Gold Planar GL1200

hp4fun

100+ Head-Fier
I cried
Pros: Speaker-like sound, great sound stage, lightweight, comfortable, high quality cable
Cons: Need speaker amp setup
I can't stop loving this hp, but it is still not popular (yet). So I just want to give it a fair justice, and will come back and revise later.

Since it is a quick review, and many readers just want comparison, allow me to compare to HE6SE and Ether Flow since they share a few things in common.

Let me present my setup:

Gustard X16 -> Adcom 545 -> Adcom speaker switch -> GL 1200 or Hifiman HE6.

TL;DR: It blows HE6SE away.

There are only few discussions about GL 1200, but in this forum (as well as many others) there are enough discussions about the HE6se and praise how great the sound it is (arguable one of the best in sub $2k range). I know, HE6se is sold at $650, but this is not a reason why it is bad. It is the reason you should grab one!

Getting back to GL 1200. Since I already have the setup, the only thing I want to mention is the volume difference: I used -30db for HE6se, and -20 for GL1200 to get the similar sound level. Note that HE6se is super inefficient, What does it tell you? Yes it needs power to drive GL 1200.

HE6se has one of the widest sound stage in its class. Yet compared to GL1200, it is still in the 10th row in the concert hall. I mainly listen to classics, and I can tell the difference between

1) Paganini's 24 capriccios by Perlman. I was literally in the 3rd row of Perlman's live concert a few years ago and this is the first time I feel I am back to the seat. HE6se is more like the 10th row, but more importantly narrower soundstage.
2) Strauss's Zarathustra by Reiner / Chicago. Sunrise! Smooth and grand!
3) Random Access Memories by Daft Punk.
4) Mozart's most famous Serenade 13 by Camerata Salzburg / Vegh. Vivid and live. HE6Se sounds like a narrow studio compared to GL 1200.

Basically you feel you are around the musical instruments yet still enjoys the whole scene. As a a comparison, DCA's Ether Flow Open can pickup details, but over time you feel they are disconnected and bored.
John Massaria
John Massaria
they are no longer selling the GL1200 only the ribbons separately
hp4fun
hp4fun
bummer! From the 1 pair vs 2 pairs version in the past I used to think the ribbon only costs $10. Now they charge $185 for 1 and $310 for a pair???

The driver failure mentioned in the linsoul review is also unacceptable --- that said, this company OEMs most of the ribbon drivers for speakers for a long time. How come their price is still so high and quality still low?
John Massaria
John Massaria
its the fact that users can remove them and the shell is weak that houses the actual cartridge

buffer

100+ Head-Fier
Goldplanar GL1200 vs Final Audio D8000 Pro
Pros: tonal quality, neutrality, competitive with the best, pleasing, musical
Cons: requires expensive and serious equipment
I am extremely impressed with the GL1200. in this review I will focus on a comparison to a headphone I feel is one of the very best, the D8000 Pro from Final Audio.

GL1200 compared to D8K Pro- GL1200 has a more blended sound, more rounded sound, somewhat relaxed, but not in the usual bad way I would perceive that comment, very good tonal quality - mostly neutral, richer than D8K Pro?, more full sounding, more present vocal, maybe better bass and more lower midbass in terms of quantity, though less dynamic; the GL1200 also has a slightly less open midrange, but may be slightly more musical?

D8000 Pro compared to GL1200- D8K Pro is more technically adept - has greater clarity and resolution, like a microscope, more dynamic (micro and macro), higher resolution, slightly more biting, but maybe slightly more harsh (which i would never describe D8K Pro as harsh in absolute terms), more open midrange, slightly - but maybe too open?, better separation, vocals pop more due to separation and clarity and maybe due to a slight focus on upper frequencies of vocals (that the D8K Pro can exhibit on some amps); D8K Pro is more impressive technically, leading to a slightly more transparent, holographic sound; also has slightly more air and sense of space

So I began with the direct comparison and now I will elaborate just a bit. The GL1200 is competitive with any flagship I have heard, and I have heard many. I was truly surprised. I am listening with the silver ribbon which is supposedly the more neutral version. You can get a gold ribbon which is supposedly more romantic/euphonic, but I haven't heard the gold so I cannot say.

The GL1200 does really well in virtually every respect. Usually, the comparison to the D8K Pro would highlight shortcomings in tonality, but not so with the GL1200. In fact, I cannot swear to it, but the midrange may actually be more natural on the GL1200. Vocals are fuller and have great meat where the D8K Pro can sound slightly leaner, but cleaner. You may have noticed earlier in the review I said the GL1200 had more presence in the vocals and the D8K Pro had more pop. That might seem contradictory, but the D8K Pro has slightly more pop because of the amazing separation and clarity. The vocals on the GL1200 blend in a little more with the other frequencies, but are a little thicker due to what I believe is slightly more midrange proper. The D8K Pro may have slightly more upper midrange and this can sound almost a little grading or harsh compared to the GL1200, though prior to the comparison I would not have said that about the D8K Pro.

At this point I should note my comparison is not as scientific as I usually would conduct. They share the same source but the Goldplanar is hooked to a PASS LABS X150 and Adcom Select GFP 750 amp where, at the moment, the D8K Pro is hooked to a Drop THX AAA amplifier. But I typically use the D8K Pro with a GS-X Mk2, Apex Teton, or Woo Audio 5LE, or Nimbus US4+, so I know what the D8K pro is fully capable of. but also, i would usually get out the handy sound meter and match levels. i did not attempt to do this.

The D8K Pro has a slightly sharper, more impactful sound than the GL1200. The Final Audio (FA) is more technically perfect, I think. But the GL1200 is very close in most categories and as I said, I may actually prefer its tonal balance. But I will say, the fuller sound of the GL1200 on some recordings can lead to a SLIGHTLY congested more bloated midrange in rare instances where the vocal is super intimate and I only noticed when comparing directly to the D8K Pro; the D8K Pro may put a little more distance between you and the performer enabling it to remain free from any bloat or congestion. But again, the GL1200 is not generally something I would call bloated - I might suggest the sound is more blended. Bass on the GL1200 is very good and I think if the D8000 Pro has any weakness, I might want a SLIGHTLY fuller bass/lower midbass. The GL1200 has it, but like I said, in absolute terms it is not bloated and it does not really bleed into the midrange.

Treble on both headphones is very good. The quality is slightly better on the D8K Pro but the GL1200 is not rolled off and sounds very clear too. Earlier, I commented that the GL1200 is more relaxed, but not in a bad way. Usually when I hear 'relaxed' I associate it with dull sound, lack of dynamics, and a dip in upper midrange frequencies. I don't really hear that on the GL1200. When comparing to the D8000 Pro, the GL1200 lacks the last bit of dynamics, and the upper midrange is slightly less, but this could actually be due to slight emphasis in the D8K Pro. Not sure the D8K Pro emphasizes upper mids, but it is certainly present in that region. I do not feel the GL1200 is subdued in the least.

I listen to all genres and I can honestly say the GL1200 handles them all very well, as does the D8K Pro. Soundstaging / imaging is another area where comparison is interesting. The D8K Pro has a slightly more spread-out soundstage and images are very defined and precise, almost unnaturally and annoyingly so at times where the mastering is flawed. The GL1200 may not be as precise or as wide but this may be preferable when listening to lesser quality recordings. The GL1200, as I previously said, is not as technically adept and I would say the D8K Pro will play back sound exactly as recorded but this can also be less desirable at times for someone like me who is drawn to paying attention to left/right balance of sounds in a soundstage. To be clear, the D8K Pro can sometimes (especially with balanced cable where soundstage is wider) be annoyingly precise. The GL1200 is relatively precise but not to the point where it draws my attention in an annoying fashion. To be clear, the D8K Pro has perfect left/right balance too, it is just almost too defined and too precise, unlike a live event where images are more diffused. The D8K Pro has almost no sound of its own. It is truly a microscope on your upstream equipment. It feels as precise as an amp or a DAC where speakers/headphones usually provide more flavor or character to the sound. This leads me to a question. Is the GL1200 more musical? I cannot really say, but the D8K Pro provides its hint of musicality through it's impressive technical performance and overall well balanced sound. It does virtually everything great. The GL1200 is musical for its tonal balance and maybe slightly more fuller, sound. But to reiterate, the fuller sound is not bloated, except maybe if you are comparing to the leaner D8K Pro.

Let's talk comfort. The GL1200 is LARGE. But it is light and comfortable. Clamping force is just right for me. That said, build quality is not on par with the D8K Pro. Throughout this review I have compared the GL1200 to the D8000 Pro because for me the Final Audio represents itself as one of the very best headphones on the planet ...at least that I have heard.

I did compare the GL1200 to the Susvara for those interested. I am not going to say the Susvara loses but I will say this - the GL1200 beat the Susvara in clarity. It made the Susvara seem somewhat dull and smeary to my ears. If you are wondering if the Susvara was adequately powered it definitely was because I used the same system that I used for the GL1200 - the 150 watt pass labs X150. Why do I bring the Susvara into the picture if I am not going to thoroughly compare like I did to the D8K Pro? Because when you read my review you may assume the GL1200 is not clear. Heck, compared to the D8K Pro, almost nothing is as clear or revealing or as resolute from my experience. But I needed to put things in context. The GL1200 beats the Susvara in clarity to me and that is no small feat.

To say that I was surprised and impressed with the GL1200 is an understatement, but here is one significant consideration. The GL1200 requires power and current... lots of it. If I own the Abyss 1266TC, Focal Utopia, Hifiman Susvara, and of course the Final Audio D8K Pro and D8000 (non-pro), do I need a GL1200? The Abyss and Susvara require power, but not 100+ watts. The D8K Pro benefits from good quality, but it doesn't necessarily needs lots of power. I can play it comfortably from my phone - though as I said, shortcomings would be evident, but that's the source's fault, not the Final Audio's fault.

Here is the bottom line - The D8000 Pro is the better headphone for my taste, but does not diminish the enjoyment I have from listening to the GL1200. I do not regret purchasing the Goldplanar GL1200 and I would certainly rank it as one of my very best headphones. On first comparison, the D8K Pro and the GL1200 do not sound as different as you might think based upon my review but to summarize - the D8K Pro is slightly cleaner, slightly more open, slightly more dynamic, slightly leaner, slightly more pure and holographic. The GL1200 is slightly more blended, slightly less finicky in portraying music, may have slightly more appealing midrange, though maybe not as accurate or pure? The GL1200 has a fuller, more relaxed sound (smoother), perhaps slightly more intimate and maybe even more natural?, but very close in overall quality - just a SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT perspective, but possibly more appealing for some, depending on your preference. D8K Pro is more clinical, though not in an unmusical way. It's just some people may find the GL1200 slightly more musical due to the slightly fuller, less clinical, less crisp, more relaxed overall sound. Hopefully, my review is unbiased enough for you to form your own conclusions as to whether the GL1200 would be your cup of tea.
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Update on 8/7/2021 (Comparison between GL1200 and Abyss 1266 TC)
In the reply section to my original review above, some asked for a comparison between the GL1200 and the Abyss 1266TC.

I am not doing a formal comparison or review-style comparison, at least not yet, but I was listening to Joe Cocker songs and the Abyss has sharper more forward vocals, and slightly more lower treble (tambourine hits and higher frequencies, for example, are slightly more prevalent) and treble slightly more clear. The Abyss seems to have more space and separation in the soundstage, and I'm not sure yet, but maybe a slightly wider soundstage - things seem to pop out more from the sides of your head on the abyss, perhaps the GL1200 is more in front of your head with maybe better depth? Not 100% confident in that analysis yet. Back to tonality for a moment ...the GL1200 is more subdued and laid back (especially noticeable in the vocal area), mellow sounding by comparison. I'm not sure I would say the Abyss 1266TC is more correct, as some of what I described in my comparison is likely attributed to small colorations of the Abyss, though I find the Abyss fairly neutral, and probably the more correct of the two. The truth, as they say, is probably somewhere between the two. Which is higher resolution, overall? The more agressive nature (forwardness, and brighter midrange thru treble) of the Abyss leads me to feel it may be more resolving, but I am not sure yet. The Abyss is more dynamic (micro and macro).

BTW, I was using Tidal, 'The Best of Joe Cocker' album. He's not someone I listen to alot, but I have been listening to him a little more lately. I used an Adcom GFP750 preamp, Pass X150 amp, and the GL1200 energizer for both the Abyss and the GL1200. Obviously, the GL1200 is less sensitive and I matched volume by ear, only. This can be misleading but the differences were still present even when i turned the GL1200 significantly louder than the Abyss.

Comfort wise, the GL1200 is less firm and feels lighter. it is more comfortable, though build quality is far superior on the Abyss.

Clearly, this is a first-blush comparison but I thought there may be some interest. As for whether the differences make it worth the purchase of an Abyss if you own the GL1200? Obviously, that is a personal judgment. I can say I am glad to have an opportunity to listen to both as they are signifiantly different sounding.

As I listen to other genres over time, I would probably make additional updates here and or formalize the comparison a bit more. so feel free to check back?

Oh - one more thing. You may be wondering, I rated the GL1200 5 stars and I do seem to feel the abyss is more to my liking. So should I lower the GL1200 to 4.5 stars? In comparison to the D8000 Pro and the Abyss I prefer them over the GL1200, but I am not yet prepared to lower the rating as my preference is subjective and I will not say the other headphones are objectively superior ...at least not yet. Time will tell and I may revisit the rating if permitted by HeadFi.

Sorry for piece-meal update but...
I just listened to orchestrial music and felt compelled to comment on some stuff.

The abyss is superior regarding the timbre of instruments. By comparison the GL1200 felt less real and less nuanced. The violin had a slightly plasticky sound on the GL1200.

That said, I first listened on the GL1200 and I could detect some deficiencies. The laidback nature meant everything was well integrated and cohesive, but a bit too blended into a singular blob of sound. However, when swtiching to the Abyss, it sounded significantly more colored then the GL1200. The song I was listening to may not be 100% accurate sound quality, but it has a lot going on and is telling. The D8000 Pro provides the greatest realism and timbre, followed by the Abyss, and then the GL1200. The D8000 Pro also manages to sort out busy and complex passages better. But back to the GL1200 vs Abyss - the overall sound of the orchestra sounds more right on the GL1200, because I believe the Abyss is a bit too colored/spotlighted in the midrange, though after a few minutes the coloration is less noticeable. The Abyss pops significantly more and is much more exciting. In my humble opinion though, the D8000 Pro bests them both due to its combination of ultimate resolution, dynamics, and accurate uncolored tonal balance.

If interested here is a link to the song I used. It's also on Tidal but I like video so I listened on YouTube. Keep in mind, the recording is not perfect and while I like the whole song, it really gets moving about 6 minutes in until the end.

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John Massaria
John Massaria
I am also using the gl1200 speaker step down box for other headphone and feel there is a benefit but the chance of blowing easy to drive headphones is a real concern if you are not careful with your volume gain- like set them on fire there is so much power so for me I would be really careful if you experiment- are there benefits? Yes it does sound very very clean with gobs of power. I use the Apache by rsa as the preamp to a b&k amp and to compare rsa as the actual headphone amp the amp to compare - and the benefit is smaller since the rsa is a great amp in it’s own right
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kcnoobly
These sound good but no after purchase support.

I would actually steer away from these and anything from Gold Planar or Linsoul.

Customer service is very poor and no after purchase support for messed up ribbons.

They sent me silver ribbons with my headphones that were not working properly and now they are giving me extremely hard time getting replacement.

They actually told me to send them photos of the ribbons, when they saw it they said "they look fine and should work properly, is there anything I can help you with."

You'll get that kind of run around when buying from Linsoul/Gold Planar. Becareful.

My gold ribbons are working good, but since you can't get any replacement ribbons, once they get damaged for stop working properly, you'll have an $1200 cheap unusable plastic housing.

But these headphones sound really nice, but I would spend a little but more money to get something with good support.
John Massaria
John Massaria
Keep emailing them LINSOUL will take care of you- email them and send them pictures of your post here- do what ever it takes they will answer you during week but no so much on weekends-

John Massaria

500+ Head-Fier
UPDATED 8/9/21 Gold Planar GL1200 Full Frequency True Ribbon Headphone -TWO RIBBON SETS TESTED
Pros: Very comfortable and light, TWO SETS OF RIBBONS TESTED- THE 'silver' and the 'gold'. Amazing sound stage, after break in- amazing image, amazing bass of any ribbon or electrostatic, amazing placement details and 3-D space. Like no other headphone I ever heard... Seriously like describing nothing else you have ever heard from headphones- Out of the box cold- they should not be judged until at least 20 hours of play time. These could test the limits of your hearing and all of your gear, music and recordings. These could test your living arrangements with others. You have to be slightly insane to own these... these DO make crazy worth it in every way... just know what you are in store for here... the rewards DO pay off as being the best sounding headphone at this time of me typing, creating space and dimension and involvement like no other. Another pro is the fact that the Ribbons are removable through a hatch door and can be swapped out for different sound signatures or repairs! (All this and more AFTER break in of 75hrs - the ribbons need to loosen up and yes it takes that long.) Two sets of ear pads are included- alcantara/velour and the other one is perforated p-leather. The amplifier junction box is constructed out of very thick aluminum case. This includes a set of 5ft speaker wire with very high quality "Made in the USA CMC Gold Plated Speaker Cable Wire Banana Plug Connector with 100% OFC Copper wire." Comes with 2 meter 6N OCC silver-plated cable (3.5mm left/right to 4 pin male XLR). Excellent Pelican style Cary case is icing on the cake here- all manufactures should include this kind of case since it not only protects the headphones during shipment but after can be used to store the headphones or cold cash when you sell your Stax or RAAL headphones. Not the last word in detail or microscope clinical sound like a Abyss Phi or Lcd4- these are more fun. These are song dependent and will be a love hate relationship with some material. You can now change ribbons out for one of two designs- silver or gold. Silver= brighter more detailed sound with tighter bass. The gold ribbon is more dynamic, fuller in lows to mid bass and slightly more even highs than the silver- my #1 choice is gold ribbon.
Cons: not ez to set up, not designed at all for portable use, tremendous sound leakage so bad that you may as well listen to speakers, size of headphone, look of headphones while on - these are ridiculous looking 100%, the construction on top where ribbon can be removed looks like someone cracked the plastic instead of a flush door without seems, ribbons are delicate and can break if you drop them or put too much power to the driver (no worse than a dynamic or planar headphones I would think), can sound a bit harsh if you make volume too loud BUT ah dah! just don't do that... like any headphone. Needs a separate amp (I am testing 3 different kinds right now) - all of these things mean zero when you consider the sound could make it all worth while... These are song dependent and will be a love hate relationship with some material- for the silver ribbon. The gold ribbon is more forgiving and universal. Begging Gold Planar for selling both sets of ribbons for all consumers for now and the future




GOLD PLANAR GL1200
Ribbon Headphone Review by John Massaria

THE 'silver' and the 'gold' Ribbons Both Tested

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"Nothing comes close...to being this crazy good"
I was not paid for this or any review I ever wrote-
I do all my reviews with passion and love for this great hobby... I do it for the love of music...





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"WHEN CRAZY MAKES SENSE"

TIME BREAKDOWN FROM DAY ONE ON...

FIRST DAY: 4/20/21- I just updated this review- as they break in for what has to be a mandatory period of nearly 100+hrs for ribbons to loosen up and sound like music I would enjoy... I have to question why I bought these (Z reviews may really owe users full disclosure here) - many new owners need to know all the quirks of these very strange headphones and I will explore them here in this review)
Right now I am trying to break them in without annoying my my wife and kids who also live here and are no where near these headphones - we have a nice sized home but they kept complaining how loud they were while trying to break them in. First I put pillows in between the drivers and on either side and covered them in multiple layers of blankets- and they still leaked through!... Then I tried using the plastic case they came in with several blankets over the nearly closed case and I can still hear the music screaming inside the black box, like I buried some poor musician inside a Pelican replica case... I can not understand this kind of headphone if it's not close to being a semi-private intimate listening experience... I may as well use my near-filed monitors I am thinking- there is so much sound escaping I am perplexed as to a remedy during break in period- maybe if I lock myself in a padded room when they come and get me. Just me and these headphones inside a padded room... yea. That may work... How is this practical unless you live alone... and then there is the sound signature- they need to be broken in... an absolute must as I remember with all ribbons when they are new- my Magnepans needed at least 150 hours to sound like they did in showroom and my friends Perfect 8 The Force use a ribbon tweeter which sounded harsh when they were installed for at least 100+ hrs... they all need break in for the ribbons.
First impression: A absolutely ridiculous and crazy purchase with a potential to turn the headphone industry on it's head... if break in does what it did for my Magnepans and for my buddies Perfect Eight.

DAY TWO AM 4/21: AT 18hrs break in- yup too much sound leakage is a con in my review. I own open backs, the HD600, Kennerton Thekks and Kennerton Wodans, the Gold Planar GL2000, maybe my SR-Lambda Stax's leak three quarters as much... none of them sound as loud as a speaker like these do... I should repeat... "nothing even comes close to how insane these headphones are" when it comes to sound leaking in the room... yes I consider headphones somewhat of an intimate instrument for personal use - some leakage is acceptable of course... as I break these in more and more I will say maybe the sound benefits could make all the negatives of this crazy headphone a worth while purchase- BUT as a reviewer I feel the need to keep it all in balance- pros and cons... and so far the break in period nearing 18 hours they are already making me feel like I need to update the review further- they sound unbelievably good... and may just make crazy make sense...

DAY TWO PM: 4/21/21 - Like any headphone review- some sound nice right out of the box and some do not... these fall in to the... umm no they do not sound good at all out of the box- they make burn in a mandatory practice and anyone looking for right out of the box pleasure look else where- you will be disappointed and maybe like I was nearly angry at how bad they sounded out of the box.. Out of box these get a 3 star rating. At 20hrs they moved up to 3.5-4 stars... So I reserve my star rating to change as I near the 100+ hours needed for typical ribbons to stretch and become musical... but know this review will be an explorative explanation of time - from the moment I unboxed them and first plugged them in... always updating what I see, feel and more importantly what I hear as they continue to break in -just stay with me...

DAY THREE 4/22/21- The continuous break in over the last 3 days has paid off and the once harsh sound is now nothing short of amazing. Bass, mid range and tremble all blend with a speed I have never heard before in any planar electrostatic or dynamic driver- a perfect blend of timing and acoustic bliss.
Are they worth the money, time to break in, the excessive amount of sound leakage? Yes the money part seems fair for what you get here. These are not precision made like the HEDD German headphones or like the RAALs- the construction is better than the STAX SR-Lambda for example, but not a robust build made with exacting construction- The door which gives users access to change the ribbons for different tuning or repairs is poorly designed and looks like you cracked the area on top where the door is visible. The space of the door and the headphone itself is large and feels cheap once removed. The silver plastic/metal like feel of the headphone is light but you know they are not metal- rather a plastic coated in silver paint. They do make the headphones light and comfortable however- some may like to use more padding such as Dekoni Nuggets at the top part of the headphone band which touches the cranium frontal and parietal area. Right now I am using the perforated leather like pads and they could be 'hot' if worn for a long while, unlike other genuine leather from Kennerton or Spirit headphones. I can say the soft velour may change the sound and I will report on that latter. The pads come off with Velcro so changing them should be ez. For now I am just sitting back and enjoying what I am hearing like nothing else I have ever put on my head. They do not need a ton of volume to hear the clarity and near perfect sound... bass and the entire midrange and tremble blend well at low-medium to medium and even loud volumes. There is a sweet spot for volume which is mid though I wills say for ideal listening over long periods... These will play loud but like any headphone go too far with them and they will let you know.. If you turn the volume up to much they will strain the ribbon - but at that volume level you would go deaf and probably blind at the same time anyway so just don't do that... They are truly like my Magnepan 3.6r fully broken in... I am using my Adcom Mosfet Amp which drives a 4 ohm load to 125watts cleanly. My Ray Samules Apache is acting as a preamp and my DAC is the Topping D90 with the Mojo Mystique R2R EVO Pro else where in my home. I can not wait to hear how these sound with the Mystique. All I can say is this is one crazy headphone that does make it all worth the trouble price and time it takes to break in, the leakage will varry among households... I know my use on these will be much less than say my closed back Kennerton GH50JM Edition which for me is my #1 go to for private listening sessions... but GL1200 may just be a top pick for the rest of the time...



SUB BASS PLENTY HERE WITH GL1200
You may not be able to split your ear drums with large amounts of volume
but these do go very low and are 100% on the money for satisfaction and creating 3d space



4/26/21 - After some 75 hours of break in - these are truly a 5 star reference anyone with the knowledge base of it's limitations and quirkiness allow- I can say my copy of the GL1200 is far superior to any headphone I have ever heard to date in every aspect except perhaps very complex bass passages such as those on the Blade Runner 2049 track #23 Blade Runner or the grueling torture track#20 called Sea Wall but I am fine with that limitation (I just have to turn the volume down and it's fine) as most music is not that demanding and for those tracks I fall back on my GH50JM Edition if I need it to be louder or more impact- the GL1200 sound is utterly addicting and over the top for everything else- after some 75hrs of break in- they have finally transformed into something I treasure - the out of head experience is like that of my Magnepan 3.6r speakers while my closed back Gjallarhorn GH50JM Edition is like my Vandersteen 3a speakers- both I truly adore for what they do right - the leakage into the room through the GL1200 is something I need to live with or should I say my family needs to be absent for me to truly enjoy - I can not imagine it getting any better than this visceral utopian experience. Comparing the GL2000 to the GL1200 - where by the GL2000 is very wide sound stage and image among the largest I ever heard for a planar design the reduction in sound-stage is apparent when switching over to the GL1200. It's akin to listening to my Magnepans 3.6r's or as close as one can expect while wearing headphones. Insane detail that immerses you in the full mastering of the recording- without any hint of listening fatigue. I will say do not attempt to use these headphones at all with a sterile amp such as some Class D's or very linear amps like a Rotel 1050 which would be a terrible match. I would stick with Class A or Mosfet as I have done here. I have not tried a tube amp but I would expect it to do fine so long as impedance matches the headphone- forget an OTL if you need to use tubes try Push-Pull, SET or Ultralinear. Using the Adcom Mosfet I am all but 100% satisfied- the GL1200 is always composed. The amp needs dynamic range power reserves- but at that point the amp will not be the fault when trying to reproduce very complex bass passages at loud volumes- the GL1200 nature of being a ribbon will be tested most here... bass is tight 99% of the time except when the bass track is overly complex like those "artificial"recordings of Hans Zimmer in Blade Runner 2049- don't get me wrong many tracks from the soundtrack sound sublime - and don't think hard hitting bass is not done well- it's just that you may need to turn down the volume to enjoy it like a dynamic driver... As I explore more with this I will add more in next update... but I can say this is truly an insane piece of equipment that does so many things so well the faults and quirks make it all worth while... an absolute addicting sound like nothing else I ever heard in a headphone.


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BEYOND MY FAVORITE ON THE GL1200 - too good to be true
the closest I can come to listening to my Magnepans for nearly one fifth the price



I didn't think Worms or Ain't Nice would play nice with the GL1200 but they did
they are complex compilations with high energy and high BPMs - just remember to truly enjoy these complex passages with the GL1200 volume adjustment is key




SUB BASS AT PROPER VOLUME LEVELS IS EXTREMELY WELL CONTROLLED HERE WITH THIS INSANE SUB SONIC SUB BASS TRACK WITH THE GL1200 you can feel it and it's very satisfying in a way I can not describe except as "finally real bass" not club bass. The Gold Ribbon sounds fuller and rounder with less parkle but more even handed and fun. The Silver ribbon is a bit more tight yet unable to go down as deep yet has more sparkle in the higher registers.

This is a very difficult track for ribbons and I have to say it's confusing- Jacks voice sounds great but the pounding drum with electric guitar make for a difficult job for the GL1200 so while done very well here- I would say I would switch to my GH50JM Edition for this track...
The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.


Well done with the GL1200 but still my GH50's do it better for sub bass/bass
it's not to say the GL1200 silver ribbon don't perform well- they do but to reach deep down and keep up dynamic drivers
do it better... however the gold ribbon makes this track sound awesome. There are extremes such as the Spirit Torrino which are over the top exaggerated bass but the GH50 again brings it home for me more with track like this... which if anyone knows me is always my go to HP


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I use the high res flac but this YT video will give you an idea of the mastering here- guitar rift with Chris's deep voice will challenge any system for accuracy and distortion if there is any faults with your DAC/AMP/PREAMP and Speakers/HEADPHONES-
If You turn it down and you will be fine with the GL1200- the track is very well done here...
but go too loud and Chris's Voice will let you know. The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.
A torture test for most Planar and Dynamics alike... the Spirit Torino failed here with too much over done bass while the GL1200 plays nice at low volumes and my GH50's top off this track with my favorite playback...


You can just stop here- the GL1200 does tracks like this better than anything else period- you may weep with silver ribbon.

Forget getting any kind of volume with tracks like this from a ribbon like the GL1200
except when using the gold- The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.

Bass Plucks are so well done here with the GL1200- tempo pace and vocals are as good as headphones can go with silver ribbon.

Again same thing the GL1200 will be fine BUT again mind your volume
except when using the gold- The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.

Not the best track for the GL1200 silver but the gold does it better for sure. awesome.

What the GL1200 does better than anything silver...
the gold just sounds juicy and meaty and well evened fun.

You either buy the GL1200 w/silver ribbon installed for tracks like this or you just will never experience it so well.

IN HIGH RES YOU WILL LOOSE YOUR SH!T when played back with the GL1200 silver ribbon.
The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.


Sub Bass here is done so well I have no issue with recommending these at all for EDM Lovers
The gold ribbon tackles this track much better than the silver ribbon.



Review continues:
The included Pelican type hard case which is very well made and certainly practical to use after the unboxing for keeping your headphones safe and well protected or can be used for stacks of money you will save when you sell all your Stax or RAAL headphones....
THE UNBOXING OF THE BOXES
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(left the outer box) (center: inner box) (right the case inside the box) CLICK TO ENLARGE
3d space video test

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Two different types of ear pads are included. One is a sort of alcantara/velour and the other one is perforated leather.
The 2 meter non-microphonic high quality soft fabric insulated headphone wire is constructed from 8 strand 6N OCC silver-plated wire. Connectors for each ear cup are 3.5mm left/right (marked red-thank you Gold Planar) and a 4pin XLR wire which connects to the amplifier junction box. CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
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AN EXTREMELY WELL DONE ALBUM/MASTERED VERY WELL- THE SOUND IS VERY IMPACTFUL including the bass- this is a very addicting sound with the GL1200 - the sub bass is magnificent here- so do not read into the GL1200 can't do sub bass they can and do very well- its just a handful of crazy hyperactive high BPM tracks I mentioned like the ones from from Blade Runner 2049 that need to be played lower than a dynamic... Arpeggi or On or Melt! by Kelly Lee Owens are perfect examples how sub bass play perfectly with the GL1200 - unlike anything else I ever heard... very addicting. These are gentile giants and will never ever beat your heard up with bass pounding sound like the Spirit Torino Radiante Ragnarr I reviewed before.
The GL1200 is how bass should sound for me... balanced...


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The amplifier junction box is constructed out of very thick aluminum case.
This includes a set of 5ft speaker wire with very high quality
"Made in the USA CMC Gold Plated Speaker Cable Wire Banana Plug Connector with 100% OFC Copper wire."
CLICK TO ENLARGE


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SUB BASS: 8.0/10 (silver ribbon) 9.5/10 (gold)
(AS TESTED WITH THE GRUELING BLADE RUNNER 2049 SOUNDTRACK/PURE WATER MIGOS)
BASS: 8.5/10 (silver ribbon) 9.5/10 (gold)
(AS TESTED WITH THE GRUELING BLADE RUNNER 2049 SOUNDTRACK)
MIDS: 9/10 (gold/silver)
HIGH FREQ: 10/10 (silver) 9.5/10 (gold)
SOUND STAGE: 10/10 (silver) 9.5/10 (gold)
IMAGE: 10/10 (silver) 9/10(gold)
BUILD: 8.5/10
SUPPLIED CORD: 9/10
ACCESSORIES: 9/10 (CASE AND EAR PADS ARE TOP NEAR NOTCH. FAKE LEATHER CAN GET HOT)
CLINICAL EVALUATION OF MUSIC: 10/10
PLEASURABLE SOUND OF MUSIC: 10/10
COMFORT: 8/10 (suggest
Dekoni Nuggets for long listening)
+10 FOR SPEAKER JUNCTION BOX - BUILT LIKE A TANK
+10 FOR INCLUDED 100% OFC COPPER SPEAKER WIRE WITH HQ BANANA PLUGS
+10 FOR 3-D NATURAL SOUND LIKE NOTHING ELSE OFFERED FOR SALE AT THIS TIME OF PUBLISHING
-10 FOR EXCESSIVE SOUND LEAKAGE
-10 FOR LONG TIME BREAK IN TIME AND TERRIBLE SOUND WHEN NEW OUT OF BOX
+50? FOR IMAGE AND TRUE RECORDING RENDERING LIKE NOTHING ELSE ON PLANET INCLUDING STAX
SUITABLE FOR: INDUSTRIAL, ROCK, EDM, BLUES, JAZZ AND CLASSICAL -
(Note: has some trouble playing really loud if the track is filled with too many complex fast BPM subass and bass notes from 20 to 60 Hz - you may need less volume than a dynamic driver to enjoy it more)

PORTABLE USE: NOT POSSIBLE FOR PORTABLE USE B/C OF SOUND LEAKAGE/AMP REQUIREMENTS AT THIS TIME

AMP/DAC DEPENDENT: YES- YOU WILL HEAR WHAT YOU PLUG IN- NO HIDING HERE WITH THIS RESOLVING HP

OTHER NOTES: USE ALL COPPER WIRE, THE SILVER COATED STOCK CABLE MAY BE TOO MUCH FOR SUCH A RESOLVING HEADPHONE
THE VELOUR PADS ARE MUCH BETTER COMFORT. THE ALL PLEATHER EAR PADS WHICH COME INSTALLED SOUND A HIT MORE WITH TINY BIT MORE BASS AND HIT MORE WITH HINT OF MORE ENERGY IN HIGH FREQUENCY WHILE SMOOTHING OUT THE MID HUMP. I WOULD LIKE TO TUNE THE PADS MORE... WE WILL SEE... I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A PAD WITH VELOUR THAT TOUCHES YOUR SKIN AND PERFORATED LEATHER COMBO LIKE THE DEKONI HYBRID ELITE
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FINAL NOTES: THESE MAY TURN THE HEADPHONE INDUSTRY ON IT'S HEAD AND BRING ALL HIGH END MANUFACTURERS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD... THEY ARE WORTHY OF ALL THE AGGRAVATION


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THE HEADPHONES CAN LAY FLAT



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4/27/21UPDATES ADDRESSING OTHER REVIEWS:
Measurements from The HEADPHONE Show youtube channel screen shot. CLICK TO ENLARGE
I will say that I never measure my satisfaction of headphones with graphs or consider myself to hang out with graph "people." "Measurements" for STAX should be an epic fail but they have their cult following for more than 40 years because they do things no dynamic can do and that's timing, image, sound-stage presence and sense of real space. The GL1200 for me do more right than the STAX and most other headphones. Are they perfect? No but they truly are unlike anything else I have ever heard- the stage images and localization is simply unmatched.

Can you EQ them yes- my question why would you want to- they sound fine and don't really require EQ... with that said you can EQ them to even them out in mid and higher frequency to your taste but not so much in bass region and frankly the bass doesn't really need any eq'ing at all, something Andrew and I both can agree on. But according to Andrew- the GL1200 aren’t the most detailed headphones but I 99% disagree - they are detailed enough for pleasurable listening and reveal just about everything one needs to have for pure enjoyment after a good break in period of at least 75 hours... And Andrew said he has a hard time recommending the GL1200 unless you have a speaker amp already- and certainly thinks these would be better choices if you didn't: LCDX (no way), LCD2 (not even), Sennheiser HD800s (which I personally have a strong disgust for due to their artificial stage and strange upper mid and high frequencies that boarder on harsh and shrill) or the FOCAL CLEAR (are you serious? this is a nearly a detail monster but not an all day driver for pleasure)- these recommendations by The Headphone Show should tell you everything Andrew looks for in a headphone and how different peoples tastes differ. For me its all about the music and loosing yourself the emotion of bliss and euphoric sound that makes you want to listen all day... where times stops as you melt in the musical magic- goose bumps and smiles on passages for god sake man! EMOTION! the clears never are emotional headphones they are sterile... And about the frequency graphs... they are and never will mean anything to me other than a guide- if frequency response matters all that much and that were the case we would all own JBL LSR305
desk top monitors or B&W speakers which I LOATH! B&W put frequency response over time and phase coherence and for me I can not stand that kind engineering. The graphs never tell you about image and timing, space and image- two thing the ribbons on the GL1200 do better than anything. Go listen to Magnepans and you will see why they are loved and never forgotten once you hear them. If they are set up properly the Magnepans will go down deep enough in the bass without the need for a sub yet send you to the place no dynamic driver speaker will ever- the sense of liveliness and space and timing unlike any other. The exception would be a ribbon/driver combo like the Perfect Eight The Force which one of my friends owns. I also don’t really look for or like detail monsters like the Focal Utopia for everyday listening unless I am into S&M on most recordings....Be like water my friend flow... balance is a virtue in any system. Detail/frequency is only ONE part of the multiple 3d space equation that is music. Give me the GL1200 which detail plenty... any more detail would bring them over the brink and would be too much- they wouldn’t be an all day driver without listener fatigue - the way they are now is nearly ideal... can you tweak them more to get more out of them - I think the next big thing for these headphones may be tweaker pad mods- we will see... but like I said for all the quirkiness of these headphones - they do more right than wrong... they set the bar for immersing you in the mix unlike any other headphone...


A Knock out performance that no headphone I ever heard can do so well - a great recording with the best mics and mastering
AEA Mics and Preamps used here and no other mastering comes close to this perfection and the presentation by GL1200 does it better than anything else- every other headphone sounds like a headphone - the GL1200 sounds like being at the venue more than anything else- not at the recording studio at the console BUT rather to be clear- as if you are in front of the guy playing the drums live - the hits are so dam tight and the cymbals sound so realistic again like NO OTHER HEADPHONE I EVER HEARD.

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Lastly: I should mention-The one that ships with the Linsoul version is a silver type ribbon at this time (NOW WITH BOTH RIBBONS as of 9/12/21). I am reaching out to find out more details on what else is available for buyers in the future and as of yet they are still not clear on how buyers can purchase or update to try both ribbon styles- but they are working with Gold Planar to have both available from what I understand. They are removable and that makes them interchangeable in case one gets damaged. The gold and silver ribbons are tuned slightly different--the gold is more bassy at the 'expense' of the extreme micro detail the silver one does slightly better. The gold is still light years ahead in detail compared to anything else I ever heard be it electro static, planar or dynamic - it's only when comparing itself to the silver version is the slight detail edge apparent. The detail from the gold and silver are never ever not even close to fatiguing- they are just very detailed. They are not piercing like a Utopia either. They are always accurate to the recording- and the engineers who mastered it. The gold is fuller and warmer and the better of the two for me- the silver is very revealing but not as dynamic and fulfilling for sinking into the music and loosing yourself. The silver is more expressive and expansive into the recording. What a good life to have both to choose from. Both are unlike any headphone I ever heard I can not pull myself away from listening. I think I prefer the gold for most songs but the silver has it's place... I find myself listening way too much lately (as of 7-29-21) and am growing to think these are legends in the headphone world few if none can compare. The new LCD-R - Audeze is the newest ribbon being sold and already sold out ( although only 67 units were offered- they do plan on making a new style and should be a great comparison to review to the GL1200.
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Current contenders for sound quality in sound stage may be the LCD-R - Audeze and the CRBN. The facts are the LCD-R is not a true ribbon design, but rather a flat mylar ribbon similar to a planar design- and the CRBN is an electrostatic using new film materials developed this year that reportedly sound better than the top offerings from STAX . The LCR-R and the CRBN do not have tunable replaceable cartigdes like the GL1200 giving the edge to the GL1200 hands down in my book. The LCR-R and CRBN may be much more bass shy and less full than the GL1200 w/Gold Ribbons according to reviews out right now.
As far as I can tell nothing can match the true ribbon design for stage, clarity, life like sound quality, and pure organic deep bass like the GL1200. The current reviews of LCD-R and the CRBN so far both compare them to the STAX 009Mk2 and 007Mk2 - and they basically say the Audeze beat the STAX offerings in many ways but still both Audeze lack full satisifying bass unless eq'd- I can say the GL1200 beat the STAX from top to bottom in nearly every way with out eq'ing. The sound stage of the GL1200 has never been beat according to my ears - nothing is as much a sound treat that I look forward to each day. The only down side for me is the extreme sound leakage. The dealer Linsoul has since sent me two sets of ribbons as back ups (one extras silver and one extra gold ribbon). I am extremely satisfied like no other headphone I ever heard - I look forward to any rivals at any price. Again I prefer a closed back but for open back this thing is beyond words. (updated 8-9-21)

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The new Audeze CRBN - The $4500 Electrostatic headphone by Audeze CRBN. Electrostatics are also prone to electrically charging particles to the film diaphragm (clinging things like dust and hair) which can affect sound over time and make them distort. Extreme daily care for storage of the electrostatic headphones usually requires special plastic bags to prevent static build up on drivers. The price of $4500 does not include a electrostatic headphone amp.




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GL1200 Ribbons allow for tuning unlike any other headphone I know... the gold or silver ribbon- if you want nice sparkle and nice tight lighter bass the tighter stretched thinner aluminum material 'silver' ribbon may be for you however if you like more warmth and body and over all roundness with deep punchy pleasurable but never over done bass -try the 'gold' ribbon installed. I am truly amazed at what this headphone can do... the sky is the limit... becareful not to touch the ribbon or blow on ribbon- you may just ruin it when you take it out to change. Luckily if ribbon does get ruined you can get more from Linsoul or your distributor and change them easily. Uncertain of replacment ribbon costs but you wil need a set of two at a time since they need to break in together. My suggestion is get a pair as a spare for the future.


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My test gear is Mojo Audio Mystique EVO Pro R2R DAC, Topping D90, Sony CD Transport, TrippLite Medical Grade IS1000HG Isolation Transformer for my PC. Ray Samuels Apache as a preamp for the amps, B&K Mosfet Amp, Adcom Mosfet Amp.
I may be getting a VTV Class D Amplifier if the manufacture wants to send one for this and their own review... and I may be getting a test review amp from Schiit Audio called the Vidar, maybe even a Jotunheim R which is designed for ribbon headphones like the Raal and the GL1200... we will see what this Shciit does for the GL1200...
I am set with teh B&K and Adcom - I think Schiit knew they were better amps than the Jot R but not as convenient - I still would test the Vidar since it's smaller- but Schiit never followed up... so instead I am... and as for Class D the GL1200 are way too good for such nonsense amps since most sound artificial/cold in the affordable range.

Update you can now buy separate pairs of either gold or silver ribbons from Linsoul for $310 USD




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review by JM
(bought @ full price)​
SIDE NOTE: So you know, I have 3 systems at my home- my speakers are Vandersteen 3a Signatures, Magnepan 3.6r and my desk top system which uses SEAS drivers in custom D'Appolito configuration.
I edit videos and film on location for professionals- I mix sound for a living occasionally after I film them in person- sometimes I am handed tracks that are terrible masters but am asked to make videos from them without re-mastering the sound.
My IMDB page is https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8127846/ I also do IT support for Hospitals all around the NY Area.
I am not a flake or hard of hearing at all-I get sound tested by my doctor each year or two. I grew up with sound engineers in the studio who were mixing albums at The Mix Palace and Platinum Sound Recording and The Power Station, Electric Lady Studios Studios in NY to name a few. When I like something I will review it such as the Kennerton headphones I reviewed on head-fi before. If I take the time to review something it has to be meaningful- it must have moved me and compelled me to do so- I do not get paid for any reviews. I do this because I care to set the record straight on what I hear and how I felt about a particular piece of equipment.
Headphone user, music lover and professional video and audio producer
I wasn't paid by anyone to write this - so honesty for me is the best policy!
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8127846/

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John Massaria
John Massaria
they are no longer selling the GL1200 only the ribbons separately at Linsoul
lalosna
lalosna
it seems a really interesting Headphone, could it work with Raal's adapter?
John Massaria
John Massaria
I don't know about them being compatiable with the ribbons in Raal - they look similar - more like a copy but the execution here is better since they aren't flaps but headphones which are extremely light on the head
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