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Ultrasone Edition 12 announced in Japan - Page 16

post #226 of 383
I shouldn't have done that...

I continued testing the ED12 direct off of source components I had around the house, remembering that I tested the Senn HD700s direct from an old CD player we've got laying around(sounded really bad...) I decided to try the same test with the Ultrasones. The sound I got was good, as in better than my computer system. Confused I then hooked up one of my vintage amps to the CD player and again used it's headphone port. The sound improved. Confused I hooked up the same amp to my DAC(having been using the other amp for a few weeks now) and played the same album... earbleed. And the campfire crackling away during the song's intro that sounded lifelike off the CD player/amp combo... just harsh noise. For curiosity's sake I cracked open the CD player and it's headphone amp is nothing but a simple op-amp. ED12 easy to drive? Guess so! Though that doesn't mean that an amp won't improve the sound.(if my 50+ yr old receiver does... what will a modern amp bring to the table?) The good news here is that if you're short on cash, you can pick up the ED12 and a $20 CD player off ebay, and get good sound while you save up for the rest of your system. biggrin.gif

It looks like I'm going to have to go DAC shopping again. I bought the Ultra-Fi DAC41 when I was mainly using my STAX. I concluded that it was the first DAC more detailed than said CD player(which was highly resolving but far too glassy/harsh). Now it seems as if the reverse is true with the Sones. I don't get how that can be as I'm using the same set of amplifiers I tested with the STAX. Could it be that the STAX was un-able to fully resolve the high-end of the CD player?(Both the CD spinner and STAX are mid-80s designs.) Then why did the UF sound less harsh? Anyways, I have a lot of reading to do on the topic of OS vs NOS DACs. The Ultra-Fi is NOS and I'm wondering if I'm hearing those 'high end artifacts' OS fans talk about. Things would be a whole lot easier if I could figure out which technology the CD player uses. While I was in there I noted down that it used a 'Toshiba TP6709N' DAC chip, but all I could find about it is that it's 16-bit. Anyone know if there are 16-bit OS DACs? Or when OS technology was first introduced? The CD player came out in 1986.

EDIT: I've been researching DACs most of the day and was just reading a pdf published by Hagerman Tech on why they don't do 'non-filtered NOS' DACs. "The final problem with non-OS, non-filtered DACs is the amazing level of ultrasonic output content. Without a brick-wall filter, both switching edge harmonics and aliased images are sent downstream for other system components to deal
with." Perhaps I should have been focusing on the one thing I changed in my system all along, the Ultrasones. The older STAX are probably not playing anything above 18khz, 20 tops. The Sones are rated up to 42khz. Perhaps because of this, a flaw of my UF that was not obvious before is now brought to the forefront. I know we supposedly can't hear that high(with the hearing tests on YT I've tried, I top out around 17.5khz) but perhaps it is doing something with the headphone drivers that makes music more fatiguing? The Sones are less bright than the STAX with every source but said DAC(the CD player actually being listenable with them confirms this), so I'm really confused with this issue. Funny really, the CD spinner has that 'you are there' feeling of which I've never really experienced before despite all it's other shortcomings. I've got my computer tweaked out the wazoo and I run Jplay.(which brought my digital rig up more than any DAC upgrade I've done) I'm not sure what else I could do besides replacing the DAC.

Anyways, I know I'm the only one with the ED12 so far, but I'm curious what DACs you guys would recommend for your Sones. I'm a bit annoyed that the harshness I was blaming on my old amps was actually coming from the DAC, but I suppose that's what revealing headphones like this are good for. They'll let you know when something is up for sure.

On another note, I'm thinking of getting the Graham Slee ULDE as my amp. I loaned one out when I was trying out the Beyer T90s, it wasn't the best match for them unless you really like smooth & mellow, but it may be just what the Sones need. Plus I use a Graham Slee phono stage that I'm really quite fond of. An additional plus is that it's a smaller amp, and easier to move around the room. The way this room is laid out I need pretty long cables to connect my phono-amp to my desktop amp. So, I should be able to pick up a short pair of 'audiophile' ICs rather than being stuck with a long(and bulky when I'm using my DAC as source) pair of Blue Jeans.

On a third note that I was wanting to mention, the ED12 keeps the 'magic' of the PRO2900 that led to me keeping them so long despite the painfully bright sound. As I've said before, it's almost like you can hear the guitar amp and it's cabinet rather than just guitar notes on their own. It's just a sense of realism that I really don't know how to describe. I was afraid that this was only there with the 2900 because of it's super brightness, but it looks like you can have your cake and eat it too. I'm very happy with this headphone purchase, for whatever reason I seem to make my best buys on instinct alone. Whenever I get myself stressed out researching things and focus too much on minor things, I end up quite unhappy. Anyone else able to relate to this?
Edited by MohawkUS - 10/9/13 at 4:57pm
post #227 of 383

Since sound is perception, when you trust your instincts, your perception of sound should be greater, as your mood is more stabilized.

post #228 of 383

Are these headphones and the Hifiman HE6 the only headphones that use gold in their transducer/membrane material? If so, this is really interesting because the HE6 is one of the toughest phones to drive while the ED12 is one of the least power hungry flagships. I know one is planar and the other dynamic, but some people were hypothesizing that it was the gold that was lowering the electrical sensitivity of the HE6. 

post #229 of 383
The Ultrasone HFI-2400 has gold plated drivers too.
post #230 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenSHK View Post

Are these headphones and the Hifiman HE6 the only headphones that use gold in their transducer/membrane material? If so, this is really interesting because the HE6 is one of the toughest phones to drive while the ED12 is one of the least power hungry flagships. I know one is planar and the other dynamic, but some people were hypothesizing that it was the gold that was lowering the electrical sensitivity of the HE6. 

My STAX SR-5nb use gold in their drivers, I'm not sure about their newer models. Truthfully that was one of the reasons I tried the HE-6 and then these. And the three of them are a lot closer together than say the HD700 and any one of the three. Whether that's the gold at work I don't know, but there are so many headphones to try, I needed something to base my purchases on beyond just brand loyalty. tongue.gif
post #231 of 383

oh snap... GOLD!

 

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

post #232 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post


My STAX SR-5nb use gold in their drivers, I'm not sure about their newer models. Truthfully that was one of the reasons I tried the HE-6 and then these. And the three of them are a lot closer together than say the HD700 and any one of the three. Whether that's the gold at work I don't know, but there are so many headphones to try, I needed something to base my purchases on beyond just brand loyalty. tongue.gif

Since you've heard both the HE6 and the ED12, which would you say is superior in terms of objective qualities: soundstage, imaging, and bass impact.

post #233 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenSHK View Post

Since you've heard both the HE6 and the ED12, which would you say is superior in terms of objective qualities: soundstage, imaging, and bass impact.

I really was not a fan of the Hifiman. I compared the ED12s to the SR5s earlier in this thread, and in comparison to the SR5s I found the 6 smoother, much more refined, thinner, and the sound-stage much more closed in. Overall though, they were very close to the STAX, it was a tradeoff of the STAX's soundstage to get a sound without grain. In terms of soundstage size it would be STAX>ED12>HE6, for imaging ED12>STAX>HE6

It is possible that my amp was not up to snuff, but like many of the HE-6 owners I am using a vintage speaker amplifier that outputs 30W+ per channel. Out of the three headphones I'd think the ED12 the most compromised with this solution(certainly it has audible background noise while the other two are silent.)

Bass, it has to be noted, was near non-existant in the Hifiman. The old STAX has limited extension down below but it hits harder and more realistically. The ED12 isn't quite as tight as either of the two but it sounds the most correct to my ears. I can actually enjoy organ and opera music on the Sones whilst the other two were a tad lacking down below.

Now, if you want to talk about the quality that is most important to me, timbre, headphones of this level are so closely matched I'm not sure I could pick a winner. I think I'd have a different pick depending on what I am listening to. ED12 is the best for the human voice and acoustic guitar though.
post #234 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post


I really was not a fan of the Hifiman. I compared the ED12s to the SR5s earlier in this thread, and in comparison to the SR5s I found the 6 smoother, much more refined, thinner, and the sound-stage much more closed in. Overall though, they were very close to the STAX, it was a tradeoff of the STAX's soundstage to get a sound without grain. In terms of soundstage size it would be STAX>ED12>HE6, for imaging ED12>STAX>HE6

It is possible that my amp was not up to snuff, but like many of the HE-6 owners I am using a vintage speaker amplifier that outputs 30W+ per channel. Out of the three headphones I'd think the ED12 the most compromised with this solution(certainly it has audible background noise while the other two are silent.)

Bass, it has to be noted, was near non-existant in the Hifiman. The old STAX has limited extension down below but it hits harder and more realistically. The ED12 isn't quite as tight as either of the two but it sounds the most correct to my ears. I can actually enjoy organ and opera music on the Sones whilst the other two were a tad lacking down below.

Now, if you want to talk about the quality that is most important to me, timbre, headphones of this level are so closely matched I'm not sure I could pick a winner. I think I'd have a different pick depending on what I am listening to. ED12 is the best for the human voice and acoustic guitar though.

Haha wow, either the ED12 seriously should be more popular than they currently are or you have a strong distaste for Hifiman. I am really impressed with the ED12 based on your descriptions. Hopefully I can hear one soon but seeing the lack of posts on this thread and the lack of real reviews and comparisons I hope if these cans are truly as great and obviously better than the HE6 as said, I doubt I'll find anyone at a regional meet with the ED12s anytime soon. 

post #235 of 383

What are the biggest differences between E10 and E12 soundwise?


Edited by korzena - 10/30/13 at 8:44am
post #236 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post

I shouldn't have done that...

I continued testing the ED12 direct off of source components I had around the house, remembering that I tested the Senn HD700s direct from an old CD player we've got laying around(sounded really bad...) I decided to try the same test with the Ultrasones. The sound I got was good, as in better than my computer system. Confused I then hooked up one of my vintage amps to the CD player and again used it's headphone port. The sound improved. Confused I hooked up the same amp to my DAC(having been using the other amp for a few weeks now) and played the same album... earbleed. And the campfire crackling away during the song's intro that sounded lifelike off the CD player/amp combo... just harsh noise. For curiosity's sake I cracked open the CD player and it's headphone amp is nothing but a simple op-amp. ED12 easy to drive? Guess so! Though that doesn't mean that an amp won't improve the sound.(if my 50+ yr old receiver does... what will a modern amp bring to the table?) The good news here is that if you're short on cash, you can pick up the ED12 and a $20 CD player off ebay, and get good sound while you save up for the rest of your system. biggrin.gif

It looks like I'm going to have to go DAC shopping again. I bought the Ultra-Fi DAC41 when I was mainly using my STAX. I concluded that it was the first DAC more detailed than said CD player(which was highly resolving but far too glassy/harsh). Now it seems as if the reverse is true with the Sones. I don't get how that can be as I'm using the same set of amplifiers I tested with the STAX. Could it be that the STAX was un-able to fully resolve the high-end of the CD player?(Both the CD spinner and STAX are mid-80s designs.) Then why did the UF sound less harsh? Anyways, I have a lot of reading to do on the topic of OS vs NOS DACs. The Ultra-Fi is NOS and I'm wondering if I'm hearing those 'high end artifacts' OS fans talk about. Things would be a whole lot easier if I could figure out which technology the CD player uses. While I was in there I noted down that it used a 'Toshiba TP6709N' DAC chip, but all I could find about it is that it's 16-bit. Anyone know if there are 16-bit OS DACs? Or when OS technology was first introduced? The CD player came out in 1986.

EDIT: I've been researching DACs most of the day and was just reading a pdf published by Hagerman Tech on why they don't do 'non-filtered NOS' DACs. "The final problem with non-OS, non-filtered DACs is the amazing level of ultrasonic output content. Without a brick-wall filter, both switching edge harmonics and aliased images are sent downstream for other system components to deal
with." Perhaps I should have been focusing on the one thing I changed in my system all along, the Ultrasones. The older STAX are probably not playing anything above 18khz, 20 tops. The Sones are rated up to 42khz. Perhaps because of this, a flaw of my UF that was not obvious before is now brought to the forefront. I know we supposedly can't hear that high(with the hearing tests on YT I've tried, I top out around 17.5khz) but perhaps it is doing something with the headphone drivers that makes music more fatiguing? The Sones are less bright than the STAX with every source but said DAC(the CD player actually being listenable with them confirms this), so I'm really confused with this issue. Funny really, the CD spinner has that 'you are there' feeling of which I've never really experienced before despite all it's other shortcomings. I've got my computer tweaked out the wazoo and I run Jplay.(which brought my digital rig up more than any DAC upgrade I've done) I'm not sure what else I could do besides replacing the DAC.

Anyways, I know I'm the only one with the ED12 so far, but I'm curious what DACs you guys would recommend for your Sones. I'm a bit annoyed that the harshness I was blaming on my old amps was actually coming from the DAC, but I suppose that's what revealing headphones like this are good for. They'll let you know when something is up for sure.

On another note, I'm thinking of getting the Graham Slee ULDE as my amp. I loaned one out when I was trying out the Beyer T90s, it wasn't the best match for them unless you really like smooth & mellow, but it may be just what the Sones need. Plus I use a Graham Slee phono stage that I'm really quite fond of. An additional plus is that it's a smaller amp, and easier to move around the room. The way this room is laid out I need pretty long cables to connect my phono-amp to my desktop amp. So, I should be able to pick up a short pair of 'audiophile' ICs rather than being stuck with a long(and bulky when I'm using my DAC as source) pair of Blue Jeans.

On a third note that I was wanting to mention, the ED12 keeps the 'magic' of the PRO2900 that led to me keeping them so long despite the painfully bright sound. As I've said before, it's almost like you can hear the guitar amp and it's cabinet rather than just guitar notes on their own. It's just a sense of realism that I really don't know how to describe. I was afraid that this was only there with the 2900 because of it's super brightness, but it looks like you can have your cake and eat it too. I'm very happy with this headphone purchase, for whatever reason I seem to make my best buys on instinct alone. Whenever I get myself stressed out researching things and focus too much on minor things, I end up quite unhappy. Anyone else able to relate to this?

Have you considered trying the Aubisque usb filter that Larry Moore recommends to use with the DAC-41?

 

I have the the same dac and since moving from LCD2 to 3 I have noticed a little more glassy edge to the sound. I think it is a fantastic dac for the money you can pick them up for. I hope to try the Aubisque with it soon.

 

There again it might not be the fault of the dac and the fact I have a lot of silver cabling in the chain. No doubt I will obsess over this for weeks lol.


Edited by alvin sawdust - 11/8/13 at 5:33am
post #237 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greed View Post
 

oh snap... GOLD!

 

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

 

Funny thing, I think I remember that silver has better conductive properties.  Is that true?

post #238 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvin sawdust View Post
 

Have you considered trying the Aubisque usb filter that Larry Moore recommends to use with the DAC-41?

 

I have the the same dac and since moving from LCD2 to 3 I have noticed a little more glassy edge to the sound. I think it is a fantastic dac for the money you can pick them up for. I hope to try the Aubisque with it soon.

 

There again it might not be the fault of the dac and the fact I have a lot of silver cabling in the chain. No doubt I will obsess over this for weeks lol.

Sorry for the OT, wasn't the dac after all but the lousy power cord on the dac. She is singing sweet again.

post #239 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post

Bass, it has to be noted, was near non-existant in the Hifiman. The old STAX has limited extension down below but it hits harder and more realistically. The ED12 isn't quite as tight as either of the two but it sounds the most correct to my ears. I can actually enjoy organ and opera music on the Sones whilst the other two were a tad lacking down below.

Now, if you want to talk about the quality that is most important to me, timbre, headphones of this level are so closely matched I'm not sure I could pick a winner. I think I'd have a different pick depending on what I am listening to. ED12 is the best for the human voice and acoustic guitar though.

An HE6 with no bass is not a well driven HE6. This headphone produces one of the best bass I've heard in a headphone when scaled on a good speaker amp (one an LCD3 can't keep up with).

 

An ED12 with good representation of the human voice sounds like a winner to me. That's one thing I've never experienced with Ultrasone headphones (my previous ED8's were brutal). I'm curious to hear the ED12.

post #240 of 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by dleblanc343 View Post

 

 

An ED12 with good representation of the human voice sounds like a winner to me. That's one thing I've never experienced with Ultrasone headphones (my previous ED8's were brutal). I'm curious to hear the ED12.

 

You could have this from the Signature line already, both models have a wonderfull human voice reproduction.

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