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Denver 2013 Impression Thread  

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

This was my first time attending such an event and I enjoyed it greatly. The communal headphone collection was very impressive and was missing virtually no flavors!


Just to get things going here I will start with Super-Exotics 


HE Audio Jade vs. Stax SR-009  


The 009 is certainly a very expensive looking headphone, and does look as though it should cost much more than the traditional flagships; dynamic or planar. However the Jade just looks more special to my eye; intriguing, exotic, and unique while at the same time managing to be subtle and understated in comparison to the shiny 009. I also prefer the fit and comfort of the Jade, it feels lighter on the head and the earpads are massive and easily envelop the ears. However the 009 is still very comfortable, more so than the HE-6, LCD-3 and about on par with the T1. 


In sound signature I think an easy comparison to make would be (roughly) the Jade is to the 009 as the HD650 is to the HD800. With perhaps less separation in quality and signature than those two. However in line with that comparison the 009 is the better headphone. The 009 is faster, clearer, more separated, the Jade is warmer, more intimate more impactful. Which does bass "better" is hard to say, not only does it depend on the listener of course, but on what music you are listening to as well. For something traditional like a bass guitar I would take the impossibly clean and natural decay of the 009 while for something synthetic, I would want the additional rumble and impact of the Jade. I mention bass first because it was the easiest and most definitive difference between the two. Both headphones present vocals incredibly well and in my short time with them it was very hard to discern differences, I would perhaps say that the 009 places the vocals more holographically in front of you. I did not find the 009 to be bright but it does have an extra touch of sparkle and clarity in that range over the Jade.


These headphones are both incredibly natural only presenting slightly different flavors, with the 009 simply seeming slightly more capable and effortless. The first and second best headphones at the meet to my ears. Thank you to HeadAmp and AudioCats for bringing these gems for us to enjoy! 


More impressions to come, but we should get some pictures in here soon of all of the beautiful gear so others can better visualize.

post #2 of 29

Was my first local meet as well, was a pleasure meeting the local head-fi community! The super high end setup was a pleasure listening to, even though knowing it was something far beyond my current reach, thank you Justin for bringing the gear! I think the best system at meet was easily the SR-009 with the Blue Hawaii, it was just everything you could ask for. But, because such a system is out of reach I don't even really see it as a real object, it's almost as if it doesn't really exist to me. But that is ok, because there were plenty of headphones within reach that I really enjoyed smily_headphones1.gif


Lately I've been on a "expressive midrange" kick, so was kind of seeking out that sound. I should say right now I was again thoroughly impressed by the HD-800, I think that will be my next purchase when I get some funds together and maybe they go down in price a bit (hopefully). I thought them to be tonally perfectly balanced, nothing lacking, nothing emphasized. They did have that expressive midrange I was seeking.Not warm, not cold, neutral but fun. For me it was tuned just right.


Enjoyed the HD-650's that were at the meet, set that effusion brought looked really nice and sounded great with his setup. As was vladco's system, his ppva v2 was pulled allot of weight for its size! Gneiss' headphone collection was mighty impressive I must say, thanks for letting me try those 340's, I had been meaning to give them a try for some time. They kind of reminded me of sextett's.


I also had an opportunity to listen to Asr's new AD2KX and original AD2K. I myself had owned a set of AD2K's for some years as well. The new version to me sounded like it was focused more in the upper midrange, the original more in the mids. The original had this great spacious midrange to it, the new version was flatter in the midrange, less colored, clearer. I think that coloration in the midrange is what gave the AD2K its character, it's unique sound, the new version had lost that. But take this with a grain of salt, the new version from what I understand was still in the process of burning in. Asr please do keep us posted on it!! Also much thanks to Asr's for organizing the event. 


Did also hear Harley's SR225's, first set of 225's I had heard. Must say they were pretty impressive, I think they should be on the short list of headphones to check out under $200.


Also heard some LCD 3's towards the end. I had heard some Audeze phones a couple of years ago and didn't like them, must say I really liked the LCD 3's. Anyway, it was great fun checking out everyone system, trying your phones on different gear, different phones with your gear.


But yeah, have my mind set on a set of HD-800's :D.

post #3 of 29

This was an awesome meet! Thanks to everyone for coming, I had a great time seeing familiar faces and meeting a whole bunch of new ones. It was a goal of mine to meet everyone in the room, which I think I almost pulled off. I felt like there was a bunch of enthusiasm & energy in the room, which was awesome too. Made it feel like a really member-focused meet, which is a good thing. It's been a while since I last attended a meet that just had that sense of camaraderie, so kudos to everyone. I think it might be the laid-back air in Colorado or something. wink.gif


Thanks to HeadAmp and Westone for coming out too, who both donated IEMs to the auction, which did get us into the black as far as covering the room costs. I received enough to make a donation to Head-Fi later in the amount of $55 $60 (correction, didn't count correctly).


Would like to again encourage those who were at the meet to post impressions! Just writing anything would be great to help spread the word on Head-Fi. smile.gif


My own pics & impressions will be coming later. I actually listened to a whole bunch of stuff that I want to write about!


Btw, at the peak of the meet I noticed that nearly all of the table space was being used. If there are more people next time, we're going to need more tables!

Edited by Asr - 6/23/13 at 5:17pm
post #4 of 29

First of all, I'd like to thank ASR for arranging this meet.


And thanks everyone, for bringing such a great variety of gear. I got to try out my new HCC86 hybrid amp with various ortho phones to see how well the little amp can drive these "more power hungry" phones.


I did have a chance to do a quick little comparison between two newer ortho phones, MadDog vs. Paradox

-- amp:  Burson Soloist

-- CD: Alice in Chains, MTV unplugged


- huge soft earpads, very comfy.


- smaller pads but somehow felt even more comfy than the maddog.


To my ears, Paradox has wider stage, better imaging, and is a bit more even and smooth. Maddog sounded slightly colder and though it may appear to be slightly more "detailed" at the beginning, the sound felt a little too "busy" after a while.


Over all I prefer the Paradox, but at $200 higher price (which is 60% more expensive than the Maddog), I am not sure which I would pick if I am in the market for new ortho phones. 



All in all a great meet

Edited by AudioCats - 6/23/13 at 12:56am
post #5 of 29

I want to thank ASR for organizing the meet.  My son and I had a great time and I got to meet all my old friends as well as some new ones.  I also want to thank Headamp and Westone for attending.  It is vendors like them who are a real asset to our community and they have great sounding stuff to boot :)


I will be writing some notes and perhaps reaching out to some folks I only met briefly for some follow up.  I agree with ASR that the energy and feel was just right at this meet.  And I have been to both the others that Steve organized.  Well done!

post #6 of 29

Here are some of my pics (roughly half of the total) to start off. Click any for a much larger version.


The meet room


Gneiss' Burson Soloist and Beyerdynamic T1


Gneiss' Denon D7000 and AKG K340


Hi Rez's Ayre QB-9, Pico Power, & Audeze LCD-3


unknown Head-Fier's laptop setup


Effusion's amazing box of tubes and Headphile-modded HD650


Effusion's desktop PC rig & DarkVoice amp


JmanOfIsrael's laptop PC + Bottlehead Crack


arteom's Technics turntable


arteom's Alessandro MS Pro and Cavalli EHHA

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 


Beyerdynamic T1 vs. Sennheiser HD800 


I suppose that this is not exactly a novel comparison, but it was one that I personally was very interested in, so I thought I would share my impressions.


The HD800's appearance matches its retail price while I feel the T1 look about as nice as its street price. However functionally the HD800 is quite large and ornate, I would feel much more hesitant placing it anywhere other than on a stand, while the T1 does seem more hardy in its simplicity. Both headphones are essentially A+ in comfort, but the HD800 is supreme here. They disappear onto the head and the size of the earcups are just massive, which spreads the pressure perfectly. While the T1 never feels uncomfortable, I do spend more time making minute adjustments to their placement on my head while the HD800 fits more easily. 


I had of course read quite a lot about the HD800, some of the things I read fit, while others did not, although I suppose many things depend on amp and source. I can understand these being considered something of the pinnacle of neutrality, however I did not find them mercilessly detailed or sibilant. I suppose what created perhaps the largest difference between the two was the impression that the T1 seemed faster. This speed made for a more dynamic punchy sound. When called for the HD800 is able to easily muster enough sub-bass to do any genre justice but the punch of the bass seemed a little less due to its slower nature. The mids were quite close between the two I think, and I had trouble determining which I preferred. I think I like the vocal presentation of the HD800 maybe just a touch more. Although the T1 separates excellently, and perhaps even with more distinction than the HD800, again perhaps due to the fast speed of the T1, the HD800 gives a wider presentation which means that vocals can be more distinct in their placement. With electric guitars however I preferred the sound of the T1; faster, more forward, more bite. And that feeling mirrors my impression of the headphones as wholes. I prefer the T1, I do not even think this is so much a matter of how and what I hear but what music I listen to. I really do not believe there is a "better" headphone between the two, I listen to rock and electronic and I think that the T1 does suite those genres better than the HD800. If I listened to classical, folk, and more vocal oriented slower music I would quickly pick the HD800. I know so little about jazz I will not even comment on that :p 


I enjoyed getting the chance to listen to the HD800, and to be honest I had been something akin to afraid of them, from hearing about their revealing, bright nature. However they are simply an incredibly flat capable headphone to my ear, that is not so out of character to most high-end headphones I have heard.

post #8 of 29
Another meet-up noob checking in. Right off, I want to thank ASR/Steve. His selflessness in organizing this sort of happening is invaluable to the community. Likewise, I'd like to thank both the venders present and those that sent demo units. I know there was at least one piece of equipment at the meet specifically sent by a vender because I wanted to hear it. Now with that out of the way, let me start in with my impressions starting with my personal strategies for the meet:

I came in very focussed. I suspected that there wouldn't be nearly enough time to listen to everything there and of course that was true. One thing that I hadn't thought of was listening fatigue. Fortunately, I was able to get through most if not all of the headphones of personal interest before fatigue set in, but had I listened willy nilly, I definitely would have browned out before making some valuable comparisons.

For this meet I decided to focus on headphones and ignore electronics for the most part. To that end I by and large took headphones back to my system for comparison. I want to thank all the participants that let me do so. It let me proceed with more of a baseline and also evaluate whether my system would adequately drive the phones I was trying out. That was a pleasant surprise. I'm one of the old farts that chooses to use an old integrated amp for power... in my case, a Pioneer A60. It had plenty of power for even the most demanding headphones I tried. On to impressions of particular headphones:

My current main headphone is the Audio Technica AD900X. It in itself is an upgrade for me from the AD700 and was my choice at home between the AD700, Sennheiser HD598, Hifiman HE400 and it. My primary reason for choosing it is the openess of the highs that the 700 and the 900X share, soundstage being a secondary consideration as well. My reason for choosing the 900X over the 700 is that the 900X has more low end. (Although I'm sure some would still say it's inadequate.)

The first comparison I ran was with the AD2000X which Steve was gracious enough to order in for the occasion. I'd also hoped to compare to his older AD2000 but never got to that since Steve said the two essentially sound the same. Going in I anticipated that the 2000X would be my next upgrade. What I found here really surprised me: that open sound I'd come to think of as the Audio Technica signature was totally missing from the AD2000X. I really can't comment much more on the AD2000X because of that primary disappointment. On to other headphones that fit my general sound signature: The Shure 1840... Very, very nice sounding! Smoother than my AD900X but similarly open. Somewhat "silky" sounding ala the Sennheiser line. Not too sure about it though. Why? Very weird fitment. The cups have literally no lateral movement and on my head at least they clamp with most of the pressure behind my ears. I'm not sure it would be a long term problem because it wasn't one in a brief test, but it was weird enough that I wouldn't shell out money without a longer (as in days) test. Next up, the Beyerdynamics T1. Simply put, they impacted me much the same way that Stratocaster impacted Wayne in Wayne's World. Oh yes. They WILL be mine. I talked about the 1840 being smooth, but the T1 puts them to shame. Like Gneiss said, this is a very fast headphone. Between the speed and the openness, Zoe Keating digging in on her cello was simply chilling making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I don't think the Beyer soundstage is quite up to the AT that I love but I do admit that perhaps the soundstage on the ATs is somewhat exaggerated. The T1 certainly doesn't seem "intimate" or lacking. The final headphone that I tried within my own sound signature was some flavor of the AKG 701. I have to admit by the time I got to it, I was a little fried. To my deadened ears and brain cells, they seemed very similar to my 900X in many respects. I think though that their sound might be a tad more "crude" than my 900X even. After the smoothness of the Shure and Beyer, it was very noticeable. Bottom line is that if I had the AKG, I probably wouldn't see a need to switch to the 900X. As an owner of the 900X, I can't see a compelling reason to switch to the 701.

Thus ends the comparisons I made of headphones within my own sound signature. The next thing I wanted to listen to were headphones that might be a complimentary, alternative sound signature. To that end I started out comparing Mad Dog Alphas to the Paradox. While by virtue of it's headband, the Paradox was more comfortable, the Mad Dog is certainly a very comfortable... even luxurious fitting headphone as well. When it came to sound, there was simply no comparison. The Mad Dog is a very pleasant alternative to my AD900X. Maybe sounding like I'd expected the HE400 to sound. In comparison, the Paradox sounded anemic. Maybe it's my first experience with amping incompatibility? It wasn't a volume thing though. I had headroom to spare from my A60. Anyway, I'd love to own the Mad Dog. I wouldn't take the Paradox over it even at the same price, much less for significantly more. Another comparison I made was between a heavily modded Sennheiser HD650 and a stock pair. I have to say the mods and the cables of the one did make a discernible difference. I wish I knew how much of what I was hearing was physical mods and how much cabling. Anyway, while there was a difference and aesthetically the modded pair were gorgeous I suspect for the difference in cost, I'd make do with the stock pair. Even that being said, I'm not sure how excited I could get about either. I can say nothing bad about the sound except to say that it didn't engage or excite me. The sound was just very pleasant. In fact, I went on to compare the stock HD650 to an HD580 on the table next to me and I have to say that I preferred the 580 because the mids were a little more forward.

The final two headphones I tried were the Audeze LCD3 and the Ultrasone Pro 900. (I admit both of these were lapses in focus.) The LCD3 was simply astounding. Had I $2000 in my pocket, I'd likely have them on my head right now. But seeings how I'm at a place where I can't foresee EVER having that much to spend on a set of headphones, they fall into the pipe dream category. Now the Pro 900 was really silly. I could see having that dramatically massive amount of bass as a fun alternative if I wanted such an occasional dalliance. What threw me off was the looseness of the bass. That bordered on distortion for me and is simply something I couldn't deal with for any length of time.

There were many other headphones I wish I could have had time for. Grados being one high on the list. The electrostatics as another. The only headphone though that is on my radar that wasn't there for me to try was the Sony MA900. I'll have to come across one of those sometime soon elsewhere.

So there you have it. I feel a little bad because I don't think my meager offerings garnered much in the way of interest but really I went into the meet expecting as much. I don't feel bad about it as in hurt feelings. More like I wish I had more to contribute. Anyway, I had an absolutely fantastic time, felt like I met a couple sonic "kindreds" and will very much look forward to participating in other meet-ups.
Edited by BigCabDaddy - 6/23/13 at 9:07pm
post #9 of 29

Thanks again to Asr for planning and putting on this great event and to everyone who attended!


I had a great time meeting everyone, seeing some friends, and trying out all the great gear.  Now, I'm going to have to build a Bottlehead Crack one of these days and the LCD3's have definitely made my short list.  I also really liked Fostex TH-900's, great sound and comfort, probably the best sounding closed can I've yet to hear.


Thanks again to Headamp and Westone for coming and supplying the auction items as well as information on their great products.


Below are a few pics I took during the meet:


Hi Rez's LCD3 and Pico Power setup - really great sound out of the Pico Power.


Headamp's Blue Hawaii Amplifier


arteom's Technics 1200 and Cavalli EHHA



likoolaidman' iMac, Maverick Audio D1, Little Dot +1




Thanks again to everyone who attended.  I'll try to type up some more impressions as I get time this week.

post #10 of 29

Great impressions so far, keep 'em coming! I'll start mine:


Hi Rez's Audeze LCD-3 (balanced) > GS-X MK2 > Plinius CD-101


I've been wanting to hear the LCD-3 again, ideally on my own system to find out if the GS-X MK2 would make a difference, so I took advantage of the opportunity at the meet. It was still very good-sounding and reminded me of my first LCD-3 experience all over again (which was on the GS-X MK1). But even the GS-X MK2 didn't do much to change my previous opinion - that is, I was still underwhelmed by the LCD-3 in terms of its scale, clarity, & dynamic range. Not to give the wrong idea - the LCD-3 is very good compared to most other headphones. But against my personal frames of reference, I still don't think it's all that amazing compared to something like the transcendental OII/BHSE, or the Fostex TH900 for that matter. I still maintain that the TH900 at just about the same price is a better overall headphone than the LCD-3, especially when you take comfort & fit into account (as the TH900 is a lot lighter and has less clamp).


Gneiss' AKG K340 (unbalanced) > GS-X MK2 > Plinius CD-101


The K340 for me is still one of the best classic out-of-production headphones, even with all the newest ortho madness. The last time I heard a pair was last year on the Eddie Current Balancing Act, which I thought sounded great. I had to hear the K340 on the GS-X MK2. I figured it would be properly-driven by the new Dynalo+ modules, and I was right! The K340 sounded astoundingly awesome on the GS-X MK2! I turned up the volume, just because I could, and the K340 was just soaking it up. The K340 sounded so good it blew me away! It was probably the closest yet that I've heard to my ideal sonic signature for electronica & metal - fast and clear but not too aggressive. It was almost like the sonic inverse of my AD2K but without subtracting the speed and adding a lot more clarity. I'd say to K340 owners: your amp has arrived in the form of the GS-X MK2!


Westone Adventure Series Alpha (IEMs) > iPod


I had to try out Westone's new IEMs too of course. They were pretty good and seemed like they had more focus on the mid-range & bass than the treble. There wasn't really much music that I was familiar with on the iPod, but the Adventure Series sounded good regardless to me. If there was one thing to nitpick on my informal listening session, it was probably the lack of treble. But I'm sort of a treble-head, so a lot of headphones/earphones lack treble to me. For the price I'd say they're probably a solid buy, especially when they have a functional advantage of being weatherproof. I suspect that Westone will probably sell more of these in Colorado than most other states for that reason, since Colorado is supposed to have the highest percentage of outdoor-active people. tongue.gif Yeah, I know it's summer right now, but I can't help but think these would probably be awesome when skiing on a snowy day in the mountains in the winter! Or more likely sooner, a summer hiking trip to Rocky Mountain National Park or other areas in the mountains....


More impressions & pics to come later.

Edited by Asr - 6/25/13 at 9:47am
post #11 of 29

More pics....


Justin W. (HeadAmp)


Westone IEM display case, 1


Rachelle of Westone


Westone IEM display case, 2


Westone IEM shell color variety

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-3


An interesting experience with these two. First off, I was surprised that they are not as colored as I would have guessed, maybe just slightly dark in their presentation, but a fairly flat response to my ears. This was sort of an unexpected positive and disappointment at the same time. Overall I suppose it is better to have a neutral phone, but I was hoping for a very refined, transparent bass killer. The bass on these headphones is extremely good, I am not even really implying there is much “better” per-se. I suppose it is a matter of a headphone’s niche, if I really want a neutral headphone I would take the HD800 over the LCD-2 or LCD-3 easily and just as a bonus the HD800 has much better soundstage, air and detail. And if you really want something bass heavy, hmm, well given how the much these were hyped for their bass, I am not sure what the bass answer is at the $1000 plus mark, but basically I wanted more impact. I do think that the LCD-2 is a good purchase at their price, and I am still considering buying them, I am still undecided. The LCD-3 however I cannot see buying, it is better than the LCD-2, but I did not find it noticeable in many regards. It seemed to be an LCD-2 with just maybe a 10% increase in air and separation, although even then both headphone seem a little closed compared to the like of the HE-6 or HD800.


The comparison I was making was to my T1 and D7000. What I have always thought were the strengths of the T1 came through again in its great speed and separation which were clearly better than the LCD-2’s. I really appreciate speed, articulation and punch in my music and the T1 is not being replaced by the LCD-2 in that realm for me at least. The comparison I was more interested in actually was with my D7000, I thought the LCD-2 would be different enough from the T1 that one would not exactly replace the other. While I thought the LCD-2 might be like a D7000 but better in every way. The LCD-2 is a more neutral, transparent headphone, but as mentioned earlier, that was not exactly what I was looking for from it. The D7000 bass has this certain rumble to it that seems to be special, and grants it a unique bass impact that the LCD-2 does not exactly beat. Highs seemed similar quality on both, with the D7000 highs being slightly more present but also slightly less natural. Mids always seem the hardest to judge, so my limited time at the meet and with these two headphones makes me hesitate to make very firm judgments. The LCD-2 mids seemed more natural, but I could not say which I enjoyed more. So I came away disappointed that the LCD-2 bass did not simply slay the D7000, although I still may buy an LCD-2 to be more of a neutral side of things stable-mate for my T1, for a more smooth slightly darker flavor. It was a very impressive headphone, just not what I had expected.

Edited by Gneiss - 6/29/13 at 3:03pm
post #13 of 29

Some headfi peeps:


Clarinetman and lilkoolaidman enjoying some cool Westone iems.




A future Headfier?  My son came reluctantly but had a good time and a smash burger.




Ahem, who's that!  um, Bixby.  Dear Fostex, are you out there, please let me review these for my Blog :)



King of Tubes, Effusion!




And our gracious organizer, Asr


post #14 of 29

Some impressions.


I got to hear the Mad Dog cans at RMAF on the last day and spent about a half hour with them.  Dan was very informative and while I tried to pry a review sample for my blog, he was just way too swamped with orders.  That is a great thing for a smaller vendor and I understand.  So it was cool that I could listen to Asrs Mad Dogs and the Paradox version in the same room.  My take of the sound signatures is that the Mad Dogs do things quite well and are very reminiscent of the LCD 2s.  The soundstage of the Mad Dogs is slightly set back with great midsrange resolution, good bass and smooth yet present highs.  It appeared to me that you are hearing into the stage from about a 30 row back perspective at a concert with good definition across the board.  My only nit was that dynamics could be a bit better, but that could be system related for sure.


The Paradox version offered up a different perspective.  Not better or worse for me, just really different from the Mad Dogs.  The soundstage was much more forward about row 10 or so with mids and upper mids squarely in front of you and a bit more in your fac3e.  This was not uncomfortable though like some cans can get.  I think space around instruments and some upper mid or lower treble detail as a bit easier to hear.  Since this part of the spectrum was more forward it made the bass appear to be slightly less than the Mad Dogs for me, but I am sure if I played more tunes with adequate bass I would not fault either on their ability to dig deep. 


I liked both of them.  And I am now looking for a replacement for my Beyer Dt-880s whose slight rise from about 4k to 8k or so just is a bit hot for my ears.  Yes I know I can EQ, but then I have to use a plug in for Audirvana Plus on the big rig and a program that supports aiff on the ipod for bedside listening.  I would rather not have to EQ and get things closer to my ideal.  Anyone know if Accudio app for the ipod plays aiff?  


I heard Fostex prototypes at RMAF for the TH600 I believe and maybe the 900 if it was shown.  While I briefly heard them there I did not get the Wow that I got when listening to them here in Denver.  I must say the 900s are fantastic.  Just my cup of tea.  Have to get a seller or Fostex to let me review them for my blog.  They just seem to do everything right.  Detail without any peakiness and smooth.  Great mid definition with naturalness and deep non-bloated bass all in a very spacious soundstage.  The 600s were close but did not have the ultimate refinement of the big brother.

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

Short Impressions


Audio Technica ESW9

Wow, maybe the most mid-centric, warm headphone I have ever heard. The treble is very recessed and it really takes effort to hear highs and details. Bass is reasonably tight and seems suitable for most genres, not the greatest subbass. Vocals seem to be the specialty here, gives good, warm but natural vocals. I think male vocals are probably the best bet, it sounded great with Adele, but I have some concern with how it would do with higher pitched singers like Ellie Goulding.


Ultrasone Pro900

The bass here is very fat. The overall quantity is massive, but also not the fastest which then robs the bass of some of its real impact. I was making the obvious comparison with my Audio Technica Pro700MK2ANV, which are also bass monsters. The Pro900 was certainly more comfortable than the Pro700MK2ANV, with more spacious earcups and less diamond forming clamp. However I feel that the 700 has more of a real gut punch to the bass with less overpowering boominess.


Audio Technica AD2000X

I wish I had spent more time with these actually. The first thing I can say is that these are certainly a step-up from the AD1000 which I had for a while. The AD2000 is much more three dimensional and natural than the AD1000. Although the soundstage of the AD1000 is very wide it is also very forward and flat, which makes for a slightly unnatural presentation.  The 2000X seemed very balanced and capable.


Paradox and Mad Dog T50rp

I am sorry but I just cannot get behind these for the price. And that is the main problem I have with these in more ways than one. For one I think the sound quality is more one par with the likes of the HD-598 and HFI-780 and secondly I find it hard to imagine charging a 300-500% mark-up for some internal modifications of a $100 headphone. I would at least want some silver 18 strand cable and wooden something for the extra money. The sound from both is quite neutral, the Paradox with more treble presence. The sound stage on both is unimpressive, ok for a closed headphone, nothing groundbreaking. Mids are very clean and clear and are definitely the strength of these headphones. Bass also is natural and tight but could use more impact and subbass ability.



This pair apparently had an HE-5LE make-over in drivers and dampening when the unit was sent back with a wood cracking problem, although this renewed pair still had cracking. I have spent a lot of time with the HE-5LE and can say with certainty that they did not sound the same as these. Although an added factor is that I had a latter (glossy black vs. flat black) 5LE. The HE-5 is definitely a top end oriented headphone. The bass quality is very high and much better than some bass light headphones such as the K501, K340 and SRH1840. Bass is very tight and goes quite low actually, but is simply very light in quantity. A very light airy sound in general, maybe one of the best bass light headphones. I also have to mention that I love the very simplistic wood and metal look of these headphones. Although they had a problem I have not had with Hifimans before which is that the cups simply drape over the ears like the K340 and do not seal on the bottom of the ear.



Perhaps the biggest temptation for me, I liked these quite a lot. I have owned the HE-5LE, HE-500, and HE-400 previously. To start with the HE-6 is definitely the best of the bunch; leagues more neutral and capable than the HE-500 and the logical step above the 5LE. The HE-6 sounded very neutral, fast, open, with a slightly forward sound. This last bit surprised me as my LCD-3 vs. HE-6 comparison was essentially the opposite of Headfonia’s EF-6/LCD-3/HE-6 review, as I found the LCD-3 more smooth and laid back and the HE-6 more forward and energetic. The HE-6 may have been the headphone (in this price stratosphere) that had a similar tonality to my T1 but was simply better. Also impressive was the fact that, according to most of what I have read, they were not being amped to their full potential by the 2 Watts of the GS-X. So I am even more excited to hear them out of something that puts out 5W+. 

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