InnerFidelity August Update

Stock Koss KPH7 and obobskivich's DIY modified Koss KPH7 isobaric headphones.

Headphone Measurements
I took a weeks vacation this month so not quite as many headphone measurements as usual, but there were some interesting ones. As usual I've updated the AllGraphs.pdf of course, and added the cans to the measurement datasheets page. New additions include:

  • California Headphone Company sent in their two new headphones: the Lorado and Silverado. These are the same folks that brought you Fanny Wang headphones and I found the new cans slightly better than the Fanny Wangs, which is to say: meh. Interesting look though.
  • HeadRoom was nice enough to loan me the new Nocs cans. The NS800 was fairly good, but I wasn't to hip on the rest (NS200, NS400, NS700).
  • Ried and Heath Audio sent me their new MA450i in-ear headset. It's pretty much the same as their MA350. Why do people insist on crazy amounts of bass?
  • After publishing such nice words about Bose' QC15 noise canceling headphone, they kindly sent me an AE2 to have a listen and measure. They're kinda loosie-goosie all over the place, sadly.
  • I asked HeadRoom if I could borrow their Ultrasone Signature Pro headphones, but since they're so expensive HeadRoom hadn't opened the box on a new pair for the sales guys. They figured they'd sell a few and then use on of the returns for the sales team. Guess what? None have come back! That really got me curious and fortunately our very own John Grandberg had a pair to send me for a measure and quick listen. By golly, I think they may be the best Ultrasone product I've heard---though I'm no fan of their S-Logic. I wouldn't pay $1300 for them, but if you're an Ultrasone fan you might.
  • I've had the Audeo PFE232 for a little while now and for whatever reason spaced out measuring them, so I finally got around to it. I can't decide whether or not I like these cans, they're a bit fast sounding and by now you know that's not really my thing. Fortunately, ljokerl will get to deal with them as the 232s are in his hands now.
  • Through a rather circuitous route, I wound up with a Creative Fatal1ty gaming headset. This is a roughly $40 gaming headphone and, boy oh boy, they sound great for $40. Keep this one on the gift list for your favorite gamer!
  • Lastly, but not leastly, a couple of DIY cans came in. A pair of open-back Denon D7000 modified by lmswjm were run through the system. They were a little sucked out around 1kHz, but frankly, with the magnitude of the mod I though they measured and sounded pretty good.
  • As you can see from the picture above, obobskivich tried his hand at making an isobaric headphone from a pair of $7 Koss KPH7 headphones. Amazingly, it does look like this mod did in fact reduce the distortion and improve the performance of the headphones. I might just write a little more about these cans some time soon. Isobaric headphones are something that just might need looking into, and to my knowledge it's not been done commercially and I'm thinking it just might work.

Headphone Amp Measurements
Progress is being made, but at the moment it's mostly Brian getting his computers set up to mimic mine here at the lab. That's not as easy as it might sound since the Audio Precision communications board requires me to use a computer with the old style motherboard edge connectors and old versions of Excel.

I am rounding up amps as well, I think it'll be important to have a wide range of amps here to test in the beginning so I've been working on finding an interesting assortment. Here, or on the way, are: the Lake People amps that John Grandberg reviewed; the new Cary Audio HH-1 hybrid amp; the ASUS Xonar Essence One; Apex Butte; JDS Labs O2; one of the ECP Audio amps; and a Burson HA-160. I think I need to find a couple more tube amps, but it's going to be a nice little collection to help dial in the amp tests.

Gonna write about those Noontec Zoro headphones---they're really nice for $50. I think I need to try to write the headphone measurement interpretation info, that's been sitting empty for way too long. Annnnnd ... well I don't know what all else except that I'll be taking another short vacation around Labor Day and between now and then I want to crank out some copy. I'll think of something.

Have a good August ... stay cool!

Willakan's picture

I have a Fata1ty headset around here somewhere: I would agree that it's a bargain at such a low price.

Great to see such fast progress on the amp front: I don't suppose there's a chance of getting the Schiit Asgard in for testing? This is the personally Jude-approved amp which prettymuch singlehandedly put what is now one of the most popular companies on Head-Fi on the map - I can gurantee you'll get lots of traffic if you measure it!

At the very least, you'll get an interesting discussion...

Dr.Phil's picture

Good for 50$ ,so they aren't worth the 100$ from amazon ?

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Yeah, I'd say they're worth $100.  The sound quality is similar to that of the Skullcandy Aviators, roughly.

Alondite's picture

Do you have the equipment to do waterfall plots, Tyll? I've always thought that was a part that has been missing from your measurements.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Actually, CSD can be calculated from the impulse response. Arnaud has actually done it using my spreadsheets.  Somewhere down the line it'll appear, may be a little while, but it'll happen.

wilzc's picture

I also found the SigPros to be the best sounding headphone from Ultrasone.

In fact, as a true closed-back headphone, its hard to find any better!!

Also, the street price for these guys are about 1000 and not 1300.

John Grandberg's picture

They are one of my favorite closed cans, along with the Thunderpants and Lawton modified D7000. I just got them back from Tyll so I need to do more head to head comparisons to see which I like most. 

At the MSRP they are admittedly steep. I got them second hand for significantly less and am very happy with the purchase. 

NA BLur's picture

It looks like my PC is finally equipped to start analyzing and coming up with a good presentation for the data.

I think we are all curious how amps measure compared to one another.

Hopefully, just like the headphone charts, we can start making predictions about how an amp may perform based off of the measurements.

Top Headphones's picture

Being in the web design business I have to have noise cancelling headphones to zone myself out form everyone else. I would have to say the Thunderpants are my top headphones that i've liked over any others. 

Gelocks's picture

They have definitely become one of my favorites! The D5000s and the recently bought Mad Dogs (modified Fostex) are my other closed faves!!!

BTW, the "normal" price for the Signature Pros is $850. (from most places if you call in... like RMCAudio, etc.)




ultrabike's picture

Looking forward for impressions and measurements on the isobaric headphone mod (before and after mods.)

EDIT: NVM, just saw the meassurements. Pretty kool! cool