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There's Something Disturbing About Ultrasone...


postjack
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So I bought a pair of Edition 9s. :o I've heard nothing but bad things about these cans from folks whose ears I trust, and nothing but good things from those with whom I don't seem to share any of the same sonic preferences, the sole exception being MaLoS, who I've spoken with about the W5000, which we both like. But when I saw a pair pop up for sale at a price I knew I could flip it for, my curiousity got the best of me, and I hit the paypal button.

I was going to keep the purchase secret while I had a chance to do some more critical listening, but I figured jpak's spies would find out soon enough and call me out as a closet Ultrasone lover. I'm at work right now, but we are super slow, so I figured I'd take the time to share my impressions from listening last night.

The headphones have approximately 375 hours of play time on them, just one full earth's rotation away from the magical burn-in crescendo of 400 hours.

Build Quality: No doubt, the Edition 9's are impressive looking and feeling phones. They have a decent heft to them (think a little less heavy then the HP2), and the housing is shiny and cool to the touch, however, it picks up fingerprints very easily (but they are just as easily wiped away). The leather on the pads and on the pad underneath the headband is extremely soft. The weak point in the Edition 9 is the cable, which seriously looks like the HD580/HD600 cable, very thin and unimpressive. The can screams out for recabling.

Comfort: The cans are fairly comfortable, I'd say 3.5/5 on the five star comfort scale. Keep in mind my head is of the larger variety (as I've said many times before, I can't even really effectively use the K701, the bottoms of the cups raise up the bottoms of my ears). The Ed. 9 uses some kind of weird fitting mechanism, whereby the top of the headband pushes down on the top of the head, while the earcups clamp over the ears. At first the headband pressure gave me horrible memories of the K701 painful strap of doom, but my fears were quickly allayed; the soft leather pad under the headband feels quite pleasant, and indeed I forget all about it while I'm listening to music. I've heard stories about intense clamping pressure, but I experience none of this, possibly because one of the two previous owners (jmcjammasterj & jp1231234343)loosened the headband. The cups are indeed tiny, the smallest circumnaural cups I've encountered, but like MaLoS pointed out in his review o'er yonder, this eliminates the margin of error for where to place your ears in the cup. 'Cause there is only one place to put them ;). My ears fit inside fine, and I've seen no need to try to the Sovkiller power cable mod.

Sound

Bass: Yes, the Edition 9 has impressive, slamming bass response that reaches very low and can be pretty intense. The bass seems to be non-discriminatory, sounding fantastic on excellently mastered audiophile grade recordings as well as modern brickwalled Slayer albums. Porcupine Tree's In Absentia and Opeth's Ghost Reveries do indeed rock the fuck out drum and bass wise. Some trance music, like Paul Van Dyk, is also superb.

Mids: Flat, cold, perhaps overly neutral. Nothing new to say about the midrange here, it is far and away the can's weakest point. Not really etched, grainy, or recessed, just really flat.

Treble: Still working on this one. Sometimes it can be too bright, sometimes it has a pleasant sparkle, sometimes it gets lost in the bass cloud and almost sounds Sennheiser-veil-esque. Weird.

Soundstage: Pretty damn good soundstage for a closed can, this must be the "s-logic" ;). Bigger then I remember the W11JPN being, probably slightly larger then the RS-1 as well.

Tone and Timbre: jp12134324 described the Ed. 9 as having a rubbery, plastic texture, and I agree that this is a fair assessment, though I think rubbery is the more appropriate of the two adjectives. This rubbery sound starts in the bass and drips its way up through the midrange and sometimes the treble. The Edition 9 has a tonal character all its own, and it will impose this character on everything you play through it. I think this is what we call a "colored" headphone. In a way, this kind of reminds me of the HD650, only with the HD650 its not nearly as all-encompassing, but the Sennheiser flagship does have a tonal character (called veil by some) that subtly imposes itself on everything you listen to.

More impressions to come, I need to leave work and head to school now.

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Nice impressions, postjack. I tried the Edition 9s for the first time this weekend. I didn't have them on long enough to form any full opinions. I understand why people are so seduced by them, especially since they meet the need for a closed headphone, but the bass was too much for me and I took them off to try other headphones I was curious about.

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I'm listening to them now through the SRM-Xh in and that can be used with a simple 12v battery. No bass boom at all and only slightly compromised soundstage... :dance:

Portable! :D

Maybe we need to seriously considering petitioning someone for a portable amp.

I wonder how many dedicated buyers (and what price point) Justin needs before he will consider building it.

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Portable! :D

Maybe we need to seriously considering petitioning someone for a portable amp.

I wonder how many dedicated buyers (and what price point) Justin needs before he will consider building it.

I vaguely remember KG talking about a portable stat amp over on HF at some point. Of course, it is entirely possible that I imagined that.

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I vaguely remember KG talking about a portable stat amp over on HF at some point. Of course, it is entirely possible that I imagined that.

As far as I remember KG was promised some parts by a manufacturer who has yet to come up with them. I think there are threads here that mention it but I can't get them to surface via the search.
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