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Oh my, I think I just did something a little daft

JJB70

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#1
Over recent months I've been downsizing my headphone collection for a variety of reasons. One is that I realised I had too many (even though my collection was small compared to many) and how many headphones does anybody need? A second one is that I bought some Etymotic ER4 SR IEMs a little while ago and after getting used to the Etymotic flat sound signature I then found the Beyerdynamic T5P II sound which I'd been very fond of to have an awful screechiness in the high end (I guess its a good example of how we grow accustomed to a sound and that familiarity brings contentment) and found the DT1990 also had something a bit off in the high end (though not as much as the T5P). It ended up that I did all my listening with either the ER4 SR or my trusty Audio Technica MSR7 which despite its modest cost I really love. Although the MSR7 is a bit bright I find it is a balanced brightness if that makes any sense, compared to the others it is not piercing and the impression is of a slightly emphasised treble but not unduly so. And I keep my Sony MDR Z7's as for some reason I just find those a really enjoyable headphone with beautiful build quality and the "Beats lite" bassiness is fun with the right tracks. Weirdly, I find I still like the Sony (a bit bassy) and the Audio Technica (a bit bright) despite them straddling the sort of flatness of the Etymotic sound. And I love my Oppo PM-2 which I've no intention of ever parting with. So I had arrived at a nice equilibrium.
Until...…. today I got one of those 20% coupons from eBay for selected sellers.....usually I never find anything worth buying from these selected sellers but I decided to have a look in the audio items and found that the AKG outlet had N90QC refurbished stock for £649, which after the discount became £549 (the 20% max's out at £100). This is probably very dumb, but I have therefore just spent over 500 quid on a pair of headphones I don't need and have never even tried on let alone listened to. I'd always been very curious about the technology of the N90QC and whether there was any substance to it but the SRP was way, way above what I'd spend on headphones of any sort, let alone headphones I wanted to try out of curiosity as to whether the technology works. However, at a price which is basically 1/3 of the SRP and with a 2 year AKG warranty I decided that it was worth a punt. For anybody else who'd wanted to find out if this model lived up to the hype and wanted to try a pair but wouldn't or couldn't spend the necessary readies to buy a pair it may be worth checking the offer out.
I'm genuinely looking forward to these, I looked around eBay and figure out at the very worst I probably wouldn't lose much if I decide to sell them so why not have a go and who knows, maybe they'll be my end game headphone.
 

Fregly

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#3
It never ends. On the Er4sr though, I don't understand some people saying they are bass lite. Plenty of bass to my ears, realistic and properly integrated.
 

solderdude

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#4
On the Er4sr though, I don't understand some people saying they are bass lite. Plenty of bass to my ears, realistic and properly integrated.
Either taste or poor fit/seal issues may be the root cause of the 'bass-shy' reports.

found the DT1990 also had something a bit off in the high end
There is an easy fix for the DT1990.
Could design one for the T5P as well.
 
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JJB70

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#8
It never ends. On the Er4sr though, I don't understand some people saying they are bass lite. Plenty of bass to my ears, realistic and properly integrated.
Rather than being bass lite I think it is more appropriate to say they are not bass boosted. I think that the prevalence of emphasised bass in headphones means that the absence of such tuning is now seen as being bass lite. I also find the bass of the ER4SR to be fine. I must admit that the first time I listened to them I was very underwhelmed but once I adjusted to their very neutral tuning I fell in love with them.
 

JJB70

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#10
Very quick shipping from Harman, too early to comment on sound yet beyond saying that the initial impression is of a very good and balanced pair of headphones, but the first thing that hits me about them is size and weight. The hard case is large and heavy, properly large and heavy. The headphones themselves are a lot lighter, but still no featherweights and the cups large. My first impressions are that in terms of portability the hard case is way too big and heavy to be sensible, the earphones themselves are on the big side but are not impractical in terms of portability. They come with a nice leather alternative carry bag which looks to me like a leather sandwich bag. A nice touch of the bag is the interior cable pocket. The second impression is of quality, these things really do just scream quality and attention to detail from every angle. Even the leather carry bag feels several cuts above the norm and whilst crazily big and heavy the hard case is a quality item. The headphones themselves have a lovely feel, the metal looking bits seem to be metal and the leather bits either leather or very good pleather, moving parts have a very smooth and nicely weighted action. Let’s be honest, given the SRP of these things luxury materials and premium quality should be a given but in audio it is not always the case and some high end boutique gear feels very half finished. These display an attention to detail which is unusual, I wouldn’t pay the SRP (and quite honestly really don’t think any headphone is really worth £1000+ if viewed solely as a headphone rather than as an indulgence) but there is no denying that these do feel rather special. If Accuphase made headphones I suspect they’d feel like these. One disappointment is they’re a bit subtle, I got the black and gold (because those were the ones Harman are selling off) and they’re very discreet, it’d be nice if there was a bit more bling so that when I’m head banging away at the gentleman’s club to a bit of Bruckner in my pinstripe threads people know I’m a kool kat and down with the kids, however I suspect nothing is perfect and not all headphones can be as flash and bling as for example Bose QC35 II’s in black……….
 

Wombat

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#11
It never ends. On the Er4sr though, I don't understand some people saying they are bass lite. Plenty of bass to my ears, realistic and properly integrated.
I guess we need pics of all the opinionator's ears and then decide on a reference pair.o_O

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JJB70

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#13
Buying headphones?!? Traitor! :p
Alas, most of my listening is with headphones, the joys of kids and all that......

Really buying these was just bonkers, but I had enough to buy them using the money in my PayPal account from selling my T5P and Dt1990 cans (and with change left) so I thought I might as well do it. Not sure I would have if I had to go into my bank account though.
 

Krunok

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#14
Alas, most of my listening is with headphones, the joys of kids and all that......

Really buying these was just bonkers, but I had enough to buy them using the money in my PayPal account from selling my T5P and Dt1990 cans (and with change left) so I thought I might as well do it. Not sure I would have if I had to go into my bank account though.
Ah, excuses.. My kids wear headphones so I can listen to my speakers! :D

I'm joking - my "kids" are 18 and 22 so they are mostly not home when I listen music. :)
 
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#15
It never ends. On the Er4sr though, I don't understand some people saying they are bass lite. Plenty of bass to my ears, realistic and properly integrated.
Used to the flawed approach most dynamic drivers give on bass and poor fit I'm using small tri flanges for the SE215 that give me better sound an isolation that stock tips.
 

Fregly

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#16
Do you find your ears have to depressurize or whatever the effect is before things sound right with the Etys and triple flanges? Feels like something different than with regular IEMs. Seems to take 15 minutes or so with my ears. My brain could simply be adjusting I suppose.
 

JJB70

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#17
I don't find any issues with my ears and the ER4SR but I do think that they are an IEM you should try them before you buy as the deep insertion design will not be liked by everyone. I find them fine but I can understand why others hate them. If you want neutral balanced IEMs then you will be hard pressed to do better if you are OK with the fit. I use them instead of noise cancelling headphones when flying and the isolation is superb, as good as any active noise cancelling models I have tried. That said, the noise cancelling of the AKG N90Q is very good.
 

JJB70

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#18
I'm very impressed with the studio (crossfeed) mode of the AKG's, you don't need these to do crossfeed and indeed you can get far more control of the function via software or some of the amplifiers with crossfeed but I think AKG studio mode has been very well implemented and delivers an excellent listening experience. Not so impressed by the surround mode though, it does expand the soundstage but sounds a little artificial to my ears. The auto-calibration system appears to work too, it does something as it does make a difference.
 
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