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Okay, so first here are some stream of consciousness thoughts through an hour of listening to the MD2 with my usual playlist of test music.
They are simply better across the board. They still retain much of the stock MD sound but with an appreciable improvement across the spectrum. The improvements that really stand out to me are:
*imaging…wow it’s really beautiful and largely refined over the past dogs
*tone and timber of the mids…voices are rendered with a new level of realism that takes listening to vocal-centric music to a new level. There is no brightness or harshness at all even with the most challenging female vocals. I just went through about five tracks of “When I look in your Eyes” Diana Krall. Her voice is noticeably less grainy and richer still. The acoustic bass on these tracks hits with a bit more weight and texture while remaining linear and true to the recording. I’ve listened to this album 50+ times but I’m not sure that I’ve ever enjoyed more than just now.
*As with the original MD the MD2 responds well and scales up nicely with an amp that has more power and refinement. Give it more and it gives you more. The MD2 sounds substantially better on my Sansui 9090 than with the Asgard 2 even with high gain. It’s not a bad or even an unenjoyable experience on the A2 but the experience on the right amp is sublime. I can see the gungnir pairing really well with the MD2, although I haven’t heard that amp.
*The new MD really loves a good source. HD Tracks and other 24/96 material is just breathtaking. DSOTM on SACD with the MD2 = mind blown.
More to come...
I also was part of the beta test group, we each got 2 days with them. Jude's video really describes the sound signature very well. I'll try a and add a little bit of my impressions.
For reference on my comments, my stable consists of HD650's, Mad Dog 3.2, universal/balanced option, and 1964 Ears Quads. Add to that one of my favorites is the D7000, that I no longer own. All have some degree of bass boost.
There is a reason for the disclaimer above - my first thought was that the bass was a bit light. I searched out some sine wave files. The bass is not light. These dive deep with authority. I could hear/feel 20 Hz easily. What they do not do, is what my other headphones all do to some degree - color or warm the bass with a nice boost that adds a bit of fun, but obscures the low mids just a bit. The Alpha Dogs are a clear, accurate, reference quality headphone.
OK, so we got the bass out of the way. The mids are stellar. Vocals and acoustic music are intimate, clear, airy.
The treble provides full detail, the right bit of sparkle and avoids the brittle edge that often comes with "detail".
The signature is neutral, and smooth across the board. The spectrum blends seamlessly, without any real peaks or valleys that I can hear. They are very non-fatiguing and comfortable. As Jude mentioned, the "closed headphone" feeling and sound really disappear. I was pleased to hear this from Jude, as I had noticed this as well.
I am not the best subjective wordsmith, so I'll leave it at that. The Alpha Dogs are very, very good. They are a reference class headphone. I'm getting a pair.
It did not feel so to me, and I was switching back and forth the first day with them. I listened to them exclusively the second day.
Dan was gracious enough to share with me a prototype; and I have to say that I was deeply impressed! The ADs sound totally different than the typical T50RPs mods. They don't even sound like they have the same driver.
The AD has more articulation, sounds faster, has better transients, and extracts more micro-detail than the MD. It approaches the HD800. I would say it's more than half-way in between the MD and HD800, more toward the HD800 side. That's how good it is. What's really nice is the bass no longer has that rubbery sound which I have always associated with the stock plastic enclosure of the T50RP.
The tonal balance is quite neutral as in a UERM sort of way, which is unlike the MDs which are Audeze'ish (but not as rolled.) There were some minor kinks with the prototype which Dan acknowledged; but I figure these have been worked out by now.
In comparison to the TH900, the TH900 is still cleaner with better note separation; but the TH900 is hopelessly colored (not necessarily in a bad way) with extreme sub / low bass and some treble peakage / roughness.
Agree the TH900 is a different character to the HD800 but I cannot categorise the TH900 in that way. My impressions of the TH900 here. If you are calling the TH900 sub-bass "extreme" then how do you describe other headphones with deliberate bass-bias skew of which that would put the TH900 in the shade? It goes to show the importance of also knowing a poster's personal taste when reading opinion on this forum so you can read in context
Purrin's taste is neutrality. You're talking to the man who singlehandedly unveiled the veiled-LCD-3 with two sheets of toilet paper.
All of the descriptions of the AD I have heard, Jude's, the banter within the small beta group I was part of, Purrin's, are pretty consistent. I believe this is the end game closed back for me, which is a huge deal to me - I require closed headphones for 90% of my listening. I have a pair of HD650's - I've always loved their sound, but it is seldom I get to listen to them. I've heard the usual suspects among the high end open headphones. Price and the fact that they are open has kept me from purchasing. The Alpha Dogs are a closed back that virtually feels open, and virtually sounds open. It is comfortable, not fatiguing to listen to and has a neutral, reference level signature, all for well under $1,000...