Closed headphones that sound like Quad Electrostats, AKA my SoundMagics are broken
May 15, 2015 at 10:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

bgentry

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
331
Likes
125
I just posted this in the Headphones forum, but I guess it actually belongs here so...
 
 
I've been using a pair of SoundMagic HP150s for several months and they just broke.  I've been very impressed with these headphones.  The overall sound is pleasing, though they are bright.  Not crazy, tear your head off bright, but rather bright never-the-less.  The bass is incredible, warm, tight and wonderful.  Midrange is very detailed, but a tad thin.  Some of this is correctable with EQ.  The thinness goes away with some midbass boost and the brightness can be tamed, but not entirely eliminated.
 
It occurs to me that what I REALLY want, is a headphone that sounds like a pair of Quad Electrostatic speakers.  The two big sound signatures of the QESL are:
 
1.  Extremely natural and believable midrange.  Very much a "you are there" experience.  Incredible in fact.
2.  You don't hear "tweeter".  They absolutely have highs, but you never notice that the highs are there.  They are just natural (as in #1 above).
 
I just tried a 23 year old pair of Grado SR60 that were laying around broken.  They have more of the laid back high frequency profile I'm after, but compared to the HP150s they are sort of honky and "closed" sounding, without anywhere near the detail.
 
I have a Schiit Magni 2, so I've got plenty of power for less efficient headphones; though it's "only" 1.2 Watts, so it's not going to power anything crazy.  But with my budget of under $200, I'm not going to get anything crazy anyway right?
 
Thanks for any suggestions.  I'm bummed that my headphones are dead.  Currently listening on my old Sennheiser HD280pros and they are very dull and disappointing by comparison.  I'm SUPER looking forward to getting some good cans again!
 
Thanks,
 
Brian.

 
May 15, 2015 at 11:14 PM Post #2 of 7

bgentry

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
331
Likes
125
I'm doing a little bit of reading and I wonder if I might actually want a planar headphone of some sort.  Reading reviews of the Mad Dogs, people seem to be saying a lot of the same things I'm looking for:  Extended highs without harshness.  Real sounding mids.  Warm and not fatiguing.
 
Hmm.. maybe the budget needs to get expanded a tiny bit...
 
Brian.
 
May 18, 2015 at 1:47 AM Post #3 of 7

CountryBoy

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Posts
47
Likes
29
  I'm doing a little bit of reading and I wonder if I might actually want a planar headphone of some sort.  Reading reviews of the Mad Dogs, people seem to be saying a lot of the same things I'm looking for:  Extended highs without harshness.  Real sounding mids.  Warm and not fatiguing.
 
Hmm.. maybe the budget needs to get expanded a tiny bit...
 
Brian.


I have to say I have the planar-curiosity thing too, Brian - been doing some reading on the Oppo PM-3 threads and they have definitely piqued my interest - and they offer the possibility of running balanced with the Pono player I have coming.
 
May 18, 2015 at 2:08 AM Post #4 of 7

Me x3

Member of the Trade: FiiO Store Argentina
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Posts
4,832
Likes
894
Have you tried the HD598?
 
May 18, 2015 at 10:43 AM Post #5 of 7

bgentry

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
331
Likes
125
Thanks for the replies. 
 
I haven't tried the H598s; I don't have any resources for trying out headphones other than buying them.  I don't know any "headphone people" in real life and there are no boutique audio shops here that carry headphones.
 
I'm 95% decided on the NAD HP50 as my next headphone at this point.
 
Brian.
 
May 18, 2015 at 12:31 PM Post #6 of 7

Me x3

Member of the Trade: FiiO Store Argentina
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Posts
4,832
Likes
894
  Thanks for the replies. 
 
I haven't tried the H598s; I don't have any resources for trying out headphones other than buying them.  I don't know any "headphone people" in real life and there are no boutique audio shops here that carry headphones.
 
I'm 95% decided on the NAD HP50 as my next headphone at this point.
 
Brian.


Here you can compare them:

While both look similar over 300Hz, the main difference is in the bass. The bass boost under 300 Hz make the HP-50 a warm/darkish headphone, while the HD598 remains pretty neutral.
Being an open headphone, the HD598 should provide a more expansive soundstage, and it's probably more comfortable for long sessions. If isolation is a must, then skip HD598.
 
May 18, 2015 at 12:39 PM Post #7 of 7

bgentry

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
331
Likes
125
^ Very nice Me X3!
 
Yes, I want isolation, so only closed back headphones are on my list.  Based on the graph you provided I think I'd like the HP50 better anyway.  I'd love to have a huge sound stage too, but I understand that this is very difficult and rare with a closed headphone. 

Thanks for the info.
 
Brian.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top