- Sep 4, 2005
I have the HD700. You would be surprised at what a difference the kit from modhouse makes. It's about $15. It is fully reversible and requires no tools. It comes in two parts. You can use both or just one. A felt ring that encircles the driver and/or three layer felt earpad. Don't want to spend $15 you can totally make it yourself by printing out a template and cutting out a felt pad for free.So finally after listening to them for a while, I'll give some of my thoughts on the HD700 and Fostex TH900 starting of course with the HD700. On well recorded music without EQing the headphones, this has a bit too much treble energy in a specific spot for me, but it does not come off as sibilant. I actually didn't understand the fuss about them being sibilant until I went to YouTube and began leisurely watching videos. These are incredibly picky for sound quality. Poor audio recording ensures that you will hear all of the garbage and I do mean all. They are ruthless and unforgiving with poor audio and quickly became sibilant and exhausting to listen to when the audio quality was poor. The HD700 to my ears only has one problematic area treble wise and once that is resolved with EQ, they sound amazing with well recorded music, especially with vocals and classical. Honestly I'm more surprised by more people immediately giving up on the HD700 for a problematic treble region but hesitating with the HD800 or the HD800S, which I hear are even pickier with sound quality. Nothing wrong with giving headphones a 2nd chance/lack of a 2nd chance, but you would think more people would give this headphone a 2nd chance or immediately give up on the HD800 or HD800S is all.
The Fostex TH900 is a V shaped headphone, so I think the issue with treble response there is that the recessed mids combined with high amounts of energy in the treble will make the treble seem even more extreme than a non V shaped headphone. Personally for me, the only time this headphone became sibilant was with tracks that I knew had sibilance in the first place. A small tweak to EQ was all that was needed to resolve this and now these are my true endgame for EDM and most genres of music. Personally my only gripe with this headphone now is that the mids are just a tad bit too recessed for classical and vocal dominant music, but other than that, I'm extremely happy with these.
Now to talk about the things that I like about the HD700. They're quite different than the Fostex TH900 in terms of sound signature. The mids for the HD700 are wonderful and they really shine in music that requires that. Once the hot spot for the HD700 is diminished, the treble is surprisingly pleasing to listen to. Their soundstage is quite wide, almost bordering on unnatural, but doing it just enough to not ever veer fully into artifical territory. These are by far the most unique pair of headphones that I've ever listened to, for better or worse. Some things that I don't like about them are their lack of subbass extension (of course my Fostex TH900 is used for bass heavy music instead of these), that particular hot spot in the treble, and that they can be a little bit too unforgiving at times, but I know a lot of people will see that last point as a pro, not a con. Honestly I kinda wish an HD700S came out that had slightly more subbass extension, a reduced treble peak at 6k and a slight boost at 1.3-3k because that would seem to be my endgame for classical and vocal music. Before I got the HD700, I was lowkey expecting to hate the HD700 even after EQ, but I'm surprisingly enjoying them. They're like so close to endgame for me, but I don't think that getting the HD800 or HD800S would fix this issue, given that they're even more picky with sound quality and that if the HD700 soundstage borders on being too wide, the HD800/HD800S might actually veer into the artificial territory.
We'll see if I find anything in SoCal CanJam that hits the spot, if not this headphone is here to stay. This headphone having such a massive price tank due to its bad reputation will also make finding a replacement hard as I suspect most headphones that can outclass it are going to be well above the $500 price range.
I toyed with both mod parts. I decided to use just just the felt ring that encircled the driver. Using both the felt ring and the 3 layer driver, you get a lot more powerful base but I felt the tone was not right (felt more v-shaped). Using just the felt ring, helped tone the treble down. Hope that helps!
FWIW, I absolutely expect the HD800S to fix this issue and sound much better. They are my next purchase.