Closed-Back Planar Magnetic vs. Open-Back Dynamic Headphones: Which One Wins Out?!
Mar 22, 2021 at 1:41 PM Post #16 of 122

bigshot

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+6dB is a pretty significant boost, and I can't even conceive of a +15 boost. If cans are that far off from your target curve, it would probably be best to get ones that are closer to start with.
 
Mar 23, 2021 at 4:10 AM Post #17 of 122

Blackwoof

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Hmmm wow. Didn't know all that.

So far, I've gone through 2 of 4 trials b/t the K702 and the Ella (each about an hour long). Def hearing some pros & cons from both. The 1st trial fared better for the Ella, while the 2nd was better for the K702. This isn't going to be easy. lol

Decay Is one thing I find is quite uncanny on Dynamic headphones. My DT 770 & ER2XR linger way more under 200Hz, while my ER4PT's are lightning fast while able to reproduce the right amount of decay like with planar drivers which seems anger most planar fans oddly. Even planar IEM's like RHA's had issues that needed EQ like +9db at 4KHz needed to be cut, while BA based IEM's have no such issues wither Single BA or Multi BA.
 
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Mar 23, 2021 at 4:20 AM Post #18 of 122

Blackwoof

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+6dB is a pretty significant boost, and I can't even conceive of a +15 boost. If cans are that far off from your target curve, it would probably be best to get ones that are closer to start with.
Doublepost. That just how strong planars/electrostatic's are, This In the sub bass area there a reason why there nicknamed as subwoofers on your head. It can really make Electronic & pipe organ music also movies shine. The Stax L300ltd is very well known for being able to do +30db under 50Hz.
 
Mar 23, 2021 at 11:42 AM Post #19 of 122

RockStar2005

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Doublepost. That just how strong planars/electrostatic's are, This In the sub bass area there a reason why there nicknamed as subwoofers on your head. It can really make Electronic & pipe organ music also movies shine. The Stax L300ltd is very well known for being able to do +30db under 50Hz.
So it sounds like you're a really big fan of open-back planars then?
 
Mar 23, 2021 at 1:23 PM Post #20 of 122

Blackwoof

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So it sounds like you're a really big fan of open-back planars then?

I haven't had one since I'm in a house where I need isolation. Just Impressed how mid tier planars like the HE400i can outperform the HD800S/Utopia for under $300. That kinda why I used the ER4 as to why I don't see the point of Planar IEM's since BA drivers already perform the same when pushed, Even the ER4 still sound's top notch despite reaching 1.2% at 1KHz distortion wise on most units.
 
Mar 23, 2021 at 2:32 PM Post #21 of 122

bigshot

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That just how strong planars/electrostatic's are, This In the sub bass area there a reason why there nicknamed as subwoofers on your head. It can really make Electronic & pipe organ music also movies shine. The Stax L300ltd is very well known for being able to do +30db under 50Hz.

Maybe we're talking about different things... +30dB over what? Normal peak level? I'm wondering why you would ever need to boost any frequency band to 8 times the volume. (Thanks, Castle for helping me get my numbers straight on that!) That's a massive EQ correction. If you're needing to do that, the response curve of the cans must be seriously out of whack.

Even the ER4 still sound's top notch despite reaching 1.2% at 1KHz distortion wise on most units.

Distortion isn't that much of an issue with most headphones. And 1.2% isn't that bad. That is down at -50dB. I'd say that is very close to the threshold of audibility with tones. With music, you would never be able to hear it. That is about the best distortion that speakers generally achieve, and even double or triple that sounds fine with speakers.
 
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Mar 23, 2021 at 3:57 PM Post #22 of 122

RockStar2005

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I haven't had one since I'm in a house where I need isolation. Just Impressed how mid tier planars like the HE400i can outperform the HD800S/Utopia for under $300. That kinda why I used the ER4 as to why I don't see the point of Planar IEM's since BA drivers already perform the same when pushed, Even the ER4 still sound's top notch despite reaching 1.2% at 1KHz distortion wise on most units.
Yeah I'd always prefer an over-ear over earphones anyday for serious listening. lol

It's funny you bring up the HE400i. I was about to ask you and everyone what they thought of the HE400i, the Sundara, and also the LCD-1 and Audeze EL-8? And also, how they compare to the K702 (if you happen to know)?
 
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Mar 23, 2021 at 9:52 PM Post #23 of 122

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So instead of doing a full comparison review, I've decided to just do a quick summary post here now on the whole K702 vs. Ella thing:

Using my iFi xDSD portable amp/DAC (only used Ella's on-board analog amp separately to test it out, not in comparison........sounds good and pretty good volume bump too), I tested out both headphones to get a feel for how they sound alike as well as different from each other. About a dozen Hi-Res tracks (downsampled to 256-320 kbps AAC) were played back & forth several times over 3 (not 4) hour long sessions, with different songs (for the most part) each time.

Overall, I think both headphones sound amazing. The soundstage on the Ella is actually quite good and wide for a closed-back headphone. On at least 1-2 songs, I actually thought the Ella offered a bit more detail, but I think it was actually more b/c the K702's wider open-back soundstage made it so those extra details were there but not AS easy to hear w/o at least a little volume bump. Still, it took less effort with the Ella. But overall and the vast majority of the time, the open-back soundstage of the K702 simply gave it noticeably better instrument separation rendering than the Ella could offer. Bass, mids, and treble were excellent on both, with the Ella giving a SLIGHT touch more bass, though in a good way. But I've never felt my K702 was lacking in that dept like some ppl have.

In terms of looks and comfort, both look very nice, with the Ella offering a more premium experience in terms of materials. One plus for the Ella is definitely the ear-shaped earcups/pads. Although I find both to be very comfortable, even though the Ella weighs more, the shape of the cups I feel makes it a bit more enjoyable to wear. If I was ever to switch up my beloved K702, it would HAVE to be for over-ear open-back (dynamic or planar) headphones that offer oval or ear-shaped cups for sure! (So if anyone has any suggestions on THAT front, let me know please!!)

Although I've decided to return the Ella 'phones, I have no regrets in trying them out, and I def have a newfound respect for Blue after having tried the Lola years ago. The Lola was great too, but it seems Blue has made improvements here both in design and comfort, but also with its tuning (most pro reviewers feel the same way from what I've seen). If you can get these for a discount like I did, I can't recommend them more if you want a fantastic closed-back planar experience w/o the need to EQ beforehand (as well as that amp)!

So thanks to all who left comments here and/or offered up advice/info on the topic of planars vs. dynamic headphones! And please feel free to continue to post and comment here on this topic (and this post!) and/or these headphones as well.
 
Mar 24, 2021 at 12:12 AM Post #24 of 122

bigshot

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I looked up measurements of the response curves of those two headphones and I found this one. https://headphonetestlab.co.uk/test-results-manufacturers-a-d-blue-ella There is no reason the left and right cup should be 10dB apart between 2 and 4kHz. That's nuts. The company must have bad quality control to let something like this out. I'm sure that was just a sample variation, and not all of their cans are messed up like this, but it doesn't inspire confidence in me about whether they are a good brand to buy.

I'm not familiar with the site that did these measurements. Could they be the ones with the quality control problem?
 
Mar 24, 2021 at 12:18 AM Post #25 of 122

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I looked up measurements of the response curves of those two headphones and I found this one. https://headphonetestlab.co.uk/test-results-manufacturers-a-d-blue-ella There is no reason the left and right cup should be 10dB apart between 2 and 4kHz. That's nuts. The company must have bad quality control to let something like this out. I'm sure that was just a sample variation, and not all of their cans are messed up like this, but it doesn't inspire confidence in me about whether they are a good brand to buy.

I'm not familiar with the site that did these measurements. Could they be the ones with the quality control problem?
Good find!

Yeah, that's odd. You would know better than me though. It def could be that site was just off on their measurements too I guess. I'd like to give Blue the benefit of the doubt though considering their microphone history and reputation (dating back to 1995).
 
Mar 24, 2021 at 12:21 AM Post #26 of 122

bigshot

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A 10 dB difference in the most sensitive range of human hearing is something I would think the people doing the measurement would catch. That is double the volume. (Thanks, Castle!) I think the problem isn't the design of the headphones, it's the manufacture. Some headphone manufacturers will allow 5dB, most will allow 3dB, and the very best will allow 1dB. But 10 is a lot. When I was doing testing for Oppo, the lead designer told me that the difference in price between high end cans and midrange ones wasn't the materials used or the design. It was the quality control. He said that Oppo tested and rejected a lot of cans off the line to get the tight tolerances they were shooting for in their top tier cans. You pay a lot of money for one set of headphones because of the loss they took on all the rejects.
 
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Mar 24, 2021 at 3:50 AM Post #27 of 122

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Yeah I'd always prefer an over-ear over earphones anyday for serious listening. lol

It's funny you bring up the HE400i. I was about to ask you and everyone what they thought of the HE400i, the Sundara, and also the LCD-1 and Audeze EL-8? And also, how they compare to the K702 (if you happen to know)?
Even though I haven't tried them I can easily rate them over the K702 any day. Just like how my ER4S with EQ can outperform my DT 770 pro's on mid/treble clarity and despite being Single BA it is quite great how my much bass quantity they can handle with a deep fit. To me Dynamics are like 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz CRT screens while BA/Planar are 4K/120Hz VA monitors with 5ms response.
 
Mar 24, 2021 at 1:11 PM Post #28 of 122

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Even though I haven't tried them I can easily rate them over the K702 any day. Just like how my ER4S with EQ can outperform my DT 770 pro's on mid/treble clarity and despite being Single BA it is quite great how my much bass quantity they can handle with a deep fit. To me Dynamics are like 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz CRT screens while BA/Planar are 4K/120Hz VA monitors with 5ms response.
By them you mean the HE400i? Please confirm. Thanks!

If so, what about the other ones? I'd be most interested in the EL-8 b/c of the price but also the earcup shape being oval. lol I think the LCD-1 is oval too, but seems like the EL-8 is rated better? Also, do the Sundara's earcups look oval to you guys?

Single BA?

That's a pretty sizeable difference!! lol Maybe I should look into one of these Hifiman ones or else the Audeze EL-8?! :thinking:
 
Mar 26, 2021 at 3:16 AM Post #29 of 122

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By them you mean the HE400i? Please confirm. Thanks!

If so, what about the other ones? I'd be most interested in the EL-8 b/c of the price but also the earcup shape being oval. lol I think the LCD-1 is oval too, but seems like the EL-8 is rated better? Also, do the Sundara's earcups look oval to you guys?

Single BA?

That's a pretty sizeable difference!! lol Maybe I should look into one of these Hifiman ones or else the Audeze EL-8?! :thinking:
ER4/ER3 = 4K at 120fps

HE400i/LCD1 = 4K/120fps

DT770, ER2xr = 1080p60

I would get the HE400i/LCD1 first since there not much gains on the EL-8 since you'll EQ'ing on the first too anyway and the drivers are low distortion anyway. Kinda like how a ER3SE + 75ohm = ER4SR.
 
Mar 26, 2021 at 5:12 AM Post #30 of 122

bigshot

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Is that some sort of analogy to represent your subjective impression? Frame rates in video have absolutely nothing to do with headphones. You might as well just use vague terms like "veils": and "blacker blacks".
 
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