Snorry Isodynamic Planar Headphones Reviews and Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by rhythmdevils, Mar 28, 2022.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Snorry NM-1 Impressions
    Thanks to @Failed Engineer for loaning these to me! :bow:

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    Gear
    Pi2AES -> Yggdrasil A2 -> Liquid Gold X

    Build
    They feel well built, though I get nervous every time I pick them up and push on the fabric screen grills even though I think it’s a really cool idea acoustically (there are no grills on them, just acoustically transparent cloth covering the back). They ultimately feel strong enough to hold up to everything but abuse. Everything else is very utilitarian and strong, mostly metal and leather.

    The most annoying thing about them is that they have a proprietary pinout for the mini XLR jacks. Why why why? There’s just no reason to do this even if you are Russian. The stock cable really sucks, it’s this thick super stiff OFC copper cable that is awful to deal with and if the mini XLR jacks were standard I could use one of many cables I have here already. WTF.

    Comfort
    Not that comfortable due to hard earpads with a weird narrow rectangular opening the same size as the driver that doesn’t fully fit my ears and the earpads don’t conform to my head so they feel a bit hard. But not that bad. I could live with it.

    Sound
    They are probably the best tuned stock ortho I’ve ever heard. Very well balanced from bass to treble, very neutral. Nothing sticks out and there’s no Audeze midrange suck-out. vocals are forward but also there’s no upper mid peak. Bass is nicely layered and textured. They are really meticulously tuned.

    They also have the best soundstage of any ortho I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if it’s the driver or the combination of the very deep pads with the very open back or all 3. Instruments are pulled apart and separated with space between them, sometimes even artificially so. Bass lines are easier to follow than Audeze headphones simply because they are separated more from the rest of the spectrum even if the quality isn’t’ as good. Very airy presentation,

    They are not as resolving as Audeze drivers, but it’s hard for me to comment because I’m talking about the drivers, not the drivers in the stock acoustic environment. These have a thinner dust screen in front of the driver so stock Audeze’s cover up some of the resolution, but the Audeze drivers are more resolving and have more control and I’m guessing lower distortion due to them having much better tone than the NM-1. Even the LCD-2 Classic has better timbre than these.

    There’s something a little plastic-y about the tone of the NM-1. Not to Hifiman levels, but the timbre of instruments just isn’t convincing. And I want more resolution from an ortho at this price point.

    Final Thoughts
    These have a lot going for them with some very strong highlights but being very picky about orthos, the timbre just doesn’t do it for me. But I think a lot of people would love these for the very linear, flat FR and great soundstage. And people love Hifiman’s with much much worse timbre than these so I think these are winners overall and deserve more attention and praise. I would love to hear his new creation the Trion given his ability to tune orthos so well.
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Nice impression. Very helpful to set the bar and initial expectation.
    Needless to say please put me on the list when you create the tour thread (I'm sure you're about to start one very soon)!!
     
  3. Drakkard

    Drakkard Facebook Friend

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    Very interesting how your opinion differents from what is through about this model here :)
    I, personally, never heard them. But my friends with experience said that soundstage is the main concern with this model, it is very narrow and a bit claustrophobic even. Trions seems to vastly improve on it thanks to different earpads. Also, nm-1 are liked for the bass quality and quantity, with very few models like abyss doing it better.
    Questionable timbre however was noted here as well.
    Waiting for other opinions =)
     
  4. Ferrum

    Ferrum Acquaintance

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    I did something stupid and bought the SI-2 Carbon just for the looks and that it was an intriguing thing with a russian brand. Had it for 6 months now.

    My thoughts are not that positive I´m afraid.

    Purchasing them went smoothely, no problem.

    Mine came with a balanced cable that was stiff and generally a pain to handle. Looks are absolutely fantastic but that cant be said about the comfort/fit. I simply cant get i decent seal to my head because the earpads are hard and adjustment aren´t that good. As you can inmagine that bass suffers and combine this with a recessed bass response they do not bring the fun factor in music. The top is again ok but a bit dull. Lets just say they need some EQ to come to life.

    Resolving power are no match for the Audezes that I also have. Both LCD 2 classic and XC are much better.

    They do need some power, forget your phone. Its not going to work. My Burson had no problem what so ever but I had turn up the volyme a notch.

    Signal chain
    Computer -wav files -Jriver- PS Direct stream dac-Burson Soloist 3x-snorry

    Ferrum
     
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    [​IMG]

    Snorry NM-1 Review


    Product page link: https://snorryplanar.com/snorry-headphones-nm-1/

    My evaluation is entirely based on the loaner pair kindly offered to SBAF by @Failed Engineer. I appreciate his kindness! I think the tour is open to sign up even now. Any interested party should reach out to @rhythmdevils.

    NM1’s sound is pretty interesting to me in a number of ways. I’m not sure what percentage of my perceived notions is attributable to meanderless drivers. But this is a very worthy pair of headphones if you’re looking after something different in orthos.

    For build and comfort, please refer to RD’s impression post above. I mostly agreed. My review will focus on sonic aspects only. And please understand my criticisms (if any) in the context of value proposition with its asking price when in production (2.7k usd) -- currently NM1 is OOP.

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    Associated Gears
    • D/A converter: Gustard X18 (reference), Topping DX3, Motu M4 all usb in.
    • Amplifiers: SMSL HO200 (head-amp reference), Topping PA5 (2ch-amp reference), iFi Zen Can Signature, Schiit Aegir monoblocks, Stax SRM-353X
    • Headphones: Hifiman Susvara (reference), Hifiman Arya v3 SE, Stax L700 mk2

    Frequency Response / Tonal Balance
    • Stock tonal balance is pretty good. Nicely down-tilted over the whole spectrum. It doesn’t need external filters to tame tonality at all (indeed it’s not EQ-friendly.. More on this below).
    • Compared to many dark-ish headphones, NM1 doesn’t feel too dull because nuanced energies in highs (audible gradual peaks around 2khz and 7khz) tastefully compensate.
    • Bass is a little restricted. There is a midbass hump around 50-60hz then attenuated in lower registers. Sub-bass notes in 20-30hz are more present in their harmonics rather than in fundamentals (note: this is why LF-restricted drivers can’t completely mute bass notes). In most tracks with complicated bass structures,I hear NM1 does bass less cohesively.
    • A mild resonant peak is heard in 4.5khz. I heard this with HD800/BP800, too. This is making NM1 hard to play with EQ because most tone-changing filters I tried made this resonance more obvious and even annoying. Physical mods might help.

    Technicality
    • NM1’s spatial presentation is very good. I do think this is probably because it made use of thick ears pads that could locate ears nicely away from drivers. Staging is deep and wide but the image is a bit diffusing. Very similar tradeoff I observed with HEDD.
    • It can decently resolve details and nuance to the extent I don’t want to nitpick too much. But I couldn’t find it outresolve HFM Arya (v3 se) which comes at roughly half the price. And by extrapolation, HFM HE1000SE might marginally edge out NM1 in the resolving ability. NM1’s overall technical performance (to my ears) is very much up there with prior generation Audeze/HFM headphones such as LCD-3, HE6/SE, HE1000(pre-v2) etc.
    • Macro performance is at least solid, but highly dependent on which amps to drive. I’m not saying monster amps are a must for NM1 tho. More on this in the pairing section.
    • Also, NM1 had its very own and unique plastic timbre. RD said it was less severe than HFMs, but to me, it’s more than contemporary HFMs (I hear Susvara mostly so my bar might be too high these days). I’m generally fine with this kind of timbres and NM1’s realism reproduction is very enjoyable to me in its own light.. Nonetheless, I’d emphasize that timbre-sensitive audiophiles should not buy this blind.

    Pairing
    • Considering its price, it’s a fair assumption that NM users already have good amps and converters to feed them rightly. That’s easily verifiable to me, too. But there are several budget-friendlier combos I thoroughly enjoyed.
    • To begin with, power/current-limited headphone out must be avoided. NM1’s actual sensitivity is already quite low (on par with Yamaha vintages or HEDD) and very current hungry. Even when decent loudness is obtained, I’m under the impression that NM1 needs a little more beyond that.
    • Two head-amps I’m having and loving (SMSL HO200 and iFi Zen Can Signature) drove NM1 satisfyingly. The former is more analytical and the latter is more rich sounding. I found NM1’s inherent hollow mids and plastic highs were better mitigated with Zen Signature although HO200’s super blackness and separation gave NM1 very special nuances.
    • Out of curiosity, I paired NM1 with a couple of 2ch amps: Schiit Aegir monoblocks and Topping PA5. I’m very impressed with the latter -- PA5 was really good with NM1. I could immediately catch stronger bass control and more vivid macrodynamic contrasts. Pairing with good 2ch integrated/power amps might be worth considering.
    • I also tried with several different dacs: Topping DX3, Motu M4, and Gustard X18. I couldn’t hear as much difference among these dacs as I heard with Susvara. While I don’t think NM1 is very sensitive to dac choices, I speculate NM1 can work better with r2r or more musical dacs (which I am less interested in these days).

    I am looking forward to hearing NM1 with a couple of different amps next week. Will follow up in the thread.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2022
  6. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Hi folks,

    Been a while, but I’d finally drop some thoughts about amp pairing for the NM-1.

    Frankly speaking, I was doing my own amp quest for the Susvara but happened to bring NM-1 together because I could. And it turns out that any amps that went well with Susvara did not disappoint me in getting along with NM-1. Indeed, a bit of extra power really made NM-1 awake. More on this later in this post.

    Let me first make clear the amp quest this time around was mostly for 2ch power amps because I was examining the common belief that Susvara would benefit from good 2ch amps.

    Prior to this quest, I already tried out two power amps I had in the house. Below are my short thoughts regarding the pairing with NM-1.
    • Schiit Aegir Monoblocks: I found the resolving nature of Aegir could address or compensate for some of the resolution issues I had with NM-1. Dynamic gradients were rendered greatly. But I didn’t want to hear this pair much because of the greyest background of the bunch and mildly lacking punchiness by comparison. Very interestingly, the drawbacks of Aegirs were not obvious when I only heard them through the OB speakers. Headphones listening made me think very differently.
    • Topping PA5: Unexpectedly good as I posted in the prior review. PA5 did not resolve tiny nuances or details as much as Aegirs, but not too differently to me. Pretty good in bass authority as well as dynamic contrast. However, still (possibly) terrible logentivity or QC. My unit developed mild noise after 3 weeks of use. I ended up returning it. Oh well.

    I’d like to skip a myriad of underwhelming amps I tried out. They sounded shiitty, cost too much, or both. Except for the below two which were mind-blowing to me.
    • Benchmark AHB2 (single): I heard this amp several times before through speakers as well as SR-1a. Was never a fan because its presentation was boring despite great transient characters. But this time around, it sounded just perfect to me with both Susvara and NM-1. Way more microdymically capable than I thought it was. I’d describe its general sound as the best of both Aegirs and PA5.
    • Topping LA90 (single): 99% sounds like AHB2 to me in base technicality criteria (dynamics, details, transient, and spatiality). But this amp adds a hint of warmth and wetness between mids and highs to ahb2’s a bit dry tone. Bass is punchy, tight, yet very textured. I had to buy one myself. Too difficult to resist. A dedicated review to come.

    What I described above mostly applies to both Susvara and NM-1. TBH, NM-1 seemed to scale better with 2ch amps than Susvara. Let me put this way, out of any amps I tried out, Susvara is always preferred to NM-1 by a healthy margin. But NM-1 with AHB2 or LA90 gets close to Sus in technicality. For Sus, 2ch amp is one option for different flavors. But if I were a NM-1 owner, I would be more obsessively considering a 2ch power amp to drive them.
     

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