It has been awhile since I get to try many different flavours of headphones & speakers leave alone amplifiers and DAC. I have been so happy with my MrSpeaker’s Alpha Dog that I find myself stopped craving for an upgrade except for a very own custom cable for itself. That said, I did not regret paying the premium price to ship it via FedEx from the other side of the Earth to me although I am still not a fan of my local’s custom who made my premium delivery un-premium.
Either way, the packaging itself are kind of standard, nothing impressive nothing overdone nor underdone. Comes with everything I needed and the jack is exactly what I choose so I’m happy. I just love the fact that not only does Mr.Speaker allow me to choose the color of the headphone I want between red and black, but also the jack itself, as that saves me a lot of trouble if the default cable isn’t what I was looking for and secondly, it gave me variety of choices but unfortunately, only the 3.5mm jack is suitable for me or should I say “fortunately” since I do not have to struggle on making a decision. There’s already enough decisions I have to make minute by minute. In fact, now I have to decide where I should start this review.
Moving on. I sometimes wonder, and I still do, why would I pay so much for a DIY headphone that is modded originally from a very basic monitor headphone? Then I look at the build quality, then I look at the 3D work, then I look at its durability. That’s all I need to answer my question physically. The pads are thick too and soft at the same time. I have been using it for almost a year now and the pads have yet show any depreciation and that’s all I would ask from a headphone’s pads. I thought I might need an extra pair of pads just in case but turns out I might need an extra pair for my HM5 instead but I eventually passed on to my brother so to prevent myself to have any temptation but seriously, these things are comfortable. It’s almost like pillow hugs.
The Alpha Dog sits nicely but not gently, rather, tightly on my head and I’d assume it’s to maximise sound isolation but I did follow some Youtube instructions made by Dan Clark himself, to reduce the clamp on it as it can be uncomfortable for long listening sessions. It do feel like there’s some weight when put on my head thought but since I don’t move my head that much, I’m perfectly happy with it. It doesn’t slide off my head so that’s cool too. Even though it is not the most comfortable headphone I have ever worn due to the clamp and the weight but the thick, soft pads made up a lot to me eventually. I wouldn't say its THE “comfortablest" headphone but still one of the most comfortable. Do keep in mind that, since it is a closed back headphone and the default clamping force combined with the thick pads is pretty ‘real” thus, it may not be idea if the environment is warmer than ideal. For the record, I find the Bang & Olufsen H6 deserves the “comfortablest" headphone I have ever worn. Not to mention its majestic premium look.
The Alpha Dog is not meant for portability, but rather it is a reference pair of headphone so it lacks all the cool features most modern headphones have such as foldability and a single ended cable but it do have removable cable that ends on both side which is most efficient when it comes to left-right balance which it do very well. In short, it does what it does but nothing special. The Alpha Dog also have big footprint and thus the headphone stand comes in handy when you have restricted real estate on your table and do not wish the Alpha to overlap on anything. That said, the Alpha Dog is not for outdoor and on the go use but if I have heard someone wearing Audeze’s reference headphone in the underground station, dare to try with the Alpha Dog since it isolates very, very well. It could be the best passive closed headphone when it comes to noise isolation. It also comes with a soft travelling pouch for travelling[although hard case would have been ideal]! Sound wise? Depends what you like.
The Sound Quality Part
The Alpha Dog is more of a warm, dark sounding headphone that is not designed to impress or WOW anyone on the first listening but rather takes time to appreciate what it produces. I would say a good mixture of Shure & Sennheiser’s house sound signature combined. I would also say its balanced sounding but wouldn’t call it neutral. If anything, the bass is on point thought. It’s more on the bassy side than neutral making it suitable for basshead and even audiophiles as it produce some really good, tight, down to Earth, bass that doesn’t sound boomy in anyway. It is just nice for a little fun in the music and adds more actions to movies. Don’t want too much bass? Use the screw included and turn it down on both side however, do note that, the changes are rather subtle for certain tracks as it is adjustable to mostly just the sub-bass but nevertheless, having being able to feel and listen to AD’s bass is quite a blessing. It satisfies both stakeholders; basshead and audiophiles.
Coming from AKG K702 65th Annie, I appreciate the AD’s natural sound but I do miss the AKG’s soundstage. I miss it a lot so much that half of me regret selling it. Gosh, why did I do that? I might purchase it back some day but back to AD. The midrange of it as said, its a ted warm, and because of that slight gentle kiss of warmth, it makes it really suitable for RnB, acoustic music. It really touches me… or my ears, more precisely. While the midrange is not as loud as the Annie, and SHR1540, it does have a very natural sound to it however, if compared to the SHR1540, I prefer the Shure’s even smoother midrange without second thoughts. It is just something that I really like about Shure’s headphones which AD have in gene but just not as good as Shure. Comparing to SHR1540 again thought, the AD’s bass is a lot better controlled which makes the Shure sound a little boomy at times, which it is, even without any comparisons.
The upper midrange/ treble is the interesting part about the AD. Some might like it, some might not; depending which category of stakeholder are you but Mr. Speaker was very kind to provide us with 2 pairs of “filters” & “squares” to help cop with the issue. Basically, what those does is, control the upper midrange of the AD and in my opinion, it’s essential piece of tools and really glad Mr. Speaker put some in the box. Stock wise, there are some spikes at the upper midrange which result in fatigue to some listeners who are more used to dark sound or otherwise, listens to music that have a “loud” recording which by the way, applies to many modern music for whatever good reason there is. However, it is nothing those tools can’t solve. Mr. Speaker even have a video of it on how to apply/remove it.
Lastly, the highs are a little recessed as compared to the midrange and bass especially but surprisingly, it’s very detailed and you definitely won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything but don’t expect to have a really sharp instrument playing next to you kind of feeling as it will feels a little sit back behind the vocals and all other instruments but if you are not a fan of bright headphones, the AD are worth looking into. The soundstage as mentioned, not wide like the Annie and comparable to the Shure, but because of the more intimate soundstage, the music sounds closer to you which helps resulting in a more natural sound. The height may not be good but it does have good amount of width which gives really nice space for instrumental separation. Each and every bit of the music/sound have their own space which does not blend with any others making it very suitable for critical listening situation such as recordings, production etc with compliment to its amazing detail.
The Endless Conclusion Part
I love this headphone. Really, I do. There are many other headphones that are better than the AD for sure but the AD is really worth the price tag. If you have a little bit extra thought, do consider switching up the stock cable as it is a ted bulky. The headphones itself are already bulky, don’t let the cable to distract you too. I’m currently looking to custom make myself a cable but as a student that I am now, I have no time for it nor money.
The AD basically have a bit of everything; bass, midrange, & highs then clarity, instrumental separation and natural, not to mention its surprising details. The soundstage is one of the exception but its a closed headphone after all but then again, sometimes it also lack the refinement that most headphones at $600~$700 have, refinement. Don’t get me wrong thought, it does have beyond average refinement, but to put it in comparison to its real competitors, there are still some missing puzzles. However, do keep it mind that, you can find some AD used for a lot cheaper which makes it really worth it. In comparison to Shure SRH1540, I would pick the AD for reference listening and the Shure if you want a more urban-style kind of listening as the SRH1540 is a little boomy and more “fun” sounding with of course, smoother midrange and the one big draw back is that, the drivers loose control once it hit the higher volume, adding an amplifier will greatly improve its performance but still not at high volume.
Also, the AD is not that hard to drive as I can drive it to my listening volume with 50% on my iPhone but it does benefit A LOT with an amplifier. It’s a match-made in heaven when paired with a tube amplifier or Class A amplifier. May this AD be my end game headphone and may Head-Fi have mercy on me to be happy with this headphone and my desktop rig for at least, until I graduated from my university and got a stable job with good pay. I have this headphone for almost a year now but due to the very constrained time that I have for preparing my O’Level, and now my Pre-U studies, it literally took me quite awhile to have any progress on this review.
Rig used in this review: PC USB 3.0 -> iFi Micro iDSD -> custom pure silver/copper 24AWG RCA cable -> Garage 1217 Project Sunrise III w/ Amperex 6DJ8 orange globe -> Mr. Speaker Alpha Dog
First, a disclaimer: I purchased the Alpha Dogs ($499USD, discontinued) with my own money after doing my own research and thus this is my independent (and highly subjective) opinion. A special thank you to @JerseyD of Inner Sanctum Audio for his advice and sale of these for an excellent price despite their discontinued nature.
Though I have some experience under my belt now with IEMs, this is my first review of full-sized cans on Head-Fi, and as such any and all advice on how to improve this review or future others will be highly appreciated. I'll try to keep things simple, practical, and relate what I'm hearing to music I hope others can recognize to put my impressions in context.
A little bit about me and my music tastes: I only got into this hobby in late 2014, slowly working my way up from budget and entry-level cans in an attempt to find my "holy grail" like many aspiring victims of this rabbit hole tend to long for. I was going through a pair of full-sized cans every week or two and always finding something that I couldn't live with or found wanting after. It wasn't until January of this year I was blessed enough to stumble upon MrSpeakers and his very popular Fostex T50RP modification and pet project, the Mad Dogs ($279USD, discontinued). This headphone simultaneously addressed issues I had with comfort, build, and sound quality from the first time I listened to them until this day and hopefully for years to come. Needless to say, I dropped all interest in looking for other equipment (until now) and I always felt the only upgrade I could find for them was another offering from MrSpeakers.
The Mad scientist himself. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
While I was on the hunt for headphones that took everything I loved about the Mad Dogs and added more treble presence for my own tastes, I was initially torn between the Alpha Dogs and Alpha Primes. I read through roughly 600 pages of forum posts and countless reviews before finally going for the Dogs which I felt were the safer option. I’d like to think that my wallet is half as grateful as my ears are.
My music tastes vary widely, but I would describe myself first and foremost as a mid-head and female vocal lover. Thus any headphones that are known to showcase the mid-range in music and offer it up front and center pique my interest. All of the sonic impressions below were obtained while running the Alpha Dogs in combination with the Objective2/ODAC combo. While the Dogs would no doubt benefit from even more power, I felt the O2 drives them very well, and efficiency is very similar to the Mad Dogs they are replacing. Without further ado, on to the review!
A pretty impressive set of accessories are included with the Alpha Dogs, assuming you are lucky enough to source them new. Included is a single cable (balanced XLR or ¼”), a tuning kit which I will cover later, a hex-wrench for bass-tuning as well as a microfiber cleaning cloth, velvet carrying bag and headphone stand.
I will begin by saying I am not a massive fan of the stock cable. The mini-XLR connectors are great and the termination is fine and dandy, but the cable itself is just too short for most practical use. I am of the opinion that if you’re going to package a higher-end set of cans with a single cable, it should be on the longer side to suit most people since that is safer than including one that is simply too short. The Alphas are already a pretty heavy set of cans, and unfortunately this cable only adds to that weight to the point where I find my head tilting forward by itself due to its tug. While it is thick and sturdy below the Y-splitter, it is surprisingly microphonic above the Y-splitter and especially around the mini-XLR connectors. Really disappointed in this cable personally and I have already commissioned a custom one, but I am probably being harder on it than most will.
The tuning kit includes the not-so-patented ‘doggie treats’ from MrSpeakers which are composed of small dots meant to be placed directly over the planar magnetic driver to smoothen the treble as well as felt discs which are meant to be placed directly over the driver or inside of the earcup in order to darken the treble response. While all late production models of the Alpha Dogs seem to have some pre-installed dots in an effort to provide a flat response, users are free to experiment with a variety of different combinations to see what works best for them. This is a pretty cost effective and neat way to give users some customization over the treble response, so kudos to MrSpeakers.
The treats in question. I don't quite see the resemblance.
Also included is a microfiber cleaning cloth which you’ll want to use to keep the gorgeous finish on these headphones clean as well as a stand that is unfortunately too short to fit the headphones on unless the cables are detached. Still, it’s the thought that counts and one can easily prop some hard foam on top of it to remedy this.
Build / Comfort / Isolation
Despite being quite a large pair of cans, the Alpha Dogs are gorgeous and a lot less goofy looking than the obviously modded Mad Dogs. Sporting either a claret red or a dreamy deep space metallic black paint (you can guess which color I have) they really give off a premium feel both in the hands and on the head. The risers have been kept from the Mad Dogs but are now anodized black and have MrSpeakers written on them as well as L/R indicators. The stock Fostex headband has been kept as well as the well-received leather comfort strap, but the headband is now circular instead of the silly [ shape found on the Mad Dogs, though it can be easily bent if you prefer that.
Comfort is pretty much sublime on the Alpha Dogs. Perhaps it is the effect of brand new pads but they are somehow even more comfortable than my Mad Dogs despite being noticeably heavier. The added weight is evenly distributed, though it is certainly heavy enough that people who experience chronic neck problems will not be able to enjoy these for any extended period of time. Out of the box I did have to adjust the clamp, but it is as simple as bending the quite malleable headband to better mimic the identical headband on my Mad Dogs, and it is quite easy to undo this bending in case you go overboard.
Being a closed headphone, isolation is quite good. They don’t exactly block out the entire outside world or give that claustrophobic feel when music isn’t playing, but I actually prefer that. When tunes are playing though don’t expect to be able to hear the doorbell ringing or someone calling you.
“Music the way the artist intended.” I have heard this quote used to describe many a headphone, ranging anywhere from cold-hearted treble-cannon studio monitors like the MDR7506 to so-called ‘natural’ headphones such as the warm-tilted and soft-spoken HD600. While it is an ill-fated superlative, I have never found this statement to be more true for any headphone than the Alpha Dogs. They are truly a chameleon if relating reptiles to headphones (or in this case canines), their color-free sound really does not tilt one way or the other and to my ears adjusts itself to best reflect the music coming through them.
Perhaps the largest difference between Mad and Alpha, or at least the most readily noticeable is the absence of any sort of mid bass hump. In fact, the bass on the Alpha Dogs is very flat and extends satisfyingly well. I am sure some may find it lacking, especially those coming from or seeking after a “fun” signature. It may even strike some as unnatural or unnerving at first, but the simple fact of the matter is that the low end on the Alpha Dogs is never portrayed or exaggerated apart from what is actually in the recording. In comparison the midbass on the Mad Dogs seems bloated and the sub bass lacking. However, I do rarely find that the Mad Dog is marginally more musical in some melodic pop and rock.
I have to award the Alpha Dogs top marks for bass speed and texture, keeping up with every hit in complex percussion arrangements with the source of every beat easily identifiable. There is a bass port that may be tuned for those who want more bass (or perhaps even less?) but its adjustment is meant to be a one-time set it and forget it type thing and is not something I want to mess with, so I cannot comment on it’s effects.
"Waking up and getting up has never been easy..."
If you couldn’t tell from my avatar on Head-Fi, I am a huge fan of Elastica (the band, not the album). I am also a huge fan of 1995’s Elastica (the album, not the band). This 16-track debut would go on to be a chart topper in both the UK and US, and despite blazing by in an unforgettable 40 minutes almost every track could be considered a cult classic in its own right. While die-hard fans never quite got the second studio release they were hoping for, the group still secured their place in rock and britpop fame, at least in my humble opinion.
It’s safe to say I am pretty peculiar about how this album sounds through all my gear, and it is one of few I have actually bothered to source in lossless FLAC as I felt most 320 MP3 renditions were not good enough. It’s fast-paced delivery of front woman Justine’s effortlessly sexy vocals make it quite easy for cans to be unable to keep up, or worse, lose the vocals all together in a sea of distorted guitar and new wave punk. Thankfully, the Alpha Dogs speed is more alike to a cheetah than a dog as it replays every guitar solo, drum intro and addictive vocal hook without respite.
The mid-range on the Alpha Dog is neither forward nor recessed to my ears. While I am a self-admittedly biased mid-head, often in search of phones with unnaturally elevated upper mids, I find that the Alpha Dogs do not require this coloration in order to render vocals organically. Due to the fact that the rest of the response is so flat, vocals really do shine on this headphone when the recording calls for it, lending itself to a great experience with acoustic and folk music.
Some poorly mixed tracks will be played back that way, that is to say with the singer lost in a sea of guitars or other instruments. Other times some recordings will have the vocals pushed too far forward already to sound better on inferior gear, and this can get a little tiring on the Alphas. While it is a shame, it really is no fault of the headphones themselves, and it’s still better than having fatigue from an over abundance of micro details or treble in my opinion. I have heard others describe this phenomenon as a ‘glare’ but to me that implies an unevenness in the response and that simply isn’t true. It’s really something the listener has to experience for themselves to understand, but the bottom line is that it isn’t a major issue 95% of the time, at least for me.
"Not yet twenty-one, from the land of the Rising Sun..."
Yeah, you guessed it, I’m gonna talk about female vocals some more. Donna Burke is the embodiment of “Big in Japan”. Despite being a Perth native, since first moving to Japan in 1996 and supporting herself by teaching English; she’s done tons of VO work for anime, video games and even Japanese TV commercials. Her voice has even been used since 2005 on the Shinkansen bullet train system for announcements. Despite receiving vocal education and training, her solo discography is still unfortunately tiny. None of this however impacts my immense enjoyment of Blue Nights (2005) which plays like a groovy Jazz tape you’d expect to play in an obscure corner of Yodobashi Camera. Donna’s voice is capable of carrying immense emotion as well as high peaks, and the Alpha Dog is more than capable of rendering it. Heck, the jazz arrangements aren’t half bad either. Jokes aside, outro track Goodbye Nakamura is a litmus test I run through a lot of gear to test vocals. An emotional tale of a Japanese diver who was never able to make it home to his wife-to-be, the Alpha Dog has no problem conveying these emotions and passes this test with flying colors.
I would not describe myself as a treble head and I often embarrass myself trying to describe this part of the FR, but I find I do prefer brighter signatures overall. While the original Mad Dogs were nothing short of dark, the Alphas have a much better treble presence in every way. Early impressions and reviews of this headphone were often laced with complaints of sibilance or peaky high frequencies. Since then, MrSpeakers has implemented the use of tuning dots or ‘doggie treats’ which are basically intended to smooth over these peaks, and to my ears eliminate any sibilance at all.
The highs on the Alphas really were a treat to me after being accustomed to their darker sibling for so long, cymbals sound great and have just the right amount of decay; while singers holding the right notes can send shivers down your spine. Those more partial to darker signatures can experiment with combinations of the included felt discs and tuning dots to achieve their ideal signature, but the default setup for your pair should be pre-tuned for the flattest response.
"This is a tale of Robin Hood in reverse..."
When it came time to write this review and choose the three albums I would be covering, I was faced with a pretty difficult choice. Usually I like to pick EPs that showcase the strengths of a particular headphone, but since nothing really sounds bad on these I was pretty much given free reign of what to choose. Bad Religion’s True North (2013) seemed to be as good a choice as any, and at least it doesn’t have the female vocals you’re probably sick of hearing me rave about by now. There is not much to say other than this album sounds amazing on the Alpha Dogs. The deft and often vulgar transmission of vocalist Greg Graffin’s political commentary and drummer Brook Wackerman’s restless collisions doesn’t have the Alpha Dogs breaking a sweat. This album is particularly more enjoyable on the Alphas versus the Mads thanks to the clean up of the bass frequencies and, as a result, increased speed.
I’m not a soundstage fanatic, in fact most of the time I skip discussion of it entirely. It’s just my personal preference for things to be intimate. If I wanted that out-of-head experience I would listen to speakers instead of headphones. Snobbish as I may be, it is still prudent to discuss soundstage with these cans since they certainly don’t have the same characteristics as most closed cans. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they sound like open headphones, but the 3D-printed cup enclosure as well as the distance from the driver provided by the plush Alpha pads really does give a sense of space in music that even I can appreciate. That being said, the Alpha Dogs are not the final word in cohesion or instrument separation. Perhaps it is a result of the flat tuning having all frequencies on the same ‘plane’, but layering and depth certainly do suffer on this phone. While it doesn’t impact my personal enjoyment too much it is still noticeable, and it does seem to be a common complaint. I am going to emphasize however that these were only my impressions with the Objective2, and it is quite likely a beefier amplifier with more power will increase the transparency greatly.
I apologize if this came across as a lengthy review, this simply isn’t a headphone you can easily summarize in a few words, and I feel as though I have chapters more to talk about even as I am hammering away at the conclusion. I’ll try and break down the key points in bullet form:
Truly neutral and well-extended bass
Razor-flat mid range and wonderful vocal reproduction
Easily tunable and crisp treble
Excellent comfort via thick leather pads, head strap and adjustable clamp
Overall value at price point for closed cans
Stock cable has too many issues (If you're picky like me)
Quite heavy (Better hit the gym and work those traps)
Lack of mid-bass hump may detract from 'realism' (It's not really real though, is it?)
Not the final word in transparency or layering (I wouldn't go as far as to say congested)
Discontinued (Oh the humanity!)
So that just about sums it up, while I spent a great deal of this review talking about how track dependant the various aspects of the response can be for these headphones, I only meant that in the nicest way possible. It is unlikely you’ll have to throw out half of your library to enjoy these cans, but you may want to double-check the recording quality of some of your favorites once you hear them on the Alphas.
I personally find that these headphones more than any other allow me to focus on my music and what I’m listening to versus listening to my gear. So much so that on my second night of ownership I found myself staying up exploring new music entirely as simply listening to a library I was already familiar with was not good enough. If that sounds exciting to you, then for this price the Alpha Dogs cannot be beat. If you’re after a colored or V-shaped response suited to your personal music preferences, then it’s possible the Alpha Dogs will be too dry for your tastes.
Cons - Lack of presence and air, Uncohesive soundstage, Price
I've produced music for 6 years now these are my most expensive headphones I've bought. (prev Sennheiser HD600) These cost me 700$ due to Customs and Tax to Finland.
I'm driving these out of a Cambridge Audio Dac Magic Plus, also these are the first planars AND high end closed headphones I've heard,
so maybe you will find this review interesting. I had a lot of fun writing it.
These feel really weird on my head.
*Starts first song* WTF (Takes cans off and sees I connected the wires the wrong way lol) There we go...
Oh wow that detail! That bass sounds super boosted though. (Immediately adjust the bass port 1 full turn)
Allrighty that's good. Hmm they seem to sound "hollow" (lacking 1-5kHz) Maybe the thick pads also had something to do with it, that gave it that impression.
The treble is not as sibilant as I would've thought but mine had 2 Dots pre-installed. Sounded rolled off actually.
After a few days I can now collect my observations more accurately.
The speed that these have is just INSANE...
Listening to Despised Icon - Les Temps Changent (Deathcore) Which is by no means a reference quality track.
At 2:14 in the song, I literally heard the ride cymbal as if there wasn't anything else there playing at the same time...
Like as if it had its own layer where none of the other instruments could leak in and mess with it and there being
guitar, bass, vocals, fast drumming at the same time in such fidelity is just crazy.
Also this is the first time I've heard EVERYthing in Noisia ft. Amon Tobin - Sunhammer.
It's the most complex song I've yet heard and the speed of the Alpha Dog just makes it sound effortless...
Lots of detail everywhere. Even though some of the sounds are compressed to **** It does not make you tense your ears,
It's just very effortless and liquid. You can hear everything clearly from the transients to the ends of reverb tails.
Now the soundstage:
Surprisingly wide: HD600 territory. Some sounds are more closed in but some sounds come further away than the what the HD600s could ever do.
The soundstage is weird though, while the sounds are clearly placed in the soundstage, it lacks cohesion. They are either in the middle or wide.
What's in between seems unfocused even though it is still there. Very hard to explain but it is still very good although not as good as the HD600.
Bass: At first it sounded all over the place and crazy in quantity (just like this review lol), but once I tuned the bassport 1-1.5 turns (can't remember what I finally settled on)
It now sounds... Well I don't know, none of my headphones / monitors has had this kind of bass, So I don't even have anything really to compare it to.
Like I'm unable to say "ooh texture this lack of distortion that." I don't know. What I CAN say is: It is very, very flat down to as low as I can hear. Straight line.
Finally able to hear the fundamentals on the sub-bass on Tipper - On The Natch which goes down to 35Hz. The bass is very tight and controlled So yeah...
It's super weird hearing those frequencies on instruments and sounds, that I thought never had them with the HD600's, which gave the impression of the Alpha Dogs being bass heavy
(Which they still are out of the box.)
Mids: Lacking. Just saying that first because it is the most prominent quality of the mids to me that I percieve.
They are really neutral though. Maybe that's just what it is, although people say the HD600's are neutral yet they sound way more present and engaging, so I'm not sure...
Boosting the mids ~3dB sounds more like them. The lack of mids for me just makes them boring sounding. They do not grab my attention at all, I have to actively "listen" to listen to these.
Recording my acoustic guitar through a Sony-PCMD100 and playing it back on the Alphas sounded exactly right though. They did not take away mids and listening to the same recording back
with my HD600s, they seemed to add some sparkle in the top end, so yeah. Otherwise the mids sound super smooth and liquid. Vocals on these, while sounding a bit lacking in fundamentals
make up for it in clarity.
Highs: This is where most of the tweaking comes in. You have to take the time to at least try the available customization options. Mine came with 2 Dots pre-installed which sounded too rolled off
so I took them off. Now the highs were peaky and piercing. Added one Dot on each side was the sweet spot, but I had to change the positions of the Dot to find the sweet spot also haha.
On one of the bottom edges it sounded the best to me. The treble lacks air and liveliness that I was seeking for unfortunately, but it is super smooth and fairly clean sounding.
Comfort: They a lot more heavy compared to HD 600's and It is very noticeable. It is not an uncomfortable headphone though, the thick leather pads hug your head nicely providing very good
isolation. Out of the box the clamping force is very high but it is quite easy to stretch the headband by hand, if it gets too loose you can also easily reverse the process to make them fit tighter.
Can easily wear for hours, but in the summer the pads might get too hot if the sunlight is directly on them.
Man, I wish they had the quantity of mids and highs as the HD600. I could've seriously considered settling for these as an endgame headphone.
That and a better more cohesive and deeper soundstage,
and you have what I would call a "perfect" headphone. They defeat my HD600s in every other department.
They make the HD600s sound digital but you only really notice it when A/B'ing. They sound fairly dynamic but I'd say they could be even better.
Certainly again, beating the HD600s. I would think that if you like a more neutral/dark closed headphone,
you should give these a shot if you can find them.
EDIT: 1.12.2016 I had to update the rating from 4 stars to 3 stars due to me giving it 4 stars only because I found it objectively competent. I want to give my true unbiased opinion so I had to lower it to 3* because I just didn't like them... Now even though I have upgraded to the Ether C I can still even from memory say that the Alpha Dogs seemed faster and had better seperation with certain songs but still poopy bad overall. Take that for what you will.