GL1TCH3D t1_je9mhtr wrote

My Beyer T5p had a lot of cable problems that required 2 RMAs within the 1 year I owned it. It doesn't help that the supplied carrying case is a cable breaker. But even without that the cables were pretty thin, which makes sense since it's something meant to be decently portable.

My Fostex TH900 pearl whites had a defective earcup hinge that I RMAd immediately after opening it and inspecting. That being said, it didn't actually break yet but would have been more susceptible to issues. On the flipside I've used my TH900mk1 every day for the last 7 years, and that's after I got them used so they're even older than that.

After Audeze was stolen from there was a lot of QC issues in the past too.


GL1TCH3D OP t1_jdxbwhn wrote

So obviously at a show I can’t pad swap. In terms of female vocals the TH900 has always been the best that I’ve owned. Note that stock they’re lousy. Either drop in an EQ or pad swap + dampening ring. That being said you won’t get the airiness out of the th900 that you would out of anything open back.

The Z1R was an instant resell for me. Mid bass was extremely bloated no matter what I paired it with. I don’t know if I ended up with a defective pair but it was bleeding… which is unacceptable in a $2k pair of headphones. No amount of EQ was fixing it. Note that it was happening on both channels which led me to believe it wasn’t a defect, but just how it was designed. The awas being a bit rolled off will lack that air. The Sony Z7 headphones (I only tried the mk1) was a lousy set as well. So I’m with you on that.

I imagine if thé Z1R mid bass was solved it would be significantly better but I can’t give any other comments based on the unit I owned.


GL1TCH3D OP t1_jdw5afs wrote

I should have also mentioned I'm incredibly comfortable with buying used headphones. My TH900s cost me around $500 which puts it in that mid range market. The awas used are going around that same price range. I'm also incredibly focused on that higher end market. So that $500 price range starts blending with that lower end market.


GL1TCH3D OP t1_jdvr3ji wrote

Man what a show! It's been a few years since I've been to Montreal's Salon Son et Image (now called Audio Fest) and in the past there was not nearly the same level of representation of headphones. It was mostly Sennheiser + Grado + Woo Audio (who would bring some flagships with him).

Some background, I've been buying and auditioning headphones since 2012. After going through virtually all the flagships prior to 2017 I took a break with my beloved TH900 (my third pair). I came back when I saw Sony releasing the Z1R and Hifiman the R10 since I've always been intrigued by the Sony R10 (never heard them). As such, I never got to try any of the evolution of Focal or Audeze which seem to have been very busy in the headphone space since I took a break.

This time I got to try almost all the high end goodies I've been hearing about online for the past couple of years, with a few exceptions being Hifiman Shangri-La, Audio Technica W2022 (don't worry, I'll be getting a private listening session down the line), and of course, the HE-1 Orpheus.

Note that these are impressions based on only a dozen or so minutes with each pair of headphones. I also aimed to try the same pairs with multiple amps if possible (usually not possible with the e-stats since they only bring 1 amp for the booth). That being said, often times we were limited to the offline library that the presenters brought with them and were not able to use our own sources, while some booths were able to connect to our sources / online services. I equally brought my own Heddphones + TH900 to use as a reference point for the setups.

New headphones that I got to try for the first time: Stax X9000, Audio Technica Awas, Denon D7200, Sennheiser HD660V2, Audeze CRBN and LCD5, Dan Clark Expanse and Corina, Focal Stellia and Utopia, Hifiman Sundara, Yamaha YH-5000SE

I also got to try a few amps. Don't remember all the names, but the ones that stood out were the Cen Grand Silverfox, as well as the Fiio K7 cube thing (coming soon?) among some Cayin, Chord, and other amps that I was trying for the first time.

I'd like to preface all my impressions with noting my own preferences for sound. I prefer slightly warm, euphoric headphones. Modded TH900s, Stax 007, and Heddphones are among the best I've personally owned, while headphones like the Q701, HD700, LCD2/3, Beyer T1/T5p, were definitely not on my favorites.


X9000 was truly the showstopper here. Absolutely flawless presentation and tonality to my ears, all while retaining the resolution and speeds of electrostats that you can't get anywhere else. It almost felt like the rest of the pentabuck headphones were here just to showcase how strong the X9000 is in the market. These were paired with the T8000 amp, but I imagine a KGSSHV would also drive them properly.

Dan Clark Expanse was easily the best non-electrostat that I was able to try. This was paired with the Cen Grand Silverfox and overall had great detail retrieval, tonality, presentation and more. Would equally consider adding this to my collection. I was incredibly impressed with these and I didn't even know about them before the show!

Audio Technica Awas is a nice pair for a lower end market. If you enjoy that "tube-like" sound (rolled off highs, extremely warm and slightly punchy) then this is a good pair to get for the price. Not good for any sort of analytical listening.

Focal Stellia felt like an upgrade to my TH900. Amazing closed back and the strongest of their lineup to my ears. I was only able to pair these with the Naim system that you see in the picture, which I didn't get to try any non-focals on so I can't give a reference point to what the coloring (if any) is like on the Naim.

As for a few non-headphone winners, the Cen Grand Silverfox was a really great, clean amp to drive those power hungry headphones. Running the Heddphones through them wasa an amazing experience. I knew the heddphones scaled really well with the quality of the amps and the Cen Grand definitely did not fail there. Further, the Fiio R7 equally drove the Heddphones really well. When I got to the fiio booth I was surprised to see them have their own pair of Heddphones plugged in. I thought there was no way a Fiio would drive these but color me impressed. The R7 giant cube thing was a solid all-in-one system.


One of the ones I was most intrigued to try was the Yamaha. They haven't been a player in high-end headphones ever to my knowledge, and they come out of nowhere to drop a pentabuck. I'm also generally a fan of japanese headphones after having successes with Stax, Fostex, and Audio Technica (hit and miss here though). The Yamaha YH-5000SE was just disappointing. Unresolving, rough sounding headphones. I got to try these with the Silverfox so there's no lack of clean, ample power for the Yamahas. I was very surprised at how poor these performed. Trying them on both a tube amp (terrible) and the Silverfox did not change my opinion here.

Another surprise to me was the Focal Utopia 2022. I tried these on 3 different systems and they were always underwhelming, slightly boomy, dry. The Stellias were far more impressive.

Audeze LCD5. This one I'm more neutral on. The Audeze booth was terribly setup. The wifi at the hotel was incredibly saturated since Montreal doesn't have usable internet, and half the booths are running some kind of streaming service to provide listeners with options. The Audeze booth only had a few offline options through Qobuz available, of which I was only familiar with a hand-full. I don't believe the amps did the LCD5 justice. I was able to try them on a Chord setup which did not seem to power them effectively, as well as another amp which I didn't take down the name of it. You can see the black and orange stack in the Audeze booth picture. It's like the amp or source had a high-pass filter. Trying the XC, LCD5, and Heddphones (my own) on that amp failed to produce any bass, despite the rest of the range being smooth and full. In this respect it's more like Audeze shot themselves in the foot, which isn't necessarily a reflection of the headphones themselves.

Audeze CRBN was good, but tonally off. Slightly V shaped and the vocals were thin. I would take a Stax 007 over the CRBN any day, but again, Audeze only had a single amp for estats (normal for estat setups anyway at shows) so for all I know, Audeze paired something insufficient with their CRBN given the rest of the setups.

Dan Clark Corina. I'm not sure if this was intended to be more of a proof-of-concept for a bassy electrostat, but overall it was just a heavily rolled off pair of headphones. I know I put the Awas in the winners section but the difference here is the price. While the Awas could easily be run for under 1k, the Corina's themselves will run you north of 3-4k for a pair used, before the estat amp.

Denon D7200 just felt overpriced compared to virtually every other closed back in that price range. At $200-300 it would be a winner. Poor resolution an detail retrieval with decent tonality.

Hifiman Sundaras. I've heard so much about these. That being said, they only had some Ifi setup there that could be severely limiting their potential.


In conclusion, anything in the winners would be something I'd consider adding to my personal collection. Right now my TH900s (with mods) are my reference point for closed back, while Stax sets the standard for me in terms of overall quality. I was really hoping to hear the HE1 / Shangri-La to see what high-end estats can be produced outside of Stax. Unfortunately it's a small show that focuses primarily on speakers. Hoping in future years there will be more headphone gear to try. Again, these are just impressions from spending a dozen or so minutes with each pair. I did go back at the end of the day to spend the rest of the allowed time with the X9000 as it's easily the best pair of headphones I've ever heard.


Some other gear I've owned to give you some reference: Sony Z1R, Noble K10, AKG K551, JH Roxanne UF, Audio Technica W3000anv, Philips Citiscape Downtown, Alpha Dogs, NAD Viso HP50, Fostex TH900, Fostex TR-X00, Chord And Major Rock, Stax SR407, Sennheiser HD700, Final Audio FI-BA-SS, Audio Technica ESW11LTD, Stax SR007mk2, Hifiman HE6, Sennheiser HD800, Shure SE535, Audeze LCD2r1, Beyerdynamic T5p, Shure SE425, AKG Q701, Sony XB500, Bowers and Wilkins P5, Grado SR325i, Sennheiser Momentum,


EDIT: FIIO R7 NOT K7 SORRY! It's not released yet but Fiio brought one.


GL1TCH3D t1_jckgwzx wrote

I've definitely become more and more of a fan of the windows key. Loving Win+Shift+S

I could use AHK and just bind the shortcut to something else since I use it so much, but there are other things I use winkey for anyway which would force me to rebind the windows key and at that point, why have a WKL.


GL1TCH3D t1_iwbxa64 wrote

Reply to comment by Beatus_Vir in True by Goldeneye07

Same as apple, or any other phone manufacturer. Release new models with higher price tags. Back 5 years ago or so Noble K10 was the totl at around 2k, now I see they have like $6k IEMs. Almost every company has pushed a model in that $5k+ range lately where 5 years back it was roughly 2k as the top end for most of them. And those in pursuit of a better listening experience are drawn to these ultra high end, even more refined headphones.