Okay, so the ATH-W1000X is on sale and I need a little extra advice.
Prior to encountering this sale, I was looking at HE-400s at the same price, $399. My problem is, I live in a very remote coastal village--no HiFi shop within 1000km--and cannot personally audition these two phones. So instead, I've been nerdily creeping back and forth, gobbling up as many reviews as I can. I've encountered far more people raving about the He-400 than the ATH-W1000X, but the ATH-W1000X's strengths and price are compelling. Open vs. closed. Planar-Magneticy-goodness (whatever that is) vs. refined acoustics/vocals. I'm looking for a little help jumping over the edge, or backing away...
First Question: I've heard the HE-400 build quality is poor, and since I live in the middle of nowhere I want a pair of headphones that will last a long time. HE-400s are made in China. ATH-W1000X Japan. Any durability issues with either phone?
The last time I was in civilization, I listened to some mid-grade Grados (RS-2i, RS-1i), and absolutely hated them. They sounded all congested and nasty. Since the ATH-W1000X is also a "woodie" will it too sound congested and nasty?
I've heard of the AT house mids, but I'm hoping they will compliment the details, not bury them alive. I hear it works well for classical/acoustic/vocals--and I love all of those things--fingers squeaking over guitar strings, breathy, female vocals, a fiddler running wild--Yes!
But how complicated a sound can the ATH-W1000X handle? For example, would a band like Vampire Weekend be too layered, and come out muddled? If there's an orgy of vocals/keyboards/guitars/strings, are we in the land of the planar-magnetic?
The source (at least for the near future) will be an Asus Xonar Essence STX. I don't have tube amp yet, but I'll be looking forward to one eventually. Seems like the ATH-1000X would be easier to drive than the HE-400, though I've heard someone comment that the HE-400 wasn't all that bad coming straight from the STX.
I'm imagining the ATH-1000X will add some warmth to the otherwise neutral STX sound? Has anyone listened to either straight from the STX? I also have a Cowon X9 and I'm hoping it would have enough juice for the ATH-1000X, if not the HE-400.
The last thing is the closed vs open nature. Back when I was in civilization, I also heard a Sennheiser HD 600, and thought it was far more tolerable than those Grados. Is this just because one was open and one was closed? Is the Grado sound truly quarantined to the Grado brand, or do all closed headphones have the same disease?
Despite my love of acoustical music (think Iron & Wine), female vocals (Feist), and listening to music without disturbing my wife, I would almost go with the HE-400 if it saves me from that dreaded Grado-itis.
Thanks for reading. Any and all advice welcome!
I have to make up my mind in the next 3 days.
Thanks everybody, and apologies to you Grado-lovers; no offence intended =]