Headphones

Sennheiser HD595

I've only had these cans for a couple months but I love them. Very detailed and extremely laid back, good bass response, and smooth mids. They're also the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn, I leave them on for 6-7 hours at a time often and they feel just as good when I take them off as when I put them on.

12/29/2010 Update: It's been about 5-6 years now, and I still love these cans. The velour pad on one side has started to tear, and unfortunately it looks like Senn does not sell replacements. It's unfortunate really, these headphones have been through a lot and they still sound amazing. Oh well, time to upgrade! The HD650s sure do look nice...

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Grado SR-225

I got these a few months after the Senn 595s to take up where the Senns left off. While the Senns are amazingly detailed and relaxed, sometimes they're a bit too relaxed, you know something's not quite right when Slipknot is putting you to sleep. So I got the Grados since they're regarded as some of the best rock headphones available. They're extremely lively and forceful, better detail in the highs than the Senns due to a slight peak in the FR where the Senns have a dip (which explains their relaxed nature). The midrange is also amazing, guitars are crisp and aggressive, just how they should be. I only have two complaints really, the low bass is lacking pretty heavily, the response tends to drop like a rock below ~100hz which really cuts back on kickdrums and deep bass guitar, and the other complaint is the comfort, which simply isn't there. With the stock bowls worn as they should be, the comfort is tolerable for a couple hours, but the sound is bright and not very pleasant. With the bowls reversed the sound is amazing, but they can only be worn for about an hour before my ears hurt so bad that I have to swap them for the Senns. I have some Senn 414 pads in the mail which should help out with the Grado's comfort, we'll see.

Update: I got the Senn pads in, and damn they're comfortable. They sound pretty similar to the reversed bowls but....damn they're comfortable! They aren't quite up to the level of the 595s as far as comfort goes, but at least I can wear them for more than 30 minutes without screaming in agony. It looks like the 595s finally have some competition. No pics of the 225s with the Senn pads, but just take the pics below and replace the black foam ear pieces with a neon yellow donut and you'll get the idea.

12/29/2010 Update: It's been about 5 years now, and I hate to say it but the Grados have been sitting in my closet for the majority of that time. They're just too uncomfortable, even with the Senn 414 pads, and the sound, while lively, is fatiguing. Once I got an amp on the Senn 595s their veil disappeared, and there was really no need for the Grados anymore.

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Sennheiser HD650

These are in the mail, review coming soon

 

Etymotic ER-4P

I'm lazy, review coming soon

 

Xin SuperMacro V1.0 Headphone Amp

Here's my new toy, it's a tiny heaphone amp that got some serious ability. When I ordered mine I optioned for the 4 switches on the front which control a 75ohm impedance boost, 5/15dB amp gain, bass boost, and crossfeed respectfully. I also went for socketed op amps so I could swap them out at my liesure and dual output buffers to drop the output impedance for running these low impedance cans. The little sucker is built very well and the sound is amazing, it's surprising how much punch it added to toms and kickdrums. It managed to removed the veiled treble that plagued the Senns off of the computer's line level output, and with the impedance switch it gave the Grados some badly needed low end. It's honestly surprising how similar the Senns and Grados w/ impedance boost sound now, both of them have amazing punch and detail now with a very smooth midrange. The Grados are still a bit more lively while the Senns are a bit more relaxed, but they both sound better than ever. Right when the amp came I swapped out the stock OPA227 op amps for the more expensive OPA627 and have been letting them burn in since. After a few weeks I'd like to swap the 227's back in to see how they compare, and I'll probably pick up some AD8610s and NE5534s as well to try them out.

Update: I've been swapping the op amps back and forth and, well, the 227s sound like crap. They almost sound like there's no amp at all, the 595s still have their veil, and the clarity, depth, and speed of the recording is just lost. It's pretty depressing really, these are supposed to be some nice op amps. Now the 627s on the other hand are the complete opposite. The 595 veil is definitely gone, the midbass punch is there, and the attack on the drums is sharper than ever. They really bring new life to everything, especially in comparison to the 227s. I still need to get some 8610s and 5534s to try them out, but for now I'm very happy with the 627s.

12/29/2010 Update: Unfortunately it looks like Xin has closed up shop since I bought this. The bad part is his page is still up, and people are still ordering these amps, but they're not receiving anything anymore. I hate to see this happen to a supplier that was so well respected...

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M³ Headphone Amp

I'm giving this amp a page of its own to show off the build progress.

Review coming soon

 

Mini³ Headphone Amp

Review coming soon

 

 

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