Originally Posted by moriez
What I've found up until now is that Ref II is noticeably brighter. Not just that, it's also of a higher resolution so to speak. Better at details so technically better in my opinion. Ref I sounds a bit muddy when comparing back to back but has a little more ''fun'' to it.
Well, imo, my 540-600 (250 Linear pads) resolves at least as good as 540 II and isn't muddy at all.
Ref II have a better bass extension and more quantity, but it is less textured. Plus, Ref I 600's bass is a bit weak but doesn't have that somewhat annoying mid-bass hump (100Hz or 150Hz?) of my Ref II (which -- who knows -- could be a lemon or damaged?).
But for me the biggest differences ("night and day") are:
(this track, among many others, allows a good comparison:
1) the soundstage/imaging/presentation and vocals and mids reproduction:
: wide airy (AKG 701 like) with Ref I 600 Vs. almost claustrophobic soundstage with Ref II
of the highest calibre with Ref I 600 Vs. average imaging with Ref II
: very nice "middle row seats" presentation (not too laid-back, not to close) for Ref I 600 Vs. "in the head" or on stage presentation with Ref II (similar to my Grado sr60i or Senn HD 25)
2) mids reproduction (vocals, strings)
may at first listen sound a lil distant (not recessed though) with Ref I 600, but after a few minutes you realize that they are better located in space, centered, in front of you (same as an excellent crossfeed filter) and sound more realistic (timbre) Vs. shouty and kinda grainy vocals of the Ref II.
have better timbre and separation with Ref I 600
All in all, 540-600 sounds way more refined to my ears.
I know most of you will completely disagree.
But I hope you won't give me hell for that one... Edited by Hairspray - 4/10/14 at 2:59pm