Hello, dear colleagues!
Looking through depths of Internet for impressions on metal music listening at headphones I am constantly disappointed by these matters
1. In listening experience descriptions metal music usually is considered as "metal" without subgenre division. What consistent conclusions about headphones-music synergy can be done when first person is listening Doom metal and second person is listening Black metal...
2. Even if discussion is limited by one subgenre of metal, attempts to write down subgenre characteristics (from headphones listening position) are very rare. Usually different persons (obviously with different personal priorities) are sharing their experience of listening on different headphones, and so, there is no chance to understand which cans are really the best on subgenre under consideration.
And so I started the effort to systematize unsystematizable at least in my humble brain and to publish results on Russian headphones enthusiast forum Doctorhead.ru.
(Yes, I am not a native English-speaking person, so I am sorry for possible bugs in translation).
Head-fi posting is inevitable step in a quest for a metal headphones perfection ))
In headphone + subgenre listening notes I'm trying to be as brief as possible. Notes are subjective and emotional much more than technical. General subgenre description is a bit more technical with some tonal balance and scene considerations.
Any critics, advices, additions and corrections are welcome.
And so, Metal \ Doom, general characteristics:
IMHO "meat" of LF is the key ability of headphones for the adequate listening impressions of doom metal. There should be fat, touchable bass. ""Slow"" sound is a plus, there is no need to hurry here. Wide scene could be a bad trick. Small, intimate, closed scene is preferable here."
Notes in a table below were taken as a result of long listening sessions at home, with headphones in my ownership or (in a couple of cases) guesting no less than for 2 weeks. I do not take notes as a result of short listening at hi-fi shop or as a result of browsing frequency response measurements in the Internet.
|Brand||Model||Level||Genre tasting notes||Grade|
|Creative||Aurvana Live!||Entry||Well… OK, bass is prone to drone at extreme low end, but is's texture is really good, warm character in the middle - quite a theme, highs are well dosed for the genre. Given the level of the ears, it is possible to forgive them minor flaws. Anyway Doom flows in them!||The Best|
|Ritmix||RH-508||Entry||Looks very similar to Creative Aurvana Live!. 508 do play the Doom. But their minor faults are no so minor, bass is not under control any more and walks by himself.||Good|
|Sennheiser||HD 449||Entry||Compared to CAL and Ritmix - higher technical level is obvious. But headphones do not play Doom. No bass and flat sound. It feels like cold water pours on you.||Average|
|Shure||SRH840||Basic||Modesty and a lot of bass is much better than just modesty )) Generally balanced response with a bit rise on a HF, ripping modestly grim bass. Because of technical characteristics, considerations M50 had to be ahead of 840. But. Parity at LF, plus timbre richness of 840, plus nice MF of 840 and M50 have no chance to be best.||The Best|
|Audio-technica||ATH-M50||Basic||Much, much better, than 700 MK2. A bit of sparkle at HF, a bit more natural MF, a wider scene and voila - we have a good listening experience. Experience is no more than a good, but OK for basic level headphones. A bit flat compared to 840, still.||Good|
|Audio-technica||ATH-PRO 700 MK2||Basic||Real brute. Even quantity of LF cannot save 700 MK2. Brute character crushes to dust general impression on these cans.||Average|
|Beyerdynamic||DT990 PRO (250 om)||Basic||Lightweight, no punch, drive is leaving through the grills and dissolves in the air. Open construction is no good here.||Average|
|Grado||SR325||Basic||Too much ringing. Really, it's too much for me.||Average|
|Koss||PRO/4AAA||Basic||Negative. No wonder - no control over watery LF.||Average|
|Beyerdynamic||DT770 PRO (250 om)||Basic||Excellent, one of the best cans on Doom metal I ever heard. Thick, dense, viscous bass integrated with a precisely measured mids and highs into a smooth dark fluid sound. Absolutely involving genre interpretation. I'm completely agree with fastnbulbous, 770 are really Cans of Doom.||The Best|
|TDS||TDS-15||Basic||Compared to Beyerdynamic 770 I can't say, that TDS-15 are the best of the best basic level Doom metal headphones. But they are very, really good and very different (compared to 770). Isodynamic sound, detailed and textured bass, feeling of the air, breathing. That's their style.||The Best|
|TDS||TDS-7||Basic||I never thought that the lack of detail is such a big problem for headphones on Doom metal. But alas, when the bass gets on the rest of the frequency range, obscuring everything…||Average|
|Audio-technica||ATH-AD700||Basic||It looks very similar to W1000X. Gorgeous mid-range, great airy atmosphere, but they lack bass concentration.||Good|
|AKG||K601||Middle||No density here. Nutrient soup puree (forming the basis for adequate reproduction of the doom) is absent here.||Average|
|Audio-technica||ATH-ES10||Middle||One of the titans in middle range headphones category. It seems natural not to look for flaws (yes, may be ES10 are not most detailed cans in a World, but who cares?), but to listen for the best of these cans (bass faaat and delicious as a toffee). Impressive Doom subgenre synergy.||The Best|
|Ultrasone||PRO 2900||Middle||A lot of fat and oil. Total performance is very good, but not the best. We have here synthetic oil, unnatural a bit, that's no good for the genre.||Good|
|Shure||SRH1540||Middle||1540 are the 840 but even better. Technically. On doom metal 840 are the one of the best on their level (beginner). 1540 are good, no more among middle range cans… Some sweet swiveling in sound (compared to 1540) adds a pepper for 840, and 1540 have none. They are OK, no more.||Good|
|Denon||AH-D2000 (padauk cups mod)||Middle||Ununexpectedly great. Bass. With such a bass it can't be no great. The rest of the ingredients for the genre are in place.||The Best|
|Denon||AH-D600||Middle||Technical profile of the cans totally fits for the genre, so predictably they are very good. Yeah. They play doom. Very tasty.||The Best|
|Audio-technica||ATH-W1000X||Middle||OK, but no more. LF does not have enough concentration.||Good|
|Philips||Fidelo X1 (with Shure 2900 cable)||Middle||Predictably the best. How could it be other way? May be it's even too doomy and dark ))||The Best|
|Bowers & Wilkins||P7||Middle||No. Key words in bass description are "soft" and "lean" instead of "thick" and "fat".||Average|
|Audeze||LCD-2||Top||Simply the best. The rest are living in another dimension.||The Best|
|Denon||AH-D7000||Top||Well.... One more interdimensional traveler )) (see LCD-2.comment).||The Best|
|Grado||PS500||Top||Nice. But. Too much HF ringing.||Good|
|Fostex||TH-600||Top||Good, but not so good, as 7000 are. Extraordinary chunky bass meal of 7000 is diluted here by lower LF volume and is smashed around the plate rim by the highly detailed sound. However, generally it's OK nevertheless. Very very very good (if you do not compare them with the best).||Good|
|Sennheiser||HD 800||Top||Paint is too watery in a key part of sound picture (bass) and a canvas is too wide. Atmosphere of doom dissolved in a vast space instead of been concentrated.||Average|
|Grado||RS1i||Top||Too much of light in a doom grave.||Too Bad|
|Hifiman||HE-500||Top||Watery and grainy in a same time. Not ideal for the genre.||Average|
|Grado||GS1000||Top||Alas, bass is a bit not rich enough for genre, although we cannot say that it's all too bad and everything is lost. Actually result has good load of fun and is worth to try.||Good|
|Beyerdynamic||T1||Top||Too bad. Just not enough of bass.||Average|
|TDS||TDS-7 (Snorry mod)||Top||Bass has a bit of grain, it’s not so fluid like LCD-2 and this ruins impression. Mids and highs are good for Doom but a teaspoon of bass hoarseness does not allow reaching the ideal.||Good|
List of listening material:
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
Cathedral - The Ethereal Mirror
Earthless - From The Ages
Electric Wizard - Electric Wizard
Orchid - Mouths Of Madness
Subrosa - More Constant Than The Gods
Blood Ceremony - Blood Ceremony
Witchcraft - The Alchemist
Monolord - Empress Rising
DAC and amplifiers used:
Mytek Stereo192-DSD -> Burson Soloist, Lynx HA-61.
Edited by levap - 5/6/14 at 4:33am