The_D0lph1n t1_jdz5gvr wrote

I actually like the Z7M2, it just took me a while to adjust to how it presents music. I grew to like it so much that I wish I just went with the Z1R in the first place. For detailed/analytical listening, I already have the Hifiman Shangri-La Jr, the Stax SR-L700mk2, and the DCA Aeon 2 Noire, so I'm not lacking there. Hence my interest in the Z1R and the AWAS, warmer headphones with unusual tunings that contrast against the planar-type headphones in my collection. Thanks for the advice though, I agree that no headphone will do everything well.


The_D0lph1n t1_jdymue4 wrote

$1K headphones with MP3s will make a much bigger difference than $50 headphones and $950 of 24-bit FLACs.

I listen to a lot of electronic music too, trance, future bass, melodic dubstep, electronic rock, some hardcore/hard-dance, etc. And I enjoy them on kilobuck headphones, and I've never found the genre to ever limit my enjoyment of those songs on fancy headphones.


The_D0lph1n t1_jdx5ueh wrote

Thanks for the impressions! I very much want to try the X9000 someday as I've read very interesting things about it. It also looks amazing, probably my favorite-looking headphone design.

I'm also more interested in the AWAS now. My first audiophile headphone was a closed-back Audio Technica (ATH-A990Z) and after I swapped to microsuede pads, I really enjoyed the sound of it due to how it presented female vocals and the "air" in the sound. Definitely a genre specialist, but when it worked, it worked. I've been thinking of adding an AT back into my collection at some point, and the AWAS is one of the prime candidates with the striking red earcups.

I'm curious about the Yamaha, as impressions seem to be pretty bipolar on that one. A whole bunch of people say that it's very impressive, and a whole bunch of other people say it's very disappointing. You had the MDR-Z1R in your list of past headphones. Did you like the Z1R? Some people on Head-Fi who've heard both say that the Yamaha is tuned in the same vein as the Z1R, and the Z1R is also a very polarizing headphone in terms of its sound. My current theory, having not heard the Yamaha yet, is that it's like an open-back Z1R. I'm wondering if liking the Z1R could be a predictor on liking the Yamaha.

When I got my MDR-Z7m2 recently, I thought it was very muddy, dull, congested, and unresolving for the first two minutes that I listened to it (adjectives that have also been used for the Z1R and the Yamaha), right after listening to the Aeon 2 Noire. If this had been at a show, I would have walked away, because it's a headphone where I had to stop and reset my expectations on what a headphone should sound like before I could enjoy it. I like the Z7 now quite a bit, so I still have high hopes for the Z1R and the Yamaha. I always love polarizing headphones!


The_D0lph1n t1_jdl4vif wrote

Reply to comment by ICoeuss in I turned my X2HRs to Sundaras by ICoeuss

When I mentioned cumulative distortion, I'm referring to how the energy present at a specific frequency in a multi-band signal is comprised not just the energy in the signal itself, but of it summed with all of the distortion products of lower tones. For example, the amplitude at 2 KHz is not just the 2 KHz component in the signal, but also includes energy from the 2nd harmonic distortion of the 1 KHz component, the 3rd harmonic of the 666.66 Hz component, the 4th harmonic of the 500 Hz component, etc. That's what I meant by cumulative: the level at each frequency depends not just on what's in the signal, but on the distortion components of lower frequencies that are played at the same time which lie at the same frequency.

In theory, if you could exactly match the waveform seen at the eardrum, then yes, you would hear exactly the same soundstage and imaging. However, I have never been able to properly do this in practice with over-ear headphones. Additionally, I've heard from an acoustic engineer that soundstage is partially influenced by physical factors; if the headphone is touching your ears, it hurts the illusion of soundstage because your brain knows that the sound is coming from right outside of your ear. In general, the brain prioritizes non-auditory inputs. That's why the McGurk Effect exists: when there's a conflict between what your eyes see and your ears hear, you literally hear what your eyes see, even if the actual auditory input doesn't match.

Regarding overshoot, in theory, less overshoot means it's more accurate to the input signal. That's what Dan Clark says to justify the macrodynamic performance of his headphones; he says that other headphones overshoot in their impulse responses, but his headphones do not. Many people think his headphones sound really dead and lifeless as a result, but that's where science meets art. If the music was produced on gear that has more overshoot, it probably has lower dynamic swings in the signal. Should the headphone reproduce the signal as is, or should it try to reproduce the dynamics that were in the original performance, but weren't mastered into the signal? There's no single right answer to that question, it's a matter of design philosophy and preference.

Regarding minimum-phase, it means that the phase response is exactly the amount needed to produce the frequency response. There's no excess group delay across the entire frequency range. In theory, the CSD plot shows nothing that isn't already in the FR, and generally weirdness in the CSD plot is reflected in peaks and troughs in the FR graph too. I used to hold strongly to that view, but now I'm not as certain that CSD plots have no value. All physical devices have resonances, and at higher amplitudes, those resonances are the first to exhibit serious non-linearities. In general, if I see a long trail in a CSD plot, then I take it as a sign that I should be very careful about boosting that region in EQ. If I cut, that's fine, because the trail disappears with the cut, but if I boost, then that trail will become more significant, maybe enough to become audible at high volumes. There is one case, the Koss KSC75, where I actually hear something like ringing in the lower treble (it sounds like a bit of microphone feedback when certain notes play), which is probably a resonance, but it goes away when I EQ down the 5 KHz region.

On the more practical side, I can only presume that phase is an issue at the design level. Many companies have tech in their headphones to control phase effects. Phase effects tend to result in weird, narrow peaks and dips in the FR. Those features become difficult to EQ out, and if you look at Oratory1990's EQ presets, he often doesn't fix those really narrow irregularities because they stem from phase effects that will sound really strange if filled in via EQ.

For your last question, speed isn't a real metric in headphones as far as we can tell. Some headphones certainly sound like they attack/decay faster or slower than others, but there's no concrete metric that can be exclusively tied to that phenomenon. Here's an article by Brent Butterworth at SoundstageSolo! that showed a perceptively slower headphone actually responding faster to the input than a fast-sounding headphone. Given my experience with dynamic EQ allowing me to add macro-dynamic punch to a headphone by overdriving large transients, I suspect that separation is part of "micro-dynamics" where small transients are being overdriven by a headphone. But there is no scientifically backed measurement that explains the perception of attack/decay speed in headphones.


The_D0lph1n t1_jdija1e wrote

Keep in mind that rapid A/B switching tends to erase differences. That's a familiar problem for people who go to big meets where lots of headphones are available for demo and they try out multiple headphones/IEMs in the span of a few minutes; everything starts to sound the same because our brains don't have time to get acclimated to any one sound. It's a common phenomenon that headphones that sound good during a short demo at a show don't sound as good in the long run, because the sound qualities that make it stand out against the 5 other headphones the listener just heard make it too sharp or too unusual in a normal listening environment.

I've gotten headphones very close to one another via EQ as well (though never quite exact), and resolution is something that to me is mostly linked to FR. I actually don't like the term "resolution", and I prefer the term "tonal contrast", which I think is a more descriptive term for what I hear. Contrast is what allows me to differentiate between different sounds (similar to how visual contrast is a key part of how our eyes perform object recognition and differentiation), and to me, "resolution" is how easily I can distinguish different instruments and sounds. It's a very fine-grained balance between different frequency ranges (plus lack of cumulative distortion from the lower registers that might interfere with the presentation of the high frequencies) that produces the correct contrast for good "resolution".

Soundstage is the main thing that cannot be easily replicated via EQ, and that's because the headphone's interaction with your HRTF matters a lot for that. Even Dr. Sean Olive, possibly the foremost expert on headphone FR measurements, has said in the recent interview with Resolve and Crinacle that FR measurements aren't everything, and don't measure the spatial qualities of a headphone. I could not EQ my Sundara to have the same soundstage size as my Shangri-La Jr, even though I could approach its resolution and overall sound. But the placement of sounds is something I could not reproduce via EQ, the SGL just sounded more spacious. The physical sizes of the drivers are different between the two, so the wavefront that hits my ears is different, so the interaction of my ears to that wavefront is different as well. The X2 and the Sundara have similar sizes and shapes I recall (I only briefly owned the X2 years ago), so soundstaging differences should be less pronounced between them.

With EQ, I've noticed regions (different for each headphone) where the magnitude of EQ applied doesn't match the magnitude of the perceived change in the sound. I've noticed places where 0.5 dB makes a noticeable difference in the sound. I've also seen cases where I boost a range by 10 dB and it does nothing to erase a dip in that range (that's usually with closed-back headphones with undamped earcups). I've found that even if I can EQ headphone A to sound like headphone B, that's no guarantee that I can do the reverse, make B sound like A.

There's also another aspect of sound that can be produced with EQ, but not via standard EQs (graphic or parametric). I've started using dynamic EQ, which boosts/cuts a frequency band only when dynamic swings occur in that band, and that allows me to add the "punch and slam" of macro-dynamics into a headphone. So in a way, dynamics are FR too, but not in the FR that you can easily see in a graph, it's sort of "instantaneous FR" if you will. I've heard of "attack measurements" at SBAF and also of impulse response overshoot as metrics for dynamic performance (more overshoot in the impulse response level means more slam), but either way it's not something that you can easily see in the standard FR graph yet has quite noticeable effects on the sound.

My overall view is that I don't agree with people who say "FR is everything" and mean that you can just look at your usual FR graph and immediately know how a headphone sounds. Even experts like Dr. Olive who specialize in those FR measurements don't hold that view. I take the view of "momentary SPL at the eardrum is nearly everything". I leave open the possibility that part of what we perceive is not eardrum-related, like maybe there's an effect perceived by the skin of the inner ear canal. There's also the fact that our brain doesn't work on SPL, but on loudness, and those two do not correlate exactly.

I also like seeing CSD plots, as I've read that at higher frequencies (>2KHz and with some effect down to 500 Hz), our brain doesn't maintain phase lock with the incoming sound wave, but instead the perception process is triggered by the waveform envelope. I've heard it explained that outside of the phase-locking region, the brain "batches" sound in time, and perceives the total amount of sound occurring in each batch as its loudness. Longer sound = louder. My understanding of this is that if a peak in the FR (above 500 Hz or so) has a long trail in the CSD plot, that peak will sound louder than the plain FR would imply. You've already seen the demonstration of how EQing down a peak also cuts the CSD trail, so the headphone "double-dips" from the EQ, not only is the peak gone, but the amplifying effect of the CSD trail is also gone. I suspect that may be why I notice unusual effects when EQing, I'm changing the FR at the same frequencies where there is a significant CSD trail, so the effect is either muted or amplified. When I've done my measurements, it's usually the case that regions with odd EQ interactions also have longer trails in the CSD plot. Psychoacoustics is a really interesting field that I wish I studied more in college (I studied electrical engineering with an emphasis on computer microarchitecture, so outside of a few audio engineering classes, I never went too deep into that subject).


The_D0lph1n t1_jbu9biq wrote

Thanks for these impressions! I'd like to try out the Diana someday. I think the 1266 just looks too stupid for me to really want to own it (alongside reports of finicky fit and bad comfort), but the Diana looks alright on that front, and I've heard plenty of good things about its sound. Hopefully it's comfortable for me, as I'm unusually sensitive to hotspots on the top of my head.


The_D0lph1n t1_ja9w8fk wrote

For the headphones themselves, not really. The only headphone that I could say I regret purchasing is the Fidelio X2HR, because it was so uncomfortable, but I returned it for a refund, so not really a regret.

There have been plenty of times when I've been initially disappointed with the sound of a headphone, like "I thought there would be more of a difference", but it's never turned into regret. Either I appreciate that headphone more over time, or I consider that headphone a good learning experience. The more headphones I try, the better I learn to discern and articulate the differences between them. I read something once that went like "I only regret making a choice if I ended up worse off than if I hadn't made it". Maybe not the best perspective for all of life's choices, but within the realm of headphones, that's the view I take. No headphone I've ever bought has permanently degraded my enjoyment of music, or of headphones, so I don't regret any headphone I bought.

I think it's interesting that you said, "Each of them is perfect in their own way". For much of my headphone journey, I was focused on finding a headphone that perfectly fit my preferences and did what I wanted a headphone to do. Now that I've more or less reached that point, I'm more interested in finding out what a headphone was meant to do. To judge a headphone based on how well it does what it was designed to do, and not judge it based on my preferences and what I want it to do. I've found that sort of open-minded approach to be so much more relaxed and enjoyable than looking for flaws and finding ways to reject a headphone because it doesn't fit my view of what a headphone should be.

I suppose my only regret from buying headphones is that it has skewed my perspective on what is expensive. I recall seeing the price of the Nvidia RTX 4090, at $1700, and thinking "oh not bad, that's about the price of the HD800S". Meanwhile, the rest of the PC hardware crowd was having a meltdown over the price.


The_D0lph1n t1_ja4uz1p wrote

You might find what I call "old-school audiophile" reviews better in some circumstances then, as many of them include stuff like "I put on [specific song] and the saxophone was deeper and richer, but the trumpet sounded a bit flat and lacking brilliance". Brent Butterworth (who used to write for SoundstageSolo!) did his written reviews like this, where he went through a bunch of songs and described what he heard in each on the headphone being reviewed. He then extrapolated the FR features from there, like "the bass guitar was more prominent in this track than when played on [other headphone], so I suspect there is an elevation in the upper bass." He also did measurements (after writing the entire review, so that his listening wasn't biased by seeing the measurement).

Other people don't like that style of review, because they don't see the relevance of those impressions if they don't listen to the same songs as the reviewer. So they prefer the Crin/Resolve method of describing sound in general terms, like "mids are honky", "bass is muddy", "there's good/bad detail retrieval". The downside of that style of review is that sounds and perceptions have to be described in somewhat general and vague terms.

Another problem with the first, "old-school" style is that it gets very verbose, very fast. When the whole script of the review has to fit within a 10-minute YouTube video, there's no time to describe all of the examples of where an acoustic feature is present while also including stuff about build and comfort.

I've recently started gravitating towards that "old-school" style because even if I'm not familiar with the tracks the reviewer is using, they're almost always just a Spotify search away, I can discover new music in the process, and I can better understand what a reviewer means in a description (learn the jargon), and what they value in sound.


The_D0lph1n t1_ja4fhjj wrote

I've had that same experience, so the way I discuss detail is more in terms of mental effort. Highly detailed headphones allow me to perceive small details and textures in the music with less mental effort needed than with less detailed headphones. If the headphone is less detailed, then I have to know that a detail is there and focus on it to perceive it. If a headphone is more detailed, then that sound jumps out at me even when I'm not focused on the music. Hence, different headphones can be more detailed in some areas than others, and a "less detailed" headphone can in some frequency regions be perceived as more detailed than a "more detailed" headphone by having an FR that emphasizes the details in that region.

Another term that I've seen in place of detail that I find really helpful is "tonal contrast". I first saw the term used by reviewer Marcus at Headfonics, but the term probably goes further back than that. Tonal contrast is the contrast (think visual contrast) between different tones, like between fundamental and the overtones. Higher tonal contrast makes the differences between similar pitches on different instruments be more pronounced, which sounds like more detail. Human vision, object recognition in particular, is more dependent on contrast and silhouette than color. That's how optical camouflage works, not by making an object impossible to see with the eye, but harder for the brain to recognize as a given object. To me, detail is music is similar. You're always hearing that sound that comprises a detail, but your brain didn't recognize it as an instrument or whatever, until you heard it on a headphone with higher tonal contrast in the relevant frequency bands.

All of this should just be encapsulated in the FR (plus psychoacoustics), but it's a very fine-grained and multi-band look at FR that we currently don't know how to do accurately or reliably. It's not just more treble, as I've heard very treble-heavy headphones that masked detail due to having too much treble. And it's not just having an even or neutral frequency response either, as an unbalanced FR can highlight certain parts of sound, which can make them sound more detailed than a headphone with a balanced FR. Then there's also distortion; sometimes distortion can improve clarity by boosting relevant overtones and thus increasing tonal contrast. So yeah, it's not something that's easy to recognize from just a graph.


The_D0lph1n t1_ja1kgo0 wrote

I've demoed both the Arya Stealth and the HEKv2, and while I only had a few minutes with each, I definitely agree that the HE-1000 is a step above the Arya. There was something harsh in the Arya's upper midrange and treble that made some voices sound "scratchy". The HE1000 did not have that issue and was a more refined and smoother presentation all around. I wasn't able to listen long enough to evaluate stuff like soundstage or detail presentation, but I noticed the difference how smoothly the HE1000 rendered vocals. Either one is endgame-worthy, but the HEK is still better by some margin.

Back when the Arya was $1600 and the HEKv2 was $3000, the Arya was definitely the price-optimized choice, but with the Arya now at $1300 and the HEKv2 at $2000, the latter is a more viable option.


The_D0lph1n t1_j9uc52h wrote

Oh that's interesting, you've heard the Jr and think it's a fun headphone? Yet your opinion on the Susvara is pretty low, so the Jr must do something differently enough to not fall into the same bucket as its wood-veneered sibling. Would you mind expanding a bit on what you find different between them?

The general view I've seen is that the Susvara is a bit more well-rounded and a better pick than the Shangri-La Jr, but I've also read impressions favoring the Jr. I've never had the chance to hear the Susvara for myself, so I'm always interested in comparisons. Also, at a headphone meet last year, someone who had owned the Susvara for some time heard my SGL Jr and said he liked the Jr much better. He actually told me that I shouldn't bother seeking out the Susvara, as the Jr is better; he said that the Susvara, while having good bass and great detail, "sucked the enjoyment out of everything". Which is pretty similar to your take on the Susvara being sterile. So I have no idea what lies in store for me if I ever get to hear the Sus for myself.


The_D0lph1n t1_j9puira wrote

If you can't return them, you can either try to sell them, or just keep them around and revisit them every once in a while. Preferences do shift over time, and I've had headphones that I didn't like that much, but I went back to them a few months later and found that their sound was better than I had originally thought.


The_D0lph1n t1_j9os0ve wrote

How long have you had them? The brain takes some time to get acclimated to a new sound, and it's unlikely that a headphone will sound great to you right after getting it. Listen to it exclusively for a week, then go back and compare it to other headphones.

There's also the bit about expectations. I was sort of the same way when I first started getting into audiophile headphones. It's like "that's it?" I thought the changes would be huge, but over time I learned that it's not going to add new instruments to a song or anything like that, it's just going to be a small, incremental change. It also depends on what you're coming from and what sound you're used to, like in my first point.

And finally, yeah, you might just not like them. The sound might not be for you. Ears have different shapes, brains are wired differently (there's some research done when doing MRI scans of subjects where people hear different things from the same signal, and those differences are correlated with right-side vs left-side activity in certain parts of the brain [Schneider et al., 2005]), so two people can listen to the same headphone on the same amp/dac, and their brains can perceive two different sounds from them. I admit that I find it odd that someone would describe an open-back Hifiman as muddy and veiled, but I haven't heard the HE400SE myself, and my brain is not your brain. If you've given them a week and they still don't do it for you, I'd suggest returning them and getting something else, or just sticking with what you have and enjoy.


The_D0lph1n t1_j6e4ls5 wrote

Depending on the kind of electronic music, the tracks might not have that much content in the true sub-bass (e.g. <50 Hz). Most electronic drum hits, and even many rumbles, in my music collection are somewhere between 50 and 150 Hz in terms of fundamental (I run a real-time spectrum analyzer in my music player). So a lack of sub-bass extension might not affect bass perception that much, as a hump in the 70-150 Hz region boosts the parts of bass that matter most. And that's before psychoacoustic effects like missing fundamental can boost the perception of the sub-bass, even if the sub-bass tones aren't actually being reproduced.


The_D0lph1n OP t1_j6e0um2 wrote

Reply to comment by Isenhoowa in Hi-Fi Rush on HiFiMans by The_D0lph1n

I haven't had that issue with the Hart cables, but they are a bit microphonic to me. The interchangeable amp-side connectors are so good though. I wish more cables used that system.

Since my Sundara is well out of warranty at this point, I may explore the Dekoni pads when the earpads well and truly flake out on me. It might help fix the comfort too. I find that with the lack of lateral earcup swivel, it often presses too hard on my cheekbones and that makes them uncomfortable. Like I wore these today for about 30 minutes, and I'm now massaging my cheekbones because they got sore. Other days, I can wear the Sundaras for hours, so it's just wildly inconsistent in comfort.


The_D0lph1n OP t1_j6bsi4u wrote

The name similarities were too great to ignore. I have a small menagerie of Hifiman headphones and while I’ve written about them individually at length here and on Head-Fi, I’ve never gotten a picture of the full setup. So here they are: from left to right – Shangri-La Jr, Sundara, and R7DX. The Sundara was acquired in early March 2020, and it’s still working fine, though the right earpad has started to tear in some places. Not bad for a Hifiman, eh? The SGL Jr was bought in mid-February 2022, and the R7DX was from late May 2022. Three different driver types (electrostatic, planar, and dynamic), 3 different earpad types, 3 different headband types, and three-ish different earcup shapes. I do admire a company having breadth and variety in their designs.

Sound-wise, all three are cut from the same cloth. Bright and airy sound all around. The SGL is the brightest but also the smoothest sounding, the R7 is the roughest and peakiest of them, while the Sundara is in the middle. SGL has the best comfort by far. All three are commendable headphones to me.

For source gear, the FiiO K9 Pro (AKM) handles DAC and regular amp duties, with XLR out to the CCS-modded Stax SRM-006tS. The 006tS is a new acquisition to replace my 006tA that died at a headphone meet last year. I spent some time and effort to repair the old amp, but I wasn’t able to find out what was wrong. So I bought another unit from Mjolnir Audio.


As for Hi-Fi Rush the game, it’s a quirky, fun game. It’s at its core a 3rd person rhythm-based melee combat game, where you time your actions to the all-pervasive beat, mixed with some platforming in a linear adventure game. Visually, it’s cel-shaded, so it looks a lot like Borderlands, and its overall tone is quite similar to the newer Borderlands games (BL2+) too. Unsurprisingly, given its Japanese development studio, there are a few elements present that are more common in Japanese games – the one I noticed is that in conversation segments, there’s the large box at the bottom of the screen displaying the dialogue that’s being spoken alongside a 2D head render of the speaking character. My wife is playing Fire Emblem Engage these days, and dialogue sequences in that game have the exact same element. Curiously, while the game is titled Hi-Fi Rush, the start menu entry (I have the game from PC GamePass) says “Hibiki”, which seems to mean “echo” in Japanese and might be the internal title.


The_D0lph1n t1_j69ok3y wrote

Reply to comment by LTHardcase in Top 10 Favorite Headphones by radrod69

Neither were particularly long demos, and the Arya demo was in August last year, so my memory of the particulars are fuzzy. I think the Arya is either comparable or slightly stronger in bass impact than the HEK.


The_D0lph1n t1_j69iehd wrote

You can get it from your local/regional Stax dealer, depending on availability. I just bought a pair of new L700 earpads from HeadAmp, but I'm in the US, so it's an easy option for me. I couldn't find a list of Stax dealers in Europe, but you're probably more familiar with the dealer landscape there than I am.


The_D0lph1n t1_j69ej1j wrote

That combo is one of the best deals I've seen in the modern Stax world. A neat trick with the L series is that you can buy the L700's earpads and swap them onto the L500 to get something more similar to the L700 sound. Not required by any means, but it's an interesting flavor change that's also wayyy cheaper than getting the L700 itself. That was the route I originally wanted to go with, but the store was also out of the L500, so they offered me a used L700 at an incredible price, so how could I refuse? If you ever want to mix it up, perhaps look into swapping the earpads. Otherwise, enjoy the setup!


The_D0lph1n t1_j66w5b8 wrote

Let's see, I've owned quite a few headphones, and I've demoed more, so I'll give this one a shot. Some demos were done months ago, and often for only a few minutes, so this is just from memory.

  1. Hifiman Shangri-La Jr. Superlative in comfort, sound, and style. My favorite tuning thus far: airy, bright, yet smooth. Vocals, particularly female vocals, take on this thinner, breathy, "delicate/angelic" sound, which I often like. Bass has some sense of punch and responds well to EQ. Absolutely no regrets buying this one.
  2. Hifiman HE-1000v2. Very similar overall to the SGL Jr, I just really like the Hifiman sound. A bit more bass, the treble is a bit rougher, and the soundstage is different. Comfort is great too, though the earcup extends maybe a bit too far down.
  3. Meze Elite. Only demoed them for a bit, but the sound was full and rich, with lots of energy in the bass and midrange. It was comfortable to listen to sound-wise. Unfortunately, my ears stick out too much and were squished against the metal driver mesh, which was a bit uncomfortable.
  4. LCD-X 2021. Smooth and bassy sound, probably the darkest headphone that I could enjoy listening to. All around good option, and it's more comfortable than its weight would imply.
  5. Stax SR-L700mk2. Very unusual tuning, but it works well for some genres. With a bit of a bass boost, it becomes much more tolerable for a wider variety of music. It's sort of a lowercase-mu-shaped sound, and just needs a bit more bass to shine. Also, it's soundstage is quite unusual and asymmetrical, which works well for live stage-based recordings. I haven't heard anything with that sort of soundstage elsewhere.
  6. Hifiman Arya Stealth. It's got that usual Hifiman open-back tuning, but it lacks some refinement in the upper mids and treble that the HE-1000v2/SGL Jr have. There's just some harshness there. Excellent headphone otherwise.
  7. Focal Utopia (older). The only Focal that I've tried that wasn't immediately uncomfortable. It has a very energetic sound, lots of bass punch and slam, but possibly the weirdest imaging I've heard. Like in one song, there's a little rustle that normally renders diagonally behind my left ear. On the Utopia, it was like inside my left eye socket. Very odd, but a great headphone nonetheless.
  8. Audeze CRBN. This is an outlier amongst electrostatics. Small soundstage, big and punchy bass, plenty of note weight similar to an Audeze planar. Somewhat strident in the midrange, particularly with female vocals, and this trait is shared with the MM-500, so I think it's a "new Audeze" feature. Kind of bulky too. Treble seemed a bit grainy at times compared to the other 2 estats on this list. An estat for people who don't like estats.
  9. Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire. Well-tuned portable closed-back planar. Decently comfortable, though for some reason it doesn't work that well for my head shape through a combination of unusual pad shape, higher clamp pressure, and a thin, stiff, and narrow headband strap. Generally a good Harman-esque tuning, though quite bright in the upper treble even for me. Bass is elevated, but occasionally lacking in punch, depending on how the track is mastered.
  10. Hifiman HE-R7DX. Sort of a surprising entry, even to myself, showing that good stuff exists at all price brackets. Light and mostly comfortable (big ears strike again!), with minimal clamp force. Good and punchy bass to me despite not sealing well on my head. Emphasized midrange combines with an elevated, though peaky, treble to create an energetic sound. The main problems are that the sound can change quite a bit based on fit, the treble peaks may disagree with someone else (they don't bother me very much), and it's very difficult to EQ. Certain notches in the FR are practically impossible to erase via EQ boosts. This is a love-or-hate headphone, and I got lucky.

The_D0lph1n t1_j5zdrq9 wrote

Is the decay linked to the absolute SPL at a frequency, or to the relative SPL of that frequency relative to the rest? If you EQ down a 6K peak by 3 dB to get rid of that decay trail, but then raise the entire signal level by 3 dB so that 6K is back at the original SPL, does the trail return? Does the rest of the signal now exhibit the same trail?