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McIntosh MHP 1000 headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by lockjaw, Sep 2, 2017.
  1. lockjaw
    I just have to throw my 2 cents on these headphones as there seems a lack of reviews and chatter. Most audiophiles are shunning these cans while pouring accolades on everything made by Audeze, Hifiman, Mrspeakers, Focal, STAX, and Sennheiser. I'm tired of statements like: "McIntosh can only make good amps and you're only paying for the name, don't bother with the mhp1000s." I finally saw a used pair I was willing to buy, so here are some thoughts.

    I must admit these are great headphones with clean open treble and a controlled bass response, the latter expected with closed cans, the prior a nice surprise. There is an electrostatic quality to the higher frequencies, which I love. I'm a long time headphone collector and these are among my favorite. They are Beyers on the outside but internally all re-done by McIntosh. If you love trying different headphones and have the money, these won't disappoint. They compare favorably if not superior to my current arsenal (HD800s, STAX 007s, Alpha Primes, HE560, crappy Grados,.... hell, that's enough!)

    The MHP1000s are smooth, non-fatiguing, great controlled bass, smooth detailed treble, crazy linearity. Comparisons: Audeze are just too dam heavy and dark for me, sold my LCD3s in one week. The HD800s are too bright and have poor bass extension, the killer soundstage is dramatic at first listen, but less so with time. For me it's akin to 3d movies, right? Amazing effect at first, then you forget about it and eventually find it a distraction. The Alpha Primes are superb but accentuate the bass a bit too much and lack the upper end detail of the mac. He560s are really nice, killer for the price, the do everything well but nothing exceptionally. Having said that used price/performance is still among the best (dam you hifiman - want USA to win). The STAX 007s (and sr 407s for that matter) beat them all, hands down, not even close... but... you need a specialized amp and please don't wear them with wet hair, and no, your Chord Mojo won't work! :) (It's great with the MHP1000s though)

    If you have the money and just "need to know", I would absolutely get a pair of mhp 1000s. I believe they are the best closed-back headphones I've listened to so far (though I've not listened to Ether Cs). They have the great detail, clean treble, and great controlled extended bass not to mention an electrostatic sound to the upper register, a nice accomplishment for a dynamic driver. Major thumbs up. At worst you can sell them and get most of your money back, even 10 years down the road. McIntosh owners tend to be a little fanatical.

    Warmest regards to everyone at head-fi!


    Steve[​IMG] [​IMG]
    Beagle likes this.
  2. Zadok
    I just spent about 45 minutes with a pair in a private room listening to a full mixture of music. I think the MHP1000's definitely have strengths, but catch a bad reputation because they are overpriced in my opinion. The instrument placement and separation is top notch. Sound signature wasn't flat with a slight V shape, but I also think it performed really well as closed back cans really taper off in the upper echelons. Having listened to LCD3, LCD XC, LCD2, HE X v2, and Elear last night, I would put these cans qualitywise above the LCD2 and Elear, but below the LCD 3. I still think the LCD X and XC are better overall, but the sound separation and placement on these were better than all of them.
  3. lockjaw
    I agree with you about the price of the Macs, no doubt one is paying for the name and re-sale value.

    I still really have to stand by them, especially considering they are true closed-back cans. The one's you referenced are all open-back and will generally beat any closed-back for imaging and soundstage. The fact the macs can even compete with those open backs in that arena is pretty remarkable. All this and you still have nice bright detailed top end with controlled bass on the low. Usually there seems to be a trade-off regarding treble vs bass, detail vs brightness. Still think they get it right, great balanced headphones all around.... oh... and it's got that McIntosh logo on it! heheheh just kidding... :) Actually they are appearing on the used market in the 1200 range, more palatable.

    Happy listening! -Steve
  4. Beagle
    I'll second your enthusiasm regarding the MHP1000. But I would not label them overpriced. Considering the sound first and foremost, and compared to a lot of cans in it's price range, it is absolutely worth the asking price. I got them three years ago for $2000. Now it seems any run-of-the-mill, flavor of the month "flagship" headphone sells for that.
  5. canthearyou
    I really enjoy mine. The openness is very surprising for a closed can.
  6. Zadok
    Sry double post
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  7. Zadok
    I also was referencing the LCD-XC, which has a closed back, but that one in itself is already up for debate as it was originally designed as an open back headphone, but just slapped some wood on the outside. I've read that the MHP1000 is a modified Beyer T1, which was open also, so I was impressed by its ability to keep the clarity in a closed form can.

    I do agree that in this booming stock market economy we have in the US, many of these companies are chasing much higher price tags with flashier flagship products, but I think that competition is forcing some of the offerings to require improvement to keep up. I'll clarify what I said before about them being overpriced though because I didn't think they were vastly overpriced. I also haven't heard the Ether and Ether Flow closed back cans, so it's hard to compare against the main modern competition. The entire $1000-2000 product range is a bit hazy in general to me, and I think every can at that level does most things very well. Many of those prices can be lowered or even raised to no appreciable difference in sales.

    I think the strangest thing is that they are almost never mentioned in this forum. MHP1000 should definitely have more exposure for those looking to make a major upgrade, especially because closed back selection is more limited
  8. Beagle
    And the Ferrari is a modified Fiat :beyersmile:

    But are headphones really being improved, or just sounding different? To me, improvement would be eliminating inherent distortions common to headphones and not trading off one thing to get another i.e. 'we removed distortion in the bass but now the midrange is affected with a distortion that wasn't there previously'. I think we were doing that 15-20 years ago but now there are very expensive headphones with gross distortions and FR aberrations that didn't exist with some $400 models back then.
  9. lockjaw
    Yeah I thought the same thing when I bought the macs, I was getting a Beyer with a tweak and a new logo. Totally re-done on the inside, different drivers completely.

    I know this is off topic, but I just picked up a used pair of Audeze Isine 10s (200 bucks). Holy crap, they are amazing!!!!!! Don't usually like in-ear but dam.... full planar dynamic sound, open, detailed.... really impressed.

  10. mg2550arch
  11. Dynaudio lvr
    My take on the MHP1000

    First off...if you haven't tried them you just don't know. I found a pair on special and I travelled to buy them. I was mostly expecting that they were hype and that I was throwing away my money and would have to sell them but I "had to know".
    When i finally sat down and put them on I was ready for the let down. Mcintosh must have just made a beyer copy to take advantage of the Mcintosh name as so many forum posters had guessed. I had never heard Mcintosh sound before and really didn't get it.

    My sources : Chord Hugo, Meridian Prime. Tidal Lossless.
    To understand my interpretation of the sound performance from the MHP1000 it may be helpful to know how I perceive other flagship headphones you may have tried. If you don't agree with how I see those then maybe our ears are not tuned the same way.

    Beyerdynamic T1 : Thin sounding, very articulate bass. Not strong bass but extremely textured. Clarity. Great Soundstage. Siblant in the treble. Many songs don't sound good to me (rock, punk etc)

    Beyerdynamic T1 v2 : Trash. Not an improvement on the original but a whole different signature. Not a great Soundstage. Muddied, thick, warm. I returned them the next day to Amazon.

    Beyerdynamic T5P v2 : I never heard the original. These were close to what I wanted and genuinely smooth. Decent Soundstage. Smooth treble and nice bass but still the lows bleed into the mids like so many headphones do.

    Audeze LCD XC : These cans had the strong bass and beautiful highs. Great clarity. Not smooth at all but rather missing some nice mids. The strong bass bleeds into the mids and there seems a separation between the bass/mids and the highs. After some time I
    grew tired of the siblance I heard on some tracks. Many songs I just stopped playing. I'd play certain tracks for that nice bass or female vocal tracks to enjoy the great clarity but otherwise missed a few genres. If Electric Avenue sounds like siblant garbage then you know there may be an issue.

    So I look for what I believe to be the ideal signature. Flat but smooth. Unfortunately that is the hardest thing to achieve in the headphone business and every manufacturer knows it. Many of us consumers just give up and go with a Denon or HD650 that sounds fun on all our tracks even though we are missing out on the clarity. The XC's were close for me but not an even sound the whole way up. The bass isn't that textured and not fast enough. It bleeds into the mids. Man though don't those planars have unreal power.

    MHP1000 : Expecting to be let down like I was by the T1 v2 and T5P v2....wow was i surprised. Smooth!! Very smooth and yet extreme clarity. I didn't think it was possible and certainly not by a feeble attempt by Mcintosh. I don' think it was a feeble attempt. I think those guys must be masters and now I wish I could afford to try other systems by Mcintosh. I had always assumed their sound was too warm. The bass is so tight and fast that the music just flows. Every genre I could think of I tried. Songs I had put off a long time ago I played and couldn't believe how enjoyable they were...without the loss of clarity. It's like the engineers at Mcintosh kept testing and found the exact spot were smoothness leads to siblance and delicately tuned these cans to ride just below that threshold. I've never tried Grado so maybe I don't know what true clarity is. The Beyer T70 was pretty clear. I also haven't tried the HD800 series so I can't compare them either.

    The soundstage is big. Round and deep. Not as perfect as the LCD XC...for a closed can those are unbelievable. The soundstage reminded me of the T1 original. Great instrument placement and staging.
    The drivers aren't even angled... but it doesn't make a lick of difference. (maybe that's why they didn't bother) The T1 v2 are angled and I don't think they compare at all to the sound stage on the MHP1000.

    The Pads aren't very deep and i was afraid that my ears touching the inside would bother me but once that magic is playing I forget all about the headphones and much of my environment.

    Smooth and clear. Tight bass with articulate highs. Great placement and soundstage. Very light on the head.

    If you have a different experience with the above mentioned headphones then maybe you won't have a similar impression of the Mac's
    Also if clarity isn't that important or you are a basshead, these may not be the ones.
    With these the bass in your head. The thump isn't felt on your earpad like the T5P v2 ( even though they are both ported) It's a deep bass drum between your ears.
    nick n likes this.
  12. mg2550arch
    McIntosh MHP1000 Headphones

    I think it's a very good headphone but that is not for my use, they are a bit heavy, pads are not very deep, my ears touch the drivers. The sound is a bit smaller than I need to listen to opera, something dense and conglomerate.

    To listen to jazz trios is great. I'm quite eclectic in my musical taste, I can listen to industrial rock, classical music and John Coltrane the same night. For this reason, the Ether Flow is one of my favorites, if not the most, ! weight and comfort, quality of construction, cable and connectors, price, low level details, performance in different kind of music, generous soundstage etc.!. According to my ears the closest to perfection and still be able to buy the car for your son.

    I do not believe in pseudonyms to define musical taste or its appreciation, but if I had to describe my tonal preferences, then I am a "detail head" to say something.

    Headphones are like wine, a matter of taste and how much you are willing to pay.

    Happy Holidays
  13. Dynaudio lvr
    Does anyone here own a pair? Not just audition but have them at home?
    Id like an opinion on how these fit. Theyre the best sound ive heard from headphones but the earpads have a very small hole for the ear.
    Beyer pads have a bigger circle for the ear to fit in. For some reason mac dropped the ball on this and ruined an amazing set of cans.
    Is it just me? I mean these are closer to on ear than over ear. My ears are average size and they hurt because they touch the hard inside rim of the pads

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