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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
    I've done some gaming with the H1 and it does a pretty good job but for something more comfortable with better 3D positioning I prefer the 99 Classics/Neo.
  2. heliosphann
    As far as gaming, for me comfort, dynamics and soundstage come first. Positioning is nice, but isn't a huge priority unless you're into competitive play. That's why I like the Philips X1/X2. They hit those first three categories in spades and are pretty cheap. I actually prefer the X1 actually.
    conquerator2 likes this.
  3. heliosphann
    WHOA. :astonished:

    Decided to use the AR-H1's directly out of my Cayin i5 and this paring sounds significantly better than from the Mojo. The i5 is tonally richer than the Mojo and that extra warmth in the low end/mids is a fantastic pairing. The top end is also smoothed out slightly and feels more in line with everything else. I listen to a lot of classic Rock and most of it, especially anything well mastered, sounds great on the H1. However, I'm also finding that Pop/Hip-Hop/Electronic music sound exceptionally good on the H1. Just listened to some The XX, Run The Jewels, Gorillaz and Childish Gambino and was really sucked into the music.

    I'll get to spend a lot more time with the H1 in the next week, but I'm starting to believe the hype from the trade shows was right about these headphones.
    conquerator2, crabdog and cskippy like this.
  4. Alcophone
    Does anyone already have a balanced cable for these (4-pin XLR) or tips on where best to get one?
  5. cskippy
    Any 2.5mm to 4pin XLR cable should work. Hifiman, Oppo, Monoprice, and others use the connector so it's fairly common. The trouble is finding one that's not outrageously expensive. I'm waiting for Impact Audio cables to reopen shop but other cables builders should be able to help you.
    Alcophone likes this.
  6. crabdog
    I got my balanced cable from VE. I think it was only about $25 IIRC. Link: https://www.veclan.com/
    Alcophone likes this.
  7. czy6412
    How's AR-H1 compare against ZMF Atticus/Eikon
  8. cskippy
    That's kind hard since AR-H1 is an open planar, and the other two are closed biocellulose dynamics. In regards to just sound, AR-H1 has more treble energy and is brighter overall. Mids are more natural on Eikon, I didn't care for Atticus when I heard it, so no comment there. Bass is excellent on both, but Eikon has more decay, so it sounds more weighted. AR-H1 has excellent bass but is more neutral. This is going by memory on the Eikon so keep that in mind. I'll have an Auteur for review in a week or so, and can do a direct comparison then.
  9. czy6412
    Thanks for the comparison, would love to hear the comparison with Auteur as well. BTW Atticus uses TPE driver which is not biocellulose.
    cskippy likes this.
  10. Level5
    I used to have both but I'll be sure to chime in when I get my AR-H1 this week. I got rid of my zmfs because I realized I much preferred an open-back instead of closed and also wanted a slightly more neutral and wider/airy soundstage sound sig.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  11. czy6412
    Actually I wonder how is the technicality of AR-H1 comparing to PMx2
  12. Alcophone
    Joined the club. Very early impression is competent sound, nice sound stage.


    Closeup of the cable, to help with the search for custom ones:

    trellus and volly like this.
  13. Alcophone
    The ear pads have a nasty chemical smell to them. Do they contain memory foam? The website doesn't say explicitly. Hope that disappears soon.
    Loving the sound so far, especially with Jazz.
  14. heliosphann
    Yea, it goes away after a day or so.
    Alcophone likes this.
  15. Alcophone
    Within the first day they went from sounding good, while being slightly annoying (maybe fatiguing, but without being able to identify the cause) to just sounding good, to sounding great, to being downright addictive. Today I didn't perceive a further change in sound, but we'll see.

    In songs like Sia's Rewrite, Kraftwerk's Autobahn (3D headphone surround mix) or Dave Brubeck's Take Five I missed the lush, silky smooth bass of the Focal Listen, which is just spot on in certain parts of those songs, and thought the AR-H1 don't extend as far down.
    But listening to more of my hastily created subwoofer test playlist, it seems like they are simply a bit more neutral than the Focal, and therefore merely hit the sweet spot in different parts of the same music. And hit it they do, they are very enjoyable even with Massive Attack, Alison Wonderland or Miley Cyrus's Bangerz. The bass is well controlled, punchy, and extends pretty far down. Maybe slightly reduced at the very lowest frequencies.
    The sound is definitely cleaner than that of the Philips SHP9500S, with way more bass, and they sound more realistic.
    Drums sound especially delicious, including hi hats, which helps both with Rock and Jazz music.

    The chemical smell was still there today, though less intense.
    The earpads aren't deep enough to stay clear of my ears, but without quickly causing pain like the M50x or, even worse, the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless I briefly borrowed from a friend.
    The clamping force could be a tiny little bit less strong, but I'm able to wear them for several hours without a significant change in comfort. Not great, but good enough.

    I wouldn't say they isolate much at all, but they alter outside sounds, to the point of seemingly amplifying some of them (I think they just sound different, like through a tube, and catch my attention this way). Surprisingly, I was able to listen to music in the office at more than adequate volume today without anyone complaining, though when I asked him my closest colleague confirmed that he did hear some of the music. That's fine, I got them for home use, but want to keep listening to them. :)

    Neckability seems low because the weight appears to get concentrated on the tiny hinges, which then rested on my collarbone. I only noticed that briefly and will try again to see whether it's a matter of positioning them a certain way. The Focal aren't painful, but restrict movement, while the M50x are fantastic in this regard since you can rotate the earcups inward.

    So far I have only tested them with my iFi nano iDSD. I'm anxiously waiting for Schiit to send me a Jotunheim and a Lyr 2 to try them with. It said 5-7 business days when I ordered them last Tuesday morning, so tomorrow is business day #7.
    conquerator2 likes this.
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