Originally Posted by MuppetFace
Thing is, folks who really like them don't spend on megabux headphones in general. Tyll for instance really likes the Abyss, but he's not going to buy one. He's not lining up to buy a SR-009 either. Same with a lot of other folks I've talked to over the last few months.
Also I'm sure there are folks who listen to the Abyss and enjoy it but already
have the far more well-established SR-009 and can't really justify two supercars in one garage.
Isn't it a question of priorities and judgment call about what you get for the amount of money? If am pretty convinced that ANY passionate headphone geek will find a way to finance the phone if it truly / fully delivers on what they're after.
For instance, some people just find the 009/BHSE ruthlessly revealing to the point of taking the fun out if the listening experience (in particular when using subpar source material). Maybe that's not exactly how Tyll feels but it could part of the reason why he doesn't own one regardless of how well it performs.
For the abyss, there appears to be a consensus that it does some things extraordinaly well (the bass response and openness of soundstage) while being judged as ok to plainly terrible in other areas such as the treble response (multiple reputable members made similar observations). At that price point (and even much lower prices actually), it's pretty hard to justify a purchase if you readily notice faults from even just short time audition.
Then again, people tastes vary tremendously and some might not feel bothered by the phones faults (as you mentioned, some ortho fans are delighted with the abyss).
Personnally, I find the subjective reactions very enlightening because they echo the initial concerns with the choices being made for the design.
Example: treble ringing is pretty standard issue with orthos hence the heavy use of felts/absorbers to damp the diaphragm. The abyss designers went with a metallic foam, extremely open which acts more like a dust cover than damping layer.
I wonder if this is what yields a very snappy transient response and open sound but the transient response takes its toll with excessive ringing / smearing of the high frequencies. The metallic foam was a deliberate design decision after some extensive trials, I guess the designers relied on subjective results and didn't mind the drawbacks of the choices being made.
The move to inherently non-linear transduction principle (instead of the traditional push-pull configuration with magnets on both sides of the traces) was pretty bold too. There again, it seems objectivity was left aside and what sounded better to the designers was used (like for instance a more open sounding can).
I guess this is the same "conflict" as always between the objectivists who will dismiss the item on a technical ground without even giving it a chance and subjectivists who will take anything as long as it sounds good to them...
I personnaly try to keep my mind open but have to admit the acoustic engineer in me is not really putting much hope in the abyss (in its current form) based on the design choices and measurements. The impressions from people who's hearing I very much trust make me all the more dubious on this can being truly that exceptional.