Advice: Quad ERA-1 Planar HP vs. ...?

TLDR; I know there are reviewers and places I can read, etc… but some of the best insight comes from community members with ears-on-experience. What say you?

So, I can’t get out to audition the above HP, but I was curious if anyone here has heard them or think they’re worth the coin vs, say:

Sundara (owned) sold to upgrade to Ananda (own now), LCD2C (owned) sold and moved Focal Elex (own now). I also have the AFO and HD6XX.

I’ve had my eye on the Aiva, M570, ESP/95x and HE5se also.

I used to own the HD58X, Oppo PM-3, Meze 99 Classics, Audeze Sine, and HE4XX.

I mention the above HPs to point to my sound preferences. I like a wide and deep soundstage with some bass extension and a little information up top. Not too dark and forward mids. Though, I dabble in v-shaped HPs sometimes, and intimate sounding ones, I prefer an open sound with detail at both ends, not too dark (though the AFO is smooth and hard to let go), which is why I let go of the LCD2C.

I’ve got some coin to throw around because my J company decided I was worth a bonus. Sub 1k preferred.

So with what’s recently going on with the 5se I wouldn’t recommend it anymore (check the official 5se thread for more info)

From what you like, the sendy and the quad might be up your alley (as you mentioned). The quad is going to be the smoother sound imo. I would say the sendy is more detailed in the treble but the quad is more detailed in the mids. The sendy is more overall aggressive and intimate where the quad might be a bit more spacious. The sendy is a fair bit more comfortable to me, but the quad wasn’t horrendous or anything, but might be more on ear to some

The 95x would be a different type of sound imo, that may be worth pursuing as well

1 Like

Dependable as ever. Right on​:call_me_hand:t2: A push toward the Quad and I will check out the HE5se thread. Thanks :+1:t2:

Yeah it’s unfortunate for the 5se that the current ones floating around are apparently absolutely awful sounding. The one I heard was really good but it was a 1st run. Same with my 6se being a first run. It seems like the discounted ones were changed to be a fair bit less desirable

Hey Mon hope everything is good! I’ve been considering the Quad ERA1 but just saw where you said some would consider them on ear. I really don’t like on ear. How on ear are they?

So if you have pretty large ears they might end up being a bit small, bigger than like the nhd20 though, I think for most people it should be fine, but it might be a tad not tall enough to fit inside the pad opening if you have larger ears. I think if you don’t have issues with average size headphones you should be good. I just noticed someone complain about it at a show so I figured I might as well point it out. Regarding the quad comfort to me, the only issue I personally had was that it made a tad hotspot on my head but I think with use that would become comfy (like the focal headphones at first almost)

Ok cool. So if I’m ok with the Neumann I should be ok with these? The only thing that bothers me with the Neumann is the depth of the pads. Really shallow.

Ah you shouldn’t have an issue with these, no problem

I’m currently considering these and either the Arya or Clear. I’m wanting something with decent soundstage and very good depth. Any recommendations?

I mean the arya has a very large presentation, great layering, and can do deep with the right amp and dac. The clear is actually somewhat intimate in comparison, but it has a more 360 degree staging bubble around your head, and that bubble can become larger or smaller depending on the track, can be pretty impressive and also go deep as well. I guess it depends on what aspects of soundstage you want to prioritize. If you like intimacy with depth (along with a soundstage that is very surrounding), the focal is pretty dang nice, if you want a larger space with also a more grand presentation (more traditional creating the stage in front of you instead of all around you), the arya is very good

Most of my listening of late has been lyr3 and rnhp with bitfrost2. I guess by depth I like good instrument separation from front to back. 3D I guess. If that makes sense.

Solid setup

Gotcha, I think both are pretty holographic headphones, I think it would depend if you want a more intimate experience, or a much larger more grand experience. You already have an amp that would work well for both headphones so you are set there. I also think you would want to consider the other aspects of the headphones as well

Also I have both the ananda and elex. Do you think one, Arya or Clear, would make a bigger difference than the other?

Then this is an easy choice lol, which do you prefer so far?

I probably listen to the elex more lol

Well then, seems like a clear makes a lot of sense lol. This being said, I think the larger difference with your current amps would be the arya, the clear might want a bit higher quality amplification to really take off and show it’s true colors (the arya would appreciate it as well imo but it would be more of an immediate upgrade using your current gear)

Yeah I’ve been eyeing the violectic on drop but I wasn’t sure if it would make that big of difference with the HP I have and if I get it I wouldn’t be able to update my HPs.

Ah gotcha, well I think it is def worthwhile down the line imo, but I think in this case if you find yourself enjoying the elex more, go for the clear, and if you enjoy the ananda more, go for the arya, both are rather direct upgrades that are worthwhile imo. Just down the line plan on grabbing an amp like the violectric

Thanks for talking me through this. I’ve got 9hrs to decide if I’m going with the violectic or headphone. SMH the clock is tickin.