ATH-ESW9 vs HD-238 vs AKG-702
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OneSec

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This discussion was originally meant for suggestions to my wife's new can selection. Turned out that I bought something entirely different - and way overbudget. This is head-fi world :)
 
[size=10pt]I listened primarily to classical, orchestra works, followed by violin and piano works. I also listened to jazz and some vocal during the test. [/size][size=10pt]I would like to compare  ESW9 to the existing phones I currently own, AKG702 and HD238. I know it’s not a fair comparison but [/size][size=10pt]J[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Look? ESW9 hands down. HD238 is somewhat cool, but you lost that taste, cool, natural, elegant, seductive, old-school, wisdom look. Come on, no one can resist that red wooden cap – it’s is an eye sucker. [/size][size=10pt]You look like a moron with 702. FULL STOP. Look is your only criteria? You need not read further – just go get your pair now!! [/size]
 
[size=10pt]Detail of this phone is amazing. Though it’s not as good as 702 but it’s very detail. AKG702 is the best, followed by ESW9, and lastly HD238. 1 point I would like to make though, is that this phone will benefit a lot from a lostless format. When I listen through iPad via AAC and ALAC, the different is rather distinctive.[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Sound signature is very different for each of them. ESW9 is perhaps the most colored phone among the 3, but this also makes it very enjoyable. Who cares color or not – as long it sounds good! ESW9 sounds great! EWS9 has lush sound, 238 in the middle, and 702 on the cold end. I have 2 friends who listened to all my phones, and they hands down prefer ESW9 than 702 (they listen to vocal and pop a lot). It’s warm compared to my Senn HD238 and AKG-702. ESW9 has the most bass, but not overwhelm. Mids are sweetest among 3. It has the least high among. [/size][size=10pt]There is no good or bad, just preference. So I won’t rate them here.[/size]
[size=10pt]**NOTE 7/27/2011": After some 30 hours burn-in the bass gets much better - more attack, and with great body. The burn-in is much faster than 702 :) **[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Sound stage is nowhere close 702. More forward, right on your face when compare to 702. I roughly tell where those voices are, but not the pinpoint accurate locations.  Though 702 gives a more distance feel – it also gives me almost a visual separation of all the instruments. ESW9 and HD238 are about the same here. A natural handicap comparing on-ears to full size cans, and I don’t think you can demand much here – but it still possibly have better sounds stage to other portable cans – I’m guessing [/size][size=10pt]J[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Isolation is best and this does increase the listening pleasure, probably due to the open design of the other 2. It still leaks though, not suitable for noisy environment – it can probably filter your computer noisiest fan, but will not stand against subway trains or construction area.:p[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Easy to drive? Yes it works without an amp and sounds great out of iPad. Everyone already know how fuzzy is HD238, and even more so with 702.[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Good for long session listening? Yes. Definitely. I rate this on 2 factors – the sound signature, and the build design.  I’m very particular about this requirement; I would not buy a phone that is not comfortable no matter how good it sound. I love Grado and Alessandro sound but never own one due to this. This phone though, does not last as long as the other 2, don’t get me wrong, it’s still very good in this area – comfortable leather pads, and you don’t feel with weigh on your head at all, I would give a 7 out of 10, but 702 is at probably 9, and a 10 for HD238, due to couple reasons:p[/size]
  • [size=10pt]Closed and colored sound. It tires these ears of mine quickest. 702 is the best. My longest record is 5 hours and I could continue, but I think max session for ESW9 would be around 3 hours, anything more would be torturing / ear bleeding.[/size]
  • [size=10pt]Slightly strong clamp – thanks to this forum, I’m using pillows to stretch and soften it. Hope it will be fixed. HD238 has the best feeling here. Surprisingly with a full size can, 702 is very comfortable.[/size]
  • [size=10pt]Leather pads – it has its good and bad – it works perfectly in aircon and 3 other seasons. It keeps you warm. Yes you got it right – it’s not meant for summer. It makes your ear hot! Worse when you sweat a lot! But for all other goods in this phone – its worth every single sen to buy an extra phone during summer [/size][size=10pt]J[/size]
 
[size=10pt]Build wise the 702 is the most durable phone, HD238 takes lots of abuse from me as well, EWS9 looks more fragile, and I’ll definitely take better care of it. [/size]
 
[size=10pt]Outdoor use - ESW9 is the champion. HD238 is probably good if you go to quiet places. I can not imagine myself walking outisde with 702, but I'll certainly pack and bring her along for long trips - That means I'll need to bring a desktop amp along LOL.[/size]
[size=10pt]**NOTE 7/27/2011: After 1 day at the field with ESW9, I changed my mind. ESW9 is the choice for outdoor use, sound doesn't leak out, but does leak in a little so you are aware of your surroundngs.**[/size]
 
[size=10pt]My pick? 702. That’s because I listen a lot to classical, I stay in a hot country, and I sweat like pig. I may use this phone when I opt for a change of mood at times. A perfect option for Scandinavians.  ESW9 is a direct upgrade to HD238 almost in every aspect. [/size][size=10pt]Worthy? Yes. For the look alone, not to mention the great sound and natural sweetness it comes with.[/size]
 
I would like to thank everyone for thier suggestions, and the great review's and advice given in this forum. Lastly, for those who took thier time to read this, thank you for patience given to a noob.
 
******* ORIGINAL POST *******
 
Wife's headphone is finally out after 10 years (well I used it for 8 years before I passed to her) Currently I'm thinking about PX100-II but have seen some review they are not as good. So I'll wonder what alternative I have.
 
Wife is more of a ergonomic than musical person so is I have in mind:
1. Open cans
2. On-Ear
3. Comfort - lightweight and don't clamp on the head (we both somewhat have "big head")
4. Small - anything size similar to PX100 would be great.
5. Neutral - She doesn't like bass that much, and if I ever use it, I'm listening to classical.
6. 3 feet cable or longer (that's not too important)
7. Plus if it comes with mic.
8. 100 USD max.
 
She mostly use it on her computer listening to presentations, playing simple games.
 
Haven't seen the size of AD700, but I think it could be too big for her. HD238 fits as well but I already have it as my office cans so I rather try something new. Also the cable is rather short.
 
Grado 60 is out - a little overweight and I don't feel comfortable when I audit the phone years back.
 
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OneSec

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Yes I will look into koss portapros, but really outlook is not that appealing :p
 
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OneSec

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Appreciate folks can suggest a few more options. Thanks.
 
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Angelopsaro

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If you want the mic you could look at the
1. sennheiser 238 with mic. Open, comfortable long cable and small. The only con is that although it has competitive sound it might not be that neutral.
2. If she wants them only for home use. Take a look at the creative cal! They are circumaural but very comfortable and top notch sound.
3. My personal choice would be the Sony Mdr-q68lw. These clip ons are dirty cheap, very comfortable and a sound signature which seems fits the best for your mrs.
Joker states about them "
 
Quote:
When properly EQ’d, the MDR-Q68 is very complete package that beats out the similarly-priced competition in clarity, speed, and detail.
If you dont mind the lack of mic and the somewhat shot cable (1meter). then its a good choice.
If you buy an extension cable with mic and fix this issue.
 
4. Last i suggest i suggest the yuin G2A. one of the best open clip ons out there.
Joker states about their sound:
 
Quote:
Perfect balance was Yuin’s design prerogative when engineering the sound of the G2As, and it shows. They are easily the most balanced and neutral headphones of the bunch. The presentation is very natural, with an expansive soundstage and good instrument separation. They are also fast, very fast.
 
Again no mic and the cable is 1.1m but an extension cable will again solve the problem.
 
 
P.s most of this info i got it from this muti review threat. You can check my suggestions there, among with other portables.
 
 
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OneSec

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Thanks a lot for the suggestions and pointing to the right directions. I look through the link and spotted a couple more suggestions. I have picked up a few from the article too.. Looks like these will keep me busy for a while.
 
Ultrasone HFI-15G
Altec Lansing UHP304
Grado iGrado
Maxell DHP-II
Koss UR55 Studio Pulse
 
Much appreciated.
 
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OneSec

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Ended up with Audio Technica ATH-ESW9 after auditing about 5 phones.
 
The listening session was a pleasant. They didn't ask me much on the price / requirement, but just feeding me phones to test with, until I confirm which sounds signature I was looking for. I didn't pick their recommendations though due to comfort / ergonomic reasons. Too bad I didn't have time to audit more phones. It was 1 day trip and I have 4 friends waiting besides me :frowning2:
 
Didn't have much time to bargain and not knowing the right price, I bought it about 15% off RSVP. It's a great phone nevertheless. Let's hope this phone wont tire the ears quickly.
 
Fits almost requirement except it's a closed phone, and not too long cable. Oh yes, and way over budget with lots of style. Mrs loves the phone. Told her this is a phone for life :p
Would be interesting when she finds out the price.
 
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OneSec

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I took this phone for town ride today. However I feel like the phone is rather flat in town. Not sure what were the reasons, probably due to couple things:
  • Listening in distracting environment
  • Source (Loseless vs Lossy) and (Ipod vs PC+D10 DAC). Street setup was ipod shuffle + lossy format (mp3/aac), rather than the normal loseless
  • Cable? In addition to iPod shuffle, I used a 3.5mm jack cable to connect Ipod and D10. There were initially no sound, I had to twice and reinsert the jack a coupel times to get the sound...
 
Btw  this phone dont leak out, but do leak in sufficient :p which is an additional "safety feature".
 
I was at first worried I damaged the phone but attach it to desktop back home and these cams came back with life :)
 
 
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