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Choosing Mad Dog 3.2 vs Vmoda M100 vs K550 vs thinksound on1

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Head-fi'ers,

 

After having done a fair bit of reading in the forums I have finally arrived at my shortlist for my next headphones. Trouble is, I'm not sure what I exactly want besides the ambiguous aim for 'something mindblowing'. Needs to be closed as I will use for commuting. And should look reasonably cool because I'm a bit shallow in that regard, but not at a significant expense of sound quality. That would be blasphemous :D  My budget is £300 max but the cheaper the better.

 

Mad Dog 3.2 - main force attracting me to this is curiosity about planar drivers and its iterative back story. Is it pretty much the best I can get for £270? A poor man's Audeze LCD-2?

V Moda M100 - main attraction is the design and build quality. If it compares well with Mad Dog then I'll pick this one.

AKG K550 - best soundstage for closed phones in this range? Is it better than Mad dog too?

Thinksound on1 - shoot me for being superficial but that wood looks really warm and inviting. I'm hoping the sound is on par with others in this list?

 

I listen to mainly classical, soundtracks and pop. Not looking for boring reference nor Beats nonsense. maybe a fun reference? Which I believe all of the above would be. Something that will also help me learn and identify sound theory concepts, there is a course on audio engineering in Coursera that I would like to take this year.

 

Headphones I dropped from my final shortlist:

Custom one pro - would be great for learning and looks good to boot but sound is probably a bit meh compared to M100 and Mad Dog 3.2?

MDR-1R - I got more excited about others than this

Sennheiser Momentum - listened to it in a store and didn't really blow me over

V Moda M80 - M100 is newer and shinier :|

Fischer Jubilate - these wooden headphones make me feel all warm inside just looking at them. Reviews sound great too. Unfortunately I cannot find a place to purchase them in the UK. How would it compare to others in this list do you reckon?

 

If money was no object I would probably get an Alpha dog for closed and a Grado rs2i for open. And a Fischer Jubilate to take selfies with. Just kidding, I'm not really that vain. I just love 3d printed engineering. or wood. soundstage too. and a bit of bass for epic soundtracks, but I'm not a basshead. Please help me decide!

post #2 of 14

MD isn't as isolating as fully closed. If you're still interested, I suggest ZMF v1 instead, which sounds somewhat like a cross between HE500 and HD650. It excels with strings and is a credible alternative for orchestral music and soundtracks if one needs some isolation without going fully closed.

 

M100 is too dark for those genres. You'll have a hard time hearing the upper range.

post #3 of 14
Soundmagic HP100 is another to look at that is often considered an alternative to the AKG K550. You can buy it from international sellers if not available locally.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

MD isn't as isolating as fully closed. If you're still interested, I suggest ZMF v1 instead, which sounds somewhat like a cross between HE500 and HD650. It excels with strings and is a credible alternative for orchestral music and soundtracks if one needs some isolation without going fully closed.

 

M100 is too dark for those genres. You'll have a hard time hearing the upper range.

... Claritas have you listend to a Mad Dog? I'm sure you have, non the less it isolates... REALLY STINKIN WELL... LIKE REALLLY GOOOOOOD! There for I do recommend it, how ever the ZMF is another nice Can to consider as well, what you could do is get the Mad Dog as Dan offers a 7 Day trial for it, or you may ask if he has a demo unit out atm. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Soundmagic HP100 is another to look at that is often considered an alternative to the AKG K550. You can buy it from international sellers if not available locally.

Also another good option, I enjoyed the HP 100 my self over the k550 

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

... Claritas have you listend to a Mad Dog? I'm sure you have, non the less it isolates... REALLY STINKIN WELL... LIKE REALLLY GOOOOOOD! There for I do recommend it, how ever the ZMF is another nice Can to consider as well, what you could do is get the Mad Dog as Dan offers a 7 Day trial for it, or you may ask if he has a demo unit out atm. 

Yup. I wrote up a brief comparison somewhere. I guess our experiences differ. ZMF offers the same deal. I'd still recommend it over MD for this music. Isolation might be enough, but it depends how much OP needs.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post


Yup. I wrote up a brief comparison somewhere. I guess our experiences differ. ZMF offers the same deal. I'd still recommend it over MD for this music. Isolation might be enough, but it depends how much OP needs.

Yea each of his cans are most likely a little different, or at least when I got the Mad Dog when it was fairly new ish

 

Non the less both receieve good reviews! 

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions, I never knew about these gems - HP100 sounds great but seems to be on the borderline of portability. It looks a bit bling from photographs, how does the size and shininess fare in reality? Can I wear it outside without looking silly?

 

My shortlist is now:

ZMF V1 or V2 - £170

Mad Dog 3.2 - £270

Soundmagic HP100 - £145

 

Dropped K550 due to its flatness compared to HP100 and dropped M100 with a heavy heart as suggested due to its bass muddling up detail. Also I presume the M100's sound stage is inferior to that of others on my list.

 

Is the £100 premium for Mad dog over ZMF worth it? I'm just curious about Mad dog as it has been compared to the likes of Audeze LCD-2.

 

2 of my options amount to half my budget so they feel like great deals. I will probably buy a Fiio amp with the money saved. 

 

Finally, probably the clincher question that will seal the deal - which of these three sound the most like open headphones / have the most soundstage? Are there any closed headphones in the <£300 | $500 category that have more soundstage than these, while maintaining a decently fun level of bass?


Edited by fireflyfu - 4/9/14 at 6:15pm
post #8 of 14
The reason I suggested ZMF is how well it handles strings, which is the backbone of classical and soundtracks. I prefer it to MD's darker, more uniform sound.

Comparing MD to Audeze is pretty unreasonable: the influence is apparent in the bass and overall tone but not the soundstage and drive. Just as I wouldn't say that ZMF sounds like HE500. The influence is there in vocals, but it really has its own sound. If you decide to get it, the pilot pad is a worthwhile upgrade.
post #9 of 14

Will you be using an amp? I love the Mad Dog as it absolutely sounds better than the M-100, but it's a little power hungry and needs amping to sound its best. It's also heavy and bulky for portable use, unless you don't mind lugging around such a large headphone AND an amp.

 

I also wouldn't be so quick to knock the M-100 off your list. Yes, it's bassy, but it responds very well to EQ. Dial up the treble and mids, tone down the bass and you get a sound that is comparable to the Mad Dog, with the exception of the larger sound stage. I just recently A-B'ed the M-100 and Mad Dog side-by-side and while the Mad Dog sounded better (amped through my FiiO E17/E9 desktop combo) I couldn't imagine it being my portable rig.

post #10 of 14
My vote is for the k550 although I have heard good things about the HP100.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflyfu View Post
 

Thanks for the suggestions, I never knew about these gems - HP100 sounds great but seems to be on the borderline of portability. It looks a bit bling from photographs, how does the size and shininess fare in reality? Can I wear it outside without looking silly?

 

My shortlist is now:

ZMF V1 or V2 - £170

Mad Dog 3.2 - £270

Soundmagic HP100 - £145

 

Dropped K550 due to its flatness compared to HP100 and dropped M100 with a heavy heart as suggested due to its bass muddling up detail. Also I presume the M100's sound stage is inferior to that of others on my list.

 

Is the £100 premium for Mad dog over ZMF worth it? I'm just curious about Mad dog as it has been compared to the likes of Audeze LCD-2.

 

2 of my options amount to half my budget so they feel like great deals. I will probably buy a Fiio amp with the money saved. 

 

Finally, probably the clincher question that will seal the deal - which of these three sound the most like open headphones / have the most soundstage? Are there any closed headphones in the <£300 | $500 category that have more soundstage than these, while maintaining a decently fun level of bass?

I got a post on my log about the HP 100, along with a picture of it in the sun shine. Although I'm a brave man so I don't mind looking silly, they do how ever look nice

 

Although be warned I used the HP 100 portably with a Balanced Dac and Amp combo, still it works very nice out of a simple DAP like the Hifiman HM 601 or Fiio X3/5

post #12 of 14

All I can add to this thread, is that the Mad Dogs are crazy good for their price.

I had a listen to them and thought "wow, I want these, but they're probably like 600 or 700 euro's so I can't afford these". Nope, 350 euro's, a huge relieve and a huge surprise, I'll also be getting them as soon as possible.

They benefit greatly from an amp, but they are useable without one, straight from a smartphone or laptop or anything.

 

Haven't heard the others, so I can't judge on that, sorry.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kilspeed111 View Post
 

All I can add to this thread, is that the Mad Dogs are crazy good for their price.

I had a listen to them and thought "wow, I want these, but they're probably like 600 or 700 euro's so I can't afford these". Nope, 350 euro's, a huge relieve and a huge surprise, I'll also be getting them as soon as possible.

They benefit greatly from an amp, but they are useable without one, straight from a smartphone or laptop or anything.

 

Haven't heard the others, so I can't judge on that, sorry.

well sadly the ZMF are also a good deal, both are modified T50RP headphones and both are getting very rave reviews

 

Although Dan offers a 7 day return policy if you'd like to try them 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks all, your advice is really appreciated, so much to learn. I think I have made up my mind - I'm going to go for the ZMF with the Pilot/Alpha pads. Its comparable if not better than Mad dogs for £100 cheaper, and I think sounds the most open for less than $500/£300 while maintaining  a good balance with bass. This will also leave me with cash to invest in a cheapish Amp. I will probably go for the Fiio E11.

 

But now I read that there is an upcoming ZMF Vibro with wooden cups! This would be just perfect given my love affair with wooden finishes. I do hope it falls in my budget though. Seems we will probably find out the price when it debuts for sale at the Axpona Audio expo on 25 April.  If its outside my budget I'll get either the ZMF basic v1 or v2, still figuring out which one from them suits me more. 

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