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Audeze CRBN


ilikebananafudge
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I've never once listened to the HD650 and thought, "You know what? I wish these had less treble energy above 4 kHz"

Still the technicalities of an electrostatic with a crowd-pleasing dynamic tuning could be really interesting... *me checks price*... to read about when someone else buys them.

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Looks like they've gotten so big, that people are considering getting into stats just because they are making one, while in the past years the trend looked like this: "electrostats are getting old these days, ribbon transducers, planars etc. are evolving and steaming ahead..."
I wonder if their next model is going to be cheaper or more expensive, I would have expected a heavier SR-009 tank-like build at this price (even though that is still plagued by issues)

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1 hour ago, catscratch said:

HD650 has a slight resonance around 5k together with a very small peak. But we're talking a few db at most.

Oh totally, I was mostly being facetious. But even then, a couple dB across several kHz is definitely in the audible range.

 

19 minutes ago, padam said:

I would have expected a heavier SR-009 tank-like build at this price (even though that is still plagued by issues)

Indeed! What struck me is that the specs claim these only weigh 300g. That's half the weight of the other mainstream Audeze. Do the magnets account for that much weight loss, or have they been able to trim a whole heap of fat from the frame and housing?

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3 minutes ago, Beefy said:

Oh totally, I was mostly being facetious. But even then, a couple dB across several kHz is definitely in the audible range.

And I'm being a pedantic prick so ignore me 😀

Regarding "progress..." If electrostats were really old these days, maybe some of these new planars and dynamics that came around as a result of this progress would actually sound better than the old electrostats. But that hasn't been the case in my experience. IMO this progress malarkey is just another FOTM, with the big revelation being - drumroll please - that "neutral" doesn't mean "bright as fuck!" Wow, we've come so far!

But, seeing more electrostatics, or cool new things like RAAL - and they've got a new circumaural headphone announced too - is actually interesting, and the more good headphones out there, the better. Besides somebody needs to light a fire under Stax's ass and what better way than actual competition. Maybe this way they'll stop making headphones with headbands that crack, ergonomics not designed for human heads, amps that are defective by design, or tuning that's best served as an advertisement for EQ plugins. And if not, well other people will make stats too.

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13 minutes ago, catscratch said:

And I'm being a pedantic prick so ignore me 😀

 

No, you make some great points. I completely agree with most of what you have to say.

Besides, I've always had a soft spot for pricks.

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I should be getting one of these to try out soon and can't wait.  It wasn't fun sitting out the press embargo...  😉  I would take those measurements with bags of salt given the amps used and the people doing the testing. 

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5 minutes ago, catscratch said:

Regarding "progress..." ...

I think that was one of the things that struck me when coming back from a long absence, that electrostats seem to have stood completely still, while planars and dynamics have come forward in leaps and bounds. I don't have enough experience to judge whether they have yet reached the heights of the best stats, but the different rates of progress are quite stark.

In any case, yeah, the more options and competition, the better.

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11 minutes ago, Beefy said:

Indeed! What struck me is that the specs claim these only weigh 300g. That's half the weight of the other mainstream Audeze. Do the magnets account for that much weight loss, or have they been able to trim a whole heap of fat from the frame and housing?

Support is also needed for the heavy magnets, adding yet more weight, explained here:
https://www.audeze.com/blogs/technology-and-innovation/notes-about-weight-clamping-force-and-earpad-materials

Considering the 4000$ price tag on a pair of LCD-4s, 4500$ doesn't seem to be far-fetched, considering there was probably a lot more development involved, but they might be gaining that back rather quickly.

18 minutes ago, catscratch said:

Besides somebody needs to light a fire under Stax's ass and what better way than actual competition. Maybe this way they'll stop making headphones with headbands that crack, ergonomics not designed for human heads, amps that are defective by design, or tuning that's best served as an advertisement for EQ plugins. And if not, well other people will make stats too.

Unless they start to loose ground on their home soil, I don't foresee Stax changing their approach and while other people have made stats, they haven't gotten that big on the field itself. A new flagship will be coming eventually, but I'm not sure what they are going to do with the rest, since the SR-007 Mk2 is by far the oldest (and arguably the best) product they make. With the amps, they just don't care too much since making nearly the same thing for more money seems to be the only way to make any form of profit on it unless they start getting those parts from elsewhere.

I wonder if it is actually worth it for Audeze to make a cheaper electrostat and start competing with their own products. Probably not worth the hassle and they will keep this line in this price category.

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Wait! Does this mean Audeze finally managed to make a headphone that doesn't make violins sound like violas?!

@Beefy: Re: “electrostats seem to have stood completely still, while planars and dynamics have come forward in leaps and bounds” — my observations from attending numerous (large) meets for several years before covid have been that no TOTL planar or dynamic beats my SR-007 (v2.5 I guess?) and Carbon combo. Not the Utopia, not the LCD-4, not the piece of shit Abyss, nothing Hifiman (haven't heard their $6k thing though), not the Meze Empyrean (though that thing is pure catnip for bassheads). They're nice, sure, and most have the advantage of not needing much of a specialized amp. But they're not nicer than the current-production 007 or the 1993 SR-Omega (which I don't have, alas, but have had the fortune to try once).

This opinion is unpopular on other forums. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Maybe this means there's a (local?) maximum in headphone quality, and various manufacturers are slowly reaching it.

@spritzer: What amps do you think the measurements are coming from?

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4 hours ago, Beefy said:

I think that was one of the things that struck me when coming back from a long absence, that electrostats seem to have stood completely still, while planars and dynamics have come forward in leaps and bounds. I don't have enough experience to judge whether they have yet reached the heights of the best stats, but the different rates of progress are quite stark.

In any case, yeah, the more options and competition, the better.

Oh, I think you could make the argument that the electrostatic market has gone backwards. Meanwhile, absolutely, there's a ton of movement and hype everywhere else. So if someone hasn't heard a top 'stat system, and has been keeping up with developments in planars and dynamics, then it's clear where the perception comes from.

But then you hear a good 'stat system and you understand.

This is why I'm moderately hyped about this - the 'stat market needs a good shakeup - but we'll see how it pans out. Looking forward to Spritzer's teardown! And if it's good, who knows... (looks at wallet) (wallet: why are you looking at me like that)

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The other planar-specialising brands that had their go at estats (Dan Clarke, HFM) have placed the bar rather low... and the prices of some headphones seem to be almost random at this point. Looking forward to spritzer's review.

Also, I'm not sure what's the medical enginuity part - aren't all headsets used in MRI essentially estats, because of the magnets involved? isn't that a decades old tech by now?

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There has only ever been one MRI designed electrostatic that I know of, the Koss ESP900 which is just a 950 with a closed housing.  I've heard that HE60's were used for this but never seen anything in the flesh, plus the HE60 headband is magnetic (plus the screws) so something had to be done about that. 

The MRI's I've been in all had sound pipes for the audio, simple tubes with the transducers elsewhere and sounded terrible. 

The Voce and the Hifiman units were indeed unfortunate.  The Voce is well built but sounds like crap (electrostatics are all about that vague sound and loose, uncontrolled bass... ;)) plus that stupid case they insisted on shipping with them.  Now the Hifiman Shangr-la jr. sounded good but that build quality and silly price makes it a solid miss. 

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2 hours ago, spritzer said:

There has only ever been one MRI designed electrostatic that I know of, the Koss ESP900 which is just a 950 with a closed housing.  I've heard that HE60's were used for this but never seen anything in the flesh, plus the HE60 headband is magnetic (plus the screws) so something had to be done about that. 

The MRI's I've been in all had sound pipes for the audio, simple tubes with the transducers elsewhere and sounded terrible.

 

OK. Working back on how I aquired this piece of knowledge, I suspect I've read this once about the ESP900, from which I assumed that all headphones used in MRIs are electrostatic, which was reinforced the one time I had MRI and I indeed was given headphones. Though I now realise it was a headphone connected to those tubes, essentially.

Audio hobbyist logic in action!! 😛

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I sincerely hope the sound signature (especially the treble) is a step up from from the LCD-4z which were far too “dark” for my ears (and I’m definitely not a lover of bright headphones).  Although looking at the frequency chart posted I have my doubts. 

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On 8/3/2021 at 12:29 AM, spritzer said:

I should be getting one of these to try out soon and can't wait.  It wasn't fun sitting out the press embargo...  😉  I would take those measurements with bags of salt given the amps used and the people doing the testing. 

Any idea when you will be receiving yours? Really curious to hear your opinion about it. 

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On 8/3/2021 at 12:29 AM, Beefy said:

I think that was one of the things that struck me when coming back from a long absence, that electrostats seem to have stood completely still, while planars and dynamics have come forward in leaps and bounds. I don't have enough experience to judge whether they have yet reached the heights of the best stats, but the different rates of progress are quite stark.

In any case, yeah, the more options and competition, the better.

A head hocho at Abyss mentioned in an interview that electrostats didnt have the same developmental potential. Having reached their zenith. I would guess the possibilities for technical improvement seemed better w magnets and planar elements and all the possible bio-waste and bacteria-puke and magnesium and wtf dynamics can be made from, but the CRBN is made using new technology. I dont have the technical competence to pretend to know how, and if nanotubes might up the game, but (let's say) atom-thick diaphragms sounds like the sound might sound like sound Sound does it not? 

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Thin membrane is not everything in electrostatic world. So I would love to hear them before making any judgment.

Good news they didn't try to develop their own plug's standard and used well known Stax style.

It would be also nice if their new headphones would kick Stax to start developing something better and new more quickly before I die .....

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7 hours ago, Pirx said:

It would be also nice if their new headphones would kick Stax to start developing something better and new more quickly before I die .....

Pretty sure they've been developing something for quite a while now, Edifier's representative gave a hint about an all-new Omega not long after the SR-009S was released, also mentioning the long product cycle of Stax. While there was only a 5-year gap between the SR-Omega and the SR-007, it took them 13 years to come out with the SR-009, so they will take their time.
In the meantime, there is plenty of time to prepare the wallet, I'm expecting a shockingly high price tag above SR-009S, which will keep on going.

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23 hours ago, Craylock said:

A head hocho at Abyss mentioned in an interview that electrostats didnt have the same developmental potential. Having reached their zenith. I would guess the possibilities for technical improvement seemed better w magnets and planar elements and all the possible bio-waste and bacteria-puke and magnesium and wtf dynamics can be made from, but the CRBN is made using new technology. I dont have the technical competence to pretend to know how, and if nanotubes might up the game, but (let's say) atom-thick diaphragms sounds like the sound might sound like sound Sound does it not? 

From what I have read the membranes are actually “normal” thickness somewhere between 1.5 to 2.2 microns and the graphene particles are embedded in the membrane material itself which is made of something entirely different. This cut and paste from an Audeze rep on the “other” site:

 

“CRBN's nano-tube infused film is between 1.5 - 2.2 microns, I can only provide a range not a specific number 

Also beyond a certain point it does not make much sense to chase thinness, air-loading starts to dominate, stability and robustness become more important. We have even tried 0.5 micron thin version...“

 

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