Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Senn Grado [Modded Wonder]

Big thanks to Joe Doe of Head Fi. com for allowing me the chance to demo these very cool little headphones! Essentially 

"They're basically a Sennheiser PX100 driver housed in a Grado style cup." Joe's words exactly! 

As for the visuals, lets take a look! 

Visually I love the look, simple leather headband nice metal accents and of course the gorgeous wood cups. 

How ever, while they look amazing, the comfort is different. These are meant to sit on your ears, the most comfortable position, is the optimal one for sound quality. 

Now let's move onto the sound

These are wired with a single 3.5mm Jack, that said I'll be using my iBasso PB2 Se out. The reasons being is my iBasso PB2 has been optimized for low gain headphones, with my NFB 10ES2 being better suited for Balanced Headphones or Low or High Gain. 

For reference I'll be comparing it to my HE 4 out the NFB 10ES2 Balanced Out, my SE doesn't have quite enough power to drive them. 

Power wise they aren't hard to drive, but they aren't too easy either. I'm sittin at about 2 o'clock on the PB2 SE out 

A general over view of the sound would be aggressive and airy. These are very much a dry headphone, nice detail retrieval and impressive bass response! Speed is nice as well, the dynamics are about average as is the 2D and 3D sound stage presentations. 

Let's get down to the finer details of the Sound

Bass:  Mid bass has nice punch to it and very taut, sub bass though is some what lacking in body and attack though only mildly rolled off on that end. 

Mids:  Mids are the sweet spot for the SennGrado, it has a nice balanced of both attack and decay, with a lovely balance between both the upper and lower mids. Both Guitars and violins have a great tone to them. Male and female vocals are also breath taking! The mids sit a touch forward over everything else, and have a realyl wonderful tone to them! There is also a nice touch of intimacy to the mids as well. 

Highs: Nice and airy, a touch of grain on the top end but overall very pleasant. Nice extension on the treble as well. 

I would say overall, the bass is where the SennGrado is it's only con, the smaller driver lacks the sheer mass to move air like a full Size Planar can, or have the hit that a closed back has. How ever that said, there is a mild Mid Bass Hump that combined with lots of attack and little decay, makes for a pleasantly tactile bass. 

On the positive side though, the Senn Grado has breath taking mids and does a really wonderful job with a wide Variety of  musical genres. I think all in all for any of you who like to mod or are even curious about modding, the Senn Grado would be an excellent place to start! An if your like me and not into modding, head on over to Head Fi and have one of our more experienced Modders build you one! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Trip Through Time!

Well guys I've got an interesting piece of equipment with me today. A HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply. This is about a decade old amp, so I figured why not send it through the paces versus my big Fully balanced Audio GD? 

I'm running the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply through my Audio GDs DAC Line out, set to high gain, as on low gain Line out the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply doesn't have enough grunt. 

For headphones I am using my HE-4, with a SE to Balanced inter connector made by Brian At BTG, who was kind enough to use my W1000x SE Jack [since I removed it and Balanced it as well] 

But first, let's do some background on the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply, my seller assured me that back in the day the combo would go for around $600. Putting it at about the same price bracket as my Audio GD, and mind you it's just an amp. 

So that said, my purpose in this review is to in a sense gauge the progress we've made in this hobby! What did $600 get you back in the day? What does $600 get you today! Hopefully by the end of this review, we'll have a bit more appreciation for our gear and how inexpensive it is to get these days! 

It should be noted to, that the date for this amp is around 2001 and was discontinued in 2005.  

Let's start with some pictures! 

Size wise it's not a small amp, in that the power supply is rather large, but the amp section isn't to big either. I've got the two units about a foot apart  with the cables run behind the scene. 

As to the specs on it, I have no earthly idea. Sadly. It has less head room than my Audio GD Unit does and at louder volumes it tends to get a little harsh in the treble.

It like any amp, does get hot after some time. It heats up a little quicker than my Audio GD does. 

So let's talk about the sound, to start with the Head Room is a little noisy, and has a touch of grain throughout. Listening to Michigan & Smileys Sugar Daddy, and the high hats are a touch hot. Additionally, the bass is very full but the mids though lack smoothness. Not to say they are recessed, but there's a touch to much bass to enjoy the touch of decay in the guys voices.  The HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply while having more body to it's sound isn't smoother.  

Moving on now to Sarah Jorasz's The Book of Right on, again I'm noticing not that the mids are recessed but they tend to drown a little when compared to the rest of the music, there's not much body to the vocals. How ever on a positive note, the violins and other upper mid instruments have a really lovely body and presentation to them. 

I'll finish up this review with a little bit of metal, giving Animals as Leaders Woven Web a listen now, I will mention the post processing in the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply brought out some details within the track that I had not previously noted, namely an almost secondary guitar riff playing behind the main riff. Which is honestly pretty cool to hear! 

Going from the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply to the Audio GD I immediately pick out the secondary riff  after hearing it on the Little, so that was a pleasant surprise! How ever, the bass in the track is a touch loose on the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply.

So in conclusion, how does the HeadRoom Little Amp With More Power Supply compare to my Audio GD NFB10ES2. Well the post processing effect is nice in pulling some of the mirco details a bit more forward, but overall the amp lacks a touch of smoothness and definition. However, each amp is today at a totally different price range.

Thus, in the last decade we've made some great progress!  As a side not how ever, I may get in touch with HeadRoom and see if they will allow me to demo one of their newer amps! I'm curious to see what progress they've made in the last 10 years.

Non the less guys thank you for reading!