Review: Ultrasone Edition 9 and Proline 2500
Aug 14, 2007 at 12:27 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 131

MaloS

Headphoneus Supremus
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Preface

This is going to start off as a placeholder, that I would like to develop further. When desiring to try Ultrasones, I wanted to know what they are like first, so I tried to read the gigantic thread, and found really no comparisons I could solidly use, or firm description as to what they do. I did not have a taste for any other headphone on the market save HE90 and O2 (which I can't afford), so I decided that what can I lose by trying Ultrasones...

Well as the story goes, here I am with the 2 top headphones of the Ultrasone line, very satisfied. Head-fi has done a service to me by providing much information and many ideas as to what to try and where to budge (+ the absolutely magnificent international meet held in San Jose).

As hopefully a helpful return, I would like to neatly discuss my thoughts on these 2 headphones, with a more objective outlook on them, and possibly some comparisons to other headphones folks here would be more familiar with. Generally I am just aiming to create a firm demonstration on what these headphones are up to, and hopefully your ears will be the final, absolute judge.

Also I would like to compare these 2 headphones as the last job, since, once again, there is no clearly written comparison as to what is going on here. We just know that people who tried both of these cans will all choose the higher tier model. Why? I'd like to explore that...after my Edition 9 is done burning in and I can get myself out of musical trance =]

Some history, some equipment I owned...
Keeping this brief, noone really needs my lifestory. My list of previously owned headphones:
[size=xx-small]Sennheiser HD595
Altec Lansing IM716
V-Moda Vibe
Westone UM2
Stax SRS-005a
Audio Technica ATH-W5000
AKG K240M
AKG K340

Current:
Audio Technica ATH-EW9
Ultrasone Proline 2500
Ultrasone Edition 9

Previous Sources:
Chaintech AV710
Echo Indigo IO
Headroom Total Bithead
Headroom Micro DAC

Current Sources:
Stello DA100
E-MU 1616
Trekstor Vibez

Previous Amplifiers:
Meier Audio Porta Corda mkII
Total Bithead
Darkvoice 332
FEEL HP200SE
Larocco PRII
mb3k Millet Hybrid /w Diamond Buffers

Current amplifiers:
RSA Raptor (traded, going to owner at the end of August
PS Audio GCHA (as a trade, receiving soon)
iBasso T2 (cause it is cute)

Interconnects:
Guerilla all-copper RCA ICs
Monster Cable Dual-RCA to Mini
Cardas Mini-to-Mini
[/size]
Unnecessary list, but hopefully it gives some point of reference. I also have significant experience with other equipment that I do not own, but have a very firm idea as to what its sound is.

Ultrasone Proline 2500 Solo
Comfort
Well, lets start by saying that I had comfier headphones on my head. There is space to complain about the headband design, which is the main issue. Nevertheless it is not really a problem since my head got used to it pretty quickly. otherwis they work just fine, even when wearing glasses. The velour may get a bit wet during those hot sweaty days though.

The main challenge I think is find the sweet spot for the headband where it does not apply too much pressure and holds the phones in the right position. The right position subject will be discussed further later.


Build Quality
They are plastic. Is that bad? No, not really. They are fairly hefty, feel solid, and I don't see any signs of flexing when bending them for no reason. They fold up for easy transportation, the cups rotate so you can get them right, and the extension mechanism is smooth, easy to work, but firm if you are not using your hands. The velour pads can be swapped very easily, much more so than ANY other headphone on the market. I applaud that part of the design, and I generally think it is just fine overall.

The cable is user replaceable, comes with 2 normally - coiled and straight. I like that option since coiled is more comfortable next to the computer, but the straight is very useful if I want to lay down and listen to these. On top fo that there are cables available by a few makers that you can try with them. I've been hearing good things about RAL cables lately.

One note here - as very explicitly noted by a few members, and then mentioned by Dexdexter in his guide, the cable needs to be put in correctly, or the results will be really unspectacular.

Finally...I got these headphones used, there were 2 previous owners. They are both careful people, but I still think it is something when a headphone comes through without any visible nicks.


Sound
I honestly was expecting anything when I went for this headphone. I have heard that it has great powerful bass, I heard that it is very detailed, great soundstage...yet at the same time I heard it was shrill, it had recessed midrange, it had upper midrange coloration, it has bloated bass... Very, very conflicting impressions here, so I left it to the ears to judge. When I put them on my head - I was ready for absolutely anything, but to give Ultrasonistas justice, I made sure I listened for a couple of days before I judged.

Well, what did I hear then? First of all, it was interesting, since it potentially exhibited all of the aboe mentioned properties...at different times, and why then? Well - turns out it is the matter of the recording. This headphone can be very unforgiving to poor microphone use, or poor mastering, or poor DA conversion, or the results of loudness wars...I could only imagine what was going on until these came on my head. After these - it was certain, these headphones were meant for studio use, and they did it well.

But. I am not in a studio, I just enjoy hearing music - so what was good then? Well lets start step by step and first take a look at the frequency spectrum broken down into sections.

Bass
I like to start low. Bass is the foundation of music, it serves as the pavement that the instruments stand on, and without lots and lots of music because of incapable headphones was dead to me, in many, many genres. I tried many phones, those that boasted powerful bass (Sennheisers!), those that boasted textured bass (w5000), those that were nice and punchy (Grado, K340)...none satisfied. Why? Well because all of these had at least one problem with bass. Sennheisers were always bloated in mid bass and did not reach as low as I liked, not on a system that I could afford at least. W5000 has deep, textured bass...that is recessed, so you won't feel it nowhere near enough. Grado/K340? They just plain lacked depth and audibility. Most enjoyable bass I heard was out of R10, but then it lacked in volume - and that was on Ray's Apache!

Then came the Proline 2500. And this is where things were suddenly different. First of all the bass response on this headphone is flat. Flat as the African savanas, no mistake about it. And it does not fail to reach down either, no roll-offs down to 20, and past that I cannot even hear. Good, good. But where does it hold on comparison to the rest of the spectrum? Well, it does not step up front, and neither does it fall behind. This is probably the prime strength of this phone overall - the bass is neither overpowered nor weak, an it is textured and deep. It serves as it should - the foundation of music.

Mids
This can always be a breaker of many headphones - since in the mids lies the body of the music. All the notes save the bass happen in the mids. Vocals, guitarists, pianists sit deeply in the mids, as do the warmer toned woodwind instruments. Many synthesized instruments also rely on the mids for a liquid tone. In short - if something is wrong with the mids - no quality of treble or bass will save you.

There are actually plenty of headphones with very excellent work in this range. I really like the taste of what HD600does, and same goes for the K340. Great tone color, beautiful texture. I also appreciate the Grado sound, as it can really pull out those chunky sounds of metal guitar, or crunchy attack of classic Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. And then we also have the godly R10, with something out-worldly playing there, adding a touch of melted liquid to every single note. It is easy to see how many people can just love mids over everything, and forgive other faults, since once again, this is where the body, and even soul of the music lies.

And this is where I think Proline 2500 does not deliver to our thirsty folks. Now don't get me wrong, this headphone has midrange, an it is well written in. It is textured, fast, and even neutral. The reported colorations in the midrange of this headphone actually are all a matter of a poor position, and with a bit of time spend making sure this headphone is in the right place, the midrange is as flat as the bass, working to give you what you need. But - I a led to believe that it is slightly recessed. Not enough to make it bothersome, not enough to take the body out of music, but it is not forward either, not bringing those guitars and vocalists straight to the front. Every tone in the recording has its predetermined position, and the Proline intends on keeping it there. Those of you looking for a warm, friendly headphone - look elsewhere.

Treble
Well - this is ironically enough in the position to be icing on the cake...but what else is the responsibility of treble besides adding the so loved sparkle that AKG K701 and Beyerdynamic DT880 are known for? Well - all the overtones that make it easy for us to tell instruments apart lie in the treble. All the spacial cues are up there. Reverbation while partly in the mids, also can be heard more easily with headphones that deliver good treble. Treble also helps out a great deal with instrument separation. There are many good things about treble...but there are also bad things. And what are the bad things? Well, our absolutely 'beloved' tape hiss, record hiss, scratching sounds, dust on those vinyl disks, magnetic interference...well, lots of this crap lies in the treble. So things can both ways - strong treble can be good and bad. And there are plenty of phones that show that it is going to treat you that way.

Look at the Stax SR-4040 system. It has excellent, neutral, well-extended treble, and along with that it has a relentless hatred for poor recordings. All the hiss, all the roll-offs on those poorly captured horns, you will hear, and hate. For some people it can be as bad as only 10% of the music collection is listenable because of this demonstrative discrepancy.

And this is the same place where the Proline 2500 is a troublesome child. The behavior of the treble is pretty much identical to the Stax SR-404. It sounds great and rewarding when the recording is good - and if the recording isn't, it can be either just backed out, rolled-off, or it can be outward hissy, sibilant, aggressive, an sometimes even painful! Oh, and lets not even talk about what happens when your source just is not up to snuff. When I plugged in someone else's portable player, I almost cried how bad things sounded - treble became sporadic, spiky, plastic, and extremely painful.

In short - treble with the Proline is very dependent on the recording, source, and amplification in play, and it will be very revealing of the issues at play. I'll have to admit that the treble of the headphone itself is itself a tool too. Even with the greatest recordings, cymbals can get overly splashy and the raspy nature of some trumpets and saxophones can get over the top and unnecessary. Although, I am honestly wondering if replacing the cable can resolve the issue, as some of the posts in this thread lead me to believe.

Soundstage/S-Logic
Well this is where things get really interesting. First of all - soundstage is primarily a property of speakers as we all know, but headphones do not slouch, and for the 2 drivers they have on top of our noggins, they can o a very fine job of creating a small holographic imagie of the actual show. Some classical recordings have been mastered so wel that when you put on a pair of high-end cans, close your eyes, and concentrate, you can tell the positions of individual trumpets, and the pianist exists in his own little space right in the middle of the head, that is untouchable to the rest of the collective!

More so, things get more interesting when we talk about different soundstage presentations. We have the Sennheiser diffused field EQ methods, that will sound much like a live concert, melted into the hall with alot of sounds coming from different directions. On the other hand we can have Stax, that will vividly provide the picture describe in the paragraph above. Then we have Grado SR and RS series - which instead provide a forward soundstage, almost a wall of sound, that we come to associate with very loud rock concerts. All of the above are valid methods of presenting, and all hold their own interest to a listener.

And then, we are in the field where Ultrasone has a special technology, known as S-Logic. Well, not that special by the sound of it, the drivers are positioned differently, but it is certainly something most manufacturers do not do. This leaves even more for us to explore with this headphone when we enter this area. We need to know if it fulfills our basic desire of a grand picture, and we need to know what exactly is Ultrasone up to here.

Well, since there is so much to explore, lets do this a bit more with respect to time and how it worked with me. First of all - I am not looking to hear what the effect is supposed to be - surround sound or speaker like delivery, I just want to find out what I hear with these when I close my eyes and disconnect from the world. And this is basically I tried to do when I got these.

In the beginning - you know something is up, something you are completely not ready for. Things tend to have strange phasing effects, there is a weird reverbation perception, there is a feeling of coloration in the mids...but then you take your time and behave patiently. First time you taste a delicacy from another culture, it is also a weird sensation, but you know there is soething interesting. Same thing actually goes on here - there is a different delivery of sound, and until your ears learn what it does, it sounds weird...but after you learn it...well I leave it to you to decide if you like it. There is one thing I want you to understand here, as do all Ultrasone listeners - this presentation is not colored, nor are there weird reverbations, nor phasing effects - once your ear adapts, the presentation is very comfortable, and tends to the recording. And this is when we start talking about the soundstage of this headphone.

There were 2 times I was impressed with a soundstage of a headphone. First one was when I bought W5000, second one was when I heard Ray Samuels' R10. The W5000 had a very integrated soundstage, with very distinct positions for individual instruments, that was fairly sizeable. W5000 also had the ability to put the instruments a bit forward and back within your head. R10 on the other hand had HUUUGE soundstage, along an axis right through my two ears, and with some respect to verticality. Both were very interesting, those who have not heard this presentations - hopefully you can think of a way to relate.

And the Proline - well it falls closer to the W5000, but for some reason it refuses to give distance to everything. If a recording is mastered to take a good deal of space, so it will do. The soundstage can easily stretch up to the size of what W5000 can deliver. Further-more, if the recording is exceptional - the soundstage can grow to the size of what R10 can deliver, BUT it will sustain the qualities that W5000 likes - unique positioning, bring the sound to the front, even some instruments remaining forward. Now this was impressive, I was not ready to hear something like that. But - then we go to rock recordings. I like to rely onto King Crimson - Red in this case to show what I mean, I highly recommend hearing it at least once for purpose of evaluation of cans with Rock. With King Crimson the proline 2500 attains the same exact forward nature as the Grados, the music is in your face, loud, punchy, like a colored glass window, where evrything is part of the same wall, but evrything has its spot. Now this transformation I did not hear from the W5000 when playing back Fripp's hard riffing.

What does all this say for the Proline's soundstage? It does not have a soundstage to call its own. It chooses to deliver if something is there, and if there is alot, it will delivery alot. If things are all in the front though - that is where they will stay. Everything is left up to the engineer. It is up to you if you like that or not, but I personally really enjoyed that, since that is such truth to the recording, it deserves deep respect. I do not know if this is solely the quality of the S-Logic technology, or the neutrality of the headphone, or of the two qualities working together, but I am certain that this makes a very special experience when the gear and the recordings are up to snuff to work with this headphone.

Although, I do not want anyone to get me wrong here. In general the soundstage of this headphone is around the same size as from a W5000 or HD600, it is a very rare case that it extends to humongous proportions. More so, if particular presentation is to your liking, this headphone might choose to almost never deliver it.

Conclusion
There is really no way to summarize the exact experience with this headphone since it provides so much variety. I think the primary two qualities of this headphone are the neutrality/extension of the frequency range, save the recession in the midrange (which I say is not necessarily bad, depends on your tastes), and the truthfulness to the recording in all aspects. The Proline 2500 will not make things sound good if they are not good, but it will reward if quality product is brought to the table.


Pictures
Camera hi-jack pending.

Ultrasone Edition 9 Solo
Comfort
Is this headphone comfortable? On one hand for the money I would like to have more comfort than I am getting, but then on the other hand the only two headphones I won't complain about the comfort of are Sony R10 and HE90. Where does Edition 9 stand? Well, things get a bit interesting here. The headband is pretty much the same as Proline 2500 by design (materials used are vastly different), and the head gets used to it, just have to get the right position. The cups on the other hand are much smaller, and you are not getting much room for your ears. Interestingly enough, neither are you getting much variation in fit, so you are pretty much bound to get the best there is. On top of that, the tight fit with fairly thick leather pads and good clamping force provide very very nice seal. I live about half a mile from a freeway, with open window next to a parking lot with regular noise from people and cars, and about 800 feet from a 4 lane highway. Quite a nice environment eh? Well with these things on I don't hear any of it. That's some quality isolation, I wonder how well the Edition 9 would hold up on a flight.

In the end, the fit might be tight, but the resulting seal and accuracy of fit is very much worth it. If anyone is not getting enough fit for extra-large set of ears there is a mod designed by SovKiller, which involves putting some kind of a thick cable under the pads to create a space via elevating the pads. That is definitely enough room for large ears, or as a consolation prize you can go sign up with Disney.

Update: Well, I have recently shaved my head...which also showed some interesting things regarding Edition 9's comfort (and I am guessing same for the Proline 2500). I have yet to experience any unpleasant feelings from the headband pressure since I did this. This essentially means that the discomfort is completely due to the presence of the hair. Be careful when putting the headphone on, since the basic effect is that the grip of the padding pulls the hair in some direction over time producing unpleasant sensations.


Build Quality
I cannot say too much praise to how good these look in person. They are small, they have a deep classy metallic finish on the cups, and they have a black headband that matches the color of the leather pads. They are not necessarily ethical, but they certainly got style worthy of a headphone of this price.

Yes, the majority of the chassis is made of plastic...is that a bad thing? Not really. Plastic is lighter than metal, less prone to bending, not prone to oxidation, not very visible when scratched, and not weak at all. Besides, if you need $1500 headphones to be bullet proof, you are in the wrong market. My sadness to the owner of a Qualia with a broken microfiber headband.

Well, there is more to say. All the parts are really thick, but the headphone retains elegance, same type of elegance you expect from a well-built man wearing a tuxedo (Mister 007 comes to mind). In the end I think the construction is solid, beautiful, and fairly functional. Unlike the rest of the high-end full-size headphones, this one is small, and I find some kind of extreme appeal in that.


Practicality
Well this is an interesting subject that I see get omitted quite a bit, but coming up every time we start talking about recommendations for new users. Open/closed, ease of drive/need for quality source, those are just opening statements. This subject can envelop alot of different factors about the headphone, and I think it is a due factor to pay respect to what different companies try to offer (...or fail to offer).

That being said, I'll just concentrate on the Edition 9. Comparisons are not really necessary here since all we need is a definitive yes or no on most of the questions. For such questions I just like to use a list format, so here it is:

1. Isolating? Yes. (What you would expect from a fine closed headphone).
2. Leaks? No. (Good, no-one needs to listen to the treble leak from your ears, its not musical).
3. Portable? Yes. (Folds up, has a carrying case, can hang from your neck. That is if you dare walk around with something $1000+ on your head)
4. Easy to drive? Yes. (Tried with PS Audio GCHA, iBasso T2, Sony NS-706, Trekstor Vibez, in order of from highest to weakest rated output)
5. Forgiving to sources? Yes. (Stello DA100, Trekstor Vibez, Sony NS-706, in order of decreasing fidelity)

I think these 5 questions fairly well cover all we need to know about practicality of the headphone. All this simply says is that this headphone is a good rounder for a large array of functions. Take it on the go to listen on a train or a bus, or an airplane, take it with you to the library or cafe to drown out annoying chatter and play some tunes that keep you on track, while still getting enjoyable balanced sound. Come home and when you finally feel like you are going to specifically listen for the sake of listening, plug it into a dedicated system that will bring out all the good in the music. And in the end - make all the Triport users feel cheap and lame. They don't get even half the bass you are getting here.


Burn-in
Well, this part is based more on an ongoing price, since there will be no way in hell I'll remember anything about it when we are through. First of all - this headphone has to burn in, and there is no question about it. Fresh out of the box it is muddy, not yet extended, and generally confused...it just came out of the box, what do you want, it is seeing real world for the first time.

The first 5 hours or so are the most crucial part of the burn-in, since after that you can start hearing that it is up to something. The midrange becomes organized, bass enters into deep presence, and high start revealing themselves. This is only the beginning though - this paragraph is written at about 56 hours, and things are consistently getting better in all areas.

Post 250 hours: I think it is safe to say that this can is burned in, but some people claim full burn-in taking as long as 500 hours so you are all allowed to keep that in mind. My vote is that those who took 500 hours - thats what it took the user to burn-in (after sufficient flaming from the Ultrasone crowd xD).


Pictures
Camera hi-jack pending.

Sound
Let us initiate the stream of consciousness. In portions worthy of a Paris dining, and as numerous in variety as the strands of flu during the 20th century. May it attract you with the flavor, and may it infect you like it got me - as it got me good.

First of all - lets start the discussion with what we are looking at the first sight. What are headphones up to, what is this headphone up to, maybe what am I up to...nah, no one cares about me, so lets talk about the lovely expensive pieces of plastic and mylar.

Wow Factor
One thing that we always start talking about a headphone we just tried is what wowed us about them. What makes this headphone stand out the most, what makes another headphone stand out the most? Like HD650 has a big bass, R10 has a huge soundstage, HE90 is ultra smooth, Denons are very comfortable... It forms our primary impression of that headphone, and sticks for a while. When we have multiple headphones, it is also that impression that may often decide which headphone we reach for at any moment. Most importantly, it is the impression we start learning about the headphone from and construct on top of this quality, as it may be the best this headphone has.

With Edition 9 this quality is bass, and it introduces itself very interestingly. It is very audible, and impactful. If you grab this can while it is playing a very bassy tune, you will absolutely hear the bass first, and will be wowed by its texture, extension, quality. This can will put a bass drum into true perspective, and it will introduce the low rumbles of upright basses in an orchestra, and it will fill the bass sea with waves, foam, and rage in a great trance track. Lots and lots to enjoy even by just thinking about bass alone. It is the first thing absolutely, many who have tried this can at the recent meet replied to me with 'What a bass!!!' And it is something to say wow about it, but it is only a first impression. For now - I'll just say the bass is this Edition 9's wow factor.

But we need more than a wow factor here, we have mids, treble, soundstage, detail, tonal color, instrument separation to worry about. We have to also worry about how individual things integrate with each other.

Frequency Range
In a way the quality of the frequency range essentially just dates back to every single other element, but it is easier to speak of it as a separate quality, since frequency response curves never tell us anything about the actual sound.

Bass: As done with the Proline 2500, I'll start from the lows again, and even though I shortly did a lovely rave about the bass I will talk about it again. Raves are never useful anyways. What does the bass do here? It offers a certain base for the music to be constructed on, but itself it is not a grounded base, it withdraws from feeling like the fundamental gears that the world turns on. The bass reaches deep, very deep, I am not sure if I can hear any lower deep. It stays constant and truthful as long as you can hear it - and below that, well I would not be able to hear if anything is wrong, so it is beyond my worries.

So the first quality of the bass is the extension. It reaches so far, it begins to feel like there are no limits, and it is just part of the open space where music takes space, but it serves as a ground for the other textures to be constructed upon...maybe, that will be discussed later. Extension is not the only important factor - other is its texture and ability to remain clean. And such it also does superbly. I have plenty of tracks with mixed bass lines, barrage of bass drums on top of a bass floor, a bassist that just likes to go on playing a syncopated rhythm. And Edition 9 allows all that to be heard distinctly and with superb clarity and impact, and it does so without emphasis on any individual frequencies within the bass spectrum. The shortest way to describe this - the bass is extended and flat. The type that should be expected of every headphone.

Mids: I have done my best to discuss what mids do for music already, so lets skip right to the chase. I do not think mids here are the type where they are so sweet and fluid, they just make you cry. This is not a Qualia or R10. What I do think though is that the mids are introduced in a similar manner as the bass on this headphone - flat. I have heard a number of headphones with recessed mids, and a number with those that had boosted mids - both of which had their merits. Here the mids have very neat, and accurate tone color and texture, but they are also very smooth, so as not to be abrupt or bothersome. I would qualify these mids as also neutral - which I might as well go on to say is not much different from the rest of the spectrum. Would not say it is anything absolutely special for mid-lovers to dance about, but there is nothing to really complain about here.

Treble: Well the story just continues - the range just goes on to be the same flat line reaching higher and higher. The extension definitely goes outside of my hearing range, and does so without any audible emphasis on any frequencies. The annoying treble spikes of the driver are not to be spoken of anymore. I might as well just stop here - the treble is superb as the rest of the headphone, but it does not have any sense of 'wow sparkling and magical.' I have to admit though, with more experience and dedicated listening, there are times I find this headphone too dark. There are some records it just does not deliver with the same raging fiery aggression that I expect out of them. It may have been said that this headphone is bright, but honestly in the face of other equipment I have, the treble seems to be softened, so as not to loose the detail and texture, but making the tonality more relaxed for long listening sessions.

Bands integrated together?
Well then, individual frequencies are describe as simply flat, textured, detailed. But how do they meet together? If the bass is really the first thing that is heard - is it overpowering the rest of the range? Is the midrange forward or laid back? Is the treble strong or relaxed? Neither. The spectrum sounds like one individual thing. This is what I find the most amazing thing about the headphone - the frequency spectrum acts as one entity, and lets the different things emphasized by your equipment chain and recordings do the work. The bass is good here - but if the bass is weak on the recording, is not going to be any stronger on this headphone. If the bass is the powerful punch machine so typical of techno/trance records - it will be such. And the same thing will go on with other frequencies too. It generally does not sound like the treble is strong - but if I pay attention to the higher frequencies, I can hear them very well. Mids are not forward, nor recessed in comparison to the rest of the spectrum, but I have just as easy of a time paying attention to guitars as I do to vocalists and violinists, or the bassists. Everything comes evenly distributed in your head.

In general, I feel this headphone should be described as darker side of neutral. It rocks in its own way. Unfortunately this form of presentations can be troublesome. Why? Lets see what could be said here, while discussing other merits of audio reproduction.

Detail, texture, separation, sound stage, and laying back feeling stupid and relaxed...
Well, maybe not stupid, but certainly alot of us grab a can in the evening and lay back in order to relax and forget about the rest of this world...and this seems to never work for me with this headphone. I get immediately drawn into the listening, and kept up and kicking. This headphone has a very strange engaging quality, I am not sure I understand, but I will relay individual parts of it.

First of all, we have PRAT. PRAT in form of uncanny speed and aggressiveness that just gets your toes tapping, head bobbing, and lips muttering the lyrics. I started off my listening today with a nice dose Steel Train (blues/rock band from NYC), and even my half-awake stuck eyes were just opened like I just saw a Godzilla. Its not that it was 'Wow this sounds awesome!' (I did not listen to them for a while, and not on this headphone), but just the whole energetic awakening factor kicked in.

Then at the same time this can get tiring quickly. Playing back more complex tracks yields lots and lots of detail, and I can't stop paying attention to it. Sometimes this becomes as tiring as my math textbooks. Is this a good quality in general? Depends from time to time, but this is the quality of this headphone that is not going anywhere. The information delivery level on this headphone is phenomenal, in the sense that it refuses to be ignored. (And this accounts for tone/texture, since that is the minute detail that we start grabbing at when we go higher and higher up the line).

So, in short - this headphone is not the most relaxing, never, it is very engaging and forward in its sound, even though it has a soundstage.

Soundstage: Yes it has one. Interesting one. It is not big, I heard bigger out of Senns, AKGs, Audio Technicas...Proline 2500 -_- On the other hand, it is a complete sound stage. Every instrument finds its place, and the more background layers stay in the back. As mentioned, more forward instruments, such as vocals or guitars - will be forward. But when you start listening for actual distance between them - things are pretty close together, and really are a unity, and sound like they are a defined part of one whole. It can get pretty tight, but there is never any confusion between individuals.

Overall:
This headphone is very aggressive with detailed, forward, pratty sound, that manages to have great fidelity and neutrality, along with extension. If you are looking to be engaged in music, without much care for things possibly being better for specific music styles - this headphone is an excellent all-rounder for you. On the other hand I think that if you are looking to use it for a specific genre, there might be better options for you. I do think there is one style this headphone is supreme at - and that is Trance, because of deep, textured, clear bass that nevertheless has never become overpowering.

But obviously there are times when I wish for more liquid sounds, or more sweetness in the vocal, especially when I think about the sound of 2 specific headphones - known as HE90 and Qualia 010. Otherwise - I think this headphone does an excellent job, and definitely settles as a strong contender to build a very rounded system with. If anything - you can always just get this headphone for the ridiculous bass...


Ultasone Proline 2500 vs Edition 9
Comfort/Fit
Did you think I would not compare this since they are from the same brand? Pshh. I just want to say one thing. I like Edition 9 better because it does not shift at all while I am headbobbing like crazy. Insane bass better not come without a fit that is any short of this one, because head-bobbing and psychedelic beats go hand in hand!

Thoughts and Musings
Stream of Consciousness Pending

This is in progress, Edition 9 will take me about 10/11 days to burn in, and even more to discuss.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 1:41 AM Post #3 of 131

jamato8

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So, I am waiting for the sssssstream of Consciousness to spew forth, cascading down the audio Niagara, falling upon our eagerly waiting anticipation adding to the pool of knowledge allowing for informed buying decisions of that elite black sultry presenter of musical warmth, to bathe our ears, our mind, our being, in the fluid essence of harmonic nirvana.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 1:47 AM Post #4 of 131

MaloS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jamato8 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So, I am waiting for the sssssstream of Consciousness to spew forth, cascading down the audio Niagara, falling upon our eagerly waiting anticipation adding to the pool of knowledge allowing for informed buying decisions of that elite black sultry presenter of musical warmth, to bathe our ears, our mind, our being, in the fluid essence of harmonic nirvana.


You sure you want that to happen? Cause stream of cosciousness translated to Russian means something along the lines of mental diahrrea.
very_evil_smiley.gif


Working on it. I need to eat as soon as I rip the E9 off my head, and then I will go over some Proline basics.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 1:56 AM Post #5 of 131

Sovkiller

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MaloS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
"...The headband is pretty much the same as Proline 2500..."


Stas are you talking of the shape right? Because IME with both I feel that the only resemblance of the headbands of those two heapdhones is the shape, other than that, they are different materials, colors, and sturdiness, even the "clicks" to adjust the headband on the Editions seems to work better IMO...
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 2:09 AM Post #6 of 131

thread

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Will be great to hear your impressions, MaloS. I'm also a very happy E9 owner. I just need the source now....
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 2:41 AM Post #8 of 131

drp

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pataburd /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd like to get my hands on the Ed.9 and a/b it with the RAL re-cabled/Proline 750. : )


My Edition 9s would like to get their hands on your RAL cable.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 3:06 AM Post #9 of 131

GreatDane

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I look forward to further impressions.

Wouldn't a comparison between the 750 & Ed.9 be more fitting since they're both closed?

I'm trying to decide between the 2500 & 750. Without hearing them I'm clueless.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 3:12 AM Post #10 of 131

MaloS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sovkiller /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Stas are you talking of the shape right? Because IME with both I feel that the only resemblance of the headbands of those two heapdhones is the shape, other than that, they are different materials, colors, and sturdiness, even the "clicks" to adjust the headband on the Editions seems to work better IMO...


No Alberto, the mold, the shape, the behavior is the same. The materials are different, making the E9 behave more solid, and the padding is nicer, more comfortable. In all other respect the headbands are identical. I will add more specific decrepancy, I just did not get to the comparison really.

Comparison to 750 is not possible since I do not have one at hand.

Anyways, I am going get onto working with the Proline.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 3:36 AM Post #11 of 131

jamato8

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MaloS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You sure you want that to happen? Cause stream of cosciousness translated to Russian means something along the lines of mental diahrrea.
very_evil_smiley.gif


Working on it. I need to eat as soon as I rip the E9 off my head, and then I will go over some Proline basics.



Yes, I am aware of what it is but then since that was your description I assumed of that you would partake.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 3:41 AM Post #12 of 131

boomana

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jamato8 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yes, I am aware of what it is but then since that was your description I assumed of that you would partake.


I was looking forward to that as well
icon10.gif
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 4:25 AM Post #13 of 131

MaloS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jamato8
Yes, I am aware of what it is but then since that was your description I assumed of that you would partake.


Quote:

Originally Posted by boomana /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I was looking forward to that as well
icon10.gif



Well I am going to save you two from the habitual American love for disgust...unless my writing abilities and English are really as bad as I think they are.


The Proline 2500 thoughts have been neatly delivered. Please take it with a grain of salt, I don't want to sound overblown, but I don't want to underestimate the headphone either, there are alot of factors at work with it.

Oh, and Edition 9 owners, fill me in on when the sibilance stops? Its a tiny bit annoying.
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 11:18 AM Post #14 of 131

Dexdexter

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MaloS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...the mold, the shape, the behavior is the same. The materials are different, making the E9 behave more solid, and the padding is nicer, more comfortable. In all other respect the headbands are identical. I will add more specific decrepancy, I just did not get to the comparison really.


You're off to a blazing start with your review, Stas, however I'm confident that given some more time in handling the two, you'll come to appreciate that the headband on the Edition 9s is of an entirely higher caliber.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 14, 2007 at 12:25 PM Post #15 of 131

pataburd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GreatDane /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I look forward to further impressions.

Wouldn't a comparison between the 750 & Ed.9 be more fitting since they're both closed?

I'm trying to decide between the 2500 & 750. Without hearing them I'm clueless.




Great,
You can do a search for already-posted comparisons (look on the dedicated 2500 thread, e.g.).

I've owned the 2500 twice now: first w/ and then w/o the RAL (detachable) cable; have a/b-ed them against the 750 on both occasions; and twice preferred the 750. There is, to me anyway, something more solid, liquidy--I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms--and integrated (a "seamless" and well-weighted character to the sound) with the latter.

When Stas says the Prolines have no midrange--well, maybe compared to the Ed.9, that certainly has not been my experience, especially with the 750, and even more so with the RAL cable. Also, I didn't check Stas's current/review amp, but the Proline 750 do very well with tubes. Midrange? Oh, yes! Vocals are the best I've heard (admittedly, outside the "sphere of influence" of the Ed.9 (and their feverish proponents)). : )

PatABurd
 

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