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Headphones, Impressions

Voices of archangels, mediocre-sounding head vice and weapon of mass treble.

My day at Jaben Malaysia

I’m quite elated during my drive from home to the store, but I don’t know what to expect of, and from the shop. It’s nothing big or beautiful. A small shop, with the headphones hanging on racks and the boxed ones on shelves. There’s some amps on the shelves too, mostly portable one. There’s a Graham Slee on the glass display shelf/table and some sort of source, maybe a CD player I would guess, made out of wood.
I was wide-eyed and staring and dropped my jaw when I entered. I guess I must looked ridiculous as the store owners do about their job. Regardless of how I reacted when I stepped in to the store, and more on the A1000X, DT1350 and T1. Any chance that I got to use my own songs (almost always today), I used these:

  • track 8 and 12 from the Touhou rearrangement house set “Subterranean Animism”
  • The full Tsuritama ending song “Sora mo Toberu Hazu” by Sayonara Ponytail
  • Happy Nanchara” by Shintani Ryouko and Kamiya Hiroshi
  • Kagerou” by the Zetsubou Shoujoutachi (Despair Women) consisting of the main female characters from the anime Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei.
  • Shujinko” by Shintani Ryouko.

Audio Technica A1000X
I got to try my it using my own music, on my N8. Only 15 minutes on them though. On first handling them it’s very light. Doesn’t feel cheap or structurally weak or anything. There’s a lot of complaints, and compliments of the fit on the head. Fortunately they fit my head perfectly. They’re very comfortable, and I would assume that they could fade away the longer I wear them. The clamp is a little bit loose, and I suspect that I can make it a little tighter by bending the headband. At its current state, it isolates well enough with music playing.

That said, time to move on to my impressions of the sound. IMO these are mid-centric phones, but it doesn’t skimp on either end IMO. They can be driven pretty loudly, and at my normal listening volume at around 70% of my N8 music player.

Like I said, I find they are mid centric. The highs are clear and sparkly, and kind of rather different than what I am used to. It’s somewhat more all around me, so to speak. Can’t be sure though as it’s just a brief store audition. But I digress. The bass is punchy enough for me, and overall it’s not warm. Bassheads need not apply here. Separation and perceived soundstage was good, better than what I remember from my MS1i, Nami-chan (my modded T50RP) and the distant memory of the HD55(9)8.

Overall, in one word, I’d say they’re AMAZING!!! :D Vocals sound awesome, but other frequencies aren’t sacrificed for it and just enough for me. And for someone who’s in the opinion that soul of songs are in the vocals, BUT plays and live in the whole spectrum of a song as if they’re alive, this headphone is almost perfect for me. What makes it not perfect is the price. :P

I did compared it to my Nami-chan, and am quite surprised that I almost match the A1000X sound. Only my current setup is brighter and hit harder in the bass, but treble rolls off a bit earlier compared to the A1000X. For 2249 MYR (around 700 USD by mental arithmetic) I’d say this is my next, and maybe last stop in headphonedom.

By this point, feeling very positive with ATs, I asked for the AD line. Sadly the shopkeeper/clerk/whatever said that their AD line, and Malaysia’s, seems to have ran out, and apparently they got word that the AD is being replaced with the new TAD line. Which makes me sad, and probably the ones that’s still floating around in the used market may probably skyrocket. Although they do say that it’s only the AD300 to AD900. And maybe this is a sign that AT may revamp the higher end AD models. Hey a man can dream, along with dreaming that AT reviving their ortho line and combine it together with the AD line. :3

Beyerdynamic DT1350
Ah yes, the Sennkiller portable from Beyerdynamic. Was very interested in it before, found the appreciation thread, purrin came, saw and wreak havoc, and now I’m weary of it and aim to try it myself. And try I did. I wasn’t expecting a lot from it; I don’t know what to expect more like.

When it was handed it to me, the first thing I notice is the weight; they are heavy for a portable. The cups and other swivelling things are kind of fiddly and loose. Maybe it’s just an old set, and they became loose.

Putting it on my head, and preparing to listen to it, the clamp is already quite tight. I can feel the discomfort creeping in already. Listening to it, I find that I’m confused, as it doesn’t sound particularly amazing. After a couple of songs, I thought that the bass and mids are somehow less good than on the A1000X, but certainly the treble seems to have more energy than the A1000X. I’m not sure if it’s any brighter, as I felt that the A1000X is bright, but somehow very soothing, in contrast to the DT1350 more aggressive voice. Without a doubt that the Beyers’ soundstage are smaller and more upfront than the AT, but separation is the same for me. As a result, I hear that the DT1350 are more congested than the AT, and when I compared, to Nami-chan as well. I do think that sibilant songs aren’t a match with this, as the Beyer accentuates the ‘sss’ of the singer in “Sora mo Toberu Hazu”. The other thing I found that’s different from the AT is the vocals; it sounds more “real” compared to the dream-like quality of the AT.

Overall, I came out of this feeling “meh”. It didn’t wow me on the first minute, other than the vice grip, and it didn’t wow me in the end. They’re not balanced IMO, as I feel that the treble seems to be a little bit too forward compared to the mids, and even more to the bass. Treble happy = :( me. And I then took into account that I value vocals more first, this Beyer came out pretty underwhelming for me. And for the going price locally, funnily 1350 MYR (around 400-ish USD), just no.

After this, I asked for the SRH-1440, but said that they need an amp. :\ Well duh. Disregarding that, I asked to listen to the T1 on the table, and then someone brought the GoVibe PortaTube+ DAC and amp combo. >_>

Beyerdynamic T1
Anyway, the chain was iPod Touch -> Fiio LOD -> tube amp, but then later asked for a mini-mini cable for my N8, replacing the iPod Touch.

They’re quite heavy, but nothing I’m not used to considering that I have my Nami-chan to compete weight-wise. This time, I broke down the sound signature based on each songs I listened to, for whatever reason.

  • Song 12 from “Subterranean Animism”

Bass in this songs sounds flabby in comparison when I used the A1000X, DT1350 and Nami-chan. Treble seems to be way forward than the other frequency range. Can’t say too much at this point about the mids, but I can say highs >> bass. But this is by far the largest soundstage I perceived  of this song, but not by much IMO. I like the soundstage, but it’s too treble happy for me of this song.

  • Song 8 from “Subterranean Animism”

The bass in this one sounds better than Song 12; I’m inclined to think that this more to do with the song itself. There seems nothing much to say, other than the treble is again, way too forward. Nothing worthy of note or incredibly wowing for me of this song.

  • “Sora mo Toberu Hazu” Tsuritama full ending song.

Sibilant. More sibilant than the only thing that’s manage to make me cringe on this song: FXT90. In comparison, it is more sibilant than the DT1350. This song also depends on the bass to carry it and be enjoyable for me, and I find the lacking bass; and whatever bass it has, it was dry and tasteless;  of the T1 is detrimental to my enjoyment, on top of the treble happiness.

  • “Shujinkou”

This song, generally, or the copy that I have, sounds bass >= mids > treble. For the first ever I heard it like this: treble > mids > bass. The mids is more recessed than usual, treble, is accentuated for a song that don’t have a lot of it. Which makes me sad. :(

  • “Happy Nanchara”

Mids recessed = sad me. :(
There’s nothing amazing to be said of this song with the T1 that I haven’t been wowed already.

  • “Kagerou”

Again, nothing impressive for me, for one of my all time favourite songs. Sometimes, the bells makes me cringe as it sounds too piercing. There’s a part of the song where the bells pan from right to left, and T1 ruined it.

Overall, my experience with the T1 is pretty meh too. No mids, too treble happy and very piercing, not enough bass for me; and I’m not a basshead for that matter. One thing that can be argued is that maybe the chain’s the fault. But while I was waiting for one of the workers to bring the GoVibe amp, I plugged the T1 into my N8, as I have a ¼ to ⅛ adapter at the time. SO I can get it very loud, to the point of hurting actually. So… *shrug*.

And again, it could be argued that my source could be the culprit, the anchor that brings down the potential. But if that’s the case, then I won’t move up then. I won’t change what I love to listen to accommodate some fucking expensive bright, brain-stabber weapon of mass treble.

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About fEast91

A foreign student who happens to like manga/anime and headphones.

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