InnerFidelity Update January 2015

Headphone Measurements
As usual I've updated the AllGraphs.pdf of course, and added the cans to the measurement datasheets page. I've also linked to the measurement sheets to the headphone name in paragraphs below. New additions include:

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 - While the treble response is significantly improved in this second revision of the P5, the midrange has now become quite uneven and a significant bass boost has appeared. I'm afraid, all told, that they've taken a step backward with this one.

Koss Pro4S - The last of the new Koss cans to measure, the Pro4S is just okay. The recent Koss introductions are good, but the big winner is the SP330.

Audio Technica ATH-WS99 - A somewhat thick and murky bass to mid transition mars this otherwise pretty good little headphone. Priced a bit too high as well.

Grado RS1e - Quart B., a Head-Fi member, sent in his Grado RS1e for measurement...thanks, mate. He had a number of pads included, so I measured them with: bowl pads, S-cushions, Senn 414 yellow pads, and TTVJ flat pads. The S-cushion and yellow pads looked best to me.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear - I thought these sounded pretty good, but a little thick in the bass-mid area. They're off to Joker to see if he wants to give them a review.

Flare Audio Reference R1 - Who? I'd never heard of them 'til their new headphones popped up on a news feed. Flare Audio is a British monitor speaker company that just introduced the Reference R1 headphone touting (from their website) "Both of Flare's patent-pending technologies (SpaceTM and VortexTM) have been applied to both sides of the driver to create the first 'fully open' true infinite baffle headphone, producing distortion free, phase linear sound." Looks to me like there's a really bad resonance at around 2kHz. I tried, a couple of times, to like them. In the end they just sounded like the measurements look—I'll just leave it at that.

2015JanUpdate_Photo_DRZ7Vintage Headphones - Changstar member takato14 entrusted a handful of vintage headphone to the measurement lab including: Sennheiser HD 250 II (with boom mike); Sony DR-Z7; and two samples of the Pioneer Monitor 10II (second sample).

The Sonys were very cool. They came in a slim box completely disassembled, and snapped together quite nicely. They didn't sound very good by today's standards...but they were still cool.

DIY Headphones - Bill P. sent in a very handsome pair of modified Audio Technica ATH-ES10. And it was a long, rough trip for Joe Doe's SennGrados, a pair of Sennheiser PX 100 II drivers mounted in a wooden Grado headphone. Despite having to undergo repairs twice, their measurements were on par or sightly better than the Grado RS1e measured above.

Joker's Box-O-IEMs - As usual I received a dandy package of IEMs from ljokerl. Most unusual of all (and a pain in the butt to measure) was the FLC Technologies FLC8, which has three different replaceable acoustic filters. Each filter position has either 3 or 4 different filters that can be used to tune the FLC8. There's no way I was going to measure all 36 different combinations. Fortunately, the headphones come with some recommended settings: Neutral; Vocals; Strings/Piano; Light Music; and Pop/Rap. Other goodies in the box were: NHT Superbuds; House of Marley Smile Jamaica; Zipbuds Pro Mic; Brainwavz S0 and S5; and Zoukbox ZLX30 and ZDY10, which I think measured best of the bunch.

CES Coming Up!
It's that time of year again. The big show. It's hard to get excited about Vegas and the whole soul-crushing cacophony/pandemonium that is the Las Vegas Convention Center, but it's not hard to get excited about seeing all the new stuff that will be there. I'm always excited to see what Sennheiser, Philips, and the big players are up to, but I think I'm most excited to get my first listen to a near production Audioquest Nighthawk. Gots my fingers crossed.

GNagus's picture

The new Grado measures very differently from its predecessor.

Ill reserve judgment until I listen to them

Pedalhead's picture

Hey Tyll. Rumours abound (mostly brought on by the seemingly discontinued HD800) that Sennheiser may be announcing something big at CES. I trust you'll get all the gory details for us :). Cheers!

ednaz's picture

I enjoy the content and in particular the content where you're making clear explanations of things that no one else really makes clear... but as a photographer and graphic artist, I really appreciate some of the funny things you do in your header images. I think it sets a proper tone overall - this is supposed to be fun.

And you may have just saved me the $$ for v2 of the B&W 5 P2. I'd put it on my birthday list based on all the reviews of P1, but just called my wife and called a delete on that item, until I can get to a shop that stocks them and can listen to them for a bit. I find bass-boosted headphones to be fatiguing, almost as much as treble boosted ones.

Hifihedgehog's picture

I was excepting a bit more refinement in the new Grado RS1e's but nothing as radical as them having 10 to 20 decibel drop in treble output, in some cases even less than even the classic Sennheiser HD600/HD650/HD580 line which is pegged as dark and "veiled." I wonder what Grado fanboys will think of this when the find Grados have gone to the dark side! >:)

Hifihedgehog's picture

What the what just happened. Spellin erroarz.

I was expecting a bit more refinement in the new Grado RS1e's but nothing as radical as them having up to a 10 to 20 decibel drop in treble output compared to the last revision--in fact, in some cases even less treble than even the classic Sennheiser HD600/HD650/HD580 line which is pegged as dark and "veiled." I wonder what Grado fanboys will think of this when they find their precious Grados have gone to the dark side! >:)

ScaryFatKidGT's picture

Hmmm will you be doing a full review of the B&W P5 S2? I think your the only person that doesn't like it... the S1 had a ton of bass too.

DiRo's picture

Wondering if you heard of the Ted Baker Rockall Tyll? They look absolutely amazing just wonder how they sound... There is not really any headphone store where I can demo them.

Dadracer's picture

They are available on Amazon so I guess you could return them if you didnt like them?

DiRo's picture

Not available in Canada Amazon...

Dadracer's picture

They are on Amazon UK, but perhaps as Ted Baker is a UK company. To be honest though are primarily a fashion brand not a hifi one and they do look like Momentum clones.

DiRo's picture

Ya this is true, you are more than likely correct. But I am hoping they might of contracted an OEM company who knows what they are doing... kind of like Denon Fostex. Not hoping for miracles but if they sound anything on par with likes of Momentum, etc I would be be very much interested.

Hifihedgehog's picture

It looks like a really, really good looking Momentum over-ear clone/knock-off. I wouldn't be surprised they used the Momentum design as basis or template in engineering this product. One thing's for sure. They're weren't being really original.

ayunksyah's picture

This is good information and not helpful for me but I think my friend will like this one.
Bluetooth Speakers Review 2015

Milignigh's picture

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