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High Rollers
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Posts posted by catscratch

  1. Word of mouth.

    I like it here more than head-fi so far, though I really don't know how far to take the whole "being honest" thing. If I give everyone exactly the earful and tongue-lashing that I think they should have, I'll come off as the biggest asshat ever. Even if I will be right let's conservatively say, 1/2 of the time. Every single time I see another "do you think I'll like [...]" or "I can't decide, make up my mind for me!" type post, I just want to yell out: "Grow a fucking pair and make up your own fucking mind, I'm not here to make you feel better about your own petty insecurities."

    But, so far I've kept quiet about it on head-fi (which is why I'm not banned yet) and I think I'll keep quiet about it here. So far, there hasn't been any need to, either.

    Sorry for the rant folks, but this is therapy. I can do it here, or in front of a shrink for $150 an hour. This is cheaper, and keeps me sane longer, though arguably it may be too late for that.

  2. I solved the A250's bass problems by using an old very soupy sounding tube amp with overblown bass (MG Head OTL Mk 1, stock tubes). It balances out my very bright pair of K340's and it does the same thing on the A250.

    Now, I don't like the A250, I think the mids are unnatural and the highs pierce your ears, but the bass on this combo is terrific. It's easily the A250's strongest suit, but you do need an appropriate system to bring it out.

  3. Just how loud is loud listening for you, I find that if you crank the volume up, to a level that i personally wouldn't listen at, the frequency response changes, the highs become too bright, probably because the tweeter driver is more sensitive. And the mid-bass does start to boom. Possibly a standing wave resonance, or a factor to do with the housing.

    Um... I have no SPL meter and I don't have much of a sense for what volume equals what dB in the first place so I can't really tell you how loud it is. It's basically the minimum volume you need for the sound to really open up and bloom. This is, of course, system dependent, and in the current H2 setup it's also quite a bit higher than what I would be comfortable with on a long-term basis. In my listening comparison I tried to match the SPL between the H2 and HD600, but the HD600 seemed to bloom before the H2 did. This is most likely due to the more recessed midrange on the H2 in my current setup.

    This, incidentally, is another knock against the K340, which you also noted. It needs a lot of volume to really come alive. Though mine is the bass-light version, which sounds very much like a better, more linear and more coherent SR-404.

  4. In terms of fit - I think I am wearing it much like Duggeh, resting lightly on the head with most of the support coming from the headband. The pads are basically there to keep the thing from sliding around all over the place, and they don't do the job very well. My ears are flush against the cloth mesh surrounding the drivers.

    It's not an uncomfortable fit per se. It's certainly not painful like the SR-001 can be. But, it's very loose and sloppy, and given how incredibly sensitive the H2 is to position on the head, it simply needs to have a tight, grippy, clampy fit that locks it securely into the position that it needs to be in. Otherwise, I forsee lots of disagreement in listening impressions based on the positioning alone. Of course, the flip side of that is that one fit may not necessarily work for all, and this is infinitely more adjustable. Still, it just doesn't have anywhere near the feel of a finished commercial product.

    The housing may not be any worse than the SR-404, but the SR-404's housing sucks. Balls. It's not exactly the best basis for comparison.

  5. You say that it sounds like garbage out of your garbage gear. Its entirely possible that there's something about the sound you simply don't like. What specifically is it that sounds garbage? Until we ascertain the answer to this question I think it best that you hold off on throwing more money at them, unless you're using this as a double opportunity to upgrade your amp for your speaker rig fo course.

    I'm exhausted beyond the capacity for rational thought, so bear with me here...

    I have just done some listening. I compared the H2 driven by my rubbish gear (Denon PRA-1500 pre, Onkyo M-504 160wpc arc welder and Monster cables) sourced from my trusty Rega Planet 2000 to my transportable rig - HD600 driven by the Hornet out of a MicroDAC, 1s and 0s coming from a Sony D-NE920's optical output.

    The H2 suffers from an uneven tonal balance. The highs are very crisped and very bright, the midrange seems to be recessed, and the bass seems to be somewhat overblown in the midbass and upper bass region. The HD600 is much more linear, though it doesn't extend as far in the bass or in the highs. However, I should point out that the M-504 is known for its toasty highs and general frequency response nastiness.

    The H2 seems to be lacking definition. I would compare listening to the H2 after listening to the HD600 to looking at a focused image, and then getting it out of focus. Everything is just blurred, and sonic images have a lot less definition. This is most evident in the midrange - vocals aren't localized with any kind of accuracy but sort of occupy a formless space at the center of the soundstage. At the same time, the soundstage is much bigger with the H2 than it is with the HD600. This is definitely not good news - if the HD600 is beating you in imaging, you have problems. But, I should also point out that the Onkyo amp is also known for collapsing the soundstage in a recording, and I'm guessing at least some of the imaging problems are caused by this.

    The H2 also seems to be lacking in dynamic range. Everything is either uniformly quiet or uniformly loud. It doesn't seem to be strained for power during loud build-ups and swells, but the difference between these build-ups and the quieter moments isn't as pronounced as it is on the HD600 rig. Everything on the HD600 just seems to have more power, and is a lot more vibrant. The presentation is vivid and alive, whereas the H2 seems somewhat squished.

    Tone and tembre seem to be handled well by the H2 in this rig, but texture isn't. This gives everything a sort of crystalline quality, quite pretty but also unrealistic. The HD600 is more accurate in this regard.

    At the same time, the H2 is definitely the faster transducer, and not by a small margin. This leads me to believe that the veiling/blurring effect that I hear is upstream, and not a product of the transducer itself. It is also more impactful, and much more extended in either direction.

    I also hear a rattle in the left driver during bass-heavy passages. I am not a low-volume listener, I like to crank it, and a lot of my music is very bass-heavy. So, if this persists, it will be a deal-breaker for me.

    I am hearing a great deal of potential here - if we could just focus the sound a bit more, give the headphones a much clearer and more resolving signal path, give it some more punch and dynamic range, and take care of the FR irregularities, we could have a seriously wonderful sounding rig. Specifically, it seems to me that the H2 should be capable of conveying incredible amounts of spatial information. In fact, with some recordings, even on this rig, it throws a truly incredible 3-d soundstage that is full of depth cues and nearly holographic imaging - but only with a select few recordings. Which, unfortunately, I can't find right now, so I have no clue if the HD600 would do it better.


    In terms of amping - I can't afford the BH at the new $4.5k price tag, so that's out of the question. The most I have for spending on an amp is $2k, and I want to put a K1000 rig together as well (and fast) so realistically it's more like $1k. At this price, I don't think I'm going to get anything stellar, so I might as well wait it out and see what comes of the direct-drive H2 amp project. But in the meanwhile, it would be great to find a nice tube integrated that can power the H2 as well as the K1k decently well. Hence my useless posts here ;)

    If only I liked solid state more, I'd have more options.

    This looks tempting (Dared MP-15):


    That's not an amp, that's just pornography...

  6. As it was, I'm kind of glad as I think the H2 is still too much of a work in progress at the moment. Continual revisions are occuring and the difficulty of matching it to amps is certainly a problem.

    When they figure it out I'm sure it'll sound fantastic.

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. The H2 is not ready for prime time. The poor fit and housing construction alone attest to that. If this was a cheap ebay knock-off that had serious sound potential then I'd overlook that, but this is a $1500 product. For that money, the problems that the H2 is having simply should not exist. We're paying to beta-test a product, and in an ideal world we should get a finalized market version for free after having done TakeT's work for them.

    Having said that, I do believe there is enormous sonic potential here. The drivers are fast as a 'stat but displace a lot more air. They don't have the wispy, insubstantial quality but are still really transparent and very open and airy.

    I can't wait to hear this thing driven right.

  7. I'd love to try things out personally but it's just too much of a hassle right now. Work full time + school = GG personal time. I haven't made it out to a meet in hell knows how long.

    I think my best bet is to get something from a place that doesn't have a draconian return policy, and see if I like it. I just want to narrow down the hopefuls as much as possible before I start, hence me asking for advice. And just about any major online publication that I've come across has been pretty useless in giving me any kind of relevant suggestions.

    Also, I do have fairly high hopes for this piece, simply because it's a lot faster than a dynamic and a lot more impactful than a 'stat. I always feel that dynamics lack speed and electrostatics can't convincingly portray tactile impact and feel artificial even though the sonic component of their presentation is sublime. On paper, then, this does look like the answer, but as the wise man said - in theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're different...

    Checking out the Dared MP5 right now.

  8. Gents,

    So, I bought into the H2 hype and have a shiny new one lying around. The thing is, it sounds like garbage out of my garbage gear. I am guessing that it's just being honest and revealing, so I will give it a chance with something decent behind it. At the moment, though, I have NO bloody clue as to what that something decent should be. I am also disadvantaged by not having bottomless pockets. So, I figured I'd ask your penultimate wisdom since head-fi hasn't produced anything satisfactory.

    I need a speaker amp. It has got to put out 10wpc minimum into a 16 ohm load, which is what the transformer box is (I think? Well scratch that, I don't think). It needs to be neutral, since what I'm hearing is that the H2 has a rather neutral tonal balance but amplifies signal path defects considerably. It should be smooth, and it should be resolving, since the H2 does sound like it has the potential to be incredibly detailed, and incredibly full of spatial information.

    I have a Rega Planet 2000 as a source. I like the sound, so I will keep it for a while even though it doesn't quite have the resolution the H2 needs.

    I've got about $1k to spend, but I can push it up to $2k if I need to. The thing is, there are dedicated amps for the H2 coming on the horizon, so I guess that getting something expensive now when there are dedicated amp options in the future is pretty pointless. And, it has been noted by others that the transformer box does hurt the sound quality.

    I also vastly prefer the sound of tubes over solid state. I'm totally addicted to the saturated tone color tubes give you. However, I also can't stand the bloated bass that a lot of lousy tube gear gives you. So, just as a point of reference, the HD600 may very well be my favorite dynamic headphone, but I can't stand the HD650 because of the bloated bass.

    So, what are my options?

    The Jolida 302B is in the price range, but is it a piece of junk or can you actually make a tube integrated for $1k sound good? I heard good things about modded ones but I can't tell my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to DIY, so modding things myself is not an option.

    What should I take a look at? Where should I get it from?

    I'm really in the dark, and no wiser for having spent hours looking it up. I don't know which sources of information are objective enough to give me actual good amp advice, and I simply don't have the option of going to meets, heading out to hi-fi stores, and listening to countless gear.

    Hence, I'm here at the oracle hoping for divine enlightenment...

    I'm not expecting brilliance for $1k, or $2k even, but I would like something that's nice and musical and synergistic enough with the more or less neutral H2 to make me content until dedicated H2 amps come along (or until I realize that the H2 is rubbish and move on to something else).


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