Super Best Audio Friends
The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists
Once I had the cabinets lined with No-Res, the crossover and drivers installed, I have to say for an ~1.2 cubic foot standmount, these speakers are heavy! The cabinets are very stiff and also well-damped. I have beefier pair of speaker stands coming for them. My cost including built, veneered and stained cabinets, and speaker premium crossover parts and $45 sheet of No-Res: ~$915. This included the trick components in the crossover, like the Miflex copper caps (which are pretty pricey).
This thread will chronicle my experiences with a few select models I have had the chance to own and hopefully serve as an inspiration for others who may find themselves a little bit bored with the state of the modern personal audio market. For members who have been around longer, some of this may be 'been there, done that', but please feel free to contribute your thoughts on any models discussed
Their first two in-ears, Nair and Clariden are of premium build with ergonomic aluminum alloy bodies. They have a natural silver anodized finish with acrylic logo inserts on the faceplates. The nozzles are polished stainless steel. Everything is machined to look and feel premium, and frankly Gaudio succeeds fantastically. All the kilobuck brands out there need to take notice. This is how it’s done. The look is somewhat reminiscent of Campfire Audio’s industrial build but possibly taken to the next level, particularly in regards to ergonomics and weight. And I can’t say enough about the ergonomics. I was able to give Nico feedback on a very, very early prototype a long while back and a large piece of that feedback was the fit. It was pretty painful. I’m not sure how he went about tackling the fit issues but these housings fit superbly and I have zero complaints. This is an excellent universal housing with custom-like fit. Bravo.
A few years have passed since then. Many things changed. Grado became my top go-to headphones, sennheiser could terminate long love-hatred relationship (in a positive way), ... and I am about to ramble about v-moda headphones, Oh, well...
But later I found some of v-moda's older fans hated m200. That's quite promising green signal as I always believe criticism from fanboys and parise from skeptics are the most sure things in the world.
Honestly, I don't think there can really be such a thing as a bad sounding output transformer coupled tube amp. What is comes down to to how much performance do we get for the price. At $1300, the Woo Audio WA6 SE is high value. I'm still kicking myself for going off in various random directions early in my journey. I remember reading about the WA6 SE on HF and almost pulled the trigger. (BTW, the construction of the chassis is bonkers solid.)
I spent some time listening to them for a few hours to get a subjective impression without the "benefit" of measurements. The drivers were oriented fully outward during both subjective and objective testing. (What's the point to keep them closed in like regular headphones!) In my time, I noted the following characteristics:
One thing I wanted to get out of the way is that I don't have a problem with people who want to use measurements as a yardstick in determining what audio gear to buy. It's extremely confusing out there trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. Heck, I've experienced gear that costs thousands of dollars, recommended by someone at HF, that sounded like poop. I've bought gear based on recommendations from HF randos (or respected HF'ers who I've learned over time not to trust) and had my heart sink after realized the thousands of dollars I just spent had been wasted. And seriously, I wouldn't blame people at all for not understanding what the heck we mean by "microdynamics" or "incisiveness". Utilizing the measurement method for buying gear is a legitimate method. (However, this doesn't mean other methods are not legit - thinking so would be faulty logic).
Did I mention that the headphone is gorgeous? I don't think photos do it justice. It's got a nice aluminum cap with the letters DT 177X GO stylishly printed on them. The "Made in Germany" in small print at the bottom is a nice touch! As far as style and layout, it's absolutely perfect.
So basically why the heck would I use a hardware EQ instead of software? Well, in the case of pi2AES and Volumio, the EQ plug-ins kind of suck. Also, some people such as myself prefer a physical interface. I've found a small learning curve with Behringer gear - I will go through the basics to get started quickly:
Top: miniDSP EARS with SBAF compensation
Bottom: Flat Plate (no ear) Coupler (compensated)
- After my journey of gear cycling, I’ve basically accepted that no open back headphone fits me better than my trusty JAR650. However, as much as I love my 650s, sometimes I crave for that subbass and monster slam to blast me off into another dimension. Previously owning the Borealis gave me a taste of what good slam can sound like, but I wanted more.. This is where Evan’s ESX900 comes in.
- I’m not sure how useful my impressions will be since mine is slightly tuned differently with a one-off monkeypod wood cups that are slightly deeper than the typical Fostex cups, but I imagine most of its inherent technicalities will be similar to Evan’s original and upcoming pairs for the loaner tour.
- OK so how do they sound?
- Tonally, it has some resemblance to Verite Closed, no joke, @ChaChaRealSmooth heard these briefly before me and we had similar thoughts regarding the tonality. Evan’s pair has a different set of pads than mine for a slightly more downsloping, smoother FR while my pair has the “pancake pads” that are flat, but very soft and pillowy.