Planar magnetic headphones

ADVANCED GT-R

Rating:
4.25/5,
  • Specifications:

    Driver type : single-sided n48 planar magnetic

    Driver size : 65mm

    Driver diaphragm : silicone composite

    SPL : 100dB±3dB (1KHz/1mW)

    Impedance : 32ohm

    Frequency response : 20Hz – 20,000Hz

    Maximum input power : 20mW

    Rated input power : 50mW

    Cable length / type : 1.5m / detachable 2.5mm jack

    Output connector type : 3.5mm jack
Onemanrock likes this.

Recent Reviews

  1. Cinder
    Advanced GT-R Review: Immense Resolution
    Written by Cinder
    Published Jun 21, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent attack and decay performance, resolves textures nicely, great vocal intelligibility, excellent build quality, fantastic overall sound signature, excellent treble and bass extension
    Cons - Male vocals sound somewhat thin, pads may be too shallow for some listeners
    [​IMG]
    Advanced Sound GT-R Review: Immense Resolution, Small Footprint
    I am no stranger to Advanced Sound’s products. The M4, the Model 3, the Alpha, the 747; there are tons of examples to point to in reference to Advanced Sound’s skill in developing unique and well-executed products. The GT-R is Advanced Sound’s second attempt at building a planar-magnetic headphone (after the Alpha). I initially heard it at CanJam SoCal and was very impressed with it, in spite of the very noisy room and its open-backed nature. I have, since then, been looking forward to the day that I could write a full-length review on it, and lo and behold, a loaner GT-R appeared at my doorstep!

    The GT-R is in need of funding on Kickstarter. They’re currently just about 50% of the way to completing their funding goal. For $249, you can secure yourself a GT-R of your own. Check out their campaign here.

    PLEASE NOTE: My GT-R is not a production unit, and as such, does not have any retail packaging. It has also been passed around to other reviewers before me, and as a result, has a decent amount of wear and tear on it.

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass.
    • I have a mild treble sensitivity.
    Source: The GT-R was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> Zorloo ZuperDAC-S-> headphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> headphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> headphones

    or

    PC -> Burson Play-> headphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    Tech Specs
    • Driver: 65mm single-sided planar-magnetic
    • Impedance: 32 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 100 dB +- 3 dB (@1KHz/1mW)
    Sound Signature
    Sonic Overview:

    The GT-R is a somewhat warm headphone with an emphasized upper range. Its treble is forward and resolving, with a spike in the 2–4KHz range to add clarity to the midrange. The GT-R’s mid-bass is respectful but present, and its sub-bass is articulate a has a decent rumble. They are fairly linear in concert with the midrange.

    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy, Little One, Show Me How To Live (Live at the Quart Festival)

    The GT-R, much like its older sibling the Alpha, has oodles of resolution available in its treble. However, unlike the Alpha, the GT-R’s treble is very well behaved — it doesn’t let the forward nature of its treble impact listening comfort or sonic cohesion.

    The term “natural” is thrown around a lot these days in reference to sound signatures (including by me), but I think that the GT-R does hit a very life-like timbre with its treble. High-hats and cymbals are easy to distinguish and visualize in ways you only can with a high-performance planar-magnetic headphone. It catches a lot of the upper-range sparkle that I love to hear in my headphones. Percussion instruments are full of energy and incredibly lively (which does wonders for live recordings). And in spite of all this emphasis and energy in the treble, I find that the GT-R is only mildly sibilant on my worst-mastered tracks.

    Midrange: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams, Too Close, Little Black Submarines

    The GT-R’s midrange is very enticing. Its tone hits a nearly perfect amount of warmth: enough to lend weight and smoothness but not so much that it sounds thick and unwieldy. Vocals have a small spike in emphasis in the 2 KHz-4 KHz range. This adds a whole bunch of clarity to the vocal range but doesn’t cause a disruption in cohesion. The sheer speed of the GT-R’s drivers allows it to resolve complex and highly textured tones with ease adding a little “something” that tends to be missing from slower headphones.

    The GT-R prefers female vocals while making male vocals too lightly weighted. Vocal intelligibility is above average at this price point. The GT-R is capable of resolving a lot of vocal detail, and I often found myself noticing small inflections in the vocalist’s singing along with other little details.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Advanced didn’t add a whole lot of emphasis to the GT-R’s bass. While this normally results in a flat or shallow sound signature, the GT-R avoids this by preventing any non-negligible roll-off in the sub-bass. As such it is capable of conveying wonderfully deep and weighted low-notes.

    Based on the frequency-response graph for the GT-R, I had expected it to perform poorly in electronic genres. That, however, is not the case. While the bass isn’t massively impactful or overflowing with rumble, I found the small, but discernible, levels of impact and rumble that the GT-R did offer to be enough for me to easily enjoy the likes of Gold Dust and War Pigs. The GT-R had a field-day with In For The Kill, easily manipulating its sonorous bass line. Color me impressed!

    Build
    Construction Quality

    [​IMG]
    The GT-R’s faceplates and headband are made from metal. The rest of the driver housing is made from a matte plastic to keep the weight of the headphone down. Even after being passed from reviewer to reviewer, my GT-R unit still felt sturdy and well-put together. Other than some cosmetic blemishes, presumably from earlier mishandling, the GT-R had no physical deficiencies or flaws.

    [​IMG]
    On the underside of the driver housings, you’ll find the cable connectors. Their silver color contrasts beautifully with the stark black of the rest of the housing.

    [​IMG]
    Printed on the metal faceplates of the GT-R is some branding. I usually don’t like having so much text on my audio gear, but it seems that Advanced managed to pull it off rather tastefully!

    [​IMG]
    The GT-R’s headband is self-adjusting and the mechanism works well. The inner band is a plush leather with the Advanced logo stamped cleanly into it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The GT-R’s earpads are affixed firmly to the driver housing. They are in pretty good condition too. The earpads are somewhat shallow to accommodate its portability, though I’m sure aftermarket earpads that are deeper will show up eventually.

    [​IMG]
    I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the cable that came with my unit, but I assure you it's exactly the same as the one shown on the Kickstarter page. It’s a basic 3.5mm terminated cable. It has a good thickness and feels sturdy enough in the hand. The cable is well-behaved and doesn’t hold any shape.

    Comfort

    I found the GT-R to be comfortable while sitting and while walking. The earpads didn’t pose a problem to me in terms of depth, but I can certainly see some people needing deeper ones. The GT-R clamps onto the head pretty firmly and I had no discomfort with it during longer listening session.

    Comparisons
    1: Advanced Alpha ($500)

    The GT-R and Alpha are quite different in terms of emphasis, but share a good amount of core characteristics. For starters, they have a similar speed of attack and decay and the same air of precision about them. The GT-R’s midrange is warmer than the Alpha’s midrange. The GT-R has a better-tempered treble and a somewhat more emphasized mid-bass and sub-bass. The Alpha, likely with respect to its size, produces a more satisfying rumble. Male vocals have a more realistic timbre on the Alpha while female vocals have a more realistic weighting on the GT-R.

    2: Meze 99 Classics ($310)

    The 99 Classics are more V-shaped than the GT-R but have a somewhat similar treble response. They both spectacularly capture the “sparkle” of treble bound instrumentation. The 99 Classics have a more warm lower-midrange than the GT-R does, and they have a more pronounced mid-bass. The GT-R does take the lead with respect to attack and decay speed, which is to be expected from its planar-magnetic drivers

    Summary
    The GT-R is a wonderful little headphone. It is ambitious, both in price and in size. You won’t find another planar magnetic headphone with such a small form-factor, making the GT-R pretty unique. It has solid construction, an alluring sound signature, and enough comfort to get most people by. For its relatively low price, I can easily recommend this planar headphone and am pretty sad to see it go back to Advanced in New York. So if you are interested, definitely check out the GT-R’s Kickstarter campaign and share it on social media! Let’s get this thing funded!

    As always, happy listening!
      trellus, Peter Yoon and B9Scrambler like this.
  2. B9Scrambler
    ADVANCED GT-R: GODZILLA!!!
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Nov 14, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great build quality - Detailed, mid-forward sound
    Cons - Clamping force
    Greetings!

    Today we’re reviewing an all-new planar magnetic headphone from ADVANCED, the GT-R.

    ADVANCED’s freshman offering, the M4, was an awesome little micro-driver based earphone with a reasonably neutral signature. It’s build was fantastic and price right at under 50 USD. My next experience was with their Model 3, a warm in ear with a detachable MMCX equipped Bluetooth dongle and low profile, Shure-style housing. That particular earphone showed that Bluetooth earphones needn’t be compromised and could offer up great sound in a convenient form factor. With the GT-R, ADVANCED is diving head first into a very competitive full-sized headphone market. Not only is this one of their first headphones, but the use of a planar magnetic driver is new to the brand as well.

    After spending about a week and a half with the GT-R, I think ADVANCED has done a stellar job and has a quality product on their hands. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

    20171114_112944_Film1.jpg
    Disclaimer:

    Peter at ADVANCED reached out a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in listening to the GT-R. Given my past experiences with the brand and that they had up to this point focused primarily on dynamic driver only in-ear monitors with a few other projects under their belt, I was curious to see what they could do with a different style of product and some new driver tech.

    The GT-R has been on loan since November 3rd, 2017, and will be returned to ADVANCED following the posting of this review. This sample is representative of the final product which is now on Kickstarter. They did not provide any monetary incentive for writing about the GT-R. All thoughts and opinions within are my own and do not represent ADVANCED or any other entity.

    You can check them out on the Kickstarter page here; https://www.kickstarter.com/project...magnetic-headphones?ref=349879&token=c1f07c3d

    Source:

    The GT-R is quite easy to drive, but sounds flat and dull without a suitable driving force. As such, it was used primarily with my desktop headphone amp, the TEAC HA-501, which cleanly drove it to comfortable volumes. For walking around my house I paired it with my Shanling M1+Walnut F1 combo which sounded really crisp with a punchy low end.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, MacaW GT600s, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.

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    Specifications:

    Driver type : single-sided n48 planar magnetic

    Driver size : 65mm

    Driver diaphragm : silicone composite

    SPL : 100dB±3dB (1KHz/1mW)

    Impedance : 32ohm

    Frequency response : 20Hz – 20,000Hz

    Maximum input power : 20mW

    Rated input power : 50mW

    Cable length / type : 1.5m / detachable 2.5mm jack

    Output connector type : 3.5mm jack

    Packaging and Accessories:

    Since retail packaging wasn’t provided and they only accessory included was the cable, that’s about all I can say here. Onwards!

    20171103_121956_Film2.jpg 20171103_122349_Film2.jpg 20171103_122540_Film2.jpg
    Design, Build, and Comfort:

    I find the GT-R is a very attractive headphone. It has a practical design with straightforward lines and few flourishes outside of the two part metal headband, similar to Meze’s 99 Classics. The GT-R’s all-black color scheme is appropriate and accented only by some subtle white text on each ear cup. This text quietly announces you’re looking at the Advanced GT-R and that it utilizes “Planar magnetic driver tech”.

    Overall build quality is top notch with great fit and finish. Channels are denoted by black and red knurled bands above the pivot points. The red bands rattles a bit, but it’s not distracting or worrisome at all and is a small flaw in an otherwise perfectly put together piece of equipment. Despite being composed of mostly steel and protein leather, the GT-R is also very light. The only plastic I could find surrounds the base of each ear cup. It has a smooth, matte, grippy texture to it that makes holding the GT-R a non-event, unlike the Susvara which tends to slip out of my hands.

    The cable is quite good too, and nearly identical to the one included on the HiFiMan HE-350. It’s thick and durable both above and below the y-split, terminated in a slightly chunky 90 degree 3.5mm jack, and not too long to be inappropriate for mobile use. I consider that a plus given how easy the GT-R is to drive. Yes, they are technically open back and will let in plenty of outside noise, and let out whatever it is you’re listening to, but at the very least you can use them while walking around your house or property.

    The protein leather used on the floating, self-adjusting headband is of high quality. While lightly padded, I never had any significant issues with comfort or hot spots given the way weight distribution is handled. My only qualms would be the clamping force out of the box is too tight, and that the head band moves too freely so it feels like the GT-R is about to slide down your head a bit, though it never does. If you find the clamping force too strong, you can either take a chance and try to bend the supporting steel beams slightly, or if you’re patient I found it loosened up significantly over the week and a half I’ve had them.

    The stock ear pads are really nice too, and if we’re going by Zeos terms is a solid three-knuckler in size. They’re plenty spacious enough to fully enclose my ears, and deep enough to keep them from touching the driver plate. They’re also very plush out of the box, and only get more so in time. These pads are awesome, which is great because at this time they’re not removable though that is one item that might be subject to change. I’ve put in my vote to make it happen. People like to pad swap.

    Overall the GT-R is very well built and comfy on the noggin once the clamping force starts to ease up after some use. The design is also interesting but understated, and is one of those headphones that I think will hold a certain visual appeal well beyond 2017.

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    Sound:

    After almost two weeks of critical listening with the GT-R, I have come away impressed. The GT-R’s signature has a decent balance between treble and bass with the mid-range pushed forward taking centre stage.

    Though I’ve found the GT-R’s overly forward mid-range to dial back slightly as the 65mm planar drivers have burned in, it’s still quite forward. Thankfully, even at high volumes they aren’t shouty or sibilant. Ts sound like Ts and Ss like Ss. As noted in my preview, it just physically appears a couple steps forward of the rest of the signature. At times this means background vocals are too prominent, or guitar work that should be playing a supporting role sticks out a touch more than it should. It might not appeal to you if you’re looking for a purely neutral sound or are used to the typically deep mid-range recession applied to most “consumer” tuned headphones. Those that listen to vocal prominent tracks, however, should come away very happy with the presentation.

    The GT-R’s treble response is very clean and smooth with great extension. It finds a nice balance between being bright and rolled off, falling into neither category to my ear. On BT’s “The Internal Locus” chimes and cymbals sound realistically sparkly and with a sensible decay. They have just the right amount of bite on the initial hit too. Detail retrieval is impressive as well, with minute textures showing where on other headphones they are glossed or smoothed over.

    Leading into the low end the GT-R has a pleasantly mild boost with a nice balance of mid- and sub-bass. As expected from a planar, the bass is quick and punchy and it maintains composure even on congested and complicated tracks. I really enjoy the final minute and half of Skrillex’s “Ragga Bomb” which transforms from a fairly generic dubstep track to a drumstep masterpiece. It’s tempo picks up greatly and introduces a D’n’B inspired drum beat with a deep reverberating bassline trailing along. Slower headphones tend to muddy the low end detail on this section, but the GT-R doesn’t break a sweat.

    The GT-R has a pretty solid soundstage, larger than I thought at first. Due to the mid-forward sound it wasn’t always apparent, but as I spent more time with the GT-R I noticed the stage expanded in a cone away from my head, leading with vocals. It was especially noticeable with acoustic tracks and on Daft Punk’s “Touch (feat.Paul Williams)”. In the somewhat creepy opening sequence when the robotic voice is saying “Touch. I remember touch.” ghostly sounds are swirling about in the background. That brings us to imaging which is very clean and smooth in transitions between channels. Layering and separation qualities are impressive too which instruments playing on their own field, though I would like it if there was more forward and backward movement which would aid in further separating various layers.

    Overall I find the GT-R a very engaging headphone. It’s bass is deep and punchy, it’s treble vibrant but not fatiguing, and it’s mid-range prominent and clear. Dialing back the mid-range somewhat would help with sound stage presence, but as is it’s still very good.

    Normally I would be tossing in some select comparisons about now. Since I don’t have any of the GT-R’s competition on hand, I have decided to leave the comparisons out since they would have been pretty one-sided. My other headphones are either much cheaper and mostly closed back dynamics, or much, much more expensive in the case of the HiFiMan Susvara.

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    Final Thoughts:

    ADVANCED has a nice headphone on their hands and as one of the first in their lineup with a driver tech new to the brand, it’s quite the achievement. If the GT-R is indicative of the direction the brand is taking their more premium products in the future, we have reason to be excited.

    The GT-R’s detailed sound is engaging and well rounded with a mid-range focus that makes vocals the central focus. The design is attractive and the build quality impressive. Despite the low weight, you really get the impression you’re holding and using a durable product that you won’t need to baby. It’s also appreciated that they went with a fairly standard 2.5mm connection for the removable cables. I know many who will want to upgrade that right out of the box, even if it isn’t required. The stock cable is great in itself. If I would like to see anything improved upon in the future, removable pads would be at the top of the list followed by a slightly lighter clamping force and a more supportive floating headband.

    Thanks for reading and thanks again to ADVANCED for the chance to listen to the GT-R.

    – B9Scrambler

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    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)

    BT – If the Stars Are Eternal Then So Are You and I (Album)

    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)

    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)

    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)

    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)

    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (Album)

    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)

    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)

    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)

    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)

    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)

    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)

    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)

    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)

    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)

    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)

    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      slapo, nick n, Onemanrock and 4 others like this.

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