Why are all the best cans discontinued?
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 40

jjcha

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I dig the HD650/HD600, esp balanced, and they're definitely worthy. And the Omega 2's? There's no doubt as to their status as one of the premier headphones in the world. I also like the SA5000, W5000, K701 and I'm sure the Beyer Dynamics are worthy.

But ultimately, in terms of cans I actually want, or want to keep, they're all discontinued. HE90, PS-1, HP-1000, K 1000, Qualia 010, R10, ATH-L3000, ATH-11JPN, AKG K 1000.

What's up with this? There's a serious lack of high-end cans right now. Is our hobby doomed at the high end? Seriously, I'm tempted just to horde all the discontinued cans I want, and there's nothing currently produced that's very interesting. Well, other than a balanced HD600 or RS-1 + Singlepower.

Best,

-Jason
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:20 AM Post #2 of 40

Tachikoma

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Everyone should stop buying RS-1s to force an early launch of the RS-1i
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The problem with high-end cans is that no one other than us audiophiles would even think of buying them. I say bring down the prices and mass produce those RS-1s
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Mar 4, 2006 at 5:21 AM Post #3 of 40

jagorev

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I'm guessing it has something to do with economics. You know...high prices, low demand, high costs, etc.

I would still say that there are, on average, more high-quality headphone options available now to more people than in the past. While the very top-end has shrunk in choices, there are more and better choices available at consumer level prices...headphones have advanced significantly in this area.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:39 AM Post #5 of 40

jjcha

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Seriously...

I'm listening to my K 1000 now, and earlier I was enjoying my W11JPN. Again, other than the balanced HD600's (and I'm presuming HD650) or the balanced RS-1 (I trust Hirsch when he says this is special), or Omega 2 out of an ES-1, what is there for headphones that are special?

The rest, such as the W5000 or SA5000 out of synergistic rigs, are okay. But I wouldn't say they're special.

It's a fine time for amps and a great one for sources. It's a dark time for headphones, IMHO.

Best,

-Jason
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:45 AM Post #6 of 40

wowie11

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I have heard most of the cans that you mentioned there and I have to say that many of the currently available cans bring different sounds into the equation and that they are not necessarily sub par in comparison to discontinued phones. Could it be part of the reason why you want those discontinued cans so much, is just because of that very reason...that they are discontinued. Scarcity has a way of making things quite alluring. I know I've been clamoring for HP2's also, but really, I think I would be just as enamored by K701's if they were discontinued. This is all just IMHO of course and I agree with you that all of those cans you mentioned are amazing.
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Mar 4, 2006 at 5:53 AM Post #7 of 40

jjcha

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wowie11
Could it be part of the reason why you want those discontinued cans so much, is just because of that very reason...that they are discontinued.


I don't quite agree with you. I've owned, borrowed, or at least heard, all the best current production headphones. Incidentally, other than the R10, which I've borrowed from a friend, I've also owned all the discontinued cans I mention.

I mean what are they? For current production:

Sony: SA5000
Grado: RS-1
audio-technica: W5000
Sennheiser: HD650
AKG: K701
Beyer-Dynamic: 880's? 990's? I'm not that familar with this line.

For Sony, I prefer my Qualia 010. I like my SA5k, and prefer it over the R10, but there's no doubt the R10 is special.

Grado, I loved the RS-1, it is a special can. But ultimately, I preferred the PS-1, which is why I bought it, as it had a transparency the RS-1 didn't have. It wasn't as fuzzy, so I'd hope for a new production model can that has the fuzziness of the RS-1 with the proficiency of the PS-1. I dunno, I've owned the HP-2 and borrowed a RS-1 for like 3 weeks. If I had to pick one, sure I'd probably pick the RS-1 for the sonics.

audio-technica: Sorry, I like the W5000 a lot, but it doesn't compare to the L3000 or W11JPN

Sennheiser: Well, guess I'm not that much of a fan of the HD650. I loved the HD600 balanced. I'm not too familiar with my HE90 yet as I haven't gotten an amp for it quite yet. But I will say those times I've listened to other's HE90 out of their amps, I liked them in a way I never was that impressed with my HD650 or HD600.

As for the Omega 2... I dunno, I really like the O2. I've heard discontinued Stax I was very much very impressed with. But I haven't lived with Stax the way I've lived with other manufacturers, so don't have a strong opinion.

As for AKG... sorry, I wouldn't work that hard to build a rig around the K 701, though the K 1000 I would. I don't think it's because it's discontinued, but the K 701 just takes this middle of the road approach that, while pleasant if you just own one rig for all your music, isn't all that interesting if you're trying to get the most out of a portfolio, even of just 3 or 4 cans, that you own.

Best regards,

-Jason
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:27 AM Post #10 of 40

jjcha

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Quote:

Originally Posted by applebook
You listed the K1000 TWICE! It must be a Freudian slip due to massive LUST
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lol, well I was listening to my K 1000 when I wrote the post. Guess the thought "damn this sounds good" occured twice while writing that sentence.

Best,

-Jason
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:37 AM Post #11 of 40

Jahn

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*Looks at his ancient Lambda Pros and HP2. And ancient Stax amp, Melos and Marantz*


Uh...I think I agree with you JJCha.
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Mar 4, 2006 at 6:43 AM Post #12 of 40

creyc

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Frankly, I think it's largely due to manufacturing and technological advances.

Sure, there may be a lot less ultra-high end cans available currently, but you have to admit there are a LOT of really good sounding phones at more consumer friendly prices. Could it be becoming easier for headphone manufactures to achieve good sound?
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:54 AM Post #13 of 40

applebook

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Quote:

Originally Posted by creyc
Could it be becoming easier for headphone manufactures to achieve good sound?


Naturally.

Also, sources and amps have improved quite a bit over the past two decades on the low to mid-level segments (esp. digital sources). 10 years ago, people probably didn't know what cans like the Lamda, K1000, and R10 were truly capable of.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:57 AM Post #14 of 40

Jahn

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Yeah, can you imagine Joe Grado saying "I'm designing these cans so that some day some punk in NYC can play his 256 VBR AAC tracks thru his PC via iTunes out to a soundcard that puts out a digital optical signal..."

And yet he made cans that can handle it, and more. Awesome.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:35 AM Post #15 of 40

wowie11

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jahn
Yeah, can you imagine Joe Grado saying "I'm designing these cans so that some day some punk in NYC can play his 256 VBR AAC tracks thru his PC via iTunes out to a soundcard that puts out a digital optical signal..."

And yet he made cans that can handle it, and more. Awesome.



Couldn't have put it any better...it's pretty amazing what these old school phones can do in modern setups.
Jason, I agree with you that a lot of the discontinued cans had SQ that was unqiue to them, but sound is so subjective. I love my omega 2's (just got them last weekend! Time to change the sig!) and they absolutely destroy my dad's Lambda Pros. My need some burn in time, but burned in Omega 2's from my listening experience are on par if not better than many of those aforementioned discontinued phones. Once again...IMHO.
BTW, I am not opposing you in your view here completely. I guess what I am trying to say is that some of the newer phones deserve the recognition that they are getting for being top shelf phones. But, just to show you how great some of the old phones are, I am listening to my Yamaha HP1's through my Sony D5 =>z-audio Lambda
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