• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Nan-7 Planar Magnetic Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 47 30.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 69 44.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 28 18.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 6.5%

  • Total voters
    154

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,203
Likes
232,140
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review, listening tests, EQ and detailed measurements of the Nan-7 open-back planar magnetic headphone. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $940.
Nan-7 Planar headphone open back review.jpg

The headphone is quite comfortable to wear. Alas, it doesn't feel well to touch. All those stats and edges of just about everything is sharp. This made an already difficult job of swapping pads even more annoying (see below). The adjustment of the headband is the worst I have seen with major difficulty trying to raise or lower the cups. Company needs to really pay attention to deburring and general smoothing of machined/cut parts.

I was also not a fan of the balanced XLR cable as it is very stiff and heavy. A more manageable 4.4mm cable comes with it as well. You are provided no less than three sets of pads. The largest ones were on it and they did not fit quite well in the case insert, showing a crease.

Testing was performed on GRAS 45-CA measurement fixture.

Nan-7 Headphone Measurement
As usual we start with our frequency response measurement and comparison against our preference target:
Nan-7 Planar headphone open back measurement.png

Wow, what is going on here? We have those relative large jaggies but also a ton of noise. I could filter the latter out by smoothing to 1/6th octave but I shouldn't have to. Measurements were so odd that I doubted my fixture so I measured two other headphones and neither showed any of the noise or variations. Suspecting that thick and somewhat inflexible pad may be responsible for transmitting resonances, I went though the pain of swapping the pads to the thinnest ones (shown in the review picture) and got this:
Nan-7 Planar headphone open back thin pads frequency response measurement.png


While no panacea, we see fair bit of reduction in response noise, pointing the arrow at the design of the headphone. I forgot to measure distortion with thinner pads so let's go back to default thick pads:

Nan-7 Planar headphone open back relative distortion measurement.png


Sharp peaks indicate resonances and we see plenty of that at higher amplitudes. Bass distortion is also high for a planar magnetic headphone:
Nan-7 Planar headphone open back THD distortion measurement.png


Group delay was the worst I have seen, indicating many sound sources mixing:
Nan-7 Planar headphone open back group delay measurement.png


Compared the Nan-6 headphone, company aimed to increase sensitivity and that, they have accomplished:
best planar headphone amplifier sensitivity review.png

We are talking thee times lower voltage to achieve the same level of loudness. But perhaps during that optimization, the rest of the design was compromised.

Impedance is flat and punishingly low 15 ohm. That is also nearly 1/3 the impedance of Nan-6. So better have a high-current source to drive it.

By this time, I was going to close the review and not even listen to the headphone as there were clear regressions relative to Nan-6. Having a sore arm after taking two shots in the same arm did not help either. Still, I thought I do a quick listen.

Nan-7 Headphone Listening Tests and Equalization
It took all of 10 seconds to realize the sound of this headphone is much better than casual impression of the measurements. There was impressive and deep bass response, balancing the rest of the response tonally speaking. This was with the thin pad as noted. So I thought I see if I can improve with EQ and indeed I did:

Nan-7 Planar headphone open back equalization thin pads.png


I started with Band1. Not only did that bring female vocals forward as the should be, it also significantly improved their clarity. Without it, their voices were somewhat gritty in addition to being recessed. We could stop there and call it done but I also put in the other two filters. The little filter at 600Hz seemed to improve clarity a bit and 80 Hz pushed even more bass. Once there, I was quite happy listening to Nan-7. The jagged and noisy frequency response errors were almost forgotten. Spatial quality was near top of the class adding great enjoyment in tracks that so benefit from it such as Youngstown by Steve Strauss:


Combine all this with the comfort that the headphone brings, a good time was had listening to track after track.

Conclusions
There is no question that objectively the Nan-7 has a number of design flaws that jump out in measurements. Fortunately our hearing has rather poor frequency discrimination and what is seen in the measurements is not what we hear. Headphone already comes with 90% of the bass response that we like to see (unlike Nan-6) and the bit shortfall in lower treble can easily be fixed with EQ -- at least with the thinner pads. I am not a fan of the tactile feel of the headphone but while you are wearing it, it naturally is not an issue.

The objective flaws combine with rather high cost stops me from personally recommending the Nan-7. However with the bit of EQ, great enjoyment can be had so I can't fault you for buy it.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Attachments

  • Nan-7 Frequency Response.zip
    33.8 KB · Views: 57

192kbps

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
514
Likes
561
This is a great example of how we think about measurement. I also observed that the frequency response curve of HIFIMAN Susvara also has a lot of sawtooth, which is very interesting. Maybe we need an enthusiastic member to send Susvara for testing?
 
Last edited:

Chester

Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
418
Likes
993
The headphone world seems like the only place I can think of, that you can spring up a company, have no demonstrable engineering prowess, provide no measurements, and charge £1000+ for your product…..and people will still buy it.
 

Ilkless

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
1,740
Likes
3,396
Location
Singapore
The headphone world seems like the only place I can think of, that you can spring up a company, have no demonstrable engineering prowess, provide no measurements, and charge £1000+ for your product…..and people will still buy it.

TBF, audio electronics is just as egregious -- brands coming out of nowhere to charge more than McIntosh, Accuphase, Luxman and Esoteric for way less overbuilt amps and DACs, and way less likelihood of long-term support.

But I digress. I wonder if this is an issue with membrane material, tension and venting choices. And how does this compared to the Audeze approach.
 

DanielT

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
4,685
Likes
4,540
Location
Sweden - Слава Україні
Thanks for the test Amir!:)

What a weird FR. I wonder if it would measure the same if X number with the same pads were measured? I know it's not measurements you can do Amir but still I wonder about it.
 

PenguinMusic

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
621
Likes
363
Hi,

These are a great example about the difference between "objective measurements" and "subjective listening".

Objective measurements say : "These measure poorly".
Subjective listening says : "The jagged and noisy frequency response errors were almost forgotten. Spatial quality was near top of the class adding great enjoyment in tracks that so benefit from it..."

If anyone else would have made this claim, except Amirm, he would have been flamed...

So Amirm, thanks a lot for this and not having blind faith in the numbers... even if conclusion (I agree with that) is that high price + objective flaws make it a not commandable headphone.

P.S. : @amirm this is the second post in short time were you complain about your physical condition. Please, make sure you take enough rest and get as good health as you can. This is much more important than almost everything else... So hope you'll be as good as it gets soon.
 

byfang

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2023
Messages
5
Likes
13
Hey @amirm , would you bother pointing out which stock pads you were using for each section (or upload your own)? I'll upload photos of them here (there is also the round leather ones which are not very popular and not listed here)
perforated_leather_pads.jpg
1266_like_pads.jpg

hybrid_cloth_pads.jpg
 

Jimbob54

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
10,984
Likes
14,582
A strange beast for sure. No way should anyone pay full price but might be worth a punt second hand or if deep discounted. But there is plenty to be had at $500 and less.
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,815
Likes
6,629
Location
UK
My God, this is the worst most extreme amount of jaggies I have seen in a planar headphone, and from what I've seen most planars have some degree of these jaggies, either smaller "fine grass" type variations and/or more extreme variations, but this headphone has got both!
index.php

I am surprised it sounded OK to Amir, but he's got to report what he experiences. I have just the one planar headphone which is an HE4XX, and even though I can supposedly get the frequency response right using an Oratory Harman EQ (and the tonality sounds really good), I just have never really been able to feel I'm getting much revealing detail into the music, and I've always attributed that to the often jagged nature of planar headphones - for example my K702 and HD560s and HD600 are all dynamic driver headphones with no jaggedness and after EQ I can get a lot of revealing detail into the music - so that's why I equate the jagged nature of a lot of planars being a fundamental flaw, so I'm voting this headphone super low. (I think these short sharp variations in frequency response create a "blur" to the music).
 
Last edited:

uwotm8

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
399
Likes
452
Just by the look on the back side you can see there will be some unwanted reflections and re-reflections.
There would be any sort of acoustically absorbing pad on the back side of "health man's" planar cans; here we have a stupidly deep grill without any.
Back side of the driver is just not damped at all... Well, FR speaks itselfs.

At the same time, it's not the first case here when Amir likes the sound of cans or speakers with some saw teeth in response - that just prowes that such things doesn't matter a lot and can even sound more interesting depends on situation. What's way more critical is overall balance which is good.
 

KenA

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2023
Messages
55
Likes
205
Location
New Zealand
Hi,

These are a great example about the difference between "objective measurements" and "subjective listening".

Objective measurements say : "These measure poorly".
Subjective listening says : "The jagged and noisy frequency response errors were almost forgotten. Spatial quality was near top of the class adding great enjoyment in tracks that so benefit from it..."

If anyone else would have made this claim, except Amirm, he would have been flamed...

So Amirm, thanks a lot for this and not having blind faith in the numbers... even if conclusion (I agree with that) is that high price + objective flaws make it a not commandable headphone.
You’ve gone and poked the bear now! ;)
 
Last edited:

alekksander

Active Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
219
Likes
144
Location
NRN PL
What I don't understand is why people buy this stuff. What is the appeal - rarity, amazing sales team?
mainly curiosity
also people who still believe in magical encounters exists. lately i met one of them and was blessed with a words of wisdom: "audiophilia demands constant changes"
 

Bleib

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,192
Likes
2,091
Location
Sweden
What I don't understand is why people buy this stuff. What is the appeal - rarity, amazing sales team?
Well, they look rather cool..
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,203
Likes
232,140
Location
Seattle Area
Dear amirm, I would like to point out one of your mistakes. The nan7 default pad is thinner, and the thicker pad is for direct assembly for delivery. The thicker pad is the least ideal pad for the test data. The thicker pad is the same as abyss1266, so the test data is very poor. If possible, I hope you can retest it. Thank
I will have to wait to see if the item was new when it was sent to me. If so, they definitely come with the thickest one. And I did re-test with the thin one. It is in the review and I did my listening tests using it.
 

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,220
Likes
3,707
It says OMG BAD BAD for a hamster new to this.
What you actually do hear is:

Good but with some colorations which will require rock and metal guitar sound to be detected. If all you listen is Diana Krall and Skye Edwars you will never suspect it's even there:p
Which brings to mind the possibility that they designed this with ear, and without any measurements. If I was in the market to buy a random product from an unknown brand, I would not feel great about that. But then again, maybe people who are in the market to buy a random product from an unknown brand do not care about that.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom