JM Audio Editions XTC Headphones
Jan 29, 2023 at 3:45 PM Post #16 of 1,483
Yea, I want to compare the D9200 and TH900 to the XTC when I get a chance.

From memory, the XTC is basically in this group. Listening to the XTC and describing how it sounds, it just brings something new and I'm reminded of or think about the D9200, TH900, Stellia, ZMF VC, and some others.

I won't know how it competes technically (at least to my ears) until I can compare them side by side.

I should be able to compare some of those today though.

Whether it's the sound quality and technicalities or the sound signature and characteristics that remind me of all these others, it's exciting to see a new headphone that fits somewhere in this group.
I can only assume that it would sound most closely to some Kennerton headphones.
 
Jan 29, 2023 at 4:30 PM Post #17 of 1,483
In the Kennerton line, the IMO the XTC-Closed sounds most like the Gjallarhorn GH50 JM Edition, more neutral and less bass weight and dynamics than the JM Edition 2. It does not sound like the Rognir Planar much, which is faster and more detailed but less warm, immediate, and bass-prominent. I have not heard any of the other Kennerton phones so I can't make a comparison.
 
Jan 29, 2023 at 4:32 PM Post #18 of 1,483
In the Kennerton line, the IMO the XTC-Closed sounds most like the Gjallarhorn GH50 JM Edition, more neutral and less bass weight and dynamics than the JM Edition 2. It does not sound like the Rognir Planar much, which is faster and more detailed but less warm, immediate, and bass-prominent. I have not heard any of the other Kennerton phones so I can't make a comparison.
Less dynamic than the Gjallarhorn? Gjallarhorn is my favorite closed can. I'm more curious how the XTC open sounds in comparison. The Gjallarhorn has the best soundstage of any closed back I've heard.
 
Jan 29, 2023 at 4:44 PM Post #19 of 1,483
Less dynamic than the Gjallarhorn? Gjallarhorn is my favorite closed can. I'm more curious how the XTC open sounds in comparison. The Gjallarhorn has the best soundstage of any closed back I've heard.
I meant bass dynamics, not overall dynamics. I find the XTC-C to have a bigger soundstage than the GH50, either JM version. Of course, if you are looking for a big soundstage, look no further than the RAAL SR-1b which is described as "earspeakers" or "nearfield ear monitors." Their soundstage is vastly more expansive than any other phone I have heard, along with amazing speed and detail, but then the tradeoff is lesser bass weight and bass dynamics. I think the two reviews on this thread compare the soundstage of the XTC-O and XTC-C.
 
Jan 29, 2023 at 8:32 PM Post #20 of 1,483
Unfortunately I wasn't able to compare many closed back headphones at the meetup I went to today. There were some ZMF, but no Verite Closed. I didn't miss an opportunity to listen to ZMF again and love them, but comparing open back isn't apples to apples obviously. Didn't see a Denon 9200 either. Though I was able to try a Fostex x00 (I believe was the model) with the Lawton cups...that actually had some really improved soundstage.

Tough call here, but they may have had a slightly wider soundstage? But it almost became like an echo in a sense and I feel like positioning was somewhat hampered by that spaciousness. I'd just say it's different than the XTC's soundstage.

I prefer the XTC (and it's soundstage) over the Fostex x00 for a few reasons, but those Lawton cups are good stuff! Now, there were other mods to this particular pair of headphones too so I don't know if it was all in the cups. They were excellent and goes to show how much you can do with Fostex. Well that's no surprise I guess.

I was also able to listen to some Audeze closed backs including the LCD-XC. I think XTC all the way here. Not saying the Audeze aren't good, but they have that weight working against them. It already starts them off with a disadvantage before you even get to the sound. I prefer Audeze open back to their closed back.

I was able to put the XTC on some tube amps. Real tube amps! The kind I joked that I needed to buy its own desk for. Wow. The XTC is amazing on tube amps. I have to listen some more on my hybrid tube amp (Loxjie P20) but I know it won't be anywhere close to the same experience I had today of course. Now I think I know where my next big purchase will be lol. Just when you think you have your setup all dialed in.

I do want to compare the VC, Stellia, and the Gjallarhorn M50 though. Guess it'll be a little while before I get the chance.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 4:19 AM Post #21 of 1,483
I've had the XTC Closed for about a month and its by far the best headphone I have. I have only listened on an Xduoo TA-20 tubes and the ifi Gryphon. The tube amp sound is so cozy. I'm curious to know if the XTC Open is similar sounding to the XTC Closed with wider soundstage? I have a ZMF Verite open on the way and will be able to compare.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 2:25 PM Post #22 of 1,483
Can anyone comment on how these sound in relation to Kennerton - Closest price range would be the Vali Neo and then the Gjallarhorn. I own both of these, but would like to try the XTC Open. I have a sneaky suspicion that they may sound more similar than different.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 3:34 PM Post #23 of 1,483
OK, so I can weigh in here on the Gjallarhorn, of which I previously owned the GH50 JM Edition and then modified by JM to the JM Edition Mark 2. I have never heard the Vali Neo. The JM Audio Editions XTC-Closed, of which I own the "nearly scapel" tuned version, sounds more like the JM Edition Mark 1 than the Mark 2. The Mark 1 is more neutral in character than the Mark 2 with the Mark 2 having significantly more bass weight and bass dynamics, while darker, warmer, and with more midrange body. The XTC-C lies on the faster, more detailed end of the sonic spectrum and bass is tighter, deeper, and more detailed, while somewhat more spacious than either GH50. If you like your bass heavy and prominent I would probably prefer the JME2 but in reality I prefer the JME1 and XTC-C. Heck, I really really like the Rognir Planar and RAAL SR-1b for that matter, really detailed and fast with significantly less bass weight.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 4:31 PM Post #24 of 1,483
OK, so I can weigh in here on the Gjallarhorn, of which I previously owned the GH50 JM Edition and then modified by JM to the JM Edition Mark 2. I have never heard the Vali Neo. The JM Audio Editions XTC-Closed, of which I own the "nearly scapel" tuned version, sounds more like the JM Edition Mark 1 than the Mark 2. The Mark 1 is more neutral in character than the Mark 2 with the Mark 2 having significantly more bass weight and bass dynamics, while darker, warmer, and with more midrange body. The XTC-C lies on the faster, more detailed end of the sonic spectrum and bass is tighter, deeper, and more detailed, while somewhat more spacious than either GH50. If you like your bass heavy and prominent I would probably prefer the JME2 but in reality I prefer the JME1 and XTC-C. Heck, I really really like the Rognir Planar and RAAL SR-1b for that matter, really detailed and fast with significantly less bass weight.
I have the Gjallarhorn Mk1, and it's my favorite. I just picked up the Vali Neo, which has been modified by John. It's definitely more linear, tighter and natural sounding. It's actually the 1st headphone I've kept that I absolutely do not want to touch the equalizer with. Never heard it in stock form, but being John did his tuning mods on it, I can't help but feel that it would sound rather similar to the XTC closed. I'm not going to ask John to tune my Gjallarhorn, as I love it just the way it is. Plus my Gjallarhorn and Vali (Blue and Green) look so sweet next to each other on my dual headphone stand.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 4:36 PM Post #25 of 1,483
I ordered a pair of XTC closed that I am very excited about. Also, probably just best to ask him but does anyone know if John could tune something like an Audeze LCD-XC? I already got rid of mine and it probably would make sense to just get the XTC closed instead but the technicalities on that thing were great but the stock tuning was just so ass and I never felt like I could completely save it with EQ.
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 5:00 PM Post #26 of 1,483
I recently acquired the XTC open with the biowool driver and the XTC closed with the beryllium driver, except the XTC closed is a slightly different version with larger cups that I believe is being called the XTC Squared. I will have to ask John again what all exactly is different about it compared to the standard version, but it definitely has larger cups. I believe the end result is even better resolution and detail. I must say I have been blown away by both of these headphones. I haven't done a lot of A/B comparisons against other headphones yet, because mostly I've just been enjoying them and getting to know their sound signatures before I start making any bold proclamations. I'm pretty certain however that they do compare very favorably with some of the best headphones I've heard. The only open backs I've owned are the 6XX, Arya, and Susvara, so I don't have a ton of experience with open back headphones, and it's kind of hard to compare dynamic headphones to planar magnetic ones, since they sound so different. My XTC open with the biowool driver doesn't have quite the clarity or resolution of a Susvara of course, but it can still be just as enjoyable, depending on what you're looking for in a headphone.
Closed backs, on the other hand, I've had more experience with, and my XTC closed with the beryllium driver is right up there with the best I've heard. A few of the others I have on hand to compare against include the modhouse argon mk3, ebony foxtex, audeze lcd-xc, sony mdr-z1r, sennheiser hd820, meze liric, kennerton gjallarhorn gh50 modded by John, and the kennerton rognir planar. I will try to do some A/B testing this weekend so I can add some thoughts on those specific comparisions.
 

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Feb 17, 2023 at 5:17 PM Post #27 of 1,483
I recently acquired the XTC open with the biowool driver and the XTC closed with the beryllium driver, except the XTC closed is a slightly different version with larger cups that I believe is being called the XTC Squared. I will have to ask John again what all exactly is different about it compared to the standard version, but it definitely has larger cups. I believe the end result is even better resolution and detail. I must say I have been blown away by both of these headphones. I haven't done a lot of A/B comparisons against other headphones yet, because mostly I've just been enjoying them and getting to know their sound signatures before I start making any bold proclamations. I'm pretty certain however that they do compare very favorably with some of the best headphones I've heard. The only open backs I've owned are the 6XX, Arya, and Susvara, so I don't have a ton of experience with open back headphones, and it's kind of hard to compare dynamic headphones to planar magnetic ones, since they sound so different. My XTC open with the biowool driver doesn't have quite the clarity or resolution of a Susvara of course, but it can still be just as enjoyable, depending on what you're looking for in a headphone.
Closed backs, on the other hand, I've had more experience with, and my XTC closed with the beryllium driver is right up there with the best I've heard. A few of the others I have on hand to compare against include the modhouse argon mk3, ebony foxtex, audeze lcd-xc, sony mdr-z1r, sennheiser hd820, meze liric, kennerton gjallarhorn gh50 modded by John, and the kennerton rognir planar. I will try to do some A/B testing this weekend so I can add some thoughts on those specific comparisions.
Look forward to your comparisons. How would you describe what your hearing from the two different driver types?
 
Feb 17, 2023 at 7:50 PM Post #29 of 1,483
Look forward to your comparisons. How would you describe what your hearing from the two different driver types?
Look forward to your comparisons. How would you describe what your hearing from the two different driver types?
Beryllium seems to have a little better clarity and resolution. A little more punch and slam too maybe. Need to test that more. It’s also a closed back versus an open back too so I’m sure that has an effect as well. Love them both!
 

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