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Comparison of Sennheiser Amperior, Beyerdynamic DT-1350, Martin Logan Micros 90. And Yamaha...

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I posted this in the Discovery Thread, thought it might make a good thread for folks to add their own opinions on these headphones, or add other on ears for comparison...

 

 

Comparison of Sennheiser Amperior, Beyerdynamic DT-1350, Martin Logan Micros 90. And Yamaha HPH-200 (or, how I spent my winter vacation)

 

                When I decided to do this, I had no idea what I was biting off. I had gotten the Yamaha, and was interested in how it compared to other on-ear purchases I had made recently (a thank you for depleting the bank account to the Deals Thread, now the Deals Discussion thread, and, as Wayne pointed out, soon to be the Discussions of the Deals Discussion Thread), so, I got my legal pad ready and started to take notes when I had a few spare minutes (I wound up just shy of War and Peace). I came to this expecting to be the spoiler…the HPH-200 was garnering universal ecstatic laudits, people were sacrificing their first born to get a pair, so, seeing how they were open (and I generally am in the minority who prefers closed), I thought I’d put my contrary $0.02 in. Didn't quite turn out that way, though. Listening was mostly through a Fiio X3, Cardas line-out cable, ALO National.

Tracks used:

Action Hero-Fountains of Wayne

Amelita-Court Yard Hounds

If It Takes All Night-Valley Lodge

Two Different Things-Caitlyn Cary and Thad Cockrell

B. B.'S Blues-Branford Marsalis

Put Me On Top-Aimee Mann

Waltz for Debby-Bill Evans

(a short listen to Wishin’ and Hopin’-Dusty Springfield; Doom-Ben Goldberg)

                OK, instead of going through my 8 pages of notes, let me say: I can (and am) live with any of these on ear phones. They all do well by the music, though the presentations are different.

                Sennheiser Amperior-I think this one edges out the others. It does great in the soundstage department, good, solid bass (slightly soft in comparison to the Miknos 90, but more in quantity). The high end is revealing, air between instruments is quite amazing, and the “jump” or “bop” factor (the thing that has me gyrating around the house, to the embarrassment of my family) is fabulous. Detail is really good, instrument timbre and presence are outstanding.

                Martin Logan Mikros 90-Another great set of phones. Stage wide, though not as wide as the others to my ears (though sometimes I’d not be listening for it, and be amazed at how good it got the sound of the venue). The darkest spaces between instruments, great tonal color, slightly less bass than the others in amount, but makes up for this with the most real bass, sharp edges, real defined notes in the bass, not a feel of a general note as many do. Highs, mid detail the best,of the group, really get a natural/real sound of the instruments, vocals, and space. Loses out slightly to the Senn in “jump/bop”, but barely. Also very finicky about how you wear it-like an iem, have to place it exactly right to get bass and full spectrum of music. The dedicated Head-Fi  thread has some folks describing their rituals for getting it placed properly. I’d say this is the one that gives the best feel of the original venue/recording, accurate and fun, nice combo.

                Yamaha HPH-200-As I mentioned, I’m generally not such a fan of open headphones. I think they often blanch out tone color in exchange for the wide soundstage they can produce. And, in fact, I do think the Yamahas lose a tiny bit in detail to the other three, and the space between instruments is not quite as distinct. I feel a slight overall darkness in the presentation. It does perform well in all the frequencies, though, good detailed treble, rich meds, bass present and impactful (though slightly loose, the other 3 detail better). Bass just jumps, though: the presentation rocks! It does do the wide soundstage thing great, and it was often hard to take it off and go to the next headphone, it’s really involving, with gobs of “Jump/bop” factor. Wishin’ and Hopin’ really grabbed my heart on these. When you got that, who gives a hoot about dark space between instruments! (until I go back to the Senns, which have space, detail, and “jump/bop” factor like mad!)

                Beryedynamic DT-1350-Wide soundstage, similar to Senns, details well but seems more clinical than the others. I hear a slight coloration in the sound, details abound but don’t come together as on the others, sometimes I felt the mids were slightly recessed. I’d say these headphones are more about the brain and less about the heart/booty.

                In terms of fit/construction…The Senns have a nice feel to them, plastic headband that feels solid, plush earpads, not too tight/good comfort. The Beyers  are similarly constructed, have a bit more clamping force, but as the headband is metal, I’d expect it can be stretched to the users comfort. The ML’s as I’ve said are unusual beasts, they have a thick, leather covered headband, have to be worn slightly in FRONT of the ear to get the best sound, and movements can throw them off and change the sound. Still, when all is aligned well, the moon and stars are just right, these sound incredible.

                The Yamahas just don’t feel as well constructed as the others, very plasticky. They have less clamping force, though, so I can see many will find them most comfortable. They have round velour pads, larger than the others, almost large enough to be over rather than on ears. On my ears, this felt odd on my lobes, and made it less comfortable than it would seem they should be (this is definitely a function of my small head and ear shape, and I’m sure works fine for many)  

                I guess I’m supposed to rate these in preference order now. OK, biting the bullet, really do like them all, but I’d have to drop the Beyers behind the others. I’d put the Senns slightly ahead of the pack, but the Yamaha and the ML are nipping at its heels.

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

(not the same Aimee Mann song, couldn't find that one, had to post something by her...)

 

 
post #2 of 41
Thread Starter 

Posted this a while ago, no one has had any comment? (I had to post this, couldn't stand looking at the total posts of "0" anymore, 1 is more respectable).

:dt880smile:

post #3 of 41

I have a comment: I agree with you. Can only report on the Yamahas and Amperiors though.

 

Both are very good and given the huge price difference of the list price, it's amazing how close they are. However I also prefer the Amperior but with some instruments the Yamaha has the edge.

 

In general you can't go wrong with either of these two. Both are amazing headphones with great clarity and a fatigueless, fun sound.

post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post
 

I have a comment: I agree with you. Can only report on the Yamahas and Amperiors though.

 

Both are very good and given the huge price difference of the list price, it's amazing how close they are. However I also prefer the Amperior but with some instruments the Yamaha has the edge.

 

In general you can't go wrong with either of these two. Both are amazing headphones with great clarity and a fatigueless, fun sound.

 


Agreed, the Yamaha held it's own with headphones much more expensive (at least at list price), and actually was a really pleasant surprise, even a bit of a shock.

post #5 of 41

I happened by this the other day and agreed with you but was too lazy to comment with just that.  For my own tastes the Amperior is great, particularly for its intended purpose (portable/unfussy about input).  It has so much energy that it's really a downgrade for me to move to a different headphone, even when I come home and listen to much more expensive equipment.

 

On the jazz front, listening to Ahmad Jamal's Blue Moon right now through them.

post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfoclt View Post
 

I happened by this the other day and agreed with you but was too lazy to comment with just that.  For my own tastes the Amperior is great, particularly for its intended purpose (portable/unfussy about input).  It has so much energy that it's really a downgrade for me to move to a different headphone, even when I come home and listen to much more expensive equipment.

 

On the jazz front, listening to Ahmad Jamal's Blue Moon right now through them.

 

Nice, like Jamal-listening to a cd I heard about on NPR, Matt Ulery's Loom, more contemporary jazz (think Matt Wilson, Ben Allison, Dave Douglas), sounding really nice over the Amperiors. 

post #7 of 41

doctor,

I agree with your observations concerning the ML Mikros 90.  With the right equipment and application these portables achieve, I am inclined to believe, truly "reference" quality sound.  

 

Can't speak for the other headphones you've listed, but am in the process of comparing the Mikros 90 with the KEF M500.  

 

UPDATE: Here is a patch to the preliminary review:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/695615/kef-m500-versus-martin-logan-mikros-90

 

Have owned and extensively auditioned the (open) Tesla T1, but was disappointed in the long-run.  No exposure to closed Sennheiser apart from the HD-201, the MX earbud series and the PCX series.  

 

My current reference headphones are the open HE-6, but in some respects, e.g. tonal color and differentiation, deep bass presence and pitch, I actually prefer the MLs.

 

 

pataburd


Edited by pataburd - 12/18/13 at 5:27am
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
I read your post on the ML thread, nice write up. I have considered the T1 when it was on sale, interesting you didn't like it (bamboo Audeze still calling my name, managing to resist so far). I find the ML very sensitive to the slightest position change, like a difficult to fit iem... When it's right, it's a great performer. Tried those Radio Shack cables, didn't fit mine, I could almost get it to go, but didn't transmit the whole signal. Wonder if another might work better for fit.
Don't have the KEF, like their iem.
post #9 of 41

doctorjazz,

Thank you.  I enjoyed your write-up/comparisons as well.

 

Your comments on criticality of proper placement with the Mikros 90 are well-taken.  For me, the pads must be aligned just low enough, and just forward enough, upon the ear so that the clamping pressure does not close down the Tragus.  I adjust mine so that the front edge of the cup housing, at about 1/3 of the way down, rests on the very back edge of my cheekbone, at its juncture with the mandible hinge.  When the seal is "right", I feel a sort of vacuum or suction sensation in the inner ear.  Also, I think that the bony contact at the cup interface serves to enhance/enlarge the sonics, and contributes to that wonderful "out-of-the-head" spatiality of the Mikros 90 soundscape.  Swiveling the earcups slightly forward to increase this bony contact pressure puts the finishing touches on an adequate seal. 

 

                                                                     

 

 

When you think about it, each of us has a unique outer ear (pinna or auricle) configuration, so--every other thing being equal--no two of us would hear the same headphones in exactly the same manner.  My listening preferences, governed in part by my pinna ensemble, have always included high frequency extension and capturing that sense of "air".  Many fellow Head-Fiers would categorize/have categorized my listening tastes as being tipped out on the "bright" end of the spectrum.

 

You might have to bring your headphones to Radio Shack and trial-and-error several cables to find a Pipeline ET-4 that fits.  I was fortunate in that the first (and only) one I picked up did fit, although it was very tight (snug enough to squeak/grind slightly during initial insertion).  PredatorZ had to whittle down the shaft OD on the input end of his ET-4 (he said by about 1 mm) before he got a complete connection.  Fine sandpaper would probably work as well for reducing the OD of the input plug shaft sleeve.  But then, there goes your chance to refund the cable if needed.  Even Radio Shack, among the most accommodating of refunders, would deny you.

 

The other option would be a custom made cable, but that would likely be unduly expensive.  (That does not completely preclude my plans to have a UPOCC silver cable eventually fabricated for the MLs, though.)  After market cables can be great to own and enjoy--it's like putting a trademark on your ownership of the thing, but they can also be difficult to resell without incurring appreciable loss.

 

Thanks again for your comments.

 

pataburd 


Edited by pataburd - 12/18/13 at 6:23am
post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 

I find I get best results also having the front of the cup just at my cheekbone, though I haven't pinned the anatomy quite as well or detailed as you have…never got a real seal or suction feeling, so maybe I can still get a better fit playing around with it.

Sanding the cable may be worth a try…I emailed ML tonight asking if they knew of aftermarket cables that would work, I'll share that if/when I hear back.

post #11 of 41

doctor,

Thanks again for the thread.

Regarding the "vacuum feel" when I get the MLs in place, my ears probably need to be cleaned!  LOL!

And DO keep us posted with ML's response to your cable question.  I like these enough to want to try a good after market UPOCC cable.

Wish I could find a way to use the Pipeline ET-4 with the KEF M500, although I don't think that will change my decided preference for the Mikros 90.  The Pipeline seems to be very compatible with and complementary to the MLs. 

 

pataburd


Edited by pataburd - 12/18/13 at 6:14pm
post #12 of 41

dj,

So is it the "bass quantity" aspect that, to your ears, give the Amperior the edge?  

 

The bass that you describe from the Sennheisers sounds like the bass from the KEF M500 compared to the MLs.  

 

For me, I am willing to sacrifice some warmth for deeper bass extension and more accurate pitch.

 

pab

post #13 of 41

I'll soon be able to add my thoughts on the Amperior and ML's, the Amperiors's just went back on sale at newegg, not quite as good as deal as before, but I got mine for $139 with free shipping. Excited to get them, they might work a little better for me at work, I move around a lot and the Mikros get left on my desk a lot unless I plan on using them for hearing protection, which they do very nicely. We have a wash that we clean flux off pcb's, its very loud with its exaust fans and pumps, the ML's cut out a majority of the offensive machine noises and allow me to enjoy my music, while saving my hearing. The Amperiors should work a little better since they are easier to position. I did have a concern about the stock "steel" cable, does anyone have a good suggestion for cable upgrades for the HD 25 line ?

 

Here's a link to them, silvers are  $10 more

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826106684

post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 
I emailed ML, they had no cable suggestions, the replaceable cable was just meant to use the ML cable if the one that came with the Mikros is damaged. I tried the Radio Shack one, didn't work for me, though some have used it with success, was a suggestion to file it down but haven't gotten to that point, not sure I will. I'll do a 2 way Amperior/Mikros one of these days, curious what I'll think 1 on 1 (sometimes my opinions shift).
post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 
Don't think you can go wrong with either, though. Cables for Senn would be interesting, Would try for the Amperiors (also have the 650, I often like the Amperiors more, though the 650 has an openness that is appealing with the right music).
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