Aurorus Audio - Borealis & Australis

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by gandhisfist, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. den-fi

    den-fi Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    49
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    NY
    Jerry, sacredgates, Ash1412 and 8 others like this.
  2. crenca

    crenca Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    100
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Southern New Mexico
    den-fi, you say the subbass is more controlled (and less distorted I would assume) when compared to the HD650, but what about the quantity as compared to HD650?

    edit: I meant to say I liked the review, "Every headphone has a moral struggle to deal with....", lol and good way to put it!
     
  3. den-fi

    den-fi Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    49
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    NY
    Thanks for taking the time to read! I wasn't comparing the bass to the HD 650. Just the examples of bass we get in general w/ headphones. To answer that question though, I would say the Borealis has more filled out bass than the HD 650. Not necessarily large amounts more.
     
    crenca and cskippy like this.
  4. den-fi

    den-fi Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    49
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    NY
    [​IMG]

    The Australis.
     
    Sqveak, Bloom, Baten and 6 others like this.
  5. den-fi

    den-fi Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    49
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    NY
  6. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Aurorus Audio


    Shout out to @Eudis Fernandes and @gandhisfist for letting me listen/review and measure their babies!

    [​IMG]

    Both of these headphones are quite neutral but warmer than HD800SDR, or HD600. I would say that there is better overall clarity than HD600/650 and just a step behind HD800SDR in terms of mid and treble clarity. They are also very efficient so they can be used with most amplifiers. However, I recommend a low output impedance amp to minimize driver interaction.

    Nit picks:

    I'm just going to get this out of the way as these really are nit picks. Comfort for me is so so. Pads are not very deep and seem VERY close physically to Focus pads except for the scratchy Hifiman materials. My ears slightly touch the baffle but it's never irritating. The headband for me will create a hotspot after ~2 hours of use. The comfort of these headphones really reminds me of OG Hifiman headphones such as HE-500/HE-6 but with a little less weight. I might look for a cushion to place around the seat belt strap or possibly replace it.

    Aesthetics. While I don’t mind them, uh...they’re on my head...others might find issues with the design. There is a very clear reason for the looks of Borealis. Both @Eudis Fernandes and @gandhisfist did ample testing and determined that even putting a breathable grill caused unwanted sonic changes.

    Australis – This is a closed back headphone?

    [​IMG]

    Within a few minutes of putting Australis on my head, I was smiling and moving my body to the music. I wasn't distracted by cup verb or typical closed headphone wonkiness. Australis offers a polite presentation, not aggressive, being subdued between 2-6kHz. Some might find the sound lacking excitement as many closed headphones have treble peaks around 10kHz which can add air and “detail”. What you won't find is cup verb, lower mid dips or uncontrolled bass. On the unit I received, I found reducing 400Hz by 2dB Q 1.0 and adding 2dB at 4000Hz Q 1.0 cleaned Australis up.

    Sound stage is quite good for a closed headphone, I would say about the size of HD650. What Australis gets right is the placement of the sound stage. It's not 3 blob or a line through your head. Sound emanates a little in front of my head similar to Auteur or Verite and the sound stage does seem to change with recordings, which is ideal, contrary to HD800 that always sounds slightly too diffuse and wide.

    Bass is well extended but slightly rounded, probably due to damping and limitations of the closed design. Eikon can dig lower with better bass articulation but Australis has better bass integration with the mid range. Sometimes I think there is more mid bass emphasis than sub bass but then an explosive timpani will quickly remind me Australis can pack a punch.

    The lower mid range is the weakest area of Australis not because it's particularly bad, it's just the weakest link in the otherwise amazing chain. Voices and simple songs are rendered with convincing timbre and naturalness. As songs become more complex there is some haze or blurriness that obscures the finer details.

    Upper mid range and lower treble go hand in hand. This is a crucial area in speaker design and headphones with the greatest effect on timbre. Australis nails it. Just a bit behind Borealis here but damn, this is good. The closest headphone I can think of is PMx2, which is saying something. This is better than HD650 which has always been the “mids king”. However, HD650 has a push around 3kHz which can sound shouty or honky.

    Upper treble is similar to HD650 but with a touch of sparkle which I really like. Again, there are no treble spikes to add artificial detail or air. This is the best treble I've heard from a closed headphone.


    Overall, Australis is an achievement and dare I say a market disruption at its price point.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  7. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Measurements:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Waterfall plot is amazing!
    [​IMG]

    Comparisons to other closed/similar headphones:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Borealis

    [​IMG]

    If I had to use one word to describe Borealis it would be natural. The timbre is pretty much spot on, better than anything I've heard. The overall frequency response leans a touch warm for my preferences but this is the closest I've heard to “correct” from a headphone. Verite with perforated suede universe pads is really close with some extra ZMF flare, which I adore. The headphones I immediately think of with Borealis are HD650, PMx2, Verum 1and HE-6. Overall tonality is closest to PMx2 but there is more lower treble with Borealis, which I welcome. The overall treble response is closest to HD650 but the wooliness and hazy quality of HD650 is completely gone. Bass has awesome impact/oomph. It's a little rounded for my tastes as there is a bump around 60Hz which gives some extra punch but it is articulate and reaches admirably deep. Far better than any dynamic except ZMF headphones which would be equals.

    Initially, I thought the sound stage was kind of small like the HD650 but not in a bad way, between HD650 and HD800. It's very cohesive, not diffuse like HD800 or wide and one plane like many planars or DT880. That was using the built in amp on Soekris 1541 and THX 789. Bryston BHA-1 just opens everything up. So I would say that Borealis reacts very well to component changes and can show minute differences like HD800. When gaming it is easy to pinpoint enemies.

    Bass is just jaw dropping at times. The control, impact and extension is on par with the best headphones; just a touch behind the best planars like LCD-4/HE-6. For an open back DYNAMIC driver this is incredible! Utopia and HD800 only wish they could do this.

    Lower mids are much better integrated compared to Australis thanks to the open design. Voices have heft and weight, snares have a thwack to them and timbre of all instruments is near perfect.

    The upper mids/lower treble are fantastic. Again, correct timbre and naturalness are what I keep coming back to when describing Borealis' sound.

    The upper treble is smooth, clean and clear with excellent air. I might want just a touch more upper treble around 10kHz but would take Borealis presentation every time over a treble peak.

    Compared to Australis, Borealis is more forward, clearer and even more natural. Vocals, piano, strings and other instruments that live in the crucial mid range are rendered with ease. Dynamics, sound stage and imaging are all improved.

    Compared to HD800SDR, Borealis is definitely warmer. There is more bass slam and extension as well as an overall thicker sound. The measurements show Borealis has much more energy between 2-6kHz than HD800SDR but I don't agree in listening, HD800SDR sounds more aggressive and forward yet almost fake, as if it's missing the lower third of the audio. It's not apparent until switching to Borealis.

    HD660S is a good headphone if found for the right price. I can hear a resemblance to Borealis with good mids and a smooth treble but there is that veil that is lifted when switching over to Borealis. Lower mids are less blurred and voices sound more pure and tangible. Bass isn't as wooly and extends much deeper. Borealis might sound slow on an OTL system set up for Sennheisers or brighter headphones.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Amp pairings:

    This brings me to amp pairings. Well, for a cliff note version, any amp with a low OI will be recommended. THX 789 is the best so far. It added just a touch of wetness and refinement compared to Soekris built in HP amp, which I found accurate but dry and sometimes brash. Burson PLAY had good grip on the drivers but the overall quality was stunted a bit. Valhalla 2 offers a cozy more mid-centric listen with a better staging but also takes a resolution hit. There was also a mild bass bump. Valhalla 2 is best suited for high impedance headphones like HD650/DT880/HD800. BHA-1 has been the best pairing so far, basically a THX 789 on steroids. The sound is more refined with better bass texture, overall timbre and spot on staging. (For those who own BHA-1 and find the gain too high, I highly recommend reaching out to Dennis Hawkins Bryston's USA service center:

    Dennis Hawkins
    Bryston Service USA
    79 Coventry St
    Newport, VT 05855
    (802)334-1201

    With a high output impedance amp the headphones get a boost at their resonant frequency ~60Hz. Testing with various amps, THX 789 was among the best behaved with a claimed OI of ~0.1 Ohms. Burson PLAY also performed well which was puzzling as the OI is supposed to be 8 Ohms, I found it to be ~1 Ohm. Valhalla 2 gave a small bump of ~1dB in Low Gain and ~2dB when switched to High Gain. My Steinberg MR816X has a headphone output, purely for convenience or a quick check when mixing, and the result was hilarious, almost a 5dB boost at 60Hz!

    Green is THX 789, Yellow Valhalla 2 Low Gain, Red Valhalla 2 High Gain, Blue MR816X interface HP output:

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:

    If I had to pick one song to sum up Borealis it would be this (use Tidal if possible):


    I think the closed Australis is an achievement as it fixes most of the shortcomings that closed headphones deal with. If you're looking at closed headphones you need to hear Australis. As for Borealis, all I can say is that I've always had an idea of what sounds correct in my mind but have never heard a headphone create that ideal sound...until Borealis. This gets REALLY close!

    I will be ordering a Borealis.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,642
    Dislikes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Nicely put! Overall looks very promising. Hope to get my hands on these soon.

    Thought of some concerns based on our taste differences and measured behaviors (bass and mid resemble focals a lot.. much more than expected lol). Those are interesting points to explore during my evaluation.
     
    gandhisfist and cskippy like this.
  10. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    I don't put much weight in measurements anymore. They're a useful tool but I prefer to use my ears! But I wouldn't mind seeing how these measure on EARs at some point.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,642
    Dislikes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Totally agreed.

    Btw, I love these models using mini 3pin xlrs. Like you used 2K-copper (seems so) for them, I would use atmos-c (which I'm using now). Cable compatibility is kinda lovely. I hate some weird non-popular connectors..
     
    gandhisfist and cskippy like this.
  12. sidq

    sidq Rando

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    8
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I bet they would sing on the ECP Audio 3F that is the current darling around here.
     
    sheldaze, Baten and cskippy like this.
  13. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Likes Received:
    731
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Asia
    @cskippy, can u pse give more comparison with the Verum?
     
    pelagius likes this.
  14. ductrung3993

    ductrung3993 Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    134
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    San Francsico
    Any info on the BoREALis's weight and comfort/ergonomics?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  15. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    @Jerry I'll compare it to Verum 1 with Perforated pads since those are the only production pads I own. (I still prefer the original pads I suggested. I need to get a production Verurm sent to me to see if there are any differences.)

    This is extreme nitpicking to show the differences. Verum is immediately less refined and hazy. I'm struggling to follow along to the music in complex parts. Timbre just sounds artificial, slightly metallic/plastic. Treble sound uneven on Verum with voices loosing their realism found more on HD650 and especially Borealis. Verum has tighter bass but overall lacks the dynamics that Borealis can muster.

    Verum is still a standout at it's price point.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  16. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    I can weigh both headphones but I'm unsure if these are to final spec so I'll wait to hear from @Eudis Fernandes before posting weights.
     
    pelagius and ductrung3993 like this.
  17. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Likes Received:
    731
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Asia
    Thanks mate! I'll be following this Borrealis closely. From your description, its sound might be more up to my alley compared to the Australis.
     
    cskippy likes this.
  18. gandhisfist

    gandhisfist Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    157
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Weight should be basically identical to final spec.

    Also thanks for the review @cskippy ! Glad you enjoyed them.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    cskippy and Jinxy245 like this.
  19. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,304
    Dislikes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Home Page:
    The Borealis seems like a true HD650 successor....but a closed version that's so close is enticing. How good is the isolation, both for the user and for others?
     
  20. crenca

    crenca Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    100
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Southern New Mexico
    This lower mid haze/blurriness (is "compression" the right word?) during complex passages (say a full orchestra on song) seems to be a hurdle for closed backs in my opinion. How would you rate the Australis compared to the Eikon in this aspect?
     

Share This Page