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Been enjoying Susvara for a week now. It's starting to break-in and sounding nice.
That setup is a lot of $$$ for just sounding nice...
Too-shay (Touch'e) !
That certainly seems to have been the case; I believe a new era is upon us -or soon will be. Take for example the Hifiman 400i; recently advertised for $249. (US$ -late October/November, 2017). Now that's more like it ! If this (or the 400s) can be had for this kind of money (both really nice phones), I'd question the necessity to invest a single penny more. I've just returned to th headphone scene (from a 10+ year hiatus -lol), quickly listened to some Grado's, many Senn's one or two other makes (while waiting in a hi-fi shop) and quickly (5-10 minutes) later discovered the Hifiman 400(s) to be clearly the best sounding pair -by a wide margin, and half the price of the the Sennheiser HD-800 ! And better built. Superior comfort. Simply a better design. Not considering a headphone purchase, the seed had been sewn -so-to-speak.
A few weeks later I found myself at a hi-fi show and low & behold, a Hifiman "booth" with several models including the 400i's that I felt sounded more neutral than the 400-S's -and so purchased a set. Unfortunately, I haven't got around to any extended listening, nor anywhere near any break-in period presumably required. A dedicated (modestly priced) headphone amplifier is required; Schiit Magni-3 or Emotiva A-100 (Flex) should do the job for now.
Although more expensive Hifiman models were there to audition (and I did) in no way did I feel the more expensive models to be particularly better. Same went for another booth demoing pricey Focal's and Sony's (yes, all with dedicated amps and fancy cables). I did not intend to purchase cans at all. But after the very quick listening sessions, the trade-show 'special' on the 400i's was my chance to re-enter the market and begin enjoying headphone listening -and so took the bait.
Bottom line, as a seasoned veteran (hi-fi), I've learned that there are truly exceptional high-priced gear to savor over -but also some really close sounding gear in the everyday man price category ! This headphone example, although but one I believe an excellent one that represents excellent and genuine high-end performance -for a pittance (compared to the vast array of overpriced and underwhelming competitors).
Any rec's for break-in, amp choice, anyone ?
Man you have some great gear; M-1, Melco, Cans (but Auralic 'Aries')?
For sure, claimed percent improvement, as percent of pain one is experiencing after injury (the ubiquitous 1-10 "rating") is a poor scale.
However, when I heard the KEF 'Reference-1' two years back, I marveled at how much better it was than all that passed before -at the local hi-fi
shop I frequented. It is a truly remarkable/superb (sounding) loudspeaker -in a different league altogether than the great majority of high-end names.
Afterwards, I thought, wow, this is the loudspeaker to 'beat' at the $8K/$10K price point. What percentage superior could it be claimed/explained ?
I'll say this; next to (literally -physically beside) the oft touted PSB T-3, it is in a different league entirely, a different universe in fact. Would that represent twice as good ? I'll say 10X better, perhaps even 100X. There really is no comparison.
For example, when listening to music (with the PSB's) we kind-of can make out some "sound(s)" in the upper bass region that is then clearly revealed (by the KEF's) to be a distinct interplay between two (or more) instruments, crisply outlined (as is the remainder of the songs acoustic structure (from bottom to top) presenting as an enormously accomplished, entertaining, engaging performance leaving one near mesmerized. While the other (PSB) sounds comparatively, well, muffled and indistinct. How does one apply a percentage rating in such a (clearly revealing) case?
The best way (a better way?) would be to state it's in a different class/league altogether than present a percentage rating. And yet, the two are similarly priced.
I'm not certain such distinctions can be drawn with headphones, but if so, the "twice-as-good" claim could be, would be and is, valid.
Focal "Utopia" (or whatever their $5K model is) and Sony's ($1-2K job) is easily outer-performed by the Hifiman 400 (s/i's). Gimme a break.
The Stax is the real deal -as may be the HFM Susvara.
Ouch! Them's fightin' words LOL
Hmmm. At least comparable then ... ? lol
In all seriousness, the extent to which a headphones 'sounds' can be, and is, greatly impacted by simple "break-in of the ear-pads, the-pads itself, head shape, positioning of the cans of the ol' nogg'in, cable choice and first/foremost the quality and sophistication of the preceding source & amplification s contribution is astonishingly both critical and variable when auditioning cans. And not to forget the listening skills/sophistication of the listener; meaning sharp, critical, experienced 'ears/brain'.
I believe (with enough experience) one can, in short-order, dissect the performance capability of any headphone by noting all that precedes the HP within the preceding chain. Although, admittedly, there must be both a leap of faith when auditioning within the constraints of a trade-show booth or retail headphone set-up and the ability to account for (extrapolate) what (in the chain) is likely doing/contributing what.
Interestingly, when I was comparing cans at a dealer (killing time/waiting, not actively seeking to purchase), I noted the Senheisser amplifier (its settings), source (Yamaha CDP) with Digital-Out (to Senn amp/DAC?) and cables connecting the various HP's; Grado's, Senn's (HD-650/600?, 800's, Focal?, and Hifiman 400(s) were recalled.
It took some only a few minutes to rate the 400i's clearly the best (by a wide margin); I didn't even know of the name 'Hifiman' aftre a 10-15 year absence from the HP market and use. It took much longer trying to determine what was causing the "peaky (5-8 KHz) treble -clearly revealed by the 400i's. Later I read/discovered) it was in fact a property of the 400i itself. Of all the open, detailed, transparent goodness of the 400(s), that elevated treble response and a somewhat shifting sound-stage was enough (too much) for it to take a comfortable place in my system. The frequency response treble anomaly (on my head anyway) was quite disconcerting, preventing musical enjoyment -as any colored (i.e. coloration) component will eventually introduce to the keen listener.
By chance a month or so later (after reading a bit about Hifiman) I found myself at the yearly trade-show with, non-other than a Hifiman listening booth (among the crowd of booth's/displays) -with a variety of HFM models set-up (wit amplification) for auditioning. I believe the 400i was the least expensive model on display (I don't recall the 400s) but it was the 400i I gravitated toward and ultimately purchased -at show special pricing much to my delight.
Moving around quickly at the show, a listening booth displaying the Focal 'Utopia, its lower-priced brother and a ($1-$2K Sony) were set-up -with Kimber cable if I'm not mistaken. A short listen and frown was shared by a near-by, seasoned audiophile.
Music is a very important element in my daily life while great sound reproduction enables far deeper communication and appreciation for the art.
It is an entirely different world in the genuine hi-fi arena; the depth and resolution it uncovers (and presents to the listener) is an immensely informative, encompassing and highly enjoyable experience.
It is a complete fallacy to presume 'tons of money' is required to reach audio nirvana. Yes, some high pried stuff is awesome, but so too can be every-day man priced gear when selected with a keen ear -and mind.
It's more so that good system synergy will beat a bunch of expensive components randomly thrown together. I would guess your assessment is a result of that specifically.
Insofar as the last paragraph is concerned -absolutely.
Regarding the remainder of my reply, it's a combination of understanding precision sound reproduction and all of the variables that influence our subjective impressions.
Whazzzup, have you by chance had the chance to listen (at length) or own the Audeze LCD-'X' can ? (I recently started on this site so it may have been spoken to before?)
Or, anyone else for that matter -heard/have the Audeze LCD-X model (or the models that came after LCD-3/4) ?
Any insight/SQ observations would be of interest.
Heheh! I haven’t had time to look into head fi for a while. Any suggestions?
Good call !
Hifiman SHOULD gladly supply these graphs (frequency response/ linearity, distortion, power handling, impedance etc.,).
We (the consumer) are becoming waaay too soft these days. (Must wait for a "review" while they sit and collect thousands of dollars for a pair of cans -with no effort on their part to provide detailed data/specifications and performance graphs? Gimme a break.)