Index of Impressions and Useful Information: Original ETA Genesis Thread: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...ne-intro-discussion-thread-3dp-version.10517/ Gen G Mods: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...sis-g-p-impressions-thread.10892/#post-345658 Gen G Configs: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...p-impressions-thread.10892/page-2#post-346812 @gaspasser Gen G Impressions: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...sis-g-p-impressions-thread.10892/#post-346522 @penguins Gen G Impressions: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...p-impressions-thread.10892/page-2#post-346732 @Gazny Gen G Impressions: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...p-impressions-thread.10892/page-2#post-346699 @dematted Gen G vs. Aeolus Comparison: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...sis-g-p-impressions-thread.10892/#post-346665 @dematted Gen G vs. Verite Comparison: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...p-impressions-thread.10892/page-2#post-346762 @dematted Gen P Impressions: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...sis-g-p-impressions-thread.10892/#post-345873 @penguins Gen P Impressions: https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...sis-g-p-impressions-thread.10892/#post-346648 Introduction By now, a lot of you will now know about the Gen G and the Gen P headphones that @tommytakis and @E_Schaaf have cooked up. I feel extremely lucky to be one of the few to get my hands on these headphones. These headphones are 3D printed and have similar acoustic enclosures, but use different drivers: the Gen G uses a 300 ohm graphene driver, while the Gen P uses the same 32 ohm tymphany peerless driver found in Borealis. The Gen G is priced at $700 dollars, and the Gen P at $600 dollars. However, neither headphone is provided with a headband or cable, so the price is likely around $150 dollars more for each of them. Before I jump into my impressions, some disclosure is in order. Tommy and Ev are some of my favorite folks in audio. I've talked with them extensively about these headphones, and bought one of them (Gen G) before many impressions were out. The other (Gen P) was provided to me as a loaner. So yes, my impressions may have been colored in some way or another. But as much as I do like these guys, if I didn't like what I heard, I wouldn't be afraid to tell all of you - people who are going to be prospectively spending your money. And its true that these headphones aren't perfect, as no headphones are: my first impressions of Gen P, actually, were less than stellar when I paired them with the wrong amp. But as I tinkered with the headphones with the suggestions of Ev and paired them with the right chain, I found myself starting to doubt what I was hearing. How were a pair of sub-1000 dollar headphones produced by a few enthusiasts rivalling, nay, summarily trouncing the stuff put out by Focal and ZMF? I started feeling as if my perception must be loaded up with epistemic bias, but then I would listen again, and I could not ignore the sheer sense of enjoyment that I gained from these headphones. I will likely still be leaving the hobby, or significantly downgrading, but wow have these headphones made an impression on me! Gen G Sonics - Timbre and Tonality So, let's jump in with the more expensive model, the Gen G. I tried this on Elekit TU-8800. The one word I have for this headphone is "Uncompromised". By that, I mean it is the least compromised headphone I've ever heard: it makes the fewest sonic compromises, or at least the ones that are the most acceptable to me. The closest I've heard to this is the Verite, but unfortanutely, I've found it makes some compromises in the areas of tonal balance and timbre that were unacceptable for me. Does this mean it's in the same class as the Verite? I certainly think so. In fact, I prefer it. Interestingly enough, my first minute or two experience with the Gen G was less than life-changing. Bass was a little bloated and bloomy, and there was a lack of focus to the sound. Then I removed the vent plugs on the outside of the headphone, and things really cleared up. What I got was an incredibly precise, technically proficient sound, yet one that at the same time did not shove its technicalities or macrodetail in your face. It was lively but not grating, focused but not sharp, slammy but not overbearing in the bass. This is how a headphone is supposed to sound, or at least, how I imagined a headphone should sound. Let's talk about the tonality. I've always been fearful that the Gen G would just be too dark for my tastes. Mids, I prognosticated, would be overly recessed, and the treble would be so muted that there would be a lack of shimmer and detail to the sound. This was certainly borne out by some FR graphs, and, at least to some extent, by my experience with the ESX900. Yet though the Gen G has a tonal richness that certainly hearkens back to something like the Aeolus, its slightly darker tonal balance somehow does not interfere with the presence of crucial mid-range elements like vocals and guitars. Both have appropriate bite, and in fact, I find that it does not significantly lag behind the 650 in the degree to which vocals are pushed forward and isolated from the rest of the sound. Instead, the tonality, which with a few mods has emphasis in bass and upper-mids, leads to a sense of tactility, punchiness, and presence, but hardly sounds withdrawn in any part of the FR - instead, the somewhat downsloping tonality just leads the headphone to have a slightly richer timbre and be more forgiving of older recordings. Let's talk about timbre. As many of you know, I care a great deal about this. To my ears, the 650 has the best timbre I've ever heard: balanced, natural, and just ever-so slightly on the grainy side. The timbre of something like an Auteur is also excellent, but I find that the length of decay and perhaps some properties of the driver lead it to homogenize many timbral elements in the mid-range, leading to a lack of perceived vibrancy and a sense that all the timbres of mid-range instruments sound more similar than distinct. Gen G is more on the "smoother" side, but somehow it does this while maintaining the sense of texture of different mid-range instruments. The distinctive, individual textures of violins, oboes, and human voices are rendered more distinctly and individually by Gen G than by either 650 or Auteur, and it does this while having a timbre which lacks the slight grain of the 650. In fact, it's hard to write about this headphone's timbre precisely because it seems to impose so little on the music, instead letting individual elements of the track come through. Gen G Sonics - Other Technicalities I think timbre and tonality are the two most crucial elements for me. For those alone, the Genesis is worth its asking price. But it also has technicalities that rival the very best of the best. For one, the separation, clarity, and layering all struck me as a notable step up from the Auteur, likely either at or just below the level of something like a Verite. Each instrument is given room to breathe; however, this is not an especially massive or panaromic soundstage like the Verite's. Instead, the staging is more focused, like it is on the 650 (though deepened quite a bit), but all its tendencies toward congestion suddenly disappear. Gen G is confident and surefooted in its presentation. Dynamics are also top-tier: the macrodynamics, particularly in the bass, are better than anything I've ever heard (including the Focal Clear), and the microdynamics, while lagging somewhat behind, are more than enough to keep one engaged in the music, and to my ears they best favorites like the Auteur and 650. In fact, this headphone in general, despite its downsloping tonality and excellent timbre, does have a bit of that "hi-fi" sound, just in the sense that the driver sounds supremely capable, with a great sense of speed and extreme frequency response. This will be agreeable to most, I think, but some may still prefer the 650's bowed extreme frequency response and slower, potentially more "organic" sound. To me, though, the 650 sounds somewhat boring and dull compared to this. The transient performance of this headphone is also worth discussing. Headphones often mess this up, either overshooting transients and giving them a sense of artificial edginess or rounding out the initial attack so much that nothing really "hits" you. The Genesis strikes a middle path. It has a great sense of speed that lags to my ears only slightly behind the Verite, but its transients are also just a bit rounded at the edges. Decay is present but well-controlled in a way that puts something like the Auteur to shame, which has lengthy decay but often feels a little too "wet" and uncontrolled in how it is delineated. Let's get to one area of relative weakness: raw detail retrieval. To my ears, these are only a tad more detailed than a 650. However, they are -much- more clear and technically proficient in all other regards. As a result, this doesn't really bother me at all! In fact, despite the relatively modest detail retrieval capacities of this headphone, I think that their tonal, timbral, dynamic, transient, and layering capacities easily put this at a TotL level. If Ev and Tommy were out for money, they could have priced this at around $2500 dollars and I think it would merit that price in this market. But it's $700. That's crazy. Spider Chart Finally, it's time for a spider chart. I'll get to Gen P in a bit. For now, feel free to ask questions, if any of this is unclear. I think all the other terms are fairly clear in this graph, but let me describe vibrancy, which has perplexed some people: by it, I mean a drivers tendency to allow distinct timbres to come through. It is the opposite of homogenization: if a sound is homogenized, everything will sound timbrally similar, whereas if a sound is vibrant, the distinctive sound of instruments will be more emphasized. To my ears, Gen G does this better than the Verite, Auteur, and 650, though these are all excellent at this besides the Auteur. Finally, take this with a grain of salt: I haven't heard some of these headphones (most notably the Verite) recently, and I'm not sure how much they would scale with a better chain. As a result, I might be underestimating their capacities.