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Mitchell & Johnson - Electrostatz, 2 way hybrid, Headphones Appreciation and Impressions Thread!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by barondla, Dec 5, 2016.
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  1. hullubullu
    willsw, did you try to fit the pads to the MJ2 in the meantime? I'm still looking for new pads.
    barondla likes this.
  2. barondla
    Pads look really nice @Benz-Fi. They are much deeper than the originals. Improved comfort and sound quality is a great combination. These are Brainwavz pads?
  3. Benz-Fi
    Actually no, Massdrop won't ship those out until the first week in March, so I found these cheap ones on Amazon in the meantime: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XRH8WPJ

    Because of the price I thought they would look/feel cheap, but they're actually not bad at all, I may keep them over the BWz. One thing to note is although they say "Memory Foam" they are actually just really high quality standard foam. But totally worth the $13!
  4. barondla
    @Benz-Fi thanks for the correction. The pads are angled. Since the M&J don't pivot front to back, does that cause any problems? Or is the foam padding soft enough to adapt?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    Benz-Fi likes this.
  5. barondla
    Benz-Fi likes this.
  6. Benz-Fi
    Only saw this now..Sorry. - The padding is more than enough to adapt. I've actually been using them quite a bit since and they're quickly becoming my go-to closed set.
    barondla likes this.
  7. barondla
    Glad you like the JP2 so well. M&J has great sounding headphones. No doubt about it. Thanks for the after market pads feedback.
  8. barondla
    Had to take a car trip today. Sat in the back seat and played the PonoPlayer with IEMs. Had the balanced Trinity Audio Atlas and single ended Flare Audio R2PRO. Nice sounding IEMs. But, I have been ruined by the M&J sound quality. Spent half the time wishing I had taken the GL2 or MJ2. Just didn't want to try and hide them in the unattended car.

    I am sure there are better sounding IEMs ( the Star Wars Audeze comes to mind). But the Audeze have no environmental sound isolation. That won't work in a noisy car. The electrostatic Shure IEMs must sound superb. Not going to happen for $3000. We are so lucky to have the affordable M&J headphones. Hope they do hybrid electret dynamic IEMs some day. If they could keep them sealed back and under $400, wow!
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  9. MJAsia
    Massdrop are now doing worldwide shipping on MJ2 at $299
    volly, Benz-Fi, trellus and 1 other person like this.
  10. barondla
    Worldwide shipping is a great addition for Massdrop and Mitchell & Johnson. Lots of members were unhappy about seeing the drop and not being able to participate.

    @MJAsia you need to update your avatar.☺
  11. Sujay Rao
    Apologies for a long post.

    I have always wanted an Electrostatic headphone. Loved the MJ2 for the portability and cost. I’ve been on a major balanced headphone trip recently, so I talked to David Choy at Triton Audio Cables about a balanced cable for the MJ2. He had the foresight to say that they were new to him and that he needed to test the polarity of the headphone terminals first. So, I had the cans shipped to him direct. He was right. The polarity was unusual. So, David customised the balanced cable for the MJ2.

    When I received it and plugged it in, this happened: (excerpts from my email to him).

    “Got the shipment with the MJ2. Need to pick your brains. Something strange with the MJ2 cable.

    When I plugged it into the headphones I heard nothing. I checked the connection and the settings in the Onkyo DP-X1. I thought maybe the TRRS scheme in the DAP balanced-in was unusual, just like you had said the MJ2 connection was. When I couldn’t get a peep out of the DAP, I thought maybe the headphone was kaput. I used the native unbalanced MJ2 cable. Great sound! I listened for some time and decided to reconnect with your cable. Lo and behold, amazing sound! I listened for a long time. The audio was wonderful.

    Later, I reconnected the native cable through a headphone amp. This is a hungry headphone. After sometime, back to your balanced cable. No sound again. Change to different cable, sounding fine. Back to your balanced cable, great sound again. I went through this experiment several times with the same result each time. I’m flummoxed. Clearly your cable is fine. But why is this happening?

    When used with a balanced cable, does it have trouble functioning? Anyway, when it works, your cable sounds fantastic”.

    These were David’s replies:

    “When I tested the original cable, I noticed that the headphone knows which is left and right and it doesn't matter which one is plugged into the left or right, the sound somehow comes out of the correct channel. I guess that's why the stock 3.5mm headphone end connectors aren't labeled L/R like most cables. Just now, I found this information that describes the issue completely:

    "The MJ2 do have left & right indicated on the inside of the headband, near the earcups. As you mention, the cables aren’t marked. This drove me crazy until discovering they don’t need to be! Mitchell & Johnson did something brilliant. They ran the left and right channel to both earcups using a 3.5mm trs plug. The internal female connector is only wired for the correct channel. There’s no way to plug the cable in with reversed channels. This feature is lost if balanced cables are substituted."

    It sounds like the only work around is what what you discovered and executed due to the unique wiring in the MJ2. Perhaps I didn't experience what you did because I used a 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm stereo adapter and it worked great. However, I have a theory that due to the way the MJ2 has both right and left channels in each ear cup, if the 3.5mm headphone connectors on the cable have the tip and ring solder points bridged, then it might work, and like the stock cable it may not matter which side is connected to the headphone. The cable you have now has Tip/Sleeve for left channel, and Ring/Sleeve for right channel. The caveat is that I cannot guarantee that it would work as I don't have an MJ2 on hand.

    I hope what I wrote makes sense”.

    “I'll formulate a post in the MJ2 thread on head-fi. Sounds like a few people have balanced cables. I'm wondering if the balanced connection at the 2.5mm TRRS may be causing the issue if the headphone connectors on the left and right driver housing is able to determine a stereo connection for each appropriate L/R channel because the ground is common for both sides. With balanced, they are separated. I haven't seen a MJ2 opened up to see the PCB board, but I surmise that the separate grounds versus common ground is the culprit. Why the balanced cable works after the stock cable is inserted, I can only guess that some electrical components is able to get a charge (perhaps in a capacitor) long enough so that when the stock cable and balance cable is swapped, it works.”

    Makes sense to me. Has anyone else had a problem like this with the MJ2? What do the Illuminati at HeadFi think?
  12. barondla
    Welcome to the Mitchell & Johnson thread @Sujay Rao . Glad to have you here. Interesting post. Sorry you are having problems.

    I don't have an Onkyo dap to try reproducing your results. Have 2 PonoPlayers. They use two 3.5mm trs for balanced (same as original Sony balanced). Twin 3.5mm trs or one 2.5mm trrs will support balanced playback. A "quirk" of the Pono/Sony balanced system is that with headphones with 3.5mm trs in each cup, standard 3.5mm trs to 3.5mm cables won't work! The Sony/Pono end uses tip for + and ring for -. So custom cables must be wired up.

    Some thoughts on your problem.
    1. Have you marked the left and right cables at the ear cups correctly?

    If plugged in reversed nothing will play. My balanced cable has left and right marked on the ear cup ends. I also have the PonoPlayer ends marked Left & Right. Even running my cable the wrong direction would result in the wrong connections (your setup won't do this).

    2. The PonoPlayer has protection circuitry for balanced mode. If I pull the balanced cable out while on, it instantly senses it and defaults to single ended. Onkyo probably does something similar to protect the outputs. Is it possible that sometimes it thinks the connection isn't balanced and it mutes the outputs to protect them?

    3. Don't know if connecting the cable's tip & ring together at the ear cup would enable the "auto channel" feature to function again in balanced mode. To me it is easier to mark the cables correctly and plug into the correct ear cup.

    As I composed this message, I switched from balanced to single ended and back many times. No problems. They always played. This pretty much rules out a common ground existing between the ear cups. That would instantly knock the PonoPlayer into protection mode.

    Hope this helps. Been a year since I listened to the MJ2 and Pono in single ended mode. Not a huge fan of the Pono in single ended or the MJ2 cable.
  13. alpha421
    ^Did you wire your balanced cable as Tip/Sleeve for left channel and Ring/Sleeve for right?
  14. barondla
    @alpha421 believe that is correct. It was more than a year ago. I will verify tomorrow with meter.
  15. barondla
    Here is the post I originally followed to wire my balanced cable correctly @alpha421 .
    Chein likes this.
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