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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. volly
    @Joong - The H1's has that famous planar bass, where the Edition X is more refined and less attacking at both ends of the spectrum. The H1's has tight and well layered bass, with very quick decay and fairly linear all the way down. Sub-bass is strong, authoritative and not muddy. The H1's bass is tightly woven in to the rest of the sound spectrum and doesn't overshadow the mid-range, nor the treble. In fact the high's are very present and clear, could be bright but more exacting yet musical! I love the H1's bass presentation more than the Edition X which sometimes comes across as too laid back and sleepy, it's fine on some genres where I just want to relax but can feel soft on other genres that require more bite!

    I've always felt the Edition X would be a worthy upgrade from the HD600's as I feel they are very similarly tuned! The Edition X is for me, a very relaxing, comfy ride, has great detail retrieval and is open and airy, it is truly a lovely sounding headphone but it all comes down to preference. The Edition X images OK but it's not as precise, works totally find with Jazz, rock, blues, small type venues but give it a bigger venue then it starts to get a bit lost! The Edition X does present certain tracks with really decent height but it's kind of a side note as it's not really something I have to tell people about! It works for classical and music festival type records but doesn't really do much for studio produced tracks.

    Other than a few minor issues with personal comfort and clamp force, I highly rate the H1's tuning, it's music to my ears! The H1's are very clean and clear sounding with very, very little distortion where sometimes you can get a little resonance with the Edition X! Imaging for me, goes to the H1's, Oh boy...very precise with a wide sound-stage which has nice depth to it. Very dynamic and punchy too, is amazing for movies and other forms of media!

    In terms of speed, both are quite quick but I'd have to say the H1's sound and feel a little quicker, has great time and rhythm where the Edition X is comfortable running it's own race, casually showing off it's gorgeous details and presenting it's homework on time with very few mistakes! I can probably say with confidence by now, that these two planars are tuned very differently but do share some commonalities in terms of detail and texturing. Something of a distant cousins, same family tree, if you like! Where the Nighthawks are adopted child but gets along with all family members, and goes between the two with it's noble yet dark character ala Jon Snow! (Spoiler Alert: He's secretly a Targaryen!). I digress.

    I'm lucky to own both, the members in the this thread painted a very good picture of the H1's for me to make that decision to purchase them locally brand new for a very good price! $395 Aussie dollars is pretty damn great! I bought the Edition X's for twice that much a few years a go but i don't regret either purchase to be honest, sort of like finding your first gold nugget deep down in that mine, then later finding another even bigger nugget, deep down in that mine! Both experiences is more than worth it in the end but I will say to anyone looking for a planar headphone and want something other than the Audeze and Hifiman, give the H1's a try! Well worth it I reckon.

    Side note: I want to hear the new Sendy Aiva's one day soon because I keep reading impressions that remind me of the H1's! Also the new Takstars have definitely peaked my interest too!

    I hope this helps @Joong, any other questions, fire away my friend!
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    ste787, trellus and Joong like this.
  2. Joong
    It will definitely helping my friend!
    Thanks for great review.
  3. lugnut
    Can you buy a extra set of ear pads for these ?
  4. volly
    Not sure officially, but you can find aftermarket ones on Ebay and I'm currently using HM5 hybrid pads.

    The original pads are glued to the baffle plate, which then, clips on to the driver housing like the HD600/650 style, where by pressing down, they clip in to place! One issue I had was that I needed thicker pads as my ears where touching the driver with the originals, so by changing pads, you essentially destroy the stock pads in the process but once the plate is separated from the pad, you can just mount other pads and clip them in!

    Here is a link to the ebay aftermarket pads:
  5. vandaq
    Is there any mods for the headband here? Or any that might fit decently even if it was meant for something else? It sits really well but for some reason I start too get a headache from these and I know it is that. Looking around on ebay or amazon and I just find for sennheiser ones etc. Almost willing too try something but I have no idea. I have never done it before.
  6. lugnut
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  7. SHAMuuu
    volly likes this.
  8. volly
    I emailed AR (Voxx) regarding replacement pads, they flat out said, No! Non replaceable is what they were trying to say, which is a damn shame. Thank God we're a crafty lot and passionate about our sound!

    Let us know how you go with these pads, as I'm looking to grab a few more pairs for the H1's. I'm currently using the HM5 hybrids which are working fine but are starting to age a bit!

    I know what you mean, the materials they used for the hammock is hard AF! Also, very little give. I've been trying to stretch it out which has loosen up a little but still not at the level of comfort like the Nighthawks or the Edition X! A pilot pad like @lugnut suggested could work!
  9. SHAMuuu
    I'm not sure what you meant. I bought it for a dt480 and not AR-H1 as I did not get them and went to another planarso cannot tell about sound on AR-H1
    They are decent, but the memory foam is not as memory like as hm5.
    Stitching has held up, no problems with lip on mine when stretched on
    You get what you pay for in this case $39 for lambskin. Not sure about pleather or the fluffy one, not interested in those.
    They fit dt150 which is cool :D
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  10. volly
    I might just stick to HM5 brand then, do the DT150 not have aftermarket pads?
  11. SHAMuuu
    No aftermarket sheepskin. They used to use some vinyl on the dt100, and they have some cotton/velour variant which is thinner than stock dt150 pads. Stock dt150 pads have some weird coating on them, which i suspect was on the most recent of the dt990/880 premium, which start to peel/flake off. Beyer seems to make one genuine leather pad for the t5p ?! i think, and thats it. I believe Vesper Audio makes custom sheepskin pads, but ofc that will be more than the $39 , i would think double or triple.
  12. mdtrx
    Sorry for being a bit of a rookie here, but can you point me to the right direction for buying thicker (so my ears won't touch the drivers) earpads that will definitely fit AR-H1?
    What is the exact process I need to do to replace the stock pads? (pics please?)
    By HM5,do you mean: https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/products/headphone-pad-hybrid ?
    Thoughts on angled pads?
    Thanks alot!
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  13. volly
    Hello @mdtrx, yeah, those are the pads I'm using. I too was having issues with comfort when I first got them. Luckily, I had these pads leftover from my T50rp modding days.

    To remove the earpads are ezy pzy, just grab and pull off. They clip in like HD600/650 style ear pads.

    The next part you won't like, but you'll have to peel off the original pad from the plastic plate, thus rendering the original pads unusable!

    Next, grab your aftermarket ear pads and position the plastic plate so that you are not covering up the ridges required for snapping back-in with the pad lip. This will take a bit of trial and error but is a pain!

    Alternatively, you could try these aftermarket ones: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Memory-...hash=item2aaa5c1490:m:mELw1nCFQhB70DKMaWlOBaA
    I've emailed the seller for dimension but sadly haven't heard back from them! But I think you'll still need to peel off the original pads to reuse the back plate!

    I've had the HM5 hybrids on since I've purchased and fix the issue you had with ear touching the driver! My next goal is to fix the headband for more comfort, perhaps a different material!

    Good luck!

    Edit: Another technique I just tried and got the pads on easier, is to snap the plate back on. Then massaging the lip of the HM5 pad back in to the outer grooves. Working your way around slowly, you'll be able to mount the pad on flush! The HM5 pads are a great fit for the headphone as they are a little taller but similar width. Excellent depth without ears touching the driver!
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  14. vandaq
    Can confirm that I got the ZMF lamb skin headpad and it ends up being too small too wrap around. I actually got so frustrated I literally cut into the arch so I could put them on lol. It is not pretty and the headpad ends up being a bit too wide for it so it does not look good either. The other part is that it ends up feeling really enclosed as it is quite thick. It alleviates it a bit but it certainly feels off. Now if you can dismantle the whole stretching part then it might work better but it will probably still be too wide. So kinda works but not really. And if you want too make it work, you have too get someone else. Because I have no idea what I am doing lol.

    I still like these headphones a lot however they are strictly for music. Other content leaves me wanting more.
  15. dogears
    vs audeze sine and fostex please? TIA
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