Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

By popular request, I've put the MIL boards into the Yggdrasil, let it warm up a few days; and these are my impressions after a few days on and off listening - at times wondering why my DAC sounded so "off", only to have to remind myself "oh, this is the MIL, not LIM".


I did this because I wanted to give the MIL a real shot. Not the quick shot I did before where I listened to it, said to myself meh, and moved on. By real shot, I mean more than my typical bullshit where I listen for three seconds and proclaim it to be shit. @insidious meme can attest to such stories. The funny thing is, I've never changed my mind. Additional listenings never helped. The most important thing in assessing any piece of audio gear is the control the variables: know the recording down to the specific master, know the amps, know the headphones, and maybe the cables (if you believe cables make a difference). People think I have great ears. I merely have a lot of practice, honing my skills with blind tests, and do a lot of little things (like what I mentioned above) to make it seem I am strong with the Force.
TL-DR. A platform to realise the sound potential of your 46mm drivers. Incredible build quality. Lightweight


I haven’t seen any reviews of this headphone online, so wanted to put down a few words. First, I should say that the complexity can be very daunting when you read about LTS. @Tomislav_L started an LTA project with several headphone designs, and it’s possible to make your own, buy DIY kits from him and assemble them yourself, buy complete assembled headphones or have customized versions made. And then there’s a choice of materials, mostly between 3d printed plastics or CNC’ed aluminium for selected parts.
If I recall correctly, Stax released the SR-L700 Mark 2 (hereafter called L700.2) a couple of years ago. I kinda completely ignored any electrostatic product news that time -- as my estat game seemed over in 2015 and I thought I was done with Stax.


However, I should have not ignored the L-series lambda lineup (at least its first revision, mark 2) which I originally thought was just a renaming or gimmick. After being thoroughly filled with wonders and wows for four straight days by the loaner pair, I’m almost about to pull the trigger on L700.2 for myself. These things are good.. Very, very good in almost every single way I can think of. They scratch nearly all Stax itches I had previously.
I knew Yamaha’s vintage models were frequently mentioned and loved by vintage ortho fans, but when I could borrow an actual pair from @Philimon, my expectation was far from being high. How can I have a hope for the combination of small drivers (for ortho), supra-aural drivers, and small closed-back enclosure? The list of such keywords sounds like a huge acoustic disadvantage. Well, I wasn’t 100% wrong. What I didn’t expect, however, was I ended up getting my own pair. OMG.


Before jumping into my thoughts, let me explain a little bit about my on-ear headphones history. I don’t think I have much experience with this type of headphones. Many years ago, I happened to hear B&W P5 and Beats Solo2, and liked them both. Grado couldn’t impress me but cut through via F-cushion equipped Hemp. For a stable daily driver, however, the former group lacks technicality while the latter was painful in ergonomics. So, that’s where I started my time with Yamaha’s vintage on-ear headphones.
First off, I want to express my sincere gratitude to @xrk971 or making this loaner possible. It was a pleasure to make his acquaintance, and to get a brief tour of his lab. Those Dayton RS backloaded horns were pretty awesome! And thanks to @rhythmdevils for herding cats.


Anyhow, this will be a pretty straightforward review. Build/fit and finish comments. Then a bit describing the system, positioning, etc., then some different amp pairings. I’ll then attempt to run through my subjective opinions of the speakers’ sound. Unfortunately I haven’t owned a pair of stand mount speakers since I had a pair of Rick Craig’s Anarchy’s. (An aside: Interestingly, these Vanguards use a very similar tweeter to the original RS28F’s used in the Anarchy). Prior to the Anarchy’s, I had a pair of Von Schweikert VR-1’s. I could be pressed to compare the Vanguard to my current speakers, but they’re kind of a different take on things, so I’m not sure how useful that would be. Either way, I’d be happy to oblige if there’s a desire from Friends.
I really like how these sound, and they are the opposite kind of headphones I usually like. I’m impressed by what Hifiman and Drop have pulled off here. I think these are going to make a lot of people very happy and sell extremely well. I think I would take these over any ortho I’ve heard under the LCD-2 Classic price range maybe. The LCD-2 Classic has lower distortion obviously, but these are more clear and neutral sounding. I’ve heard some cheap orthos (I won’t name names) that sound way way worse. Hifiman should make more electrodynamics…


I can confidently recommend these headphones for anyone wanting a budget headphone with a neutral/natural signature. Those who like the Focal Clear or HD650 are likely to enjoy these. If you like John Grados, you might miss upper midrange emphasis. If you like bass heavy headphones, you will likely want more bass than these have.
Thanks to @Philimon for setting these up with Shipibo. For those who are not aware, Shipibo offers a variety of Grado related stuff: headbands, cups, aluminum gimbals and rods, etc. Check them out here:


Shipibo Audio Pads on RS2e
The RS2X borrows bit from the RS1X with the wood cups. Instead of fusing three different woods, the RS2X sandwiches two woods, maple and hemp. I never had a chance to hear the special edition hemp, but this approach sound really nice. The effect is subtle and an actually an improvement in the wood coloration rather than different.

RS2X (left) vs RS2r (right)
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The biggest surprise which caught me off guard was the improvement in resolution, plankton, microdynamics. I had to do a double take; but yes, after direct comparison, the RS2X is as good as the RS1E with respect to immediacy and expressiveness. It would seem that Grado has improved both the RS1X and RS2X over the prior E versions, with the RS2X receiving a greater incremental improvement. As such, the RS2X with the F-cushions has become one of my daily headphones.
The G6 was brought to my attention as an inexpensive and neat little hardware device to get that out-of-your-head experience while playing games or watching movies on the computer using headphones. You know, the immersive experience shit. This article will comprise a guide on how to set up the G6 for virtual surround (thanks to @Hands or whoever the original information came from), my two cents pertaining to sound quality and gaming features, and some measurements.


First of all, let's get the easy stuff out of the way. The headphones output of the G6 is mediocre. Actually, it's kind of shitty -dirty sounding. Hard to explain, but I'd rather not use it. I haven't measured it yet, but knowing its design, I'm betting the typical suite of SINAD type measurements will be good. The problem is that sometimes the perceived differences are there, but the measurements are not the right ones. We'll see. I'll leave the measurbator stuff for last. As a DAC from the line outs in the back, the G6 is pretty good sounding. Hook up a cheap amp from the likes of iFi or Schiit, are we are done. However, this is extra work, and for movies or games, who really cares about audiophile sound quality?
Anyway, this came to mind because @rlow mentioned that his boutique Sotm AIO source sounded better using Unison than SPDIF/AES from pi2AES. The latter being a standard among many members, mainly for it's easy of use for streaming (once properly set up). @rlow's post comparing three different source transports is here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...sports-shootout-with-unison-usb-and-aes.8810/


This is when I realized that I picked up this PCI USB card years ago intending to try it out. I forgot about it until recently when I found in a box of old that I had just unpacked. This card is still available from Amazon, although the brand of it has changed.
I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.


I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did. I'm really - REALLY loving what I hear. Again, this may be quite subjective at this moment, but I'll throw in some initial impressions and details here with some photos. I don't see an Edition XS thread here so I'm going to put some info here. I've read that this is [at the moment], a China-only edition, and will arrive in other markets soon - not sure how true this is.
I've had the Geshelli E2 here for about a month. Along with my thoughts about it, I am comparing it with the Schiit Jot 2 which I hope might be useful to other SBAF members.

tldr; the E2 is a fun, beauty of an amp. It's smooth, clean AF, and a pleasure to listen to. It is a bit more dry and does not have the bloom, slam and space that the Jot 2 presents, but it is a musical, detail and imaging champion. It is more fun than so-called "accurate" amps and kills the etchy THX stuff dead in their tracks. Both the E2 and Jot 2 present material with impeccable taste. They are similar in their enjoyment-factor but are different enough in their presentation to be complimentary. I'm keeping both.


I definitely have to hand it to Geshelli for making an amp that does what the E2 does for this price. I would pick it over any value-priced SS amp I've had here. It stands up perfectly well against the Jot 2 (which is twice the price) and I think anyone who is balanced-curious would be well served by an E2.