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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. purk Contributor

    I will do that when I get home this evening. I personally don't think the combination will be bad just not ideal. The hek does come alive with a really power headphones amps or speaker amps. The difference can be drastic tho.
  2. Sarnia
    Thanks Purk, looking forward to hearing what you think.

    To my ears they sound damn fine out of the ZH1ES, but if there's a fair amount more that they can deliver then maybe I need to look at that.

    This hobby is a deep, deep hole hehe.
  3. phaeton70
    Utopia have an impressive transparency and ability to layer very precisely the soundstage, something I have heard only with 009+BHSE
    the drawback of this, is that you will hear very precisely all the limits of the upwards gears...... i.e. some cans tend to "impose" a certain character and sound more or less consistently with many setups, while Utopia are so trasparent to be "invisible", and you will actually hear the setup character, so the correct choice of the setup (including cables) is more critical, even if from a pure power needs point of view, Utopia can play with the majority of smartphones........ it's a sort of oxymoron, I know, but that's my experience with these french cans...... of cpurse YMMV.
    Currawong and x RELIC x like this.
  4. purk Contributor
    That's one of the reason why it has become my go-to work/transportable headphones.  I don't use it with any smart phone, but it well enough out of my Sony NW-ZX2, ZX100, ans WM1Z that a portable amplifier isn't necessary.
  5. Currawong Contributor
    The TA-ZH1ES up-samples everything to DSD, and it sounds like it to my ears, with a slight soft politeness to the music. 
    I've edited the first post to link to main impressions posts and reviews.
  6. Sarnia
    You can turn off the DSD conversion, but I find it sounds better on. I do keep the DSEE HX up-sampling turned off most of the time though as it can soften things a bit to my ears.

    Still looking forward to Purk's thoughts on the TA-ZH1ES with the HEKv2 :)
  7. jscmd2000

    When I purchased the HD800s, I loved them so much I thought I'd keep them forever.  Then I purchased the Ether flows and found them to be better overall, but still appreciated going back to the HD800s from time to time.  I guess there were some aspects that the HD800s did slightly better or, at least felt refreshing going back to... mainly sound stage and imaging.  But most of the time, I preferred the Ether flows.  Then I purchased the Utopia and found them just blowing away the other two in every aspect.  You get what you pay for does apply here and I mean every penny.  The most intriguing thing about the Utopias to me was that they made the music sound truly holographic and 3D.  Just like when a 3D movie makes you duck your head to avoid something coming at you, some punchy sound sometimes feels like it will poke your eye out or knock out a tooth.  This, I found out after listening to them for a while, isn't always a good thing.  I find them annoying to just listen to in the background while reading something or answering emails, because unless you are engaged in listening, they punch, poke, and not leave you alone.  You have to either turn it way down or stop what you are doing and listen. 
    Currawong likes this.
  8. jscmd2000

    meant to be in response to this post...
  9. danieldpagan
    Dont a lot of people complain about the bass on the utopias? I would consider if they had a proper amount of bass. Its one reason I love the Ether Flows
  10. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Many people like more bass than what's on the recording! If you want the proper amount, the Utopias are that. They go down to 20Hz and offer some of the best bass quality I've heard.
    RCBinTN likes this.
  11. bimmer100
    This is a great thread as I have or had most all these headphones. I think the z1r, utopia and he1000V2 are my top favorite. All for particular reasons and doubt I would ever sell any of these cans.
    My wife's favorite is the z1r's as she has a pair too :wink: once I told her I ordered a pair she wanted a pair too. Her pm3's don't get much time anymore albeit a good affordable planar closed back.

    I think utopia's sound incredible, the z1r's are most fun and get the most time. But the he1000v2's are very balanced all around and I've had my longest listening sessions on the the he1000v2. He1000's are most comfy of the three. Hd800's are comfy too but feel the cheapest of all the headphones. I guess I could sell my hd800S and not really care too much. They are good but don't compare to the other three cans I have.

    I agree with many of currawongs comments on these cans. Personally I can't really say any is a perfext pair. But I may lean to the z1r as the most practical and fun. Closed backs surely are important if you don't want to disturb others around you and.... don't forget they isolate outside noise so they have their benefit if your environment is noisy. Plus the z1r's don't fall far behind any of these headphones. They simply are a ton of fun even with the color they have. I think their bass is most impressive and maybe the ultimate bass head headphone without question! Their drivers are just massive!
  12. up late

    which is what the z1r offers and you enjoy its presentation right? we know how highly tyll hertsen rates the utopia but i think he boosted the bass presence to his taste.

    dr sean olive conducted research into the headphone frequency response preferences of a large group of test subjects with interesting results.

    zolkis likes this.
  13. jscmd2000
    I used to be a semi-basshead and still love thumping, articulate, and fast bass.  I never thought that the bass on the Utopias were lacking in any way.  In fact, the quality of the base is one of the best. The bass is really "fast"... something I wasn't clear what it meant before getting the Shure KSE 1500...the base just happens like the audio signal is connected directly to the synapses of your brain.  Actually, this was a concern for me before buying the Utopias, so I hear you.  If you didn't know, you can buy the Elear pads from Moon Audio for 150 USD which will give you slightly more boost.  It was my back up plan and I thought I would buy them but do not feel the need at all.  The bass on the Utopias are more textured and 3D than the Ether Flows.  You can feel the bass more.  I wouldn't say there is more quantity, but more quality than the Ether Flows.
  14. jscmd2000
    I am very curious about the Z1Rs.  I wanted to get a pair of closed cans and came down to Z1Rs and Ether C Flows but cannot decide.  Do you have any experience with the Ether C Flows?  How do they compare? 
  15. BunnyNamedCraig

    The flow is more neutral than the Z1R. Z1R has more pronounced bass and it's well done to not bleed into the other frequencies. Sound signature of the Z1R is difficult to describe, but has been described (and I agree) as Liquid or 3D sounding. Build quality of both of top notch in my opinion, and both are comfortable. The slight edge goes to the Z1R for max comfort thoguh between the 2. I forget how easy or difficult both are to drive compared to each other. Soundstage height depth ect I can't comment now since looking back on it, nothing stands out between them...
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