E-MU Teak Headphones

The Third

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: The best price/performance in the world of, not mid-fi, but of entry level high-fi: Excellent soundstage that rivals open headphones but with the thick sound of closed headphones, incredibly detailed, articulate and smooth highs, natural timber with a balanced tuning from the heavens, great imaging and excellent layering, endgame deep bass control/speed and punch that never intrudes or fails to impress, detailed liquid midrange, non-fatigueing sound for those used to higher frequencies, build quality. Probably the best all-rounder Dynamic Headphone in it's price range yet also most beautiful headphone i've seen. This is where the law of diminishing returns truly starts, game ends here.
Cons: I dislike my other headphones more now. Vocals are not as intimate or close sounding as the X00 despite being more natural and detailed. EMU's Zebra cups can be a more analytical alternative with a better upper midrange at the cost of a slightly smaller soundstage. Absolutely needs an amp and good dac to sound full and cleaner, though can sound nice even through a phone. The highs are extended very far and so higher frequency sounds such as cymbals can strike hard if a track calls upon it thus this is not the warmest or most relaxing headphone if one desires such a thing. Stock cable should be replaced (400I/HD700 cables fit). Sub-bass on planars are faster and better controlled. While highly resolving, the slight ringing caused by enclosed Teak wood makes it not have the last word on imaging or detail according to users who owned and tried the HD800, LCD3/4 or Stax level of Headphones (but detail is not the only factor to sound), but then again this is not an open headphone and those headphones don't have the bass impact that the Teak has.
The best of both worlds: End-game headphone entertainment for a fraction of the TOTL (Top of the line) price.

I will draw a lot of comparisons to the Fostex X00-Purpleheart that I also have owned for 4 years now as that headphone is hypothesized to contain the same driver as the E-MU Teak, but with a different wooden-cup enclosure. Next to the actual wood resonating differences the Teak cup has a differently cut interior which apparently contributes to the bigger difference in sound compared to the other wooden cup variants. For smoother writing and reading purposes I will refer to the Fostex X00-Purpleheart as PH and the E-MU Teak as Teak. There are also many anecdotal reports on that headphone, which some I found to be now extremely contradicting to my own opinion as I now can compare them to the Teak.
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First, a bit about my listening experience. So far I clocked in over 50 hours with the Teak's by listening over a wide range of activities such as all sorts of music genres, gaming and movies. I will thus update this review in a few months to see if my opinion adjusted. I do not think my opinion of this headphone will change much as I have so much experience with the PH and having such a reference point makes comparisons on quality easier. However, even if I consider myself an experienced listener I am no professional by any means. My music preferences range from Trip Hop such as Bonobo or Emancipator, to movie soundtracks such as Blade Runner 2049 or The Dark Knight and ambient track such as what Moby or DJ Shadow can provide. If you are curious of my tastes in headphones you can further check out my profile page where you can see other reviews of headphones and the gear that I own. As an extra here is my current Spotify playlist 2020:

My Spotify Playlist

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Now about my general impressions of the Teak compared to the PH.
It didn't take me long to notice the qualities the Teak, the first hour of listening I noticed it had many qualities the PH didn't. But for some qualities the reverse was also true. That's right, the PH still has a flavour the Teak doesn't always achieve. This is the crux in the world of audio: when one aims to get as close to reference as possible you lose out on potential intimacy music can transcend, or when one tries to colour the music with some extra spices on top you can lose out on details the artists likes you to hone in on. Like putting too much salt in a soup that actually contains many flavours, details of the taste get lost because of the prominent salty taste. Same applies to music. There has to be this fine balance and that is the challenge headphone engineers face when designing a headphone. The PH is the latter example of colouring the music, it does so by raising the upper sub-bass region of 60-100hz, the lower mids from 200-1000hz and the lower highs from 5khz-8khz in comparison to the rest of the frequency response. This creates a flavour that can favour some tracks and mask details in others. It is also a flavour that makes sounds feel much closer, which is good for intimate vocals or single instruments but not for complex tracks with a multitude of instruments asking for a spacious representation. Being in the front row of an orchestra can get overwhelming from time to time after all. The center image of the PH is a bit fuzzy and it's soundstage is not very deep but is more divided over a wide horizontal plane, it is a sound stage that feels outside of your head though. The tracks where the PH is still very enjoyable are instrumental Trip Hop tracks and tracks with vocals and single instruments. The close location of the vocals and the general warm signature of the PH can be immensely entertaining.

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But enough of the PH's frequency response.
Where does the Teak stand in comparison to an even tuning?
The Teak has a lot less of these intrusive peaks. In fact I feel the Teak only has it's entire bass range lifted up a bit in comparison to the rest of the spectrum, but I prefer this presentation as I think bass simply needs that bit of extra volume in order to be felt as bass. More on that Teak's bass later. Back to the fine balance the Teak provides that the PH doesn't. While the PH can win on some tracks concerning intimacy, it loses out on pretty much everything else. I prefer the Teak's most of the time, and the times that it doesn't it's presentation is still technically superior. The bass is tighter and faster, the mids are cleaner and more detailed, the highs extend better and are more detailed, the layering and imaging are better and the soundstage a lot bigger. Now this does not render the PH useless. Again, definition and enjoyment don't always go hand in hand. The resonating Purpleheart wood creates a flavour of intimacy and energy. But you don't just eat your dessert as a main dinner. Eating a kilogram of dessert would get overwhelming fast. You enjoy a broad meal before having the ice cream with the cherry on top. The Teaks are that finely served favourite meal of yours, with the PH serving as that dessert like the ice cream with the cherry on top, or chocolate cream if you'd prefer that, but as an extra and not a necessity. So the Teak is like the staple of food that you absolutely love, the PH being that occasional sugar fest of a dessert. This means that I don't just find the Teak a technically superior headphone, it's also mostly tonally more enjoyable. I would rate the Teak a league above the PH, maybe even two. The PH is fun and great, but the Teak is excellent and timeless. For those of you who'd heard both of the HE-400 and HE-500 before, it's the same story as the comparison between those were.

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Now let me try to dissect the Teak's actual frequency response from bass to mids to highs.
First things first, about that bass. The Teak has both the huge body of a subwoofer and the tightness and control to be able to detect minor differences in fast sub-bass fluctuations. The control the Teak has is entirely missing in the PH which sounds loose in comparison. This was one of the bigger surprises to me, as the PH was claimed by many to be excellent in it's sub-bass department. It is only really excellent when it comes to feeling the sub-bass and even then it get's too loose to be able to track it in busy passage ways some soundtracks can have.
It's the difference between sitting in a car with a subwoofer and the windows closed, or hearing a car with that subwoofer pass by next to you on the street. Sitting in the car would provide a great physical sensation to the bass. You can feel the vibrating energy around you. The accuracy of the subtle notes that for example a bass guitar can have are mostly lost to the actual physical sensation of the bass being overwhelming. Being outside would provide a better tracking perspective, you know there is sub-bass emitting from the car but you would not have the sensation of being engulfed in it. There is less distraction and the notes can be perceived. Of course this is a symbolic analogy that I needed to portray in order to compare the headphones further. The Teak has both this physical sensation and due to it's tightness tracking is easy which makes the bass absolutely masterful and the best I have heard to date. It's the perfect balance between body and control. On the other hand, the PH has the tendency to sound slightly boomy and interferes with the rest of the spectrum in comparison, making the PH bass kicks and thumbs less rounded and thus less impactful than the Teaks by a decent amount. While the teaks feel they can reach deeper into the bass, I believe their extension is quite similar and such a feeling is more explained due to the aforementioned factors. And the best part of all, and this is a pitfall for many other headphones, the Teak's bass never bleed into the rest of the spectrum and in turn resolve more than headphones a category below.
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The Midrange on the Teaks I can describe as being smooth, clean, full bodied and impactful with a natural timbre and soundstage, though being slightly on the warm side. The mids their layering and imaging are again above the PH. The lower midrange is a bit more distant than the PH which creates a more sense of spaciousness to the soundstage. This distance does not hinder the detail in any way. The lower midrange is in fact cleaner and more detailed with nuances to fluctuations being easier noticeable because of the smoother and more neutral response. Layering in turn is also vastly improved. The upper midrange is more forward and smooth, allowing more detail to be perceived with for example the textures of instruments such as the fingers of a guitarist changing chords or the impact of a piano note leading again to a more natural and detailed response, providing much better timber to both the impact and transition of notes. The sense of spaciousness make the Teak portray some vocals sounding further away than the PH. Female vocals sound a bit more distant than males due to a bit more recessed higher mid-range. Some would consider this undesireable to their enjoyment, but the vocals to me never seemed too distant for me to feel disconnected from them. Again I noticed many more subtle nuances and layers to the mids in a track that I was not able to perceive very well on the PH. In complex soundtracks with multiple instruments playing with bass vibrating in the background the Teak never fails to impress, it doesn't miss a note it's a very fast headphone.

The highs on the Teaks are also truly special. Being very articulate and fast, they decay and blend in very nicely with the whole soundstage. I am usually quite critical with highs on a headphone. I find most headphones sounding a bit thin and artificial despite them having a good range. This artificial edginess on those headphones always intrudes the rest of the spectrum. Here the Teak's highs are smooth with a hint of tightness giving them a good texture without sounding too edgy, sibilant or fatiguing. There is a very slight graininess to the highs when comparing them to the most open headphones, but when considering these are semi-open they are already way above that class. This is also because they are very extended and drop until after round 16khz, which gives this sense of airiness and thickness to the highs that can be perceived as bright to people who come from headphones that always rolled off the highs after the 10khz mark. This extra extension is worth it to my ears, music soundtracks such as blade runner have a tremendous soundstage and a few times I got fooled that I was actually listening to one of the better open headphones.

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And this is where I find myself concluding the Teaks are a truly timeless headphone. They near a reference-like neutral frequency response in a presentation that is still entertaining because they contain a massive bass body and response due to their woody semi-open nature, while not sacrificing anything of the mids or highs in the process. The best of both worlds if you will, while simultaneously oozing details on the whole frequency spectrum. A lot of headphones sacrifice something somewhere. The high-fi headphones I tried either lack bass quantity because of their open nature, bass extension because their focus is on the mids and highs or they are simply too bright. The Teak being a highly resolving headphone with a slight emphasis on it's bass has a combination of a presentation that I never heard before. The build quality is also made to last with a beautiful lacquer finish on Teak cups and a silver coloured metal chasis. The stock pads are comfortable to my ears and the headphone feels light on my head. All in all, this headphone is now my all time favourite and earns a perfect score in my book. I hope you enjoyed the review and I can only recommend you get this headphone if you appreciate this hobby.

*Update: After having tried multiple wooden cups supplied by E-MU, I have now replaced the Teak wood with the Zebra wood, which has better upper mids, intimate vocals and can sound a bit more detailed (but less warm) at the cost of soundstage.

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The Third
The Third
It can take around a week or two for Chan to respond. The headphone cups are made in batches and if Singapore is in lockdown then sadly you got to wait a bit. Chan does always deliver in the end though. Good luck!
H
Huntersknoll
Great review! My favorite headphone is my TR-X00 Purplehearts. I've tried others but always go back to the PH. However, the Teak seems like the mature upgrade I may be looking for. I love bass but am more of a mid-bass in the kick drum kinda person vs a sub bass. I may have to pick this one up soon.
The Third
The Third
The Purpleheart for me is also my go to pick up and play closed headphone behind the computer. Undeniably it is very coloured, but I love the flavour as well, very very addictive. The Teak on the other hand is when I dive deep into the music tracks. Technically it is on par with the HE-500 I also got, though with a dynamic and woody (still slightly coloured and excited) approach to the sound.

AT Khan

100+ Head-Fier
Probably a Bassophiles/Electronic Music listener's endgame - At least below $1500
Pros: Price (comparatively, against competing products), Comfort, Sound Quality, Instrument Seperation, Bass, Make (Metal & Wood), Nice Soundstage
Cons: A bit towards the V-Curve, a bit fragile (yet still). Non-detachable cables (and challenging removable cable mods), Accessories, Average Isolation
PS: Some content here may be a no-brainer for most but is just there for the less-informed. Please also ignore any errors, judgements. If you'd like to add something or comment, please feel free. It's possible that I may have missed something or have perceived something else differently.

Disclaimer: This is not a loan unit. I am not affiliated with EMU Systems in any way. The following review comprises my personal opinion and understanding of the product, and my own experiences. I have not been compensated or paid or influenced in any way while having written the following content. This review is strictly to be judged according to the retail price I got this for: $475. My final thoughts and take-away or any recommendations should be valued at that, and the whole game changes if the price goes higher, as naturally, more competitive options will have to be considered.

I'd like to thank our friend Chan from E-MU, our go-to guy for these cans, through and through for helping me here. I'd like to commend him for being a bona fides provider of these cans to many before me. Coordinating with him was silky smooth, and his support throughout was great. He gave me options to choose from (amongst the wood types) and thoroughly followed the whole order and delivery process. More people like him and E-MU will have a great audience.

These are the same cans as the E-MU Teaks, which is the brand name. They're officially called E-MU Wooden Series, I think the naming scheme isn't quite there yet, as these don't have a discrete product name; though don't be confused. They come with mainly the Teak wooden cups (hence the name). Alternate options are Rosewood and Ebony (the main competing option is the Massdrop/Fostex collab, which comes with Mahogany, Rosewood and Purple Heart, and just recently, Ebony, where their wood is much darker than E-MU's).

The following are with Ebony ear cups (chose this over Rosewood and Teak). People do actually say Teak are the best sounding, but I like the rarity and the dark, dense look of Ebony. In the end, it's not a night and day difference, but Ebony felt more... valuable to me. More cups with other wood varieties can be purchased later, though a privilege for existing E-MU Wooden Series owners only.

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My pair was shipped from Asia-Pacific (Singapore) and I got them the next day here in Dubai. Thanks to FedEx, shipping was lightning fast.

SPECIFICATIONS:
50mm neodymium magnets with bio-cellulose/fiber diaphragm drivers.
Circum-aural (over-ear) design
Sensitivity: 106 dB
Impedance: 25 ohms
Max Input: 1800 mW
Cable: 3M OFC
Weight: 370 grams (without the cable)

The magnetic Flux is between 1 to 1.2 Tesla, similar to those Beyer Dynamic's Tesla drivers, and then some.

Aluminum + Magnesium alloy frame with a steel headband. Metal is incorporated in the band, the yolks, and the cups. The only plastic parts are actually the driver baffle and ear cup frame.
The design looks closed. It almost is... except they're not sealed. Through and through, these cans pay homage to the Denon D5000/7000 series, and overall, by all counts, they sit between the two, so you could probably call them the D6000. The frame is Denon spec, unlike the Fostex spec frame on the x00 series, and hence the frame and yolks are silver as opposed to Fostex's black.

PACKAGE CONTENTS:
Not much. 1) A pair of custom headphones. 2) A 3.5mm to 6.5mm jack. That’s it. But of course, I couldn’t ask for more... or could I?
Packaging was minimal. The headphones were well protected inside the package though. Foaming was nice - no bumps at all.

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REVIEW:
The first thing any person would immediately notice after putting these on is how delightfully comfortable these are, despite the contained and relatively narrow room for your ears in the pads. Yes, the pads are not as open from the inside as Fostex TH-600/900/x00, but still very comfortable. How they’ve achieved this is with egg-protein based ear pads with a lot of smooth, comfortable cushioning inside the pads. It isn’t quite memory foam, but comfy. The foam is much thicker at the back end, kind of fluffiness that helps even more, angling the drivers towards the ear, and handling much of the weight behind the ears rather than balancing it around it.

The headband is not too thick and pretty straight, but again, I hardly felt any pressure of their weight. It’s astounding what they’ve achieved without any extra padding, and it’s simply not needed. Again, another feature that looks inadequate to the eyes but feels just fine.

The second most obvious thing a listener will feel is that they’re… almost open back. You’d be amazed by the openness and airiness of the sound-stage. So, even though it apparently looks closed-back, it’s not. The baffle has holes in it, which let sound out, reflected by the inner frame and then let out by a this seam-like gap between the frame and the cups. Very thoughtful design (I think this design is just ideal for electronic or bass heavy music - retains both bass and sound-stage, well as much sound-stage as it can). The air leaks via a continuous gap where the wooden cups and the frame meet around the most widest edge of the headphones. It’s ingenious. Interestingly enough, they combine the openness, natural tone and sound-stage of open backs with the bass texture and punch of closed backs - a hybrid design aiming to achieve the best of both worlds.

I did check the Hifiman 400i at one time, and a lot of other AKGs, Beyer Dynamics and Sennheisers. Even the Audeze LCDs (2 & 2.5), though equally great sounding, have sound-stage and comfort issues. LCDs are indeed too heavy and longer sessions may be questionable. Hifiman HE-560, HE-X and HE-1000, have great sound but still lack that bass-ey punch, and of course, are not the same price-tier either. Most other closed-backs will have a much narrow sound-stage and sound less natural in the mids and highs. Then again... that price-point is another class.

These seem much lasting and much classier than most out there. They don't look vintage, but timeless. The metal + wood finish is very eye-catchy and aesthetically put together, and as practical as it is much visually appealing. Although there are more competitive headphones out there, but that’s the $1000+ league.

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BUILD:
Needless to say, the build is great. The hardwood Ebony ear-cups are nice looking with a dark finish, and are strong and dense. The weight of the cups speaks for itself. The metal frame is solid. The wire is so thick and braided; such heavy cables are not quite rare for headphones of this price anyhow, and it reaches to the point of feeling like an overkill. Still, great from start to finish. Though these headphones aren’t mean for taking too much abuse, and care must be taken. I don’t think any owners would want to test their limits anyhow, after the amount of money they’ve spent.

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SOUND:
This is where the buck stops. How do they sound? Phenomenal. I must tell you that I didn't have any burn-in on these. Apart from that, I have always witnessed that a good product is good, regardless of burn-in time. It should be great out of the box. If a product is bad, it'll be terrible out of the box and will remain terrible forever, so burn-in obviously plays a role, but with time. I guess it will help later in probably the easing up of the drivers and the cups and frames adjusting with use, and these are only expected to get better.

The sound is indeed very tight, because of the superior drivers as well as the high magnetic flux. Vocals are bliss. Sound stage is fantastic, for an almost closed-back pair of cans. It’s so good, it’s almost deceiving sometimes if I'm even wearing them or the sound is just coming from the speakers. Now again, good open-backs may still have a more open sound stage, but at the price of bass, so it's a trade-off really. These, however, fight very hard to be on par with openness. They attempt to satisfy all urges and never fail. The highs are great. The sound overall is indeed Hi-Res. The highs are a tad bit sibilant, but in a good way. There is no fatigue, which is great. The sound is very natural compared to most closed-back headphones. People would suggest that the sound may be similar to some good Beyer Dynamic cans. I wouldn’t disagree. But most of their builds are plastic-y, and I’m a sucker for better materials.

Bass is great. Just great. I have the JVC HA-SZ1000s which are… almost bass-gods. These are almost there. In extreme cases, the JVC will win, but I don’t miss much of the bass or punch with these on. Though one main point of comparison is that the E-MUs have a very forward sound. The bass hit and punch is right upfront. On the JVC though, the punch isn't there. Naturally, since the low-freq driver is housed BEHIND another driver, the lower-mid bass feels incomplete. On the E-MU it's very upfront, crisp and quick. Close up sounds are very intimate, again, without overpowering or muddying anything else, regardless of the frequencies.

With an open sound, almost bass-head level bass, and good, upfront, clinical sound, they’re just fun and glorious to listen to. They're towards a V-curve, so they're not flat.

Listening to most music that I have, regardless of the genre was great. Movies and soundtracks were great. Vocals are quite forward. Instrument separation is very nice. Stereo separation is extravagant. You can easily tell when the sound is in the middle, sideways or completely around in the ambiance.

COMFORT/ISOLATION/LEAKAGE/PORTABILITY/AMPING:

Due to not being completely sealed, there would be sound leakage, though still less than fully open-back headphones. The passive isolation is below average. They will not block outside noise. These are almost wear-and-forget types. Besides the weight, the balance and design is comforting enough for several hours of continuous, scot-free use. Though some sweating may occur in warmer weathers; the pads are not very breathable.

The stock cable is really, really thick and heavy. It’s quite long too. Portability with this cable is simply out of the question; too long, too heavy. The cable modding though, is the biggest catch here. I looked inside and made a few attempts, but the baffle and the frame have such a narrow space, there's no fair chance of having a jack inside the frame. Modding is gonna be tough, and I think in almost all cases, be an installation outside the frame rather than inside.

UPDATE: E-MU is bringing out an installation piece based around the 2.5mm female jack which will attach to the outside of the frame, so there. $50 extra for that, if you'd like it.

Amping is quite receptive on these. The run okay off a reasonable phone. In fact, the my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 feels almost like 95% of what I need in juice when I turn it all the way up in my PowerAmp App. A friend's iPhone 4 actually felt overpowering the cans, so Apple users rest assured by my standards.

Though the lack of portability (with stock cables) clearly makes it obvious these are a desktop/studio/home solution. For amping though, any average fiiO to any higher, more powerful is just fine, as not a lot of power is needed. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. DACs? Well, take your pick there.

TAKE-AWAY:
If you’re an electronic music enthusiast, look no further, at least for this amount of money. These, or the Massdrop/Fostex x00, even the TH-600/TH-900 (though much pricier) may just be too good for electronic music. But like I said before, anything besides these, if better, is in the $1000+ league. I can proudly say that these are ideal and best bang for the buck at this time for electro/dance fans. If you go to Massdrop though, then there is a wait time; the purchases take more than a month to about three to eventually ship.

If you can spare the cash, and want em this week (which you should), go for these. You won't be disappointed... at all. In fact, you may as well give yourself a pat on the back that you did. Talk to Chan. Get em in 3 days. And then just enjoy 'em.

Are they worth it? Definitely. Sound and build both vouch for it.

At the end of the day though, sound is a very subjective domain, and my review and opinion is strictly to be taken with a grain of salt. Some may find solace in something else, but reality couldn’t be too farther from the truth. Though I’m certain they’re almost as good as I say they are.

Guess what you’d need after buying this kind of stuff though: A damn good looking headphone stand; probably one of those wooden ones to suit this masterpiece.


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5 DAY UPDATE: The single best thing about the Fostex/Foster OEM phones is the driver. A bio-cellulose/fiber/paper cone composite (depending on which one it is) driver is being used in these and those Denons, new ones and old; they're all using similar diaphragm-based drivers and not those standard PP or mylar ones. This diagram and the driver as a whole is simply superior. The build of the phones is nice, I admit. Metal and wooden backs. But the acoustics being used are nothing extra-ordinary or too different from standard engineering designs. It is the drivers playing the most important and critical role and dominating the science behind the sound here. I've had A/B listening with these and all my other cans. These are like miniature speakers. I couldn't tell if my speakers were playing or if it were these. Well part of that was because of their non-sealed enclosure... but the sound resolution was very high. The sound and feel was like that of the paper or Fiber or Kevlar cone of speakers. With these diagrams, it's like they've the shrunk speaker sound into headphones. I believe those other walnut ones by emu as well as two good cans Denon still makes have this may have that speaker-like punch at the bass and great hi-res sound.

The Senn 6xx remain slightly inferior as they don't have these drivers. The bio-cellu dias help with the bass... the kick... the resolution... the vocals; instrument positioning and separation is simply stunning on these. It's like having surround sound, and during moments when bass was punch, quick and dead center, it felt like they had a dedicated bass unit or a sub. But the bass was never too slow. The kicks were thick and tight. Bass on my other cans... even if I raise the volume on them... is simply thin. And the resolution is different and a lot inferior. The mids are either veiled or too piercing otherwise. The smoothness and naturalness in the bio-cellulose drivers is simply... Oh la la.

I will not abstain from recommending looking into Denon AHMM400, EMU Walnut for your next upgrade, tomorrow or next year or ever if you want more portable cans with a very similar sound signature (although with a closed back I believe).

I remember when I once demo'd the AH-D7100 at a meet. I felt this in the sound. And now listening to the Fostex/EMU I'm reminded of that speaker-like sound feel. Due to 1) such drivers, 2) a leaky design and 3) Tesla magnetic flux, the E-MUs conquer the best of both, open and closed worlds. I believe it will be hard for Hifiman cans and even other planars to compete with these at this price-point, open back or closed.

These are end-game class headphones. The sound and the build is so nice that you may not be wanting to upgrade for years on end once you have these, unless you really mess them up somehow. They will ask for some respect and careful handling though, as though not quite indestructible (like those V-Modas, and definitely not German Maestros), they're one hell of a purchase and well-worth the money.


TESTING EQUIPMENT: ASUS Xonar DX/XD, chained with a fiiO E07K / Creative E5 (yeah, not a complete audiophile yet, but this gear is enough for these cans, trust me).

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UPDATE 1:

Finally modded the removable cable on the cans, and made aesthetic mods to the cups:

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UPDATE 2:

I just had a cup-less drive of my cans. And damn, am I impressed.

Bass is often compromised with no cups. Bass, you ask? Damn, it's all the same. Still tight, and they will shake your ears just the same. Neutrality is added, and I had some improvement in sound-stage too. Damn, these 50mm bio-cellos are the sh!t man.

At this point, I will declare, cups or no cups just have 5% difference in sound. I'm gonna say for me, it's just a cosmetic thing and protects the drivers. I would even have just a mesh over the drivers instead of cups and still be happy all the same.

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UPDATE 3:

Finally modded the damn stock serpent/anaconda **** with mmxc connectors. The stock cable is great, no doubt, but it's a good damn anaconda.

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UPDATE 4:

Hopefully my final rendition of all mods... there's too much going on in there (dampers and stuff) which I just can't list here... Anyhow, it's semi open.

Despite how much l loved them, in longer sessions, they sounded veiled compared to say the Hifiman He400i or the Massdrop/Sennheiser HD6XX, so I tested them cup-less. Few things here, few things there, and here's my findings:

- Bass is still the same. Yup. Even without the wooden cups, these beautiful drivers deliver the same amount of low end. In fact, I'm thinking maybe the bass has increased in volume... (shhhhh). I don't feel it's any less tight. It's the same good damn bass. And they still shake and give you eargasm... ahh... ah that's the stuff.... aaaahhh....

- Long term fatigue: gone. I used to have some sort of a choking or claustrophobic feeling before at louder volumes. No more. Sound can leak, so my ears can breath better, and there's no choking anymore.

- Airiness: gone up. It's more airy now, and much better, pretty much like my open back cans.

- Stage: improved. Things sure have opened up a bit more. More outside the head now, and more enjoyable.

- V-Curve: It's become more flat... i mean, they're still V, but it's much, MUCH better.

- Highs: tamed. Yup. The slight... offness in the highs that used to bug me once in a blue moon, will not bug me anymore.

- Naturalness: Yup, they sound more natural now.

- Weight: Much less... I can feel it much less, and that adds to comfort. Yup. FTW.

So overall, things have undeniably improved, and I will keep my [prized] ebony cups in the drawer for occasional use I guess.

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So after much experimentation - I think I will settle for an open-back mod for these.
Will revise my 'cups' - but so far, for sonic delivery, these are doing very well.

PS: trypophobia alert lol. Not as bad in person though...

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Last edited:
ehjie
ehjie
@AT Khan, excellent Review. Hope you're doing well and safe...
AT Khan
AT Khan
@ehjie. Thank you! I'm doing well, hope you're safe and well too!
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Philimon
Philimon
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