SA5000, K1000, PFR-V1, etc but I'm not aware of many new headphones that would approximate open-air these days. I think the modern preference is towards closed-cans that can be used in a mobile environment; not big home listening setups. *shrug*

Something else to consider - have you ever tried an S-LOGIC headphone?
post #5 of 8

I think Stax was the company that started them, and the reason was to incorporate electrostatic speakers in a small form factor, and also because they cannot (maybe harder, mark me if I'm wrong)  be made in circular style.

 

And yes, as obob says, portability is a factor.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

I think Stax was the company that started them, and the reason was to incorporate electrostatic speakers in a small form factor, and also because they cannot (maybe harder, mark me if I'm wrong)  be made in circular style.

And yes, as obob says, portability is a factor.

Yeah what was that one called? SR-Sigma or something like that? Always looked interesting!
post #7 of 8

HE400 aren't earspeakers but sound particularly open and maybe even have the potential to be modded as actual earspeakers, especially with velour pads. Anything close to it from the sides or adjacent would warp the sound negatively.


Edited by jerg - 1/17/13 at 1:17am
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Yeah what was that one called? SR-Sigma or something like that? Always looked interesting!


Yep, the Stax SR-Sigma is the first true ear-speaker:

 

 

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