Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
spritzer

Phenomenon Libratum

21 posts in this topic

DSC_0123.thumb.jpg.567af82ad556672f28793fcbdf8b25cd.jpg

Now here is something fun... a new electrostatic set from Russia.  :) I do read the Russian forums a bit and I've been following the semi-DIY stuff going on over there.  Seeing that this one had matured I decided buy one.  Here is the website for anybody interested:  http://phenomenon.su/ I ordered it directly and this set was custom made for me.  They have two versions available and I picked the Libratum as I prefer circular transducers.  Cost was less than 2k$ with shipping here.  

DSC_0121.thumb.jpg.1b2dce74df5b055c5b3448440063237c.jpg

As you might tell from the pics, the build quality is super impressive and makes most other headphones look like toys.  I for one like the Russian utilitarian style where it is all about the function but they can just be described as pretty.  Comfort is also pretty good though the non adjustable headpad might be a tad shorter as it touches the arc for me and the hard metal pokes through it.  The earpads are super nice, thick leather and attach to the baffle with magnets.  The phones are heavy but not a problem for me.  Smaller heads might have some issue here as adjustment is limited.  

DSC_0125.thumb.jpg.6b28a434c142fedb874f1f3a4d8917b4.jpg

So an overview of the design, these are copper mesh stators attached to pcb's with PCB material holding the diaphragm in place.  Not sure how thick it is but it might be 2um as the top end is slightly rolled off.  I ordered the set with dust covers on both sides but these are just woven material and caused some issues.  The resistance on the diaphragm is high so they take a while to charge up but this is something I'll likely improve.  More on that later...  The housing a single piece with the driver all the way at the back and a thick baffle next to the ear.  The screws on the outside go all the way through the set and have heatshrink on them or the drivers might short out.  Small nuts hold them underneath the earpads.  Take those all out and you can pull the baffle out of the shell to expose the drivers.  Thankfully there was adhesive here so I could add solid dust covers with ease.  Any claims that these "reduce clarity" are just nonsense.  There was another adhesive ring on the back of the driver so I added a second cover there but forgot to take a picture of it.  

DSC_0131.thumb.jpg.e7e57f5888c050663c682578dc24b813.jpg

DSC_0132.thumb.jpg.0af8e06bd57cf1f2a0bf8863c16a0e52.jpg

So how about the sound...well first off the major issue I had with the set.  So this thing uses a super high resistance coating on the diaphragm which shouldn't be an issue but it isn't hydrophobic...i.e. it changes with humidity.  Now this with the lack of a solid dust cover next to the ear is just trouble.  The volume level of the set drifted like mad with use as the humidity next to the ears affected the charge.  It got so bad that it just went into a mess of distortion.  Leave them sitting on their own for a while and the volume would rise again.  Simple solution to that...add a solid screen between the ear and the diaphragm so the humidity there isn't an issue.  

I will likely clean off the diaphragm in the future and add my own coating as it is simply superior to this.  Another small gripe I have with the design is the cable.  Well it is a Stax extension cable which is excellent but there is no strain relief at all.  The cable is firmly anchored in place but it could use some heatshrink or something to take the strain.  

Now for the sound...well after a number of small scale 'stats I've had here over the years this is a welcome change.  This is nothing like the King Sound or HE Audio Jade which were both badly made garbage and sound like lukewarm shit.  While these aren't going to topple the 007's it's a damn good try using similar design elements.  The sound is super balanced but just a tad rolled off in the top and bottom end.  Bass lacks some impact and substance too but nothing to worry about really.  The midrange is super nice but slightly "lost" as with the SR-Omega and HE90's.  This ties into the soundstage which is projected slightly front of the head and is just a little bit hazy.  They lack the super focus of something like the SR-007 but for some that would be a welcome change.  

 

 

 

DSC_0129.jpg

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I love the look. It's like an Omega on steroids.

Keep us posted on future tweaks Birgir.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Those look more like DIY headphones to me.

Edited by chinsettawong
Change wordings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are better built than KingSound so DIY is a gray area...  ;) 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, they look a bit DIYish, but not worse than any Grado or Hifiman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

actually chinsettawong's hand built things have better looking drivers

I just shipped birgir a latest set of kingsound garbage, why he buys this crap, no idea

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The HE90 drivers I have here from Chinsettawong are just stunning.  :)  I need to make up a housing for those one day... 

As for the King Sound...it's been established that I have problem with collecting.  ;)  It's so nice though when something actually works as it should.  Now the Libratum has had some diaphragm work and well... they sound excellent.  They do remind me a bit of the SR-Omega at times, that slightly larger than life nature which works so well with some material. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Thank you Kevin and Birgir for your kind words.  I'm so glad to hear.  :wub:

 

 

Edited by chinsettawong
Correct spelling.
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the name of this headphone sounds like a medical term for a vaginal birth defect?

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

According to Google Translate, it means balanced phenomenon in Latin.....

Edited by wink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a listen to Libratum for two days in my home,the sound is very flat,it's like a electrostatic version of HD-800. Huge improvement achieved when changing original pads to SR-009 pads much more open and even more balanced.Charge time at least 20-30 min to sound best.The sound is closer to original Omega than 007.It isn't as liquid as 007 but has more control overall,the Libratum has a monitor like presentation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The charging time of 20-30 mins can be a real problem.  With a good coating, the diaphragms should charge up instantaneously.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, chinsettawong said:

The charging time of 20-30 mins can be a real problem.  With a good coating, the diaphragms should charge up instantaneously.

 

Possibly a very high impedance coating?  The original Quad ESL had an extremely high impedance coating and hence took a while to charge up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, stator said:

the sound is very flat,it's like a electrostatic version of HD-800

HD800 is anything but flat sounding. That treble is outpeaked only by Beyer T1.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, chinsettawong said:

The charging time of 20-30 mins can be a real problem.  With a good coating, the diaphragms should charge up instantaneously.

I agree, major charge issues here.  The builder claimed I was wrong about this but...no!!  So if the volume changes you are loosing charge...you don't have constant charge so hello distortion.  Basic fact about electrostatics, constant charge is a must have and the only way to achieve lowest distortion. 

I'm going to take the drivers apart and recoat the diaphragm with my own coating but the structure is so fragile that I'm hesitant to do so.  It is basically super thin PCB material and the real structure comes from the stator supports and the entire housing. 

The builder also claimed I was wrong to add dust covers as it "kills dynamics".   How about no...dust covers when properly done have no impact or might just marginally add to the baffle seal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, spritzer said:

The builder also claimed I was wrong to add dust covers as it "kills dynamics".

It should be trivial to measure the acoustic impact of an obstructive material. Your dust cover should be invisible acoustically, from what I can see. The worst it can do would be rattling, which is trivial to detect and rectify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, rattling could be a issue but not here.  There is this myth floating around about electrostatics that the dust covers somehow make drivers less transparent but...no basis in reality.  Hell if this was true the Martin Logan's should sound great and not shitty as they do...  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Well, if the dust covers are not done right, they can affect the sound.  In the early days, I made my dust covers as tight as the diaphragm, and those indeed affected the sound, especially the bass.  On the newer headphones I make, I crumple the Mylar and only give it a light stretch to make the dust covers.  And they don't make any difference in sound.

I happen to own a pair of Martin Logan.  I feel that the integration of their ESL and the subwoofer is not that great.  I very much perfer my DIY Full range ESL.

Edited by chinsettawong
Correct spelling.
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah and the proof is indeed in the pudding.  We've tried it both ways and know this "less transparent" malarkey is just crap.  :) 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bunch of malarkey.gif

Malarkey.gif

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2017 at 3:52 PM, JimL said:

The original Quad ESL had an extremely high impedance coating and hence took a while to charge up.

Yes indeed it did. Took an hour or more to reliably charge. I actually wired the same neon flasher circuit that is in the ESL63 to monitor charging current/leakage. Visible through the rear grille. Once it was down to one flash per second or so the films were charged and leakage was confirmed as very small.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0