The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    London, UK
    In my experience the Focal Utopia, and I presume the Elex and Clear, with HD650 front foams placed between the earpad and driver as they are in the HD650 is your most direct upgrade. They have a similar frequency response with better bass and treble performance, and with the Mjolnir 2 they will sound far more dynamic. The foams smooth out the presentation similar to the HD650 whilst also compensating for their timbre due to the colouration the metal alloy of their diaphragm imparts.

    However I would first suggest performing the dynamat and coin mods on your HD650 and either getting a balanced cable to get the most out of your amp or changing your amp entirely to a tube based amp. A good tube amp will bring out the dynamics in the HD650, and depending on which one or what tubes you use you can also compensate for the timbre of the Focals sufficiently enough to remove the HD650 front foams and allow for their unrestricted performance.

    Also if I recall correctly others have mentioned the ZMF Aeolus as being similar to the HD650.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  2. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2019
    Likes Received:
    1,384
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Layla
    ZMF Verite or if you're okay with small relative staging Focal Clear at much cheaper price.
     
  3. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2020
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Unfortunately, I listened to the Focal Utopia last weekend and determined that they are too bright and fatiguing for my taste. From what I have read, the Mjolnir2 will only exacerbate that issue. Aside from the brightness, I did enjoy them, but no way would I pay $4k and probably not half that.

    Also listened to the Focal Clear and Focal Elear. They didn't "do anything" for me that would necessitate a purchase; I'd rather just listen to the HD650. In fact, I feel that way overall for the Utopia due to the harshness in the treble.

    Takeaways:
    • Listen to ZMF headphones
    • Get a balanced cable for the HD650 for the Mjolnir2
    • Consider modding the HD650
    I honestly thought someone would say to try the HD660s since I already like the HD650.

    Also thought someone might recommend the Meze Empyrean since they have a more pleasing sound signature for people who despise overly bright and harsh sound.

    I'd also consider the Abyss ab-1266 TC (mainly for focused listening sessions) and Hifiman Susvara (for all-day listening), though I'd have to snag a good used deal on one to purchase without listening first. I believe the Gungnir/Mjolnir2 combo should be good enough to drive the Susvara or Abyss.
     
  4. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    London, UK
    They’re considered a downgrade.

    Agreed, but there are ways to tame those issues. Using the oval layer of foam from a HD650 being the easiest way to do so.

    In what sense? They weren’t engaging, or they weren’t enough of an improvement in other areas. What about the HD650 would you like to improve upon?

    Planars are a very different sound to something like a HD650. If you can’t demo then get ahold of a used LCD-2C to get an idea of what they’re like. If you find the Utopia bright and fatiguing then the Abyss 1266 will unfortunately be an even worse experience, far worse. My ears are still scarred. The Mjolnir 2, using the balanced out, is one of your best in-production options for planars due to its high power output and being a tube hybrid. But planars tend to suck up all the current you can give them. For example I have hooked up the LCD-2C and Abyss 1266 to a 100wrms per channel Vidar and they opened up with improved dynamics and increased slam, especially the LCD-2C.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,677
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    :punk::D :bow: :D :punk:
     
  6. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Cheap, very cheap with basic DIY: buy HD650 cable, cut it and re-terminate with 4 pin
    A bit more DIY and a bit more expensive: Furutech connectors, Canare quad cable, Neutrik 4 pin
    No DIY and and probably the best cable, order from from them: https://forzaaudioworks.com/en/product.php?id_product=86
    You can select the type of the cable, I tried copper for my friend's 650s and he is happy. I tried those with my "new" HD560 Ovation and that improved things: a bit more bass elevation, and overall Ovation sounds less bright, which is good
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  7. Baten

    Baten Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,042
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    EU
    CustomCans also sells this for 35 quid. Fast shipping even to US/Intl. If the stock cable works fine for you, this balanced "stock" cable will, too. https://customcans.co.uk/s/s/index.php/hd600-entry-level-balanced-cable.html has a nice gold-plated Neutrik connector too, none of that Made in China XLR stuff.
     
  8. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,453
    Trophy Points:
    113
  9. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,237
    Trophy Points:
    113
    There was a theory that the B serial #s were the A2 variant, but I don't know if that was ever 100% confirmed.
     
  10. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,674
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Very likely A2. Though the B serial appears to be no guarantee, the timing aligns closely, if not exactly, with when people noticed the A2 change to the sound. Plus Marv put a capital “B” in “GumB-y” when he started hinting about it.
     
  11. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2020
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Baltimore
    In what way are the HD660s a downgrade from the HD650? Everything I have read and seen has said the opposite.

    I only spent ~5 mins listening to the Clear vs ~45 mins with the Utopia. My impression was that they sounded similar to the Utopia with my preference in the Utopia camp. They may be an upgrade over the HD650, and if I find some for ~$650 used, I may pick them up to give them a more serious listen.

    Although the Utopia sounded great overall (again, I'm picky about brightness), it wasn't such an upgrade over the HD650 that I am excited to spend 15x (used) or 30x (new) what the HD650 are worth. If I loved every aspect of them, sure, but I'd like to listen to other options before spending that kind of money.

    I did listen to the LCD-2c but only for a few minutes. I was mainly put off by their heavy weight. I also preferred the sound from the Utopia, but again I only spent a few mins with them and can't comment on all aspects such as tonal signature, soundstage, imaging, detail retrieval, speed, etc.

    Ordered the Forza cable. Thanks for the recommendation!
     
  12. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    I will also agree the 660s is a downgrade to the 650 in most ways. However, I will go against the grain here and say that if you could only have 1 headphone, then I would maybe consider a 660s over the 650. 650 is a good complement to other headphones but with it's well documented and known strengths and weaknesses. 660s is maybe a little more balanced in more categories but if you add up the total points in a point rating system the total score would be lower than 650 to most experienced listeners. edit: 650 also scales much better with chain/gear than 660s.

    Another headphone I would consider as an only headphone but wouldn't fit into a multi-headphone lineup (per my chain, preferences, etc) is the HFM Arya. That and HFM infamous build quality and durability + near useless warranty.

    Lastly IMO HD650 actually has a very good stock cable (and relatively affordable too). I didn't notice as much of a difference when I upgraded cables (one of which is my forza copper cable) as I did with other headphones and cable upgrades. Forza cable was still worth it though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  13. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    Has anyone found any tube adapters they really like? None of the lets blow up my amp with crappy/shorted solder job or lots of extra noise $10-15 ebay specials.

    OR - does anyone have any 8 and 9 pin small bases (think 6922 family) they really like for DIY adapters?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  14. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    London, UK
    I haven’t heard them myself, I suggest you find the thread here. The lesser performance I would guess is due to the 150ohm vs 300ohm driver. Regarding opposing opinions you’ll need to listen to them for yourself first before we could have a meaningful conversation.

    Then you’re quite sane. I talked about the Utopia because that’s where my primary experience with the Focals are. Pricing is ludicrous for most high end headphones, at least the ones north of 1k. The HD650 mids are at the very top of the league at any price, and no planar I’ve spent time with can touch them there. However they are limited in treble and bass performance. If you feel they aren’t limited in those areas then I would stick with the HD650. If you do then try to spend some time with the other Focals, and ZMFs, to determine how much better they are to you vs their cost.

    I made some comments about them here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...c-great-expectations.5202/page-15#post-244868
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  15. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,713
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania
    https://www.tubemonger.com/Tubemonger_Accesories_s/78.htm

    I didn't have any problems using one in my MCTH (6922)
     
  16. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,136
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    I just received the AKG N30 that I ordered from Harman (They were 80% off and a gift for my S.O.) and I wanted to know if anyone had any good experiences with any MMCX bluetooth / wireless adapters? I think Shure, Fiio, and probably a few others have them, I just was curious if anyone had first hand experience or knows enough about them to suggest a pair.

    Thank you!

    P.S. - the stock cable on the N30 is cutting out from the factory and it is a bit too fancy and janky at the same time.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2020
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Verite open or closed?
     
  18. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4,479
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I preferred the open because it was airier. I don't like the sound of closed cans, but that's just me.
     
  19. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Likes Received:
    1,478
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NY
    Don't go for Empyrean, no doubt they are thick and warm but they are little shouty and bright as well due to high distortion. If Empyrean is in your budget range then go for ZMF Verite instead
     
  20. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2020
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Baltimore
    I'm generally of the same opinion. Saw Zeos' review of the closed Verite - "best closed cans" which brought them to my attention.

    I have been reading up on the Verite and am all but sold at this point. I'm checking SBAF & head-fi FS/Trade forums multiple times per day, but more than likely I'll end up ordering the Verite new and waiting the 5-10 weeks. I suspect a purchase will be made by next weekend either way...

    Poor folks at Gramophone are going to be so disappointed when I snub the Empyreans! Still going to give them a lengthy listen, of course!

    In the meantime, I'll suffer through listening to the HD650 with the newly acquired Forza AudioWorks cable, Mjolnir2 with newly acquired Telefunken ECC88 tubes, and Gungnir Multibit with an ample selection of FLAC on Amazon Music HD :headbang:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page