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Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Spectere on February 21, 2021, 01:22:55 PM »
Yep, definitely makes sense. I guess one bit of silver lining here is that there are a decent number of good cans that can be driven with anything.

As far as your earbuds go, it helps that they support aptX/AAC. Not sure if you've ever had the "pleasure" of hearing SBC, but it's godawful. Nonexistent highs, muddy lows, and compressed mids. Blargh. I'm sure they also sound better than the ATH-M50x (seriously, I prefer my Apple buds over those).
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Bobbias on February 21, 2021, 04:06:19 AM »
Well like with keyboards, I'd like to branch out in the future when I can afford it. I haven't had much chance to listen to other decent quality cans. The only other pair I have is these RHA MA390's, which I use with my phone. I will say they weren't as bad sounding as I expected, but that was a pretty low bar.
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Spectere on February 20, 2021, 09:55:19 PM »
If you plan to stick with the Grados for the foreseeable future, I'd say that an amp would be wasted on them. Based on both personal experience as well as other anecdotal reports it doesn't seem to do much for them, if anything.

That said, if you're looking for a DAC/amp to get around a noisy analog jack (which stillseems to be a common issue with laptops for some stupid fucking reason), I'd recommend one of FiiO's offerings. I used one their E10K when I was still physically going to work and it seemed to do a pretty solid job. I only drove IEMs with it personally, but I've heard that it can handle HD600s with no problem. Not bad for US$76 (looks to be $100 in maple leaf bucks?).
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Bobbias on February 20, 2021, 08:36:49 PM »
I haven't had a chance to compare the 325s to comment on that, but yeah, I personally feel like the 125s are just better 80s, very similar profile overall just, better.

I don't have an amp, or a DAC or anything, which is something I'd like to fix at some point, but given my current situation I'm holding off any bigger purchases. I'm planning on quitting my job and going back to college for programming.
Random Chat / The Lamest Topic Ever Conceived
« Last post by Spectere on February 20, 2021, 05:48:42 PM »
I forgot to make a replacement for the "you couldn't ask for a lamer topic" thread, so here y'all go!

I really wish there was a 1-to-1 replacement for LINQPad on macOS/Linux. I've messed around with RoslynPad, but I always end up running into something that pushes me to fire up a Windows VM and use LINQPad instead. That's going to be a bit of an annoyance if I stick with MacBooks moving forward given the switch to ARM, though a lot can happen in a few years.

I might also see about contributing to RoslynPad after I push through a few of my personal projects.
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Spectere on February 19, 2021, 04:07:40 PM »
If you already have an amp, I'd suggest looking into the SUNDARAs. Their price isn't bad, especially for planar magnetics, and the more I listen to them the more I like them. The HiFiMAN HE-400i is reportedly a damn good set as well, and they retail for around US$170. They do look a bit more plasticy than the SUNDARAs so I'm not sure how well the body would hold up over time (though they do have removable cables).

I've heard some anecdotal reports that the 80e's ended up getting a bit of a bass boost, but I don't have any 1st/2nd gen Grados lying around to compare them with. I've also heard that the 80 series does tend to benefit from earpad swaps, though I don't really plan to do that since I'm a little hesitant to potentially lose the qualities that make the 80e really shine.

I would really like to take the 125e for a spin at some point, though. Based on how you're describing it, they sound like better 80's, which sounds like a pretty compelling upgrade. I've heard that the 325e, in contrast, does lose some of those sparkly highs.
Gaming / Re: Disgaea 5
« Last post by Bobbias on February 18, 2021, 01:33:41 AM »
I'm back playing this shit. Grinding up to my first 9999, and trying to collect innocents to speed up the leveling... And trying to make decent great... And fucking hell, I gotta be missing something . Went from like 24 hours played total to 70 or some shit now. Thank god for weed and Adderall because that would be impossible of not for those.
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Bobbias on February 18, 2021, 01:28:30 AM »
That's basically what I would expect out of planar magnetics. Not that I've had a chance to listen to them. I'd say your descriptions of the grados matches my experience pretty exactly, but I'll say that the 124e's were a good step up from the 80i's I had. Much improved bass volume, though still a fair bit lower than you'd wand for super bass heavy stuff. But the clarity on the bass is much more noticeable compared to the cheaper/older 80i's. Basically I'd say they're basically the same sound profile and wide soundstage, but better bass, less of a dip around the mid-range, making them slightly flatter in that range, while they are a bit brighter in the upper end. Not much, but they do feel slightly more clear on the really bright cymbals and such. Luckily it's pretty subtle and doesn't brighten them too much.
Gaming / Re: Monster Hunter
« Last post by Spectere on February 18, 2021, 01:15:38 AM »
Oh jeez, I didn't even think about the Switch's multiplayer. I know it was kinda rough when it first launched, but I imagine (rather, I hope) it would have improved since then. Pretty sure it still lacks a reasonable voice chat system, but that's why Discord and tablets were invented.

I might pick this up. It would be nice to have a Switch game to play that isn't Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, especially considering how much of a slideshow Age of Calamity wound up being.
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« Last post by Spectere on February 18, 2021, 01:06:39 AM »
and a set of planar magnetic cans

Yeah, so I just got a pair of those. I ended up going with the HiFiMAN SUNDARA, since it's widely touted as the best set of headphones under $500:

It definitely has a slightly more neutral sound than my Grados, but the most notable aspect is the bass extension. Bass isn't particularly boomy, but it's very deep and tight compared to my other headphones. My Focals definitely pump out more bass, but the SUNDARA makes for a very nice sweet spot for instances where the Focals are a bit much. As far as I'm aware this is an aspect of the planar magnetic drivers, but I'm also impressed at how the SUNDARAs can manage to play both deep bass and treble with such clarity simultaneously. If I did that with the Focals the treble would disappear and with the Grados the bass tends to get lost.

The treble is slightly emphasized, I'd say, though not as much as the Grados. Live performances and acoustic tracks lose a lot of the brightness and sparkle that the Grados provide. It's still notably brighter than the fairly even, balanced highs I get from the Focals, making for a nice middle ground between the two.

Vocals felt a bit more forward on the SUNDARAs compared to the Grados, particularly on the acoustic tracks I tested. On Joan Baez's Diamons & Rust, I found myself noticing the intricacies in her vocal performance more than I did with the Grados, which seemed to slightly emphasize the guitar.

Build quality feels solid, with a mostly-metal construction. The earpads are soft, fairly breatheable, and comfy. The headphones didn't feel practically weightless like the Grados, but they still weigh in at a good 100g lighter than the Focals. Clamp force is reasonable, feeling similar to the Focals in that regard. The up/down adjustments on the earcups feels a bit stiff, but you can be reasonably certain that they won't move when you lock them into position. The cables are detachable, as one would expect from $350 headphones, and the TRS connectors lock in with a satisfying click. I've read reports that the cable isn't particularly high quality and is prone to breaking. I'm not sure if that's still an issue, but since they use standard 3.5mm TRS jacks for the input it'll be easy to find a replacement.

The biggest downside to these is that they really need an amp. From my iPod, I can drive my Grados like they were a pair of earbuds. It struggles a little bit with the Focals, but at full volume it's still right on the cusp of being uncomfortably loud. With these, maxing out the volume doesn't even bring them to a comfortable listening level, and overall tone felt a bit flat compared to when I drove them with an amp. My JDS Element II can drive my Focals way harder than one could comfortably listen to them on its low gain setting, but with the SUNDARA I had to switch to high gain and crank it to the twelve o'clock position to get it to my normal listening level. That's really not a slight against these headphones, it's just the reality of planar magnetic headphones. To add another scoop of hilarity, these are actually considered easy to drive compared to other planar magnetic drivers.

So, yeah, I'm not going to be able to just lean back in my recliner with my iPod in hand and just chill out like I can with my other headphones, but considering I do most of my listening at my desk anyway it's really not an issue.

As far as specific recommendations go, this is kind of how I rate my three main pairs, in no particular order:

Grado SR80e (US$100): An absolute treat for live performances, acoustic, folk, and rock, and an incredible amount of value for the money. Incredibly easy to drive, fairly low-key, and delightfully bright and detailed.

HiFiMAN SUNDARA (US$350): A good all-rounder. Thanks to it having reasonably bass extension while still having an overall bright sound, I find that it sounds particularly great with modern rock, metal, and IDM. For more bass-heavy tracks, the sub-bass was surprisingly noticeable. It definitely leans bright, though not as much as the Grados. An amp should be considered mandatory with these headphones.

Drop x Focal Elex (US$700): Great for anything with deep, rumbling bass. EDM, rap/hip-hop, dubstep (UK dubstep, anyway--US dubstep works best with brighter cans IMO), DnB all sound sick on these, and stuff like trap really comes to life. While an amp isn't needed for these, their impedance is high enough that I'd recommend getting one.

And the sole entry on the "meh" list:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (US$too much): While I wouldn't call these bad, I can comfortably say that I feel like they're overpriced. They aren't really flat enough to be useful for monitoring, with a noticeable bass bump, and inconsistent mids, and I find them to be a bit muddy for critical listening. They're okay for what I occasionally use them for (mic monitoring) but they sound like something that should cost $50, but these sell for triple digits. I would look up the price, but recalling how much I paid for these would probably upset me on a primal level.
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