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Headphones for metal music - ultimate solution

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by levap, Apr 21, 2014.
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  1. levap
    Hello markm1, thanks for your appreciation!
    I think, when we're talkin about music listening using headphones, it's really important to understand, that complete headpones system besides DAC, amp and cans includes you brain.  And resulting listening experience depends on brain contens no less, than on heapdhones objective performance ))
    So if you ask yourself - if one HP is able to play any genre with authority, the answer is definetely "yes". If you generally like your single HP (no matter how expensive they are) and day by day throw on them any genre you want, your brain + HP system will inevitably tune to the top performance and reward you with great listening experience.
    But if we're talking about best possible perfomance on genre (on album, on track...) it becomes more complicated. I can see only one way for headphones objectively "to play all the genres with authority" - they should be neutral, natural, flat (in a good sense) and balanced as possible. But subjectively, when one genre benefits from huge soundstage and on another wide scene is not natural, when on one genre it's good to have rich bass, and on another excessive bass is inappropriate...  As a result, it is not guaranteed, that emotional response on "neutral" cans will reach the peak level for the genre, compared to headphones with specific flavour. And obviously, having more than one HP with different points of view on the same music gives a boost to interest to music itself and THIS is the best part of headphones hobby!
    And of course I do not listen only to metal, for the personal use my table is extended on jazz, different rock subgenres, electronica, russian bard music... And every word above is as just for metal, as for any other music genre. Al least I think so ))
  2. levap
    I hope to get Q701 next week and it takes about two weeks to review.

    You should review it stock and then review it after the bass mod. The mod is extremely simple.
  4. levap

    Actually I'm going to lend 701 from a friend. Can you give a link to mod description, may be he'll like it.
  5. markm1
    I think that's very fair....point (s) taken.
    While, I'm fond of my new RS1i, I've thought it might make sense to get a ortho/planar at some point and have what I would consider the best of both worlds. I guess, I'm just suggesting both-say my RS1i and a HE500 or LCD-2 (two cans I've enjoyed auditioning) probably sound killer with metal and just about everything else-and they should at the $700-1k price tag. But, of course there will be significant differences-the HE/LCD I would freely admit will be an improvement on base oriented EDM/Hip-hop, etc. But,  I think at that level they can all handle most genres if not w/ authority at least w/ a reasonable amount of competence.
    One of the things I appreciate about many  metal Headfiers is that we are interested in good sound and tend to like all kinds of music vs the typical metalhead-all metal all the time/if it ain't brootal it ain't metal/extreme or nothing/ no clean singer ever.
  6. swspiers
    What a great thread so far.  I hope it keeps going.
    Levap- I really appreciate what you're doing, and your willingness to use this as a learning experience as well.  But I gotta tell you, I can't think of better test music than what you have listed.  Sure, I can come up with a list of hundreds of bands, but I', an old head-banger since the 70's.  But the material you chose is first-rate stuff, especially the Steven Wilson material.  For that kind of stuff, and for music coming from bands that down-tune to open B (or lower), I use the Alpha Dogs.  Sunn O)))) on those cans is a religious experience, by the way.
    For most of my collection, it's the Grado 225i's with the tape modification all the way.  One thing about metal, and Stoner/Doom specifically, is that a lot of time and attention goes into the tone of the guitars and bass.  I don't think the musicians/engineers/producers get enough credit for the work they put into their defining sound.  The best example I can think of is Kyuss, going from Wretch to Blues for the Red Sun.  The sound on Blues  is epic, and I need cans that can convey the sound of the guitar through a bass cab, as well as the tone of the strings of the bass.  Grado is the best I have heard in 40 years in doing that (but I am open to other suggestions).
    Anyway, the OP and the rest of the contributors have done an awesome job so far.  I hope it keeps going.
  7. SomeGuyDude
    A good test for your headphones' ability is Warhorse - As Heaven Turns to Ash. The immensity of the bass and the downtuned guitars will tell you pretty dang quickly if your headphones are up to snuff. 
  8. levap
    HE-500 are somewhat in the midlle between RS1i and LCD-2, their talents are more overlapping with RS1i, than RS1i / LCD-2 talents. Having absolutely polar points of view (dark and slow - LCD-2, bight and fast - RS1i) and general top level of quality, combo RS1i + LCD-2 will be really close to "handle most genres if with authority".
  9. levap
    I also hope so )) There is a lot of metal-gifted cans left to try!
    125i's, acquired at 2004 led me to register on head-fi at 2005. Recently I got back my good old 125i and they are ready for the review!
  10. ferday
    Cool thread, thanks Levap for the effort and everyone else for chiming in

    I run rs1, athm50, he400 for metal

    I easily prefer the rs1 in almost all cases for metal. I agree that the m50 are surprisingly good for the price, and because I travel a lot they are my main can (not by choice lol)

    The he400 is really good, the bass (quality and quantity) is just so great...but the rs1 provides such an excellent tone, and has much better bass than most people think. Stuff like sunn0))) is superb on the 400's though, due to the outright bass awesome

    Like markm1, I listen to a ton of genres and to me a combo of the grado tone combined with the he400 bass fills any genre quite nicely. If I was smart I'd pick a high end closed can to replace my m50, since I'm stuck with closed most of the time.

    Anyone try the LCD-XC that happens to love metal?
  11. swspiers

    The Alpha Dog is also a serious contender as well.  Surprisingly good with this type of music!
  12. markm1

    I think Jay is selling his. I'm about to drop some coins upgrading shelf to tower speakers...so I'm holding off on any new cans for a little bit.
  13. markm1

    That's my feeling also....
  14. swspiers
    Based on what I've read, I think I'm holding out for the HE-560 for my open planar.  I loved the HE-5LE to a point, but felt the killer bass got in the way of the mids.  I'm hoping the 560 takes care of that, since I don't care for the darkness of the Audeze cans.
  15. markm1

    When I bought my RS1i from Jay we PMd over cans and such. He has the LCDX (I think he just sold it, actually). But, he told me he preferred the HE500 to the LCD-2. But then, just recently at an impromptu meet he hosted- heard one of the new LCD-2 Fazor and he thought it was a big improvement. Seemed really pumped about the fazor......Said he now likes the LCD-2 Fazor more than the HE500 but not as much as the LCDX......which got me thinking more about that can. I think I'll wait a year or so...let them get the kinks out so to speak and see where the rubber meets the road.
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