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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. Beagle
    I snagged a set of these for $299 and I must say I am very impressed. The sound is wide open and very spacious, the bass is solid and very deep but also has nice dynamic contrasts. Most planar bass sounds flat and compressed (albeit with good extension) but not the AR-H1. You can hear soft and loud bass notes as they occur. Midrange is exemplary....smooth and wonderful tone and timbre. Highs are not the most refined (slight coarseness on vocal sibilants) but neither are they overly harsh or strident. I prefer these to the PM-2. They just sound more open, alive and emotional.
    trellus and volly like this.
  2. SonyFan121
    Lucky you! I also bought them for that price and was really looking forward to hearing them, but the shipping cost and tax was gonna cost me an extra $120 (USD), I decided it was too much of a risk at that price as anything could happen to the headphones whilst being shipped from the U.S to the UK. So I had to ask for a refund :pensive:
    I was really looking forward to hearing them too. I take this as a sign that planar magnetic headphones are just not meant for me, lol. It was the first planar headphone I bought in 5 years yet I immediately run in to a problem, yet i've ordered normal dynamic-type headphones from the U.S a few times no problem at all, at much more acceptable shipping costs.
    Safe to say I have no intention of buying a planar magnetic headphone again - for fear of more bad luck.
  3. volly
    How is the comfort on your pair @Beagle? Glad you're enjoying them, I dare say, the treble smooths out a bit but I like the treble section much more on the H1's compared to the Edition X's, where the X's come across as polite and soft, the H1's are more airier and fresh. Much better on live acoustic and/or similar instruments, EDM is just perfect for me with the H1's with great bass, clear mid's and lovely treble!

    I've taken in another Theta DAC, DS Pro Prime II, now fully balanced in to the Mjolnir and balanced out in to the H1's...ooffttt!

    @SonyFan121 - I hope, one day, your luck changes mate! I was lucky to find mine brand-new from a local Ebay supplier. This in itself, is rare, as I live all the way down-under and out in the sticks! What's the used-gear scene like in Scotland? Perhaps looking for a used pair of planars maybe the go!? Best of luck! :four_leaf_clover:
    Beagle, trellus and SonyFan121 like this.
  4. SonyFan121
    I would definitely buy an AR-H1 if I see one on Ebay UK, but the chances of that happening are slim. Ebay UK is really the only place for used gear in my country. There is lot's of classic British hifi equipment for sale on Ebay UK, It's where I got my Linn LK85 Power amp and Cyrus CD6. But there's not many UK sellers of high quality headphones such as AR-H1. It seems I will just have to wait.

    volly likes this.
  5. Beagle
    Comfort is fine. The nice thing about a metal headband is that you can tweak the amount of pressure and grip. And they are so much lighter than the Audeze phones. But I'm most amazed at how spacious everything sounds. These drivers must be matched pretty tight!

    You say the treble smooths out somewhat?
    volly and trellus like this.
  6. WhiskeyJacks
    Yeah it does, like I said in my earlier post, I thought these were a very good pair of headphones from the first listen. Although I was not sure if they were for me for various small reasons, one being the clamp at first but with pushing my thumbs against the center of the metal band and pushing in with mild force you are able to bend the center in where it dips in slightly(not very noticeable) where the headphones are better space with less clamp. Second was treble which could be a little more refined and less edgy, and after more hours of burn in and adapting to the tuning I started to love these headphone for my own preferences which are: Balanced frequencies, detailed and tight bass, midrange that is either well balanced/natural and neutral/or lush and engaging, and treble that is airy and light or smooth with decent detail. I feel like the bass fits my preference, where the midrange has a bit more forward and presence but not overbearing, where as treble it is better than it was originally, smoother and yet still decent detail(not the airiest or most refine but certainly not a deal breaker either).
    trellus, volly and Beagle like this.
  7. volly
    I love how powerful the Prat-Factor is on this headphone, throw some grunge/metal/rap/hip-hop and you're either toe-tapping or head-banging! They just really get me grooving and without a loss to detail or sound-staging, they perform extremely well!

    As for the treble, I feel they are a little smoother now but my audio chain is leaning more towards the analogue side! The treble reminds me of my old ATH AD700's from back in the day.

    Have you listened to these OST with the H1 yet?



    Pretty amazing! :upside_down:
    Beagle and trellus like this.
  8. WhiskeyJacks
    So I recently have been listening to the Hifiman Ananda and I have to say that at the sub 500 price point that the AR-H1 is now fallen into it is one of the most competitive headphones for price/performance ratio that I have tried out. Now don't get me wrong the Ananda is awesome, detailed, holographic, nice bass extension and midrange is lovely as well. I am thrilled how well the AR-H1 stacks up to it, as far as what it does right, and I realized after a year of owning these I that I totally love this headphone, and whether I keep the ananda or upgrade to the Arya( due to pressure point issues) I will be keeping my AR-H1 especially because though a full-size headphone I have become fine with bringing it on walks, to work when I am on second shift(alone), and other places throughout the house. I would transportable more than portable is what the H1 has become for me, being that I own the ZMF Ori's and and am using the Ananda at the desk. Also my fiio x5iii paired with the Meier Audio 2stepdance pairs very well with the H1, adding some air and showing more detail through out the upper midrange to treble, cleaning the sound further than just from warmer Fiio x5iii. So, if any need a portable amp for their H1, I can definitely recommend the 2 Stepdance and possible the newer portable amps from Meier if they keep the Meier signature.
    Beagle and volly like this.
  9. volly
    Yeah I feel ya @WhiskeyJacks - These are pretty astonishing as they reproduce music like a champ! After the honeymoon period, these still grab me! No denying it, these have a soul...and a what a beautiful soul it is!

    Note: For all those members buying these at 299 US dollars...I tip my hat to you...bargain hunter confirmed! :metal:
  10. Beagle
    The AR-H1 has a very open spacious sound and no it is not due to a midrange roughness or coloration. It is because the bass is balanced, not overpowering, and allows the mids and top to breathe freely.
    Dobrescu George likes this.
  11. WhiskeyJacks
    Agreed on that one, very nice linear bass textured but not boosted
  12. volly
    4 (2).jpg
    Again, thanks to the members of this thread, utterly love these can's!

    Highly underrated and the sound signature is superb!
    trellus and Beagle like this.
  13. Beagle
    I prefer these to any of the Hifiman or Audeze I've had. Of course, the Audeze begin with two strikes for the weight alone.
  14. volly
    How you finding the treble now @Beagle?
  15. Beagle
    Taken on it's own, the AR-H1 sounds fine. If you compare it after listening to something smooth, warm and maybe a bit rolled off in the highs, it can seem slightly etched. But you adapt and then all is well.....the usual headphone comparison story. But the overall sound on it is excellent. I am also using the Cardas cable on the AR-H1 and it makes it even better.
    volly and trellus like this.
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