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They might be Kings: Focal Utopia, Sony MDR-Z1R, HiFiMan Susvara, HE1000 V2, MrSpeakers Ether Flow & Meze Empyrean

Discussion in 'Currawong' started by currawong, Mar 6, 2017.
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  1. Currawong Contributor
    Weird things I come back to. I'm not sure why people insist on posting on topics they aren't interested in, and ruining things for others.

    I can't remember now if I posted it earlier or not, but to me, the design of the Empyrean, more so than other headphones I've had here, really do look their price. I don't think people appreciate the efforts manufacturers go to in making products like this. Stax, for example, bet their entire company on the SR-009s, in essence.

    I just started shooting the Empyrean, so here's one shot for everyone's enjoyment.

    Ragnar-BY, Sp12er3, Pharmaboy and 3 others like this.
  2. thecrow
    What cables have you been using?
    Silvergarde or silver draug?
  3. Currawong Contributor
    The cable is a Silvergarde. With the warmer tuning of the Empyrean, it's a great match. Out of the Hugo 2 (sometimes with the Studio Six as well) I am enjoying the overall balance of detail and smoothness of the whole system.
    Amos, I'm still waiting on that Susvara vs Empyrean response. :)
  5. noplsestar
    ah, they really look nice :)
    Will you also be reviewing the Focal Stellia?
  6. Currawong Contributor
    I should probably try and organise that.
    noplsestar likes this.
  7. noplsestar
    Not probably -> definitely :wink:
    ksorota likes this.
  8. Pharmaboy
    If I'm not mistaken, this is my wife & in-laws' philosophy
    endlesswaves and Wildcatsare1 like this.
  9. Pharmaboy
    It's a stunning design. True 20th century art & architecture aesthetic at work, especially in the screen pattern.

    When I first saw these HPs in Feb. 2018 (CanJam NYC), on the wall behind Antonio was a large blow-up poster/photo of the screen (~ 2'X4' image). This made it crystal clear how novel & beautiful the design is in the context of headphone audio, though it would be quite at home in pre-WWI architecture in Chicago, UK, or on the Continent.

    At that time 3 colors not currently available were on display: all silver; all champagne; and burgundy. Champagne knocked my eyes out; all-silver, too. Right after CanJam 2019 I tried hard to buy an all-champagne new Empyrean, but was unable to convince Meze to offer it.

    If the sound wasn't something special, none of the physical stuff would matter as much. But the sound really is something special--as is the clever & perfectly transparent/usable earpad system.

    This headphone is an all-around winner IMO.
    endlesswaves and Currawong like this.
  10. datasyd
    Oh yes they are!

    My R8 Australian sedan was costing a bundle to run, a bundle in depreciation, a fortune to maintain (those flares and side skirts don't travel so well up driveways), add insurance, parking, registration, parking fines etc and I could easily spend 5k every time it was registered plus the rest without barely driving it.

    Having owned it from new I came to the realisation that I hated my car. I hated cleaning it. I hated scratching it, parking it, and pranging it. When I eventually hated even contemplating driving it I instead considered selling it and toying with one thing I truly did love, most of us do, and that was music. What I asked myself was whether I should consider a switch and made it meaningful enough to require I sell the car? And that is when I heard ifi Audio and it changed my life.

    My first experience with the ifi Pro iCAN immediately sent chills all over me. It was freaky. That sensation that you've discovered something unlike anything you've ever experienced. I describe my pro iDSD, which I bought the day it arrived in Australia last year, combined with the Pro iCAN, connected to my Denon HD7200 as pure bliss. My mother has cried listening to it. My friends point at their ears in what can only be described as some audio-sexual nirvana going on somewhere between those headphone cups and their brain. And on that front, ifi no doubt exceeds any other pleasure they've had of late. Any other audio setup I've heard happily had me multitasking as music played in the background. But those ifi tubes leave me incapable of doing anything but listening, sometimes mesmerised by the sound, but always feeling the joy it has over me.

    Take into account that my headphones and the D7000 I owned before them, as well as my lounge setup-- a Denon 4520 amp with floor standing Monitor Audio RS60 speakers -- are items I have owned for over 10 years. The ifi gear I bought, including the Micro iDSD cost me A$8,000, but it has transformed every piece of equipment it has touched, my setup has risen in quality to what I believe is sublime.

    But could I be happier? Let me tell you, looking at the Meze Empyrean and reading it's reviews has me pondering my next move. There's not another car to sell. Selling your kidney turns out to be a conspiracy (phew). But I will do what I have to. Is US $3,000 a lot to spend on headphones? You bet. But there's a certain satisfaction in knowing the rare pleasure that awaits is available to those who dare.
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    erik701, episiarch, Anaz and 3 others like this.
  11. Currawong Contributor
    @datasyd Excellent post. I used to own a Volvo 265 -- the one with the Renault V6 engine, and that was similarly awful to maintain.

    Anyhow, back on topic, things got interesting yesterday with a couple of new arrivals.

    datasyd, bimmer100, Sp12er3 and 3 others like this.
  12. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Ha ha, I feel that mate.
  13. Currawong Contributor
  14. Sp12er3
    nicely done :)
    the most expensive headphone I;ve ever handled was the MDR Z1R, which was $2k at the time, IMO that one is also look and feel as priced.
    bimmer100 likes this.
  15. DelsFan
    Since my two-channel system has been boxed up for more than a decade, a year or two ago I decided I would put together a $3000 headphone system. BUT, later I
    (choose one) lost all reason - or- came to my senses
    and my budget has increased exponentially. Six months ago I was considering a used pair of HEK v2 headphones paired with a Dragon Inspire IHA-1 tube-based headphone amplifier.

    Today it's between either the HEK 1000v2 headphones or the Meze Empyreans - paired with the new MicroZotl MZ3 headphone amplifier,
    The Stax SR-009 headphones, readily available used, with a Blue Hawaii SE amplifier.
    Rightly or wrongly, I'm set on tubes...

    I know the Utopias are great, but I just like the planer magnetic headphones too much (or electrostatics).

    Any thoughts? I listen a lot to female vocals (Kristin Andreassen), Americana (Sarah Jarosz), Jazz (Diana Krall), Blues and Country and a little bluegrass (Robben Ford, Little Big Town, Alison Kraus, Johnny Cash, Crooked Still). Some Rock (early Bob Ezrin produced Alice Cooper, Golden Earring, YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Queen, ZZ Top). And some radical stuff, Epic Viking Battle Metal, from Ensiferum.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
    datasyd likes this.
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