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QUAD ERA-1 Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by FastAndClean, Apr 24, 2018.
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  1. Roderick
    Not exactly. What do you mean? That it is perfectly fine to sell oem's with a 80 years of audio heretage marketing? Is the price increase on headphones somehow justified? What?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  2. Hi-Fi-Apricity
    Oh this is getting interesting. Very similar indeed...
  3. Hi-Fi-Apricity
    Anywho does anyone have more news on if the ERA-1 is indeed the same phone. I wonder if maybe by chance the driver is of their own design, casing of yoga design, but manufactured by Yoga?
    Quite curious to say the least. It would be lame if it was the same headphone effectively just different enclosure. No matter how good it sounds I think a company like Quad ought to really show their chops. I'm sure they have it in them to design a truly great headphone.

    If this is indeed just an OEM rebrand through and through I still hope it does well so Quad notices potential in headphones. If they do that mayyyybe we will get an in house can. Maybe even electrostatic!
    trellus likes this.
  4. Sonic Defender Contributor
    I would also suggest that it has not been established that Quad has indeed simply rebranded. Even if the driver was an off the shelf driver, doesn't Zach of EMF "spec" his drivers (most likely off the shelf drivers, or somewhat tweaked) and put all of his considerable skill into tuning the design through the enclosure which is arguably as important a consideration (some might say even more) than the driver. I am not sure of course how custom made for ZMF the drivers are, perhaps they are totally unique? My point is even if Quad had commissioned the driver array from an existing design, but they did quite a bit of tuning via the enclosures that is not something to just ignore, IMO. I actually have the Quad on hand and I think it sounds fantastic, I liked it right away. I did only listen to it the one time, and when I have more time I will listen again, but I really liked what I heard for sure.
    trellus likes this.
  5. lambdastorm
    Uploaded my review on Youtube a month ago, just dropping it here.

    Light - Man likes this.
  6. Sonic Defender Contributor
    @lambdastorm, thanks for the review. I agree certainly on some things, but I do hear the Quad, personally, as being more refined and speaker like sounding. Another, and not a small consideration I think is build quality and fit and finish. I actually like HiFi Man stuff quite a bit (although with their style of non-stop versions and tweaks I wouldn't be buying until they settle down) but when it comes to reliability and build, I think it is very reasonable to suggest that the Quad is the better gamble. I do agree that these are a better fit price wise around $600US and that $800 would be pushing it. Saying that you can easily equally question the pricing structure and merits therein of many, many, many headphones these days.

    For me in Canadian dollars the Quad at $600 would be a pretty solid price. I remember buying the first version HE 560 for I think $700US or thereabouts. I loved the HE 560, but looking at the totality of the build and overall sound quality the Quad I would think the better grab. I'll have to wear these again to see how the comfort issue is, weight wise as they are comfortable to me. Anyway, glad that others are still talking about this lovely headphone. I personally really like it and I encourage quality speaker companies to get into the headphone game and give us some new sound signatures. I just found the Quad very engaging and in control sounding, but as I have said before, I do tend to gravitate toward the British HiFi sound. I have owned and loved Creek, Audiolab, Castle, Neat, B&W, KEF, Graham Slee gear so I guess that is no surprise. I would love some Quad speakers.
    Beagle likes this.
  7. lambdastorm
    Thanks a lot for the reply! Personally I've not tried many british brands but I do love my Graham Slee Solo and Creek OBH11 and 21 when I had them. I don't know if these 3 are representative of so-called british hifi sound but they do sound exceptionally clean and effortless, a trait rarely seen in European or American designs. I'm also a big fan of Hifiman's early releases like the HE5LE, HE5 and HE6. At some point I've owned all 3 but have since sold the former 2 and kept the HE6. The build quality of all three models are actually quite remarkable, they are very sturdy, don't squeak when you move your head around and sound phenomenol. Unfortunately ever since they released the HE560 their QC has been on the decline. Personally I really like how first batch HE560s sound (those with SMC connectors instead of 2.5mm), but they keep playing with tuning and backplates with each revision its hard to get a good grasp what kind of sound they're really going for.

    As for the ERA-1, I definitely agree that its a very nice headphone release from a loudspeaker company. Not many companies get it right the first time and QUAD is definitely a step above average in that respect. Unfortunately in my calibre it still falls under the good but not great category: While bass is well textured and deep, it still lacks the definition and refinement found in similarly-priced hifiman models, namely the Sundara and HE560. They also have a weird peak in upper-mid/lower-treble that makes them a little fatiguing on marathon listening sessions. At the price point I still think its safer to grab a used HE560, preferably one with SMC connectors. Those can be had for around $300 on ebay and its easily a better all-around headphone than the ERA-1 while costing less. And although they don't have as much bass quantity as the ERA-1 they do present a more natural soundstage and is overall more organic sounding. $600 is really a stretch for ERA-1 especially since you can have a used HE6 for $200 more, which is several steps above the ERA-1 in terms of performance.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    Light - Man and Reinhold like this.
  8. Sonic Defender Contributor
    @lambdastorm that was the 560 variant I owned, the SMC connector variant, and loved. Without one on hand I can't directly compare to the Quad so at a loss there. I also have only heard an HE6 a few times and would like to own one to see as I use speaker tap cables for all headphones. I actually had the custom speaker tap cable made by Norne Audio for my HE 560 so it is terminated with SMC connectors. I have had various short adapters made that allow me to use the Norne cable with other headphone termination styles. I don't personally think $600 is much of a stretch for the Quad, not at all actually. The perception of softness in the treble is certainly a subjective preference and I suspect that you would find an even number of people split over whether the (for example) HE 560 is bright or just right. Regardless I have to say that the Quad is quite nice and refined and capable of very engaging and nuanced sound and in a world where people pay $2400-3000 for a Utopia (or other headphones) I do not at all think getting the Quad at $600 represents any less price to performance value, personally. Again, all of this is personal opinion and horses for courses as they say. I feel the Quad is more than good, but yes not necessarily great.

    And as for paying $200 more for a used HE6, possibly many years old with many, many hours of use it starts to become debatable what the better course of action really is. Let's say $600 for a brand new, very well made Quad, under warranty that can be driven pretty well from many sources versus a used HE6 that has no warranty at all and really does need a well matched amp to power it. Paying $200 (or more) extra may indeed be a good move, but I think it is fraught with potential issues so not exactly a sure thing. Cheers.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    nick n likes this.
  9. naynay
    Anyone after a Chord Shawcan Headphone cable to fit QUAD ERA-1 i have a unopened boxed one at 2 meters selling £50 cheaper PM for details.

  10. buffer
    Recently purchased from Massdrop. I received these only a couple of days ago but thought I'd duplicate the comments I provided in the Massdrop discussion thread.

    I have been listening to my ERA-1 for a day or two. Overall, my impression is very favorable. I haven't had any technical difficulties. They are working perfectly thus far. I would characterize the sound as being focused slightly more on midrange and lower frequencies. The midrange has a bit more bloom and warmth than I might prefer. The midbass is maybe slightly emphasized, but doesn't bleed into the midrange and it adds to impact and dynamics. I'd prefer a slightly tighter, more crisp, and brighter sound with less bloom throughout the frequency spectrum, but overall I think tonal balance is cohesive and balanced. The bloom in the midrange and ever so slightly subdued upper midrange does hold the headphone back from being as clear as I might prefer, but overall I find the level of clarity offered to be good. Clarity doesn't compare to the absolute best i've heard. The headphone has a musical signature overall. The midrange may be slightly prominent - very subtly, but just enough to hold the headphone back from being as natural as it could be. I would still say it is reasonably natural. Burn-in may help or change things slightly, so not sure if sound will improve, but I like it as is. My Accoustic Research is a bit cleaner and brighter, but doesn't have the bass impact this headphone has. This headphone possesses a thicker, rounder and less crisp sound, and is not as resolute. In some ways the sound reminds me of my Final Audio D8000 but the D8000 is slightly less forward, but more natural and less bloomy overall. Of course the D8000 is considerably more expensive. I would rate this headphone a B+ or A- ...strong midfi or bottom of the elites. Not bad for Quad's first venture into headphones. I will conclude with this one thought. I think the Quad folks did a really nice job of tuning the headphone. I think they probably wanted a slightly euphonic sound., but I'm not convinced the driver itself is up to the flagship level to allow this headphone to successfully compete with the absolute best.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  11. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Absolutely, it is an unapologetic musical signature. The clarity that might be lacking is, for me, well compensated for with the overall well presented and cohesive sound. Very nice headphone for sure.
    Light - Man and davide256 like this.
  12. davide256
    Thanks for the reviews... sounds to me that if you are considering Audeze Sine DX or LCD2-classic that this should be considered a competitor?
  13. Sonic Defender Contributor
    I have only on a few occasions heard the LCD2 classic, but I did own the LCD2F from 2016. They are different enough. I think the LCD2F sounded bolder, but the Quad is just so nice and even handed without being dull. I would have to think that the Quad would not excite people as much at first, but over time the Quad would really charm people where for many I think the LCD2F might get fatiguing, but that is just speculation as I haven't owned it in a few years. Regardless, the Quad is quite nice, and given the quality I think there is plenty of range to apply EQ settings to tweak it as needed/desired.
  14. Beagle
    It's not just the wonderful sound that more than competes with the Audeze, but the fact that they are so much lighter and more comfortable.
  15. kid vic
    Where the review at though????
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