10-point comparisons of trios of 35 headphones (Grado, Sennheiser, ...) - Headphoneus Supremus Inaugural Post
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ruthieandjohn

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This post is my 1,500th, elevating me into the rarified stratosphere of Headphoneus Supremus. While others celebrate with parades, speeches, and shopping across the United States this Memorial Day weekend as a result, I will serve my public by doing more of what got me here... POST!

Over the 16 months on head-fi.org, I have developed a method of comparing groups of three headphones according to 10 acoustic features that are important to my listening. Here, I summarize 18 such comparisons, embracing a total of 35 headphones and amplifiers, and (most importantly) provide references to the detailed description of each of the 18 comparisons, each with its own post (and often its own thread).

Test Method:

I used four songs, all encoded in Apple Lossless Format at CD quality (I actually bought the CDs and ripped them... no internet download involved) and played by my Apple iPod Touch 5th Gen. Because each of the 10 acoustic tests used a limited segment of music (2 - 10 sec), an infinite loop was used to repeat the appropriate segment of each song while headphones were switched in and out.


  • "You're Going To Miss Me When I'm Gone," by Band of Heathens, from their album One Foot In The Ether (used for fidelity of drum sound, positional resolution of two vocalists, and ability to discern pitch of string bass passages);
  • "Spanish Harlem," by Rebecca Pidgeon, on The Ultimate Demonstration Disc of Chesky records (used to assess female vocals, transparency, the attack of finger on bass string, and high resolution discrimination of differences in shaker shakes);
  • "Symphony No. 3 in C Minor Op. 78 (Organ Symphony) - IV" by Camille Saint Saens played by Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symph
    ony Orchestra (used to assess the "ripping" sound of well-rendered lower brass and organ reed pipes, and the ability to hear a very small entrance amidst a bombastic chord of orchestra and organ at full tilt);
  • "Throwback" by B.o.B. on Underground Luxury (used to assess ability of a bass tone, specifically lowest C on piano at about 32 Hz, to pick me up by the throat and shake me!)

The 10 tests were as follows:


  • Transparency: What is between me and the music? A felt cloth? A "Sennheiser veil?" A frosted window? Dirty window? Clear Saran wrap? or nothing? At its best, makes me forget I am listening on headphones and am in room with musicians.
  • Width of sound stage: How far to the left and to the right, (yes, AND up and down in best cases) does it seem the musical sources are arranged?
  • Positional resolution: Can I distinguish a difference in position of two singers in Song 1?
  • Bass visceral: Does the bass in third verse of Song 4 actually shake me? Or do I just hear it?
  • Drum "twang": At start of Song 1, do the bass and tom tom drumhead have a tone and a pitch, rather than just a thump?
  • Bass pitch perception: For the complicated bass runs in Song 1, do I hear a pitch with sufficient accuracy to sing or transcribe the part?
  • Bass finger pluck: Do I hear the actual impact of fingers on the bass string just before hearing its sound on Song 2?
  • Shaker variation: In Song 2, verse 3, do the various shaker shakes sound a bit different from each other, as they should?
  • "Ripping" of organ / brass: In Song 3, is there the sensation of hearing each vibration of the French horn and low organ reed tones (sort of the tonal counterpart to hearing a "pitch" from a drumhead in Test 5);
  • Discern added chord: About 1:38 into Song 3, after the full orchestra and organ hold a chord at the top of a passage, can I hear a small number of orchestra instruments join in, as sort of an echo, in the second measure of that chord?

These tests generally emphasize what I find most pleasing in a headphone, namely high-frequency-related features including transparency, upper harmonics of sounds from drum-head, brass, organ pipe, and string bass, and high-resolution effects such as fine detail of each shaker sound and the finger on the bass string.

Headphones and Amps Tested

Here are the headphones and amps tested, listed first by manufacturer and within manufacturer, by model.




Summary Test Results

Here is an example of one three-way comparison, which can be found in a post dedicated to the comparison here.


The Grado PS1000 is compared to the Grado HP1000 and GS1000e for each of the acoustic features noted in the left-most column and elaborated upon in the right-most column. For each feature, the headphone of the three performing the best is given 3 points and its cell is colored blue; 2nd place at 2 points is red, and 3rd place at 1 point s red. Ties are either for first place (blue + red = purple, 2.5 points) or second place (red + yellow = orange = 1.5 points). Rather than being hypersensitive to differences before declaring a ranking, I tried to be confident that I could repeat the ranking most of the time in a blind test. Hence, some ties still had subtle differences.

The last line of the table shows the total preference points for each headphone, summing the numbers above. This gives a ranking that is also color coded. It is this row, for each of the 18 three-way comparisons, that is shown in the tables below. The final row from the table above, for example, is found in the 12th comparison below.





Links to Detailed Comparisons

The links below attempt to follow the order of the comparison above. Click on the trio of headphones to be sent to the full-length post that I made over the past year and a half to view the 10 detailed comparisons and learn more about the headphones.

Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods
Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i
Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro
Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2
Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013
Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X
Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl
Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado
Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03
HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000 (added June 10, 2015 - not included in summary charts above)
Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8 (on HE1000) (added June 10, 2015)
Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6 (on HE1000) (on HE1000) (added June 10, 2015)
Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e (added May 1, 2016)
Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500 (added May 18, 2016)
Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i (added May 1, 2016)
Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e (added May 1, 2016)
Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125 (added May 1, 2016)
Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500 (added May 1, 2016)
V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100 (added May 1, 2016)
Grado PS1000 / GradoPS1000e / Grado GH-1 (added May 1, 2016)
Schiit Bifrost Multibit / Stockholm MHDT (added May 1, 2016)
Sennheiser HDVD 800 / Stockholm MHDT (added May 1, 2016)
Joseph Grado HPA1 /Stockholm MHDT (added May 1, 2016)
Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e (added May 1, 2016)
Grado RS1 (buttoned) vs. Grado RS 2 (buttoned) (added May 1, 2016)
Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000 (added May 1, 2016)
Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100 w/ VAMP VERZA DAC-amp (added May 1, 2016)
Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e (added May 1, 2016)
Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e
HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i (added May 26, 2016)
Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G (added May 29, 2016)
Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G (added Dec. 8, 2016
Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000 (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e (added Dec. 8, 2016)
Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6 (added July 24, 3017)
Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby (added July 24, 2017)
Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000 (added September 27, 2017)
Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800 (added September 27, 2017)
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e (added September 27, 2017)
V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100 (added August 22, 2019)
Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6 (added August 22, 2019)
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598 (added August 22, 2019)
HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900 (added August 22, 2019)
Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3 (added August 22, 2019)
Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear (added August 22, 2019)
Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5 (added August 22, 2019)
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10 (added August 22, 2019)
Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800 (added August 22, 2019)
Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7 (added August 23, 2019)

Conclusion

These ratings, as well as the 10 acoustic rating criteria, simply reflect my own tastes in headphones. I value transparency, large sound stage, impactful bass, and treble detail, but do not particularly care about male or female vocals, so no features concerning vocals appears on the list. Your own preferences will be different; your own ranking will be different.

Postscript

In preparation for the status of Headphoneus Supremus that I will attain when I press "return" on this post, I have already paid the nice man with the leisure suit and slicked hair in the parking lot the H.S. membership fee. I have completed the addition of the new wing on my house to accommodate the headphones that companies and individuals will be sending me in the mail, seeking my approval, in accordance with what that nice man told me. I have introduced a reviewer price list, with higher prices for good reviews and lower prices for poor reviews. I think I am all set! Indeed, I learned that my first headphones are in the mail!



Post-Postscript (August 24, 3019)

Below is an index to each of the three-way comparisons, sorted by

  1. Type of component (e.g., amp, headphone...)
  2. Brand (e.g., HiFiMAN, Grado...)
  3. Model (e.g. EF5, HPA1).
The same information is presented first in a more raw format (immediately below) that lists each item on its own line, indicated by type and model of component, and second in a more readable format that mentions each component on its own line in black, then lists the various three-way comparisons, one per line, below the component in blue. Clicking on a blue link sends you to the comparison post.

Amp HiFIMAN EF-5 Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6
Amp HiFIMAN EF6 Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6
Amp HiFIMAN EF6 Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6
Amp J Grado HPA1 Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03
Amp J Grado HPA1 Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8
Amp J Grado HPA1 Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6
Amp J Grado HPA1 Joseph Grado HPA1 /Stockholm MHDT
Amp J Grado HPA1 Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6
Amp J Grado HPA1 Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e
Amp JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03 Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03
Amp Schiit LYR2 Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e
Amp Schiit LYR2 Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6
DAC Centrance HiFi M8 Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
DAC CEntrance HiFi M8 Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8
DAC Chord Hugo1 Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6
DAC Chord Hugo2 Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6
DAC Chord Hugo2 Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby
DAC Schiit Bifrost Multibit Schiit Bifrost Multibit / Stockholm MHDT
DAC Schiit Bifrost Multibit Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby
DAC Sennheiser HDVD800 Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8
DAC Sennheiser HDVD800 Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
DAC Sony PHA1 Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
DAC Sony PHA1 & M100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100
DAC Sony PHA1 & M100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100
DAC Stockholm MHDT Schiit Bifrost Multibit / Stockholm MHDT
DAC Stockholm MHDT Sennheiser HDVD 800 / Stockholm MHDT
DAC Stockholm MHDT Joseph Grado HPA1 /Stockholm MHDT
DAC V-MODA VERZA/M100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100
Headphone AKG K712 Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2
Headphone Allesandro MS2 Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500
Headphone Beats Pro Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013
Headphone Beats Pro Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Headphone Beats Pro Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro
Headphone Beats Studio 2013 Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Headphone Beats Studio 2013 Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT
Headphone Beats Studio 2013 Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013
Headphone Beyerdynamic T 5 p Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100
Headphone Fostex TH900 Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7
Headphone Fostex TH900 HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900
Headphone Grado 325is Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e
Headphone Grado Bushmills X Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i
Headphone Grado GH1 Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i
Headphone Grado GH1 Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado GH1 Grado PS1000 / Grado PS1000e / Grado GH-1
Headphone Grado GH1/G Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000
Headphone Grado GH1/G Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado GH1/G Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado GH1/G Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado GH2 Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3
Headphone Grado GR10e Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5
Headphone Grado GR10e Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800
Headphone Grado GS1000e Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e
Headphone Grado GS1000e Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado GS1000e Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado GS1000e Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado GS1000e (250 hrs) Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado GS1000i HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado GS1000i Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado GS2000e Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e
Headphone Grado GS2000e Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado GS2000e Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado GS2000e Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000
Headphone Grado GS2000e Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10
Headphone Grado HF1 Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500
Headphone Grado HF3 Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3
Headphone Grado HP1000 Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado HP1000 Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i
Headphone Grado iGrado Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado PS1000 / GradoPS1000e / Grado GH-1
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Headphone Grado PS1000 Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado PS1000 HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
Headphone Grado PS1000 Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000
Headphone Grado PS1000e Grado PS1000 / GradoPS1000e / Grado GH-1
Headphone Grado PS1000e Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000
Headphone Grado PS1000e Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e
Headphone Grado PS2000e Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000
Headphone Grado PS2000e Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800
Headphone Grado PS2000e Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado PS2000e Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500
Headphone Grado PS500 Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl
Headphone Grado PS500/G Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl
Headphone Grado RA1 Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03
Headphone Grado RS1 Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Headphone Grado RS1 Grado RS1 (buttoned) vs. Grado RS 2
Headphone Grado RS1e Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado RS1e Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado RS1e Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i
Headphone Grado RS1i Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Headphone Grado RS1i Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado RS1i Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Headphone Grado RS1i Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i
Headphone Grado RS2 Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2 Grado RS1 (buttoned) vs. Grado RS 2
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2e Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2i Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Headphone Grado RS2i Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Headphone Grado SR125 Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Headphone Grado SR125 Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500
Headphone Grado SR125 Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125
Headphone Grado SR125e Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125
Headphone Grado SR225i Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Headphone Grado SR225i Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Headphone Grado SR325 Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e
Headphone Grado SR325e Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Headphone Grado SR325e Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e
Headphone Grado SR325e Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e
Headphone Grado SR325i Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e
Headphone Grado SR325i Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500
Headphone Grado SR325i Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i
Headphone Grado SR60 Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado
Headphone Grado SR80e Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125
Headphone Grado SR80i Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado
Headphone Grado SR80i Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Headphone HiFiMAN HE1000 HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
Headphone HiFiMAN HE1000 HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i
Headphone HiFIMAN HE1000 Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800
Headphone HiFIMAN HE1000 Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000
Headphone HiFiMAN HE500 HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900
Headphone HiFiMAN HE500 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
Headphone HiFiMAN HE500 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598
Headphone HiFIMAN HE560 HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900
Headphone HiFiMAN HE6 HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i
Headphone J Grado HP1000 Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000
Headphone NAD VISO hp50 Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro
Headphone Parrot Zik 1.0 Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X
Headphone Sennheiser H598 Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro
Headphone Sennheiser HD598 Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Headphone Sennheiser HD598 Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2
Headphone Sennheiser HD598 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598
Headphone Sennheiser HD800 Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Headphone Sennheiser HD800 HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
Headphone Sennheiser HD800 Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000
Headphone Sennheiser HD800 Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800
Headphone Sennheiser HDVD800 Sennheiser HDVD 800 / Stockholm MHDT
Headphone Shinola On Ear Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear
Headphone Shinola Over Ear Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear
Headphone Sony MDR1A Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear
Headphone Sony Z7 Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7
Headphone Stax SR-5 Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i
Headphone Ultrasone Edition 10 Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10
Headphone Ultrasone Edition 8 Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7
Headphone Ultrasone Edition 8 Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100
Headphone V-MODA M100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100
Headphone V-MODA M100 Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100
Headphone V-MODA M-100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100
Headphone V-MODA VERZA/M100 V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100
Headphone Yamaha Pro500 Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013
IEM AKG K3003i Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800
IEM Apple Ear Pods Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods
IEM Apple In-Ear Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods
IEM FiiO FH5 Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5
IEM Klipsch S4i Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods
IEM Klipsch S4i Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i
IEM Philips Fidelio S2 Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2
IEM Sennheiser IE800 Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800
IEM Shure SE535 Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
IEM Shure SE535LTD Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5
Player Apple iPod Touch 6 Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6
Player Lotoo PAW Gold Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e
Player Lotoo PAW Gold Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby
Wireless Jaybirds BlueBuds X Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X
Wireless Parrot Zik 1.0 Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT
Wireless Parrot Zik 2.0 Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X
Wireless Sennheiser PXC 310 BT Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT



Now, the more readable format (same information, different arrangement).

Players:

Apple iPod Touch 6:
Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6

Lotoo PAW Gold:
Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e
Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby

DACS:


CEntrance HiFi M8:
Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8

Chord Hugo1:
Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6

Chord Hugo2:
Hugo 1 / Hugo 2 / iPod Touch 6
Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby


Schiit Bifrost Multibit:
Schiit Bifrost Multibit / Stockholm MHDT
Hugo 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Schiit Bimby

Sennheiser HDVD800:
Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8
Sennheiser HDVD 800 / Stockholm MHDT
Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800

Sony PHA1:
Sony PHA-1 / CEntrance HiFi M8 / Senn HDVD 800
V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100
V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100

Stockholm MHDT:
Schiit Bifrost Multibit / Stockholm MHDT
Sennheiser HDVD 800 / Stockholm MHDT
Joseph Grado HPA1 /Stockholm MHDT


V-MODA VERZA/M100:
V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100

Amps:


Grado RA1:
Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03

HiFIMAN EF5:
Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6

HiFIMAN EF6:
Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6
Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6

J Grado HPA1:
Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03
Joseph Grado HPA1 / Sennheiser HDVD 800 / CEntrance HiFi M8
Joseph Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF-5 / HiFiMAN EF-6
Joseph Grado HPA1 /Stockholm MHDT
Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6
Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e

JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03:
Grado HPA1 / Grado RA1 / JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03

Schiit LYR2:
Schiit Lyr 2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Joseph Grado HPA1 all with Grado GS2000e
Schiit LYR2 / Grado HPA1 / HiFiMAN EF6

Headphones:

AKG K712:
Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2

Allesandro MS2:
Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500

Beats Pro:
Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013
Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro

Beats Studio 2013:
Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT
Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013

Beyerdynamic T 5 p:
Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100

Fostex TH900:
Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7
HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900

Grado Bushmills X:
Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i

Grado GH1:
Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i
Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Grado PS1000 / Grado PS1000e / Grado GH-1

Grado GH1/G:
Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000
Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G

Grado GH2:
Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3

Grado GR10e:
Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5
Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800

Grado GS1000e
Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e
Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G

Grado GS1000e (250 hrs):
Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000

Grado GS1000i:
Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e
HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i
Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i


Grado GS2000e:
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000e / Grado GH1/G
Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000

Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10

Grado HF1:
Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500

Grado HF3:
Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3

Grado HP1000:
Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i
Grado GH1 w G Cush / Grado GS1000e (w > 250 hrs use) / Joseph Grado HP1000

Grado iGrado:
Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado

Grado PS1000:
Grado PS1000 / Grado HP1000 / Grado GS1000e
Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl
Grado PS1000 / GradoPS1000e / Grado GH-1
Grado PS1000 / Grado GS1000i / Grado GH1/G
Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000

Grado PS1000e:
Grado PS1000 / GradoPS1000e / Grado GH-1
Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000
Grado GS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado PS1000e

Grado PS2000e:
Grado PS2000e / Grado PS1000e / Grado PS1000
Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e

Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10

Grado PS500:
Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598
Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500
Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500
Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl

Grado PS500/G:
Grado PS1000 / Grado PS500 with G CUSH / Grado PS500 with stock L bowl

Grado RS1:
Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Grado RS1 (buttoned) vs. Grado RS 2

Grado RS1e:
Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i
Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i


Grado RS1i:
Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i
Grado RS1e / Grado RS1i / Grado GS1000i
Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
Grado GH1 / Grado Bushmills X / Grado RS1i

Grado RS2:
Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Grado RS1 (buttoned) vs. Grado RS 2

Grado RS2e:
Grado RS2E / Grado GH2 / Grado HF3
Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e / Grado GS1000e
Grado RS1e / Grado Rs2e / Grado GS1000i
Grado GH1 / Grado GH1 with G Cush / Grado RS2e
Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Grado GS2000e / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS2e
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e

Grado RS2i:
Grado RS2 vs. Grado RS2i vs Grado RS2e
Grado RS1 / Grado RS1i / Grado RS2i

Grado SR125:
Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Grado HF-1 / Grado SR125 / Grado PS500
Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125

Grado SR125e:
Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125

Grado SR225i:
Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i
Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i

Grado SR325:
Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e

Grado SR325e:
Grado PS500 / Grado SR325e / Grado SR225i
Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e
Grado GS1000e / SR 325 / SR325e

Grado SR325i:
Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e
Grado SR325i / Alessandro MS-2 / Grado PS500
Grado RS1e / Grado HP1000 / Grado SR325i

Grado SR325is:
Grado SR325i / Grado SR325is / Grado SR325e

Grado SR60:
Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado

Grado SR80e:
Grado SR80e / Grado SR125e / Grado SR125

Grado SR80i:
Grado SR80i / Grado SR60 / Grado iGrado
Grado SR225i / Grado SR125 / Grado SR80i

HiFiMAN HE1000:
HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i
Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800
Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000

HiFiMAN HE500:
HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598

HiFiMAN HE560:
HiFiMAN HE500 / HE560 / Fostex TH-900

HiFiMAN HE6:
HiFIMAN HE-6 / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Grado GS1000i

NAD VISO hp50:
Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro

Sennheiser HD598:
Senn H 598 / NAD VISO hp50 / Beats Pro
Senn HD 598 / Beats Studio 2013 / Beats Pro
Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE500 / Sennheiser HD598

Sennheiser HD800:
Sennheiser HD 800 / Grado PS1000 / Grado RS1i
HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD 800 / Gradp PS1000
Grado GS2000e / Sennheiser HD800 / HiFiMAN HE1000
Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800

Shinola On Ear:
Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear

Shinola Over Ear:
Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear

Sony MDR1A:
Sony MDR-1A / Shinola On Ear / Shinola Over Ear

Sony Z7:
Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7

Stax SR-5:
Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i

Ultrasone Edition 10:
Grado PS2000e / Grado GS2000e / Ultrasone Ed 10

Ultrasone Edition 8:
Ultrasone Edition 8 / Fostex TH900 / Sony Z7
Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100

V-MODA M100:
V-MODA VAMP VERZA & M100 / V-MODA M100 / SONY PHA1 & V-MODA M100
Beyerdynamic T 5 p / Ultrasone Edition 8 (Ruthenium) / V-MODA M-100
V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100
V-MODA VAMP VERZA and M-100 / M-100 / Sony PHA-1 and V-MODA M-100


Yamaha Pro500:
Beats Pro / Yamaha Pro 500 / Beats Studio 2013


IEMs:

AKG K3003i:
Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800

Apple Ear Pods:
Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods

Apple In-Ear:
Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods

FiiO FH5:
Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5

Klipsch S4i:
Klipsch S4i / Apple In-Ear / Apple Ear Pods
Grado PS500 / Stax SR-5 / Klipsch S4i

Philips Fidelio S2:
Senn HD 598 / AKG K712 / Philips Fidelio S2

Sennheiser IE800:
Grado GR10e / AKG K3003i / Sennheiser IE800

Shure SE535:
Grado PS500 / HiFiMAN HE-500 / Shure SE535

Shure SE535LTD:
Grado GR10e / Shure SE535LTD / FiiO FH5

Wireless:

Jaybirds BlueBuds X:
Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X

Parrot Zik 1.0:
Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT

Parrot Zik 2.0:
Parrot Zik 1.0 / Parrot Zik 2.0 / JayBirds BlueBuds X

Sennheiser PXC 310 BT:
Parrot Zik / Beats Studio 2013 Wireless / Sennheiser PXC 300 BT
 
Last edited:
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DarthFader

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Thanks for compiling all of these reviews in one location! Some really interesting comparisons and an impressive amount of work on your part. Thanks and congratulations on elevation into the lofty ranks of Headphoneus Supremus, haha!
 
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Sefelt103

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Thankyou for your headphone comparisons. This must have taken a lot of time and effort. It is quite difficult to compare Hi-Fi products like DAPs, amplifiers and headphones because you become atuned and used to a piece of equipment and have to atune to the new item before you get any idea of a comparison. It is also very rare that you ever get two pieces of equipment that sound identical. With headphones the difficulty is also compounded by burn-in. Two comparisons surprised me in particular. The first was the Grado PS500/HiFiman HE500/Shure SE535(IEM) comparison and second the Sennheiser HD598/AKG K712/Fidelio S2(IEM) comparison. In both the IEMs came out with the highest scores. I have always found IEMs to be lacking in the bass region compared to full size headphones which although they might lack bass extension give a much more realistic and deep portrayal of the bass frequencies. IEMs also tend to have poorer soundstaging and imaging compared to full sized headphones. IEMs do obviously have advantages like noise isolation and greater portable capabilities etc. I am just surprised overall you rated them more highly than some rather well regarded headphones.
 
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ruthieandjohn

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Thankyou for your headphone comparisons. This must have taken a lot of time and effort. It is quite difficult...
In general, when IEMs were compared with over-ears, they would come out ahead at least according to these measures.  While they often suffer in sound stage, that is only one of 10 criteria.  They often do better in high-frequency detail (several of the 10 criteria, including transparency, bass finger pluck, organ/brass "ripping," and drum twang) and (for the ones I had, even the SE 535s) do better at bass.
 
For example, the Shure SE535 IEMs are NOT known for bass... it is their big brother, the SE846, that adds the fourth channel of driver to give you that extra bass.
 
However, a look at their frequency response as compared to over ears., e.g.,
 

 
 

(Shure SE535 is blue)
 
..shows that its subbass exceeds everything (including bass-renown Beats, the orange) except the V-MODA M-100 (red), which exceeds the Shure by about 2 dB. Other headphone (green) is the HiFiMAN HE-500, which I know from first hand experience has strong, palpable bass.
 
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Sefelt103

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Interesting curves, I like the Monster Beats curve. As most people realise these curves are approx. indicators of how a headphone will sound. Comparing curves of different types of audio gear eg. earphones/IEMs/Headphones/Speakers in my view reduces the accuracy of the approximation further. Comparing IEMs with full size headphones is not comparing like with like. Would it not be better to compare the Shure SE535s with the Fidelio S2. Just a thought, anyway thanks again for the information, it's useful for non owners of this equipment.
 
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Saad Abdul Aziz

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hi i saw your post and was curious as i have the HD 800's and the major factor i love it is because it has the best soundstage and the most wide  along with its positional cues and separation
 
i saw your review and you rated he 1000 higher than the HD 800's just confirming if my interpetation of your post is correct and you believe that the HE 1000 has a bigger sound stage and better separation and positional resolution
 
Thanks 
 
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ruthieandjohn

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  hi i saw your post and was curious as i have the HD 800's and the major factor i love it is because it has the best soundstage and the most wide  along with its positional cues and separation
 
i saw your review and you rated he 1000 higher than the HD 800's just confirming if my interpetation of your post is correct and you believe that the HE 1000 has a bigger sound stage and better separation and positional resolution
 
Thanks 
Yes, I felt that the HE1000 had both a wider sound stage and a better ability to resolve the position of two singers side by side than did the HD 800.
 
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