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. J Mirra
    Just bought a second pair, to much of a deal not to have two of these bad boy's. They are just perfect for me and my set up :)
    BenF likes this.
  2. BenF
    Now you are a proper Pro 82 owner! :beerchug:
    J Mirra likes this.
  3. trellus
    Well, I don't have any headphones that cost more than $500 (the most expensive I have cost me right at $500 before tax), and I certainly don't have any DACs or amps that cost even half that. :flushed:

    Still, I suspect I my humble DACs and amps, which to my ears are good enough to drive my mid-fi 'phones, will be sufficient to drive the Pro 82 enough to compare them to my mid-fi headphones.

    Do you really think the bar has to be that high? $500 to $1000+ headphones and similarly priced (or more expensive!) DACS and amps? :confused:
  4. Rezeta
    I agree with you BenF. I got my Pro 82 today, and i was listening it in the past 8 hours with different kind of music, and in the first time i wasn't that impressed. But after listening it more, they definitly sound better than my pro 80 that i used. The pro 82 also way, way more comfortable.
    I also noticed some song just want to kill me with the high frequencies(beggining of this song for example:

    I use a asus xonar dg as a soundcard, not the best, but better than the onboard.
    + Mine is very soft to tuch in the driver area, there is definitly some kind of foam under the textil part.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  5. oldmate
    Is it any wonder some people who come here for advice leave more confused then when they started!! So a $80 USD headphone is not entry level and you need expensive equipment to appreciate it?? Not a good choice for somebody new to this hobby given all it's praise?? Could this in fact be just another sub 100 dollar headphone on the infamous Head.Fi hype train??

    Seriously, that statement is wrong on every level.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  6. BenF
    You don't need to experience $500+/$1000+ headphones/DACs/amps to ENJOY Pro 82, but you need it to FULLY APPRECIATE Pro 82.
    You, specifically, own some really good sounding headphones - HD700, SRH1540, ATH-AD900X, SHP9500S just to mention a few (I limited this list to the ones I own/auditioned).
    I'm sure you have auditioned even more. So you certainly have enough experience both to enjoy and appreciate Pro 82.

    As for your "humble DACs and amps", there are some very nice ones indeed.
    They can certainly drive Pro 82 to ear-splitting levels and show off its resolution.

    However, sometimes the most important part choosing the right DAC/Amp for a headphone is synergy - just ask any HD800 owner :jecklinsmile:
    SMSL Idea + O2 have crazy synergy with Pro 82.

    Now while O2 is a no-brainer - it is the best amplifier I have, edging out even HA-2, SMSL Idea is far from being the best DAC I own.
    In fact, it's not even a DAC at all - there is no LO. I have many much better and much more expensive DACs - HA-2, HA-2SE, GO V2, GO 1000, NFB.11-32 etc.
    I even prefer the 9$ EL-D01 as a DAC over Idea with some headphones.

    Idea as a standalone DAC/Amp, is too warm, doesn't have the best bass control and the soundstage is somewhat narrow (it's great for its price, these cons are in comparison with the much more expensive DACs I have).

    But it's different with Pro 82.
    Double amping Idea with O2 adds just a little hint of warmth, that results in perfect tonality for vocals.
    And O2 completely resolves the bass control and soundstage issues.
    The resulting sound is very dynamic and lively, almost as dynamic and lively as TH900MK2 and Elear (these are the 2 most dynamic/lively headphones I've heard).

    There is a good chance that you will enjoy this synergy too, at a total cost of less than 180$ - it's worth the try!
    Just remember to always max the volume of the Idea after connecting it - it is automatically reset to a lower level every time.
    O2 sounds better in high gain.

    P.S. Can you compare Pro 82 with SRH1540? When I auditioned it, I liked it, but it didn't "wow" me, so I moved on to auditioning other headphones quickly.
    Also a comparison with AKG 712 PRO would be appreciated - I bought them about a year ago, but didn't open the box yet. Should I bother?
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    trellus likes this.
  7. trellus
    You definitely own some DACs I've had my eye on for a while but that I've yet to pull the trigger on, notably the HA-2 (and HA-2SE although I actually don't even know what the differences between those are), and the NFB.11-32, definitely.

    You mention the SMSL Idea -> O2 -> Takstar Pro 82 pairing, would you say that Idea -> O2 (double-amped as you said) is your favorite for the Pro 82, even though you have "better" DACs?

    I have to admit every time I've come across the SMSL Idea, I've dismissed it, as I've had it in my mind to get something like a TEAC UD-301 or a Topping DX7, but I've been very cheap when it comes to spending money on DACs for some reason, preferring to buy headphones, but I think I need to have at least one DAC that's higher tier than the ones I have which are all inexpensive DACs -- and presumably, inferior technically.

    Yes, I'll be happy to compare the SRH1540 with the Pro 82. Strangely, even though I long coveted the SRH1540, having shared an office with a co-worker who had the very pair I now have (I bought it from another co-worker he first sold it to), with its ridiculously supreme comfort and its gorgeous looks, since I actually purchased them, I've spent very little head time with them, and they're actually on another co-worker's desk with whom I share my headphone abundance.

    I'm definitely curious to see how the soundstage of the Pro 82 compares to the soundstage of the SRH1540, as I think that's one thing I like about the SRH1540 for closed cans -- they exceed my expectations on soundstage.

    Conversely, the AKG 712 Pro's, even though I got them much later (only about 2-3 months ago), they are at my desk at work as my daily drivers, and they are easily one of my favorite pairs. I must say that I would be surprised if I liked the Pro 82 better than the AKG 712, but that's not even a fair fight on my ears since I almost without fail like open headphones over closed headphones, period, and I wouldn't hold that against the Pro 82 as a knock against them since they were designed as closed headphones and offer the benefits therein, isolation particularly.
    BenF likes this.
  8. oldmate
    I'm putting off purchasing these until the people with thousand dollar heaphones, amps and dac's etc start posting their comparisons. I think I'm going to be waiting for quite some time.:beyersmile:
  9. Miguelbazil
    warning: these are just my very initial, very inexperient thoughts. Take them with a grain of salt.

    OK, so far my experience with the O2 is being... Weird. Weird in the sense that it doesn't feel like the improvement I expected, it's very subtle and seemed to hit the low/mid/treble balance I enjoyed on the 82 Pro. Maybe I didn't manage my expectations properly, wouldn't be the first time. And since the jump from my previous headphones to the O2 were such a mighty improvement, that subconsciously I expected something more from the addition of the Amp. But like we've seen before, there could be something else causing issues, this is NOT a final view, but I do want to explain and discuss this whole thing before it starts annoying me.

    === Context ===
    I had to go out and buy a cheap 3.5mm male to male cable because I didn't have one available at home (at least that I could remember). Worten, one of the mass tech store chains we have here in Portugal, were asking 10€ for such a cable, which I thought was too much for an unknown quality cable. So I hit the Chinese store near where I live and bought a 2€ one. I'm aware that this cable could be an issue. The reason why I'm mentioning this, is that if I connect that cable to the O2 input, but not to the PC, just having it in the air seems to add some noise, so I recognize this cable could be at fault in what I'm saying. Still got to test with a better cable in there just to be sure, and I will be hunting for one.

    Another point is that I don't hear music stupidly loud or anything. Windows maxed out, and the O2 with 1.0x gain, I have it at most at 50% volume. Without the O2, I had windows volume at around 30, 35. Maybe this doesn't allow me to listen to the full extent of the improvement?

    Last but not least, I have to look at who I am and what I want and expect. I'm a "price/performance" or "price/quality gain" type of person. I like to pay for something and feel an improvement of quality appropriate to what I paid for. That's why I don't climb most stairs when it comes to hardware. I don't buy 4K TV's because I can't take advantage of them, I can't justify paying the money required for OLED TV's, I can't justify paying 250€ for a Topre keyboard that I would actually love to have, I can't justify paying for the lovely 34'' ultrawide monitors out there... So these purchases are under a very strict magnifying glass. And the 82 Pro passed with flying colors on that, and that kinda set some very high expectations of the O2, which may be an issue.

    === Experience ===
    First, let me say that the quality of the Amp build is irreprehensible, it's got good quality materials, and no electrical feel when I touch it, so I'm pretty sure it's got good isolation. Connecting the headphones only to its output, no PC connection, reveals no weird noise, so no current leaks or anything. The only noise I had was with the cheap cable I bought.

    So I connected everything and hit Spotify with a couple of songs just for test everything out (and because I didn't exactly have a lot of available time for music only, as everyone was calling me out for gaming), and did a couple of test with and without the O2. I can say that I can finally hear a bit of the veil that my Sabre 9018 DAC has. And this is more noticeable in the mids, they do become more recessed with them. So I switched to the motherboard's soundcard for now.

    Now, the issue here is not on the quality of the audio with and without the O2:
    • With the O2, I could hear a more "full" bass, it's like it still had the precision, but it was... rounder and fuller? It's like it had a more "oooom" to it. It was a bit strange because I ended up getting very used to the very precise and tight bass the 82 Pro have when not chained to anything, like the bass hit was dry yet strong, to the point I now only use it with the ports closed exclusively. When connected to the O2, while the precision and tightness were still there, it had a more fullness to it which slightly drowned the hit it had. But I don't feel like that'd be a problem on itself.
    • The treble also gained a bit of strength, actually, my Brazilian friend's voice actually got slightly more sibilant, and I noticed it. But you know, that means there was an increase in treble, but the 82 Pro still kept it under control. The songs still sounded very good and no sibilance showed up or got worst. Alright!
    • I could also feel a more space in the sound, that probably would mean the soundstage increased which was very cool! So while not a huge improvement, I could definitely hear something better.

    Now, the main issue I had was that I could now feel the recessed mids. And that's where the weirdness comes for me mostly. The improvements in bass and treble strength, paired with what I assume is the wider soundstage now make me feel like I want to pull the mids more to the front to fully enjoy them and I can't. And that feels very weird. I always felt the mids were the weaker point when compared to the rest, but it felt minimal. But now I feel that weakness even more and it's starting to make me itchy.

    === Other stuff ===
    I noticed something like this, but I thought I was going crazy at this point, but that does make me feel a bit better. I might just use it in 3.3x permanently, lower the volume, and enjoy that ride. But now I do wonder if the default 2x/6.5x gain on the O2 wouldn't be more interesting?

    Currently I'm waiting on @BenF review of the D3 in order to decide on whether I buy the SMSL Idea or the D3. I still want to fully improve the chain to understand whether I feel that the DAC + AMP it's a justifiable improvement or not, under my personal magnifying glass.

    === Final Analysis ===

    Here's the thing, at this point, I do recommend the 82 Pro as a great pair of cans for anyone that wants them neutral and transparent, and I still feel they are amazing. But pairing them with the O2 alone doesn't feel like a 125€ improvement, as simple as that. At least at first sight.

    I also recognize the reality that I still lack time to test, get used to, and appreciate the O2, it was a very limited experience on my side, and I know my chain still lacks something. The reason why I haven't written a proper review in the Head-fi's page is because I know I still need to at least have a more decent chain and experience in order to add something to all the reviews already done.
    Also, I used Spotify only and the Midnight in Harlem youtube song for comparison, so no high quality audio, which I'm expecting the biggest gains to be at any point. If anyone wants to provide links for higher quality material where I can make some proper comparisons, I'd be happy to. I've never been a high quality sources seeker, as I could never really hear better from them, so I lack them.
    BenF and trellus like this.
  10. Miguelbazil
    Honestly, I'd buy them without the thousand dollar amp and dac if you want a neutral and transparent pair of cans with tight and precise bass. Under 100$ I'd be hard pressed to find something better. Maybe something different in sound signature, sure. Better? Doubt it. They combine sound quality, decent build quality, and high comfort. Plus, they are cheap and you can probably sell them for minimal loss in head-fi, so the risk is reduced. Honestly I can't see a reason not to try them if you're already in the rabbit's hole :D
    BenF and trellus like this.
  11. BenF
    I've listened to this song, and treble was very good.
    There are 2 possibilities:
    1) You are used to darker, bassier/mid-forward headphones, so a balanced headphone like Pro 82 sounds to aggressive in the treble - your mind hasn't adjusted to hearing the whole spectrum of sound yet.
    I went through this transition about 2.5 years ago, took me about 2 months. During this period I kept switching between transparent and mid-forward (my old preference) headphones.
    Now, I can't listen to mid-forward headphones for more than 30-60 minutes - they overheat my brain, and I keep thinking about all the sounds I'm missing.
    2) As sound cards go, Xonar DG is sure one of the best ones, not a bad place to start.
    But it's still a gaming-first product, you can't expect it to sound as well as a decent DAC/Amp combo.
    Try SMSL Idea with a B-stock O2 - less than 180$.
    If you can't afford both right now, buy Idea first. It will warm up the sound a little bit, easing the transition.
    And when you'll add the O2, you'll get the perfect sound out of Pro 82.

    And don't forget the tuning foams - they may be perfect for you!
    Tuning Pro 82 with easy mods

    Your path to better sound now involves improving the rest of your sound chain - make investments there.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  12. oldmate
    Maybe but I already own the ubiquitous M50X's and MDR1A's so until I read more comparisons with mainstream headphones such as these I maybe disappointed with the sound quality.
  13. Miguelbazil
    @oldmate while I understand your position, these are cheaper and should be easy to sell, so once more, it's a very controlled risk. I wish more things in life had this low level of risk :p But in the end, it's your choice.

    The only comparisons I have are with the HyperX Cloud Core and AKG 518LE, and they are definitely superior.
  14. elkosith
    That reminds me to myself years ago. When I bought the Xonar Essence STX I didn't like it at first because it makes too much treble. Before that I used the SoundBlaster Live! My ears were not used to the clarity that the STX made. After a while my ears and brain become accustomed to the clear sound and can't go back since then.

    Too bad I had to sell the STX because I needed some money. One of the best sound cards out there...
  15. BenF
    HA-2SE as a DAC sounds exactly the same as HA-2 (despite the newer DAC chip).
    As an amp, HA-2SE is less transparent. They've done some "improvements" to lower hiss with sensitive IEMs, but I don't like what it did to SQ.

    Yes, Idea + O2 (1.0x/3.3x in high gain) are the perfect chain for Pro 82.
    Not "good", not "great" - "perfect" .
    The dynamic sound this combo produces is something I can't get over.

    Should definitely be an interesting comparison!

    Sure, AKG 712 Pro will win in soundstage, and Pro 82 in isolation - but everything else should still be a fair fight: comfort, imaging, transparency, timbre, bass/mids/treble etc.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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