This is the summary post on my metal music listening experience with a couple of headphones )) Primary targets:
- to find the best of the best
- to find hidden synergy treasures for headphones traditionaly not reccomended for metal
- to have fun in a process )
Marks in a table below were taken as a result of long listening sessions at home, with headphones in my ownership or guesting no less than for 2 weeks. I do not make marks as a result of short listening at hi-fi shop or as a result of browsing frequency response measurements in the Internet.
Detailed notes on subjenres (currently posted for doom metal) are here:
General considerations are under spoiler (Click to show)
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 ))
DAC: Mytek Stereo192-DSD
Amps: Burson Soloist, Lynx HA-61
Any critics, advices, additions and corrections are welcome.
In the group of basic level headphones, somewhat surprisingly appeared a mutually complementary pair - Shure SRH840 and Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO. Relative failures of one of these cans on the part of subgenres are compensated by excellent performance on the other part. In the case of budget trip to a desert island, this pair could fulfill any metallic and non-metallic musical need of me.
If the task is to select only headphones - you can use any of the following - Shure SRH840, Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO, Audio-technica ATH-M50, Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO, AKG Q701. Whatever your choice would be, the result in any case is decent. (My personal champion - Shure SRH840). The other cans look like niche players, but I must say that almost every headphones have subgenre in their prime.
These cans have rather flat frequency response, but they are not too "flat". They have confident tight bass with good extention. Clean, slightly elevated treble. Nice natural mid-range. Soundstage is wide enough, especially for sealed headphones. The sound is airy, which, combined with a relatively flat frequency response and amount of bass perfect for metal, gives very interesting results.
Doom: Sobriety and a lot of bass are better than just sobriety )) Smooth sound with slightly elevated highs, moderately rumbling bass. I expected on general technical assumptions that M50 should be better on Doom. But having parity at bass, 840 have more rich timbre, great midrange of 840 leaves no chance of M50.
Power: Speed, air. Well measured, evil drive. Deep bass. At their level - just fine
Symphonic: A little strange - but very good (for its level of course). Reasonable doses of openness (for closed cans) and lots of emotions.
Progressive: And again, great for the level (and closed cans) result. Wide soundstage, rich timbres, bass - all the way through.
Death: Bust of bright colors does not look serious.
Grindcore: Needlessly hysterically. Not prohibitive, but very, very unpleasant.
Industrial: Too lightweight for this genre. Balloons look inappropriate on the steel mills.
Thrash: Too hysterical, something more dark and easy (e.g. M50) seems more appropriate.
One of my favorite entry-level ears. For light and bright mood.
Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO (250 om)
Again, despite the word "PRO" in the title, we have the device that is actually focused on music listening, not just technical analysis. Gorgeous bass punch, slightly playful (but not so much as in 840) treble. Slightly withdrawn mid-range. A small soundstage (not really small for closed cans). Headphones have well integrated, in a way liquid sound, not overwhelmed with excessive details.
What is good:
Doom: Perfect. One of the best Doom presentations ever. Thick, dense, viscous bass and overall coherent sound - very base matching genre interpretation.
Thrash: Rollicking, cheerful. Texture and speed of bass – direct hit for the genre.
Industrial: Very convincing. More technical and cool interpretation would be more traditional. But not so comfortable as on 770.
Black: Ohhh. Anaal Nathrakh - brain if seeping out of the ears and warm pleasant streams flow down the cheeks from the headphone cups.
Alternative: Driving, delicious, powerful. What more could you want?
What is not so good:
Symphonic: Lack of width of soundstage and lack of air are painfully present.
Sludge, Stoner: Too “coherent”, more details are wanted here. A bit of brightness would be appropriate here.
Progressive: Mediocre. Wide spacious soundstage is must have here.
Power: Too narrow and rather flat.
Death: A little something is missing to make 770 Death presentation perfect. May be a bit of brightness or may be a bit of darkness.
According to the results, Beyers 770, along with Shure 840 – my favorite entry-level cans. For a dark mood.
Really nice basic level cans. In the pros - bass adequate for bass heavy genres, not too tedious (compared with some headphones-colleagues) treble. In cons - somewhat harsh / plastic notes in timbre, not too wide soundstage. The result is a lot of drive, highly energetic presentation without fatal technical faults.
Grindcore and Industrial - 200% hit (powerful, controlled bass, sterile high-tech sound). For the rest of subgenres (for me) due to the harsh timbre notes - not ideal. If this is not prominent problem for the listener - subjectively ears will be one of the best or may be THE best at the basic level.
Beyerdynamic DT990 (250 om)
For me, 990 represent something in the middle of Shure 840 and Beyers 770. Sound recalls 770, but it's diluted by wide soundstage and less punch (as a result of open construction). There is no longer such integrity of sound, as 770 has, but also there is no so much air, as 840 gives. Bass is adequate for metal music. Treble is relatively "comfortable", 990 are not the most detailed cans. Soundstage is a little wider than the average.
The absence of sheer timbre coloring, the presence of soundstage wider than the average allow 990 to play Alternative and Heavy Metal. On Death the hit for genre is more on emotional basis, than on purely technical - the balance of power and gloomy atmosphere is gorgeous. At Goth, 990 get to the point on combination of relatively broad soundstage, relatively bright sound and grim, in no way sweet atmosphere.
Not the best in a line of Grado products. Not a big surprise that after 325 we had 325i, and then 325is. Hard, sharp , extremely bright sound. Mids traditionally good (with the color of Grado). Bass is moderate. Soundstage is chamber (again, sort of tradition for the classical line of Grado headphones). Very specific sound, it takes time to get used to. I personally had a period of time (after listening 125 Grado for a couple of years) when 325 were really good for me. But, being referenced to colleagues on a level, alas, 325 do not have peak performance at any subgenre. Nevertheless, there are high hopes that the 325is will be interesting, looking forward to try.
Audio-technica ATH-PRO 700 MK2
Subwoofers on the ears, volume control in the hands of Conan the Barbarian . I suppose that sometimes there is a definite need for such a thing... Mid- and high-frequency are recessed, scene is rolled into a ball.
Love/hate cans (surprisingly, while they have the PRO label), for good result on some genre there should be resonance of headphones taste "curve" with the "curve" of the genre. Predictably good at Industrial - transition of the quantity of bass to sound quality. Not too serious character + bass of these cans = real fun on the Thrash. Inhumanity, speed and darkness give peak at Grindcore and Death, the interpretation is ambiguous, but for me personally - very tasty.
Really peculiar device, that submerges you into a specific vintage feel simply by being in your hands. Bass is brutal, mid-range is protruding and, alas, treble is unintelligible. In general, the sound level is not high, very strictly genre-oriented.
Bomb explodes on genres similar to the classic rock. So Heavy Metal and Thrash are extremely tasty. Peak of the shape for the ears comes on hard rock and classic rock. Headphones can also be sincerely recommended for punk rock listening, impressions are guaranteed.
TDS-7 (no mods)
General impressions are very similar to Koss PRO/4AAA. Brutal, "atmospheric", vintage device. Extremely powerful bass. Flat, with no colouring mid-range. Muffled, not detailed highs. Soundstage size is minimal possible. Niche players. More sort of historical artefact, than device for daily casual listening.
Cans were good on Alternative and Thrash metal. On Alternative metal powerful TDS-7 style bass is really in place, lack of resolution is replaced by drive and crazy hangout inherent to these cans. On Thrash bass of TDS-7 is on its place again, drive and vintage fleur - are good, technical faults are looking like special sound effect added for good at production stage.
Headphones in spite of on-the-ear construction type (construction obvously does not let drivers to show what they really can and calls for modders) with no excuses for age could be recommended not as the artefact of the past, but as the day-by-day music listening device, competitive on basic level. If you like their flavour they could be one of the best actually.
Open construction type lets to build TDS-15 considerable soundstage. Bass is big and controlled enough fot the metal. Mid range is flat (may be a bit warm). There is a little accent on highs.
These cans can play the rock, from classic to alternative, so they are predictacly good on Alternative and Heavy metal. They are almost as good as Beyers 770 on Black (770 got more punch, TDS-15 - more air, and surprise - that's appears good on Black). TDS-15 are good on Progressive and Symphonic metal - on the one hand they are tight, powerful and energetic, ont he other hand - they have rather wide soundstage (a bit wider soundstage, actually would be excellent, but for basic level it's more than okay). Finally good results for Doom metal become great on Stoner/Sludge having open, light and airy character of TDS-15.
Amount of bass is more than enough fo metal. Bass is not slow or wooly - bass control is impressive and the punch is great, but may be a little attacks resolution problem is present. Quality of bass for PORTABLE headphones is prominent. Mids are slightly recessed, fortunately without stark warm or cold colouring. Highs are a moderately dark, with no "veil". The soundstage is average / slightly less than the average (for closed cans).
Tasting notes of selected metal subgenres:
Black: If you listen really hard, you can diagnose insufficiently sharp attacks on the Black (i.e. Anaal Nathrakh - Forging Towards the Sunset), sound lacks clarity a bit. But the overall picture, power, flavor and balance - in complete synchronization with the genre.
Death: Slightly darkish balance, lack of highs plays bad joke with the Death, not enough sharpness, sparks and brightness (in a good sense of the word).
Alternative: On the Alternative it's just not enough of air, sound is muffled for genre.
Doom: Excellent (does not exceed ears for listening at home - compared with Beyers770), but for the portables the result is magnificent.
Gothic: Muffled and unnecessarily brutal, not their niche genre.
Grindcore: Again, just not enough of resolution, but the power and enthusiasm... The result - really impressive.
Industrial: The amount of bass is good, sub-bass is present, highs are not strangled, mids are not warm. Good. Good.
The grand total - perhaps the best portable metal cand for a reasonable price and one of the best basshead headphones allaround.
According to the personal preferences - I rather do not like these cans, still too unnatural, too heavily distorted tonal balance. In a direct comparison, switching to Beyers 770 make you feel that you listen something light and extremely sharp. Make Beyers 770 to feel like Grado - this is something... So, for me M-100 are in no way relevant for use as single cans for every day use. As portables and as superweapon on certain subgenres - they are really good here.
Perhaps I like, I like very much the concept of AKG sound (this cold, crisp, sharp, slightly detached sound, wide soundstage) on metal. Q701 respectively at the basic level, for me personally, stand quite on a par with the other leaders. But. If you compare Q701 with the K712... 712 is actually higher on the head.
So, Q701. We have a little lack of bass for the metal. Smooth, cool midrange. Slightly accented highs. The soundstage is wide, spacious.
Where 701 are good:
Progressive: And once again the wide soundstage, great technique and cold sound flavour add up to radically adequate combination for genre. A slight bass shortage becomes invisible.
Symphonic: Impressions are the same as on Progressive. With regard to the genre may be noted, Nightwish old albums sound nice, despite the "technicality" of cans. Interesting.
Goth: What killer-doctors prescribed. Wide, cold and gloomy.
Power: It is spacious, transparent, cool. Successfull.
Grindcore: Thin sharp needles come just under the nails with hammers. Jackhammers. Impressive.
Black: Not enough bass-power, but more than enough of resolution. Clear, wide and involving.
Death: Not enough of bass pressure, but fierce sparks fly from the eyes. Speed and accuracy - strictly in place.
What is to criticize:
Doom: Fat broth with ground bone (must have for the Doom) is not cooked. Alas. Sludge, Stoner: Not so bad as on Doom, but nothing good also. Scrapes and scratches instead of humming rolls as would befit.
Alternative: Technically good, but perhaps too cold and neutral, there is no emotional fusion with rather frivolous genre.
Industrial: Brushed metal in the sound. But. Cans stroke the metal, they're not beating on the head with it.
Thrash: Oh. Too much of brightness, electric welding. Where are my sunglasses? ,
Overall, I repeat. Q701 for me among the basic level leaders.
Professional cans with very special, extremely flat character. It was interesting to try such a device on metal.
When I listen to 250, I can not shake the feeling that I listen to E-MU 0404 (regardless of amp/DAC I used). Unforgettable dry taste.
Bass at 250 is quite good, not elevated, in general, sufficient for metal. Mids are nice and smooth. Tops with a slight touch of "darkness". Chamber soundstage. On high-speed genres tend to smooth out attacks - perhaps the most conspicuous of technical problems.
Black: Wow, this is something there. Does not involves as Beyerdynamic 770 or V-Moda M-100, but detached, mechanistic, darkish interpretation makes the horror to move somewhere in the depths of the body. Impressive.
Death: Shivers the size of a mouse are crawling on my back...
Alternative: It is acceptable in terms of tonal balance (admittable bass volume, mids and hight are okay). But comrades 250 are very detached. No emotional response. All the time I want to add volume, but does not help anyway.
Industrial: No core competence - 250 does not have distinct sub-bass. Bass thumps, but to no avail.
Power: Genre is supposed to be funny, entertaining. And here, as if the school teacher of music is back. With the same zeal and drive.
Heavy Metal: Stressed, radically anti-involving performance. Highs and mids are gray, no fun on bass.
Grindcore: Soft attacks, as if the sounds are rounded. Not a problem for a slower subgenres, but here it is really disturbing.
Grand total. Cans for fans of a specific "professional", "flat" sound. Either you like them and then it's possible to throw on them any genre you can think about. Or do not like, so behold the results of my review.
Middle level headphones
Bullies with a style. The mix of full-size headphone driver with a portable design leads to precisely this result. Cans are not too “balanced” - powerful bass (thanks to the driver), tasty mids (thanks to the driver again), not the most modest highs. Soundstage, alas, is small.
Headphones show their best on these metal subgenres:
Doom: In the middle weight class – one of the titans. ES10 easily let you to forget shortcomings (yes, it's not the most detailed cans, for example) and listen only to the merits (fat, stringy as toffee bass – “must have” for the Doom). Gestalt response of ES10 with Doom is impressive.
Black: Fast and provocative, a kind of small Denon D7000. Well, may be a bit darkish compared to 7000.
Heavy Metal: A simple device with a skillfully tilted balance, charged with drive and charisma is a way ahead of more flat but boring competitors.
Power: Despite the fact that bass is trying to overshadow mids, charisma of ES10 (or call it “colouring” if you dislike them) definitely puts the overall impression of music to the joyful and merry plane, greatly related to the Power.
Overall, probably the best for metal portable headphones of the middle level (that I had opportunity to listen to date). Can with cheerful character and charisma.
And once again, cans with obvious and explicit talents outside heavy metal genres. But perhaps it’s even more interesting to try them metal, than straight metal-able headphones.
For me, the keyword on W1000X is "air." You can feel the air in sound, in headbands touch to your head and in overall aftertaste of music performed by W1000X.
Objectively talking the only thing, which is painfully lacking in relation to metal - bass, here the "air" plays a bad joke. Mids are the best, that the cans have, it's hard not to fall in love with this coloration. Highs are delicate, along with wide (for closed headphones) soundstage, pose a significant part of the overall airy image.
Predictably enough ears showed themselves well on non-extreme metal subgenres, closer to rock / classic – the better:
Heavy Metal: Softness and naturalness are welcome here, headphones are weaving amazing cohesive musical canvas.
Symphonic: Unlike the D600 - very soft, airy and judicious performance. Sincerely and good. Antipode of D600 for the one who prefers judicious performance to sheer entertainment.
Thrash: Imperfect, but it is noteworthy performance. Feels like soft balls are rolled in the stomach. Looks like inappropriate for the Trash, but extremely interesting anyway.
Alternative: A surprise once again! Comrade W1000X demonstrates amazing ability to play alternative metal. Hooray! Diablo Swing Orchestra and Serj Tankian hail W1000X.
As a result, here we have cans, that are able to make a very fresh notes in non-extreme metal subgenres performance.
By far one of the best cans at middle level. Comfortable fit. Wide, very wide soundstage (for closed headphones). Powerful bass, but alas not well controlled (bass kin of hang out on the wide soundstage). Highhs may become too bright on the bright DAC/amp, no complaints on the on a neutral or dark gear. Overall a bit too sweet sound character, has a tendency to embellish, to apply "Photoshop effects" to sound.
Death: A sea of fun! I’m not sure, that Death should play soy joyfully, but when D600 play – they generate the most diverse emotions. Thanks for that.
Black: Well measured heavy bass (unlike on a number of other sub-genres) – the key to success.
Doom: Technical potency (yes, yes, again it’s about of volume of bass, albeit imperfectly controlled) coincides with the profile of the genre. Yes. They play doom. Savory.
Sludge, Stoner: Despite the overload on the bass, potentially unacceptable, D600 play Sludge/Stoner with more enthusiasm than their colleagues headphones on middle level.
Power: Probably the best cans for Power on the middle level (may be except AKG 712). Moderately lightweight and cheerful sound signature, nice midrange. Swollen bass is trying get in the way, but fortunately it fails to spoil the feast.
Symphonic: Slightly too brutal, but fun and cheerful anyway. Unintelligent, but entertaining interpretation of Sympho-metal.
That turns out not too well:
Thrash: Amorphous, bulky, slow. Characters of cheerful songs rotate in a tank with oil, wrapped in a soft protective shell…
Progressive: Fat and lard, looks like a greasy pan. Repulsive.
Alternative: Bass excess confidently leads the brain into the overdrive.
Overall, despite the impressive and apparent viability of a broad range of metal subgenres, D600 remain extremely non-neutral, non-flat and son non-universal headphones. Initial enthusiasm, if you are not full bore, is practically guaranteed. But how this enthusiasm will last, is much more difficult to say. Alas, for the cans with this level of "curvature", chances for close boredom coming are far from zero.
Denon AH-D2000 (padauk cups mod)
Bad guys (in a good sense) even against “not so good guys” colleagues)) Mod consists of 1) replacement of the cups - padauk cups installed and 2) tonal balance adjustment by sound absorbing material application. Result – very bass-heavy and heavy-weight headphones (probably another reason for gestalt response with heavy metal genres). Bass is powerful and well-controlled. Denon X000 drive is in place. Mids, alas, are imperfect, a bit recessed as compared with original D2000/D5000. Soundstage is narrow. Highs are quite acceptable.
Black: Dark, dense and comfortable. Feels like Alien’s larva rotating in the mucus in the parent shell.
Doom: Ununexpectedly great. With such a bass it can not be not great.
Heavy Metal: Wood consonant to live (at least relatively live) genres. Another confirmation.
Industrial: Wooden sledgehammer gives lessons of Industrial with a human face. (Key point - concentrated bass hits right to the spot).
Thrash: Moderately natural and immoderately involving. Bass - exactly what you need, ample but well controlled and concentrated.
What’s not so good:
Symphonic: Not their day (genre). Narrowish scene and pluses (fat bass) become more outs.
Progressive: Alas, sheer lack of subtlety, delicacy and space.
Goth: Instead of light melancholy we have boredom here – looks like Shrek is in sadness.
In total, one of the best cans for the metal. And once again, not too versatile / neutral headphones. Love / hate test is presumed.
Headpnones left a mixed impression. On the one hand it is very flat, accurate cans with a good bass and large soundstage (for closed cans), pleasant mids and rather comfortable highs (sounds delicious, does not it?). 1540 received were highly rated on innerfidelity. Retail price on 1540 is rock solid and does not drop down day by day. But… Cans (for me personally) do not have the "highlight" that could make them a champion and this is the main complaint.
For example, what do we have on Doom. I expected 1540 are the good old 840, but better in every way possible. Technically that’s very close to the truth. But it turns out that in his weight class 840 - prominent ears, and 1540 - just good ... It's easy unbalance (compared with 1540), that adds 840 some pepper. And we don’t have “spice” in 1540. All good, but there is no spark in them. OK, but no more.
Where headphones did show their best:
Progressive: This is where the combination of the formally high performance with mild highs rise, appropriate soundstage and prominent bass is more than welcome. Their finest hour.
Alternative: Modesty and precision give 200% hit.
Smooth, balanced, accurate and calm headphones. No obvious problems. Do not jump through the head.
Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI
Headphones are assigned to the middle level category due to their excessive "nonflatness", although considering the price ($ 699) they are closer to the top level. It’s desirable in comparison with their colleagues to praise Pandora Hope VI, and not vice versa.
To begin with, the cans sound signature is “painted” furiously as psychedelic matryoshka on the Arbat street. Or taking into account country and manufacturer, let’s remember anime (robots and cyberpunk type). Timbre is filled with liquid metal. Bass is thick, greasy and full of balanced armature buzzy meat. To make such a fat sound (fat often not found in the original record) hard task even for LCD-2. And nevertheless bass is extremely fast and mobile. Strange and interesting experience. Mids are perhaps even dryish, no such sweetness and forwardness as one would expect from such a breed of Japanese headphones. Highs are sparkling (in a good sense of the word, not overly bright), armature-style highs. Soundstage is wide, especially for the closed cans.
Let's look at the bright stripes of this cocktail:
Alternative: Perhaps for the first time listening for metal music I hear so metal. Indeed, steel notes are present in a voice of Pandora. Unique, fascinating.
Doom: And here all is perfect. Isodynamic top cans can do better, but the price tag is going to be top also.
Sludge, Stoner: At Doom it was good and it’s good here also. Buzzing bass meat is in it’s place.
Power: Have fun. Rollicking. Bells are ringing. Gypsy-style power metal Very worth of listening, very special.
Grindcore: A clear, sharp, powerful attacks do not show faults found on Death and Black. Balanced armature creates a background, really interesting in the context of grindcore.
Thrash: Wow. Roller coaster with a stop in the pool and splashing fountains. Refreshes and invigorates. Does not come off. Even a slight lack of punch is forgivable, perhaps.
Let's look at the dark stripes:
Industrial: The problem with punch is still present plus it’s multiplied by visible on industrial music insufficient extension of the bass.
Black: First impression – dynamic and fleshy at the same time. But final impression is spoiled by the cluttering of small details by armature-style buzzing.
Progressive: Broad soundstage pleases certainly, but for the genre more neutral and more technical presentation would be a plus. Playfulness is clearly superfluous. Although such a rollicking version can really please somebody.
Cans - feast, cans - holiday. Unnatural, but very exciting. At the middle level – positively are monsters. If you don’t care too much about neutrality – Pandora could be even top cans for you.
Sennheiser HD 600
First of all I must admit that I really like these cans, therefore, it is likely that the level of subjectivity in the estimates will continue to be slightly above average.
Bass undistinguished, on the verge of adequacy for the genre. Mids are smooth, cool. Highs are probably slightly elevated, but not ringing, not tiresome bright. Soundstage size - not huge, but too small also. All in all - a balanced, calm, nice and cool headphones.
A few words on Senns 600 vs 650. Despite the fact that I like 600 more than 650 (tonal balance of 600, their general approach on musical material reproduction), it should be noted that according to the timbre richness 650 is still far ahead of 600. Halftones on the musical canvas are more visible and more tasty. Another interesting moment: replacement of cable for Toxic unlike the 650 does not lead to radical changes in tonal balance, changes are very slight.
Alternative: Not bad, not bad. Well measured hysteria.
Power: Very specific feelings. Such an ugly, scary tales 600 tell. But I like them, I can not help myself. Technically speaking. The wider stage would be nice, but in grand total all the same - excellent.
Heavy Metal: No questions. Drive - in place, energy - present. There is no explicit problems.
Progressive: Restrained, smooth, clear, calm. Zen-progressive. It pulls into the maelstrom.
Sludge, Stoner: Expectations on bass performance (compared to the Doom) are decreased and 600 proudly reflects the needs of the genre.
Thrash: Fresh and energetic. More bass punch would lead to launch beyond the Earth's orbit, but geostationary orbit launch is also good enough )
Goth: Well, well... Dreary, cold, sad. Atmosphere - direct hit, tonal balance - more than adequate.
Not so attractive:
Black: Against the best of the best - not enough of resolution, slightly mushy. But the tonal balance is quite the topic for Black.
Death: Mediocre (the same results as on Black).
Grindcore: Not too bad - relatively clear and sharp, but not enough for the genre. More bass punch is desperately needed.
Symphonic: Not bad, but... Too formal. Puzzling, how is it comes from the cans capable of great Thrash performance. But it's the fact. Two white gloves on each hand, at least one could be removed.
Doom: More convincing than the 650 with the stock cable, but still far from the ideal.
Industrial: Tonal balance is good, cold shivers are running. But not enough of bass punch to the liver, alas.
Grand total. And as a result we have an excellent balanced universal cans, which may well be used as the only headphones. A more promising - a couple of serious Senns 600 and their antipode, such as Denon D600. Or headphones with a unique sound signature, such as AD700. Fresh emotions every day are guaranteed )
Top level headphones
Headphones remind searchlight device in the operating room, the bright light floods every nook and cranny of the object under consideration. And the object is pushed straight to the one's nose and even if you do not want, you can see every minor feature of records and every single fault. So, the first thing you notice - headphones are extremely detailed, clynical and analytical. Crisp attack, very strict decay with no artificial reverberation (somewhere it might be good, but might be somewhere and not) . Sennheisers 800 are not less detailed, but due to its vast soundstage 800 do not push detail so straightforward to your eyes.
Headphones have a fairly aggressive highs, I suspect that for many, brightness could be excessive, for me it is generally okay (nevertheless, even HE-6 and Signature Pro are somewhat softer compared to K812) . Mids are good - smooth, clean and delicious. Bass - ample enough for heavy genres, with a good extension, sub-bass is present. Soundstage is not a huge one, due to the high resolution imaging is really great. The general character of cans - cool, perhaps even sterile .
Practically all the metal music subgenres (except Doom) are technically superb, "Good" rating instead of "The Best" was prescribed on the basis of sheer taste preferences rather than objective performance.
Let's look at the impressions on subgenres:
Doom: For adequate Doom bass reproduction 812 bass just is not big and concentrated enough, accent on highs is not really relevant on Doom.
Progressive: Perhaps the very best interpretation of Progressive I listened up to date. The balance is just ideal for the genre - tight bass under strict control, smooth mids, slightly cold sound, not too wide soundstage, extreme detail level - looks like great feature on Progressive metal.
Symphonic: Performance is so impressive (soundstage wide enough, bass well measured, treble crisp and tasty, details level is stellar), so that is not good. Indeed it is impossible to listen to imperfect records now. And if you can not listen to Nightwish, it's time to think again about "Impressive performance".
Power: Perfect interpretation, if not the best. Enough of air and speed. Lacks a soul a little. Atmosphere of interpretation recalls reading Lord of the Rings in the operating room. Much less technically perfect, but much warmer treatment of Grado RS1i and Denon D7000 for me closer to the content of the genre.
Black: Inhuman resolution allows each thread to unravel in the densest and most imperfect recordings. Drive and power do not let to lose interest for music. In terms of overall performance - a draw with LCD-2.
Death: I do not fully understand what happened, but here searchlight feature fails and LCD-2 seems more focused (not to mention that more tasty).
Industrial: Onсe more naturally occupied niche. Temperature - subzero, technological and playful presentes sub-bass, crisp attack, no reverberation
812 vs T1. Compared to 812, T1 has recessed middle and grainy highs, bass is not too punchy. Nothing to talk about, when you switch fast from 812 to T1.
812 vs HE-6. HE-6 soundstage is slightly wider, HE-6 are a bit more laid-back, 812 are more forward. HE-6 have a somewhat drier sound, 812 are a tad warmer, juicier. 812 squeezes every drop from Tesla-generated bass, but Panzer-powerful yet structured and detailed bass of HE-6 is obviously better on metal. Subjectively, mids at 812 are a bit forward too (not a tonal balance problem, just part of sound signature). HE-6 play more comfortable and 812 with maniacal precision renders the attack and do not pull reverberation .
As a result, I really, really like these cans. Is it possible to listen to music through AKG K812? The question is open for me... Headphones were borrowed for a couple of weeks, maybe a little later I will buy them to find the answer.
TDS-7 (Snorry mod).
Very peculiar cans.
The result of original TDS-7 modification (by leading Russian headphones modding artisan Snorry) is significant and undeniable. Considering plain sound characteristics whether they are undoubted flagship cans capable to replace say LCD-2 or HE500? For me the answer is - no. (In parenthesis I have to add that the answer is correct just for me, I admit that from other subjective position the answer may be different. And I am eager to try TDS- 15 mod, it suggests that the result may be a higher level, the flagship without any "if") .When you hold them in your hands, you can feel the aura no industrial product could ever have and they simply one of the best looking cans I ever had. And with addition this factor, for me personally TDS- 7 Snorry mod certainly belongs to the very top category.
What I did like about them. They are true isodynamic cans with special sound attributed to isodynamic drivers. They are in a way similar to HE500 by a cold, not too sparkling sound.
What I did NOT like about them. Unfortunately they still have harshness and a bit of grain on bass inherited from original TDS-7. Also they are very demanding from amplification; on Burson Soloist it was not so simple to find sweet spot of comfortable loudness. The problem is - decreasing volume results in increasing of "darkness" in sound, increasing of "veil" thickness (well, may be for someone it could be plus, not minus as for me, I prefer more "bright" sound).
Headphones have thunderous bass, rather flat mids and not annoying a little "dark" highs. Soundstage is not too small.
The most impressive they vere on
- Heavy Metal (brutal bass, not too accurate whole sound picture, vintage charm that starts from getting headphones and expands tremendously when music is on)
- Thrash (a lot of drive, not too rafinated sound have internal synergy with Thrash music)
- Grindcore (signal peaks are higher and attacks are more distinct compared to Black and Death, where headphones were a step from perfect; tank-like power and airplane-like speed are breathtaking, prescribed fot the genre)
On other subgenres cans were very close to the top performers and can be (if like their flavour) used as a single metal headphones.
Conclusions (predictably) are not too magical. For jazz, classic rock W5000 - are definitely among of the best cans I've ever listened to, but the metal is another story... And yet.
Technical performance. The volume of the bass is usually enough, but the punch is really noticeably lacking. Mids - accented, warm Audio-technica endorphins. Higs - not bad, no excessive brightness. Soundstage - quite a wide, but at the top level W5000 are far from champions title.
Opportunity to rejoice.
Doom: Hmm. Strange, but I rather like the result. Not the best of the best, but still. Softness and roundness are woven into the more than acceptable texture. What is missing - the sense of total bass control.
Power: Technically - not perfect (speed, control ...), but the fun factor is staggering )) We put the highest mark, so that experience was not lost.
Heavy Metal: The closest to the classic rock genre played out perfectly - naturally. Fascinating and ornamentally beautiful.
Goth: slowness, traditional vocals - excellent conditions for 5000 to express themselves. Even a warm sound signature does not look like a fault.
Sludge, Stoner: After results for Doom-s expectations here were high. Alas. Still, Sludge / Stoner Metal is more metal than rock. W5000 lack in a raw power to play like the best of the best.
Alternative: Slow tracks - incomparable. But fast ones... I wish they were not. Softness and roundness are inappropriate here.
Industrial: You can listen to the sounds, but why? Headphones are surprised with the listener.
Black: Sound canvas does not turn into a mess. It's not mess ... It's a snowy morning landscape - the spaces between the houses are filled with smooth transitions. But as the original did not have such transitions.
Death: Impressions similar to those obtained on Black, just drifts above the snow even thicker.
Grindcore: Another snow genre (see Black, Death). We ride from the mountains On the snow-cats with a diesel engine. Sometimes even funny.
Progressive: And again, again a dual impression - on leisurely tracks all is great, for fast ones - put out the light.
Symphonic: Opera vocal, non-electric instruments, the atmosphere - yes. Assertive, energetic parts - no.
Thrash: Rock 'n' roll frenzy - A grade. Speed - C. Total - B.
All in all - not enough of raw power, too intelligent/soft/rounded to play metal. But definitely there are some interesting metal subgenre niches, you can treat them as a bonus to the W5000 talents on non-metal music genres.
List of albums used for subgenre tastingList (Click to show)
A Perfect Circle - Emotive
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Pinata
Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
Faith No More - King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime
Primus - Antipop
Propagandhi - Failed States
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Serj Tankian - Elect The Dead
System Of A Down - Hypnotize
Vista Chino - Peace
Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde
Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
Bathory - The Return....
Burzum - Filosofem
Cobalt - Gin
Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
Immortal - Sons Of Northern Darkness
Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu
Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
Satyricon - Now, Diabolical
Cannibal Corpse - Vile
Carcass - Surgical Steel
Dark Tranquillity - The Gallery
Death - Scream Bloody Gore
Entombed - Left Hand Path
Morbid Angel - Blessed Are The Sick
Napalm Death - Utilitarian
The Modern Age Slavery - Obedience
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
Cathedral - The Ethereal Mirror
Earthless - From The Ages
Electric Wizard - Electric Wizard
Monolord - Empress Rising
Orchid - Mouths Of Madness
Subrosa - More Constant Than The Gods
Blood Ceremony - Blood Ceremony
Witchcraft - The Alchemist
Moonspell - Irreligious
My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
Paradise Lost - Icon
Type O Negative - Dead Again
Woods Of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
Liberteer - Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees
Nails - Abandon All Life
Napalm Death - Scum
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
Vhol - Vhol
AC/DC - Back In Black
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Grave Digger - Knights Of The Cross
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
Judas Priest - British Steel
Saxon - Sacrifice
Scorpions - The Hot & Slow
Die Krupps - Odyssey Of The Mind
Ministry - Dark Side of the Spoon
Rammstein - Mutter
Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe
Blind Guardian - Tales From The Twilight World (2007 Remastered)
Children Of Bodom - Something Wild
Falconer - Falconer
Gamma Ray - Insanity & Genius (2002 Remastered)
Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1
Iced Earth - The Dark Saga
Manowar - Hail To England
Running Wild - Death Or Glory
Sabaton - Carolus Rex
Wuthering Heights - Far from the Madding Crowd
Agalloch - The Mantle
Anathema - Alternative 4
Animals As Leaders - Animals As Leaders
Mastodon - The Hunter
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Protest The Hero - Volition
Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing
The Ocean - Pelagial
Therion - Secret Of The Runes
Baroness - Blue Record
Isis - Wavering Radiant
Behold! The Monolith - Defender, Redeemist
Endless Boogie - Focus Level
Kyuss - Welcome to Sky Valley
Om - Advaitic Songs
Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
Wiht - The Harrowing of the North
Apocalyptica - Plays Metallica By Four Cellos
Katatonia - Discouraged Ones
Moonspell - The Antidote
Nightwish - Oceanborn
Therion - Theli
Within Temptation - Mother Earth
Evile - Enter the Grave
Holy Moses - Master of Disaster
Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth
Edited by levap - Yesterday at 2:31 am