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Acoustic Research AR-H1 Planar Impressions and Discussion thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by crabdog, Jul 30, 2017.
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  1. ES_EF
    thank you, this is immensely helpful

    placing a order tonight

    these seem to check a lot of the right boxes

    btw ill be getting their earpad mounting rings replicated/ 3-d printed for sure

    ill post my results here
  2. cskippy
    Please do! I have a bunch of pads that should work but need the proper mounting ring. I'll be sure to post measurements of what I have if you get a set to me.
    ES_EF likes this.
  3. ES_EF
    definitely and that's a fair trade :)
  4. Level5
    I have the HD800 again so I'm able to compare them more accurately instead of by memory.

    For movies, I still preferred the HD800 because of its airiness and most importantly the feeling of ambiance which lags a bit on the AR-H1 due to a combination of the drivers/magnets/pads being so close to the ears, but its still airy nonetheless.

    If you yearn for more bass then the AR-H1 wont disappoint specially with movies and that's where I feel it being better at.

    Make no mistake, the HD800 is still the undisputed KING of soundstage BUT for a $600 Planar, its soundstage is unsually good for a planar.
    trellus, ES_EF and cskippy like this.
  5. ES_EF
    Thank you

    Agree on the aireness / ambience part

    Part of the reason why I'll be persuing getting earpad adapter rings, hoping to experiment with thicker pads to put some distance between the ears and drivers
    Level5 likes this.
  6. Level5
    Oh man I'd love to pad roll these so much! I have a good stack of pads waiting... :beerchug:
  7. Alcophone
    I had a friend's Ether Flow at home for a few days. Compared to the Ether Flow and the ÆON Flow Open (auditioned at a store), the AR-H1 sounds hollow.

    While the AR-H1 sounded detailed to me, and seemed faster to me than the HD650 that I briefly tried, the mrspeakers cans run circles around it. So fast! Huge difference with guitars, for instance.

    And the mrspeakers are also more intense. Everything has an impressive amount of heft to it, more like what you'd expect from an instrument in the room. This makes them engaging even at lower volumes, which is good.

    Compared to the ÆON, the Ether has better bass extension and more bass in general. The AR-H1 has less bass, but it rolls off nicely, while that seemed a bit abrupt with the ÆON. The Ether didn't have that problem.

    I had comfort issues with the Ether, needing quite a bit of fiddling to avoid pressure points. The huge surface of the earpads tends to stick to my skin and lightly pull on it, so I never forgot that I'm wearing headphones. The AR-H1 is much lower maintenance in that regard, I can just put it on, done. Nothing to adjust on the headphone itself, maybe the occasional repositioning on the head.

    The AR-H1 is easy to listen to. The Ether I found fatiguing at times, though apparently more because of discomfort + volume than their heft, as I first assumed. It sounds just a tad cold to me, though, making me like it, but not love it.

    The soundstage of the AR-H1 seemed a bit wider to me - at least the closest end of it seems further away. My friend perceived it the other way around, though he acknowledged that the frugal opening in the earpads seems to reduce the size of the soundstage. The ES pads are supposedly better in that regard.

    When no music is playing, the AR-H1 let me easily hear everything around me. The Ether isolate quite a bit, more like a poorly isolating closed can than an open one. That's what I would expect from a semi-closed can, and is not ideal for my use case.

    I have to try the ÆON more to see how much of the Ether they retain. My hunch for now is that the ÆON is the better bargain than the AR-H1 (especially if you want to run them balanced, since you will be able to order the ÆON with a balanced cable soon, saving the expense for a custom one), but its clamping force was even higher than the Ethers. Will have to see how much of that I can fiddle away next time, and whether the earpads are as sticky despite having a lower surface area. With the one-notch pad installed, the ÆON sounded annoyingly muffled to me, so I took that out within minutes.

    The AR-H1 is still a good headphone. Many of the differences vanish into the background with continued listening - but you can't unhear them.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  8. Level5
    Great comparison!

    I'm glad more people are confirming the stock pads limiting these to its full potential. I suggest you guys email AR to let them know about it to expedite the replacement pads or maybe even adapters.

    I'll be able to demo the Focal clear and a few other new releases in the same price bracket this weekend so watch out for a brief comparison. Maybe I might even bring home a new one... :)
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
    ES_EF likes this.
  9. Alcophone
    Just to make sure there's no misunderstanding: I was talking about the Ether's pads. Huge surface + pressure + stiffness results in stickiness (for me), less so with the AR-H1. But yes, I'd still like my ears to stay clear of the driver. Different earpads might mess up the tuning, though - I'd prefer this addressed in the design from the get go (HD800 shows it's possible). But maybe that results in too much variety in the distance between driver and ear, which might be problematic, too.
  10. Level5
    Yes of course I agree alternate pads will most likely FUBAR the tuning but I've had some pleasing result with HE560 using ori pads so I'm not against it and besides I'm pretty satisfied with it stock honestly.
  11. crabdog
    I agree with this but since it's AR's first planar I'm hoping they'll learn a lot from this experience and continue to make many more and improved models in the future. They can only get better from here (here being already pretty awesome).
  12. Burt Macklin
    Damn, so many options :scream:
    I was sure I'll go for LCD-2 .. and then saw these.

    Are they available somewhere in EU?
  13. FredA
    I find the ar-h1 very interesing. Was looking at the He-560 just before. I want a neutral, uncolored, transparent and resolving hp set. Built quality is a big plus, I intend to use this set for the next 10 years at least. Also looking at the Aeon, and Amiron Home as well. I have a capable amp (nfb-1amp). Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  14. FastAndClean
    Amiron Home sound bright and warm at the same time, very strange headphones
    FredA likes this.
  15. conquerator2
    I did not like the Amiron much when I heard it (but it was only a short audition). It's down to Aeon vs ARH-1 for me :)
    FredA likes this.
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