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dalethorn

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About dalethorn

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    Charleston SC
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    USA
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    dale

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  1. This is a quickie review of the v-moda M80, a headphone I owned a few of circa 2011-2014 in its several incarnations (V80, M80, XS). The V80 was the True Blood(c) branded edition, the M80 was the same thing in shadow, matte black, and white, and the XS added the CliqFold mechanism as well as the form-fitting "Mind The Gap" headband design. All of these that I had sounded about the same, which isn't surprising since the earcups and drivers were the same. The drivers were (as best I remember) a dual-diaphragm design, which not only provided a strong deep bass, but really good bass detail as well. Using my "new" M80 (original 2014 packaging unopened), I note that the clamping force is very light - lighter than most on-ear headphones. The headband was easy to bend permanently so that the earcups sit flush on my ears. In cold environments, the pleather earpads don't immediately seal well due to the light clamp, but after a minute when they warm up on the head, they're good to go. This is not a wireless headphone obviously, but given how I use headphones and the options I have available, I consider this M80 just as viable for walkabout use. The single-side cable is detachable, easy to drop into a pocket, the headphone can be worn around the neck all day with no bother, and for better sound I use the v-moda Lightning DAC cable with my Apple i-devices in lieu of the standard cable. Here's the EQ curve I made in 2014, using just the Q=1 bandwidth defaults of the parametric equalizer. Although I boosted the low bass by 6 db then, I find that a 3 db boost at 33 hz is more than enough with this current M80. I wouldn't suggest this headphone for 32-ft (16.35 hz) organ pipe reproduction, but for any EDM and other bass-centric genres it plays extremely well. The original Innerfidelity review(s) noted the excellent sound, but with the caveat that it had a slightly "constricted" aspect to it. My EQ fixed that, and in my opinion the result is a smooth, detailed hi-fi sound. http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Vmoda_M80.jpg When all is said and done, snagging this M80 at half or less of the original price, I got the same v-moda build quality and sound, and the at-home use with various DACs is pure sonic pleasure. HERE is the new video review: http://youtu.be/ZTXTl8CQ4mE
  2. It doesn't feel very open, and it doesn't sound as open as a similar-size Grado, but it does have an 'ease' and smoothness to its sound that makes it better in those respects than the closed headphones I have. So I think they accomplished something that was worth the original price, but where they goofed (in my opinion) is tuning it way too dark. If they had aimed for a tuning maybe 3-4 db less bright than the Grado SR325 or PS500, or some of the Sennheiser 600/800 series, it could have been a much bigger success.
  3. New video of the NightHawk Carbon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH_ChO_U5ZU
  4. I just purchased the AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon at a closeout price of $299 USD in the U.S. The original price here was $699 USD, so the new closeout price is 3/7 of the original. The packaging was new with the NH Carbon, and so well packaged that it would survive severe moisture and humidity for 100 years or so. The sound is the same as the original NH, i.e. dull and cavernous due to the combination of lower-mids emphasis and mid-treble recess. Fortunately, when EQ'd properly the NH sounds marvelous. http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Audioquest_Nighthawk.jpg (Note: EQ curve is the inverse of a freq. response curve) About a year ago I also purchased the NightOwl Carbon, hoping for a better sound, but it was even worse than the NH. I really have to wonder, given the massive promotion by AudioQuest for these headphones and their designer (Skylar-somebody), whether anyone with an appreciation for high fidelity reproduction actually listened to these designs and signed off on them. I have my doubts.
  5. Since the Apple adapter works with other cables but not the Bose cable, and since the Bose cable is detachable, maybe use another cable with the Bose. Belkin makes a good substitute.
  6. The odd thing about the GW100 is, while the overall sound isn't as good as other Grados at that price and above, the bass detail is much better than I expected based on owning a dozen or more Bluetooth headphones.
  7. So just for fun I went out and got the latest Bassotronics album in FLAC format from 2 different sources (just to make sure) and played it loudly on my GW100 using the DragonFly Red and Oppo HA-2 DAC/amps. Playing it flat (no EQ) or with the bass boosted, all I get is nice clean (but heavy) bass thumps. Edit: On the odd chance that the Bluetooth mode might have an issue, I repeated the tracks a couple times while at my local park having coffee. Still clean. Checking the reviews at Amazon US and UK, no problems noted there, although there are only 7 user reviews total. I've been following the youtube reviews, and other than mine, there are only 3 serious reviews posted. I check the comments on those, and other than complaints about the design and purpose, no comments about defective units.
  8. Sounds like a defective unit. Who knows? I use the EQ curve I posted here to reduce tubiness and increase the deep bass around 35 hz. The test notes I have from 16 hz up aren't nearly as detailed as the better planars, but they're far better and tighter than the Beats Studio3 and Solo3 I compared to. I also have a v-moda M100 and Wireless2, and when comparably equalized, the v-modas might be slightly better, but the GW100 stands up pretty well.
  9. Last night the 4th charge for my GW100 ran out - 4 full charges (3 plus the original factory charge) powered me for 58 days, or about 2 weeks per charge. I'd guess I'm getting about 22-23 hours per charge at a little less than maximum volume. I let it run all the way down each time, since I carry the backup cord.
  10. This is my followup review of the Grado GH3, with new video and text and new music tracks. The music track listings are from the same template I used for the Grado GW100, and as it turned out I made only one change - to the Fairmont-Poble Sec track, where the GH3 bass was obviously not as strong as the GW100 bass. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/community/threads/grado-gh3-heritage-edition-headphone-followup-review-new-info.4536/
  11. Two items today: One, I leaned over the railing at my local pier today and watched one of my GW100 earpads tumble into the ocean. I've temporarily lost a GW100 earpad a few times already, but this time it was permanent. Fortunately I had a backup set on hand. They do fall off very easily. The other item concerns my quandary regarding the benefits of a closed back design for portable and outdoor use, versus the sonic advantages of an open back design, albeit I have to find a low-noise place to enjoy those sonic advantages. I took one day away from the GW100 to use a good closed-back headphone for walkabouts, and went right back to the GW100. It seems to me that I never would have gotten to this point of preferring an open-back portable headphone, if I hadn't talked myself into going against instinct and giving it a 6-week tryout first. The trick is finding those low--noise listening places, if it's even possible for a lot of people.
  12. "You also need to decide which volume control you want to use (one needs to be fully open)" I wonder about some of these volume controls. Other than experimenting, how would you know when a volume control is really out of the loop, if that's even possible today?
  13. Many people I know have commented on how an injection of power or gain has made a positive difference in the sound - more powerful and tighter bass is a common theme. A friend of mine even bought a couple of late-1970's receivers and tweaked them somehow, and he gets a very impressive sound from the headphone jacks. Most headphone amps don't have much dynamic power reserve, when you consider that a 20 db peak/pulse is 100 times the power. I've had a couple of inexpensive tube amps, and those seemed quite powerful to me, probably because the mains power needed to heat the filaments is available at the later stages in the amplification. If I needed solid state, I'd get a powerful headphone amp with a few watts of output power, or maybe a tube amp.
  14. Today, 13 November marks 42 days since I received my Grado GW-100 headphone. The third charge has finally been depleted (original factory charge plus two charges by me), so it appears I'm getting about 14 days per charge, using it in Bluetooth mode at least 2 hours per day. I remember something in the specification about volume levels affecting battery life, and since my usage is walking around in relatively noisy areas with light street traffic, my volume levels are about 5-6 db above where I listen at home. My home headphone use is at "audiophile volume levels", or just enough to hear very small details without blasting my ears on the loud parts.
  15. dalethorn

    Headphone EQ

    Here in the first 10 pages are where I post my EQ graphs. The actual settings are under hifi-misc. Note that the horizontal lines are 6 db apart above and below. http://dalethorn.com/Photos.html
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