Introducing CL2 Planar (Impressions Thread)
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tolisgtr

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@Kitechaser I've settled for -3db at 2 and -3.5db at 4, instead of -5db at both.
I don't know how heaven looks, but I think I know how it might sound!

Fwiw, one of my friends described the experience similar to being high in acid lol
 
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@Kitechaser I've settled for -3db at 2 and -3.5db at 4, instead of -5db at both.
I don't know how heaven looks, but I think I know how it might sound!

Fwiw, one of my friends described the experience similar to being high in acid lol
I plan on writing a review soon. Mini review probably, but this EQ setting is pretty much exactly what I found to be the best results. Maybe just slightly more lower on the dB but pretty much these areas need to be lowered.

I found the stock sound to be very far off nominal for my personal preference. With the EQ, it sounds more "normal" to me.
 
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Tragic

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I plan on writing a review soon. Mini review probably, but this EQ setting is pretty much exactly what I found to be the best results. Maybe just slightly more lower on the dB but pretty much these areas need to be lowered.

I found the stock sound to be very far off nominal for my personal preference. With the EQ, it sounds more "normal" to me.
I’ve settled on just enjoying their perfect sound.
 
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Kitechaser

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@Tragic thanks for bringing up that the CL2 does not require 500 dollar cables and 2000 dollar daps to sound good. That can give people the wrong idea about this iem.
Having said that, something like the Atlas, or Vega might sound better out of a lower tier dap or a phone than the CL2 ( I had a vega running out of a Plenue D, and it sounded great, a CL2, I couldn't do more than 5 minutes). The farther you move up the audio chain, the more the Cl2 races ahead of any other iem on the market. At least in my humble opinion.
It scales like a MoFo.
So both viewpoints are valid.
I am not using any EQ on my setup, to my ears the sound is flat, like @ANOpax mentioned earlier. Out of a WM1A the percieved peak is even less apparent, as the soundstage is wider, and is not as crowded as the ZX300.
My point being, unless you are an iem collector (which is completely okay), this can be your only iem, and to get a better quality sound, you just need to upgrade your DAP, and cables, dont have to spend 1600 dollars on the Solaris or 3 grand on a Audio 64 Tia to get that bump in sq.
This iem is worth building for and around.
 
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Tragic

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@Tragic thanks for bringing up that the CL2 does not require 500 dollar cables and 2000 dollar daps to sound good. That can give people the wrong idea about this iem.
Having said that, something like the Atlas might sound better out of a lower tier dap or a phone than the CL2. But the farther you move up the audio chain, the more the Cl2 races ahead of any other iem on the market. At least in my humble opinion.
It scales like a MoFo.
So both viewpoints are valid.
I am not using any EQ on my setup, to my ears the sound is flat, like @ANOpax mentioned earlier. Out of a WM1A the percieved peak is even less apparent, as the soundstage is wider, and is not as crowded as the ZX300.
My point being, unless you are an iem collector, this can be your only iem, and to get a better quality sound, you just need to upgrade your DAP, and cables, dont have to spend 1600 dollars on the Solaris or 3 grand on a Audio 64 Tia to get your fix.
To be fair, I’m always listening on my desktop rig, Schiit Lyr2 and Bifrost Multibit, so theres worlds of power and clarity. You should know I always respect your opinions amigo.
 
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To be fair, I’m always listening on my desktop rig, Schiit Lyr2 and Bifrost Multibit, so theres worlds of power and clarity. You should know I always respect your opinions amigo.
I have a feeling I am going to end up getting a desktop setup a some point.
Probably after I get done putting together the planar speaker system.
At the end of the day, this is all about the music. Just happy days ever since I got the CL2, no exaggeration.
 
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ANOpax

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Probably after I get done putting together the planar speaker system
Hi, I noticed that you linked to Martin Logan when you mentioned full size electrostats earlier. I know that you’re stateside so M.L. will be the default choice but I would recommend that you avoid M.L. and Magnepan.

Both M.L. and Magnepan use multiple drivers in their speakers and in the case of M.L., their designs are hybrids with dynamic bass drivers which totally misses the point (for me) of having a crossoverless planar design.

If you can, please demo Quad electrostatics and Soundlab electrostatics. Both are full range, crossoverless designs. The Quads have a unique ‘delay ring’ which causes the sound wave to move towards the listener as a spherical wave front. Soundlab uses a segmented diaphragm to approximate a line source (as does M.L.).

The only downside to the Quads is that they won’t go death metal loud, their sweet spot is narrow and they want good quality amplification (preferably 100w and preferably tubed). I don’t think, based on reading your posts, that either of the first two restrictions will be an issue.

Given that you love the CL2, you will adore Quad and Soundlab ESLs.
 
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Hi, I noticed that you linked to Martin Logan when you mentioned full size electrostats earlier. I know that you’re stateside so M.L. will be the default choice but I would recommend that you avoid M.L. and Magnepan.

Both M.L. and Magnepan use multiple drivers in their speakers and in the case of M.L., their designs are hybrids with dynamic bass drivers which totally misses the point (for me) of having a crossoverless planar design.

If you can, please demo Quad electrostatics and Soundlab electrostatics. Both are full range, crossoverless designs. The Quads have a unique ‘delay ring’ which causes the sound wave to move towards the listener as a spherical wave front. Soundlab uses a segmented diaphragm to approximate a line source (as does M.L.).

The only downside to the Quads is that they won’t go death metal loud, their sweet spot is narrow and they want good quality amplification (preferably 100w and preferably tubed). I don’t think, based on reading your posts, that either of the first two restrictions will be an issue.

Given that you love the CL2, you will adore Quad and Soundlab ESLs.
Thank you for that post :) . Yeah I dropped the idea of getting the Martin Logan's, the dynamic bass is pretty much like anchovies on the electrostat ice cream, kind of defeats the purpose of getting an electrostat system in the first place.
The Maggies, would definitely be a step up in that regard, the bass is still planar, but again the multiple drivers is an issue.
I absolutely love the coherancy of a single driver, and after witnessing that 65,000 dollar, 162 speaker McIntosh monstrosity, I would like to go the complete opposite route, so your recommendation is right up my alley.
Death metal is not a genre I listen to, so that will not be an issue with the ESLs. I listen to a lot of acoustic music, symphonies, vocal music, and want that sense of space and realism that has me so addicted to the CL2. I am in Los Angeles, so I am sure I will be able to audition this setup somewhere around here. (I'll shoot you a PM when I gather together more info on this setup, if you don't mind)
I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the CL2, if you have time to do a review, it would be much appreciated by a number of people here.
Always nice to hear thoughts from a different perspective.
 
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ZX300 is a hell of a dap, definitely a few steps above than the V40.
Sony Daps don't have all the streaming and extra power, but what they do have is true to life sound, unmatched tonality, incredible form, and battery life.
Really looking forward to hearing how the R6 Pro pairs with the CL2.
I have always steered away from Sony DAPs. Due to build quality and sound I always check them out initially, but costs and the need for priority connectors if using with other devices have always meant me not going any further.
Personally I have not found one that meets my expectations and/or exceeds my listening pleasure with Chord Mojo/DAP/Phone etc, but these are my personal experiences


Fine to have preferences and opinions but not fine when you project it onto others. Different DAPs have their own DSPs (and circuitry) which makes them sound different. Just because a DAP is more linear with more treble extension doesn't make it better than another DAP that focuses on warmth + lesser treble extension.

All about synergy as well.
Agree, my feelings exactly, not everything is for everybody
 
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I have always steered away from Sony DAPs. Due to build quality and sound I always check them out initially, but costs and the need for priority connectors if using with other devices have always meant me not going any further.
Personally I have not found one that meets my expectations and/or exceeds my listening pleasure with Chord Mojo/DAP/Phone etc, but these are my personal experiences




Agree, my feelings exactly, not everything is for everybody
Synergy is key. All I can say is that with the CL2 and the Sony Daps (other than the 1Z) , timbre of the instruments, to my ears is pretty much perfect. Instruments sound live, not like hearing them being played through a dynamic speaker at a concert, but live as in, being played in front of my face.
It's quite a stunning experience on well mastered tracks, especially High res.
@tolisgtr, yes sometimes it sounds like music on an acid trip, :) , a few of my friends have also noticed that.
And almost all of them have said something similar to, "I feel like I am there".
 
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The CL2 have been in my grubby little paws and ears for 4 months now and I think I’m probably fully burned in now with hours on them.

They are by far the best earphone I’ve owned, using SpinFit CP240 for the last few weeks has improved them a bit more for me in terms of fit and overall sonic quality.

Been listening to a few live albums over the last few days and there have been a few times where I feel like my jaw has dropped at the sound quality from these.

It’s a shame a few have dismissed them based on inaccurate reviews or basing their buying decision on somebody’s dislike.

They really are an earphone that you have to try before making judgement.

RHA have done a wonderful job with the CL2.
 
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John Mayall "If I don't get home"
(John Mayall and friends album) is to die for on the CL2, SACD High res version.
Blues here sound better than they have any right to sound out of a 10mm driver.
Been sitting here listening to the whole album on repeat, twice.

Add: Just like Love, Steve Strauss
Wow. Just wow.
 
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Renaud Capucon
"Cinema"
Is an absolute must own album for every CL2 owner, in 24/96 (a must)
If you are going to just take one recommendation for music that highlights what the CL2 can do, this is it.

 
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Hello all,

I’ve taken delivery of my CL2 and am loving them despite only having about 25hrs on them. I’ve heard enough to draw some conclusions and also come up with a hypothesis on why they are such a marmite IEM.

First, some background on my biases and prejudices. I apologise if some of this sounds like a rant and if it is ill informed, please go easy on me and correct me gently!

My main area of listening experience is with what most would consider to be a serious full size rig (Wadia CDP/DAC, Modwright Valve preamp, EAR 509 valve mono blocks feeding Quad ESL989 electrostatic speakers). I prize a liquid and organic sound with a natural timbre. I have played in orchestras and attended enough live concerts to know what a real instrument or performance sounds like.

My headphone experience includes 2 years with hifi man RE01 followed by the last 4 years with Earsonics SM64. I’m not a gear-head so I don’t chop and change equipment lightly.

I’ve had to look into a replacement for my SM64s as I was getting an intermittent problem on one channel. I have auditioned the Earsonics ES3 and InEar SD2 and SD5 as potential replacements.

What has surprised me, coming back to the headphone forae, is how far away from the reproducing the intent of the recording a lot of the products have become. The ethos and approach is totally different to the full size side of things. For example, EQ is anathema to me. So is the idea of V or U shaped tuning. Outside the headphone world, it’s called ‘loudness’ and is performed by the press of a button on cheap Japanese boom boxes. I also don’t subscribe to the idea that a product can be good but only suitable for certain genres of music. If it can’t reproduce everything with aplomb then it can’t be good.

I also find the focus on soundstaging and separation to be an understandable but misleading preoccupation with headphones. It’s understandable because the presentation of headphones ‘inside your head’ makes it easier to analyse the soundstage. It’s misleading because nobody goes to a concert and picks out the instruments’ and vocalists’ positions - because you can’t; the room interaction gets in the way. What seems to have happened is that products now have an over emphasised bass, and major in detail and separation but in the process have lost the musical message by concentrating on the hifi. The fact that Chord is so well regarded makes me wince (and yes, I’ve heard the mojo).

Speak for yourself, I most certainly do pick out individual types of instruments @every concert of any musical genre I go to, especially harp---close your eyes, you can still determine what direction in a concert hall the harp is placed at usually...ever been to opera performance, if you can't tell where the voices are coming from, probably wasted your money going to the performance or you have cheap seats way up in the clouds...room interaction contention is specious at best, nonsense at worst, is that gentle enough ;p . Then again, in another post you mentioned that the design should be able to play all music genre, but then go on to mention CL2 won't be loud enough for a metal head? Based on what amplifier/amplification tests you have done?

Best thing I'm getting out of this thread, and it seems to apply more broadly...so many individual models, have equal number of users that want differing things from the same model, so either knock it for perceived flaws, or praise for same 'flaws', all saying 'synergy' is the key, the whole package from source to ears, all those components make little differences that add up to a complete whole of the parts.

The final thing I find utterly perplexing is the assumption that more BA drivers = better. In the full size speaker world, few drivers = better.
Another nonsensical statement, if single driver speakers were the be-all-end-all, why are multi-driver, multi-crossover speakers the dominant market?
There is no crossover to get in the way, no difference in timbre between drivers. No interference, no distortion. The bass is also much more natural and true to life.
good speaker design, employs crossovers that do a good job, which costs time/money vs diminishing returns, at some point a compromise is made. This is an old debate that will never be 'won'.
The CL2 succeeds where multi BA IEMs fail due to the crossoverless top to bottom coherence that a single planar driver provides.
I think there are plenty of audio experts that will disagree with such blanket statements, plenty will say that a hybrid driver setup provides the best of both worlds, using BA that you do not like.
When people criticise the ‘unnatural’ timbre of the driver, I find it hard to understand where this is coming from. Instrumental timbre sounds perfect to me. I do understand the comments about ‘light bass’. Planar bass takes some getting used to but again, it’s acoustically correct.
Planar bass is 'acoustically correct' ...nonsensical, it can be 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on how successful the design implementation.
With the ‘theoretically flat’ tuning of the driver, RHA have created a perfect monitor for listening to your music. Unlike many monitors, it is musically satisfying as well. Not everyone likes the perfection of a freshly churned vanilla ice cream made with best Madagascar vanilla pods. Some people like the addition of anchovies and I’m okay with that. They just won’t like the CL2...
Uh, BMW Motorsports or Mercedes AMG? I vastly prefer the subtle floral qualities of fresh juicy/fruity Tahitian vanilla beans in my freshly made French pastry cream, or vanilla custard ice cream base. If you value your life, you'd not offer me anchovies in ice cream, pizza yes!

LOL, I have a huge loss of hearing @8k, so the 'bass' heavy profile, the only one that does not drop 6db+ @8k according to that graph; is the best for my ears, even though I'm not a basshead, prefer treble 1st, bass 2nd, mids 3rd cause they are needed for singing voices.

Planar bass in Auduze LCD-2 is not what I find interesting, when compared to planar bass from Hifiman HE-1000.

Soundspace on HE-1000 is not 'better' but different/more to my liking in the HE-1000 compared to the 'signature' natural/theoretical flat LCD-2?

Though I'd prefer a nice crossover designed DNA mix of HE-1000 & Sennheiser's HD800 wide/airy soundspace, or maybe throw in superior treble of a Stax,

^3 'synthetic crossover' design of those 3 cans, put it into a nice cheap custom 3D printed true wireless earphone with 12hrs runtime, I'm down with that :)....and it must cost <$300...california dreamin.
 
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Kitechaser

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Speak for yourself, I most certainly do pick out individual types of instruments @every concert of any musical genre I go to, especially harp---close your eyes, you can still determine what direction in a concert hall the harp is placed at usually...ever been to opera performance, if you can't tell where the voices are coming from, probably wasted your money going to the performance or you have cheap seats way up in the clouds...room interaction contention is specious at best, nonsense at worst, is that gentle enough ;p . Then again, in another post you mentioned that the design should be able to play all music genre, but then go on to mention CL2 won't be loud enough for a metal head? Based on what amplifier/amplification tests you have done?

Best thing I'm getting out of this thread, and it seems to apply more broadly...so many individual models, have equal number of users that want differing things from the same model, so either knock it for perceived flaws, or praise for same 'flaws', all saying 'synergy' is the key, the whole package from source to ears, all those components make little differences that add up to a complete whole of the parts.



Another nonsensical statement, if single driver speakers were the be-all-end-all, why are multi-driver, multi-crossover speakers the dominant market?


good speaker design, employs crossovers that do a good job, which costs time/money vs diminishing returns, at some point a compromise is made. This is an old debate that will never be 'won'.


I think there are plenty of audio experts that will disagree with such blanket statements, plenty will say that a hybrid driver setup provides the best of both worlds, using BA that you do not like.


Planar bass is 'acoustically correct' ...nonsensical, it can be 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on how successful the design implementation.
Uh, BMW Motorsports or Mercedes AMG? I vastly prefer the subtle floral qualities of fresh juicy/fruity Tahitian vanilla beans in my freshly made French pastry cream, or vanilla custard ice cream base. If you value your life, you'd not offer me anchovies in ice cream, pizza yes!

LOL, I have a huge loss of hearing @8k, so the 'bass' heavy profile, the only one that does not drop 6db+ @8k according to that graph; is the best for my ears, even though I'm not a basshead, prefer treble 1st, bass 2nd, mids 3rd cause they are needed for singing voices.

Planar bass in Auduze LCD-2 is not what I find interesting, when compared to planar bass from Hifiman HE-1000.

Soundspace on HE-1000 is not 'better' but different/more to my liking in the HE-1000 compared to the 'signature' natural/theoretical flat LCD-2?

Though I'd prefer a nice crossover designed DNA mix of HE-1000 & Sennheiser's HD800 wide/airy soundspace, or maybe throw in superior treble of a Stax,

^3 'synthetic crossover' design of those 3 cans, put it into a nice cheap custom 3D printed true wireless earphone with 12hrs runtime, I'm down with that :)....and it must cost <$300...california dreamin.
Most people like mp3s, so don't tell me about what most people like :)
The most expensive systems that I have listened to, over a million plus dollars, sounded to my ears like complete crap. Try them for yourself, 500 little speakers trying to sound like one, is physically impossible, no matter how much money you spend at it. They all sound distorted as hell.
The best sound I have ever heard is from single drivers.
Most people just follow the herd, and the herd for the most part is always racing off the cliff.
The CL2 has some of the best instrument separation I have ever heard on an iem, it has all the hifi requirements that most people crave, but the coherancy with its class leading resolution is breathtaking.
The bass, when you get used to it, sounds so real, I can close my eyes and almost touch the sound in front of my face.
I would have paid an easy 2 grand for this iem, and still feel like I came out on top.
FOR ME this is the perfect iem. And I have listened to quite a few of the TOTL so called S class iems out there.
And I agree with @ANOpax completely, the preoccupation this hobby has with BA drivers and 18 speakers in 1 ear, is disconcerting to say the least. Its a giant mess to be honest.

This conversation got carried over from a different thread, I'll let @ANOpax address your take on his observations :)
 
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