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Takstar Pro 82 Review, impressions and discussion thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by BenF, May 14, 2017.

Which headphones do you want Pro 82 to be compared with?

Poll closed Jun 13, 2017.
  1. Brainwavz HM5/Yoga CD-990/NVX XPT100

  2. ATH-ES700

  3. Isk HP2011

  4. JVC HA-S400

  5. JVC HA-S680

  6. JVC HARX900

  7. Bosshifi B8

  8. B&O H6

  9. B&O H7

  10. Creative Aurvana Live!

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. BenF
    Sorry for delay, I think I may have overcommitted myself to a concert going experience - 12 concerts in 24 days, not much time is left - since I also have to put in full day of work 5 days a week.
    Last week did a 1700 mile road trip for 3 concerts, got 3 more concerts this week and 5 more next one...

    But let's get back to the battle of the giants.
    It was a bloodbath, some results were a complete surprise, some were a "no duh" kind of experience.
    The important part - I didn't walk away empty-handed...

    My main target was Sennheiser HD820, I was hoping it would be a clear upgrade to Pro 82, and was prepared to buy it on the spot.
    I auditioned it through HDV820 (used as DAC/Amp), which in my mind meant that this combo should provide the best sound, after all Sennheiser created them for each other.
    So synergy should be off the charts, right?
    I bet you have noticed the italics on "hoping"...

    HD820 was a complete disappointment, especially from HDV820.
    Bass quality ranged between songs, sometimes too dry, sometimes too hallow, sometimes perfect. Pro 82 is much more consistent.
    Vocals often sounded shouty, especially male ones. Both male and female vocals had the wrong timbre, too colored.
    Soundstage is quite big, larger than Pro 82
    Imaging isn't as good as Pro 82.
    Transparency - not even close, Pro 82 rules. I didn't feel present at the concert venue, music always felt like a reproduction.
    Comfort - HD820 feels very comfortable at first, but after 1.5 hours I felt the pressure on my cheeks. Pro 82 takes this one.

    Then I tried my Oppos as DAC/amp instead of HDV820.
    Through Oppo HA2-SE and HA2 HD820 sounds more lively, but vocals are still off (although less). On HA-2 the timbre is almost perfect (HA-2SE has a colored amp).
    Bass quality is much better! How is this possible? How can a 300$ battery/USB powered DAC/Amp produce better bass than a desktop 2400$ DAC/Amp, specifically tuned for HD820?
    What kind of magic is that?

    Using Ha-2(SE) as a DAC with HDV820 improves the bass further, timbre improves too - imperfect still, but close - as good as from HA-2.
    Looks like the main problem in HDV820 is the DAC part. It's supposed to be some kind of a Sabre chip, but it doesn't sound like one.
    It was too heavily tuned - I guess Alex Grell wanted to stay away as far as possible from the original HD800 signature with elevated highs, so he toned them down and raised the bass.

    Best timbre I was able to achieve from HD820 was with HA-2SE + 02 (bass was as good as from HA-2).

    With or without O2, the Oppos destroyed HDV820 when driving HD820.
    Pro 82 still has a clear advantage in transparency and timbre, no matter what combination of DAC/Amp was used.

    Conclusion: HD820 isn't the better version of Pro 82, it's not even in the running. It looks much better than it sounds. Of course, it offered no competition to L300 and Perun either.

    I'll post other comparisons later (not today).
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
    OscarPaz likes this.
  2. OscarPaz
    HD820 must be technically more correct than Pro 82, but last word is the sound you hear and I don’t find it strange that it didn’t keep up with you expectations.

    I personally never felt engaged to any Sennheiser headphones to date. What you describe reminds me of my first contact auditioning the HD800. There’s something in them telling you that the thing is very capable, but the final outcome is quite disappointing in some areas, to my taste. Is it because of the Sennheiser house sound?, Idk.

    Looking forward to more comparisons and to knowing what you ended up buying!
    BenF likes this.
  3. ferez
    Isn't that the case with many of the more expensive headphones? We all expect to be totally blown away in a magical way listening to a $1000 pair of headphones, but the harsh truth is that many times the difference is not that pronounced, and honestly not worth that much money over a good cheaper pair.
    BenF likes this.
  4. FunkeXMix
    BenF, could you please post the reference tracks you always use to review different characteristics of headphones? Either the online link you use or the name if you don't source online. Thanks.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  5. BenF
    Here are some of the test tracks, impressions are from HD820 with HDV820 only, not including improvements from using Oppos and O2:

    AC/DC "Thunderstruck" from "Live [2003 Remaster]" - weak bass
    Craig Armstrong "Weatherstorm" from "Pure Moods II" - great bass
    ZZ Top "Rough Boy" from "Rancho Texicano" - middle of the road, too dry and doesn't hit hard enough.
    Haim "Falling" from "Days Are Gone" - bass is hollow, not enough meat
    The Swell Season "Low Rising" from "Strict Joy" - good bass

    The Swell Season "Low Rising" from "Strict Joy" - male vocals are too shouty
    Rebecca Pidgeon "You Need Me There" from "The Raven" - female vocals are off timbre
    Rebecca Pidgeon "Kalerka" from "The Raven" - female vocals are off timbre
    Lindsey Webster "Fool me once" from "You Change"- female vocals are off timbre
    Hoff Ensemble "Dronning Fjellrose" from "Quiet Winter Night" - female vocals are off timbre
    Feist "Secret Heart" from "Live at Trabendo"- female vocals are too shouty, slightly off timbre
    The first 5 songs in "King of Mask Singer" episode 47 (available online through multiple sites, Google "watch king of mask singer online") - female vocals are off timbre.

    Soundstage, transparency and imaging were judged by the same songs.
  6. BenF
    I guess if we'll take a large enough sample of $1000-2000 headphones, and compare it with similar size of $100-200$ headphones, the more expensive ones will sound better.
    But when you are taking a single cheap headphone vs single expensive headphone, it's a crap shoot.

    Of course, even if the expensive headphone does sound better, different people will have different opinions on whether the improvement in sound justifies the price hike.
    Joong likes this.
  7. Homo Sapiens
    Something the author is not responding, can someone tell me if this dac from my message will be able to shake these headphones? Bought them, but the laptop apparently does not swing them.
  8. Joong
    It might end up with how you develop your taste by training your brain to enjoy the unique sound to the fullest extent as is the case of developing the taste of your hard food.
  9. SSakul
    Hi guys can somebody compare Takstars with OKCSC ZX1 ? I know its closed vs open , just wonder if anyone can compare ? Those 2 kinda have my interest for 11.11. Thanks
  10. BenF
    Continuing my impressions from the headphone battle royale.

    All of these were through HA-2SE + O2

    ATH-W5000 - sounds decent, much better than last year.
    Last year it sounded plain bad, with small soundstage and exaggerated bass. Maybe it's a different headphone? Or maybe it got burned in since my last visit?
    Anyway, it's not really TOTL.

    ATH-AD2000X - sounds like a greatly improved AD900X, soundstage and imaging are amazing, perfect timbre
    I had to take it off my head couple times, because I thought the sound was coming from somewhere else :jecklinsmile:
    Bass is good, not great. If bass was as good as the rest of the spectrum, I would have ended up buying this one.

    Sony MDR-Z7 - a bit too warm sounding, good timbre, lacks transparency. Bass is dull.

    Campfire Audio Cascade - vocals sound very remote, veiled. Bass is mediocre. Sounds too weird. Extremely uncomfortable. Can't believe the same company behind Andromeda released these.

    Ether C Flow - sounds great, except for the bass - super dull

    Pioneer SE-Master 1 - Sounds great, but slightly veiled. Warmer than Sony MDR-Z1R.

    I'll post the impressions of the top dogs later.
    SomeoneSomewhere, OscarPaz and Joong like this.
  11. dhruvmeena96
    That cannot be possible because my friend has HD820 and I have takstar. I tried testing myself after reading your post here.

    Man, HD820 vocals seems not shouty(male ones) but brittle and grainy which more smooth on takstar.

    Bass is there, but there is a dip near midbass so I can accept that it sounds hollow, it is dry because of insanely fast response time on decay. Takstar has good decay which makes you love it.

    Transparency is higher with Benchmark DAC2. HD820 is power sucker. It needs way more power to sound nice. Takstar reaches its ideal limit pretty fast. 1/8th of vol knob for takstar and 3/4 for HD820. But HD820 beats it here by a significant margin.

    Soundstage is bigger but somewhat not structured on HD820, height seems less and width seems very big(still bigger than takstar) but takstar somewhat gives a evenly shaped stage which seems to give a very proper location and impact to instruments.

    Takstar still has a ringing problem on 8kHz(not noticeable). HD820 is super fast responser which can make things a little shouty or clinical. Takstar is more like natural U shape with somewhat correct decay(90Hz ,140Hz and 8-9khz is still an issue but is not that major, you have to sine wave sweep, because I find it on these freq).

    Takstar is way better than Sony Z1r, that I am sure of and can debate anyday(I hate new Sony).

    Sony CD900st cartonode engineering v2, earpad(yaxi st2) mod with periapt Japanese cable(orange) is the best on collection. After that I rank AKG k550 solderdude mod and then comes takstar pro82
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    OscarPaz likes this.
  12. OscarPaz
    Do you have Pro 82 v1 or v2?
  13. dhruvmeena96
  14. BenF
    Continuing my continuation of impressions from the headphone battle royale.

    Sony MDR-Z1R (HA-2SE+O2) - Listened to these on 2 different days. First, I heard them on the same day as HD820 and MDR-Z7.
    Day 1 impressions = great full bodied bass, great timbre. Slightly too warm for perfect transparency, but I can live with it
    Sounds like Pro 82 with larger soundstage (but not exaggerated) and meatier bass (kinda like TH900MK2), but not too much bass.
    I'm calling these Pro 84!

    Then I heard it on another day, when I brought with me not just Pro 82 for comparison, but Perun and L300 too.
    Day 2 impressions = On second listening, it's not as impressive. Maybe because this time I didn't listen to half a dozen unimpressive headphone before trying Z1R.
    It's definitely warmer than Pro 82 v2, and lacks transparency. Bass is still extremely impressive.
    Perun sounds way clearer than Z1R, so does L300. Perun has equally great bass. Perun has slight advantage in stage too. Z1R has worse timbre than Perun, sounds colored in comparison
    Z1R sounds great by itself, just don't go around comparing it to really great headphones.

    Focal Clear (HA-2SE+O2) - Sound very good, but doesn't make me feel much.
    Good bass, deep enough - but nothing special.
    Adding the Little Bear P10 helps a lot, but it still sounds too technical.
    Adding the Little Bear P10 improves the feeling of live performance, but makes timbre too warm. Even straight out of O2, Clear is still a bit too warm
    Weird - closing the cups with hands made no difference in sound.

    AByss AB1266 - Sounds loud enough through HA-2SE + Little Bear P10 + O2, but bass is missing
    Clarity and timbre rival Pro 82/Perun/L300.
    Through HA-2SE + Little Bear P10 + Cayin IHA-6: Soundstage improves greatly, so does bass - it's a perfect headphone. Clarity is on the L300 level, has Perun/Pro 82 beat.
    Doesn't have the ethereal feeling of L300, but huge soundstage anyway
    Through HA-2SE + Cayin IHA-6 - sounds boring, clearly needs tubes. Had similar experience last year, sounded boring HA-1 as an amp, amazing with Cayin HA-1AMk2.

    Focal Utopia - Through SMSL IQ (balanced) - Sounds great, much better than last year through HA2+HA1.
    Great clarity and timbre. Bass lacks impact.
    Through HA-2 + Little Bear P10 + Cayin IHA6 - sounds same, but the bass is now very good too.
    Sounds like AB1266, but bass still has better body on AB1266
    Both Utopia and AB1266 have better defined bass than Perun. AB1266 is the king, with hardest punch.
    Joong likes this.
  15. dhruvmeena96
    Sony_MDRZ1R_GIF_Mode32.gif Take Takstar pro 82, dissassemble it and make the swiveling mechanism correct, carbon fiber body and VPD graphene coating(vapour) on driver to fix the complex annular node(as shown above by klippel scan) and make mylar stiffer.

    You will have a flagship headphone.


    That diagram is diaphragm movement at complex tone passage. This happens when diaphragm doesn't move ideally
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Joong likes this.
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