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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
RS2X (left) vs RS2r (right)
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.
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?
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. https://www.amazon.com/BEYIMEI-Expansion-Connector-Suitable-Linux（2X/dp/B08DFBCSH3/
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.
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.