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Posts posted by catscratch

  1. L700 Mk2 impressions based on less than an hour of ownership:

    First of all, the fit is very much improved. The Mk1 had an idiotic design where the top of the earcup couldn't swivel outwards far enough, and it ended up putting too much pressure on the top of the earpad while the bottom wouldn't even seal properly on some people. The Mk2 has a different y-fork, yoke, whatever you want to call it, which is bent inwards and lets the earcups swivel more, and as suspected it creates a better fit. There's still  a bit too much pressure on the temples but it's tolerable and at least it seals. And hopefully we'll have no more flimsy plastic pieces breaking. So, it's a step in the right direction.

    Those same words can apply to the sound too. The overall tuning seems warmer, tighter, and more focused. I had to EQ the treble down on the Mk1 to make it tolerable, but the Mk2 so far doesn't need it. It's also less diffuse and overly ethereal, more focused and defined, and the bass doesn't have the big midbass bump anymore and is tighter. About the only complaint I have is that the midrange weirdness from the old version is still there, and vocal tonality just sounds off. But a small dip in the EQ around 1.2khz seems to reduce this, so whatever problem is going on seems to be somewhere around 1-1.5khz. The presence region also sounds a bit recessed, kinda like the SR-007 but not to the same extent.

    Overall, it's definitely better. Sounds a bit more normal, more like vintage Stax and less like bright, alien modern day Stax - but not totally fixed yet.

    • Like 3
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  2. Diabotical is out on the Epic game store. I'm surprised, I would have thought they'd take longer to get it finished, but it's out. If you've ever wanted to get into a Quake-style game, now's the chance, before everybody spends another 20 years practicing. It's also free, though with cosmetic microtransactions (boo!).

    Game seems very well made. A little derivative, but aside from Quake Champions there really hasn't been much innovation in the genre, and Quake Champions is cheaply made and kinda crap imo, no matter how interesting the core design is. I guess outsourcing the game to a third-rate studio instead of developing in-house at id didn't really work out.

    Diabotical is most definitely not crap, it's very well made and seems full of smart little touches everywhere. Will it work? Are people gonna play it? Is it the last silent hurrah of an already dead genre? Who knows, but you can't argue with free, so try it out. I think if Epic pushes it, and puts some money into advertising, it might have a chance, the core gameplay is basically Quake and there's little else like it.

    ... aside from Warsow, and Reflex, and Xonotic, and Doombringer, and all those other very well made, mostly free Quake-style games that NOBODY freaking plays

  3. Bummer. No problems on mine so far (I've had it over half a year now), and no problems on my Clear either which I had since 2017 and which has been used daily. But I did have an Elex with a failure at the cable connector on the right earcup. I can't blame the headphones too much since there was a lot of strain being put on that connector and eventually it let go. I've gathered that it's a common weak point with them, so if you've got an Elex, don't yank on the cables!

  4. Honestly I just use the HD650 something like 95% of the time. It's like mom's chicken noodle soup, or a pair of old fuzzy slippers, headphone comfort food that won't knock your socks off but is just pleasant and relaxing and nice, without doing much of anything wrong. These days, with so much crap going on in my life and outside of it, that's pretty much all I'm looking for most of the time. And the FR is damn near perfect.

    Other headphones are the Stax L700, which has some faults but is just so damn musical, the Utopia, which sounds great but is a bit fatiguing so I might ditch it, and the SR-007. The latter won't fit my head properly, I more or less have to hold the earcups in place so it gets next to no use, but damn it sounds great when everything works out. If only Stax updated the ergonomics...

    On the move I use the Westone UM Pro 50, for similar reasons to the HD650, though I do EQ it a bit. But then again I EQ everything.

    Might get some RAALs at some point, but have concerns over brightness/fatigue.

    I'm not very bright, and neither should be my headphones!

    • Like 4
  5. Didn't realize they were SonarWorks and you were with them - nice! Would have looked up myself otherwise. Thanks for linking.

    I sanity check measurements too, by using a test tone generator to listen to the FR by ear. However that method is a bit flawed in that the brain adjusts incredibly quickly to gradual changes in volume, so it's mainly useful for hearing sudden peaks and dips, the rest you have to train yourself to hear. But it's better than nothing and faster too.

  6. RudeWolf - where are these measurements from? Do you know what system they were done on? And is there an HD650 measurement from that system? Thanks.

    Regarding pricing, I'd look for an open box special, which will often be well under $3k. These are still covered by the factory warranty. There are also lots of them floating around on the used market sometimes for under $2k but of course buying used is always a risk.

  7. I had an ESP950 and it had issues right from the start. I should probably send it back to get fixed but haven't gotten around to it. In either case, they don't have dust covers and I have a German Shepherd, and I really don't think that's gonna work out. But I do use the L700 fairly frequently.

  8. I also made the jump from the Clear to the Utopia.

    The Utopia is a little leaner and colder, has a few db less bass and a bit more treble but is still roughly within the boundaries of neutral. It is noticeably more resolving than the Clear, has a bigger stage especially when it comes to height and depth, and in the treble there is more 6khz peak but less 11khz peak. The microdynamics are also better on the Utopia, the Clear felt like it compressed things a little bit (though it had terrific slam) while the Utopia is more nuanced. I do think the Clear is better balanced and a bit better in terms of tone, but the Utopia is noticeably more resolving. At the end of the day, a fair price for the Utopia would have been around $2k and for the Clear around 1k, at least in terms of sound quality, so they're both quite overpriced to my ears but the Utopia does perform technically better overall.

    I will probably get rid of mine soon, though. It's fatiguing (the Clear was too) and I tend not to listen to it very much because of that. Granted, I haven't done any serious component swapping to try and find the perfect synergy, but I'd rather find a headphone I enjoy with no caveats and build on that. Well, I have one, it's called the HD650, but I want to find something that resolves at the flagship levels while having similar qualities. The Focals are close... but no cigar.

    I'm not sure what to replace it with though. The Audezes have the wrong FR and unit to unit variation, and I don't really feel like playing roulette with $4k headphones. The Raals are intriguing, but I've heard fatigue is an issue too. The Stax SR-007 just doesn't fit my head properly. The SR-009 very much has the wrong tuning. Hifimans... yeah... no. So I'm kinda stuck.


    students of history know, Utopia never really works out!

  9. I hope they change the freaking headband. The 007 Mk2 is one of the few headphones I straight up cannot wear. The self-adjusting headband strap is too tight and keeps pulling them out of place, and there is absolutely no articulation on the earcups at all, so they're never exactly right. Since the 007 is so fit dependent, I have to pretty much hold the earcups in place. Yeah, the 007 still sounds very good (modded, tweaked, etc) but if you can't use it, what use is it?

    Stax have a LOT of work ahead of them, and so far all we've seen is lackluster amps at twice the price they should be.

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  10. As well you should be.

    There's a bit of a retro indie shooter kick going on right now. Dusk, Amid Evil, Ion Fury, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, probably a few more than I can't remember, all getting a decent amount of attention. I guess the success of Doom and Doom Eternal gave people hope that the old school shooter isn't completely dead. I hope Diabotical does the same thing for multiplayer, but not holding my breath for that one... Quake Champs failed, though that had more to do with it being a mess of a game rather than the genre being dead imo. But, you know... Bethesda. Sigh.

    On the note of Bethesda and Doom, I was having a pretty good time in the original Doom, playing on Nightmare. But a few days after I came back to it, I noticed that the game had reverted my save to the easiest difficulty for some reason and there was no way to set it back. It also marked my game as being in devmode and disabled achievements. Ok, I said, cool, let me reinstall the game and see what happens - same thing. Apparently there's some sort of anticheat for people who enable certain variables in console, and the game occasionally glitches out and thinks you're doing that when you're not. And they never bothered fixing it even though it was known about for 4 years.

    Fine, so be it Bethesda. I would have liked giving you 60 dollars for Doom Eternal, but, you know... I'll pass.

  11. Dusk is pretty great. I don't know why I never played through it when it came out, but I finally played it now.

    It starts off a bit like a Quake clone - a very slick and polished Quake clone but a clone nevertheless - but it doesn't stay that way. The feel of the game really changes as you get further into it, and it feels more inspired by the atmosphere of immersive sims like Thief and System Shock, and occasionally horror games like Amnesia. The level design has clearly learned some tricks from Half Life and Portal, and plays with verticality and sense of scale quite a lot. Above it all, the game feels almost like an exercise in narration that uses old-school FPS mechanics but is much more about what it makes you feel. Considering that the developer has a history of making atmospheric horror games, I'm not surprised.

    Don't let the low-fi primitive graphics fool you, there is nothing primitive about this game.

    Oh, and of course it has a movement system. Simplified, not quite full-on Quakeworld/CPM but at least it's there.

    Highly recommended.

    • Like 3
  12. Sorry, I read Voltron's first post, but not his second. I was reacting to that alone.

    If we're gonna talk politics, you can chalk me up for thinking both of them are horrible. I used to be a Democrat, but the party's recent behavior has made me question that. At the same time, my values haven't changed - even though a lot of the party's values clearly have - and I'm not a Republican either. So I'm politically homeless, more or less. But I am absolutely appalled and disgusted by the mainstream media's handling of the political landscape even more than I am by the behavior of either party. I get why, confirmation bias sells and in the modern media landscape everybody with a smartphone is now a pundit, so they have to go with what works in getting any signal heard above the noise. But the whole ecosystem is extraordinarily destructive, runaway trains operating on their own momentum with nobody at the helm, and nobody to look out for who and what gets run over on the way to nobody knows where.

    I don't know what I'll do in November.

    But Knucks has been doing a great job curating his posts and they're one of the few things I look forward to in my day. Not asking him to change a thing.

    • Like 3
  13. I'd rather Knucks posted whatever he wanted, regardless of whom it helps or hurts politically. Yes, some of the political stuff irritates me, but I don't think what's posted in this thread will sway a voter one way or another and it's relevance is only to make us laugh. Posting anti-Biden memes here will have no bearing on the election whatsoever.

  14. Been following this one closely. Right now there are reports of the headband lacking enough extension for us coneheads so I'm waiting for them to update it, which they said they would. There also have been some reviews of them with preliminary measurements, worth a look though as always, well salted.

    The question, of course, is do I actually need them, and are they any better than what I have already.

    of course I need them, what kind of a dumbass question is that anyway

    • Haha 1
  15. Thanks! Yes, MiniDSP Ears is notoriously unreliable in the highs, and HPN comp doesn't really line up with what I hear either. But they're still useful as a comparative tool. Is the dip at 5khz really there or just a measurement artifact?

  16. There's no way the L700 is better than the 007, at least in my experience. The L700 sounds more artificial and "off" at least in terms of midrange tone, whereas the 007 sounds more natural and is better in nearly every technical aspect. The issue with the 007 is that it's one of the least user-friendly headphones out there, hard to amp, very fit dependent, self-adjusting headband system that's awkward and keeps pulling the headphones out of position, modding required for the Mk2 models, etc etc. The 007 has the potential to sound really bad in the wrong system whereas the L700 generally sounds similar from system to system. But the 007 will scale and leave the L700 well behind. In regards to the 007 being too dark or too laid-back - just EQ 2-6khz up a little bit and problem solved. You need an amp with plenty of headroom though.

    There are reasons to fix the L700 Mk1. My broken yoke on one side is one. It's a good thing the new ones are metal. Also, the earcups have little tabs on them that prevent the top of the earcup from swiveling outwards far enough, putting too much pressure on the top of the earpad, and not enough on the bottom. It's an asinine design, and I'm guessing the extra bend in the yokes in the Mk2 is there for that reason. It would have been smarter still to delete the tabs entirely.

    Granted, the L700 is still rather good. Very punchy and dynamic, with a very 3D and holographic stage. The latter is probably the best aspect of it, that and the general forwardness of the presentation. But the 007 it ain't.

    RE: ES1a - interesting, and I'll put it on my radar. Maybe if impressions keep being positive (and I want to see some more comparative measurements) I might pick one up later down the line. Lots of other things to get to first.

    • Thanks 3
  17. There was talk about the Clear in the Utopia thread. The Clear is what got me to buy the Utopia in the first place - it has fantastic tonal balance, excellent punch and dynamics, and a very airy and open sound overall.

    What eventually made me move on are the annoying peaks at 6 and 11khz which made the treble a bit shrill, and the fact that I'm used to Stax and the Clear just didn't quite have the resolution, whereas the Utopia does. It's not a huge difference though, and the Clear does get you most of the Utopia, with better tonal balance, for less.

    I think $1k is the right price for them, I wouldn't pay $1500 especially seeing how used Utopias can be had for under $2k these days.

    Even though there are things that annoy me about the Clear and the Utopia both, they're actually quite close to my ideal sounding headphones. They just need more linear, less metallic highs, and maybe a bit more soundstage width. That's about it honestly. Having said that, I still use the HD650 way more than either.

  18. On 12/11/2019 at 5:06 PM, CD44hi said:

    Thanks for all the recommendations.
    Appreciated the help. Cheers. I guess i am slow at taking a hint, eh? :)

    I'd help if I knew anything about it, but I don't. PC only. I'm guessing Nintendo Switch might have the most flexibility for how it's used given that it doubles as a portable but I don't know what it has for kid-friendly games.

    Speaking of games, I've been on Grim Dawn kick lately. It's a Diablo-style action RPG (and it has some former Blizzard North people behind it), and it does capture the dark post-apocalyptic fantasy feel of Diablo very nicely. However, whereas Blizzard has been doing its best to streamline and simplify all of its games lately, Grim Dawn... sort of goes in the other direction. It's a huge game with an incredible amount of variety in character creation and layers upon layers of mechanics. It's got lots of depth to geek out over and is a great game overall. And no annoying microtransactions or AAA bullshit anywhere.

    • Like 1
  19. 33 minutes ago, purk said:

    I owned the Utopia for a year before selling it.  I love nearly everything about especially how dynamic sounding it was, but the size of the soundstage really bother me at the end and decided to go back to the SDR mod HD800.  YMMV.

    Yes, the dynamics are exceptional, as is the midrange resolution and just the openness and transparency of the midrange in general. The problem for me is not so much the soundstage but the peaks in the highs and the slight bit of metallic coloration to the sound. A few years ago I had a flu that permanently damaged my inner ear and left me far more sensitive to treble peaks at certain frequencies, and it's become an issue of outright usability just as much as preference. But the Utopia is far from the worst offender in that regard, and with just a touch of EQ in places it's very usable. More so than the Clear was.

    I'm looking for Sennheiser HD6X0 tuning with Stax-like technicalities, and this is honestly not that far off. Hopefully with some tweaks I'll get there.

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