The Crack Spot - Szymon's Impressions Thread

For real, sometimes the CRA just hits and sounds amazing. I just wish it happened more than 10% of the time :pleading_face:

As for mods, no better person to ask than the man, the myth, the legend @Rikudou_Goku himself :call_me_hand:t2:

Alright lads, just wondering what review you’d like to see me do next?

  • Sennheiser HD600
  • Tanchjim Hana 2021 (pls no)
  • Moondrop Starfield
  • TinHiFi T2
  • Moondrop SSR
  • Koss KSC75
  • Grado SR60e
  • QianYun Qian39

0 voters

Besides these options, mostly anything from my tier list is still fair game, and if I don’t own something already, I can try to get a review unit. :call_me_hand:t2:

2 Likes

I am interested in your take on Qian39 as only proper rebiew visible in internet is Rikudoku’s and I am quite happy with mine

1 Like

Riku got his a bit after me and he was even more impressed than I were. :grin:

I want to review it, but it will certainly be a difficult review to do. While I listen to open backs and IEMs every day, open earbuds aren’t something I use often, so I will have to listen to a few of them to “calibrate” my brain before the review process. :ok_hand:t2:

I believe it is pretty much pointless to review it now as it seems to be discontinued and gone now…

3 Likes

A thorough and well written review I very much enjoyed. I look forward to reading more in this thread as well as following your YouTube channel.

As for the tier list, the Z1R is the best sounding anything I’ve heard, so I know our preferences align in that respect.

Great work.

1 Like

It actually seems to be available still:

3 Likes

Personally, the value I see in doing these retro-reviews is if someone finds something on the used market and isn’t sure if they’re worth it. Or as a reference to people who already have it.

Clearly there is a lot of interest in the 39 though!

1 Like

Thank you!

Personally, I enjoy the Sennheiser HD600 more than the IER-Z1R, but that’s my #nobassgang allegiance showing, I still think out of everything I heard, Z1R is objectively the best. :slight_smile:

That’s fantastic.

Not heard the HD600 but the 660’s even when drive via tube = :sleeping: sold…Z1R is totally on a different tier level…have you still got your Z1R’s can you compare them to your other sets :+1:

2 Likes

Oi, lads!

I went on a lil hiatus recently, was feeling so bad and burned out by shitty gear (looking at you, Hana 21 and CRA!) recently that I just wasn’t enjoying music. Well, I’m back now, and I just demoed some wild headphones. Let’s talk about them.

Going from cheapest to most expensive:

  • TinHiFi T4
  • Monoprice M350
  • Hifiman Sundara
  • DCA Aeon 2 Noire Closed
  • Grado RS300e

Let’s play a game. I’m gonna tell you one of them is S Tier, two are great, and two are rubbish. Make your picks now. Let’s see how you did. :stuck_out_tongue:

TinHiFi T4


Photo credit: Headfonics

I like TinHiFi. So far my sample size to make that statement was one model, the T2. After trying the T4, let me say, with a sample size of two models, I like TinHiFi even more.

The tuning is a very tasteful, mild V-Shape, not unlike the Moondrop Starfield, but the T4 seems just a smidge bassier and brighter. The tuning is very well balanced though, I never felt like the mids were too recessed or some part of the FR was standing out. The technical performance was surprisingly great, too, comparable to sets like the CRA and SSR, and better than Starfield.

Not much to say here except I will for sure try to add this one to my collection!

Rank: B+
Tuning: B+
Technicalities: B+

Monoprice M350

Let’s start with the good things. These are an open-back planar IEM, so not only are you able to hear your environment really well, but they also presumably respond well to EQ.

Okay, now about the bad things.

The tuning was so bad it made me burst out laughing. It’s all mid-bass and lower mids, all the time. I played some Linkin Park and quite honestly felt like I was listening to a pair of VE Monks, not a high tech planar IEM.

Have I mentioned that it’s built out of cancer-inducing plastic? Or that the technicalities are only on par with the T4, despite being more expensive… And isn’t that the whole point of a planar driver? Skip.

Rank: D
Tuning: E
Technicalities: B+

Hifiman Sundara


Photo credit: Hifiman

I have listened to them before, but I must say over time I have forgotten just how good they are. Over time I simplified my opinion from “great, but not as great as the HD600” to just “not as good as the HD600”, and I feel like it is doing them a disservice, so let me rectify it now.

They are not as good as the HD600 at sounding absolutely natural and true to life. The Sennheiser has a very unique take on the neutral tuning that just works wonderfully for my tastes.

However, the Sundara does some things better than the HD600, as well. One of them is bass - the Sundara extends better into the sub bass and takes to EQ extremely well - the xBass on the Zen Dac increased the bass a ton, without ruining the sound or introducing any distortion. The bass isn’t quite as dynamic and tactile as the HD600, but there is more of it, and as a result, it can feel stronger. Another thing these do better is soundstage and imaging. Whereas they don’t get quite as intimate as the Sennheiser set, they get a fair bit wider, and the placement of instruments is very good.

And, to be completely honest, I kinda want one. As similar as it is to the HD600, now I see that it’s just different enough to warrant owning both… If you are as much of a nerd as I am.

Updated Rank: A
Tuning: A
Technicalities: A

Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire Closed (Kings Legacy Pro Max Ultra)

Moving significantly up in price, at almost $1000, we got the DCA Aeon 2 Closed. Before today, it would have been by far the most expensive headphone (not counting IEMs) that I ever listened to.

AND GOD DAMN IT I WANT ONE.

I didn’t expect much (in fact, I didn’t know what model it was before trying to buy it, so I had no idea what the price was), and uh. I was immediately smitten by them. The tuning is fantastic, it’s a very warm, neutral-ish tuning with a small bass boost. The technical performance is fantastic too, retrieving a ton of detail, of all the things I ever listened to probably less only than the ThieAudio Monarch and the next entry on this list.

It worked well for any song in my library. Linking Park? Amazing. Dua Lipa? Stellar.

Man, I am in LOVE with how they sound.

Best of all? Despite being a closed back, not only is treble not cucked, the soundstage is actually bigger than the Sundara! Amazing shit.

I didn’t know who Dan Clark was before today, but he sure as shit has my attention now.

Rank: S
Tuning: S
Technicalities: S-

Grado GS-3000e

I didn’t know how much they cost before putting them on. I knew they aren’t going to be cheap, just because I knew they are a higher end model than the 325x, which is already firmly in the mid-fi range. My suspicion was confirmed when I heard the amount of detail they retrieve in music, which is truly stunning. By far the most detailed headphone I have ever tried. I assumed it will be around the $1000 mark.

After a couple songs, I took them off and said “Mate, I don’t know how much they cost, but I know for sure I wouldn’t pay that much for them.”.

Then the store owner hit me with the price tag.

$2400.

Excuse the fuck out of me, what!?

Let me explain my shock.

Yes, they are a fantastically technical headphone. I know it’s a cliché, but I really did hear details in my music that I never heard before. The sound was spacious and very well resolved, with only one major problem.

They were tuned by a fucking half-deaf, brain damaged donkey.

They made the Hana 21 sound well tuned. The midrange was just all flavours of fucked, with Kurt Cobain’s voice in Something In The Way somehow sounding both shouty and muffled at the same time. Bass was nonexistent - you know it’s a problem when I complain, and the treble was… There.

Not to mention that I bet there are mud huts in Africa made out of better materials than these pads. They were stiff, uncomfortable and itchy. YUCK.

Who the fuck allowed this accursed contraption to exist? If I paid $2400 for this I would personally fly to Brooklyn and punch John Grado in the dick. Jesus Christ what an embarrassment.

Rank: C-
Tonality: E
Technicalities: S+


That’s all for today, lads! I’m gonna come out today with either of two videos: Hana 21 review or “why is making a good audio review so hard”. Or both at the same time. Idk. Stay safe, and don’t buy expensive Grados. Instead, buy two Noires - one for you and one for me.

Fuck off. See ya.

6 Likes

:joy: :joy: :joy: :joy:
Yes, a familiar feeling. Maybe a $ 100 earphone will make you dance …

2 Likes

Like for real mate, I genuinely think the $100 T4 is a better listening experience than these $2400 Grados.

…what were they thinking XD

1 Like

Yes, here are some of my recent impressions of winning the cheapest IEMs - NA2 +
Some new impressions:

Soundstage: NA 2+ ( 169 $ ) > EJ 07m ( 599 $ )> FH7 ( 460 $ ) > B2 OG ( 320 $ )
Separation: NA2+ = EJ 07m > B2 OG > FH7
Sub bass: EJ 07m > FH7 > NA2+ > B2 OG
Mid bass: NA2+ > FH7 > B2 OG > EJ 07m
Mids: NA2+ = EJ 07m > FH7 > B2 OG
Higs: … There is no winner
Dynamic: NA2+ > FH7 > EJ 07m = B2 OG
3D : NA2+ = EJ 07m > B2 OG > FH7
Vocals: EJ 07m > NA2+ > FH7 > B2 OG
Trasitions: NA2+ > FH7 = B2 OG > EJ 07m
Coherence: NA 2+ > EJ 07m > FH7 > B2 OG
Timbre: NA2+ > FH7 > B2 OG > EJ 07m
Comfort: NA2+ > FH 7 > B2 OG > EJ 07m ( short nozzle)
Wide of stage: NA2+ = EJ 07m > FH7 > B2 OG
Depth of stage: NA2+ > B2 OG > FH7 > EJ 07m
Images: NA2+ = EJ 07m > FH7 > B2 OG
Texture of the guitars: NA2 + > FH7 = B2 OG > EJ 07m
Bass texture: NA2+ > FH7 = EJ 07m > B2 OG
Density and weight of the note: NA2+ = FH7 > EJ 07m > B2 OG
Resolution: NA2+ = FH7 > B2 OG > EJ 07m
Easy to drive: FH7 > NA2+ > EJ 07m > B2 OG
Need of EQ : Only NA2+ for my ( -2 db 3-4 khz, but depends on hearing ) !!
Sibilance: Sometimes FH7
Tuning: It`s matter of taste

And one more thing: LG V30 + does not work like an ordinary smartphone. That was the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard :joy: . Enjoy the music, bros! Thanks for reading and:

:love_you_gesture: :sunglasses: :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

The comparison is A / B with replaced cable of NA2 + and FH7 - Linsoul HC-08 !
There may be surprises, but this is the philosophy of life - the truth is hidden in simple things … :kissing_heart:

3 Likes

Interesting lol, will try the NA2+ when I get the chance haha.

Linsoul HC-08

Great fucking cable mate. The T4 I tried today had this exact cable and it was glorious, very soft and supple.

1 Like

Hello there!!!

I didn’t want to resurrect the thread until I know that I am back for sure, but, well, I am!

I have produced some great content in the past few weeks, so here goes:

Blon BL-03 Review

I have just uploaded this video. The goal of this review was to see how does a legend stack up to new contenders.

Exposing Myself in Public

I think it’s important for everyone to know their reviewer’s biases. So here are mine.

Letshuoer S12 Review

I have reviewed the Letshuoer S12. Does Planar live up to the hype?

Spoiler: yes.

Letshuoer S12, iBasso AM05 First Impressions

I said in the thumbnail that one of these is a must buy. Won’t tell you which, but since I have already told you that the S12 is pretty good…

That’s it for today, fellow nerds, just a quick post saying that I’m alive. Will post here more in the coming weeks. <3

5 Likes

Hey there, decided it’s finally time to write a longer post!

So I’ve been away from the hobby for quite some time, from reviewing for an even longer time, and from this thread for longer still.

During my break, I have had the opportunity to not only rest from the hobby and learn to enjoy music again, but also to sample some real high end stuff, as evidenced by my Tier List, which now boasts 73 entries total. Not Crin level, but substantial enough to give you a good summary of what I consider good. The true winners of the past few months were clearly:

Final D8000 Pro


Photo: HiFi Philosophy

God, this is the best headphone in the world.

The resolution is just insane. Imaging, detail, instrument separation, soundstage… You’re not just listening to music. You ARE in the music. The tuning is also masterful.

I haven’t tries the Susvara yet, but I would be shocked if it came anywhere close to this. I will buy it one day.

For $4500, that day probably won’t come soon, but as soon as I achieve a moderate amount of disposable income again, I’ll start saving up.

Audeze LCD-X

The second best headphone I have ever heard. Its position on my tier list does not reflect that, because I think that with its stock tuning it’s a tough sell to most people, but the resolution is second only to the D8000 Pro. By resolution, I mean the overall technical performance - sure, the HD800s might resolve more detail, Clear Mg might punch a tiny bit harder…

But nothing that I have tried under $4500 does the whole package as well as the LCD-X does. This will be my next stop in my headphone journey, and probably the only stop between the HD600 and the D8000 Pro.

Why do I intend to buy only 2 more headphones in my life?

Well, because I spend too much money on IEMs already…

iBasso AM05



Graph courtesy of @crinacle

The over all highest rated IEM on my tier list. Higher than Z1R, Monarch and Blessing 2.

A $300 5BA set.

It was a shocker to me. I bought it after a friend (@mataudiophiles on Instagram) recomended it to me. Well, he didn’t so much recommend the AM05, much more asked me why the fuck did I buy the Blessing 2 when this exists.

Not gonna lie, I was skeptical, but after I tried it, I fell in love from the first second onwards.

It’s a purely neutral tune, bass shy even for me, but the midrange is really good, and the treble is… Just exquisite. The technical performance is also nuts. They sound wider than many headphones, separate instruments well and show a crazy amount of detail, hell, even the bass is very dynamic for an all-BA set…

…if you get a good seal. Comfort and build quality issues are the only things holding me back from giving it an unanimous 5 star rating. Will touch on these in my full review, coming soon.

Moondrop Blessing 2


Graph of my unit courtesy of @nymz

Unlike the friend who recommended me the AM05, I do not hate the Blessing 2 or think it’s boring. But it is definitely a specialist set with a few flaring flaws.

First of all, the bass is too much - I’m not just talking about the subbass being a few dB above my target, plenty of sets with that shelf that I don’t have that problem with… No, the real issue is that the bass is incredibly sloooow - reminds me of the Starfield/Aria family and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blessing 2 used a DD related to that family.

The midrange is really good, but definitely on the relaxed side - the upper midrange is nicely full, but in my opinion a bit too elevated, which results in higher pitched vocals like Sigrid being emphasised, while someone like Tom Odell will sound a bit weaker than I would like. The detail in the midrange is extremely good though.

The lower treble is good, but the upper treble… Isn’t.

Not that it isn’t good. It just isn’t… There. There’s none. The treble extension of this set is extremely disappointing when comparing to things like the AM05 or Final A4000. As a result, cymbals and hi-hats sound flat and pancakey, and electric guitars lack bite.

As a result, despite the different graphs and driver configuration, I think of it as a Starfield upgrade - a well balanced, midrange-focused set that is never unpleasant, but also never grabs your attention.

I still love it the way I love my HD600. Just an excellent headphone for background music due to the aforementioned never-unpleasantness.

Final A4000



Graph of my unit courtesy of @nymz

If the AM05 is the best IEM I have heard, then the A4000 is my favourite.

The sound signature is about the perfect execution of “bass-boosted neutral”. (To clarify - my Preference Target is my neutral target with a 3dB bass shelf below 150Hz, and the A4000 adds about 6dB of subbass boost on top of that)

The bass is less elevated to my ears than the graph would suggest, but has excellent dynamics and speed - the Blessing 2 this is not. The bass does not overstay its welcome. It comes, punches you in the face and leaves, whereas the Blessing 2 comes, punches you in the face a bit softer, but then starts massaging the spot where it hit you. Like sod off mate!

I’m bad at analogies.

The midrange is perfectly neutral. Never thin, never thick. Never warm, never analytical. Never shouty, never relaxed. Never fatiguing, never boring. Just perfect.

I have recently went to an open-air Tom Odell concert. The A4000 reproduces his voice exactly like I heard it there.


My Ukrainian girlfriend’s favourite singer putting up the flag of her country while playing in my country was a very impactful moment for the both of us.

The treble on the A4000…

Is FANTASTIC. It is, and I don’t want to hype it up too much…

The best treble I have heard from any IEM. Ever. At any price point. It’s masterful.

The resolution is also illegal at its price range, especially for a single DD. It slightly edges out the planar boi, Letshuoer S12 in sheer resolution, while being much better at dynamics and having the widest stage I have heard from any IEM ever.

It’s more technical than the Blessing 2 (except midrange detail), but not as technical as the AM05.

Alright

That’s it. Thank you for reading this, and please consider voting in the poll below for my next review!

4 Likes

What do you want me to review next?

Up to 3 votes per person.

  • iBasso AM05
  • Moondrop Blessing 2
  • HZsound Heart Mirror
  • Moondrop Starfield
  • TinHiFi T2
  • TRI x HBB Kai
  • Sennheiser HD600
  • iFi Zen Dac V2
  • xDuoo MT-602

0 voters

New video. Just wanted to talk to the OGs following my adventures in this hobby why I (who used to be a headphone guy) haven’t bought a single headphone in over a year and been focusing exclusively on IEMs and source gear.

5 Likes