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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

Robbo99999

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I do own a Drop Sennheiser HD6xx, and I use it only when I have to. I don't understand why people are into headphones. Maybe in paces like Asia where space is very limited, I get it. But most North Americans aren't too limited with space in their homes.

For this price, you can get yourself a pair of Revel M16. I don't get the headphone culture in North America.
Overall, it's a bit easier & cheaper to get great/good sound in headphones than it is in speakers - primarily because you can EQ up the bass in headphones to get great bass extension whilst being completely free of room modes that you would have in speakers (albeit you can control those with subs & roomEQ, but it's expensive & complicated). Also headphones are lower distortion through whole frequency range if you choose wisely. So overall, it's easier to get good sound in headphones, but it's not necessarily more accurate sound, the treble areas in headphones can never be as accurate & true to what the artist intended vs an anechoic flat speaker - but an anechoic flat speaker with poor bass extension and room modes & nulls that can't be completely accounted for is not necessarily more pleasing than an optimised headphone, probably not as pleasing in my experience. So there's a lot to be said for headphones, and also for properly setup speaker/subwoofer systems, just it's easier to get the headphones mostly right! (But to be honest most consumers don't know or care about whatever I have just mentioned & they get headphones because they're a convenient (& oftentimes inexpensive) form factor, that's probably the right answer!)
 
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amirm

amirm

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I do own a Drop Sennheiser HD6xx, and I use it only when I have to. I don't understand why people are into headphones. Maybe in paces like Asia where space is very limited, I get it. But most North Americans aren't too limited with space in their homes.
There are many uses for headphones. In my case, I wear them when doing reviews as my analyzer fan is too loud otherwise. Many people use them at work to not only block out noise, but also not interfere with someone else's work. My main 2-channel room is in an open floor plan so if I listen to it, it would disturb my wife if she is on the same floor. There are also uses for commuting, flying, etc.
 
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amirm

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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.
Thank you so much for your concern. Much appreciated. In this case though, it was two vaccines in the same arm (my choice). As the nurse advised, I woke up with very sore arm and symptoms of cold in the last two days. Getting better but still kept me up partially last night.
 

Robbo99999

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Thank you so much for your concern. Much appreciated. In this case though, it was two vaccines in the same arm (my choice). As the nurse advised, I woke up with very sore arm and symptoms of cold in the last two days. Getting better but still kept me up partially last night.
You're a one man army for this site, both to your detriment and distinction! (Have you thought about a compatriot or heir, not that anyone is expiring anytime soon, compatriot it is then....)
 

ArthuRScarlet

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I've got one a half year ago and I did some mesurements on IEC-60318
NAN-7 三种耳罩对比.png

Orange line--Perforated leather pads
White line--Default pads (Susvara pads)
Blue line--Round thin pads
It doesn't sound weird as the graph indicates when listening, it sounds more like it has been 1/3 oct smoothed. but sometimes I feel mid-range instruments or vocal lack of precise positioning.
It has excellent bass performance and no-offensive treble, but somehow a bit dark and not "accurate" at positioning
 
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amirm

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You're a one man army for this site, both to your detriment and distinction! (Have you thought about a compatriot or heir, not that anyone is expiring anytime soon, compatriot it is then....)
:) It is a concern of mine. So far non good solutions.
 

Robbo99999

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:) It is a concern of mine. So far non good solutions.
I'm sure there's some time to work it out! (Do some sleeps on it!)
 

cheapmessiah

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It also seems like the nan-6 is no longer in production, its a shame as I was kind of interested on it since I've beens wanting to do something idiotic like buying an HE-6 for my collection.
 

anan南

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@amirm Thank you for your reply.I hope my previous wrong account didn't bother you. What I want to say is that the different pads of nan7 have a great impact on the test results. If the nan7 in your hand has been sent back, I can provide you with the same equipment. You can reproduce the bad results of the 1266 pads, and you can also measure the normal indicators under other different pads. I can guarantee that the 1266 pad is the worst test result. The 1266 pad is designed separately to meet the needs of some customers. The original collocation does not include 1266 pads.The picture I showed is the default configuration.This pad looks almost the same as the default pad of susvara.​

hybrid_cloth_pads.jpg
 

anan南

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For the jagged phenomenon, I want to explain that as long as the material used is thin enough and belongs to a certain type of structure, there will be a jagged phenomenon. For example, susvara will have a large number of jagged teeth in the test. However, this does not mean bad sound. The light enough drive unit will bring a lot of harmonics under the current test conditions. These harmonics will be very bad in the test, but they cannot be perceived in actual use. If the early he6 matching pad is used for testing, the jagged phenomenon will be greatly improved.
There are at least 10 suvaras in my database, with different impedance at different times, but it is guaranteed that their test results are similar to nan7.
The green test result is a regular version of susvara, and the red test result is a regular version of nan7. If necessary, I can provide more susvara test results.

QQ截图20231009090650.jpg

The remaining few pictures are the relatively professional test results shared with me after purchasing the customer test.
QQ图片20230307004618.jpg
QQ图片20230307004631.jpg
QQ图片20230307004600.jpg
 

Maiky76

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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.
View attachment 317424
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:
View attachment 317429
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:
View attachment 317430

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:

View attachment 317432

Sharp peaks indicate resonances and we see plenty of that at higher amplitudes. Bass distortion is also high for a planar magnetic headphone:
View attachment 317433

Group delay was the worst I have seen, indicating many sound sources mixing:
View attachment 317434

Compared the Nan-6 headphone, company aimed to increase sensitivity and that, they have accomplished:
View attachment 317435
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:

View attachment 317437

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/
Here are some thoughts about the EQ.

Notes about the EQ design:
  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve (and other constrains) with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be therefore more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF and maybe at HF).
  • The range around and above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo, the boosts and preamp gain (loss of Dynamic range) need to be carefully considered to avoid issues with, amongst other things, too low a Max SPL or damaging your device. You have beed warned.
  • Not all units of the same product are made equal. The EQ is based on the measurements of a single unit. YMMV with regards to the very unit you are trying this EQ on.
  • I sometimes use variations of the Harman curve for some reasons. See rational here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-5#post-989169
  • https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-6#post-992119
  • NOTE: the score then calculated is not comparable to the scores derived from the default Harman target curve if not otherwise noted.
Great L/R match.

I have generated one EQ, the APO config file is attached.

Score no EQ: 75.8
Score Amirm: 80.4
Score with EQ: 86.1

Code:
Nan-7 APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz
October092023-142743

Preamp: -5.3 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 39.67 Hz Gain 3.94 dB Q 0.14
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 197.26 Hz Gain -3.32 dB Q 1.25
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 708.18 Hz Gain 3.37 dB Q 6.00
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 722.10 Hz Gain -4.52 dB Q 1.20
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2160.56 Hz Gain 6.00 dB Q 0.43
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2960.75 Hz Gain -3.43 dB Q 4.13
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 4585.87 Hz Gain -3.53 dB Q 6.00
Nan-7 APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz.png
 

Attachments

  • Nan-7 APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz.txt
    423 bytes · Views: 35

CleanSound

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There are many uses for headphones. In my case, I wear them when doing reviews as my analyzer fan is too loud otherwise. Many people use them at work to not only block out noise, but also not interfere with someone else's work. My main 2-channel room is in an open floor plan so if I listen to it, it would disturb my wife if she is on the same floor. There are also uses for commuting, flying, etc.
Those are the use cases which makes perfect sense to me. And I think those are also the used cases where you use headphones not by choice.

I was more referring to people who listens to their headphone systems as their primary/only system. They would have multiple sets of headphones and headphone amps. I guess it makes sense, if they are college students living in dorm rooms or living in an apartment with very thin walls.

But I have seen so many people living in a single family house and only listens to headphones. That is what I don't get.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Thank you so much for your concern. Much appreciated. In this case though, it was two vaccines in the same arm (my choice). As the nurse advised, I woke up with very sore arm and symptoms of cold in the last two days. Getting better but still kept me up partially last night.
My sympathies. I got three vaccines last week (Flu, Covid, RSV) at the same time. Fortunately I was provident enough to insist on only one in each arm. Puzzled why you didn't do the same. :p Stay well, Amir.
 

CleanSound

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Thank you so much for your concern. Much appreciated. In this case though, it was two vaccines in the same arm (my choice). As the nurse advised, I woke up with very sore arm and symptoms of cold in the last two days. Getting better but still kept me up partially last night.
I know ASR is a passion and a hobby for you. Just remember reviews can wait, rest shouldn't.
 

ExUnoPlura

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My sympathies. I got three vaccines last week (Flu, Covid, RSV) at the same time. Fortunately I was provident enough to insist on only one in each arm. Puzzled why you didn't do the same. :p Stay well, Amir.
Ahhh, the three armed bandit. I did Covid, flu, and Shingles 2 today. Put flu and shingles in leftie and Covid in righty. Pretty rough, but ibuprofen works...
 

Ilkless

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Those are the use cases which makes perfect sense to me. And I think those are also the used cases where you use headphones not by choice.

I was more referring to people who listens to their headphone systems as their primary/only system. They would have multiple sets of headphones and headphone amps. I guess it makes sense, if they are college students living in dorm rooms or living in an apartment with very thin walls.

But I have seen so many people living in a single family house and only listens to headphones. That is what I don't get.

Apartment living, desire for higher SPLs late at night and wanting audible full-range bass extension even without full-body vibration.

My LCD-2s can cover the last octave effortlessly and present a realistic out of the head image with my EQ that corrects for my HRTF well. Still saving up for an 8341A because of the neck strain and desire for full-body vibration but I would never be able to listen at the same SPLs for bass heavy recordings.
 

ROOSKIE

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I do own a Drop Sennheiser HD6xx, and I use it only when I have to. I don't understand why people are into headphones. Maybe in paces like Asia where space is very limited, I get it. But most North Americans aren't too limited with space in their homes.

For this price, you can get yourself a pair of Revel M16. I don't get the headphone culture in North America.
Not a headphone guy, I like speakers in a room but it seems obvious to me why headphones sell.

What about people who are moving around or sitting at a desk.
What about the 10's of millions N. American people who live in apartments or those in shared spaces? Lots and lots of folks here do not live in large spaces.
What about people who stay up later than the rest of the household and want to rock our?
Shoot, some folks just like it all to be in their head .
Could see about 20 additional reasons why they sell well.
 

bodhi

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I'm listening to headphones right now, sitting in front of 2.1 setup that undoubtedly has better sound.

Sometimes, mostly in evenings, I just like to sit in dark and play a few songs while being more isolated from my surroundings.

No need to mention that you need to spend quite a bit to get speaker setup that beats mid price headphones, especially if you like deep bass.
 

PenguinMusic

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Here are some thoughts about the EQ.

Notes about the EQ design:
  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve (and other constrains) with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be therefore more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF and maybe at HF).
  • The range around and above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo, the boosts and preamp gain (loss of Dynamic range) need to be carefully considered to avoid issues with, amongst other things, too low a Max SPL or damaging your device. You have beed warned.
  • Not all units of the same product are made equal. The EQ is based on the measurements of a single unit. YMMV with regards to the very unit you are trying this EQ on.
  • I sometimes use variations of the Harman curve for some reasons. See rational here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-5#post-989169
  • https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-6#post-992119
  • NOTE: the score then calculated is not comparable to the scores derived from the default Harman target curve if not otherwise noted.
Great L/R match.

I have generated one EQ, the APO config file is attached.

Score no EQ: 75.8
Score Amirm: 80.4
Score with EQ: 86.1

Code:
Nan-7 APO Score EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz
October092023-142743

Preamp: -5.3 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 39.67 Hz Gain 3.94 dB Q 0.14
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 197.26 Hz Gain -3.32 dB Q 1.25
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 708.18 Hz Gain 3.37 dB Q 6.00
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 722.10 Hz Gain -4.52 dB Q 1.20
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2160.56 Hz Gain 6.00 dB Q 0.43
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2960.75 Hz Gain -3.43 dB Q 4.13
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 4585.87 Hz Gain -3.53 dB Q 6.00
View attachment 317653
Used your peq profile for the Sony MDR -Z1r and it turns to be quite good :)
No doubt this will get the best out these headphones...
 
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