ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by velvetx, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Since many people have listened to this and we are going to be starting our loaner tour soon figured it's time to create an official post. Please post your impressions, reviews, and comments. Official SBAF Measurements pending.

    Price:

    $1,190

    Specifications:
    • Frequency Response 5Hz–40kHz
    • Nominal Impedance 26 Ohms
    • THD Less than 0.3% (1 kHz, 1mW)
    • Sensitivity 103dB @ 1Vrms
    • Configuration Around the ear, open back
    • Headphone Jack Standard 1/4” (6.3mm) stereo
    • Weight 15.8 oz (450g) without cable
    • Cable Length 9.8 feet (3 m)
    Pictures:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I have heard these and would refer people to my Big Sound impressions. I think someone brought those impressions over to SBAF.

    I am looking forward to using them at home, though.
     
  3. Oregonian

    Oregonian Rando

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    Have owned these now for about 6 weeks - after auditioning them and really fell in love with them. Very comfortable, great build quality and love everything about the sound. Not enamored with the pads so I've been pad rolling - tried HM5 thick pleather, ZMF cowhide, HM5 angled pleather and Audeze lambskins. Love the Audeze pads best as the comfort is extreme (duh) and brings out the bass more than any other and being a basshead at heart it is my weakness.

    Really feel it's my favorite headphone to date - including HD800 (out of vintage it's damn close to Dharma with the bass no way lacking, HE-6 (which still is the most impressive of all fed from the Pioneer Spec vintage system via speaker taps) but the comfort long term even with a Lohb pad was not perfect, HEX, all the Denons and Fostex (have a weakness for that sound sig tho and still own all three of the Denon wood backs, all modded), and about 50 total headphones. The Dharma just hits all the check boxes for me.
     
  4. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Thanks for sharing Oregonian. What is your front end with these?
     
  5. Oregonian

    Oregonian Rando

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    The stack you see in my avatar - a 1978 vintage Pioneer Spec system - Spec 1 preamp/Spec 2 amp, EQ all fed by either a Pioneer CD player, Pioneer turntable or iPhone5 streaming Pandora through a NuForce iDo DAC.
     
  6. fierce_freak

    fierce_freak Friend

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    Still really interested in hearing these.
     
  7. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Engimacoustics Dharma D1000 Review

    Preface:
    I have heard the Dharma in SE mode on the EC ZDS, Leckerton Audio UHA-6S, and the LH Labs Gov2. My personal taste for music is Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, and EDM (generally more bass centric). One of the advantages this headphone has is that it can run on anything such as your phone since it has low impedance. Unfortunately I can not say that this headphone benefits from the use of better amps but it does seem to have a dynamic driver synergy with the Leckerton. I used the EC ZDS and the Gov2 and didn’t really notice that much of a difference unlike the differences I hear between both amps with the HD650.

    Build Quality/Comfort/Value: I like to lump these categories together as I always think these are somewhat not as important as the sound (pardon if I offend anyone by this statement). Build quality is solid as these have a premium weight feel to them. The headphone comes with metal ear cups and leather pads which give them a premium look as well. I find these to be great for comfort. Not as comfortable as my HD650s but comfortable just the same. In terms of value at $1,190 The Dharma is a solid value as you aren’t quite at the level of the HD800/Ether/HEX/Audeze LCD X/LCD3 etc but more in the realm of the LCD2 which isn’t as crowded price wise.

    Bass: I will just come out and say this. This is one of the disappointing points for me as the bass is a bit soft.
    Though the bass is tight I find it to be a little light and not as impactful as say the HD650. The bass extension is to me is really what is lacking here. The synergy with the Leckerton brings the bass out a bit more and makes this deficiency more manageable but overall it’s still lacking for me. One other thing I noticed is that there is a bit of bass distortion on certain tracks when listening at slightly higher levels. This is usually present in tracks with more going on.

    Mids: If you are a lover of the mid range this headphone is definitely for you. I believe this is where the headphone shines the most as mids are very well represented and in certain music they are often emphasized. Where with the HD650s you may not be able to hear the words on some of the vocals with the Dharma you can clearly hear what the singer is saying with basically any type of music. It’s clear and focused so you don’t miss anything. I know for some this might be an issue but for me it was a very welcoming and pleasant sound.

    Soundstage/Details: Another shining point for the Dharma to me is the detail that this headphone is able to identify. Definitely above the HD650 the Dharma does a great job picking up small details which you might miss. This is largely due to the electret driver which is known for picking up even the most finite detail a song has to offer. I don’t think it quite picks up like the HD800 but it’s very close. In terms of soundstage I feel that it does a good job and I would say though it’s slightly bigger than the HD650 it’s clearly not as big as the HD800. The other thing I noticed is that the Dharma with its emphasis on the mid range can make the sound stage on certain tracks sound a bit off. It’s like having the drums more emphasized than what I am used to where vocals were emphasized more listening to the HD650 or HEX. Can’t say it’s unpleasant but just different.

    Overall: I think this headphone does a great job emphasizing mids with good attention to details. To me this is clearly a step above in most things from the HD650 but lacks the bass focus I usually listen for. Despite the lack of bass for me it gets certain things right such as tonality (neutral), details, and sound stage. It does not have the levels of the HD800 but it has enough to where I prefer the sound of the Dharma over the unmodded HD800. Though I wouldn’t recommend this headphone for EDM or Hip Hop tracks the Dharma synergizes great with most of my rock reference tracks. I think the really weird part about the Dharma is the synergy with the Leckerton. I don’t know why the dynamic driver seems to respond better to the Leckerton than any other amp I used but it does. I think overall this headphone is a solid 7.5/10 but with the Leckerton it’s an 8/10. Don’t get me wrong the synergy with the Leckerton is good but for me the bass is still lacking for the types of music I listen to which is the reason why it gets a slightly lower score from me. One thing to note here though is this is a great job for a first headphone and I am looking forward to hearing what comes next from Enigmacoustics. One thing I am also amazed by is that when headphone companies are fighting for the $1,500+ price range Enigmacoustics comes out with a good headphone at $1,200 which in my opinion is potentially where most headphones should be priced at currently.

    Thank you Wei from Enigmacoustics for sending us the loaner unit to review and I hope as this gets sent on to the next person we get more people posting their thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
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  8. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Just wanted to add a few pictures from the SoCal Meet:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    I've only had the Dharma since this morning but here's some initial impressions. Headphones I'm comparing it to are ZMF original and HE560 but I sold he560 last month. But used it non stop for a year or so.

    Nero - Into the Night

    bass is powerful but thuddy/slow on the beat

    treble in female vocals has a lot of sizzle/sibilance

    treble detail in female vocals seems very good.. ambient sounds like rain etc have a decent soundstage width

    build quality very impressive to me, great use of metal and leather all over. HD800 style cable connectors are great

    for an open headphone the bass impact is pretty good


    Grateful Dead - Friend of the Devil

    great instrument seperation

    can hear plankton on guitar string plucking

    bass guitar slightly slow/indistinct


    Overall I find it slightly fatiguing, W shaped sound signature. For its technical ability to resolve detail and premium build quality it's definitely priced right.

    It's able to be easily driven by single ended output of geek out v2. Used about 15% volume in jriver.

    Inside of the cups is interesting, angled? or possible acoustic tuning via shape?

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/q8amyqb5951sfjj/Photo Feb 22, 11 47 07 PM.jpg?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/p7fl5uuttt2n44b/Photo Feb 22, 11 47 37 PM.jpg?dl=0
     
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  10. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Yup inner cups are strange. I wonder what is precisely the kind of acoustic chamber closed by a piece of paper. Does anyone know ?
     
  11. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Really like the Dharma so far. Very open and spatially accurate. Can't be accused of being veiled on the top octave unlike a lot of other stuff. The electret is certainly pulling its fair share. The dynamic has a certain bass character that others have touched on, but it's really not as bad as the measurements might indicate. Now that I have it in my own system, I'd say it sounds a lot better than I remember. Perhaps more dynamic/authoritative amps help tighten things up.
     
  12. Oregonian

    Oregonian Rando

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    Anyone else try these with Vegan or Audeze leather pads? I have the Audeze leather pads taped to the pad mounting ring..............really helps the bass and comfort. Not a fan of the stock pads on this headphone.
     
  13. Dot

    Dot Friend

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    I've had a pair of Dharma D1000s in for a few days. I'm initially testing them with a Lavry DA11. The initial spikes around 6K are settling down with use. The highs are softening, and sounding more like what you'd expect from an electrostatic. I'm sure my brain is also getting acclimated, but when I switch to HD800, the spike is still there, and Ive never gotten used to it.

    I really like these headphones.

    What the D1000s do better than any headphone I have here*, is the imagery and separation of sounds, notes, and events. It's really brilliant.

    I'm listening from the perspective of someone who is a multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer, and producer—so, I'm not only familiar with different
    natural sounds, but also the production techniques that go into making various sounds on recordings.

    I think listeners with real-world musical education and performance (and even production) experience will appreciate the ease at which every sound and part is presented effortlessly.

    I see a lot of reviews and feedback that focus mainly on the bass/mid/treble aspects, and not enough on the actual timbre of instruments, voices, sounds, etc..

    Is anyone measuring slew rates on various headphones? The D1000 seem to be quite fast. It's that speed that seems to contribute to the greater reproduction of musical dynamics I'm hearing with these.

    There's a "graininess" (sawtooth wave in synthesis) in certain sounds (shakers, closing hi hats, bowed strings, etc. ) that electrostatics just seem to do right. Stax being a great example. Those kinds of sounds just take on a more physical quality. I'm finding that with the D1000s, and it was something I noticed immediately about Stax when I began using them. The hybrid dynamic/electrostatic technology seems to work well on the Dharmas.

    I'll jot down more notes as I go along in my evaluation of the D1000s, but so far I'm really liking what I'm hearing.

    *LCD-X, LCD-XC, HD800, 880, 990, 400i
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  14. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    It was fast and well separated, sure, but some of that was simply due to the exaggerated treble peaks making things pop more. Timbre was just awful. Upper-end response looked like a spikes you'd put at the bottom of a covered pit.
     
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  15. Dot

    Dot Friend

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    Hands, if that were true, I could be getting great imagery and separation from the 990s, or any other headphones that have exaggerated upper range peaks. The HD800 are quite guilty of spikes and peaks in the upper ranges, especially around 6K. The imagery, separation, timbre, etc on the D1000s is leagues better than what I'm getting on the HD800s. The "speed" on the D1000 is coming, at least in part on the high end, from the electrostatics.

    The Audezes that I use and enjoy, especially for the low end, are getting a lesson on how it's done from the D1000s—in terms of imagery, timbre, and resolution.

    I do enjoy the low end and tightness on the Audezes, but it's at the expense of a less wider and deeper soundstage, and real clarity of the separation of instruments compared with the D1000s. The Audeze also really boost the low end.

    I don't agree with Tyll that D1000s couldn't be end-game headphones. The upper range "air" on the D1000s is killing the high end on the HD800s. If I'm going to listen to a headphone that sounds as open as the D1000 does, at least I want that experience to be pleasant.

    I think what we might be hearing on the low end of the D1000s is simply the contrast of the speed of the higher ranges. Bass is slower. It's just a natural fact. Audezes tend to tweak and move the bass forward and closer. They're perfect headphones for bass heads. I also use and trust the XCs in the studio for reference headphones. What I dial into them when I'm composing and mixing, I get out of the monitors when I fire them up.

    I've been listening to a lot of various kinds of music with the D1000s. Right now I'm listening to Roxy Music's "More Than This" from Avalon—which I've used as a reference in studios for years. Even just listening to the tambourine and switching back and forth between the D1000s and the HD800s, there is no comparison. The D1000s present a realistic tambourine in which the timbre (the individual acoustic properties of the instrument) are experienced so much more easily. I don't want to say "clearly," because a lot of the sound of tambourines is not "clear," it's scratchy and grainy. The shaker appears closer and more well presented and individual as a sound on the D1000s than the HD800s. For that specific evaluation, the D1000s just kicked the HD800s ass and took its lunch money.

    So, here's what I'm getting with the D1000s so far. They allow for excellent imagery, resolution, and separation because they're producing contrasting timbre better than any of the headphones I have here. They're also producing a contrast between the bass, mids, and highs—in terms of speed and presentation. Yes, the bass is not as quick and as prominent as it is with the Audezes, and that's because bass does not naturally occur where the Audezes are tuned. And because of that, although you have the tight, quick low end many of us enjoy on the Audezes, it's at the expense of imagery and depth in the mids and highs.

    In music, lower tones = slower speed. It's just physics. So, of course, in headphones that reproduce more natural timbre from instruments, the bass is not going to be as fast. The excellent resolution provided by the D1000s is due to the contrast of sounds. Different sounds sound really different. What a concept.

    I agree with what I've quoted from Srajan Ebaen's 6 Moons review: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/enigma4/1.html

     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  16. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    To each his own. If you see my measurements for the D1000, you can see why I did not care for them.
     
  17. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    I was quite intrigued by the Dharma back when it was announced, but the reviews at its launch thoroughly extinguished any serious interest I had. Suffice to say, it seems to be a very divisive headphone. But hopefully ENIGMAcoustics hasn't been too discouraged by the moderately negative reception the Dharma's received. It seems like they could potentially produce an exceptional headphone if they take user advice/criticism of the Dharma to heart. Admittedly not having heard it, it doesn't strike me as having been as catastrophically inept as some other initial entrants into this sphere often are. A "fixed" Dharma that remained at its current price (or less) point would be a competitive offering.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  18. Dot

    Dot Friend

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    Huxleigh, where are the "moderately negative" reviews? I read a few reviews before using the D1000s, and then spent this morning looking through more users reviews, many on Head-Fi. Not only are the reviews generally pretty positive, but most of them reflect what I've found with the Dharmas. Great resolution and imagery, nice open and wide soundstage, great midrange and beautiful treble—some even comparing to Stax, which I would, too.. The D1000s are much more lenient with various DACs and amps than many other headphones.

    And I've seen quite a few reviews where people are preferring them to HD800s. I'm now another one of them.

    Most of the red flag comments on the D1000s are concerning the low end. People have also been tweaking with various other pads and cables.

    I agree that these aren't for bass heads. I wouldn't recommend the D1000 for heavy beat-driven music, especially anything with extended low end. Any music with a lot of artificial sources in artificial spaces isn't going to bring the D1000s to life. Music that has real instruments, recorded in real acoustic spaces is where the D1000s shine.

    The D1000s seem to be to a "purist headphone." Rock and pop records recorded in the 70s and before, legit/classical, acoustic folk, bluegrass, choral, chamber music, world music...

    The D1000s do not fare as well on extended range music, especially with heavy use of samples, MIDI, and the absence of real acoustic spaces. That's also because that type of music does not have near the detail and resolution of music played on real instruments in real acoustic environments—and it's that detail the D1000s are great at producing.

    I am enjoying more spacious electronic music on the D1000s, such as Chillout and Ambient, where there is a large sense of space and textures and not a lot of heavy electronic rhythm.

    So far, everywhere I thought the HD800s sounded good, the D1000s sound better. More detail, more variation in timbre, more differences in sounds. The D1000 and HD800 have a very similar sound, I just think the D1000s excel more in more areas.

    For EDM, Hip-Hop, newer rock, top 40 since the 80s, I'll tend to reach for the Audezes.

    I haven't even had the D1000s for a week, and I tend to take quite a long time on reviews and evaluations, but so far, I'm pretty fascination by what they do.

    There is no single headphone on the planet that's going to sound right with every kind of music and recording. But the D1000s do what they do really well.

    At this point, a little collection with a pair of Audeze LCDs and a pair of D1000s could possibly put me in the endgame zone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  19. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    The Dharma is very much worth its price tag.

    That being said. I was very surprised that reviews mentioned its bass distortion etc being hard to hear. I found the Dharma bass to be bloated, not solid, weak - giving out very easily, and ill extended. The quantity was close to ideal

    The treble had very good texture and realism but was artificially boosted.

    The midrange, when not being messed up by the treble, was very good.

    Soundstage great

    Resolution great

    Build Awesome!

    Comfort okay

    Attack okay
     
  20. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Glad that you enjoy your Dharma. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to give it an audition someday. Might be interesting to compare to the Elear.

    I'm curious, do you still enjoy the Dharma @OJneg? Been a while since you last chimed in on it.

    Edit: Wasn't suggesting that many, let alone all, reviews of the Dharma were wholly negative. Only that it's a headphone that seems to have been endorsed with quite significant caveats, even by those who liked it overall. Of course, that's true of many solid headphones. But for 1.2k retail, any potential drawbacks need to be taken seriously.

    The outline by @gbeast above is a good example of what I'm talking about. He states upfront that he likes the Dharma, but doesn't gloss over the fact that, to his ears, it also falls short in a number of areas. Other opinions, such as that offered by @Hands and some other users, are considerably less sanguine. Hence my "moderately negative" characterization. That's just my subjective interpretation of the balance of prevailing views. YMMV, naturally.

    Hope that clears things up!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

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