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After 3-and-a-half years of searching, I was right the first time.

Discussion in 'Currawong' started by currawong, Sep 11, 2011.
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  1. Currawong Contributor
    Sometime around 4 years ago, I wandered into one of the local electronics mega-stores here in Japan and pondered the huge headphone display. My MB Quart QP55X's pads' foam had become flat and I needed new headphones. I'm almost certain I tried AD900s out of the 10-port headphone distributor amp with whatever crap they were playing. I had no idea and knew it. So I joined Head-Fi.  I don't need to detail the rest and don't want to contemplate how much I've spent, how much time I've put in, how long I've spent listening. I'm tired of it to a large degree. I just want to enjoy listening when I'm working or whatever at my computer.
    So, I decided to just DO it -- I got the SR-009s. I decided to battle myself by getting into DIY and actually building something, despite all the parts complexity of the projects I've chosen being enough to give me mental overload. Then I can stop...ok, maybe. I know if I have essentially the best, anything else wont be appealing any longer as it simply wont sound as good.
    But, while I'm still not there, a couple of things still tempt me to see resolution: A good transportable set-up when I travel that doesn't make me lust for my home rig. For that I'm thinking the Fostex HP-P1 for reasons that would require an essay covering everything I've learned being here. The other is that a couple of legendary headphones still interest me. One of them, horrendously expensive in Japan (despite being made here!) came up for sale at something like a more reasonable price than retail. So I sent a PM....
    Back when I joined Head-Fi, the numerous options available compared to the mostly Audio Technica that was available here distracted me. Not to mention all the "you need an amp" etc. stuff we are all now familiar with. I was using the QP55Xs straight out of whatever Mac I owned at any one time. The last was a MacBook Pro I bought in 2006 three-quaters of a year after arriving.
    Here's how my desk looked in 2007.  You can see the condition of the pads on the headphones in this shot too.
    So we are back in Yodobashi Camera (I think Bic Camera's headphone section wasn't good at the time) looking at all these Audio Technicas. They are very comfy, like my MB Quarts (which resemble Beyers in design and comfort). I had no thoughts about bass, mids or treble or anything like that at the time, but looking back now, the QP55X's are very light on the bass and very bright. Hard for my computer to drive too, as I was always maxing the volume and there wasn't much exciting going on. I revisited some of my favourite music, such as Massive Attack a year or two ago and was honestly blown away hearing it reproduced more faithfully (and with proper delivery of the bass notes).  Anyway, I noticed a progression of these ATs going from something like $100 to a few hundred, way more than, at the time would have considered spending, but probably did contemplate simply dishing out the serious coin for so that I wouldn't have to upgrade for another 15 or so years, the length of time I'd been using the QP55Xs.
    If one was to go to these stores now, they'd find the most expensive on the rack (maybe not in the cabinet) to be around US$700 or so. That pair arrived a couple of days ago, my interest as a result from comments from various people about how good and under-rated they are. And sod it if they weren't dead right.  That pair is the AD2000s. After listening with them, even though I'm aware, ultimately, that my LCD-2s and SR-009s are technically better, these make them sound un-involved and distant. They are the Grado (or now, Symphones Magnums) I always wanted after I tried my friends HF-1, then the original Symphones Magnums through my Phoenix -- pinpoint imaging, fantastic speed and total involvement.
    Looking back 4 years at the thought I had that day in Yodobashi Camera, that I should just buy the best and be done with it -- I was right the first time.  Dammit.
  2. carm Contributor
    What a journey !

    I am guessing those legendary phones you are writing about is R10, right?
  3. Currawong Contributor
    I never seriously considered R10s being that they are still so incredibly expensive second-hand yet replacement drivers are no longer available from Sony if they break down. The only other cans that vaguely interested me ended up being the HP1000/HP2.
  4. WNBC
    The journey is never done and accounts for 99% of the joy [​IMG]
    Would like to hear the AD2000 one day.  They look comfortable and I like the AT sound.  My journey into the world of mid-fi began less than one year ago with the ESW9a.
    We have similar tastes....in keyboards, that's the one I have been using for a couple years now.

  5. Il Mostro
    Thanks for the good report.  I will be in Japan in November and will have to check these out.  I was already planning on trying to audition ATH-A2000X. Do Bic and Yodobashi have these on display for listening?  We go to both frequently, but only for computers.  Headphone shopping is usually at Yamagiwa, which I assume stocks both.  I would much prefer to shop in Shinjuku, so I can shop and then hit my favorite kai-ten, "Sushi Go Round".   
  6. Currawong Contributor
    With any luck, Dyna 5555 in Akihabara will have them on display, with decent gear to try them with. If you're coming in November, by the way, consider coming a little earlier and come to the Fujiya Avic show at the end of October if you can.
    Someone asked me on twitter if I thought the AD2000s were better than the LCD-2s and SR-009s. I hope I didn't give the impression that I was saying that.  One conclusion I've come to is that I'm more sensitive to bass frequencies than many other people. Cans that people have described as having not too much bass sometimes have sounded boomy to my ears, such as the ED8s. I have also, over time, adapted to a more mid-forward presentation, previously having owned Denons, then gone towards Grados and now ATs sound about right to me now, whereas when I owned Denons, they sounded honky, being so mid-forward.  I'm also using the AD2000s with the Stacker II mostly, which can be quite strong in the bass. I think the AT-H5000 (?) amp must be too, as it made W1000Xs sound like L3000s when I was trying them out in store. The first time I tried the AD2000s was indeed in-store and they sounded to me as I was warned -- quite mid-forward. I am also using the "tube mod" to push the pads out a bit. This removes the congestion in the sound and makes them a bit brighter.  The combination of all that seems to come out about right for me, unless I try playing highly compressed music, where the distortion in the treble becomes downright annoying.
  7. Il Mostro
    Thanks for the info and the heads-up regarding the Fujiya Avic show -- I need to confirm dates that I need to be in HK prior to coming to Japan.  BTW, I can really relate to sensitivity with boomy LF.
  8. IMAWolf
    What a waste! I swear i went to Japan like... 3 years in a row for my holidays and i got into hifi AFTER i explored all the islands of Japan [​IMG] How am i going to justify a trip there now?
  9. Amarphael
    I too been attempting to land a pair of these several times, I just adored it's close sibling the W5000 up until i heard the Stax O2's. Why did the AD2K's become so expansive? Any truth in the rumors of them being shifted twords OOP?
    It would be intresting to observe your opnion after you've lived with them at some length. 
  10. crumpler
    Nicely written! I'm absolutely loving my AD2000s as well. Cured me of my upgraditus almost instantly (for home cans at least!).
  11. tamahome77

    I would totally recommend the HP1000 series if you dig the magnums.  They're harder to drive well than the magnums but I've found my RE-1 + C-2 combo with acss did a great job.  Also, the Asgard and gilmore lite are two solid state amps that I've found paired suprisingly well with the HP1000s.  See Asr's review of the HP1000 with the asgards.  The asgard provided the much needed air and soundstage, which I find the HP1000 is sorta lacking.  In the end though, I prefer the head-out of the metric halo LIO-8 driving the HP1000s.  So awesome that a very light and compact unit can deliver such an awesome sound. [​IMG]

  12. kiteki
    I was looking for the AD2000's on head-fi and then I tried convince someone to trade his AD1000PRM's for my STAX, eventually he convinced me to trade my STAX for his A2000X.
    As it turns out I've been liking the A2000X a lot, but it's difficult to find a suitable DAC/Amp for them, and after hearing the T5p I'm leaning into the Tesla series.
    So all the A2000X did for me is open up the door to DAC's and Tesla, in other words I would have been much better off with the "end of the road" AD2000.
  13. Currawong Contributor
    I did try the A1000X and now I wish I'd just gone for broke and got the A2000X instead. However, I doubt I would have held on to them. The Stacker II tends to give a bit of a bass boost which might be just what the A2000X need (it nails it with the AD2000s). If I didn't need more amps like I need a hole in the head I'd consider a second-hand AT amp that is sitting in a shop here. I'm curious to see what is in it actually.
  14. Girls Generation
    Good read... I went for the JH3A and be done with it thing... and I hope I will be done with it when it arrives. :)

    Now regarding the transportable rig: Is there a short specific reason why HP-P1 and not CLAS + amp? :)

    The rig I was SO close to dropping the bomb on was iPad - CLAS - (RSA Portable Balanced DAC releasing in 3-4 months) - SR71B - LCD2 balanced mode input and output, all with DHC OCC nucleotide molecule cables/interconnects :)
  15. ExpatinJapan
    Yes, I tried the Fostex HP_P1 and am torn between it and Hifiman 601 at the moment.
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