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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. Slim1970
    This how I feel about my H1’s as well. I just picked up the Oppo PM2’s and they have so much in common with each other.
    volly likes this.
  2. WhiskeyJacks
    Was wondering how hard those pads were to get on to the h1's? And if it impacted sound negatively? Those are the ones for 25 hybrid memory foam?

    Also i really agree with many things you wrote about this headphone i have had mine for going on a year and have used it daily for music and movies sand games been happy with it. Closest things ive owned in proceed to compare were he560's back when they first came out for like almost two years, zmf vibro mk2, beyers t70p, etc.
    volly likes this.
  3. volly
    You can pull the pads off ezy-pzy, they snap off-on just like the Sennheiser's do (600/650). They've glued the original pads to the plate though, so when you peel off the pad, you are essential ripping a part the pad! Once you've separated the pad from the plate, you can roll-in your own pads, one caveat - The grooves in the plate that snap back in to the ear cup is very close to the edge of the plate, this means that the lip of the ear pad has to pulled back a tad in order to snap the plate back in! A little finicky but not impossible as I've done this on mine! I'm no modder of headphones but the comfort was a major sticking point but am very satisfied now after the pad change! The sound seems to be the same as the original, I may grab some full leather ones down the track but these hybrids are very, very comfortable!

    I've also emailed this seller to see if they are identical to the original pad or if they a little thicker, I hope they are thicker as these will be a decent replacement as I don't think I'll be getting replacement pads from AR. (They've responded but are on holidays, they will get back to me with the measurements, when they return home!)

    One other note, these excel at games like CSGO! The imaging on these are very accurate, the upper mid/treble and high-treble is silly good! You can hear foot steps clear as day, guns reloading, utility swap-out, everything! I've had many matches where the H1's just conduct it's business extremely well! I play other games like Overwatch and the new BR Apex Legends too, the gun sounds in Apex Legends is very engaging, they are loud harsh and ballsy! The H1's just gives so much focus towards these sound clips that it just makes it utterly enthralling, I've game'd on all my headphones but gosh-darn-it...the H1's just delivers an amazing experience bar-none!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    trellus likes this.
  4. volly
    Would love to hear your thoughts regarding a comparisons of the two! I have always been keen about Oppo's headphones, especially the PM1!
  5. ste787
    i only listen in the shop for 5 mins. A-B Both Oppo PM-2 and AR-H1 So not really a comparison, But i prefer the sound from AR-h1and AR-H1 is cheaper too.
  6. ste787
    I just bought a new headphone amp. Bryston BHA-1. It was mainly to connect to my hifi, but just to A-B with Vorzuge pure II from AK380 single. BHA-1 single from AK380. OMG the AR-H1 improve in every aspects. Mids, Bass, high and air. Everything is better. So musical, my cheapest headphone is my best headphone. Is my portable headphone amp not powerful for AR-H1?? It seem AR-H1 is very power hungry, only the most powerful headphone amp can drive it to it's full potential. I am unable to buy AR-H1 balance cable here. I will do so next time i go to asia. I hope the sound can improve with balance. AR-H1 is a bargain for stereophile headphone. I do not see why it is not popular. No advertisement? The name is unknown? Well, i got a big bonus this year. I am going to audit the Abyss AB-1266 phi TC lite and complete. The damn cable can buy nearly 4 Ar-H1. If it is worth it, i will use it for my hifi and ar-h1/AK380 will be for business trip.
    volly likes this.
  7. volly
    After a few good months with the AR-H1's and I gotta say...these planar's get a big recommendation from me! Slamming
    My favorite setup at the moment is Theta DS Pro/Schiit Mjolnir (gen1) in balanced for the AR-H1, this is probably my "end-game" headphone setup! The Mjolnir gives these planars plenty of juice and yes they upscale with it! I run the H1's in balanced mode mainly through convenience but also efficiency. For comparisons, the Edition X will be ample volume at 9 o'clock, whereas the AR-H1's can take much more and fills out the sound more!

    If you can go balanced, then it is worth the extra effort! I've powered these out of other various amps, and I'd say, more power the better for these planars! They can take 'em!

    These headphones give me everything I wanted out of a planar! A lot more involving than the Edition X and a heck of lot more dynamic too, another interesting thing I find, is how low on distortion these headphones are! Fast, clear and never gets congested or muddy! Pretty incredible really! Imaging is stellar, not just left-right but center too, it is effortless and seamless sort of like a ultra-wide curved screen monitor rather than a tri-monitor setup with thick bezels!

    I would compare these to my HD600/650, they have very similar attributes and I personal find the AR-H1's as an upgrade to them!
    ste787 likes this.
  8. Slim1970
    Glad you’re liking them. The AR-H1’s are really good headphones. They don’t have the name recognition as some of the big boys so they haven’t garnered the all attention. But this thread is indicative that the AR-H1’s are worthy of listen and being part of a collection especially at the lowered prices.
    volly likes this.
  9. ste787
    You definitely have enough juice to run AR-H1. your end game?? Are you not going to upgrade in the future? Have you been visiting store and listening to more expensive sets? What is your opinion of those expensive high end cans?
  10. volly
    For me, the AR-H1's are my "end-game", especially with this setup, the synergy between the Theta/Mjolnir/AR-H1 is something I've been looking for a long time. It has become my "reference" for all my other gear, if I was going to upgrade then it might be for a Gungnir MB but the Theta is very tasty. As for other headphone purchases, I would love to try other Hifiman or Audeze headphones but not really keen on anything at the moment! I would love to compare the AR-H1 to a Sundara or LCD2, the only other TOTL I'm keeping an eye out for is maybe a HD800.
    ste787 likes this.
  11. ste787
    No no, HD800 is not good compare to AR-H1. When i am listening to my HD800 for songs. I yield for AR-h1. But playing games with HD800 is amazing. HD800 is very comfortable for very long session.
    trellus and volly like this.
  12. crabdog
    The right side of my AR-H1 has started failing on me recently. When I give it a bit of juice it just cuts out. I'm happy to see nobody else has had it happen - mine was a pre-production model which might have something to do with it. I'll have to take it apart to check if I can see anything.
  13. ste787
  14. ste787
    i forgot to mention that ar-h1 is very forgiving to poor modern recording or very old 70's recording. those songs sound horrible on my layla or hd800, but sound really decent on ar-h1. no one talk about this. do you find that to be the case in your music collection? ak380/bha-1/ar-h1 is on fire. what a combination. i never enjoy music so much. maybe i should not upgrade.
  15. volly
    I feel the AR-H1's are revealing without sounding etched or harsh, whoever tuned this headphone needs to be commended. They balanced the tuning approaching musical nirvana for me! At first, I was very aware of the feedback from the community saying they maybe too bright or sibilant but I was blown away by how clean and clear the upper registers were! It's like a Grado-done-right or a super HD600/650! The bass is super supportive and never sounds wooly or distorted (Dat Planar Bass yo!) like a sub-woofer properly tuned for your room! I'm really analyse here, but when listening unless you are reviewing these headphones, they don't come across as being anything but musical!

    Like you @ste787, I haven't had a bad album these can's can't handle! My daily rotation of headphones are the Nighthawk's - AR H1's - Edition X (Hifiman) - Definitely my reference when it comes to music and other entertainment media, I mentioned how they are fantastic in computer games, I'm a CSGO gamer and I use these when I comp, they are very revealing of the CS world/maps, highly informative!

    Most important thing I learnt in the hobby is system synergy, headphones are just another part of the overall system (maybe a big part). The BHA-1 would be most adequate, perhaps a DAC upgrade to aesthetically suit the BHA would be a "nice" upgrade! :D Otherwise, I found the H1's loves the juice unlike my Edition X's (which is fun!). I'm not a classical guy but I do like a little bit, these do classical so well that I feel like a seasoned classical attendee!

    @crabdog - are you still using the stock cable? Maybe try another cable or check the connection point? Hope you get it fixed or heck...buy another! :D
    ste787 and crabdog like this.
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