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As per title. Just a thread for general back and forth headphone and headphone amp/dac related chat. Saves clogging up other threads.

 

I'll start. @Rickus has been kind enough to lend me his Sony Z1R and Focal Clear lately. Coming out of my office Dac/Amp (JDS Elements), pretty basic little thing around $400 USD. Well reviewed.

 

Really warmed to the Sony after a rough start. The low end and the way drums just hit is satisfying. They have something weird going on in the upper mid/treble on some songs, but otherwise enjoyed them overall. Build quality is top notch, albeit cups sit on my jaw, can ache after a while.

 

As for the Clear. Completely different sound. They are clear and airy, separation is crazy good. Low end is there but always feels in the background a bit in most tracks. Heavier than the Sony, start to feel it after a while. Can see why people love them. I think with a bit more ooomph down there they would be close to perfect.
 

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I've heard great things about the original Clear (not the red pro version). I'm curious about whether the Clear gets closer to a classic mid-treble "presence" like the Sennheiser HD800, or whether it has a reduced mid-treble like the Focal Elear or AQ NightHawk etc. I know that some of the classic headphones like the HD800 and the Beyer Teslas and the Grados have treble peaks, but ignoring those for the moment, I just wonder how the overall mid-treble for the Clear compares to those.

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Happy to see this thread, I feel there's a lack of headphone discussion on Stereonet so I'm all for it!

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This may be off topic for what has been posted before but I recently started powering my Portapros off a JDS Labs Atom amp and have found a huge improvement in the clarity and most noticeably in the bass. I was surprised to see the Portapros scale, they really do punch above their weight, with a good source and amp they really shine.

My next goal is to get Yaxi Pads for them to help with the comfort, I've heard good things about how they alter the sound aswell: https://www.yaxi.jp/product-gallery/porta-pro/?mobile=1

 

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6 hours ago, dalethorn said:

I've heard great things about the original Clear (not the red pro version). I'm curious about whether the Clear gets closer to a classic mid-treble "presence" like the Sennheiser HD800, or whether it has a reduced mid-treble like the Focal Elear or AQ NightHawk etc. I know that some of the classic headphones like the HD800 and the Beyer Teslas and the Grados have treble peaks, but ignoring those for the moment, I just wonder how the overall mid-treble for the Clear compares to those.

I haven't had my HD800 for like a year or so now. But different beast again. It's hard to beat the soundstage/air/clarity of the HD800. They were impressive.

 

My opinion of them would be that the HD800 was bass light. You could hear it sure, but it never really made you think it was enough.

 

The Focal seems a bit weird. It's always there, sometimes is just right, some bass heavy tracks it does thump, but a lot of songs for me it just didn't have enough.

 

HD800 was always bass light, every song. Clear is sometimes.

 

Z1R had a good punch to all the drums, could use that level of impact on all cans.

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2 hours ago, Farpun said:

This may be off topic for what has been posted before but I recently started powering my Portapros off a JDS Labs Atom amp and have found a huge improvement in the clarity and most noticeably in the bass. I was surprised to see the Portapros scale, they really do punch above their weight, with a good source and amp they really shine.

My next goal is to get Yaxi Pads for them to help with the comfort, I've heard good things about how they alter the sound aswell: https://www.yaxi.jp/product-gallery/porta-pro/?mobile=1

 

Nothing off topic if its remotely headphone related bud! Point of this thread.

 

I want to try the Yaxi pads on the HD6xx actually.

Edited by Bengineer

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7 hours ago, Farpun said:

This may be off topic for what has been posted before but I recently started powering my Portapros off a JDS Labs Atom amp and have found a huge improvement in the clarity and most noticeably in the bass. I was surprised to see the Portapros scale, they really do punch above their weight, with a good source and amp they really shine.

My next goal is to get Yaxi Pads for them to help with the comfort, I've heard good things about how they alter the sound aswell: https://www.yaxi.jp/product-gallery/porta-pro/?mobile=1

 

@Farpun You inspired me to pickup a used Atom amp. Surprising that someone was already selling it when it hasn't been around for very long - hopefully it's not broken! Will give my impressions when it arrives.

Not sure if you saw my post in the 'post pictures of your headphone setup' thread - I asked if you can try out Sonarworks True-Fi with your setup and let's know what you reckon. Sounds good to me so far, especially the bass extension - I even have the bass lowered by about 2dB to my taste. Overall (with my settings) it opens up/brightens the HD600 a touch, better treble extension, with the upper mids-lower treble maybe being a touch more forward, but this adds 'air'. No apparent detriment to the mids. But my ears could be painted on!

 

Edited by flanders
Removed screen shot - too big.

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I'll give the True-Fi a run on the HD6xx a bit later and see what I think. Didn't like it on the Clear, messed around with the sound too much.

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Just a quick blurb on the Sennheiser Momentum 2's. Fantastic for commuting, no real pressure notice on the noise cancelling, ample bottom end. Could do with a bit more air but I'm liking the EQ in Poweramp. Only just discovered this week, delving into menus because the Momentums arrived that Poweramp offers 192/24 output via the S7's DAC>phone socket. They still haven't sorted seamless playback ie for say on Dark Side, but I'm chuffed with the SQ.

 

 

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Have you heard the Bose QC35 II too? Comparison?

 

Bose NC is awesome, but sound is just OK.

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Have you heard the Bose QC35 II too? Comparison?
 
Bose NC is awesome, but sound is just OK.
No, I actually ordered them on spec and reviews. The Bose are highly regarded though.

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1 hour ago, Bengineer said:

Have you heard the Bose QC35 II too? Comparison?

Bose NC is awesome, but sound is just OK.

The QCs use EQ to perk up the sound. You can tell the difference when running passive. So it makes it a little artificial. If they wanted to make it better w/o the EQ, they'd have to do some acoustic treatments in the cups, but then it'd be heavier on the head.

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Hey sorry haven't had a good chance to reply.
I've heard of sonarworks, I'm apprehensive if I have to pay for it, is it free?
I'm quite interested.
The Atom Amp is brilliant and in my opinion all that you need from an amp.
Really happy with how it has improved my portapros I couldn't believe it.
I really want to try/get a HD600 because I love the HD650 so much

[mention=162291]Farpun[/mention] You inspired me to pickup a used Atom amp. Surprising that someone was already selling it when it hasn't been around for very long - hopefully it's not broken! Will give my impressions when it arrives.
Not sure if you saw my post in the 'post pictures of your headphone setup' thread - I asked if you can try out Sonarworks True-Fi with your setup and let's know what you reckon. Sounds good to me so far, especially the bass extension - I even have the bass lowered by about 2dB to my taste. Overall (with my settings) it opens up/brightens the HD600 a touch, better treble extension, with the upper mids-lower treble maybe being a touch more forward, but this adds 'air'. No apparent detriment to the mids. But my ears could be painted on!
 

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Hey sorry haven't had a good chance to reply.
I've heard of sonarworks, I'm apprehensive if I have to pay for it, is it free?
I'm quite interested.
The Atom Amp is brilliant and in my opinion all that you need from an amp.
Really happy with how it has improved my portapros I couldn't believe it.
I really want to try/get a HD600 because I love the HD650 so much

Hi have both the HD650 and HD600. I find myself using the HD650 more, although once I get my tube amp back in service, that might change.

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Hi have both the HD650 and HD600. I find myself using the HD650 more, although once I get my tube amp back in service, that might change.
This is probably very subjective but do you personally feel it's worth owning both?
Thanks for writing back to me

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This is probably very subjective but do you personally feel it's worth owning both?
Thanks for writing back to me

More headphones the better although if want to keep your collection down, I would pick just one and then get something totally different. I have HD650, HD600 and Utopia. I’m hunting for a good inexpensive pair of HD800 and maybe some HE 1000 v2. That would round out my collection nicely.

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Get the HD800s. I don't think the HD800 is quite right, even modded. The HD800s is probably the sweet spot.

 

Sonarworks has a free trial. You select your headphone and it basically tweaks every aspect of the frequency plot (they measure in their lab) to try make it dead flat. Then you can add more bass. I don't know if the full version has more control?

 

Seems to had like 3bd or so of volume at the same time, maybe to trick you into thinking it sounds better, when its just louder.

 

Anyway, didn't like it on the Clear. More bass, but overall worse sound.

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Get the HD800s. I don't think the HD800 is quite right, even modded. The HD800s is probably the sweet spot.
 
Sonarworks has a free trial. You select your headphone and it basically tweaks every aspect of the frequency plot (they measure in their lab) to try make it dead flat. Then you can add more bass. I don't know if the full version has more control?
 
Seems to had like 3bd or so of volume at the same time, maybe to trick you into thinking it sounds better, when its just louder.
 
Anyway, didn't like it on the Clear. More bass, but overall worse sound.

I’ve had the HD800s and wasn’t a fan. I’m looking to modify some HD800. I’ve heard some and was impressed.

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Ah true. What did you like about them?

 

I think the HD800 mid/treble/soundstage/"air" was all top notch. If you could acheive that with a better bass kick it'd be a truly great headphone.

 

And the comfort 😮

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I know I haven't given the Focal Clears the "omglul these are amazeballs".

 

They did just smash out Spoonman by Soundgarden damn fine.

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11 hours ago, Farpun said:

Hey sorry haven't had a good chance to reply.
I've heard of sonarworks, I'm apprehensive if I have to pay for it, is it free?
I'm quite interested.
The Atom Amp is brilliant and in my opinion all that you need from an amp.
Really happy with how it has improved my portapros I couldn't believe it.
I really want to try/get a HD600 because I love the HD650 so much

No probs. The desktop app has a 10 day trial, and costs 79 Euro. Mine just ran out, so I might check out the 'Reference 4 Headphone Edition' and se if it has more user control. My Atom arrived yesterday, so I'll have a listen tonight. For the life of me, I can't hear a difference between my tube amp and iphone/laptop, so will be interesting to compare. The only difference is that my iphone/laptop run out of volume and the tube amp has tons of power to spare.

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7 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Sonarworks has a free trial. You select your headphone and it basically tweaks every aspect of the frequency plot (they measure in their lab) to try make it dead flat. Then you can add more bass. I don't know if the full version has more control?

 

Seems to had like 3bd or so of volume at the same time, maybe to trick you into thinking it sounds better, when its just louder.

 

Anyway, didn't like it on the Clear. More bass, but overall worse sound.

Initially I suspected that the volume might be boosted, but it could be that the EQ'ing isn't necessarily flat and is actually boosted in some areas. Or, if the FR is being flattened, and the portion of the FR below the target response, outweighed the portion above the target response; the overall volume will now be louder.

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Ah true. What did you like about them?
 
I think the HD800 mid/treble/soundstage/"air" was all top notch. If you could acheive that with a better bass kick it'd be a truly great headphone.
 
And the comfort [emoji50]

Can’t knock the HD800 comfort. I had a pair of the HD800s for about a month. Was really hard to go from the Utopia to the HD800s. To be fair, most of my gear has been tuned to run the Utopias at their best. If I can get a pair of HD800 at the right price, I’ll mod them and see how they come up. I’ve got a nice tube amp waiting here for them. Otherwise I probably sell the tube amp and get some HE1000 v2. Would be good to have 2 flagship models in my collection.

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Ask @Rickus nicely if you can go demo the Empyrean :|

 

Is Utopia quite similar to the Clear in general sound? I wonder if the Stellia would be more my thing.

 

Listen to Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band. Toward the end it gets hectic, and there is this drum fill/run that happens. With the Z1R that was just awesome. Really shone through. The Clear, not so much. Sits in the background a bit too much.

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1 hour ago, Bengineer said:

Ask @Rickus nicely if you can go demo the Empyrean :|

 

Is Utopia quite similar to the Clear in general sound? I wonder if the Stellia would be more my thing.

I'll bring the Empys to the next Brisbane HeadFi GTG.

 

The Utopia sound is definitely related to the Clear but still quite different.

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