I have been lucky enough to be sent the Lindy Premium Hifi headphones for review (Thank you Lindy) , you may know them as the Brainwavz HM5 or the Fischer FA-003.
I am not sure if the Lindy’s are exactly the same, I know the accessories differ between the models but whether they share the same drivers, damping etc is still not 100% confirmed.
I have heard that the Lindy’s have a slightly exaggerated bass compared to the others, if so it was a good decision in my opinion as the bass is lovely!
The Hifi (that’s what i will call it from now on) are £75 in the UK , there isn’t a great deal of competition at this price range for closed house cans.
At home at the moment I have the Sony MDR-MA900 , HD600 , PX360 , Ultrasone 580 + PRO 750 along with some other portables and IEMs.
I have compared them to the 580, PX360 and Pro 750 in the main as they are closed, funnily enough the Hifi sounds most like the HD600, less airy but the balance is very similar.
Packaging and Build is very good for the cash, they come in a large canvas zip case filled with a foam cut out that holds the cans, cables and spare pads, yes you heard me right , Lindy gives you spare pads !!
I don’t know why more companies don’t include spare pads, oh wait i do know , its because they are tight and want to suck every last penny from us whilst insuring a return purchase when your high tech plastic pads dissolve from contact with your sweaty melon.
The pads themselves are gorgeous, the pleather is the good kind, not the stuff that is spray on and flakes off when you look at it the wrong way (hello Sony). No this is Protein Leather , the stuff made in labs from eggs, by men with no girlfriends and i love it , its sooooo soft , softer than Liberace at the playboy mansion.
The cans themselves are made mainly from soft touch plastic with an aluminium faceplate. They are comfy, clamp is a bit tight to begin with but it does loosen up. It’s not as bad as the HD600 was, that clamped harder than a kid on a lollypop.
Overall, a very comfy pair of headphones.
The cables are detachable , they are marked with red and blue rings that match the red and blue left/right letters on the headphones, they are long and do the job fine.
The isolation is very good; i can’t hear the kids or wife with these on, .... bonus.
On to the sound, first question is “do these need an amp”, answer is no but they do benefit from one.
My sources for this review are very simple, a Samsung 4.2 DAP, Cowon D3 and Laptop > Aune SE MK2 DAC/AMP.
The amp provides a nice lift in bass weight, adds some tightness to the low end and gifts a tiny bit of clarity to the treble, nothing huge but certainly noticeable.
I listen to large range of music and for review’s I try to pick a mix of new releases, familiar tracks and tracks that exercise different aspects of the sound spectrum.
My newest CD is Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, it’s a fantastic record, I have been listening to Daft Punk since I heard Da Funk in 1995, the 90’s are a bit of a blur (no pun intended) but the music is amazing and I still spin tracks from the Stone Roses, Pulp, Blur, Nirvana and the Primal Scream on a regular basis. The 90s music was truly outstanding and gave birth to my love of headphones, which allowed me to zone out without annoying my mum!
Daft Punk – Doin it right / Within
The Daft punk track most of you will have heard recently is ‘get lucky’, a great track but not the best on the album imo. The first track I have picked for this review is ‘Doin it right’, it features Panda Bear, i am a huge fan of him and the Animal Collective.
It starts of quietly with a robot voice singing, at 25 secs in the bass line kicks in and the Hifi’s give a large thump with nice decay, when Panda Bear starts singing it is clear and distinct from the bass line, no invasion into the mids here.
The Hifi times well , picking up bass lines and not letting them go, even when there is a lot going on.
Soundstage appears to be roughly the same as the 580 with maybe a little more width.
Next track is ‘within’ a slower track featuring piano and keyboard , piano is hard to reproduce and the Hifi’s do a good job, this is a busy track and when the singing , keyboards and drums are layered over each other the bass does seem to mask the piano a little, so I tried it another ‘busy ‘ track.
Beck – Tropicalia from Mutations
This track is great, it has lots of instruments all playing together then overlapping, copulating sonically in an orgy of latin ..... sorry got carried away.
The Hifi has really excellent detail retrieval here, the song starts with a sound that reminds me of window wiping, if anyone knows what it is let me know. Anyway it is super clear on the Hifi’s.
Beck’s voice is also very clear, even amongst the trumpets, triangle and the bells it is full of expression which is sometimes missing on lesser cans where he can sound a bit monotone.
Guitar is also lovely here, it’s mostly on the right channel, an acoustic that can get lost on other cans, also the bass line is present and correct.
I have a feeling the Hifi’s are going to excel at acoustic tracks.
I had this on repeat for far too long, A+ Lindy!
John Grant – GMF from Pale Green Ghosts
Another new album here, some swearing on this one kids, you have been warned.
My wife introduced me to John Grant, she listens to a lot of Radio and often gives me tips, and this one is a cracker.
The track starts with John coming in over a pair of guitars, his voice is beautiful, soft, soulful and a little sad, like a man who has dropped his burger and can’t decide if it’s been too long to pick it up.
The second verse introduces a backing vocal, it’s actually Sinead O’Connor near the end of the verse, it’s quite subtle but the Hifi’s let you right in. Listen to the chorus, she is there as well, didn’t notice that before.
The Hifi’s will give you all the detail you need and have warmth that makes them an easy non fatiguing listen.
In comparison to the others , i think the 580 was my favourite here , the extra bass is appreciated on tracks like Blackbelt, the Hifi was close though.
Fiona Apple – Every Single Night from The Idler Wheel
I wanted to try a female vocal to see how the Hifi’s do.
This was my favourite album of last year, a great return for her.
Its a sparse track initially with more and more instruments joining in, the Hifi sounds great here. There is some mic noise through this track, still can’t work out what it is , comes in when she says ‘percolate’ at 18 secs in (any help appreciated!).
The vocals are right upfront here, the mids are well balanced with the rest of the track.
This track is meant to make you feel slightly disturbed, uneasy, job done Lindy.
Honestly, i can’t really fault them here, the Hifi is excellent at putting distance between the artist and her band and transients are fast and sharp.
So far the Hifi’s have proved to be a star at comfort, clarity and low end delivery; the next couple of tracks will show their soundstage abilities.
Of all my cans, the Sony MDR-MA900 has the best imaging and soundstage. They are truly gobsmacking and no closed can i have heard gets close.
Of all the closed headphone’s i have , the Pro 750 is the most open sounding.
Gomez – Whippin' Piccadilly from Bring it on
Vocals in the middle, Guitars to the left and right , drums up ahead , electronic noises come in to the far left, far right now, we have weird sounding , ahhhhhhhhh its all joined up into a cacophony of noise!!!!!
On the Samsung Player this track lost some definition here, the D3 faired a little better but on the amp it cleared up nicely and it was easier to pick out the individual instruments and electronic noises, so amping helped here for sure.
Soundstage wise they are not open cans, they sound a little cuppy and boxed in as all closed cans do. There is a distance to the sound as well , it’s not as pronounced as with the Pro 750 but it is noticeable on this track , i quite like it as it helps you feel you are in a ‘room’ rather than a box.
Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler
Let It Bleed is a great test of imaging; the recent remaster is doing duties here.
Harmonica is in the right place, guitars and vocals are all present and correct, the Hifi’s let me picture the band, placed accurately with my eyes closed, so it’s a win.
I think you will be happy with the Hifi’s soundstage, it’s not as wide as the Pro 750 but it is not artificial sounding (hello HD800) and it places the musicians accurately on stage.
Primal Scream - Shine Like Stars from Screamadelica
This is a good test of how well they handle treble, sibilance can kill this track dead, try it on the Philips downtown, total sonic murder.
Here there is no sibilance to speak of.
I ended up spinning Screamadelica twice, the Hifi’s disappeared after a couple of tracks, it was just me, Bobby and the boys rocking out and making shapes.
What we have here is a headphone that for the money commits no crimes other than the misdemeanour of losing a little clarity on busy track’s when playing from a portable player.
I haven’t owned many closed non-portable cans, most of my home listening has been done on HD600 and MA900 for private listening and the Pro 750 when i have others in the room.
These sound like closed HD600’s, not a bad signature to have and being closed is very handy if you share your living space.
They scale up with an amp, it isn’t night and day compared to your mp3 player but it does make a noticeable difference to the bass extension and impact and it fills out the mids a little.
I think my MA900 ,HD600 and Pro 750 are a bit better than these in some aspects but let’s put it in perspective.
The HD600 and MA900 are £300 headphone’s, the Pro 750 is around £240, and the Lindy Premium Hifi Headphone is ..... drumroll ........£75!
If you have a limited budget, say up to £100; buy these now, they are that good.
If it’s a little higher, say £150, i haven’t come across any better myself but there are more too choose from so maybe do more research.
They are still no match for my all time favourite headphone , The Astrid H1....
These were engineered by a scientist with 10 years experience, in my kitchen and they present music in such a transparent manner its hard to tell if you can hear it sometimes........
Anyway I’m off to slip into my listening jacket and pants, then i am going to put on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, grab a beer and do Giorgio Moroder proud with my awesome sexy robot glide™.
Edited by astroid - 7/3/13 at 4:25am