What do you find are the differences between the Slants and the Enigmas. I find the Slants to be incredibly well balanced with virtually no character of their own other than a hint of warmth and just a touch of extra bass punch and snap which I really enjoy. Soundstage can be quite large when it is in the recordings.. this is especially true when I watch movies with them. They are very much like wearing a set of really good loudspeakers. Far more that way then Grado RS1's I owned years ago. Haven't done much with headphones over the years. Circumstances
dictate that now until I get back into a larger place and things are going better. Last really good speakers I owned were the Talon Audio Khorus run with Meshplate triodes. Honestly these sound nearly as big and are slightly more resolving of details. Stuff they bring out blows my mind. Hearing subleties and counter beats in music I was never previously aware of.
Which other one of Luis' masterpieces do you own and how does that compare? Would love to have a pair of enigmas as well, but money
has to go into amps and finishing up my music server.
Sorry about the delayed reply… just caught up on the thread. I had three of Luis’s headphones on hand: the Enigma, Paradox Slants, and his own iteration of the HE-5 “Code-X”. All of them have a different flavor but with similarities.
In comparison, the Enigma is definitely the most colored of the bunch. They aren’t overly lush, but are presented with a romantic, intimate type sound. Slightly laid back treble and warm in the bass. The mids seem to be set right where I like them… clear and detailed with a hint of sweetness. I didn’t write up a review of my own on the Enigma because I honestly feel MF described them much better than I ever would have.
The Paradox Slants in comparison are more “neutral”. They don’t have quite as much coloration or emphasis in certain areas like the Enigma. When talking about tone, I actually prefer the Enigma… but for my general use for work and school… I need something with a flatter response. The Slants have some emphasis in the sub region which I like a lot, especially for movie editing and games. Really gives you that thrill factor which I feel isn’t there with the Enigma. The Enigma are much more suited for long listening sessions with a pleasant tone that lets you relax and unwind with a bottle of scotch or wine. When I first heard them they didn’t click right away. I thought they were a bit slow and lush for my tastes but you really start to appreciate them with a good transistor amp. I originally was running them off of my DNA Stratus which is already tuned for my HD800, that is also romantic, liquid and smooth. One thing I should mention about the Enigma is they have excellent imaging. They seem to have good focus and give me partially what the HD800 does so well which is give me almost a 3D like sound. There is actually a center stage with these headphones which is a major plus. Most other headphones give you left and right, but not much in between. The depth is quite impressive.
The Code-X is in a completely different league and are more "natural". After hearing these I could not justify owning the Enigma and I’m questioning whether or not I need my LCD-3 anymore. These seem to have that tactility that I look for in my headphones. It is hard to explain, but I would describe it as a physical presence or body that seems to really give you chills when you hear it. Sound is definitely intimate, probably more so than the Enigma which I felt had very good soundstaging and imaging for a closed back (isolating) headphone. The Code-X just seems to be more balanced to me. They don’t have much going on in terms of wonkiness, except for some slight glare in the treble range. Instruments can sound too hot or have too much sizzle but that really is only when A) the recording is not up to par B) I’m using alternate equipment from my main rig (which is of less quality). On my main system these just give let me sit back and enjoy music. I don’t need to analyze anything because I know these aren’t as detailed as my HD800, or as visceral as my HE-6 but they still are enjoyable headphones that are extremely comfortable and are great all-around.
So to sum up – The Enigma is a very special headphone. From the custom wood cups to the intimate tuning, I haven’t heard a headphone like this before. I would say these aren’t for everyone. They played right on the edge for me, right there between highly detailed and musical. Typically you have to give up some to gain the other. I haven’t come across a headphone or any piece of gear for that matter that is able to sound organic and “musical” while still being up to snuff in terms of resolution and detailed. It is a balance of scales and I think the Enigma plays that edge. It has enough detail to satisfy most users, scales quite well with a higher end chain to improve in all areas, and it sounds enjoyable with just about every genre I threw at it. In the end, I couldn’t justify owning it despite my gratitude towards Luis for giving me the opportunity to hear it early and purchase #001. Still these are the real deal and check most of the boxes. Definitely worth the asking price considering the time spent on each individual pair and custom quality you get.
Edited by Greed - 4/30/14 at 8:54am