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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. markm1

    Gotchya-I'd really like to listen to one at some point. I've heard the old HE500 and the lCD-2 and Staxx. But, I'm not even going there!
  2. levap
    400 are mediocre, compared to 500, so if you can get 500 – do it, the difference worth it. LCD-2 or even LCD-X are not the end, but the start of serious game )) LCD-2 plus LCD-X – great combo, I think I could stay with this couple when one day I’ll get tired of trying new headphones.
  3. levap
    More reviews - Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI, enhanced Shure SRH840 and Beyerdynamic DT770 reviews.
    Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI
    Headphones are assigned to the middle level category due to their excessive "nonflatness", although considering the price ($ 699) they are closer to the top level. It’s desirable in comparison with their colleagues to praise Pandora Hope VI, and not vice versa.
    To begin with, the cans sound signature is “painted” furiously as psychedelic matryoshka on the Arbat street. Or taking into account country and manufacturer, let’s remember anime (robots and cyberpunk type). Timbre is filled with liquid metal. Bass is thick, greasy and full of balanced armature buzzy meat. To make such a fat sound (fat often not found in the original record) hard task even for LCD-2. And nevertheless bass is extremely fast and mobile. Strange and interesting experience. Mids are perhaps even dryish, no such sweetness and forwardness as one would expect from such a breed of Japanese headphones. Highs are sparkling (in a good sense of the word, not overly bright), armature-style highs. Soundstage is wide, especially for the closed cans.

    Let's look at the bright stripes of this cocktail:
    Alternative: Perhaps for the first time listening for metal music I hear so metal. Indeed, steel notes are present in a voice of Pandora. Unique, fascinating.
    Doom: And here all is perfect. Isodynamic top cans can do better, but the price tag is going to be top also.
    Sludge, Stoner: At Doom it was good and it’s good here also. Buzzing bass meat is in it’s place.
    Power: Have fun. Rollicking. Bells are ringing. Gypsy-style power metal Very worth of listening, very special.
    Grindcore: A clear, sharp, powerful attacks do not show faults found on Death and Black. Balanced armature creates a background, really interesting in the context of grindcore.
    Thrash: Wow. Roller coaster with a stop in the pool and splashing fountains. Refreshes and invigorates. Does not come off. Even a slight lack of punch is forgivable, perhaps.

    Let's look at the dark stripes:
    Industrial: The problem with punch is still present plus it’s multiplied by visible on industrial music insufficient extension of the bass.
    Black: First impression – dynamic and fleshy at the same time. But final impression is spoiled by the cluttering of small details by armature-style buzzing.
    Progressive: Broad soundstage pleases certainly, but for the genre more neutral and more technical presentation would be a plus. Playfulness is clearly superfluous. Although such a rollicking version can really please somebody.

    Cans - feast, cans - holiday. Unnatural, but very exciting. At the middle level – positively are monsters. If you don’t care too much about neutrality – Pandora could be even top cans for you.
    Shure SRH840
    These cans have rather flat frequency response, but they are not too "flat". They have confident tight bass with good extention. Clean, slightly elevated treble. Nice natural mid-range. Soundstage is wide enough, especially for sealed headphones. The sound is airy, which, combined with a relatively flat frequency response and amount of bass perfect for metal, gives very interesting results.
    Obvious advantages:
    Doom: Sobriety and a lot of bass are better than just sobriety )) Smooth sound with slightly elevated highs, moderately rumbling bass. I expected on general technical assumptions that M50 should be better on Doom. But having parity at bass, 840 have more rich timbre, great midrange of 840 leaves no chance of M50.
    Power: Speed, air. Well measured, evil drive. Deep bass. At their level - just fine
    Symphonic: A little strange - but very good (for its level of course). Reasonable doses of openness (for closed cans) and lots of emotions.
    Progressive: And again, great for the level (and closed cans) result. Wide soundstage, rich timbres, bass - all the way through.

    Notable disadvantages:
    Death: Bust of bright colors does not look serious.
    Grindcore: Needlessly hysterically. Not prohibitive, but very, very unpleasant.
    Industrial: Too lightweight for this genre. Balloons look inappropriate on the steel mills.
    Thrash: Too hysterical, something more dark and easy (e.g. M50) seems more appropriate.

    One of my favorite entry-level ears. For light and bright mood.
    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO (250 om)
    Again, despite the word "PRO" in the title, we have the device that is actually focused on music listening, not just technical analysis. Gorgeous bass punch, slightly playful (but not so much as in 840) treble. Slightly withdrawn mid-range. A small soundstage (not really small for closed cans). Headphones have well integrated, in a way liquid sound, not overwhelmed with excessive details.
    What is good:
    Doom: Perfect. One of the best Doom presentations ever. Thick, dense, viscous bass and overall coherent sound - very base matching genre interpretation.
    Thrash: Rollicking, cheerful. Texture and speed of bass – direct hit for the genre.
    Industrial: Very convincing. More technical and cool interpretation would be more traditional. But not so comfortable as on 770.
    Black: Ohhh. Anaal Nathrakh - brain if seeping out of the ears and warm pleasant streams flow down the cheeks from the headphone cups.
    Alternative: Driving, delicious, powerful. What more could you want?

    What is not so good:
    Symphonic: Lack of width of soundstage and lack of air are painfully present.
    Sludge, Stoner: Too “coherent”, more details are wanted here. A bit of brightness would be appropriate here.
    Progressive: Mediocre. Wide spacious soundstage is must have here.
    Power: Too narrow and rather flat.
    Death: A little something is missing to make 770 Death presentation perfect. May be a bit of brightness or may be a bit of darkness.

    According to the results, Beyers 770, along with Shure 840 – my favorite entry-level cans. For a dark mood.
  4. kartikk
    Really awesome & helpful thread [​IMG]
    Is it possible to also review the HD518 & K240 sometime in the future?
  5. levap

    Plan for July / first half of August - Grado SR125, Sennheiser HD 600, Audeze LCD-3, LCD-X, Fostex TH-900, Hifiman HE-6 and Audio-technica W5000. Reviews of TH-900 and LCD-X are almost ready now.
    Do you own HD518 and K240? What metal talents do they have? :wink:
    kartikk likes this.
  6. kartikk
    I don't own either of them yet but I plan to get one of the two soon for mainly gaming & some music :)
    (cant seem to make up my mind....the budget is around 80$)
  7. bassboysam
    Still early impressions but the he-4 which I received recently is proving to be a great metal can.
  8. Hansotek

    I totally agree with this assessment.

    I actually just picked up the Focus Pads from Head Direct (the new pads for the HE400i/560), and I found that they fixed this midrange issue for me on the HE400. Coming from the velours, I found the Focus Pads added a nice lift in the 2khz-4khz range, where a lot of the upper harmonics are on the guitar. I feel like they add a lot of the excitement factor of (like you'd find boosted up in a Grado), which is traditionally missing from the HE400 (from that well-known dip in the high mids/low treble).

    I think these pads really fix a lot of what is off about the guitar in the HE400. Right now these are my go-to cans for death, tech death and progressive stuff, and that would have never been the case if I hadn't picked up those pads. Huge leap forward in comfort as well!
  9. FirsToStrike
    My favorite genres are melodic death and folk metal,
    what headphones would you recommand for metal that involves a lot of traditional instruments as well as heavy synth usage? (See band Equilibrium for example)
  10. swspiers

    I have yet to hear anything that I like better than the Grado SR—225i for that music.
  11. marts30
    Alessandro MS2 for me! 225i I found harsher/more sibilant but I owned them a long while ago.
  12. swspiers

    The tape mod and turning the volume down took care of that for me...
  13. bassboysam
    If you can try them out, the AD1000X/AD2000X are great metal cans especially for more intricate stuff.
  14. Hansotek
    I have a couple more suggestions I haven't seen mentioned on the thread yet:

    Beyerdynamic DT880 - 600ohm
    I love these for progressive, death and tech death. Snappy, lightning quick low end with zero bloat and pinpoint decay makes complex double kick and bass passages ultra clear and punchy. 2-6k upper midrange/low treble area is open, clear and relatively flat compared to most phones allowing the crunch of the guitar's upper harmonics to really shine. Soundstage is just right for metal, IMO, very true to life. Instrument seperation is just out of this world, absolutely unmatched by any other headphone I've tried in the price bracket.

    Grado SR80i
    For under $100, these are just unreal. So punchy, so much lift in the upper mids. The low end is never bogged down no matter how complex the passage seems. I've compared these head-to-head with the 225i (which I also own) and honestly, I pick the 80 over the 225 every time. The 225s have less grain, but the 80i's have better frequency balance and more soul. They have nowhere near the comfort and the technical prowess of the afformentioned DT880, and they can be a teeny bit harsh on certian recordings (but not many, I've found), but overall, these things make guitars sound phenomenal and simply ooze soul.
  15. bassboysam
    DT880 is on my list to try, but not until next year. Waaay to many purchases in the las 6-9 months :)
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