Zeos Sound Demo comparisons (MDR-Z1R, LCD-4, Elear, EL-8C, M1060, L700, L300, M40x)
Jan 15, 2018 at 6:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 49

Naim.F.C

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So I was browsing Zeos (YouTube reviewer) vids and sound demos when I noticed a bunch of his sound demo's feature the same tracks being tested across a range different headphones. Whilst far from scientific, accurate, or indicative of the real thing, it was super interesting comparing the different headphones on the same recording equipment and in the same test environment, to see how they sound in comparison to each other.

I actually listened to the sound demos back to back on different systems, from my laptop speakers to my floor standing cinema set up, right through to numerous different headphones, and I do think the common traits and differences between the headphones come through and correlate despite the different listening methods, and in that respect, I thought others might be similarly interested in these comparisons, so I've put together an easily accessible comparison list here.

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Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky

Audeze LCD-4: To me, these sound darker, slightly veiled and less dynamic than some of the others on this list. Whilst it has good texture and atmosphere, things don't sound quite as crystalline or as well separated, instead it all sounds a tad congested.


Sony MDR-Z1R: Sounds far clearer, more detailed, airier and wider than the LCD-4's above. Instrumental separation is easier to pick out. There's a bit more punch and dynamism to everything. I also find the overall tones and textures more honest or realistic sounding.


Focal Elear: These actually sound surprisingly similar to the LCD-4's, and like the LCD-4's they're also a touch darker or more veiled than some of the others. I actually think the highs sound a bit more vivid and sharp than the LCD-4's, but the soundstage seems narrower and more congested.


Audeze EL-8C: These are airier and ever so slightly sharper sounding than the LCD-4, but they also seem a hair treble tilted and thin. They don't quite have the body and weight of the other cans above, and they're still not as clean, well separated or texturally honest as the Z1R's.


Monolith M1060: These sort of sound like a slightly livelier and more punchy LCD-4. Maybe a hair less clean, but with slightly more air and separation. If I was basing things purely on these sound demo's, I'd actually take the M1060 over the LCD-4 lol. They're still not as wide, clear or clean sounding as the Z1R's though.


Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: Here things sound a touch hot, grainy and peaky at times. The clarity is there, but at the expense of some body, weight and smoothness.


STAX L700: These sound excellent. They're the first in this list since that have a comparable airy wide cleanliness and honesty to the Z1R's. They're perhaps not quite as revealing as the Z1R's, nor does the soundstage have the same width and depth, but they have a really nice well-balanced sound, with a good amount of weight to everything. They sound almost like an ever so slightly more intimate or forward Z1R.


STAX L300: Another excellent pair based on this demo. Similar to the L700's above, but perhaps slightly more dynamic or punchy and not quite as smooth sounding, nor as wide in soundstage. They share the most similarities in sound with both the L700 and the Z1R. But like with the L700's, the Z1R's are also still slightly wider, airier, smoother and less vivid sounding.


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Blue Scholars - Anna Karina

Audeze LCD-4: A nice amount of body, weight and smoothness to everything, but like with the track above, things still sound slightly veiled or dark. The male vocals to my ears, based on this demo, sound a tad too thick and almost muddy.


Sony MDR-Z1R: Like with Spirit in the Sky, everything once again sounds much clearer, wider, more three dimensional and crisper than with the LCD-4 above. The degree of clarity and separation is stronger, and importantly, to me, the male vocals sound considerably more honest and realistic. Thing is, the track doesn't sound any more fatiguing with the Z1R's, things just sound opened up and more revealing.


Focal Elear: Again, there are similarities with the LCD-4's, only this confirms my opinion earlier that based on the sound demo, the Elear here actually has a hair more clarity or treble precision than the LCD-4's. This also manifests in the male vocals sounding ever so slightly less muddy or thick than with the LCD-4's, but once again the soundstage is a bit narrower. Similar to the previous track, the Elear does not sound as revealing, wide or as honest as the Z1R's.


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Yosi Horikawa - Letter

Audeze LCD-4: In this track, the extra thickness and veil previously apparent in the LCD-4's signature don't really invoke themselves in any negative way. Whilst there is some congestion between sounds and instruments compared to the others, things still sound realistic, full, rich and texturally mostly honest.


Sony MDR-Z1R: Far more articulate, crisp, airy and vivid sounding compared to the LCD-4's. The Z1R's are still fluid enough here, as I could not detect any sibilance, but clearly, the Z1R's have more treble energy and sparkle compared to the LCD-4's.


Focal Elear: Ever so slightly more vivid and articulate than the LCD-4's, but not as wide or full of body. Both the LCD-4 and Z1R sound ever so slightly more realistic than the Elear with this track on this demo to my ears, despite approaching things differently. Perhaps it's the Elear's narrower soundstage that is taking a hair away from the overall sense of realism.


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Amber Rubarth - Novocaine

Audeze LCD-4: Because the start of this track is so quiet, the darker and slightly more veiled tone of the LCD-4's make the opening sound less quiet and clean, and instead more distant, especially the female vocalist who sounds less like she's singing quietly, but more like she's further away from the listener. The different little instrumental titbits and twangs don't cut through the quiet undertone with quite the same clarity or precision, and the female vocals also have a hair more weight or thickness to them.


Sony MDR-Z1R: Not only does the opening actually sound quieter, but the instrumental snippets have a touch more detail, separation, space and clarity to them. You can hear more of the textures, timbre and features of the instruments, guitar strings etc, and the female vocalist similarly also sounds more honest and realistic. Where with the LCD-4 it sounds like Amber is singing live but through a worse quality mic or in a room with poorer acoustics, with the Z1R's it's more as if Amber is singing live, but directly to you.


Focal Elear: As with both previous comparisons, things are just a hair more revealing or forward with the Elear compared to the LCD-4, and this does improve the opening and sense of clarity or separation, but not quite to the extent of the Z1R's which are more revealing, but also have a notably wider and airier soundstage.


----

John Wick OST - Evil Man Blues

Audeze EL-8C: Rather revealing, airy and articulate, but as per the last track, just a touch on the treble tilted thinner side. The track just lacks a bit of weight, body and fun factor compared to the cans below.


Monolith M1060: A more engaging and atmospheric sound compared to the EL-8C's. The female vocals have greater weight and realism to them, as does the general presentation, everything just sounds a bit richer and fuller.


STAX L700: A sort of halfway house between the EL-8C and the M1060. More revealing and crystalline than the M1060, but not quite as thin sounding or lacking in body as the EL-8C, a pretty nice balance between the two. Perhaps not as atmospheric or moody as the M1060's, but you do gain some added air, a wider soundstage and some extra clarity in its place.


STAX L300: As per the previous track, the L300 appears to be a touch less laid back, smooth and a hair less wide in terms of soundstage compared to the L700, but it does have a bit more vibrancy, liveliness and fun factor in its place. A decent balance overall, especially if you like things more forward or engaging.



Feel free to go through the videos to compare and contrast for yourselves, and post your thoughts! As mentioned, I realise this is not a scientific comparison by any stretch, but it is still very interesting to be able to directly compare them like this, and I would say these results do somewhat correlate with my own real-world experience of some of these headphones.

For me, the Sony Z1R's, Stax L700's, Stax L300's and Monoprice M1060's are probably the best sounding in these demos, or the most positively surprising. The biggest disappointments for me are the ATH-M40x, which are too grainy and vibrant for my liking, coupled with the LCD-4's, which in all honesty sounded far more veiled and dark than I'd have expected. Granted I recently sold my LCD-3 which I'd also describe as a fairly dark sounding headphone, and I did also use to own the LCD-2's which for me were too dark and veiled for my personal tastes, however I was under the impression the LCD-4's greatly switched things up in this regard, but in these sound demo's at least, to my ears the LCD-4's still sounded darker and less airy or precise than many of these other cans.

Anyway, have a listen and post your thoughts!
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 2:04 AM Post #2 of 49

ostewart

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No one here really likes Zeos... He doesn't know much about audio...
 
Jan 16, 2018 at 2:06 AM Post #3 of 49

Naim.F.C

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No one here really likes Zeos... He doesn't know much about audio...

You don't need to like or even listen to him in order to listen to and compare his different sound demos. It's literally just some high resolution microphones set up in a rig to pick up, record and ultimately play back the sound playing directly from the headphones.
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 3:01 AM Post #4 of 49

ostewart

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You don't need to like or even listen to him in order to listen to and compare his different sound demos. It's literally just some high resolution microphones set up in a rig to pick up, record and ultimately play back the sound playing directly from the headphones.

Even so there is a reason he's not allowed on head-fi, he is paid to hype up certain products.

Also I still don't think videos give you an accurate idea of how a headphone sounds. The headphones/speakers you are using to playback the videos will be influencing the sound.
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 9:46 AM Post #5 of 49

Naim.F.C

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Even so there is a reason he's not allowed on head-fi, he is paid to hype up certain products.

Also I still don't think videos give you an accurate idea of how a headphone sounds. The headphones/speakers you are using to playback the videos will be influencing the sound.

Of course that's is true about the speakers, as I mentioned in my original post. However it still gives you a rough flavour of how the headphones sound in comparison to one another. Also him being paid to hype certain products, once again, has no bearing whatsoever to the actual sound demos.

Side note, I know he is sent free stuff (like many or most reviewers), but what is your evidence to suggest he is actually paid to hype stuff?
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 10:14 AM Post #6 of 49

ostewart

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Of course that's is true about the speakers, as I mentioned in my original post. However it still gives you a rough flavour of how the headphones sound in comparison to one another. Also him being paid to hype certain products, once again, has no bearing whatsoever to the actual sound demos.

Side note, I know he is sent free stuff (like many or most reviewers), but what is your evidence to suggest he is actually paid to hype stuff?

Affiliate links, he hypes up certain products so more people watch his videos and buy from the links he provides. Have you seen how much money he is making from advertising?

Take his view on the Hifiman HE-6, doesn't even bother trying to power them properly and trashes them based on that. Because he doesn't have an affiliate link to them because they are an old discontinued product.
 
Jan 16, 2018 at 10:34 AM Post #7 of 49

Naim.F.C

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Affiliate links, he hypes up certain products so more people watch his videos and buy from the links he provides. Have you seen how much money he is making from advertising?

Take his view on the Hifiman HE-6, doesn't even bother trying to power them properly and trashes them based on that. Because he doesn't have an affiliate link to them because they are an old discontinued product.

Pretty much ALL major review outlets make money from advertising, from Headfonia right through to this very forum (hence the adverts plastered everywhere). The commercial aspect in and of itself does not necessarily invalidate the opinions, if it did we'd never trust any online tech or review site, for any hobby. Granted it's fine to be guarded or cautious in your trust of such opinions though, that's perfectly fair.

Having said that, I asked you to provide evidence of your claim, but you've done no such thing, just aired a personal grievance about the HE-6. Clearly you're misplaced in that critique though, since I'd argue some of the headphones he's been most praising of, have infact been old discontinued headphones, eg old discontinued Stax and Beyerdynamic models and so on.

As far as I am aware, the only affiliate scheme he has in place is on occasion via Amazon purchase links (which he mentions in the description), besides that he relies on Patreon and YT revenue. Him getting sent free products, either by ordinary people or by manufacturers, is standard practice.
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 11:49 AM Post #8 of 49

ostewart

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Pretty much ALL major review outlets make money from advertising, from Headfonia right through to this very forum (hence the adverts plastered everywhere). The commercial aspect in and of itself does not necessarily invalidate the opinions, if it did we'd never trust any online tech or review site, for any hobby. Granted it's fine to be guarded or cautious in your trust of such opinions though, that's perfectly fair.

Having said that, I asked you to provide evidence of your claim, but you've done no such thing, just aired a personal grievance about the HE-6. Clearly you're misplaced in that critique though, since I'd argue some of the headphones he's been most praising of, have infact been old discontinued headphones, eg old discontinued Stax and Beyerdynamic models and so on.

As far as I am aware, the only affiliate scheme he has in place is on occasion via Amazon purchase links (which he mentions in the description), besides that he relies on Patreon and YT revenue. Him getting sent free products, either by ordinary people or by manufacturers, is standard practice.

Trusted places like headfonia etc... Make money from adverts but don't push you on every review to follow their product link. They focus on trying to give a balanced opinion of the sound.

Neither do they say that every new product they try is the best thing in the world.

I have an issue with Zeos because he has no reference point, he's a character and that's it. I wouldn't trust his opinion on sound in the slightest.

My issue is lots of people are likely being influenced by someone like him, that doesn't know what he's talking about...

I'm a purely subjective reviewer who gets samples to review, I don't make a point to say every new headphone is the best I have ever heard. I still think the HE-500 are one of the best headphones I've heard, and subjectively prefer them over some of the newer releases.
But Zeos seems to think anything high end and new must be the best thing he's heard.
 
Jan 16, 2018 at 11:56 AM Post #9 of 49

ToroFiestaSol

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As a reviewer, he's useless (more or less, like 90% of audio reviewers, but to a higher degree), however, I think he's funny.
The sound demos are a good idea but you'll get a 5% (a 5.1264% to be exact :o2smile:) of the sound signature of the headphones, he also uses low-fi DACs and headphone amps, good headphones change character/perform better or worse with different equipment, keep that in mind, some of them even sound like a completely different thing with some higher quality equipment.
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 12:11 PM Post #10 of 49

Naim.F.C

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Trusted places like headfonia etc... Make money from adverts but don't push you on every review to follow their product link. They focus on trying to give a balanced opinion of the sound.

Neither do they say that every new product they try is the best thing in the world.

I have an issue with Zeos because he has no reference point, he's a character and that's it. I wouldn't trust his opinion on sound in the slightest.

My issue is lots of people are likely being influenced by someone like him, that doesn't know what he's talking about...

I'm a purely subjective reviewer who gets samples to review, I don't make a point to say every new headphone is the best I have ever heard. I still think the HE-500 are one of the best headphones I've heard, and subjectively prefer them over some of the newer releases.
But Zeos seems to think anything high end and new must be the best thing he's heard.

I wouldn't say he thinks every new headphone is the best ever (see his HD800S, DT1770, DT1990, LCD-4, MDR-Z1R etc reviews), but he's certainly an enthusiastic layman, a bit like most people on this forum infact, who are more privy to flavour of the month than most.

And him being an inexperienced layman is exactly why I watch his videos. It really doesn't make any difference how knowledgeable a person is about headphones when it comes to reviewing them, except in articulating ones thoughts (which granted he's not the best at). At the end of the day, all sound preferences are subjective, so what makes your opinions any more valid than his? Chances are he's listened to, tested, heard and reviewed far more headphones than you or I, so where it counts, in subjective experience of headphones, he's actually far more experienced than most.

I have been burned far too many times by supposed "professional" reviewers, who's opinions often simply do not resonate with mine (eg Tyll referring to the HD800 as balanced, or having outright dislike for more V shaped cans, the rave opinions for the LCD-2s which I personally found too dark and veiled for my liking etc). That is why when an ordinary person like Zeos reviews headphones, and then actually posts these sound demos which actually give us a representation of what he's heard, I find it refreshing.
 
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Jan 16, 2018 at 12:50 PM Post #11 of 49

ostewart

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I wouldn't say he thinks every new headphone is the best ever (see his HD800S, DT1770, DT1990, LCD-4, MDR-Z1R etc reviews), but he's certainly an enthusiastic layman, a bit like most people on this forum infact, who are more privy to flavour of the month than most.

And him being an inexperienced layman is exactly why I watch his videos. It really doesn't make any difference how knowledgeable a person is about headphones when it comes to reviewing them, except in articulating ones thoughts (which granted he's not the best at). At the end of the day, all sound preferences are subjective, so what makes your opinions any more valid than his? Chances are he's listened to, tested, heard and reviewed far more headphones than you or I, so where it counts, in subjective experience of headphones, he's actually far more experienced than most.

I have been burned far too many times by supposed "professional" reviewers, who's opinions often simply do not resonate with mine (eg Tyll referring to the HD800 as balanced, or having outright dislike for more V shaped cans, the rave opinions for the LCD-2s which I personally found too dark and veiled for my liking etc). That is why when an ordinary person like Zeos reviews headphones, and then actually posts these sound demos which actually give us a representation of what he's heard, I find it refreshing.

At least with Tyll you learn his preferences and find out what he likes and then you can analyse his reviews better.

You can't do that with Zeos, he has no preference or reference point.

I don't always agree with Tyll, but I understand his listening preferences and read his reviews accordingly.

I'd like to think that readers of my reviews can learn my preferences too as it is important to find a reviewer you can relate to.
 
Jan 16, 2018 at 4:20 PM Post #12 of 49

kernel8888

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I agree that Zeos reviews are far from helpful, he uses very general terminology, and its very hard to get real solid points across about frequency response. Not a terrible reviewer, but you're not going to step away with a really solid understanding of a products sound.

I think his sound demos are top notch though. I listen to demos of headphones I own, and I hear characteristics of those headphones come through accurately in the sound demos. Best sound demos online ive heard actually.
 
May 13, 2018 at 2:46 PM Post #14 of 49

trellus

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Pffftt... this has turned into a general gripe session against Zeos, when the point of the OP was to put together a nice montage of SOUND DEMOS, which, if using the same equipment to record and the same speakers or headphones to evaluate on the user's end, are useful because of the ability to detect relative differences between headphones. Obviously, there is no way to determine overall sound quality given the fact that there is a microphone involved, compression, further YouTube compression, and then a whole other chain on the end user's playback system, but again, the relative differences can be quite useful.
 
May 13, 2018 at 4:49 PM Post #15 of 49

BearMonster

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I remember watching these sound demo and was confused why the lcd 4 sounded so lackluster it turns out he powered them out of the emotiva a100 which one has to wonder why. While it may be driving them it is not doing them any justice No doubt if oneday if he evers gets the focal utopia & it sounds terrible everyone will probably flip a table.
I think there was another guy called soulsik who did a lcd 4 demo and i think his sounded better not sure what he was using thought

The m1060 was driven out by the questyle cma 600i which are a far better amp than the emotiva a100.
The stax well zeos is forced to use their driver unit which helps to give us the most closest to what they sound like.

Never really understood why Zeos really powered a lot of the headphones with different headphones amps which hold different sound signatures. I see in most of his videos the heron 5 or smsl panda stack which he could've used for consistency.
 

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