Nectar Hive Electrostatic Headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by dncnexus, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. shabta

    shabta Facebook Friend

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    A new estat at a good price is good news indeed!

    I wanted to clear up one misconception, stated, about the RR1 conquest, which I still have in my possession. I have never had the stators stick. I can take them off and on which music is playing w/o problems and do so frequently. It is true that suggested best practice is to unplug the headphone and put your fingers on the pins to discharge after use, to prevent the headphone from developing a tendency for stuck stators. But that is very different than what seems to be the case with the nectar. Also the RR1 was one of the few non stax headphones that survived the headcase mafia. LOL

    Anyway, looking forward to learning more about the Nectar, kind of wondering if I should order one, as I do have an energizer already :D
     
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  2. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

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    I've been following these for a while, and they are really neat. Definitely the only stats the interest me currently (though the ES-! is kinda cool too.) If I had an amp that would drive them I'd pick up a pair for sure. Very cool imo.

    Also, unsuprisingly...

    https://www.head-case.org/forums/to...rostat-energizer/?tab=comments#comment-836332

    Have they shit all over the headphones yet? Or just the amp? Makes me want to support you more so now...
     
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  3. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Facebook Friend

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    To be fair, its usually amps that get shat on, not headphones. With the exception of Kingsound, Hifiman and MrSpeakers, anyway.
     
  4. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Acquaintance

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    I hope I don't offend you but this is a funny statement because just not too long ago it was almost impossible to say anything bad about Schiit products here, especially more so during the Changstar era.

    I visit Head-fi, Head-Case and SBAF and I feel that good advice and information can be found in all three forums.
     
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  5. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Proof?
     
  6. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    1. That's offensive. Not to mention.

    2. Do your homework more thoroughly. I was a casual lurker in CS, so can't say about that. But since I joined SBAF, I've seen EVERY schiit product got a fair amount of criticisms respectively from active or even senior members once noisy posts filtered out -- even though I don't agree with such criticisms time to time. Your statement just shows you DO NOT read the forum well. Is SBAF unbiased? Heck no. But that's a different story from "impossible to say anything bad".
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Back to the Hive one, want to add some useful points to triangulate.

    [​IMG]

    Above is Hive's fr measured by minidsp ears. And Sajeev said it was uncompensated. Since it's impossible to take any ears measurements seriously without mic calibration, I assume what he said means he applied 'raw' (as per minidsp themselves) compensation curve.

    And here are raw compensation curve and sbaf compensation one.

    upload_2020-9-16_8-4-40.png

    For easier triangulation, I also quickly calculated per frequency delta for those curves. Shortly speaking, the below equivalently means what raw-flat transducer measures like if sbaf-compensated.

    upload_2020-9-16_8-13-19.png

    So, assuming Sajeev's device is consistent with my unit after basic calibration, you will be able to triangulate how they would measure by adding the last graph to the first graph (y-axis either decibel or db spl so they're addable).

    PS. For addition and difference, I mean operations in log scale (in y axis). Note some software such as rew uses different term definitions. Recall log X + log Y = log XY
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  8. qu1en

    qu1en MOT: Nectar Sound

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    To clarify on my side - my feedback was based on my personal set, it does stick.. Also if you look at the Instruction Manual, look on the inside of the first page, bottom left, under "precautions", it sates "We highly recommend you don't take the Headphones off while music of high SPL is blasting. When the Headphone is taken off your head with music on there is a chance of the Diaphragm getting stuck to the Stator due to a sudden pressure change.." and they go on to describe how to discharge it. I think its possible that based on variance, some don't do this (at first mine were like this as well) and I changed the method I use for coating the diaphragm to be more consistent. Or maybe they have made changes as well that prevent this all together. I'll leave it there - they have a very cool product as well.
     
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  9. qu1en

    qu1en MOT: Nectar Sound

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    They have shit on the amp.

    At first it was a bunch of emphatic statements without any supporting reasoning. Such as using a negative bias "bad things are going to happen" while pushed on what those bad things are, KG clarified that it would collect dust... However I don't see any reasoning behind this. From my research, ionizers negatively charge dust so that they will get out of the air and clump to grounded surfaces, so if anything the negative bias should repel dust. Dust can either be neutral, positive or negative. There is no information I can find that says dust is typically positively charged... But rather either neutral or equally likely to be + or -. They also state "it's been tried before, and never works". Seems like a very vague statement, but I've built many of these amps (maybe 7 or so?) and they worked the first time every time, and others have built it as well. So, it does work and + vs - bias shouldn't really make any difference. If anything a negative bias is better because it will repel ionized dust. http://labman.phys.utk.edu/phys136core/modules/m5/electrostatic_devices.html

    As far as the magnitude, the bias is capable of -645V which works well with my headphone gap, and it can be dialed down with resistor dividers to whatever voltage is needed, even the blue hawaii can deliver up to 650V and be dialed down! But some on there talk about it in away that implies that it is very high and can't be dialed down, mostly for some kind of comedic effect that ignores facts. Even the ifi audio pro iesl amp that @dncnexus has can go up to 640V. https://headwizememorial.wordpress.com/tag/blue-hawaii/

    They then state, based on their circuit analysis skills that it's going to be worse than a srm252s.. Not true. I've listened to and measured both. I wish I still had my srm252s so that I can measure it with the AP515.

    There are other emphatic statements given with no evidence that I don't agree with. Most comments are there just to mock rather than educate or provide technical reasoning. But after all it is an internet forum.

    Here is an amp study I did comparing the Nectar 1.0, to the Bottlehead, to the SRM1/MK2 if anyone is interested.
    https://nectarsound.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Simple-Measurement-Analysis-Rev001.pdf
     
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  10. ogodei

    ogodei Headphone Heaven Gatekeeper

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    No member here takes what they say on Head-Case very seriously. Your post above is certainly welcome and helpful to people interested in the amp but please don't feel you have to defend it / yourself against any statements they make.

    Head-Case is an insular forum by design. Its members have mostly subscribed to the engineering practices and directives promoted by a few of the senior members who admittedly have a good deal of experience and successful amp designs under their belts. Unfortunately that combination, insularity + success, has resulted in some dogmatic thinking and less-than-sensitive discussion around designs that don't adhere to their orthodoxy.

    The fact of the discussion over there doesn't mean their opinions are correct or appropriate, however, and readers of this thread should understand that.
     
  11. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Looking forward to the reviews. The only e-stats that I've personally heard that have decent timbre to me are the Stax 007 (whatever variant I guess) - Orpheus 2 - DCA Voce - Koss 950. I unfortunately have not heard many others or they just didn't wow me (Stax 009 / Stax almost everything else)

    I have a Cavalli eXStata hybrid that is built for my 950 - I think it sits around 590 volts. @TheloniuSnoop built it (amazing!)
    I think it should be enough amp to try these out with????

    Any West-Coast individuals handy with ES amplifier repair/diagnosis (3db channel imbalance - probably the Alps Blue 4-gang)

    DIY ES Headphones... Where are you @n3rdling - We are still hungry!!! :D
     
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  12. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    This should be a good enough amp to use with these. As for timbre, I have heard the Koss ESP95X and found these to be better in almost every way. Timbre on these is very good, I would say its leaning more toward the HD 6XX/ZMF Auteur side of the spectrum than something like STAX or Focal offerings. Very "organic" in their timbre in my opinion.

    I should have a L700 MKII coming in for loan so can do more of a comparison to the L700 in the next couple weeks, as that might be a reference many people can relate to.
     
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  13. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    dncnexus - thank you very much! The only missing thing from the ESP950 is a little bit of body/slam/whatever. I have had really nice results with EQ'ing them, but it just adds more volume and can never replace the actual displacement of a dynamic driver. So - mark me excited for the Nectar.
     
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  14. shabta

    shabta Facebook Friend

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    I think it isn't that cool to slag on a competitor. But early versions of the RR1 did have some QC issues, and they worked to make everyone whole. I asked the designer today if the RR1 is having problems with stuck stators and if my experience was unusual. He seemed to think it was not happening anymore. Perhaps you can contact him about your pair. I know for sure I am not having the problem.
     
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  15. Degru

    Degru Rando

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    I guess it depends. I feel like what people define as "better" bass in many cases is just "more full bodied" aka "slower", more resonant, or more distorted.. The impressions of the Hive's bass in this review seems to describe it as such. You can achieve very good bass without sacrificing on speed. Neither my 404LE nor the Lambda Signature I've tried had any hint of slowness, but both hit very hard when driven properly.

    And there's also no hint of rolloff in the lows; both extend down below 20hz with no trouble ("extension" isn't just "measuring flat on FR" btw), and certainly don't have any trouble with even the most complex layered bass. This review seems to mention issues with both extension and layering that are uncharacteristic of good stat bass IMO.
     
  16. Degru

    Degru Rando

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    Do you have the ports blocked? There won't be any excess front pressure when putting on/off if left in its stock form, with open ports. But it also lacks bass and sounds generally worse in this state, so I would imagine many people would port mod it out of the box to get proper seal.
     
  17. shabta

    shabta Facebook Friend

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    I think this is off the thread topic, but the RR1 Conquest has very good bass response, there is no need to block the ports. See this thread https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/kaldas-research-rr1-estats.8127/ and if you have more questions about the headphone, probably it's better to post them in that thread.
     
  18. JonCharles

    JonCharles Friend

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    Nectar Hive Impressions

    Here is my attempt at a general impressions review. It’s not going to be very technical or specific, but maybe it will help someone. I will compare to the HD600/650 a lot, since they are a great benchmark that most people have heard or own.

    My setup is Bifrost Multibit (1st Gen)->Stax SRM-323S->Nectar Hive. Comparisons to non-stat headphones use an Asgard 3. Headphones I own include HD600 and 650, Verum 1, Focal Elex. I have previously owned the HD800 and various Stax headphones (007mk2, NB Lambda, L700).


    I decided to step into the estat game again with a “budget” model, and the choice was between the Hives and the Koss ESP95X. I have previously owned the ESP950, so I knew what to expect from them. I had that Stax amp being unused, so I made the choice to give Sajeev’s headphones a chance.


    These headphones are tonally closest to the HD600 out of the headphones I own. I don’t have measurement equipment, but they sound extremely even through the FR. There are no painful hot spots of brightness (I’m not the most sensitive, but I can’t tolerate Beyer treble), and there is even a pleasant warmth in the sound that reminds me of the HD650. Tonally, I can’t hear that very slight nasal quality that HD600 has around the presence region. While not as forward as the HD650 here, the feeling of smoothness is similar.


    The high treble is very open and sparkly, a common strength of estats. However, it is not overly exaggerated and is in tasteful proportion to the rest of the FR. Listening to acoustic instruments in an expansive environment such as symphonic strings is a great pleasure due to this openness. The imaging is also very nice and clear in these headphones. It is superior to the Sennheisers in this regard. Sajeev made the decision to not include dust covers, and I believe that this may have contributed to the great openness and natural tonality that I hear.


    A pleasantly unique trait about the Hives is the fact that these actually have bass with real impact. This is not a joke. The perceived impact is in the same ballpark as the HD600, not losing out much in comparison. A big reason for this is Sajeev’s decision to use a lower tensioned diaphragm that isn’t trying to be 1 atom thick. I feel like Stax has sometimes thrown out the baby with the bathwater here in the effort to pursue ultimate detail. The bass might be a touch leaner than what you get with the Sennheisers, but it really grooves in a way that most estats can’t, while maintaining an athletic clarity that the HD600 can’t match. They also extend deeper than the Sennheiser duo. Most Stax outside of their most expensive offerings have very little impact and/or have to break the seal to get more bass. Stax L700 does this and it causes the bass to be uncharacteristically flabby and loose for an estat. The Hive does not do this, and rewards with some of the most satisfyingly dynamic bass that I have heard in an estat, especially at this price point.


    An important note. Because of the lower tension on the diaphragm, it has a tendency to stick to the stators if too much pressure is put on the ear pads. The bass then drops out and the music will sound weird. I have been told that this won’t damage the headphones. In fact, the lower diaphragm tension helps prevent much bigger issues down the line that even the expensive Stax headphones have been known to exhibit. To fix the sticking, just turn down the amp, unplug the headphones, and touch all five pins of the plug at the same time. You will hear the diaphragm start to crinkle and eventually make a popping sound when it completely unsticks from the stator. This takes only a few seconds and is very easy to do. This usually only happens when I am putting on the Hives for the first time in a listening session.


    Quick Comparisons:

    HD600/650

    The Hive is tonally smooth like the HD650, with more openness than the HD600. This headphone sounds like an HD600 that fights hard to keep your attention (while avoiding brightness). I can really crank all of these headphones quite loud without pain, but I find it harder to work with the Hives. They just make me want to stop and focus on the music I am listening to. The Sennheisers don’t distract me in this way as much.


    Focal Elex

    Elex is much punchier than any of my other headphones. It really has a sort of aggressiveness that is more fatiguing as well. Tonally, it is not as natural as the Hive or Sennheisers, exhibiting some tizziness. Bass is punchy but a bit muddy sounding compared to the Hive. It makes music really fun to listen to, but I can’t listen all day like I can with the Hive.


    Verum 1

    This is one of the more natural sounding and pleasant magnetic planars that I have listened to. The bass is very clean, deep, and detailed compared to my other headphones. Not as extended, smooth, or detailed from the mids up to the high treble compared to the Hive. I have had good results with mild EQ, but stock it is not as balanced sounding as the Hive.


    Stax

    I just didn’t enjoy the 007mk2. It felt boring and kind of lifeless. Actually had bass, but very little air for an estat. Just seemed super dampened. I was probably underpowering it, but I don’t think a bigger amp would change my opinion 180 degrees.


    L700 was a nice headphone, but a questionable value. Similar detail to the Hive, but with much worse bass (very flabby) and a slight nasal tone in the treble common to Lambdas. For half the price, the Hives do almost everything better, to my taste.




    The Good

    · Very natural and smooth sound, avoids excessive brightness

    · Very open and natural soundstage, precise imaging

    · Bass is among the most impactful for estats, goes pretty low with typical clarity

    · Very comfortable and light headphones, all day comfort

    · Looks like a normal headphone (no Lambda bricks)

    · Most dynamic sounding and feeling estats that I have listened to (might convert estat haters)

    · Fairly easy to drive (little harder than Stax Lambda)

    · Just sounds like MUSIC! I pay attention to what I’m listening to more



    The Bad

    · Might be more sensitive to dust (no dust covers), so should store them carefully (no problems after 3 weeks)

    · Ear pads might be a little small for people with large ears (100mm Brainwavs) although ear pads can be rolled

    · Diaphragm can crinkle if you put too much pressure on pads, may need to periodically be fixed


    The Ugly

    · You need an estat amp (Stax pro bias) and these can be expensive


    I can’t say too much that is bad about these headphones. They are easily the most enjoyable estats that I have listened to. They are not the most detailed, beautiful, or prestigious, but they are among the most musically satisfying. If you don’t mind occasionally unsticking the diaphragm (takes only a few seconds), this is one of the better bargains in the headphone world, particularly in the $$$ world of estats. The problem comes with the issue of an amp. If you don’t have one, you might consider the ESP95X instead to get an affordable taste of estats. That is an unparalleled value, although I feel like the Hive is the more special pair of headphones. As for me, I had an amp laying around and I don’t regret my choice at all.
     
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