Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared)
Aug 8, 2019 at 1:15 PM Post #5,791 of 5,840

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HD800 is really the only headphone I haven't heard, that I want. Currently saving up for one, should only take 5 more weeks until I can finally get my hands on one. I recently spent just over $900 on a B&W P9 Signature and I consider it worth it..but I can't see myself ever spending more than $1.2K on a headphone. Personally I would rather spend thousands on an amp or player of some kind, rather than a headphone.
 
Aug 25, 2019 at 8:41 PM Post #5,792 of 5,840

bagwell359

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Doesn't anyone think that over half of the headphones reviewed by David Mahler in this thread..would sound very dull and boring..almost veiled..compared to today's headphones. I don't know if anyone will agree with me but I think most audiophile headphones nowadays are tuned with an emphasis on high frequencies. That wasn't the case 10 or 15 years ago. I blame digital technology. Digital file formats never did sound as rich as analogue.

Digital was garbage from inception, but over time folks like Doug Sax were able to beat some great audio out of it. I had a nearly 14k LP collection, with a very high end playback (VPI TNT jr, Clearaudio arm, and Koetsu cartridge, and Pass step up, that I started to sell off in 2015 when I heard the Schiit Gumby do what 8 years earlier cost $20k to do. I'm down to about 300 LP's to sell and most of that rig is gone.

I blame high frequency bias in recordings to bad mastering and listeners who are not familiar with live sound in a great hall - they think the tizz they hear in bad digital is part of the music.
 
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Aug 25, 2019 at 8:42 PM Post #5,793 of 5,840

bagwell359

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Better hi-fi seeks superior resolution (clarity) ultimately resulting in much improved signal articulation, such as 'layering', definition/articulation, nuance retreival, etc.

You may be referring to this new-found clarity (headphone design SQ) as a "loss of (analog) richness", when in fact it's removing serious signal colorations often believed/referred to as "richness"; thick, bloaty
'bass' that always impairs critical lower-midrange performance.

The secret to truly premium hi-fi is incorporating superb linearity and low noise along with true, 'real-like' instrument tonal 'color' reproduction.

pj

Which you cannot attain at this date with HFM 400i.

DIY-Audio-Heaven review complete with many graphs says:

The HIFIMAN HE 400i is an entry level orthodynamic headphone. There is a lot to like about it.

The bass is there and nice, ‘tight’ and ‘dry’. Sub-bass is not as pronounced.

The mids are ‘fine’ but not exactly ‘flat’. The mids are forward and present yet not ‘ super clear’.

The 10dB dip at 2kHz lowers some sense of the ‘clarity’ and ‘edge/attack’ of certain instruments.

The 8.5kHz peak is very narrow (pointing to a resonance) and peaks about 10dB above the rest.

At 6kHz and 12kHz there is some ringing. Especially the higher one is poorly damped but very narrow.

Below the spectrum plot of the HE 400i. At around 550Hz it resonates a bit longer than desirable.

The step response (Right channel) below shows the bass is a bit rolled-off. There is quite some overshoot and some resonances.


I'd be careful attacking that site without good technical reasons. 400i might rank in the top 5 for value/performance. But compared to what's available today, it's a B+/B on performance. It's not any match for the HFM HE-500, HE-6, HEX v2, HEK v2/v3, Sundara, HE5SE, nor the Senn HD-600
 
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Aug 27, 2019 at 5:04 PM Post #5,795 of 5,840

richard51

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I just bought the more extraordinary headphone in the world... It is necessary to tweaks it to kill the internal resonance on the plastic cups tough.... Price is under 100 bucks for the old model semi-open... I dont know the sound of the new model it is a closed one... The Fostex TH-7b.... So amazing that none of my ex headphone, 2 AKG, k340 and K701, Hifiman He400. Stax Sr gold, and Lambda can make his job done on all counts.... All these other headphones interest me no more why? More natural rendering of the mid frequencies of voice and instrument, and a 3-d holographic imaging that is coherently assembled...And more neutral than the K 701 or the He 400, almost on par for the mids frequencies with the Stax SR5 gold, and with the K340 that are KING of the mids, but more confort , and better imaging than these 2....I forgot to say they are confortable for me and had a detachable long cable and they are very sturdy…. Think of an under 100 bucks headphone at this quality level, if you know another company that makes sound quality like this one at a price so low, then send me a mail ,I will urgently go buying it....And I dont own enough money to crush them completely with I dont know one 1000 bucks new hyped model...

P.S. They win 2 top reviews recommendation in 2 french musical reviews Diapason and Classica some years ago...But their appearance and marketing make them like headphone for children , like some toys... Then serious audiophile will never ever review them here.... This is the reason for my post...For those who want top of the line at ridiculous price, that is possible incredibly so....Fostex create that for the Japan future audiophile customers, they sold them like toys to create an habit for the quality sound among the young audiophile...After that they can sell their top product at higher price to these young Japanese customer who will know firsthand what is musicality in headphone and will gladly pay for more.... This is clever...To crush the Fostex TH 7 B ( modified to eliminate resonance in the plastic cups) think more around 1000 bucks...The Fostex are not top on absolutely all counts BUT they are amazingly good on all counts, they are not the better on all count separately, but the sum total of the qualities they give is so encompassing they win against almost all can under 500 hundred bucks ... Sturdy, confortable, long cable, natural voicing and realistic voice and instrumental timbre, and more neutral than most headphones,imaging very coherent and precise, big soundstage ….I cannot go back to any of my other headphones now...
 
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Nov 19, 2019 at 5:04 AM Post #5,796 of 5,840

moriez

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Photobucket isn't hosting perhaps one of the most iconic Head-Fi picture in its history anymore. Just in case @DavidMahler no longer has them stored somewhere. I always wondered how fireproof that closet is ^^


mahler-headfi.jpg
 
Nov 19, 2019 at 5:21 AM Post #5,797 of 5,840

Redcarmoose

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Photobucket isn't hosting perhaps one of the most iconic Head-Fi picture in its history anymore. Just in case @DavidMahler no longer has them stored somewhere. I always wondered how fireproof that closet is ^^


I’ll never forget laying eyes on that photo the first time.
 
Nov 21, 2019 at 9:28 AM Post #5,800 of 5,840

RCBinTN

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That was one of the first pictures I saw upon joining Head-Fi. Then I read this entire thread starting with David's HP review.
I was amazed by his music library and upstream gear, as well as the great headphones he used. I learnt so much.
This is still a great reference thread for newcomers to the hobby.

I do agree that the industry has progressed (a great deal) since David's work ... there's a lot to learn by reading specific threads here on Head-Fi.
:)
 
Nov 21, 2019 at 1:24 PM Post #5,801 of 5,840

Fastnbulbous

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I've had that photo in my FB headphone fetishist album for years, love it.

On my red eye flight last night I watched the first episode of The World According to Jeff Goldblum where he talks about the culture of sneakers, and there's an excellent part on the psychology of the joy in anticipation and desire, along with the appeal of unboxing videos. He does a great job of gently poking and teasing without being patronizing, and getting caught up in the excitement himself. It's all relevant to the headphone hobby too. I've learned that anyone who uses the word "endgame," will never be satisfied with any one headphone, because despite whatever they say about wanting to stick with one headphone or can't afford to keep swapping/upgrading, they're addicted to the anticipation of the new. Not a criticism. Most endgame gear are those not involved in this hobby who use headphones 'til they break.

I've gotten in the habit of imagining my ideal headphone and waiting to see who gets close to making it, so no endgame for me!
 
Nov 21, 2019 at 4:05 PM Post #5,802 of 5,840

Redcarmoose

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I've had that photo in my FB headphone fetishist album for years, love it.

On my red eye flight last night I watched the first episode of The World According to Jeff Goldblum where he talks about the culture of sneakers, and there's an excellent part on the psychology of the joy in anticipation and desire, along with the appeal of unboxing videos. He does a great job of gently poking and teasing without being patronizing, and getting caught up in the excitement himself. It's all relevant to the headphone hobby too. I've learned that anyone who uses the word "endgame," will never be satisfied with any one headphone, because despite whatever they say about wanting to stick with one headphone or can't afford to keep swapping/upgrading, they're addicted to the anticipation of the new. Not a criticism. Most endgame gear are those not involved in this hobby who use headphones 'til they break.

I've gotten in the habit of imagining my ideal headphone and waiting to see who gets close to making it, so no endgame for me!

Part of the hobby is learning your sound preference. If someone is not grounded then every new color of flagship can come off as a new level of excitement. At times you’ll read of folks finding it in older flagships too.

But to me this thread was about headphone research and looking for an end goal, which of course many of us have. There is nothing wrong with attempting to obtain clear and accurate electronic music reproduction. Though I don’t think we are meant to be like hamsters in a cage going round and round running on a wheel of confusion.

The Head-Fi goal should be to listen to music for 10 years straight with gear you have respect for and don’t question. Getting off the buying train should be an end goal. That is unless opening new boxes gives the member an endorphin influx......worth doing over and over again. If that’s the case they should keep going. But after a certain level, I don’t think upgrades can really change the enjoyment of music? Certainly some of the equipment in the photo would be good enough to ride off into the sunset with even though we all know there is a reality that better gear has been produced since that photo was posted.

The issue for many is curiosity. HOW do you know unless you try a bunch of gear....or own a bunch of gear. What’s out there, and what does it do? How much closer to the music can I get? It’s true that the quest is more admirable than basic consumerism, and more difficult than simply buying all you can find.......but who knows.....maybe with unlimited funds a person could find the lost unicorn? The goal for many though should be to simply enjoy the level they reached and discover music.
 
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Nov 21, 2019 at 4:26 PM Post #5,803 of 5,840

Fastnbulbous

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I'm not criticizing, and do not think there is a single correct way for everyone to approach this hobby. What you said makes sense for many people I'm sure, but while I have a couple headphones I've used daily for over 10 years that meet specific needs, there's always a flagship level that I like to cycle through and try different things, averaging about once every year and a half. If I find one that clicks and will last me 10+ years great, but it's not for you to say I'm doing it wrong, or to say there's only one legitimate reason for trying new headphones.
 
Nov 21, 2019 at 4:40 PM Post #5,804 of 5,840

Redcarmoose

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I'm not criticizing, and do not think there is a single correct way for everyone to approach this hobby. What you said makes sense for many people I'm sure, but while I have a couple headphones I've used daily for over 10 years that meet specific needs, there's always a flagship level that I like to cycle through and try different things, averaging about once every year and a half. If I find one that clicks and will last me 10+ years great, but it's not for you to say I'm doing it wrong, or to say there's only one legitimate reason for trying new headphones.

I’m not saying anyone is doing it wrong. It is an very personal affair and of course no one else’s business. Though it would be a great study in human nature to isolate and define the “ism” in headphone consumerism. Such a study could in fact help many reach their goal.

Everyone has a different trajectory to success. Just reiterating the consumerism ideas you described in the Goldblum video you brought up. Nothing directed directly at you, more of self reflection really.
 

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