Headphones in Pills

Headphones in Pills… aka “The Hintpicker”, shots describing most headphones I owned.

Stax SR-009: You put a great, analogue sounding source with the SR-009 and the sound is magical. You put a great, analogue sounding source behind the SR-007, and someone will tell you that your amp is the problem, and/or your source is not enough.

Stax Omega 2 Mk1 (I heard at least 8): The best Omega 2 have superb layering, clarity, exceptional deep bass and don’t sound dark. 7xxxx S/N and 7xxxx have bigger chances to be much better than other production lots. We found out that several 70xxx are too dark. We found out that SZ1xx and further are uninteresting to us. All the SR-007 consistently lack some necessary midrange thickness, which is difficult to restore with source/amplification.

Stax SR-X Mk3 Pro: great midrange, lean midbass, but extremely rumbling and powerful deep bass; small soundstage, extremely discomfortable. Easy to be made strident. Extremely source-dependant.

Stax Gamma Pro: Princess of the loudness war

Stax 404/Spritzer modded: I only remember it was sweaty

Stax SRS001 Mk2 with Audiocats-modded amp: fantastic mods for an otherwise poor amp

Stax SR-003: miniature sized SR-009. Looses in bass depth, soundstage, overall detail, while has an edge in intimacy and overall smoothness.

Stax SR-003 Mk2 (and SR-002): how to destroy your roots for a “brighter” future

Koss ESP950: transistor radio made famous

AKG K1000: purest sounding earphone in the world.

Audio-Technica AD2000: how to look at life through an emerald.

Tamboti Thunderpants: super aggressive midrange, small soundstage, smooth highs, fast, tight bass

LCD2 Rev1: unnatural, clinical, strong deep bass, empty midrange… sounds like it’s making music for a different species

LCD2 Rev2: in opposition to other people’s impressions, the Rev2 I got was a darker than that Rev1. Great headphone if it retailed 200 Euro new.

Yamaha HP3: a bullet must have killed the midrange frequencies. Otherwise super tight/deep bass, super comfortable, very fast if properly damped

NAD RP18: darkish… sloppish, also

Sennheiser HD650: thick; thick and sibilant when badly amped; I wish to hear it in a proper, balanced setup

Sennheiser HD580: the bass goes its own way, constantly missing the timing of the music. Bloated. This is with CKKIII, regardless of the source and cables

Sennheiser HD250 Linear I: hole in the midrange, fast, spikey treble

Sennheiser HD250 Linear II: hole in the midrange, fast, more spikey treble, strong “pulsive” deep bass

Sennheiser HD800: super fast, hypertextured, wrinkled bass; distant, hollow midrange, spikey treble; huge soundstage

AKG K501: beautiful midrange, not very resolving, slightly sibilant, average soundstage and lean bass

Apuresound Etymotic ER4P/S: fantastic but aggressive, not really “warm”, the bass is as tight as a stone, in general a lean, aggressive, addictive sound without any hints of sibilance (the P), or with some hints of sibilance (the S).

Etymotic ER4P/S: more linear midrange, but less emotionally addicting than the Apuresound version, easier to drive (the Apuresound P requires higher volume, go figure). The stock S is very sibilant

Etymotic HF-5: inferior to normal Etys, the bass reaches less deep; less refined across the notes; exceptional for home use with the Etymotic PtoS adapter, especially with a warm/darkish signal path behind

Westone 3: big sound, lovely low level details (echoes), the balance is weirdly u-shaped so that the midrange lacks some energy. Upper bass is full, treble is extended

Westone UM3X: warm as a womb could be. With triflanges it can also sound airy, otherwise suffocating

JH13: transparent, neutral, small, polite midrange, transparent. Not a good idea for your regular DAP
Triple.fi 10 Pro: big bass, big soundstage, overpowering bass, ghastly midrange, extended treble

HifiMan RE272, RE262, RE252, RE0: the RE272 and RE262 are very fine sounding, lifelike, if you can stand the discomfort

Yuin OK1, OK2, OK3, PK1, PK2, G1: I will remember the PK1 as the one with a meaningful personality (Grado-ish). The others are just cold.