The Headphones / In-Ear Monitors Thread (Merged)

Discussion in 'Musicians and DJs' started by macxchange, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...boom! Dan Clark of Mr. Speakers strikes again. All new driver design. Custom cable included. Initial impressions out of Rocky Mountain Audio Fest/CanJam 2018 in Denver are positive. Think Sennheiser HD 800-level clarity.....with warmth with the weighty notes that planer magnetics are well known for......and.....wait for it.....it is 100 grams lighter than the already light HD 800. The design is very similar to the Mr. Speakers VOCE electrostatic headphones that I was able to audition at Egghead Audiohub (gorgeous, estat sound, similar to the Stax 007).

    3BB5B21E-0F6A-42A1-A574-7364D37EED24.jpeg

    And from Manley Labs (a storied name in hifi audio), this gorgeous all-tubes headphone amp (with line-level preamp), the Absolute Headphone Amplifier:

    FCFE67F3-9F4F-4559-B081-DEC947587700.jpeg


    Tempted.
     
    #3861 raypin, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  2. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    ^I ordered the Ether Flow upgrade kit. Alas, they sent it to the default address (PH), instead of the other address I thought I specified. Chances are, it'll be held up in PH Customs, even if the kit is only worth $50. Grrr.

    Anyway, I am weaning myself out of head-fi, for a life-changing reason, which will be revealed here in a few weeks. I shall return to head-fi someday, but the prudent action now is abstinence. :D Abangan! :)
     
  3. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm....my baby, baby Focal Utopia is back from the US. Focal France replaced my 3 year old unit na nagka-defect with a brand new unit (no questions asked, zero bullshit replacement policy). Had a problem with customs. Ang daming hinihingi documentary requirements. Held up close to a week.

    Beautifully driven by the Chord Hugo 2.

    9B8DDB81-1ECA-4242-BF0F-292E8BCD2F02.jpeg
     
    #3863 raypin, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
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  4. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    And I thought my headphone journey has already stopped :ROFLMAO:

    [​IMG]

    Got myself an AKG K812 with custom cables for a great price from an audio friend who I had dealt with in the past. Said friend initially didn't want to let go of his K812...my deal with him involved a buy-back option just in case I get tired of its sound and decide to let it go. So far, I'm enjoying every moment with the K812 :)

    P.S. Apparently, AKG exists now more as a brand than a true audio company in the likes of Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic, post-Samsung acquisition :(
     
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  5. tonedeaf

    tonedeaf Active Member

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    So, just as an update, I got the CampfireAudio Comet and the Shanling M0 from Egghead (Shang). I got the M0 for its portability (so I don't have to use my phone to play music. Just wish it had Spotify though)

    (Review of Campfireaudio Comet -->
    https://theheadphonelist.com/campfire-audio-comet-review-luminous/)

    Egghead also very nicely replaced my iFi Nano BL when I noticed that the IEM match port wasn't working.
     
    #3865 tonedeaf, Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  6. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...good.

    The teeny tiny Shanling M0 is a viable digital transport for a higher quality portable headphone amp. Its got usb audio out, aptX support for wireless and LDAC for Sony. Thinking of getting one myself to pair with the Chord Hugo 2, to reduce my stack footprint.

    Speaking of Campfire Audio, they are on a tear. Their newest totl universal:
    68DD4374-CEDB-4AFD-9A89-374E92186725.jpeg



    https://campfireaudio.com/shop/solaris/

    Beautifullly-crafted hybrid uni. :eek:
     
    #3866 raypin, Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  7. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    To those going to this year's November HiFi Show, here's a top tip: Leave your wallets in the car. Better yet, don't bring any money/debit card/credit card with you when you leave home. I learned this lesson the hard way :ROFLMAO:

    [​IMG]

    The November HiFi Show is up and running until tomorrow so if you're in the vicinity (or planning to look at the latest and greatest audio stuff) don't miss the chance to drop by! ;)
     
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  8. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    Last year, a friend at the show sold a pair of speakers for (drum roll) $175,000. You think leaving the credit card at home would've helped? :D
     
  9. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

    Would those happen to be Grand Utopias??? Speaking of which, they were again featured this year. Simply magnificent-sounding. :cry:
     
  10. makinao

    makinao Active Member

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    I've been needing a new closed headset for work because my HD380Pros are not even, so I auditioned everything closed they had in Egghead Shang. Unfortunately, I didn't like anything. The closest to what I wanted was an ATH-M70x, but the slight lift in the high frequencies worried me a bit, specially for long sessions. I left empty handed (even apologizing to the very accomodating staff), but still desperate because I need it for a current project. A couple of weeks later, I dropped by the JBMusic "40% off everything in the store" sale and saw the price of the ATH-M70x was just PhP 10,860.00. That's about PhP7k less than the local list price, and US$100 cheaper than in B&H NY. So my wallet and my ears took a chance. My suki in the Trinoma branch had to grab one from another branch for me. I've had no problems adjusting to it, although I've only been using it in short bursts, from 30 minutes to an hour of tracking.
     
    #3870 makinao, Nov 12, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  11. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...serving my ears since June 2017 ( 25 years of kissing ass of politi.....never mind).

    ACC154C2-52CB-415D-824B-C9CD39213E0A.jpeg
     
    #3871 raypin, Nov 26, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  12. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...my HE 1 experience. Too lazy to write a proper review. Jump to the proper page of this 182 page thread:

    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...nnheiser-he-1-the-new-orpheus.786512/page-147

    The initialization phase. The time it takes for this start up phase to end is also the time the unit needs to warm-up the tubes to be ready for listening. Uber cool and functional at the same time as only German engineering can make. From my numerous listening sessions, optimal headphone listening occurs after 20 to 30 minutes (about 5 tracks later).



    The Sennheiser teasers.




    The unit I auditioned during CanJam Singapore in 2017 (transport was an iMac) and the tipping point. Limited to 15 minute audition. It was an intense 15 minute experience. And the second it was over, I knew I have found the holy grail of headphones, a must-have.
    90312D86-8104-48D7-8796-905B468F7C4A.jpeg

    And 500 hours after (total listening time since 2017, plus minus), it truly is the holy grail of headphones. Journey ended.

    This is the Apple of headphones. Perfect.

    Background: the original Orpheus that Sennheiser released back in 1991 is easily the best headphone system on the planet until 2015. Sennheiser’s management marching order to their best engineers: create the very best headphone system, cost no object. They did and limited it to 300 units worldwide. It was quickly snapped up and from 1991 to the present, the original Orpheus actually appreciated and doubled in value.

    315FE724-C778-4B2C-8A6D-E9179A0281F7.jpeg
     
    #3872 raypin, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  13. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm,..disassembled the business end of the HE 1. The headphone cup itself contains a powered amplifier. Sennheiser’s engineers wanted the purest audio signal from the DAC to the diaphragm, massively reducing distortions as the digital signal which was converted by the HE 1’s eight DAC to analog wave travels to the diaphram via the headphone cable. In other words. Digital data from digital source is converted by the DAC to analog waveform, and it travels through the headphone cable where the signal is amplifier (centimeters away from the diaphram)) before it vibrates the diaphram, which rapidly creates vibrations which our ears receives and our brain interprets as sound. To mitigate the heat build- up from the amplifier (one on each cup), the headphone cup come with its own aluminum heatsink (PC enthusiasts are familiar with heatsinks) to effectively dissipate heat and minimize user discomfort..

    Conventional headphone design is Source to DAC to convert from digital to analog then this signal is amplified by the amplifier and it travels through the headphone cable to the driver or diaphram. The problem is the headphone cable is subject to interference from electromagnetic inferference or EMI, radio frequency interference or changes in capacitance (micro changes in voltages that alters sound) caused by bending the headphone cable. Thus you end up with crappy sound. This is true specially if the headphone cable is unshielded.

    A260CC06-7851-4342-AE02-217C16B336F7.jpeg

    E8DF4883-78BC-4359-A1DD-89E439B25DC4.jpeg

    I paid good money for this so I might as well understand how the thing works even though I am not an engineer.
     
    #3873 raypin, Nov 30, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
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  14. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...because perfect is never perfect. I added two more headfi equipment to create perfect plus perfect.

    Aside from the Chord Dave as DAC, I fed my CDs to the Chord Blu MK II, a CD transport and an M Scaler. The purpose is to upscale 44.1 Khz CD tracks to up to 768 KHz or 16 times the resolution of an ordinary CD. It is CD but 16 times better. Chord Electronics secret sauce is the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) courtesy of custom-made Xilinx chips (lots of it). Unlike most DAPs which uses off-the- shelf chips, Chord’s chief design consultant, Rob Watts, opted to go custom to get to 1,024,000 taps. The difference is breathtaking. Put in simpler terms, it is the difference between VHS and 4K.

    Digital vs. Analog audio.

    B9F14BAA-73B9-4682-B861-F69B53E42579.gif

    Red is digital while gray is analog waveform. The reason why analog audio (as in the case of vinyl or LP) seems to sound better is because of the the continous audio signal. There is no break regardless of changes in pitch or volume. Digital audio, as converted to analog waveform, cannot match the continuity of analog devices (as shown by the abrupt changes in steps). As a result, Digital sounds cold and uninviting while analog sounds fun, warm and more engaging. It is rollercoaster vs. stairs. Which one is more fun?

    Rob Watt’s solution are those 1,024,000 taps. With his M scaler, those sudden steps, up and down, are reduced to much smaller steps, up and down, resulting in a waveform that is more analog than digital. Put another way, it is digital garbed in analog. The tech solution works so well that the digital-turned-analog waveform is indistinguishable from a pure analog waveform. There is no difference anymore.

    Why go digital? Because it has huge advantages over analog such as vinyls:

    1. Vinyls are much less durable. Over time, it warps. It can be easily scratched. Even dust can alter the sound. CD music, on the other hand, is virtually indestructible. The master copy can be replicated thousands of times and there is no loss in audio fidelity.

    2. Much wider selection of music. Vinyls music selection is extremely limited while 99% of music has been recorded in digital format like CDs.

    3. CDs are far cheaper than vinyls and are far more durable.

    4. The goal of high fidelity audio or hi-fi is faithful reproduction of music recorded in the venue (where it was recorded) and when it was recorded. Done right, hifi magically takes you to a Philharmonic orchestra performing in Carnegie Hall in New York , an open-air rock concert in Wembley Stadium in London or a super-cozy jazz club in Tokyo. You are in that musical venue. You experience what the audience experienced. The singer/artist is playing live in your room. Digital audio, done right, outperforms analogs like vinyls in this respect, at least the Chord digital solutions.

    5. The pops and hiss that vinyls have is actually equipment failure on the end-user’s part. No pops and hiss in the venue at the time of recording. Ergo, it is equipment failure.

    I chose digital audio and I chose Chord Electronics solution to pair with the HE 1: all the advantages of vinyl without the disadvantages of vinyl and all the advantages of digital without the disadvantages of digital. Perfect.

    That is why the system I assembled is in tip-TAP condition.

    E74A0D91-7600-4B77-847E-ECD42BA9CEA7.jpeg

    Note: the Chord DAVE (which stands for Digital to Analog in Veritas Extemis) and the Chord Blu MK II CD transport and M Scaler works just as well with treasured speakers or 2-channel audio, connected, of course, to a high-quality power amplifier or Chord Blu MK II as digital transport and M Scaler (upscaler ) + Chord DAVE as DAC and pre-amp + power amplifier (Chord also carries a line) + your treasured speakers to complete the audio chain.

    Rob Watts is a rockstar in the headfi world. I simply adore his masterpieces.
     
    #3874 raypin, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  15. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    @raypin

    I shuddered while reading through your HE1/Blu Mk2 impressions...that's...that's just mind-melting :cry:

    Just curious, though...have you finally reached the end of your audio journey? Or are there still a number of quests waiting to be conquered?
     
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  16. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...next big project: assembling the HE 1 equivalent for in-ears. Final quest. For headphones, journey ended.

    I figure my hearing will last a few more years before I retire from this hobby.

    Looking forward to the rolls royce of hearing aids. :mad::p:D

    The well-respected and independently-minded Tyll Hertsen of Innerfidelity recently retired from this hobby. For many years, he has reviewed many of the world’s best headphones and his fans are legion-strong in the headfi world. In his retirement post, he was honest enough to admit that he retired from professional headphone reviewing because his hearing was no longer good enough. I miss him.
     
    #3876 raypin, Dec 10, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  17. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    I wonder how the rolls royce of hearing aids sounds like. Not that I am looking forward to fitting them in my ears this early :ROFLMAO:

    Re: Tyll, I actually feel bad how InnerFidelity became just a marketing website with no proper reviews popping up since Tyll retired from the biz in exchange for outdoor living. It was one of the few review sites that was honest enough to call bull on brands/manufacturers that tried to shortchange customers. Unfortunately, most popular review sites are content on blabbering the same marketing stuff proffered by brands/manufacturers than looking at audio gear critically. That said, I think Tyll was able to achieve his objective when he started HeadRoom: Sony continues to produce portable headphone amps for us hobbyists (but not just as good as its counterparts). :X3:

    We will certainly await the day when you declare that you've finally laid your hands (and ears) on the IEM equivalent of the HE1! :cool:
     
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  18. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...yeah, about Headroom...........my very earliest experiment with audiophile-grade headfi equipment was Headroom’s Total Airhead (portable headphone amp powered by triple A batteries) back in 2008 but it wasn’t until 2013 that I went all-in into headfi.

    This:

    https://www.musicdirect.com/headphone-amp/headroom-total-airhead-headphone-amp

    My first audiophile grade in-ear? Funny story.

    It was my birthday and I wanted to indulge. Booked and prepaid an overnight stay at Solaire. Upon arrival, reception told me that they were still preparing my room (standard room). So, I started playing the slots. I was losing a bit. No big deal. I went back to reception an hour later. The reception manager told me that the room wasn’t ready yet, so I gave him my best I-am-pissed-off look and remained at the counter. 15 minutes later, he gave me the keycard. Went up and entered the room. The room was huge. It had a living room, a bar, a separate bedroom and a well-appointed bathroom with separate shower, a bath tub and a loo with its own f... door. Oh great! The manager gave me the wrong room. So, I retreated and checked the room number against the keycard envelope. The numbers matched. I was upgraded to a suite. Sweet!

    At php 28k a night (at that time), I can understand why: Over 75 sqm., floor to ceiling windows, unobstructed views of Manila Bay, marble flooring, high thread count beddings, thick, fluffy towels, luxury toiletries, remote controlled drapes, two TVs, high ceiling, tasteful artworks.....I couldn’t afford it. Sarap kaya ng libre! :p

    Feeling good, I went back downstairs, after a long, luxurious shower, to play the electronic slots as it was too early for supper. I was losing again. I was down to less than Php 2k. So, in true gambler fashion, I bet it all (bahala na), punching the maximum multiplier (bet times multiplier = bigger payout if you win).

    Tbc...
     
    #3878 raypin, Dec 10, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  19. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm....with quiet resignation, I hit the spin button and prepared to leave. Then, my slot machine started to light up like crazy. I won. I watched the money counter grow........to Php 78k. Not bad, considering my really bad luck when it comes to gambling.

    I woke up and felt like a million bucks. Before I checked-out, I called up my favorite headfi drug dealer. And, in another stroke of luck, he just came from Tokyo the night before and brought 4 of the Fitear 334 TG, after months of waiting (backlogged at the manufacturer’s order book).

    A year earlier, I read this:

    https://www.cnet.com/news/the-best-in-ear-headphone-in-the-world-the-fitear-togo-334/

    ...and have been salivating after it. Fitear is a boutique in-ear manufacturer based in Tokyo and their CIEMs are used extensively by Japanese artists and musicians for professional-grade stage monitoring. At that time, the only way for a foreigner to get a Fitear is to go to Japan.

    With free casino money on one hand and a chance to snag a very rare in-ears, it was a no-brainer.

    My baby Fitear:

    560542C4-2F64-47B0-BE4F-91CDB7E72E0C.jpeg

    What makes it extraordinary? God-like mid-range. No-veil clarity. Great detail-retrieval. Amazing space for vocals and instruments to play and to breathe. Six years later, it can still hold its own against other top-shelf in-ears and CIEMs.

    After listening to the 334, I *knew* that I have found the hobby for me, one that I can be passionate about. It was love at first hear.

    Note: Fitear is available for demo listening at Jaben HK, Singapore and Australia. For the CIEM version of the TG 334, the MH 335 DW (double woofer) is available and Jaben HK can make your ear impressions in-house (which will be shipped to Japan and your MH is returned to HK before shipping to PH via the courier of your choice. Easy.).

    http://fitear.jp/music/product/mh335dw.html
     
    #3879 raypin, Dec 13, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
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  20. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    You know the brand fanboyism has reached a higher level when you start looking for discontinued/rare relics of the past:

    [​IMG]

    Back when Sony was still busy pleasing the audiophile crowd, it released headphones whose sound signature is very much different to what the company has been selling for the past five (5) years or so. One of those headphones is the MDR-SA3000, which predated the HD800 by a few years; long discontinued, I was surprised to see a brand new pair for only ~USD120 (when it was still available, it retailed for USD350-USD400). Naturally, I bought the last pair in the shop. :p
     
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