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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. crabdog
    Pretty sure someone must have. I've had so little time to appreciate them lately but have a couple weeks holiday coming up when they'll get some ear time.
  2. XERO1
    I heard some near-final prototypes in April and I thought they sounded really good.

    Their SQ was pretty lively, with an up-front and vivid character, with a nice mid-bass punch, but not much low bass, as is typical of most open-backs.
    Dobrescu George likes this.
  3. involuntarysoul
    looks to be well made but the elastic headband is terrible for large head, too much tension on top
  4. Andrew Rieger
    Apparently, this was one of the most surprising headphones of the show.
  5. crabdog
    I agree, the headband is the only part that I don't like comfort wise. Just wish they had made it softer or added a little extra padding on it.
  6. DancingShade
    I have a love/hate relationship with suspension headbands. You want a good clamp to ensure the weight is well distributed and not bearing down mostly from above, ideally with some degree of manual adjustment to get it "just so".

    Maybe someone could take a knife to the headband and trim it thinner horizontally, then wrap a ZMF pilot pad around it for more cushioning? A bit too radical for something right out of the box though.
  7. crabdog
    I was thinking of something similar but just attaching some additional padding somehow but to be honest I don't find it quite uncomfortable enough to be motivated.
  8. DancingShade
    Well that's a good sign. I suppose something non destructive would be to try a HD650 headband foam insert from the Sennheiser spare parts catalog and some double sided tape to keep it in place, should more padding be needed.

    Not sure how that would go with a self-adjusting headband though. You never know how much ear clearance you'll have left over.
  9. sawindra
    So..yes, I had to try these out since the corporation behind the Brand is also behind Heco loudspeakers, so i'd expect german QC..consistent german QC..very little deviation between units ( Audeze, hifiman etc)

    Coming from a closed-back headphones, you will dissapointed with the bass


    with the AR-H1 I had a revelation

    When i put down the loaner set of AR-H1 , I quickly realized that i had been listening to music continuously for 2 hours! Which for me is not normal.


    even frequency respons across low to highs
    nice imaging
    may sound "flat" ( not lifeless!) but you will get used to it
    the AKG 702 of planars? maybe..
    you will enjoy hours of music with it
    overall QC is way beyond the boutique planar magnetic manufacturers ( from packaging to the product itself)

    - if you love bass monsters like Sony, zmf etc you need to adjust
    - the sensitivity is rated 99db, i suspect it's at 1 kHz...do believe it's 93 or lower db at 100 hz. shame really when manufacturers don't tell the all the truth . you need a solid amplifier to fully explore it.* I auditioned with Phonitor X ( ugly red demo unit)
    - debatable..but the price might be high for some..but if these get popular the price will be justified...

    hope this helps..anyways trust your ears and audition before you buy.
    volly and Dobrescu George like this.
  10. Dobrescu George
  11. cskippy
    When I tried them at RMAF, I thought the suspension headband had just the right tension to not go slack but hold them in place just right. It was nice being able to place them on my head and they would naturally adjust to fit. Comfort was great for me plus they are light weight compared to HE-6 and ZMF headphones.

    RMAF impressions: The usual caveats apply as it was somewhat noisy, the system in use was different than my own, and I was getting over a cold...

    This headphone was a shocker and my number one pick for best in show. I had very limited knowledge of this headphone before seeing it at RMAF. There are some very brief impressions on Head-Fi but not much else. On Friday I sat down and started listening to their provided tracks on the AR-M20 and M200. I just kept going through the tracks listening and listening. Most of the time I can tell within about 5 seconds whether a headphone is for me except this was different. I wasn't listening to the headphones, trying to find their quirks, shortcomings, or personality. I was completely absorbed by the music. Saturday I returned and decided to use my phone as a source. Sound quality was actually quite decent even though I had to max the volume on my phone to get decent SPL. I then paired my phone via bluetooth to one of their DAPs ( I think the M-200) and played through about 10 tracks I know very well across all genres. I was just stunned at the sound quality of these headphone! They are an open back planar and are very light weight making for a great portable headphone, although you probably want dedicated amplification. The sound quality was very natural to me. My primary reference is HD650 with custom mods. On Saturday I also had a PMx2 with me and decided to do a shootout with the two headphones. I found that the PMx2 was extremely well balanced and fatigue free but personally I wanted more presence in the vocal region a la HD650. The AR-H1 seemed to match the PMx2 in overall frequency response with excellent extended bass, natural mids, and a more present 2-6kHz region but without any tizz or hiss of high treble. I will be buying one for myself.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    volly, Maxx134, Beagle and 1 other person like this.
  12. crabdog
    Excellent. Thanks for the impressions. Do let us know if you get them or just get a chance for another listen. I'm really keen to get another listen of the M200 because I only had a short time with it but remember it sounding pretty outstanding. I found the UI to be very lackluster but it was responsive and functional. Not sure if it has changed since then (early July).
  13. sawindra
    OMG...you too!

    they need a dedicated amplifier, I am not satisfied with the sound from Huawei P10 FYI.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  14. crabdog
    Sounds pretty good out of the AR-M20 (IMO) but sounds even better paired with the Phatlab Sassy II :relaxed:
    actionfinger likes this.
  15. LaCuffia
    I ordered one today....like the design, looks to be very comfortable and by all accounts so far - great sound. Price is reasonable too considering all the $1k plus craziness that seems to be the norm nowadays.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    Karlg and Dobrescu George like this.
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