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QUAD ERA-1 Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by FastAndClean, Apr 24, 2018.
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  1. FullBright1
    You can't know a headphone in a few hours.
    The reason is, your brain's context is the last headphone you are listening too, regularly, and so, its comparing instead of listening for a while.
    To know a headphone, is similar to getting to know a person, you can't know either, in just a few hours, you can only know what you think you know.
    But to know them, you must spend much time.
    What you are doing is rating by comparison, based on too little time spent to actually know.
    If you want to "Know" how a headphone sounds, then listen to it only for about a week.
    If instead you are swapping headphones around that you have never heard before, then you won't be able to know what any of them actually sound like, as you are not listening, you are comparing.
    Its not the same game, fericake.
    And i know you wont agree, but thats ok........:)
    volly, PaganDL and Beagle like this.
  2. fericske
    I do, agree, that's why I quoted "know" and starred then explained why I did that :) Thought that's clear for everyone :)
    On the sessions I did swapping, for experience and curiosity, and yeah there I got interesting results.
    But normally I sacrifice one day for few gears. One-two headphones with one-two-three amplifiers. I go for opening time and nearly closing time I leave :) Once in 1-2 monthly, depend on new stuffs, or for reminder - how is the same set sounds to me second, third time - or just because I have not better idea for the off day :)
    My wallet is too tight to buy everything those got my attention, but that store is a good option to getting impressions of different stuffs, especially finding synergy. That is the main problem when someone judge on a headphone (or amp).
    The LCD4 is one of my favourite, because that made me goosebumps with the Questyle cma600i, but didn't bring any feeling with the Senn hdv820, and I "hated" my Pandora 6 with the hdv820.
    I didn't like the Utopia and Elear with the cma600i, was more "user friendly" sound with the hdv820, but still not engaging.
    The few hours it's true for those stuffs they didn't impress me. Have 10+ maybe 20+ with some I do like.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  3. FullBright1
    Thank you for sharing your process.
    Happy listening...........:)
  4. dan3952
    Well, I wasn't able to take any of them out of the store to listen to them, under the circumstances. Nor do I have the time, or thousands of dollars in disposable income to test three or more pairs for hours on end. I worked with what I had. There's people who have both the time, and the money, and I do value what those people post on here. I agree with Tyll's reviews of the Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Open and the Focal Clears (which is the open back that I currently own), and I feel that what I had posted about those products in this thread and others, was along those lines. People can say what I had posted in terms of a review had added little value for that reason (no new material had been offered). Most people would be able to tell right away which one of those two choices sounds warmer, and which one sounds colder, even in an environment has lots of ambient noise. If my critical listening methods are not up to your standards, that doesn't affect me, or the decisions I've made. If a product doesn't sound good with ten minutes or less of well mastered songs I've heard hundreds of times, there's no point in proceeding any further, to me. The ERA-1 still interests me, as I find that my current open back choice can sound brassy and fatiguing with certain music, and it's only natural to compare it to the identically priced AFO. I might prefer something that sounds warmer under certain circumstances with a slight loss in detail. Especially, I appreciate posts which compare and contrast the ERA-1 with other more expensive cans (but having mid bass that I liked), such as the LCD-X and LCD-2C. Quad is known for offering a good value to the consumer, and not going crazy with marketing or frills. That doesn't seem to be how HiFiMan operates, at all. There isn't an end game headphone to me, they all have their pluses and minuses, and none of them sound good to me with all music. I fully expect to end up supplementing my gear with a third pair, as I can afford it. I think my amp is just enough to be able to listen critically, and that ones that go for over $1000 would offer a bit more detail (possibly, rather subtle).

    If Tyll had a favorite headphone amp circuit that he had posted in public online, I could try and build it. It may not look very good. It may not be a good use of my time to build it.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  5. FullBright1

    Well, i didnt agree with Tyll's appraisal of the Aeon Flow Closed, as i found it to be so bass light that i can not enjoy it.
    I have not heard the AFlow Open, and i have not purchased the Focal Clear's, so, i can't really comment.
    I can say that if you are in a store, with ambient noise, ..with doors opening, people talking on cell phones,, music being played, and you are trying to decide on a set of open headphones in this environment, then you are not helping yourself if you think you can analyze them accurately in 10 mins or 3 hrs.
    This is why Tyll was not reviewing headphones from a shop or a store or from a moving bus, train, or plane.
    He was in a dead quiet "listening environment", as that is what you have to have, if you are going to try to assess sound coming from a set of headphones.
    So, thats not a personal attack, and you are not enlisted to live up to any of my listening standards, as im just a person on a forum giving opinions, same as the rest...... but, truthfully you can't really access a set of open headphones very accurately, in a noisy shop, but i agree with you, that you are able to make some minor judgements that can help you choose.....:)
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    PaganDL and Hifiearspeakers like this.
  6. dan3952
    To be honest with you, I should have tried the Aeon Flow closed while I had the chance. From your account, that product would have been a silly choice for me at its price point anyway. I hadn't tried the Ethers either, as they were more than what I had wanted to pay (and the Ether 2, even more so). That shop also had stopped carrying HiFiMan due to quality of construction issues, so I have been unable to evaluate their newer models, and am now likely stuck to a mail order only arrangement with that particular vendor. I am searching for a closed back to supplement the very revealing, but cold, open backs that I have in order to get something that has more authoritative bass and a warmer sound signature. The Shure SRH1540 I find to be a more entertaining listen than any of the Sennheisers that are around $500, but needless to say, they don't offer the detail of most of the cans that go for over $1000. They are dark, and not lively (also not fatiguing, and this is desirable with some types of music). The former product has so much bass, that I EQ it down 4 db.

    I had to make do with what I had at the time.. Under an hour of listening is enough for me to make a decision from my short list, as I have always wanted to more than one pair, and switch between them (I was never trying to arrive at one "end game" pair). I usually prefer one headphone for hard rock music and highly processed 1980's pop music, and another for strings and bows.

    The people at the very large store where I had done my testing, had left the headphone listening area for half an hour at a time, while I had spent hours trying ten or so headphones (and having taken over a week to make a decision). I couldn't have asked for more than that, from anybody. My townhouse back at home, isn't dead quiet either. Would it have been possible for me to rent an anechoic chamber by the hour in greater Los Angeles, borrow headphones, and bring them there? Probably.

    My bellwether well mastered recordings like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon: I know what the songs sound like on great equipment, average equipment, and lousy equipment. If I can't have all the equipment in one place at the same time to test it (especially with the decline of bricks and mortar shops and the rise of mail order), then I have to use my memory. My current headphone set up is revealing enough that there's noticeably higher distortion in playing the same songs on my tower speaker set up that I want to try and solve. It may be enough for me to get rid of my power amplifier.
  7. FullBright1
    Thank you for sharing your expansive commentary.
    I enjoyed it all.
    As for me, im a relic.....im stuck in the past......see, i have this "unique" idea that headphones should sound good (right out of the box) and should never need a "filter" "screen" "freq blocker", (ear plug installed in it) to give you its best sound.
    Why is it that a headphone company can't burn in their headphones, PRIOR to shipping them out?
    I'll tell you why..... = "scam-bot".....> """"they need 150 hrs break in...blah, blah, blah""""......as curiously, this math adds up to be 30 days x 5hrs a day, ....and who is going to listen to headphones 5hrs a day, every day......for 30...days.....in a row?
    Who has a life that allows this much constant headphone listening obsession?
    Noone does this......so, WHAT that means is........you wont be able to get that "break in sound" in a month, which means that by the time you do, (over a month) YOUR 30 DAYS TO RETURN IT IS OVER, PAST, ...COMPLETED".
    SO, ......thats a nice trick.....isn't it?
    See how that works????

    (well, you can plug in your headphones, and let it all go for 150 hrs).
    Ok, but i dont do that to my gear.
    I use it when i listen to it, or i turn it off.....

    And honestly, the Holy Grail is findings a truly wonderful closed set of headphones, as, by design, we are dealing with a small cup, isolation, = and how to get wide field lifelike stereo sound inside that situation is really not something that has been even 70% figured out , yet.... IMHO.
    Ears are open, closed headphones are not, so, there is already a disconnect between the two that is not yet been resolved into a true audiophile listening experience...
    Perhaps the Focal Stellia is a step in the right direction......but i can't tell you for certain, as im not going to spend $3000 USD on a closed headphone......
    Maybe in about 5 more years......
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    Chris Kaoss and PaganDL like this.
  8. abvolt
    That's a good point on burn-in I never thought of it that way but it makes sense..
  9. Beagle
    But you have to break them in with 150 consecutive hours! You cannot do it in 1 or 2 hour increments, and expect that you can add those all up to 150 and your headphones are broken in. It doesn't work that way. And you cannot leave them unattended with music playing for 150 hours either. You have to have them on your head for 150 hours in a row if you want your headphones properly broken in! And if you are interrupted during the 150 consecutive hours and have to stop for any reason, you have to start the 150 all over again!! Sorry, but that's just the way it goes. But the improvement in soundstage is more than worth the effort. :frowning::open_mouth::laughing:
  10. FullBright1
    As i said.
    Once someone like you takes 4 months to burn in your 150 hrs (theory of .. it will sound its best), your ability to send them back for a refund, if you hate them after "burn in" ...expired 3 months ago.
    So, that is not quite as funny, if the headphones cost $1000 + USD.... but, you can sell them here, of course. (for a loss).
    So, can you know you will love them 4 months later, if you are betting your money on the promise of "burn in makes them great.."? ?

    You can take that sucker's bet, but i wont.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
    PaganDL likes this.
  11. bagwell359
    You scamp.... :o2smile: I've ABX'd using an artificial "head" in the exact dimensions of mine, and that works. However, you left out the part about listening to audiophile approved media only, not to mention the required 50 additional hours of "burnin" recordings. Also helps to have a negative ion generator, your transducers will be in a better mood, and perform a bit better.

    Back to reality: Never heard a metal dome get better over time, however speakers/cans that use mylar, and capacitors distinctly do change when 'burnt in'. Magnepan was saying so back into the 70's.
    Beagle and Hifiearspeakers like this.
  12. Hifiearspeakers
    He’s being tongue-in-cheek here.
    Beagle likes this.
  13. FullBright1
    Its a good place for it.....:)

    And isn't it interesting that, like a flock of parrots, seemingly all headphone designers use the same "150 hrs", as a mantra.
    This is the magic number, is it?
    How was this decided by all headphone designers?
    Is there a chart or graph that proves that "150 hrs" eliminates all sibilance and widens that "V" shape into midrange bliss ? ?????
    "hocus pocus", lets tell them anything to keep it from being returned """""
    So, "150" hrs is the magic formula for success, so that your out of the box (awful sounding headphones) will magically transform into the Voice of an angelic choir, if you will just keep banging them with "150 hrs" of signal?
    And of course, if they still SUCK AT SOUND after "150" comes and goes, then just mod them or start putting in those inclosed pads.
    PaganDL and Hifiearspeakers like this.
  14. Hifiearspeakers
    I do believe in mechanical break in and have heard sonic changes over time. But they’re always subtle and never drastic or extreme. At least not in my experience.
  15. FullBright1
    Yes, im scamp approved in a generic sort of way, tho i am dramatically filled with "pink" (non-GMO) artificial flavor.

    And yes, HD files only, and only 2% metal film caps and silver solder allowed inside that made in china (under Japanese supervision) $2800 USD headphone.
    (love the "Cherry-Walnut" ply-wood box that houses them...).

    And YET, if your headphones still sound horrible after 151 hrs of burn in, then its probably your ears....:)

    BUT, you can always buy $467 USD "upgraded cables" or the $200 USD Lambskin Pads, to try and fail to solve the horrible sound of your $399 USD headphones......or something like that.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
    PaganDL likes this.
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