HiFiMan Shangri-La Jr (New $8000 Electrostat)
Jun 17, 2022 at 7:05 AM Post #496 of 517

searchingtom

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Congratulations!

200 hours and it will sound heavenly!

Those valves need a bit of time
It sounds good already - can't wait ! Might you or someone else comment about the tubes? Should I buy a second matched set now ? I am hoping to get around 5 years life from the 6SN7's that they use. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas ? Thank you !
 
Aug 6, 2022 at 11:51 PM Post #498 of 517

SolarCetacean

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Since acquiring the Shangri-La Jr, I have yet to find another headphone that immediately impresses me with that same sense of "hi-fi-ness" that I had when I first listened to it. When I first heard the SGL Jr, even when powered with the SRM-D10, I thought "yes, this is what hi-fi should sound like". It's an odd sensation that I have difficulty describing, but it's like the SGL Jr fit my platonic ideal of what summit-fi should sound like. Since getting the SGL Jr, I've had the opportunity to hear other summit-tier (or similar) headphones - Focal Utopia, Meze Elite, and HD 800S - and none of them have given me that "ah this is it" feeling. Every demo has left me thinking, "this is nice, and it does some things better, but I like my Shangri-La Jr more overall", which is an oddly satisfying feeling.

To me, I think the treble presentation of the SGL Jr hasn't been equaled by another headphone that I've listened to. The smoothness of the treble, while also being elevated, is to me the key ingredient. Most headphones with smooth treble also tend to have relaxed treble, and I prefer the energetic, boosted treble of the SGL Jr which provides the "airiness" in sound that I love.

At this point, the list of headphones that can provide me with a meaningful upgrade over the SGL Jr is becoming pretty slim. Other than the Susvara or LCD-5 (which I have been unable to demo so far), it seems that only other summit-tier electrostats could provide a true upgrade rather than a side-grade or different flavor. Perhaps this means I have reached the "endgame", where it's no longer about getting more audio quality, but instead different interpretations of what "hi-fi" means.
 
Aug 7, 2022 at 12:33 PM Post #499 of 517

tunes

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Since acquiring the Shangri-La Jr, I have yet to find another headphone that immediately impresses me with that same sense of "hi-fi-ness" that I had when I first listened to it. When I first heard the SGL Jr, even when powered with the SRM-D10, I thought "yes, this is what hi-fi should sound like". It's an odd sensation that I have difficulty describing, but it's like the SGL Jr fit my platonic ideal of what summit-fi should sound like. Since getting the SGL Jr, I've had the opportunity to hear other summit-tier (or similar) headphones - Focal Utopia, Meze Elite, and HD 800S - and none of them have given me that "ah this is it" feeling. Every demo has left me thinking, "this is nice, and it does some things better, but I like my Shangri-La Jr more overall", which is an oddly satisfying feeling.

To me, I think the treble presentation of the SGL Jr hasn't been equaled by another headphone that I've listened to. The smoothness of the treble, while also being elevated, is to me the key ingredient. Most headphones with smooth treble also tend to have relaxed treble, and I prefer the energetic, boosted treble of the SGL Jr which provides the "airiness" in sound that I love.

At this point, the list of headphones that can provide me with a meaningful upgrade over the SGL Jr is becoming pretty slim. Other than the Susvara or LCD-5 (which I have been unable to demo so far), it seems that only other summit-tier electrostats could provide a true upgrade rather than a side-grade or different flavor. Perhaps this means I have reached the "endgame", where it's no longer about getting more audio quality, but instead different interpretations of what "hi-fi" means.
Has anyone done a head to head comparison of the Susvara with a really good amp and SGLJr? I have been enjoying a great combo of Susvara/CHORD DAVE/UPScaler and the new Enleum amp-23r. The Susvara plus Enleum is even more expensive.
 
Aug 7, 2022 at 6:45 PM Post #500 of 517

SolarCetacean

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Has anyone done a head to head comparison of the Susvara with a really good amp and SGLJr? I have been enjoying a great combo of Susvara/CHORD DAVE/UPScaler and the new Enleum amp-23r. The Susvara plus Enleum is even more expensive.
I think @BassicScience has both Susvara and SGL Jr. He did this big comparison on the SGL Jr, Sr, and SR-X9000 a few months ago, but I don't think he included the Susvara in that shoot-out.
 
Aug 27, 2022 at 4:33 PM Post #501 of 517

SolarCetacean

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Made a realization regarding the sound of the SGL Jr. One aspect of the sound that slightly bugged me was the fact that it sometimes made singers sound like they had a bit of a lisp, where 's' sounds more like 'sh' and 't' sounds more like 'th'. Like the singers were trying to make the 's' sound without moving their tongue. It's not a big deal, but it sometimes made the sibilant sounds a bit indistinct and could also cloud the sound of cymbals.

This is due to a narrow dip centered at 5.5 KHz. The 5.5K dip was something I noticed pretty early on when listening to sine sweeps, but at the time I didn't link it to any particular sound feature, so I didn't think much of it. After some EQ experimentation, I found that reducing that dip cut out that lispy-ness I was hearing. The flip side is that getting rid of the lisp can cause sibilance. It also affects the imaging ability of the headphone and overdoing the boost can be destructive to its soundstage and imaging coherence. I see why Hifiman decided to leave that dip there instead of changing the design to get rid of it. The SGL Jr is already a very bright headphone, and having that dip there softens the sound and prevents it from getting too harsh, which is a criticism often levied against newer Stax headphones, which generally have a peak around 5K.

In a way, I consider the SGL Jr to be the "anti-Stax": most Stax headphones have a general peak in the 1-2K range, and a peak between 5K and 6K while the Jr is the opposite with the 1-2K range recessed and a dip at 5.5K. It provides a nice contrast against a Stax headphone while still having the excellent treble extension and technicalities of an electrostatic. One of the reasons I went with the SGL rather than a 009S, coming from the L700mk2, is that I wanted a different sound, not just a better version of the same sound, and the SGL certainly delivers that.

For anyone interested in my EQ setting, it's a peak filter centered at 5500 Hz, Q=5, and a gain between 1 dB and 2 dB. Over 2 dB makes things a bit too sibilant, while under 1 dB makes too little of a difference to my ears. My current preference is +1.5 dB. I don't think this change is a must-have filter, and I'll toggle it depending on if I want a sharper or softer sound.
 
Sep 6, 2022 at 6:33 PM Post #502 of 517

ufospls2

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Hey Guys, so I've got a pair of Shangri-La Jr here. I've really been looking forward to them being delivered to give them a good listen, and see what I think vs. the SR's I wrote a review on.

IMG_2293.JPG


I've only had about two hours listening with them so far, so these are very initial impressions. This is with my KGSSHV Carbon, and I will circle back to how they sound once my T2 is ready and delivered (sometime in the next couple weeks I'm guessing?) @number1sixerfan Found the T2 did improve his experience with his pair of SR's, so perhaps that will also be the case with the JR's also? One would think it might be, but time will tell.

Anyhow, my initial impression is that the SR outdo the JR in terms of the very tiny details, and the overall delicate and effortless sound. With that being said, there isn't a massive difference in it, and the difference become less apparent if you do a bit EQ tweaking (which I will mention again a bit later) The thing I'm noticing the most is the overall change in sonic picture and the shape of the soundstage. What is interesting, is I find the soundstage is a similar difference to the HE1000 and Susvara in terms of soundstage height. The SR sounds noticeably taller, and I think it has to be to do with the more circular shape of the JR, vs the egg shape of the SR. The SR also just sounds "bigger" overall. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable. Another difference, which may be driver shape and pad related (I'm not sure) is the JR seems to be a few rows forward in the audience, if that makes sense? It's a slightly more upfront sounding soundstage.

I know that @BassicScience found there to be a pretty big difference in the stock bass response between the JR and SR, with the JR having less bass, but I'm not really finding I'm noticing that so far. The SR definitely has a better bass response, but so far the level is fairly similar. Maybe over time I will notice more difference? I'll go back to the stock tuning after I put some hours on the drivers and see if I notice any changes and report back.

I always used a bit of a low shelf bass increase with the SR when listening for enjoyment, and I'm doing the same with the JR. The JR is a bit less forward in the high upper mids and lower treble, actually in the treble in total. So tweaking the treble level with a tiny bit EQ seems to bring them more in line with the SR's sound signature, but still just missing that edge the SR has in delicate details etc...as well as the bigger sonic picture and soundstage.

The build quality feels pretty similar, same cable, same headband, just a metal shell vs the black metal and wood of the SR. Comfort is good, slightly more clamp than the SR, but overall light feeling and comfortable. Feels sort of like a lighter Susvara which makes sense given the weight and shape.

Is the SR better? So far, yes, unquestionably so. However, The SR also costs a lot more. The JR, whilst still being expensive ($4000MSRP) is a more manageable proposition and in line with or slightly below most other flagships these days. If you are willing to tweak a little bit with EQ, you can get even closer to the SR's sound signature with the JR than its stock FR. Is the SR worth the extra coin? If they are a possibility for you financially, I'd say yes. If they aren't, the JR's do a lot of the same thing for a whole heck of a lot less money.

Anyhow, that's just my first impressions and I'll share my full review once I've spent a lot more time with the JRs.
 
Sep 6, 2022 at 7:26 PM Post #503 of 517

HelpMeWithHeadphones

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Hey Guys, so I've got a pair of Shangri-La Jr here. I've really been looking forward to them being delivered to give them a good listen, and see what I think vs. the SR's I wrote a review on.

IMG_2293.JPG

I've only had about two hours listening with them so far, so these are very initial impressions. This is with my KGSSHV Carbon, and I will circle back to how they sound once my T2 is ready and delivered (sometime in the next couple weeks I'm guessing?) @number1sixerfan Found the T2 did improve his experience with his pair of SR's, so perhaps that will also be the case with the JR's also? One would think it might be, but time will tell.

Anyhow, my initial impression is that the SR outdo the JR in terms of the very tiny details, and the overall delicate and effortless sound. With that being said, there isn't a massive difference in it, and the difference become less apparent if you do a bit EQ tweaking (which I will mention again a bit later) The thing I'm noticing the most is the overall change in sonic picture and the shape of the soundstage. What is interesting, is I find the soundstage is a similar difference to the HE1000 and Susvara in terms of soundstage height. The SR sounds noticeably taller, and I think it has to be to do with the more circular shape of the JR, vs the egg shape of the SR. The SR also just sounds "bigger" overall. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable. Another difference, which may be driver shape and pad related (I'm not sure) is the JR seems to be a few rows forward in the audience, if that makes sense? It's a slightly more upfront sounding soundstage.

I know that @BassicScience found there to be a pretty big difference in the stock bass response between the JR and SR, with the JR having less bass, but I'm not really finding I'm noticing that so far. The SR definitely has a better bass response, but so far the level is fairly similar. Maybe over time I will notice more difference? I'll go back to the stock tuning after I put some hours on the drivers and see if I notice any changes and report back.

I always used a bit of a low shelf bass increase with the SR when listening for enjoyment, and I'm doing the same with the JR. The JR is a bit less forward in the high upper mids and lower treble, actually in the treble in total. So tweaking the treble level with a tiny bit EQ seems to bring them more in line with the SR's sound signature, but still just missing that edge the SR has in delicate details etc...as well as the bigger sonic picture and soundstage.

The build quality feels pretty similar, same cable, same headband, just a metal shell vs the black metal and wood of the SR. Comfort is good, slightly more clamp than the SR, but overall light feeling and comfortable. Feels sort of like a lighter Susvara which makes sense given the weight and shape.

Is the SR better? So far, yes, unquestionably so. However, The SR also costs a lot more. The JR, whilst still being expensive ($4000MSRP) is a more manageable proposition and in line with or slightly below most other flagships these days. If you are willing to tweak a little bit with EQ, you can get even closer to the SR's sound signature with the JR than its stock FR. Is the SR worth the extra coin? If they are a possibility for you financially, I'd say yes. If they aren't, the JR's do a lot of the same thing for a whole heck of a lot less money.

Anyhow, that's just my first impressions and I'll share my full review once I've spent a lot more time with the JRs.
This is a really good first impression. And it may save people a bunch of cash!
 
Sep 6, 2022 at 7:28 PM Post #504 of 517

HelpMeWithHeadphones

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Has anyone done a head to head comparison of the Susvara with a really good amp and SGLJr? I have been enjoying a great combo of Susvara/CHORD DAVE/UPScaler and the new Enleum amp-23r. The Susvara plus Enleum is even more expensive.
Wow thats a serious set up man. Like insane. I hope you enjoy it as much as I would!
 
Sep 6, 2022 at 7:36 PM Post #505 of 517

BassicScience

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@ufospls2 , thanks for posting your impressions of the SGL Junior. It's certainly interesting that you feel the SGL Jr's bass level is comparable to the SGL's. May I ask what genres and/or tracks you've been evaluating them with? Agreed that a bass shelf can give the SGL Jr. a bit more midbass punch, but I wasn't really able to recover meaningful sub-bass with EQ. I don't think this is an issue with the seal, either, as the SGL Jr. clamps a bit tighter than the Susvara on my noggin.

I agree pretty much completely with your comments on soundstage. The SGL Jr. puts the listener quite close to the stage. The treble energy may have a lot to do with it, as the STAX X9K also has circular drivers, yet places the listener several rows back by comparison. The SGL does have a taller soundstage than either the X9K or SGL Jr., and that's likely down to the taller drivers. I think the SGL (from memory) also layers better than the SGL Jr., while the X9K also excels in that department.

Lastly, I will opine that *I* found the SGL's build quality more solid overall than the SGL Junior's. I'm pretty sure neither would win any awards for durability. Totally agree that $14K is a hefty asking price for the SGL, and thus I've postponed purchase of it for now pending further listening sessions.

Looking forward to your updated impressions. Cheers.
 
Sep 6, 2022 at 7:41 PM Post #506 of 517

ufospls2

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@ufospls2 , thanks for posting your impressions of the SGL Junior. It's certainly interesting that you feel the SGL Jr's bass level is comparable to the SGL's. May I ask what genres and/or tracks you've been evaluating them with? Agreed that a bass shelf can give the SGL Jr. a bit more midbass punch, but I wasn't really able to recover meaningful sub-bass with EQ. I don't think this is an issue with the seal, either, as the SGL Jr. clamps a bit tighter than the Susvara on my noggin.

I agree pretty much completely with your comments on soundstage. The SGL Jr. puts the listener quite close to the stage. The treble energy may have a lot to do with it, as the STAX X9K also has circular drivers, yet places the listener several rows back by comparison. The SGL does have a taller soundstage than either the X9K or SGL Jr., and that's likely down to the taller drivers. I think the SGL (from memory) also layers better than the SGL Jr., while the X9K also excels in that department.

Lastly, I will opine that *I* found the SGL's build quality more solid overall than the SGL Junior's. I'm pretty sure neither would win any awards for durability. Totally agree that $14K is a hefty asking price for the SGL, and thus I've postponed purchase of it for now pending further listening sessions.

Looking forward to your updated impressions. Cheers.

I mostly listen to electronica, jazz and metal. I'll do a bunch more listening with the electronica and focus on the subbass, and see how I'm feeling about it. To be continued :)
 
Sep 7, 2022 at 12:03 AM Post #507 of 517

SolarCetacean

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Some of you might find this story amusing. I'm a big fan of the Shangri-La Jr's sound, but one thing has been bugging me for the past few months: when I move my head while wearing them, I often hear this metallic "tick" sound in one or both sides of the headphone by my ears. It gets worse when there's humidity (like after a shower when I don't blow-dry my hair or when I'm sweaty), and sometimes repositioning the headphone helps, but it gets difficult after a while to find a good position that doesn't produce noise. If I hold my head entirely still, it won't happen, but it's not convenient to do that when I'm trying to relax with music, or if I'm playing a video game. So whenever I move my head (tilting my head causes it the most, though looking around or tensing my temples - which causes my ear to move - will also trigger it), I hear "tick, tick, tick" and it drives me crazy. There have been days when I just give up on trying to listen to the SGL because I cannot find a position where it won't produce that tick.

After a bunch of experimentation, I found it's because my ears (which protrude about 28 mm measured from the front) are pressing against the metal mesh in front of the driver, and the mesh is then touching the metal frame (the circle with spokes that you can see from the outside) that's underneath it. Moving my ears causes the mesh to briefly lift off and then press back down against the frame, which produces the "tick".

My DIY solution is to gently press my ears back and fasten them there with Scotch tape before I put on the headphone. Now the tips of my ears aren't pressed against the driver grille and the ticking sound is no more! Plus, I think the soundstage is a little bit wider. This feels like an "audiophile moment": adjusting parts of my body to improve the musical experience.
 
Sep 7, 2022 at 9:22 AM Post #508 of 517

musicman59

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:joy: :joy: :joy:
 
Sep 7, 2022 at 11:02 AM Post #509 of 517

JLoud

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I’m sorry, this is all I could picture reading your post.
 

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Sep 7, 2022 at 11:24 AM Post #510 of 517

SolarCetacean

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Get that man some CIEMS. Because there's no hope for him with over-ear headphones. Being Dumbo-eared is quite annoying because I don't like IEMs, yet my ears get in the way of headphones. At least Hifiman headphones have that thin layer of fabric on the inside of the earpad that lightly cushions the ear. I didn't find the Meze Elite that comfortable when I demoed it because my ears were pressed against the bare metal of the driver grille.

It wasn't this annoying when I first got the SGL Jr. In fact, I don't think it happened at all when I first had it. I noticed that the right earpad exhibited more foam wear than the left one, and the wearing of the earpad decreases its thickness and results in more contact between my ear and the driver. I'm still within the 1-year earpad warranty period, so I could try to see if Hifiman will send me replacement earpads. Though if it's a case of earpads wearing thin, I'd be back to taping my ears in another 6 months.
 

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