Recently, I purchased the very first "Starving Student" edition Paradox Slant. Since receiving it, I've spent a significant time listening to it and I'm starting to get a grasp of what this headphone really is.
LFF describes the Paradox Slant as a "classic" Paradox with a slight bass boost and an enhanced soundstage. I haven't heard the original Paradox, but having read some impressions describing the bass as anemic and the soundstage as somewhat small or closed, I can only assume that LFF achieved his design goals with the Slant. I would never describe the bass as anemic and I wouldn't call the soundstage on the Slant small unless you listen exclusively to studio recordings which generally offer smaller soundstage on any headphone.
This headphone is neutral sounding overall, with a very slight emphasis on the bass response. This doesn't mean that the bass is boomy, muddy or excessive by any means. It's still very close to neutral. It simply offers a touch of extra "oomph" for listeners that prefer to feel the kick drum in addition to hearing it. The midrange is fantastic. It is neutral, clean and detailed. This headphone exhibits the now cliche planar midrange. It never sounds grainy. It is smooth and it just sounds right. The treble sounds like it may have a slight roll off toward the top, similar to other T50RP mods. However, the roll off is less dramatic and the treble sounds very close to neutral as a result. This is brighter than the Mad Dog 3.2, for instance. The treble sounds a bit more similar to the HD600, if memory serves me right. Unlike the MD, I've never listened to the Slant and felt a need to bump up the treble using EQ. It is never harsh, but it also doesn't ever sound like anything is missing.
The Slant is also very comfortable; I would say that it is the most comfortable one I've owned. The HD600 and MD 3.2 tie for a close second place, for different reasons. The HD600 is very light and has a comfortable headband but had a pretty strong clamping force for as long as I owned them and though the velour fabric was soft to the touch, the earpads were pretty firm and did little to alleviate the pressure that the headphones applied to my head. The MD 3.2, on the other hand, is heavier, but offers a similarly comfortable headband and some more cushion-y pads. The Slant is similar to a combination between the two. Despite being nearly as heavy as the MD, the Slant offers far better weight distribution using a suspension headband. It's a very simple solution to the weight problem; LFF hangs a thin, wide strip of soft leather between the risers on the headphone, using elastic. This allows the headphone to "float," for lack of a better way to describe it. It also uses angled leather pads, offering an experience close to MrSpeakers' Alpha Pads. The end result is a headphone that feels lighter than it really is, with a softer clamp than many other headphones.
Of course, for $700, you should expect a pretty high level of excellence. LFF delivers this and then some from the T50RP. The problem is that there are a lot of people who can't afford a $700 headphone, especially amongst the younger Head-Fi population. LFF goes the extra mile and solves this problem as well.
The "Starving Student" Paradox Slant is the same thing as the regular Paradox Slant, minus the fancier paint and cable. Externally, it looks like a plain T50RP with an additional leather suspension headband. It's not exactly pretty, nor does it look impressive, but it carries the sound of LFF's $700 headphone, at a significantly lower price: $525. This increases the value proposition by a great deal. Students, then, can get the Slant for only $30 more than the basic Paradox, offering them the ability to choose between LFF's original reference T50RP mod or the newer enhanced version without having to stretch their budgets too much if they want the Slant over the Paradox. This offer is currently only available to students. Anyone interested should contact LFF and ask for additional information.
Edited by C.C.S. - 6/28/14 at 9:57pm