Review: Ultrasone Proline 2500 w/Silver Dragon V2
Aug 21, 2007 at 7:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

fishski13

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With all of the attention that Ultrasones have been getting here lately i thought that maybe some of you would be interested in a little review about the Silver Dragon headphone cable from Moon Audio and how it compares to the stock cable. But before i start, we have some housecleaning to do...

While the PL2500 with stock cable are a very musically engaging and fun HP, i felt that there were some areas for improvement:
-note attack was always good, but i felt the decay was a little too much, especially wrt bass.
-music seemed to be dissected/segregated into bass, mid-range, and treble - i think they could be a little more seemless and less lumpy in freq. response.
-mid-range, esp. vocals, were a bit recessed for my tastes.

Listening bias - we all have one. I don't pitch my tent in any one particular hi-fi camp, but will say that i'm more sensitive to things such as musical phrasing, dynamics, PRaT and pitch clarity. "Neutrality" and "Accuracy" as absolutes are a bit too fuzzy for my comprehension and not a consideration in detemining whether or not i dig a piece of hi-fi.

Music
Here's a list of albums under heavy rotation these days at chez Fishy to give you an idea of my tastes. Some are favorites i've owned for awhile, some are discs i picked up recently. I don't do "test discs" or "audiophile-approved" for evaluating hi-fi.

-The Tony Rice Unit: Unit of Measure (CD, Rounder)
-Doc Watson: Southbound (LP, Vanguard)
-Mary Gauthier: Mercy Now (CD, Lost Highway)
-Jack Johnson: On and On (CD, The Moonshine Conspiracy Records)
-Charlotte Gainsbourg: 5:55 (CD, Because Music)
-The Cinematic Orchestra: Ma Fleur (CD, Nina Tune)
-Thievery Corporation: The Mirror Conspiracy (CD, ESL Music)
-Richard Dorfmeister: A Different Drummer Selection - A Decade in Dub (CD, Different Drummer LTD)
-Daddy G: DJ Kicks (CD, iK7)
-Barrington Levy: Englishman (CD, Greensleeves)
-Mahler: 1 - Horenstein/LSO (LP, Nonesuch)
-Mahler: 8 - Solti/CSO (LP, London)
-Beethoven: 5 - Solti/VPO (LP, London/Jubilee)
-Manu Katche: Neighbourhood (CD, ECM)
-Tomasz Stanko: From the Green Hill (CD, ECM)
-Enrico Rava: The Words and the Days (CD, ECM)
-Jan Garbarek: In Praise of Dreams (CD, ECM)

The System
-Sony DVP-NS75H (cheap dvd/cdp)/Stereovox XV2 Digital IC/Benchmark DAC1
-Basis 1400/OL-RB250 w/Incognito wire/Denon DL110/Naim Stageline/Flatcap2
-Naim Headline2/ Naim Flatcap2

Drew recommends 100 hrs of burn-in for the SD - mine has approx. 150 hrs. My PL2500 w/stock cable have >500 hrs. I think we're good to go...

Construction
My 10 ft. SD looks the business having an outer hard, protective sheathing surrounding the cable proper, with excellent attention paid to securing the cable to the connectors with sturdy, stiff shrink-wrap. I opted for a screw-on connector version instead of hardwiring directly into the PL2500. It's a bit heavier and stiffer than the stock cable, but i had no issues with this personally. In short, excellent stuff. I don't have cable envy.

Sound
I'll try to be a succinct as possible, avoiding nonsensical verbosity.

-The addition of the SD has given the PL2500 blazing speed and a more focused sound with better timing and instument separation. Less smearing of note attack and decay, thus making it easier to pick out individual musical lines. bass over-hang is now zero. There is a much firmer grip on the music, bringing out subtle contrasts in rhythm between instruments.

-Dynamically speaking, the music hits harder. More drama with musical phrashing that sounds more emotional and life-like. Individual notes seem to be more purposeful in the sense that they are made by humans creating music. You can better hear the difference between the emphasis of the ending of a guitar "lick" that starts a quiter than it ends.

-Much better freq. balance top to bottom. Everything sounds as if it cut from the same cloth. Bass is more controlled, mid-range really comes forward in the mix, and highs are less bright and sibilant, cleaner/purer with less grit. The neutrality nerds would maybe call this more "neutral"?

-More tonal detail, especially with regards to mid-range and bass timbre/texture. Notes are meatier with more weight and impact. The bass is phenominal.

-Notes sound more "in-tune" with one another with better pitch definition and clarity. Let's say a pianist hits a chord and a bassist plays a line - the bass notes make more sense by sounding more in-tune with the piano chord. Also - I know this sounds silly - but Major chords sound more "Major-ish", and minor chords sound, well, more "minor-ish".

-The soundstage is closer to the listener. Instruments and voices are scaled larger giving the music much more presence.

-These suckers are musically potent as goat-piss, or if you prefer, a really stiff gin and tonic.

-Did i mention that the bass is phenominal?

Conclusions
Any negatives? I haven't found any yet, but time will tell. I think that the SD is a clear improvement in my system, and i was quite suprised by how much the sound changed compared to the stock cable. I also think the SD offers excellent VFM. Highly Recommended!

PACE
 
Aug 21, 2007 at 8:26 PM Post #3 of 8

jpelg

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Thanks for the writeup, fishski!

It is getting harder & harder to resist that final upgrade to my 2500's (the cable). I'm sure I'll succumb eventually.

Is your cable hardwired, or with a screw-on connector?

smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 21, 2007 at 8:45 PM Post #4 of 8

fishski13

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpelg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for the writeup, fishski!

It is getting harder & harder to resist that final upgrade to my 2500's (the cable). I'm sure I'll succumb eventually.

Is your cable hardwired, or with a screw-on connector?

smily_headphones1.gif



Ahh yes...i should have added this - done. Screw-on.

PACE
 
Aug 21, 2007 at 8:47 PM Post #5 of 8

Andrew_WOT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dw6928 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Corey, thank you for your insightful review. Moonaudio is doing my Denon 2000s right now but I suspect the Ultrasones will be next after your review.


Looking forward to your recabled D2000 impressions as well.
wink.gif
 
Aug 21, 2007 at 8:52 PM Post #7 of 8

fishski13

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jpelg,
have Drew send you a screw-on version - if you like, go gangbusters with a hardwire. even though hardwiring is probably better, i personally like to have the flexibility of changing cables if want to down the road.

PACE
 
Aug 21, 2007 at 8:54 PM Post #8 of 8

fishski13

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dw6928 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
did you have to provide the screw in connector?


nope.

PACE
 

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